Readers review hot products
CenterTools DriveLock 5.0
After a bad experience with an endpoint security product, Senior Network Administrator Tom Ank was in the market for an alternative. “Our previous solution suffered from horrible documentation, a flawed deployment engine, and an inadequate management solution,” says Ank. The product Ank chose to replace his previous purchase was DriveLock 5.0 from CenterTools.
Ank describes the installation of DriveLock as “extremely easy” and mentions that the documentation was “easy to follow and very well written.” A few of the product’s features have been more useful than others, with Ank pointing out the product’s ease of use, seamless integration with Active Directory (AD), and the DriveLock Reporter feature (which generates reports of device events) as some of his favorite features.
| Reader: Thomas Ank |
Senior Network Administrator
Product: CenterTools DriveLock 5.0
Being able to enforce existing media security policies from a central management console is also a welcome feature, while the reporting engine allows compliance reports to be generated easily. “Many of our users travel, \[and the\] network location awareness feature allows us to set different policies for users on and off the road,” says Ank. “For example, the average user is not allowed to use any USB devices \[with the exception of\] an encrypted thumb drive. \[DriveLock\] has also allowed us to quickly disable every IEEE 1394 (FireWire) port on every system in our network to address security concerns there.”
Ank says that they did have some minor problems with the product at one point, but CenterTools helped them resolve the issue. “We had a problem with the Wi-Fi disabling, but the vendor did the 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, UGL Unicco, found themselves looking for a way to virtualize their IT infrastructure while leveraging their existing STORServer investment. UGL Unicco Network Services Manager Darrell Stymiest learned that STORServer had announced a STORServer Appliance for VMware Consolidated Backup, so he decided to add it to their infrastructure.
| Reader: Darrell Stymiest |
Network Services Manager
Product: STORServer Appliance for VMware Consolidated Backup
UGL Unicco deployed five VMware ESX servers, with three production servers and two development servers. According to Stymiest, his company has nearly a hundred virtual servers and about two dozen physical servers. After installation, the STORServer Agent for VMware Consolidated Backup allowed Stymiest to control VM backups in conjunction with his existing Tivoli and VMware infrastructures. “One of the features of the Agent I like most is its ability to perform multiple concurrent snapshots to more than one mount point,” said Stymiest. “The VMware virtual machine snapshot technology eliminates virtual server downtime during backup. Our virtual machines continue to operate without interruption while the backups take place, which is a huge time saver.”
Stymiest points to the improved backup and recovery operations as big time savers for his company. “Our old way of backing up 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 disaster recovery, which greatly reduces our backup window. It now takes less than five minutes to restore data.”
Quest Archive Manager 3.8For large enterprises, managing the backup and archiving of Exchange mailboxes can be a monumental task. An average email user can generate hundreds (if not thousands) of megabytes worth of email data each year. Factor in the need for organizations to keep tabs on email communications for the purposes of e-discovery, and the job can seem insurmountable.
| Reader: John LeMay |
Product: Quest Archive Manager 3.8
Company: Quest Software
Systems Engineer John LeMay found himself faced with similar problems. “We needed to get a grip on all of the email being stored—in some cases for many, many years—and manage that somehow,” says LeMay. “\[We also had to\] deliver better Exchange performance using less hardware.” After researching some alternatives, LeMay felt that Quest Software’s Quest Archive Manager would best meet his needs. He described the deployment as initially complex: Multiple Exchange instances were scattered across the country, and processing years’ worth of stored emails took a significant amount of time. LeMay started with version 3.6, but suggested that his installation would have been easier if they had initially deployed with version 3.8.
LeMay says that after the deployment phase, he’s seen some significant improvements in his Exchange environment. “\[A\] 50% reduction in storage has been the most noticeable effect due to compression and single instancing of messages in the archive, \[and\] the stripping of messages from Exchange has also allowed us to recover several hundred GBs of storage on our Exchange SECURITY PERFORMANCE Web application firewalls (PCI), anti-leeching, server masking HTTP compression, cache control, server tuning port80software.com/msiis servers. Exchange performance has increased dramatically and backup times are far shorter now.”
When it comes to areas that LeMay thinks Quest could improve the software, he does have some suggestions (and advice for other people deploying the software). “In the current release there is little in the way of reporting services, and management of users and mailboxes in Archive Manager is generally a one-at-a-time process…both of these should be addressed,” says LeMay. The Quest Software technical support team helped resolve many of LeMay’s issues, and he credits support for helping resolve some nagging issues. “\[The Quest\] support staff seems to have a rather open dialogue with the development team responsible for the Archive Manager product, so when support couldn’t resolve an issue directly the issue was taken to development. I was and am kept very in the loop on how issues are progressing toward resolution.”
Windows Vista Woes #1
\[I’ve been running\] Vista on my company laptop for almost a year, and aside from the dreaded file copy issues, one of my biggest complaints concerns \[Vista’s\] demand for lots of system resources. Constant HD thrashing, CPU utilization was always high, and memory utilization hit 1GB at idle. This is on a T60 with dual core Intel CPU and 2GB \[of\] RAM. There were also issues with application compatibility: Most of our internal Web sites have been developed with IE6, so \[the\] IE7 that came with Vista would not work properly. Vista is proving to be a pest when running heavy applications like Photoshop and editing applications that demand Direct 3D, as well as games. Vista is much slower than XP in this regard, which is why all my PCs at home run XP SP3. Actually the Macintosh \[is\] looking better and better these days….
ezakaria – Windows IT Pro – Windows Vista Update Comment
Windows Vista Woes #2
\[I’ve\] been running Vista for over a year and have found very little to like about it. For all my clients who are contemplating new computers I’m recommending purchasing with XP before June 30, 2008. \[The announced date at which Microsoft will stop selling Windows XP.\] I’m going back to XP as soon as I have the time to re-do my machine.
hbrotman – Windows IT Pro – Windows Vista Update Comment
Windows Vista? Not So Bad
I agree that Vista is only getting what all new Windows versions get right at the start. I’ve been using Vista on laptops and desktops for well over a year. The upgrades have to be some new hardware but the new machines are awesome. Embrace the change! Old printers, external hard drives, \[and\] scanners all work flawlessly and big improvements \[are\] built-in apps, and the \[new Vista search functionality\] has increased productivity. XP isn’t so bad now either but I will never go back. Vista rocks!
klaut – Windows IT Pro – Windows Vista Update Comment