What's Coming to TechEd 2012: Third-Party Tales

Microsoft partners reveal plans to showcase their wares at the annual gathering of IT pros and developers.

Third parties are the lifeblood of the Windows market. In addition to hundreds of sessions that Microsoft will hold at this year's TechEd North America 2012 conference, more than 200 partners will showcase tools aimed at IT pros who are building, managing and maintaining infrastructure that runs on the Windows platform. Here's a roundup of what 16 partners told us they will showcase at TechEd.

Centrify Extends Mobile Wares
Centrify Corp. is a pretty cool company. Its DirectControl tools can manage Unix, Linux and even Apple Macintosh computers using tried-and-true Active Directory. This way Windows IT vets can use all their knowledge to integrate and control heterogeneous machines. Microsoft, by the way, loves this because it puts Windows in the driver's seat.

At TechEd Centrify will show off the recently unveiled DirectControl for Mobile, and will do a live demo for the first time. This cloud-based service taps Active Directory to manage tablets and smartphones. The tool uses "automated self-enrollment" so IT doesn't have to add infrastructure, learn a new console or reconfigure the firewall.

In the mobile space, Centrify Express for Mobile is described by the company as "the industry's first and only free mobile security offering with no limit on the number of devices that can be supported, which also leverages Microsoft Active Directory."

Finally, Centrify plans to demo DirectAudit for Windows, a compliance reporting tool that captures what systems users access, how they change files and system configurations, and what commands they use. The tool can also monitor for suspicious activity and play back actions to hunt for what's causing problems.

Diskeeper Takes on Condusiv Name
Recently a group of Redmond magazine editors interviewed Jerry Baldwin, who took over as Diskeeper as CEO about a year ago. Where Diskeeper is very much a California company, Baldwin is very much a New York born-and-bred kind of guy.

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Diskeeper displays alerts and prevented fragments.

Baldwin looked around and saw a company that hadn't changed much in recent years -- perhaps even decades. Though highly successful, it wasn't anywhere near realizing its full potential. So Baldwin went through the company (which I always thought was terrific; it won the Redmond Readers Choice awards as many times as any company) and reorganized each department.

He also looked at the company's mission. Diskeeper, formerly Executive Software, named itself after its main product, a hard drive defragger for PCs and servers. Baldwin saw more, and redirected the company's mission toward IT operational efficiency and hardware longevity.

To match the new mission is a new name: Condusiv Technologies Corp. While that will take some getting used to, I'm looking forward to seeing what new areas Baldwin addresses. To show there's much more to life than defrag, Condusiv just announced a new version of Undelete for file recovery. This version is supposed to be easier to use, with less IT skill needed, and it can restore multiple versions. If I lose a Word file (and who hasn't), I can recover the exact version I really want to recover. Of course, Word itself should do that, but it clearly doesn't. In addition to showing off Undelete 11, Condusiv will demo Diskeeper V-Locity 3 for virtual environments. And, perhaps most important, Condusiv is trying to get IT pros used to its new name!

F5 to Focus on Exchange and Cloud
F5 Networks Inc. will be quite busy at the show. It will emphasize, among other things, keeping Microsoft Exchange Server secure. F5 can secure Exchange when users get to it through Web protocols. The F5 firewall is a network- and application-layer firewall and is ICSA certified. It uses two-factor authentication and Kerberos certificates on the client.

F5 will also focus on the Microsoft cloud. The company has been working with Microsoft on a "virtualized network architecture to enable more agile cloud deployments, making it easier to manage application workloads across traditional network and datacenter boundaries using F5 BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager and Windows Server 2012 beta Hyper-V Network Virtualization." The idea is to transfer virtual machines (VMs) from on-premises to hosted datacenters while keeping the IP addresses intact.

Through integration with F5 BIG-IP products, F5 is also supporting private clouds managed by System Center 2012.

Flexera Targets Corporate Apps
Flexera Software LLC, formerly known as InstallShield (the company has had many names), will be showing off InstallShield and AdminStudio. InstallShield is aimed mostly at ISVs, and is responsible for the screens we're all familiar with when installing commercial apps. AdminStudio is more appropriate for corporate apps, and creates Microsoft Installers. The company will also show off App Portal in the Microsoft Partner Pavilion. App Portal lets shops build their own app store to provide on-demand provisioning, particularly for line-of-business (LOB) apps.

