Channel Group Test Center engineers identify 20 products helping solution providers drive sales in the sizzling midmarket space
The midmarket is often the neglected middle child. Vendors roll out new products and offer attractive programs to entice small business buyers. Or the eldest—the enterprise—gets all the attention and specialized products and incentives. A midmarket organization, on the other hand, has to look for products that fit its needs. Enterprise products are often too big, expensive, and complicated; SMB solutions can be too small and simply not up to the task.
But midsize companies represent a hot market, one in which solution providers are finding more and more opportunities. So, the Channel Group Test Center embarked on a special quest. Over the space of several weeks, we sifted through products in a variety of categories in search of solutions VARs can help use to drive their midmarket business.
The categories included Software Development Platforms, Business Software, Data and Network Security, Data Center Products, Storage and Disaster Recovery, Network Management and Networking. At the end of our search, we created a list of 20 products that would benefit solution providers serving the midmarket. More importantly, engineers decided these were the products the midmarket should already be thinking about.
Software Development Platforms
Adobe LiveCycle ES 8.0
adobe.com, Price: Starts at $40,000 per CPU
LiveCycle ES blends Flash and PDF technologies, including the forthcoming Adobe Integrated Runtime, which combines Ajax, Flash and various client-side technologies to run RIAs on the desktop, outside of a browser. Form-driven wizards make it easier for business analysts to present information in dynamic dashboards. LiveCycle takes advantage of Flash's ability to present information in realtime, just like in a desktop application. While most Ajax-based code can perform auto-refreshes, Flash applications simply blow them away in performance and graphics quality. Adobe is targeting LiveCycle at the financial services, government, manufacturing and life sciences markets and is especially interested in companies that do a lot of paper business internally and with outside partners and suppliers. Solution partners can work with companies to transform these paper processes into PDF forms that can run as LiveCycle business processes.
Altova XMLSpy Suite 2008
altova.com, Price: MapForce Enterprise is $999, Professional is $499
Accessing multiple databases from XMLSpy 2008 is now easier than ever with this software suite. It arrives with a new database query Window that has drag and drop SQL statement capabilities. The SQL creation features help developers work with SQL-specific syntax for different databases. The query tool supports SQL syntax correction and XQuery. It also integrates with IBM DB2 pureXML version 9. The database query Windows arrives with features that work with DB2 pureXML. By querying XML data in DB2 9.0, developers can open up XML documents in XMLSpy. All of the tools available in XMLSpy can work with DB2. XMLSpy can also register schemas inside a DB2 database. The 2008 suite can build complete XML solutions. For instance, with the help of XMLSpy, StyleVision and MapForce, developers can link to a relational database and store records in external XML files while transforming the output into different Web file formats.
ComponentOne, ComponentOne Suite (code name Sapphire)
componentone.com, Price: Not available
With Sapphire, solution providers can build data-aware UIs by dragging and dropping controls and manipulating properties, all without coding. ComponentOne is on track to release new Silverlight 1.1-based components in its suite early next year. The company is closely following Microsoft's Silverlight 1.1 development scheduled for the second quarter of 2008. Silverlight is Microsoft's silver bullet for running rich Internet applications on heterogeneous environments. Like Adobe Flash, the Silverlight plug-in runs on Linux, Mac and Windows, including on multiple browsers. ComponentOne chose to build new components with Silverlight 1.1 rather than the older 1.0 due to the limitations on interactivity in the current version. The new ComponentOne Studio will fill in the gaps that Microsoft will not be supporting in its 1.1 release. ComponentOne will support Microsoft's Designer Studio paradigm, whereby developers will be able to use XAML-based animated components based on graphics created by designers. As part of its toolset, ComponentOne plans to include wizards to generate controls.
Digipede Technologies Digipede Network 2.0
digipede.net, Price: Professional Edition starts at $4,000 per year
Need grid computing on .Net? You don't have to look any further than Digipede. Just a few weeks ago, Digipede made its second major release of its Network grid server. The grid server complements Microsoft's Compute Cluster Server, so developers can ramp up computing power by combining the two. In this release, Digipede is listening to developers in a big way by providing an SDK that works with Visual Studio 2005. The SDK comes with a debugging package for distributed applications and provides tighter control over code, threads and processes, and application configuration. Digipede uses a highly optimized and scalable computing paradigm, so it can boost the performance of transaction-based applications that use asynchronous SOA components and even message-based architectures. Neither clustering nor virtualization is nearly as efficient. Network 2.0 supports Active Directory and Windows Authentication.
