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Vendor Briefings - 27 Dec 2005

Insights from the industry

Network Instruments Gives Observer a Boost
I recently spoke with Charles Thompson, Network Instruments' ( systems engineering manager, about the company's upgrade of its flagship Observer network monitor. Observer 11.0 contains some notable improvements, such as enhancements to its VoIP analysis module, which lets users see aggregate views of statistics such as jitter level.

New in Observer 11 is the GigaStor appliance, which continuously monitors a network and records captured information to disk. GigaStor, says Charles, "keeps all processing on the unit, which ensures that huge volumes of data aren't put back on the network." GigaStor transfers to the Observer console only screen updates, so that an administrator can troubleshoot a network problem quickly. Another new feature, MultiHop Analysis, tracks conversations through as many as 10 hops over various network points to help you pinpoint bottlenecks and isolate problems at their source.
—Blake Eno

Simplified Trusted Computing
Today's businesses and consumers are demanding a computing environment that is more trustworthy, private, and secure. The Trusted Computing Group (TCG— is responding to the challenge with standards-based security solutions. The TCG standards are based on a security chip called Trusted Platform Module (TPM). Wave Systems ( has introduced Embassy Trust Suite (ETS) 5.0, the first enterprise-class security software suite that leverages trusted computing standards. ETS is a set of secure client applications that facilitate a variety of PC-related security and productivity tasks and work with all commercially available TCG-compliant TPMs. ETS enables strong authentication, secure password management, and strong data protection for PCs and users; provides protection for users' personal information and credentials; provides a foundation of trust for all antivirus, antiphishing, and other security applications; and simplifies network policy management. ETS delivers these security services in an easy-to-understand format and integrates easily with Microsoft Office environments.
—Gayle Rodcay

Desktop Authority Matures
I would never hike our Colorado backcountry without my Swiss Army knife, with all its essential survival tools in one convenient package. Similarly, systems administrators in the wilds of IT benefit by having all the administrative tools they need in one console. ScriptLogic's ( Desktop Authority 7.0 (DA) is now striving to be that console in the enterprise.

Originally seen as a logon-script replacement tool, DA has grown into a full-fledged enterprise desktop management solution. Nick Cavalancia, vice president of product marketing, summarized the new version's highlights: support for role-based administration, database storage of configurations and reporting data, ability to perform desktop hardware and software inventories, and enhanced spyware and patch status reporting.

These new capabilities are made possible by DA's new SQL back end and patented Validation Logic. As Nick told me, "We're trying to elevate ourselves to compete in a space where we're looking at the full life cycle of desktop management. We're now competing against different and bigger companies."
—Barb Gibbens

Xyratex Leading the 4Gb Charge
We recently chatted with Lisa Hart, vice president of product marketing for Xyratex (, about several developments in her company on the eve of Storage Networking World 2005. Lisa first shared news about Xyratex's exciting HS-1235 Application Ready Platform, a unique offering that creates the foundation for a robust and flexible storage appliance.

"Xyratex lets OEM partners take our ready-made platform and add their unique pieces to create a full-blown storage device." This appliance technology combines low-cost, high-capacity disk drives with high-speed network connections and industry-standard OSs to provide a platform capable of supporting a variety of applications. The second piece of news Lisa shared concerned Xyratex's push from 2Gb to 4Gb connectivity in the form of its Switched Bunch of Disks (SBOD) enclosures, which she predicted would be the cornerstone of many demonstrations at the conference. Complementing its 4Gb technology, Xyratex also showcased its new 5402 4G FC-SAS/SATA RAID enclosure, which leverages technology from Xyratex's recent acquisition of nStor.
—Jason Bovberg

TAGS: Security
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