Flexera will also showcase InstallShield 2012 Spring. Launched last month, it provides database-scripting capabilities for Microsoft SQL Azure, allowing for hybrid cloud deployment of apps.

GFI Showcases Layered Security
Ever-growing software company GFI Software, which bought Sunbelt Software about two years ago, is showcasing its layered security at TechEd. There are four components in its solution. First is antivirus, which for GFI means VIPRE, a product line that came with the Sunbelt acquisition. VIPRE is different from most antivirus and anti-malware products, which seem to get larger with each edition -- VIPRE is designed to be lean and mean. It's the Porsche, rather than the Escalade, of the security software world.

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VIPRE provides a holistic view of performance and threats.

The second piece is GFI LANGuard, which offers patch management and network security. It can audit a network and software in real-time, and run more than 45,000 vulnerability assessments across all a network's endpoints.

Next up is GFI MailEssentials, which protects e-mail whether it resides in the cloud or on-premises. The tool reports on its findings, filters content and user-based attachments (in a granular way), and detects Trojans and e-mail exploits.

Last is GFI WebMonitor, which tracks Internet usage and provides Web security. To keep the network running smoothly and maintain productivity, WebMonitor can control how much time is spent browsing and how much bandwidth is consumed. It also includes anti-phishing and antivirus tools, and can control IM clients and file downloads. Finally, WebMonitor can monitor search engines, filter URLs and do Web site categorization.

Idera Emphasizes Backup
At TechEd, Idera Inc. plans to announce a free backup solution for the Microsoft SQL Azure service that's set to ship sometime this month. The company will also tout a full range of Windows PowerShell, SharePoint, SQL Server, Windows management, backup and recovery and security tools.

The company will launch Idera SharePoint Audit and SharePoint Enterprise Manager, which work together to offer security, compliance and governance; Idera SharePoint Encrypt, which encrypts content and then controls access to the encrypted documents; SQL Safe Backup, which the company says can recover production databases and bring them back online in minutes; and R1Soft Continuous Data Protection (CDP) 4.0, a backup and recovery tool that works with the cloud. The company says R1Soft CDP, a disk-based tool, already backs up more than a quarter-million Windows and Linux servers.

IVO Networks to Launch ASAFE
IVO Networks Inc. is working closely with Microsoft on security, particularly for late-model Windows clients such as Windows 7 (and, soon enough, Windows 8). One of the company's top performers is the DirectAccess Concentrator datacenter hardware appliance for Windows 7 DirectAccess clients, a tool used by the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Department of Defense.

At TechEd, IVO will announce Always Store and Forward Encrypted (ASAFE), an app for real-time monitoring and management of DirectAccess and BitLocker client deployments. According to company CEO Joe O'Brien, the app "gives organizations the ability to ensure and have confidence that they're always encrypting client PC information while it's stored locally on PC hard drives, and while the client information and data is being forwarded across all types of private and public networks from the client PC."

Also set for a TechEd debut is the Network Virtualization using Generic Route Encapsulation (NVGRE) hardware appliance. "[NVGRE] provides a cloud cross-premises connectivity solution that can securely connect datacenters or private clouds with a public cloud to create a hybrid cloud," O'Brien says.

MVP Systems Kicks off JAMS 6.0
MVP Systems Software Inc. will launch its JAMS Job Scheduler Version 6.0 at TechEd. "In addition to new features, this version of JAMS will bring a powerful set of tools to the emerging dev-ops professional and the SaaS [Software as a Service]-enabled IT environment," says MVP Marketing VP David Kluskiewicz. "Recognizing the growing importance of integration between software development and IT operations, MVP has enhanced JAMS with powerful connections to the agile IT infrastructure of today's leading-edge companies. MVP has also built the necessary components to support JAMS as a service for those customers who demand the flexibility of a SaaS solution."

The product features "intelligent grouping," which lets users manage and organize a number of jobs on multiple systems and contain them in a central index. MVP Systems will also showcase Rapid Database Deployment. With the new release, the SQL Server database behind JAMS 6.0 will now deploy faster. Plus, "JAMS 6.0 will have the ability to push its SQL installation directly to cloud servers," Kluskiewicz says.