OpenSpan, OpenSpan suite
openspan.com, Price: Not available
The OpenSpan suite is the only enterprise middleware on the market that addresses software integration of desktop applications. Essentially, the OpenSpan suite can generate integration code that connects desktop applications. Sadly, the No. 1 integration technique on the desktop today is still copy and paste. OpenSpan is taking advantage of the lack of interest by enterprise vendors in solving this problem. Portal technologies are also quite inadequate for solving integration of desktop applications. The company views desktop applications as end points that can be integrated. OpenSpan can insert itself inside an application running on a desktop and detect all of its objects. Once detected, OpenSpan can manage of all the objects as if it were the original author of that application. The software has full control of buttons, text inputs and menu items. OpenSpan can interact with the objects and can even change interaction properties such as hide them or block its usage. With OpenSpan Studio, developers can combine Java, Windows, green screen, mainframe, DHTML and many more executable formats into a single desktop application. No other product on the market can do this.
Next: Business Software
Symantec (Altiris) Software Virtualization Solution
symantec.com, Price: SVS 2.1 Pro MSRP is $55 per node
The Symantec SVS software is one of the most powerful desktop virtualization solutions on the market. SVS not only manages execution but also provides remote control, realtime application streaming and application reset. SVS creates a layer on a desktop hard drive to execute code and uses the Windows Registry to manage settings. The software works like a mini virtualization server, except that it does not virtualize any hardware layer. SVS also does not virtualize device drivers for hardware components and PC subsystems, so it is not yet functional as a true virtual silo for applications. For most enterprise applications, SVS works well and does not hog too much CPU and memory.
Symantec (Altiris) Total Management Solution
symantec.com, Price: $203.50 per node, minimum requirement of 200 nodes
Altiris Total Management Suite software from Symantec is a suite of several IT life-cycle automation solutions. The suite combines the various Altiris products into a single accessible solution. Designed to help IT organizations manage, secure and support their assets, this comprehensive suite can identify ways to reduce operational costs and increase operational efficiencies. Total Management Suite includes the Service and Asset Management Suite software, which combines service and IT asset management into a single, unified CMDB and asset repository. The Client Management Suite provides remote access for deploying, managing, and troubleshooting systems. The Server Management software manages business-critical servers and operations. The Application Management Solution software ensures that applications are in compliance, and the Application Metering Solution deals with software licensing. Asset Control tracks fixed assets. There's even a bar-code solution that can be used with Asset Control. SecurityExpressions offers security configuration policy compliance. There are solutions for automation, third-party integration, incident management, patch discovery and distribution, and application delivery. It covers every aspect of the IT life cycle.
Tableau, Tableau Professional Software
tableausoftware.com, Price: $1,799
Tableau 3.0 is the easiest tool for business intelligence on the desktop. The company is also offering a new Tableau Server product in early November. The Tableau Server competes with products from Business Objects, Cognos and MicroStrategy. Tableau Server is offered with a Web portal, which connects its dashboard views directly from the Tableau engine and its worksheets. The portal has zero footprint on a Web browser, so users do not have to add any special plug-ins. Tableau 3.0 has the ability to create new dashboards without forcing users to write custom code. The new dashboards are fully configurable and are just as interactive as the desktop views. The dashboards not only enable monitoring of information but also provide complete analytical capabilities, including full drill -owns, filtering, sliding and zooming. Tableau dashboards present live data, so it is highly dynamic.
Adtran NetVanta 7100
adtran.com, Price: $5,195
The "network in a box" is an all-in-one converged IP-PBX solution from telephony vendor Adtran. The Adtran NetVanta 7100 is a 24-port LAN Switch with a multitude of features, including Power-over-Ethernet capability, a robust IP router, built-in firewall, support for VPN, DHCP, FTP, 802.1Q VLANs and 802.1p Class of Service, and Gigabit uplinks. The NetVanta 7100 also has built-in IP-PBX functionality, voicemail using a CompactFlash memory card, auto-attendant and an SIP gateway. NetVanta supports analog, T1, PRI and ADSL interfaces. The box has two analog trunks and two analog extensions for analog devices and emergency backup. Since the Adtran 7100 doesn't convert packets of analog signals into the IP backplane or use Analog Terminal Adaptors, there aren't any complications typically associated with digital-to-analog conversions. The Adtran NetVanta 7100 provides full 15.4W of PoE power to all 24 ports without any budgeting, so any number of devices can be plugged in for power.
