AutoProf Becomes Desktop-Standard
In late January, AutoProf, a developer of Group Policy–based desktop management products, changed its name to DesktopStandard. Kevin Sullivan, product manager at DesktopStandard, told me in a recent conversation that the name change is a natural progression. "Standards are what the company is all about," Kevin said, "and the name 'AutoProf' just couldn't get that across."
Actually, standardization, security, and compliance are the trio of areas that constitute DesktopStandard's sweet spot. The company's PolicyMaker product is a case in point. The first product to extend Group Policy, PolicyMaker Standard Edition now includes 23 original Group Policy extensions. PolicyMaker enables standardization by incorporating common desktop-management tasks into Group Policy. The resulting policy-centric granular control of individual systems and users empowers businesses to cut costs and get total control of their systems. Kevin told me that using the power-management capability in PolicyMaker alone can save as much as $100 per PC per year in energy costs.
PolicyMaker gives businesses the power to disable hardware devices such as floppy drives and manage local administrator account passwords and membership in local security groups, while also ensuring that no user or administrator has more privileges than job responsibility dictates. PolicyMaker is an effective way to leverage an investment in Active Directory (AD) and Group Policy and eliminate the need for separate management tools and scripting requirements.
Safer Archiving of Exchange Data
Troy Werelius, CEO of Lucid8 Information Services, talked with me about GOexchange, the company's automated maintenance product for Microsoft Exchange Server. GOexchange is designed to provide automated, proactive management of the Exchange database stores, which are often a weak spot in otherwise well-designed Exchange archiving and backup plans.
To support Exchange administrators who have to deal with increased regulatory and compliance demands, Lucid8 has teamed with information-retention and discovery-management vendor ZANTAZ to package ZANTAZ Enterprise Archive Solution (EAS) for Exchange with GOexchange 3.1. Troy told me that the combination can mean a reduction in Exchange data-storage requirements in excess of 90 percent. The new version of GOexchange offers an enhanced GUI, additional backup-product support, and extended scanning capabilities for discovering all the Exchange servers in your organization.
EMC Introduces Storage "Minivan"
I recently spoke with Jay Krohn, EMC's director of product marketing, about the company's new CLARiiON AX100 family of networked storage systems. According to Jay, EMC has applied the full strength of its significant data-center experience to the creation of this entry-level, small-to-midsized business (SMB) product. "EMC is great on 18-wheeler solutions," Jay said, "but with this solution we're addressing the minivan."
The AX100 is an easy-to-manage, intelligent disk-storage array that expands as necessary and offers enterprise-class iSCSI, Fibre Channel, NAS, and SAN connectivity options. Jay pointed out the AX100's 1GBps Ethernet link. He stressed the product's applicability to the SMB market, emphasizing its user-friendly installation, maintainability, and service-and-support model: "It's a product that your 'one IT guy' can install and maintain."
Simplified Management Through ESM
Quest Software, maker of administration, auditing, recovery, and reporting applications for Microsoft Exchange Server, briefed me about developments in its Exchange management and storage offerings. Quest's recent upgrade to Collaboration Services for Exchange lets separate organizations use encrypted SMTP to share a Global Address List (GAL) and free/busy information. The company's upcoming Compliance Store for Exchange, which should be available midyear, will offer more support for regulatory- and compliance-related archiving. And later this year, Microsoft will offer a free "lite" version of Quest's MessageStats to licensed users of the Exchange management pack for Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005.
The company also told me about its move toward a common management console for all its products. Quest's goal is for all its solutions to use a Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in extension to Exchange System Manager (ESM), a move that will simplify administration. Quest's Archive Manager for Exchange already operates as an ESM extension; other products will follow suit by the end of the year.