The company says Microsoft SQL Server 2012 will now serve as the default database for JAMS 6.0. The product also supports dynamic logging for Unix and Linux machines, and "provisioning, starting and stopping VMs will all be part of the native functionality in JAMS," Kluskiewicz explains. "JAMS 6.0 will also support VMware's more than 200 Windows PowerShell cmdlets for managing virtual machines."

NetWrix Updates Change Reporter Suite
IT infrastructure auditing and change auditing specialist NetWrix Corp. plans to show its recently updated Change Reporter Suite at TechEd. The suite tracks key changes made to IT infrastructure, such as changes to the virtual infrastructure, file servers, Active Directory and Exchange. This type of tracking is critical to compliance and maintaining a secure IT environment, the company believes.

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NetWrix Change Reporter helps IT ensure compliance.

The company updated a key component of NetWrix Change Reporter Suite 2.1.20 with the addition of NetWrix File Server Change Reporter 3.3.231. Updates include new reports, support for EMC VNX/VNXe file storage systems, and failover clusters. The suite can be sold on an a la carte basis and includes modules in areas such as NetApp, Active Directory, VMs, EMC storage, Group Policy, network infrastructure, SQL Server, SharePoint and VMware.

Parker Software Revs Email2DB
U.K.-based Parker Software will make its TechEd debut by showcasing the most recent rev of Email2DB. The tool -- used by customers that include Cisco Systems Inc., the British Broadcasting Corp., Xerox Corp. and NASA -- is a message parser and message automation server, and can also act as an e-mail server.

Here's one cool use: You and your organization have hundreds, make that thousands, make that hundreds of thousands of e-mail contacts. How would you like to turn those into a database? Email2DB can take these messages -- as well as RSS, Twitter feeds and Web pages -- extract the relevant information, and create a database or update an existing one.

The tool also has options to integrate with Dropbox, Windows Azure, Office 365, Facebook, Twitter and SharePoint. The company will introduce a new rev, version 3, which is more scalable, has more integration options and can monitor social networks.

Quest Plans Some Sneak Peeks
Quest Software Inc. is pulling out all the stops, announcing new wares and showing off some stuff that's not quite ready for prime time.

On the Windows Server management side, the company will be talking about supporting Windows Server 2012 and migrations to Office 365. Quest is announcing two tools for managing Office 365. Recovery Manager for Exchange and Discovery Edition "supports Office 365 e-mail discovery across hybrid deployments and helps address concerns around e-discovery for litigation or compliance from the cloud, in particular the lack of access to data," the company says. Quest is also pre-announcing MessageStats 7.0 Business Insights, set to ship in late July. This is a messaging and unified communications tool "that provides essential intelligence on messaging environments through both aggregated and detailed real-time data," the company explains. The new version is designed to increase operational efficiency and meet Service-Level Agreement terms for hybrid Office 365 installs and on-premises environments.

Additionally, Quest will announce a beta version of Security Explorer 9.0, a Windows network security tool that, according to the company, "will allow customers to add, remove, modify, backup and restore permissions that include new types of permissions not supported currently by native tools."

Rackspace Takes SharePoint for a Spin
Rackspace US Inc. is using TechEd to talk about SharePoint, SharePoint and more SharePoint. The big cloud and hosting provider has long been in the SharePoint space and bolstered its position by acquiring SharePoint911 earlier this year. SharePoint911 was a consulting firm run by Shane Young that provided custom development, user adoption and architectural design; at the time of acquisition in February, it had 16 employees. Young, now a Rackspace employee, sees SharePoint jumping off the shelf. "I can't name a company that doesn't use SharePoint in some capacity," he says, adding that SharePoint is more and more becoming a platform that third parties are building upon.

On the hosting side, Rackspace offers SharePoint Foundation, which is designed for less-demanding installations or ad hoc users. It can be used for small projects and offers "basic collaboration and content-management capabilities such as team sites, document libraries, blogs, wikis, task and project lists, calendars, contact lists and forms libraries," the company says.

While it does refer some smaller customers to Microsoft Office 365, Rackspace believes that service has limitations. According to Jeff DeVerter, a SharePoint architect at Rackspace, the company suggests its own dedicated SharePoint hosting to those that need business intelligence and other high-end features.

