Insights from the industry
XOsoft's InMotion Fighting the Downtime Battle
Avoiding Microsoft Exchange Server down-time is always a challenge—one that more vendors are taking on. XOsoft's(http://www.xosoft.com) battlefield entry is InMotion, software that automates Exchange maintenance and migration tasks with the goal of simplifying these processes, preventing unexpected complexities from turning planned limited downtime into unplanned extended downtime.
I spoke with XOsoft Founder and CEO Leonid Shtilman and XOsoft Executive Vice President of Marketing and Strategy Gil Rapaport. They explained the popular need for this type of product: One of our customers used another tool, \[which\] took 21 nights to migrate. It was a nightmare! Rapaport told me that the InMotion migration process can reduce user downtime to less than 5 minutes. The process consists of four steps: configuring an InMotion scenario, configuring the destination Exchange server, synchronizing Exchange data, and switching over Exchange.
InMotion works with Exchange 2000 and later (the product doesn't support moves between Exchange servers in different Windows forests or Exchange administrative groups). The price is between $2 and $7 per mailbox.
Softricity's Application Virtualization
We listened to an exciting announcement from David Greschler, Softricity's (http://www.softricity.com) cofounder and vice president of corporate marketing, about his company s impressive efforts in the application virtualization realm. The Softricity Desktop comprising an engine component called the Softgrid Platform and a front end called Softricity Zero Touch turns software into instantly available, virtualized on-demand services that don t require installation. The Softgrid Platform enables on-demand, virtualized application delivery and policy-based management, and Softricity Zero Touch gives you browser-based access to applications from anywhere. We want to virtualize everything, all the time, Greschler said. Compared with today s typical corporate desktop, which is static, unpredictable, and expensive to configure and manage, the Softricity Desktop is always on, available anywhere, secure, and comparatively cheap. The big benefit? You can give your users, in real time, exactly the applications they need, no matter where they are and maintain their individual personalizations throughout the network. Softricity enables software to be as instantly available and easy to use as electricity, Greschler said..
EMC s Cluster Alternative
Storage and archiving are hot topics in the Microsoft Exchange Server ISV space. Well-known storage companies seem to introduce Exchange-related products every time you turn around. I recently spoke with Katie Curtin-Mestre, director of CLARiiON software marketing at EMC (http:// www.emc.com), about EMC Storage Administrator for Exchange. The product, which consolidates Exchange storage on CLARiiON AX and CX arrays, debuted in October 2005. EMC touts the software as a tool for both migration and simplified provisioning and as a lower-cost alternative to clustering.
EMC Storage Administrator for Exchange was one of many new Exchange storage products at last November's Microsoft Exchange Connections conference in San Diego. I asked Katie how the product stacked up against others at the show. What stands out about EMC Storage Administrator, she told me, is our real focus on the notion of simplicity. Because the EMC product integrates with Exchange System Manager (ESM), you don t have to be a storage expert to benefit from networked storage. Katie also said that in response to customer feedback,, EMC is developing features such as tighter integration with remote-replication software and a higher level of integration with other EMC products in the next release.
A Whale of a Security Solution
Striking a flexible balance between security and functionality is a tall order these days, but Whale Communications (http://www.whalecommunications.com) has partnered with Microsoft to take on that challenge. The result is a hardware and software solution that combines Whale Communications Intelligent Application Gateway and Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2004 into an easy to use and manage secure-access appliance. The solution provides IP Security (IPSec) VPN, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) VPN, endpoint security, and application security through a consolidated gateway that gives users secure access to a broad range of applications and internal resources, all from a seamless portal via single sign-on (SSO). In a recent briefing with the two companies, Roger Pilc, Whale Communications CEO, summed up the benefits of the new security solution: Users will be able to maximize the SSL benefits of granular application and resource access from any device while providing secure IPSec access to users requiring full network connectivity all while complying with internal policies.