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Vendor Briefings - 26 Apr 2005

Insights from the industry

A Swiss Army Knife for Sysadmins
Most systems administrators would prefer to manage their systems proactively, preventing problems before they occur. But despite the best intentions, sometimes all you can do is react to problems you weren't expecting. That's why I was interested to talk with Wes Miller and Kevin Franks, product manager and public relations manager, respectively, at Winternals Software (, about Administrator's Pak 5.0, an upgrade to the well-regarded Winternals product.

Administrator's Pak gives sysadmins the power to repair and recover unbootable systems without having to reinstall the OS. The new tool I find most interesting is the Crash Analyzer Wizard, which is also available in the standalone ERD Commander 2005 utility. The wizard builds on Microsoft's debugger to analyze Windows crash dumps and diagnose the most likely causes of a failure. The wizard can even send a verbose report to the system vendor, and because it's included in ERD Commander 2005 (also a part of Adminstrator's Pak 5.0), you can run it on a blue-screened system.

Also new to Administrator's Pak 5.0 are Insight for Active Directory and AD Explorer, tools that let you both identify the causes of application and service problems that stem from AD and manipulate AD objects and attributes to repair the problems. With additional enhancements, including a Web browser interface that's based on Mozilla's Firefox, Administrator's Pak 5.0 offers administrators a versatile tool that covers virtually all the bases for diagnosing, repairing, and recovering downed systems.

From One to Many Security Tools
Shavlik Technologies ( is bent on growth beyond its flagship Shavlik HFNetChkPro patch-management solution. Its product line is expanding to include Shavlik NetChk Spyware, an enterprise antispyware solution; Shavlik NetChk Security, which monitors configuration settings for compliance with secure practices and regulatory requirements; and Shavlik NetChk Shares, which lets administrators keep track of file shares on their network. The new Shavlik NetChk Epicenter is a common GUI for all NetChk tools.

The company has plans for more tools in the areas of compliance, policy management, and security-compromise prevention. CTO Richard Greenwood says the company envisions a comprehensive line of security applications that would thoroughly monitor and track a company's systems and network and calculate a security score that a security auditing firm could use in evaluating the company. Shavlik has also updated HFNetChkPro: Version 5.0 has safe reboot control, better reporting, and other improvements.

NETGEAR Talks ProSafe
We recently had the opportunity to talk with Kevin Allan, director of product marketing for business products at NETGEAR (, about new developments in the company's ProSafe product line. The ProSafe offerings—which encompass switching technologies, business wireless solutions, and security products—are targeted at small to midsized businesses (SMBs) of 250 or fewer users. Emphasizing the value, performance, and reliability of the ProSafe line, Allan introduced the 16 Port Gigabit Smart Switch (model GS716T), which offers a Web GUI for rudimentary IT functionality and port trunking for increased throughput; AutoCell technology in its ProSafe 802.11g Wireless Access Point (model WG302), ideal for automatic Access Point (AP) rollout in your wireless environment; and a VPN wizard that simplifies VPN configuration for small environments. According to Allan, another significant NETGEAR development is its Power Over Ethernet technology, which lets you send voltage through Category 5 data cable to power APs and security cameras.

Seeing the Little Picture
Bao and Rob Lerner, the CEO and COO, respectively, of KT-Tech (, recently talked to me in a videoconference about their company's KT-V2OIP (Voice and Video over IP) technology, which is destined for use on cell phones. During the videoconference, I saw Bao and Rob through a small KTMPlayer window on my computer screen. Bao and Rob appeared in full-color video at a mere 10Kbps, and the resolution was sharp enough to read the text on a document they held up to the camera. The company also has versions of its patented image-compression algorithm for still images (KT-Still) and images larger than 3TB (KT-Large). You can download a free version of KTMPlayer and some sample video clips from the company's Web site, or contact the company if you'd like to try the encoder technology.

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