Sherpa Reports and Attends
Sherpa Software has a few new treats to share at TechEd. One product, about a month old, is Report Attender, which the company says "helps end users analyze, make decisions and answer questions by categorizing files and messages from network shares and e-mail stores." This sifted and distilled information can be presented in charts or summary reports.

Keeping with the theme are two more Attender products the company intends to show off. One is Archive Attender 4, an Exchange archiving tool that copies or moves PST files or mailboxes to whatever storage device an IT pro chooses. The other is Mail Attender 4.7, aimed at shops that have PST files spread across an array of workstations. The tool places agents on the desktops that can find and then help manage that PST data. New features in Mail Attender 4.7 include PST de-duplication and being able to "assign an online archive as a transfer destination," the company says.

SolarWinds Lets SAM Shine
SolarWinds Inc., a 13-year-old IT management company, is highlighting its Server & Application Monitor (SAM) tool. SAM manages hardware such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Inc. servers, as well as IBM System x systems. On the software side it manages Java apps as well as Exchange and Active Directory.

SAM also has built-in expertise. Its software helps tell IT "what to monitor, why to monitor it, and optimal thresholds," the company explains.

SolarWinds customer Jed Krisch -- an employee at the Carilion Clinic, a health care concern in Virginia -- will be spending time at the TechEd booth talking about his use of SolarWinds software. Carilion replaced Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) with SolarWinds SAM. What prompted the change? SCOM agents often failed, and Carilion could never get SCOM to completely cover the organization's x86-based server infrastructure.

Unhappy, Krisch tried a free SAM demo and was sold. Now SAM manages Active Directory, Exchange, Citrix and BlackBerry devices, and integrates with other Carilion management tools.

Stealthbits Prepares for New Windows
Like many customers, vendors and Microsoft itself, Stealthbits Technologies Inc. is getting ready for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012. Stealthbits is gearing up its line to help customers lay down a proper foundation for migration. "The Windows Server [2012] Dynamic Access Control offers Microsoft users substantial gains in security and access control in comparison with previous and alternative operating systems," a company spokesperson says. "However, organizations will first need to perform a variety of critical tasks to reap the benefits, such as cleaning up Active Directory, the file system and other data repositories; analyzing security group memberships and usage; optimizing and populating key Active Directory attributes; identifying effective access rights across the entire Microsoft environment; and monitoring any changes that occur within these environments with authority. Stealthbits' visibility across the Microsoft computing platform will aid greatly in enabling Microsoft customers to migrate to the new OS cleanly and efficiently."

The company is also announcing StealthNews for Active Directory, "a Web-based console that enables organizations to perform tests on each of their domain controllers and analyze them to determine if there are any problems or configuration challenges," the company says.

Finally, Stealthbits plans to offer a sneak peek at a data-loss-prevention product, which will be announced in late June. According to the spokesperson, "The new tool will streamline the process of getting more visibility around the risk of data-at-rest and identifying critical remediation."

Veeam Touts Ties with Microsoft
Redmond spoke with Ryan Hulse, product marketing manager at Veeam Software, and boy did he have a lot on his plate. If you don't know Veeam, it's a relatively young company focused on virtualization. Initially a close VMware partner (when VMware had the only game in town for server virtualization), Veeam is now getting cozy with Microsoft. "Our relationship with Microsoft continues to grow in 2012," Hulse says.

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Veeam ONE version 6 tracks VMware infrastructure and provides alarms.

Veeam is largely focused on management and storage for virtual environments. At TechEd Veeam will showcase Veeam Backup & Replication 6.1, which should be released just in time for the show. "Version 6.1 will extend our vPower technology to Hyper-V. This means Hyper-V administrators will be able to quickly bring up VMs from backup storage, without actually modifying their backup files or waiting for the data to restore to production storage," Hulse explains. "Instant VM Recovery significantly reduces recovery time and is perfect for situations where you need to get a VM back up and running quickly."

The company says the new release is also more scalable. "In version 6.0 we introduced a distributed architecture that made it easy to scale out the backup environment using lightweight backup proxies with automatic load balancing across proxies," Hulse says. "In 6.1, the load balancing gets even more intelligent, providing a better overall distribution of backup jobs across proxies."


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