Readers highlight exceptional products that help them do their job
Securely Access Information and Applications
Adrian Samuels, New South Wales, Austrailia
Adrian Samuels of New South Wales, Australia, provides high praise for iPass, enterprise connectivity services that let you securely access corporate data information and applications. Samuels says, "I use iPass to securely connect to the Internet from any location and through various connection methods. The product is excellent because it makes VPN capability easy for a nontechnical person such as myself. It also saves me money because I don't have to make long-distance calls. I have the iPass software installed on my notebook, and when I work outside the office, I'm connected with only a few mouse clicks through any local ISP over a VPN to the mail and data server in the office. I just select the location I'm dialing from, and the phonebook gives me a list of numbers to select from. From home, I can securely connect through my broadband link."
In November 2003, the McDonald's chain of fast-food restaurants announced that it now supports iPass and is integrating its hotspots (i.e., McD Wireless) with the iPass technology into restaurants around the country. According to Samuels, "The other day after I finished my hamburger at McDonald's, I wirelessly connected to the office to check my email. How cool is that!" iPass is available for the enterprise or for individual users.
Quickly Back Up SQL Server
Ed Jones, Isle of Wight, UK
SQL LiteSpeed, Imceda
One Windows & .NET Magazine reader nominated Imceda's SQL LiteSpeed as a product that makes his job much easier. Ed Jones of Isle of Wight, UK, says, "I use a backup utility for Microsoft SQL Server called SQL LiteSpeed. Under SQL Server's backup system, backups took about an hour and many more hours to restore, but SQL LiteSpeed lets you back up within 10 minutes and also lets you restore within 10 minutes. SQL LiteSpeed is a must for any small company's administrator with production SQL Server systems that can't afford much downtime. Thanks to SQL LiteSpeed's compression capability, we now take about six backups and transactional backups per day, and the product has worked flawlessly. Imceda's support and sales teams are also excellent. They're very helpful and friendly. SQL LiteSpeed is worth every penny."
SQL LiteSpeed doesn't replace SQL Server's backup and restore commands but extends SQL Server's built-in capabilities. Whatever you can do with SQL Server's backup and restore commands, you can do with SQL LiteSpeed. The software backs up and restores database files, transaction logs, and individual tables or views. To minimize the learning curve, SQL LiteSpeed commands are syntactically analogous to SQL Server's commands. The software works with SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 7.0. Pricing starts at $599.
Take Proactive Spam Control
Allen Madding, Roswell, Georgia
Barracuda Spam Firewall, Barracuda Networks
Allen Madding of Roswell, Georgia, testifies that Barracuda Networks' Barracuda Spam Firewall is the best solution on the market for fighting spam. He says, "The appliance lets you create an account for each user. Users can then create their own whitelist and view their quarantine folders. The firewall sends an email message once a day if users have spam in their quarantine folder. Users can click once to deliver messages to their quarantine folder or add people to their whitelist. The appliance has a built-in live update mechanism so that the administrator no longer has to fret with spam changes and trends. The update mechanism automatically loads new definitions. Other features include blacklist capability, user-specified controls, spam scoring, and Bayesian Analysis." Pricing is $8999 for Barracuda Spam Firewall 600, $3999 for Barracuda Spam Firewall 400, $1899 for Barracuda Spam Firewall 300, and $1199 for Barracuda Spam Firewall 200.
Monitor All Active ISA Server Connections
Peter Vogel, Vancouver, British Columbia
GFI WebMonitor for ISA Server, GFI
GFI WebMonitor for ISA Server is a freeware utility for Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server that lets you monitor all active connections on ISA Server. You can use the software to check on files that users are downloading or discover which Web sites they're visiting. The software installs on ISA Server as an application filter, and you can access the program through a Web browser from anywhere in your network. You can use the software to check Web and FTP browsing that occurs anywhere in the network.
Peter Vogel of Vancouver, British Columbia, applauds GFI WebMonitor. He says, "I use GFI WebMonitor in a school network environment. Our servers handle internal Internet traffic for our students and staff, but they also handle about two dozen Web sites. The product lets me get a quick snapshot of Internet traffic on those servers. As far as I know, short of going into the ISA Server traffic logs themselves, there's no other way to get such a snapshot in what's essentially real time."
Run Microsoft Office on Linux
Jimmy Tharel, Bailey, Colorado
CrossOver Office, CodeWeavers
CodeWeavers' CrossOver Office lets you install your favorite Windows productivity applications in Linux without needing a Microsoft OS license. The software's single-click interface helps you to quickly install a Windows application. Once installed, your application will integrate directly with your GNU Network Object Modeling Environment (Gnome) or K Desktop Environment (KDE). You need only click to run your application exactly as you would in a Windows environment. CrossOver Office can run a range of Windows software, but CodeWeavers only supports Microsoft Office XP/2000/97, Microsoft Access, Adobe Systems' Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Visio, Lotus Notes, and Intuit's Quicken.
Jimmy Tharel of Bailey, Colorado, uses CrossOver Office and finds it useful. He says, "Having the capability to connect Outlook to our Microsoft Exchange Server system on Linux is extremely valuable." Pricing is $59.95. You can download a trial version of the software from the CodeWeavers Web site.
Back Up and Recover Important Data
Anthony Paulina, Parsippany, New Jersey
Galaxy Backup & Recovery, CommVault Systems
Anthony Paulina of Parsippany, New Jersey, says that CommVault Systems' Galaxy Backup & Recovery from its QiNetix suite is one of the best products he's come across. He says, "Over the years, I've worked with various backup products, and Galaxy blows the competition out of the water. Galaxy is designed more as an enterprise backup solution than an individual backup solution and uses an n-tier architecture driven by a Microsoft SQL Server database to handle backup and recovery. The database can either reside on a single system or on a clustered SQL Server for redundancy. Galaxy works with most tape libraries. You can also configure Galaxy to use disk storage as a magnetic library. One other feature the product has that I haven't seen before is the ability to restart a backup midstream. For example, if we lose power or reboot one of the systems involved in the backup process, Galaxy detects a problem and simply restarts the backup from where it left off. Since we've run Galaxy, I've never had a backup job fail. I've also never had to reconfigure Galaxy for the environment, and this is on the same hardware that has given other programs I've tried so much trouble." Contact vendor for pricing.