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Readers Review Hot Products - 25 Jul 2007

Low-Cost SaaS
InfoStreet's StreetSmart communications that this

Before purchasing InfoStreet's StreetSmart business productivity Software as a Service (Saas), we had been paying the ongoing costs associated with using IT-managed software. Choosing StreetSmart was a fairly easy decision—it saves us money. In addition to being affordable, StreetSmart is very robust and functional. Because customers can develop tools that can be integrated into StreetSmart, we can be creative and innovative with internal communications. The product is very easy to use and lets us communicate seamlessly from coast to coast. In addition to being far more user friendly and much less expensive than those of other SaaS providers we looked at, InfoStreet's services offer more features and tools that benefit my team. The InfoStreet sales team also went above and beyond to allay concerns I had, and StreetSmart impressed me at every turn with regard to functionality, ease of use, scalability, security, upgradeability, flexibility, cost, and future-proofing our network.

To me, StreetSmart's biggest benefit has been the dramatic improvement in communication that it's fostered within our organization. The applications we use include shared calendaring (which automatically accounts for time-zone differences when we schedule conference calls for various offices), file sharing tools, workflows, intranet portals, and StreetSmart's KnowledgeBase application, which lets everyone in our organization post and look up information needed to do his or her job. StreetSmart has helped us come together as a team and operate as one: No longer are we isolated offices separated by distance, but a single highly effective team.

Reader:
Don Nora
Vice president of technology and CIO
Product: StreetSmart
Company: InfoStreet
Contact: http://www.infostreet.com

Keep Email up and Running
Zenprise for BlackBerry, Zenprise for Exchange

As senior server engineer for Alameda County, California, I manage the county's email infrastructure, which in addition to Exchange includes BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) and more than 200 BlackBerrys. Communications are vital in day-to-day county operations, never mind during emergencies, so keeping email up and running is critical.

Alert capabilities are an expected feature of monitoring software, but Zenprise for Exchange and Zenprise for BlackBerry also collect information from our email infrastructure, automatically detecting systems such as DNS, Exchange, and BlackBerry servers. Zenprise warns us when something might go down before it actually does. For example, days before the nationwide BlackBerry outage in April, Zenprise notified us of intermittent connection activity, and it flagged exactly when the BlackBerry service outage occurred. More important, it let us know that the failure was on Research in Motion's network, not on ours.

Zenprise's proactive monitoring lets us correlate multiple symptoms into a single diagnosis, tells us exactly what's wrong, and gives us a step-by-step resolution plan for fixing the problem. Resolution plans are well thought-out, contain reference material for further information, and automatically track steps as you take them. As a result, less experienced engineers can address problems that previously demanded my attention.

Reader: Paul Hinsberg
Senior server engineer
Product: Zenprise for BlackBerry, Zenprise for Exchange
Company: Zenprise
Contact: http://www.zenprise.com

Continuously Back up Laptops and desktops
Atempo LiveBackup

We purchased Atempo's LiveBackup, a continuous data protection (CDP) solution for PCs, for three reasons. First, LiveBackup's mature product pricing model charges only for the client, not the server. This pricing model lets me set up new sites and move users to them at no additional license charge. Second, the product's self-serve recovery options let end users retrieve their own files and force backups whenever they like. Third, the solution doesn't allow Help desk technicians to access data on client machines, which helps us avoid the many legal ramifications of someone accessing and reading a hard disk without permission.

LiveBackup also lets me set up rules on the back end, meaning that at the server level, I can define different levels of backup for different users. What's also great about LiveBackup is that it protects my users while running completely transparently, sort of like antivirus software.

Editor's Note: Atempo LiveBackup helps companies protect Windows laptops and desktops and includes several other features not mentioned above, such as data compression, redundant-file elimination, and technology that eliminates redundant blocks of data to minimize the product's use of network bandwidth. LiveBackup also includes a tool for performing full bare-metal disaster recovery.

Reader: Shawn Wilde
CIO
Product: Atempo LiveBackup
Company: Atempo
Contact: http://www.atempo.com

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