Field Report from Microsoft TechEd Orlando
New tools for Exchange, GPO management, and storage among IT-leaning products showcased on TechEd exhibit floor.
Microsoft TechEd each year continues to attract a larger contingent of professionals
on the IT side of the wire. Even IT tools vendors seem to outnumber the developer
community in representation on the show floor. "I've noticed more ops software
at this show," observed Ahmed Datoo, vice president of product marketing
at Zenprise http://www.zenprise.com
company, among several new players in the messaging tools market, used the venue
to debut their product for automated diagnosis and resolution system for Exchange
servers, aptly named Zenprise. (Listen to an interview with Zenprise CEO Jayaram
Bhat on MCP Radio at http://mcpmag.com/webcasts/mcpradio/radio.asp?id=129
MCPmag.com was stretched thin out on the carpet, but we did manage to get quality
time with the following vendors (in no particular order):
Like Zenprise, Mimosa Systems http://www.mimosasystems.com
is a relatively new entry in the Exchange tools niche, but not one to ignore
if message integrity is important to your business. Mimosa's NearPoint for Exchange
Server unifies Exchange data protection, instantaneous recovery and mailbox
extension and archiving. The company has a unique approach to storing messages
and preserving archive integrity that allows for historical, point-in-time recovery
of messages. One nifty feature: allowing users to recover messages in storage
using a "Google-like" search. That the approach naturally meets IT
compliance regulations is icing on the cake. The company claims that its use
in litigation support has saved some customers a significant amount.
Special Operations Software http://www.specopssoft.com
introduced SpecOpsDeploy back in December 2004, but it made its presence known
in the U.S. with a showing at TechEd. According to company claims, SpecOpsDeploy
can use Group Policy to automate software deployments. It's an interesting concept
made even more intriguing by integration of SpecOpsDeploy with Microsoft Operations
Although you may be more familiar with Northern Park Life's QuotaServer, for
more complete storage resource management, check out the company's Storage Suite
2005. Released back in April this year, Storage Suite is comprised of QuotaServer,
as well as four other components: Storage Reporter (reports on storage usage,
waste, recovery), Storage Portal (provides users with Web view of storage allotments),
Storage Chargeback (price assigning for storage usage), and Storage Assistant
(tools for optimizing storage performance). http://northern.net
Security vulnerabilities seem to be keeping pace with the growing corporate
use of mobile devices and PatchLink Corporation http://www.patchlink.com
says it plans to be there to quash any threats at the edge. The company previewed
a version of its PatchLink Update security, vulnerability and IT compliance
suite for Windows Mobile, Symbian, Blackberry and Palm OS devices; delivery
is expected some time in the third quarter of 2005.
TNT Software's flagship ELM Enterprise Manager 4.0 adds a slew of configurable
reports that can be used for presenting vital systems statistics in formats
that can be distributed to IT managers, security auditors and executive level.
Another key improvement is the "at-a-glance" views that can give high-level
views of critical data such as alerts, events, outages, and software inventories.
Details at http://www.tntsoftware.com.
was demonstrating Xcelsius, a dashboard-style reporting tool that allows admins
and developers to provide simplified, executive-level dashboard presentations
of critical data. New at the show is Xcelsius XRS, which provides Reporting
Services ties to Office, SQL Server, SharePoint, as well as Great Plains, Navision,
and other Microsoft Business Solutions software.
ScriptLogic Corporation http://www.scriptlogic.com
demonstrated Active Administrator 4.0, the most recent iteration of its Active
Directory security and Group Policy management and auditing tool. Some highlights:
granular, object-level backup and restore that essentially provides an "undo"
function; a collection of what the company calls "self-healing" Active
Templates that can alert administrators to user permission reconfiguration problems.
Also noteworthy is Enterprise Security Reporter 2.5, which adds the ability
to automate report generation, report filtering based on Active Directory attributes
and reports on the account password aging.
Indentify Software http://www.identify.com
announced integration of its AppSight application problem resolution system,
with Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team System. The company uses what it calls
its "Black Box Application Flight Recorder" technology to capture
and help resolve the root cause of application and system problems. The suite
is currently being beta tested, with general availability soon.
Agentless or agent-based monitoring tools: Can't decide which works best for
you? Heroix Corporation now gives you both options. At the show, the company
introduced Heroix Longitude, an agentless monitoring and reporting suite that
can track well over 250 systems metrics on all Windows platforms, Novell, several
versions of Unix and various flavors of Linux. It comes with 125 prepackaged,
dashboard-style reports. Longitude's agent-based complement is Heroix eQ. More
info at http://www.heroix.com
DesktopStandard, known for its Policymaker 2.0 GPO add-on, was showcasing GPOvault,
a Group Policy Management Console utility for managing GPOs on Active Directory
networks. GPOVault integrates several new Group Policy management capabilities,
including a comprehensive change control system, into the GPMC. http://www.desktopstandard.com
SAPIEN Technologies http://www.sapien.com
has made what it calls the most significant update to PrimalScript in its 4.0
release. Along with significant UI improvements are new features like Dynamic
Folder Projects and PrimalToys, which are COM objects for handling common system
tasks, which are available in the Standard Edition. The Professional version
adds PrimalScope, a Windows Script Debugger, and PrimalDiff, for filed differencing
and comparing, a database and FTP explorer, an ADSI script-writing wizard, and
code packaging tool. Finally, the Enterprise edition adds a multi-target publishing
and distribution mechanism, a visual database query builder, the ability to
securely and remotely run scripts and Visual XML editor. The new versions will
hit shelves some time in August and September.
Lucid8 http://www.lucid8.com makes significant
upgrades to GOexchange, the company's automated management suite for Exchange
servers. New in version 3.1 are scanning capabilities, configuration features,
scheduling controls and an improved user interface.
VMWare http://www.vmware.com has unveiled
a new service for IT pros and software developers: the VMware Technology Network,
a virtual infrastructure resource center. Through the VMTN, the company provides
customers with pre-built and preconfigured software and applications that run
in several pre-built virtual environments, including BEA Systems, MySQL AB,
Novell, Oracle and Red Hat. The environments can be maintained on the network
via subscription. Now that's virtually irresistible, yes?
Michael Domingo is Editor in Chief of Virtualization Review. He's been an IT writer and editor for so long that he remember typing out news items in WordStar.