Reader:
Ashok Bhatla
Systems programmer
Product:
SQLconfig
Company:
Idera
Contact:
www.idera.com

ASP.NET Version Switcher

Why pay for something when a free tool will do the job? Systems Programmer Ashok Batla was looking for a way to change the .NET Framework version when ASPX pages are compiled. After a bit of searching the Web, Bhatla came across ASP.NET Version Switcher, a freeware utility created by Denis Bauer.

“We \[began using\] a new platform for our Web sites. All of our applications were using different versions of the .NET Framework,” says Bhatla. “In IIS 5.0, we could switch the version of the .NET Framework by using the IIS admin tool. After we moved to IIS 6.0 on a 64-bit OS, we had many versions of the .NET Framework, and different Web sites needed different versions to run—and IIS 6.0 wouldn’t let us switch the .NET Framework version. ASP.NET Version Switcher solved that issue for us. It worked like a charm, and it was super easy to install and use.”

Bhatla says that Denis Bauer has developed many useful tools for .NET developers, and he hopes to see Bauer develop even more useful utilities. “Denis Bauer’s ASP.NET Version Switcher was an excellent freeware utility that solved a problem for us,” says Bhatla. “Installation was very easy, and we haven’t had any issues with the product.”


Kerio Mail Server 6

Reader:
Akis Fotakelis
Systems administrator;
Windows IT Pro contributor
Product:
Kerio MailServer 6
Company:
Kerio Technologies
Contact:
www.kerio.com

Despite the dominance of Microsoft Exchange Server in the enterprise, many people prefer to look for an alternative. There are several reasons why someone might snub Exchange: Perhaps it was too complex, or too expensive, or didn’t have the specific feature set needed. Such was the case with Akis Fotakelis, a systems administrator (and Windows IT Pro contributor) who needed an Exchange alternative.

“Back in 2003, I was looking for a solution to replace our Solaris mail server with one running on Windows that would also integrate with AD,” says Fotakelis. “I excluded Exchange due to its complicated nature, and a colleague suggested Kerio Mail Server (KMS). I tested KMS against two other solutions, and KMS prevailed.”

Fotakelis says that KMS was easier to use, less expensive, and provided more functionality than other products he examined, and it provided the integration with Active Directory (AD) that he needed. “\[KMS integrates\] with AD when I need it, but it also lets me create users and mailboxes without having to associate them with a domain account,” says Fotakelis. KMS was also considerably less expensive than other solutions he considered, and that was clearly a big factor in his purchase decision. “The price was a real bargain. Not only could I install it on a workstation— saving the license for a Windows server—but I saved money from buying separate programs for antispam, antivirus, backup, archiving, monitoring, and mailing list management.”

The lack of cluster support is one negative that Fotakelis points to, and he also ran into a few other minor issues with the product. “I encountered two problems with Kerio. The first one was due to a domain security policy that we tightened and KMS stopped working—but thanks to \[the KMS\] error log file I easily found the solution in minutes,” says Fotakelis. “In another case we forgot the admin’s password, and the procedure that Kerio mentions on its site to reset it did not work. \[We solved that\] by restoring the settings file and restarting the KMS service.”


SQLconfig


Database migration can be a stressful time for DBAs and IT pros, as it was for Systems Programmer Ashok Bhatla when he found himself working on a migration project. “We were migrating approximately 200 databases from standalone SQL instances to a four-node active/passive cluster \[running on the 64-bit version\] of SQL Server 2005,” says Bhatla. “As part of this migration, we had to keep track of all the changes to the databases, because the databases were for critical financial applications which were within the scope of the Sarbanes-Oxley auditing process.”

Bhatla said that the project involved more than 65 applications and a host of engineering and IT personnel. When Bhatla looked for an enterprise SQL Server configuration management product to help simplify the task, he came across SQLconfig from Idera.

“It worked on our three-tier architecture \[and offered\] easy integration with Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) and NetIQ AppManager. As we were using MOM for our server monitoring, \[SQLconfig\] worked with our monitoring system also.” Bhatla is planning to standardize on SQLconfig for auditing all platforms. “It’s a cool product if you have lots of SQL Server systems and databases to migrate.”