Advantages of a Software Firewall

These days the trend in firewalls and other security solutions is moving toward hardware appliances. Vendors tend to tout appliances over software and customers see appliances as plug-in-and-go solutions to a variety of ills. But Check Point Software Technologies (http://www.checkpoint.com) is bucking this trend. Bill Jensen, product-marketing manager at Check Point, told us that software solutions have an advantage over hardware appliances because they let customers more quickly benefit from external technology improvements. For example, Jensen said, Check Point's VPN-1 Power firewall, its VPN, and its intrusion prevention software product all take immediate advantage of new servers running the new Dual-Core Intel Xeon Processor 5100. Jensen said that VPN-1 Power can process firewall traffic at speeds of up to 10Gbps, whereas the average firewall has a throughput of 1 to 1.7 Gbps. As firewalls have added functions like VPN and intrusion prevention, they have had a hard time keeping pace with network traffic. New technologies such as VoIP, with its many small packets, will only add to that processing burden. Committing to a firewall hardware appliance locks the buyer into the hardware that's available at the time of purchase. A software firewall designed to take advantage of whatever processing power is available in the market could give you a little more flexibility.
—Renee Munshi

Companies Adopt Virtual Servers to Save Time, Money, and Effort

The current buzzword in IT is virtualization. From endpoint solutions to enterprise-level scalability, virtualization technologies are the bleeding edge of software development and can potentially increase an IT administrator's overall efficiency while also making his or her job easier. Azeem Mohamed, senior director of marketing and products for Vizioncore (http://www.vizioncore.com), estimates that the enterprise community adopts about 3 percent of its servers to a virtual platform, on average. "But we should expect to see a growth of about 20 percent in the next four years," he continued.

As the battle of virtualization software formats between VMware and Microsoft rages on, more companies are adopting virtualization as a way to migrate OSs, store data, and back up content quickly and by using fewer resources. According to Mohamed, the near future of this technology is OS-less. A solution that takes advantage of a computer stripped of its physical OS that still delivers a complete virtualized OS environment is the current Holy Grail of the virtualization market.

Vizioncore is introducing the esxRanger Professional 2.0, a data backup and recovery solution that can leverage both file-level and image-based backup and restore capabilities. Currently, esxRanger Professional 2.0 is the only backup and recovery product on the market that can integrate with the VMware Infrastructure 3 (VI3) architecture. Additionally, esxRanger Professional 2.0 can provide either a hot backup of a virtual machine's entire image, or the software's differential backup engine can identify and store only the sections that changed since the last backup of the image was created. This ability to pick and choose backup sections lets esxRanger Professional 2.0 send smaller files over WANs and LANs faster, allowing administrators to perform backups more frequently and with less bandwidth and storage overhead.
—Sam Davenport

Free, Browser-Based Network Management System Combines IT Analysis with Web 2.0 Technologies

In early 2006, Harvard Business School Associate Professor Andrew MacAfee coined the term Enterprise 2.0 to illustrate how organizations are integrating Web 2.0 technology into their business models. The integration of SLATES (search features, links, authoring, tags, extension searching, and RSS-type signals) with an SaaS (Software as a Service) IT management platform makes Klir Technologies' (http://www.klir.com) Analytics 3.0 beta release a compelling illustration of the future of Enterprise 2.0 technologies.

Imagine Google, Flickr, del.icio.us, Wikipedia, and NetFlix all sitting around a table and developing the best way to ease the IT professional's workload and you'll have an idea of how Klir has approached network management. Klir began with the idea that "IT professionals are customers too," said Vice President of Marketing Scot French. From that unique vantage point, Klir developed a browser-based utility that manages an IT network from a series of customizable dashboards.

Because the Analytics technology is housed offsite on Klir's servers, a downed network is no longer an obstacle to diagnosis, assuming a network admin can get a stable Internet connection by other means. Klir's approach targets the small-to-midsized business (SMB) that is usually locked out of purchasing most network management solutions because of deployment complexity and the costs of ongoing maintenance and support. Klir's free entry-level product supports as many as 25 devices, and 100 interfaces and is available for download at http://www.klir.com/saas/?PHPSESSID=c81dfda4becfbf2ed18a7d4f2027dc6b.
—Sam Davenport