Enterprise Windows Server Utilities

It's been a busy year so far for makers of enterprise Windows server utilities. The vendors are scrambling to build support for Windows Server 2003 into defragmentation tools, emergency repair disk products, disk quota management tools and mobile and remote administration utilities.

Some vendors have even taken the extra step of jumping through the hoops set up by Microsoft and Veritest to get their utilities certified for the six-month-old server operating system.

The upshot is a lot of available options for IT organizations that have made the decision to migrate to Windows Server 2003 and want to augment the operating system's base capabilities.

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Defragmentation Tools

Executive Software and Raxco Software have both been busily updating and certifying their products for Windows Server 2003. Each vendor has also extended the definition of enterprise defragmentation this year.

Simultaneous with the launch of Windows Server 2003 in April, Executive Software announced that its existing defragmentation product, Diskeeper 7.0, supports Windows Server 2003. More recently, Executive Software won certification for Diskeeper 7.0 through Veritest.

Veritest handles the testing and certification of Windows applications for Microsoft. A stringent set of testing requirements for the Windows 2000 servers and the Windows Server 2003 editions means relatively few of the applications that can run on those operating systems actually earn the certification. In competitive markets, certification can mean the difference between customers buying one product versus another as the test ensures the product has been engineered extensively to take advantage of Windows manageability features and to run reliably on the servers.

The certification process grants distinct certifications for three editions of Windows Server 2003 -- Standard, Enterprise and Datacenter. Veritest earned the label for both Standard and Enterprise editions of Windows Server 2003.

In between the 7.0 support announcement and the certification, Executive Software in September shipped a new version of Diskeeper, 8.0. Among other new features, the defragmentation product comes in three different server versions -- Diskeeper Server Standard Edition, Diskeeper Server Enterprise Edition and Diskeeper Server Datacenter Edition. Executive Software officials say they are seeking certification through the lengthy Microsoft/Veritest process for the 8.0 versions of Diskeeper, as well.

Meanwhile, Executive Software extended the capability of its Diskeeper Server Enterprise Edition to match the growing size of disk volumes that are coming about due to advances in hardware and advances in the ability of Windows to support them. With a new premier-level tech support offering, Diskeeper Server Enterprise Edition will support volumes with up to 4 terabytes and 16 logical drives.

Raxco Software also obtained Windows Server 2003 certification for its PerfectDisk 6.0 disk defragmentation and optimization tool. When Raxco announced the cert in late October, it claimed to be the first defragmentation vendor to get it. Raxco's certification applies to Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition.

Raxco pushed ahead on another front earlier this month with new Exchange Server 2003 support in PerfectDisk Version 6.0 for Microsoft Exchange. The support came within two weeks of the Oct. 21 general availability of Exchange Server 2003.

Emergency Repair Disks

Winternals and Aelita Software both aggressively updated their products for recovering unbootable computers to support Windows Server 2003.

All the way back in mid-June, Winternals had a refresh of its Winternals Administrator's Pack (4.0) with support baked in for Windows Server 2003. The flagship product of the pack is ERD Commander 2003, which is the main tool for bringing a dead system back into operation. The suite also includes Disk Commander, NTFSDOS Professional, Remote Recover, Monitoring Tools and TCPView Professional.

Aelita got an even bigger jump on the release of Windows Server 2003, announcing four months before Windows Server 2003 launched that it would support the new OS across its product line. The quick support commitment was not surprising, given that a large part of Aelita's business is not utilities but migration tools, which must be ready earlier in the product release cycle than day-to-day server administration tools.

Nonetheless, Aelita's support commitment for pre-release code of Windows Server 2003 extended to Aelita's ERDisk for Active Directory and ERDisk for Windows. The company quickly acquired certifications for both products on Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition in June.

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Disk Quota Management

No products in the disk quota management space are certified yet, but two vendors have rolled out support for Windows Server 2003.

Storage software giant Veritas Software now owns the oft-traded StorageCentral disk quota management software. Originally developed by W.Quinn, the technology was acquired by Precise, which was bought a few years later by Veritas. That deal closed earlier this year.

In October, Veritas released Veritas StorageCentral 5.2. The point release adds support for both Windows Server 2003 and Windows Storage Server 2003, a new version of Windows formerly known as Windows Powered NAS and still targeted at large storage devices.

NTP Software, which also offers storage management software, delivered support for quota management in Windows Server 2003 in July with the release of NTP Software Quota & File Sentinel 5.0.

Mobile and Remote Administration

While the quota management market is quiet when it comes to Windows Server 2003 certification, the mobile and remote administration tools market has an active vendor.

Sonic Mobility sells a utility called sonicadmin that allows system administrators to perform complete server and network management tasks from a Pocket PC or BlackBerry handheld device. Sonic Mobility earned Windows Server 2003 certification for sonicadmin 2.8 earlier this year. The company released a newer version, sonicadmin 3.0, in August.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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