What's Hot: Products From Centertools, STORServer, and Quest Software

Readers review hot products

Jeff James

May 26, 2008

6 Min Read
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CenterTools DriveLock 5.0

After a bad experience with an endpointsecurity product, Senior NetworkAdministrator Tom Ank was in the marketfor an alternative. “Our previous solutionsuffered from horrible documentation,a flawed deployment engine, and aninadequate management solution,” saysAnk. The product Ank chose to replace hisprevious purchase was DriveLock 5.0 fromCenterTools.

Ank describes theinstallation of DriveLockas  “extremely easy” andmentions that the documentationwas “easy tofollow and very well written.”A few of the product’sfeatures have beenmore useful than others,with Ank pointing outthe product’s ease of use,seamless integration withActive Directory (AD), andthe DriveLock Reporterfeature (which generatesreports of device events)as some of his favoritefeatures.

Being able to enforceexisting media securitypolicies from a centralmanagement console isalso a welcome feature,while the reportingengine allows compliancereports to be generated easily. “Many ofour users travel, [and the] network locationawareness feature allows us to set differentpolicies for users on and off the road,” says Ank. “For example, the average user is notallowed to use any USB devices [with theexception of] an encrypted thumb drive.[DriveLock] has also allowed us to quicklydisable every IEEE 1394 (FireWire) port onevery system in our network to addresssecurity concerns there.”

Ank says that they did have someminor problems with the product atone point, but CenterTools helped them resolve the issue. “We had a problem withthe Wi-Fi disabling, but the vendor didthe research and provided the (Microsoft)patch needed to make it work,” says Ank.

STORServer Appliance for VMware Consolidated Backup

A long-time customer of STORServer hardware appliances, UGLUnicco, found themselves looking for a way to virtualize theirIT infrastructure while leveraging their existing STORServerinvestment. UGL Unicco Network Services Manager DarrellStymiest learned that STORServer had announced a STORServerAppliance for VMware Consolidated Backup, so he decided toadd it to their infrastructure.

UGL Unicco deployedfive VMware ESX servers,with three production serversand two developmentservers. According to Stymiest,his company has nearlya hundred virtual serversand about two dozen physicalservers. After installation,the STORServer Agentfor VMware ConsolidatedBackup allowed Stymiestto control VM backups inconjunction with his existing Tivoli and VMwareinfrastructures. “Oneof the features of theAgent I like most is itsability to perform multipleconcurrent snapshotsto more thanone mount point,” saidStymiest. “The VMwarevirtual machinesnapshot technologyeliminates virtualserver downtime duringbackup. Our virtualmachines continue tooperate without interruptionwhile the backups take place, which is a huge time saver.”

Stymiest points to the improved backup and recovery operationsas big time savers for his company. “Our old way of backingup data was on tape, and we’re now all disk to disk,” said Stymiest.“During the day STORServer sends our data out to tape for disasterrecovery, which greatly reduces our backup window. It now takesless than five minutes to restore data.”

Quest Archive Manager 3.8

For large enterprises, managing the backup and archiving ofExchange mailboxes can be a monumental task. An average emailuser can generate hundreds (if not thousands) of megabytesworth of email data each year. Factor in the need for organizationsto keep tabs on email communications for the purposes ofe-discovery, and the job can seem insurmountable.

Systems Engineer John LeMay found himself faced with similarproblems. “We needed to get a grip on all of the email beingstored—in some cases for many, many years—and manage thatsomehow,” says LeMay. “[We also had to] deliver better Exchangeperformance using less hardware.” After researching some alternatives,LeMay felt that Quest Software’s Quest Archive Managerwould best meet his needs. He described the deployment as initiallycomplex: Multiple Exchange instances were scattered acrossthe country, and processing years’ worth of stored emails took asignificant amount of time. LeMay started with version 3.6, butsuggested that his installation would have been easier if they hadinitially deployed with version 3.8.

LeMay says that after the deployment phase, he’s seen somesignificant improvements in his Exchange environment. “[A] 50%reduction in storage has been the most noticeable effect due tocompression and single instancing of messages in the archive,[and] the stripping of messages from Exchange has also allowedus to recover several hundred GBs of storage on our ExchangeSECURITYPERFORMANCEWeb application firewalls (PCI),anti-leeching, server maskingHTTP compression,cache control, server tuningport80software.com/msiisservers. Exchange performancehas increased dramaticallyand backup timesare far shorter now.”

When it comes to areasthat LeMay thinks Questcould improve the software,he does have some suggestions(and advice for otherpeople deploying the software).“In the current releasethere is little in the way ofreporting services, and managementof users and mailboxes in Archive Manager is generally aone-at-a-time process…both of these should be addressed,” saysLeMay. The Quest Software technical support team helped resolvemany of LeMay’s issues, and he credits support for helping resolvesome nagging issues. “[The Quest] support staff seems to have arather open dialogue with the development team responsible forthe Archive Manager product, so when support couldn’t resolvean issue directly the issue was taken to development. I was and amkept very in the loop on how issues are progressing towardresolution.”

What's Not

Windows Vista Woes #1
[I’ve been running] Vista on my companylaptop for almost a year, and aside fromthe dreaded file copy issues, one of mybiggest complaints concerns [Vista’s]demand for lots of system resources.Constant HD thrashing, CPU utilizationwas always high, and memory utilizationhit 1GB at idle. This is on a T60 with dualcore Intel CPU and 2GB [of] RAM. Therewere also issues with application compatibility:Most of our internal Web sites havebeen developed with IE6, so [the] IE7 thatcame with Vista would not work properly.Vista is proving to be a pest when runningheavy applications like Photoshopand editing applications that demandDirect 3D, as well as games. Vista ismuch slower than XP in this regard,which is why all my PCs at home run XPSP3. Actually the Macintosh [is] lookingbetter and better these days….

ezakaria – Windows IT Pro –Windows Vista Update Comment

Windows Vista Woes #2
[I’ve] been running Vista for over a yearand have found very little to like aboutit. For all my clients who are contemplatingnew computers I’m recommendingpurchasing with XP beforeJune 30, 2008. [The announced date atwhich Microsoft will stop selling WindowsXP.] I’m going back to XP as soonas I have the time to re-do my machine.

hbrotman – Windows IT Pro – Windows VistaUpdate Comment

Windows Vista? Not So Bad
I agree that Vista is only getting what allnew Windows versions get right at thestart. I’ve been using Vista on laptopsand desktops for well over a year. Theupgrades have to be some new hardwarebut the new machines are awesome.Embrace the change! Old printers,external hard drives, [and] scanners allwork flawlessly and big improvements[are] built-in apps, and the [new Vistasearch functionality] has increased productivity.XP isn’t so bad now either but Iwill never go back. Vista rocks!

klaut – Windows IT Pro – Windows VistaUpdate Comment

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