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Vendor Briefings - 26 Jul 2005

Insights from the industry

New Proventia Appliances Stop Problems Before They Start
According to Chris Simmons, product manager for Internet Security Systems (ISS), the new Proventia G400 and Proventia G2000 models complete the Proventia line of Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) appliances. The Proventia IPS appliances are part of the larger Proventia Enterprise Security Platform (ESP), a framework of products and services that identifies areas of risk, prioritizes protection, remediates and patches, and reports and benchmarks.

The new G400 and G2000 models provide throughput of 4Mbps and 2Gbps, respectively, and add antispyware technology that detects (by behavior) spyware and blocks it at the network level before it's downloaded to clients and blocks communication of known spyware back to its source. New Proventia G Series management features include a Web-based Local Management Interface and integration with SNMP management frameworks. Policy management is more granular and is now possible at the device, port, IP address, and Virtual LAN (VLAN) levels.

Avamar Leaps from Tape to Disk
Let's face it: Tape-based backup and recovery is on the verge of obsolescence. The market has lived too long with the high failure rate of tape. We're now seeing the dawn of online, disk-based solutions, and Avamar Technologies is right there in the thick of it. "Stop using tape!" seemed to be the rallying cry as Avamar's CTO Rory Bolt and CMO Brian Anderson recently sat down with us to talk about the company's recent addition to its Axion line of backup-and-recovery products.

Axion 3.0 is a multiplatform, disk-based backup solution that offers manageability and client-coverage enhancements to an already groundbreaking system. Axion 3.0 offers a 90 percent reduction in secondary storage, ensuring that only one instance of any data object is stored no matter how often the object is duplicated across systems and over time. With Axion, you'll also see a 99 percent reduction in network traffic, a 50 percent reduction in total cost of ownership (TCO), and better than a 50 percent reduction in the backup window. Best of all, you can access all data stored on an Axion system online, so you can achieve real-time restorations at any time. You can even perform production backups during business hours!

Simplify Email Chaos
Email environments are chaotic. IT pros have to consider multiple email-related variables: the human element, hardware, software, configuration, patch management, and ongoing maintenance and management. How do you simplify such a complex system? According to Roger Gerdes, CEO of Azaleos, you get out of the email infrastructure-management business altogether. And Azaleos believes its solution will help you do just that.

I recently spoke with Gerdes about OneServer, Azaleos' clustered, pretested, and preconfigured hardware and software solution, and OneStop Managed Service, software that provides 24 ´ 7 remote monitoring, hardware updates, and patch management. The Azaleos solution provides high availability, disaster recovery, security, and reliability for Windows-based email systems in a fixed-cost model. "Think of it as TiVo for enterprise management," Roger explained. If you'd rather spend your time doing more than managing email, the Azaleos products just might be the solution for you.

Revivio Recovers to the Microsecond
We didn't have time to connect with Revivio at the Storage Networking World conference, so Kirby Wadsworth, Revivio's senior vice president of marketing and business development, was gracious enough to sit down with us afterward to tell us about his company's exciting new Continuous Protection Systems (CPS) 1200 system, which delivers full class-A disaster-recovery capability across two sites. According to Kirby, “The combination of replication and block-level continuous data protection provides highly granular recovery points at vast distances while maintaining application performance.” Our favorite analogy that Kirby used for the CPS 1200 is that of a video camera: Similarly to a video device, the set-it-and-forget-it CPS 1200 automatically records all the activity on your network, and just like grabbing specific frames of video, you can grab a particular instant of data. Another cool tidbit is that the system is agnostic to both OSs and the size of the data set, meaning the CPS 1200 works for both enterprise and small-to-midsized environments.

Staying Secure with StillSecure
Making sure that remote clients comply with corporate security policies is a necessity in today's high-threat IT landscape. StillSecure CTO Mitchell Ashley recently briefed us about the latest improvements in Safe Access 3.0 that will help administrators enforce access policies against various types of network endpoints, including internal, remote, foreign, and wireless. Earlier versions of Safe Access offered an agentless approach to endpoint compliance, but the most recent version adds an ActiveX plug-in and the StillSecure Agent, giving administrators three options for applying Safe Access protection. Safe Access checks endpoint devices for things such as patch status, antivirus and firewall protection, peer-to-peer (P2) file-sharing programs, and unrecognized registry keys, and the tests are continually being updated as new threats appear or new patches or OS updates are released. Devices that fail any compliance tests are quarantined and denied network access until they meet company policies. Businesses can use Safe Access as a standalone product or as part of StillSecure's integrated suite of preventative, compliance, and intrusion-detection solutions.

Zetta Backs Up in a Snap
Zetta System's CEO Ganapathy Krishnan recently spoke with me his company's new Zetta Server IR, which permits instant recovery of email, database, and file servers. In his enticing presentation, Ganapathy showed how his company's software-based solution, which supports both Fibre Channel and iSCSI storage, can deliver unlimited snapshot capabilities, superior management of mixed-use infrastructures, and the ability to scale nondisruptively. Zetta Server IR creates logical disks called SmartDisks on existing storage arrays, then uses SnapWrite technology to present snapshots of SmartDisks as separate read-write volumes that Windows or UNIX machines can instantly use. You can therefore maintain virtually unlimited read-write snapshots (ZSnaps) of each SmartDisk, and because each snapshot takes only about 100ms to produce and uses very little space, you can schedule ZSnaps far more frequently than traditional backups—every minute, if necessary. So, the most interesting aspect of the product is that Zetta Server IR lets you recover from data disasters in mere minutes, instead of hours or days. Cool stuff!

Automate with Opsware
Is your company experiencing a massive explosion of servers and network devices? Have operations gradually become overwhelmingly complex? If so, you need to turn to IT automation. According to Eric Vishria, Opsware's director of product marketing, "For every one dollar spent on a network device purchase, six to eight dollars is spent managing the device over its three-year life." Responding to that concern, Opsware has just released Network Automation System (NAS) 4.0, part of a comprehensive Opsware Automation Suite that encompasses three IT-automation areas: network automation, server automation, and asset management.

Opsware's solution is focused on the enterprise but might also make sense for small businesses that have more than 100 devices and more than a few administrators. In this informative briefing, Eric proved that NAS provides enterprises with a far higher level of visibility and control over IT processes than is typical today; NAS includes reports and functionality that are crucial to regulations compliance.

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