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Microsoft Pumps Out the Server Goodies

Microsoft is talking up a number of goodies for server infrastructure customers this month. They include a new version of the Exchange Best Practices Analyzer Tool, new customer guidance on isolating servers and domains for security and a new version of the iSCSI Software Initiator.

Additionally, Microsoft announced licensing and partnering agreements with Symbian, AppSense, Aruba and Bluesocket that should yield future interoperability dividends for customers.

The Exchange Best Practices Analyzer is a tool to help administrators identify and resolve configuration problems in the messaging server. First released in September, Microsoft says there have been 200,000 downloads so far of ExBPA. Version 2.0 brings full support for Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 and adds eight language versions. The download is available here.

Server and domain isolation is the theme of new Microsoft customer guidance designed to help with one element of a defense in-depth strategy. The resource, available here, is called "Server and Domain Isolation using IPsec and Group Policy." In creating the resource, Microsoft drew on its own experience isolating more than 200,000 devices and machines on its own worldwide network from untrusted machines.

The company is also releasing to manufacturing the 2.0 version of the Microsoft Internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI) Software Initiator. Additions to the 2.0 version include integration with Microsoft Multi-Path I/O (MPIO), support for all error recovery levels and support for Windows Server x64 editions. Vendors who have qualified iSCSI products against the 2.0 release include Adaptec, Broadcom Corp., Crossroads, Cisco, EqualLogic, EMC, Falconstor, HP, Intel, Intransa, Lefthand Networks, Network Appliance, Promise Technology, QLogic, SpectraLogic, SANrad, Stonefly Networks and String Bean Software. The Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator 2.0 is supposed to be generally available in mid-April.

In the longer term as far as direct customer benefit, Microsoft and Symbian announced a licensing agreement. Symbian is licensing the Exchange Server ActiveSynch protocol, allowing its wireless customers to directly synchronize with Exchange Server 2003 for e-mail, calendar and contacts.

On the network quarantining front, Microsoft is expanding its list of industry partners. Microsoft took a major step last year by revamping its quarantining roadmap in order to work more closely with networking heavyweight Cisco and therefore create a solution much more likely to gain critical mass. This month, Microsoft got support from partners AppSense, Aruba and Bluesocket to broaden the reach of Microsoft's Network Access Protection technologies. AppSense Application Manager protects against unauthorized applications and malware. Aruba provides wireless intrusion protection, user mobility and bandwidth management. Bluesocket appliances secure and manage WLANs or provide intrusion protection via distributed sensors.

About the Author

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

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