Extricom Interference-Free EXWO-404 WLAN Switch
extricom.com, Price: $4,320
The WLAN enterprise solution from Extricom helps "cut the cord"—moving everyone onto a wireless network—without compromising performance, reliability and security. Extricom's system supports triple-play and other services, such as voice, data, location-based services, and video on a WLAN. The switch puts all the access points on the same channel, using the same frequency, to create a continuous blanket of coverage. This way, there is seamless mobility with no handoff latency, no co-channel interference, and robust connections similar to what is found in a wired network. Extricom Interference-Free EXWO-404 WLAN Switch works only with the company's own access points. The UltraThin devices contain no software or storage and are managed centrally by the switch. It handles centralized packet-by-packet processing and decides which access point to use based on realtime conditions whenever a packet is sent.
SonicWall TZ 190 Wireless
sonicwall.com, Price: $995
Organizations can establish secure 3G wireless broadband networks with SonicWall TZ 190 Wireless. Its small size notwithstanding, this box has some advanced networking and security capabilities. On top of 802.11g WLAN capability, it has dual WAN ports, wireless WAN capability, firewall and unified threat management security functionality, VoIP configuration options and eight LAN ports. The second WAN port can be configured as a LAN or DMZ port. This SonicWall product can be used in kiosks, mobile point-of-sale stations and portable ATM machines. As a multilayered network security platform, TZ 190 Wireless integrates Type II PC Card-based 3G wireless broadband support, hardware accelerated IPSec VPN, automated failover/failback technologies, and a deep packet inspection firewall. For Internet and internal network security, there are built-in security features such as realtime gateway antivirus, intrusion prevention and antispam capabilities, and antispyware tools. The TZ 190 can also play a role in disaster recovery.
Data and Network Security
Code Green CI-1500
codegreennetworks.com, Price: Depends on the number of users, about $50,000 for 1,000 users
Code Green Networks addresses concerns over data leaks with its CI-1500 appliance. Able to monitor and protect data in more than 390 file formats, including Microsoft Office documents and images, CI-1500 blocks any outgoing traffic that violates corporate policy. The price of the appliance depends on the number of users on the system, with a 1,000-user-setup costing $50,000. The appliance sits at the customer's Internet gateway and analyzes all structured and unstructured outgoing network traffic. Once a data leak attempt is detected, the antidata-leakage solution implements automated policies to prevent them from succeeding. The resulting action may be as simple as presenting an error message to the user, to notifying the compliance officer of the breach. A policy can also specify that all e-mail messages be encrypted. The system enforces policies in all of the most widely used TCP protocols including SMTP, FTP, HTTP and Web mail.
Juniper Unified Access Control 2.0
juniper.com, Price: Infranet Controller 4000 starts at $10,000
Juniper's UAC appliance is a NAC in a box. Under the hood, the UAC appliance is running the Infranet software, which communicates and controls all end points. The UAC appliance uses an 802.1X client to enforce network access and security through switches and wireless access points. The Infranet software provides seamless communication and control of 802.1X client agents. By accessing a network, Infranet verifies policy rights and validates authentication while it assesses the clients for compliance. If a client does not meet compliance, the UAC appliance will quarantine on a VLAN designed just for assessments, and clean it using virus scanning tools. Wireless access points follow the same procedures. Along with the Juniper UAC appliance, solution providers can create many different VLAN configurations to accommodate various end-user requirements. In addition, the UAC appliance can be used as an authentication portal to accept guest users coming from outside a network.
Marshal EndPoint Security
marshal.com, Price: Starts at $40 per user, $8 for one-year maintenance for a 25-user pack
When it comes to meeting regulatory compliance of external access points and portable storage devices, Marshal's EndPoint Security will exceed solution providers' expectations. The EndPoint Security software provides a multilayered approach to protect network environments from files downloaded and shared from USB and FireWire storage devices. In addition, EndPoint scans and secures media from other peripherals such as DVD drives, wireless and Bluetooth devices, including legacy devices that use COM and LPT ports. The software does not ignore any point of entry to a network through a workstation or mobile computer. Marshal has done a great job of simplifying the EndPoint administration features. A simple set of wizards help solution providers create a comprehensive auditing process in minutes.
Next: Network Management
Exinda 4800 WAN Optimization Solutions
exinda.com, Price: Varies with throughput; $19,040.95 for 20 Mbps
As more and more mission-critical applications, such as voice, move on to IP networks, products like Exinda's 4800 WAN optimization and application acceleration solution become a necessity. Exinda's solution monitors and reports on the network, while optimizing and accelerating applications for best performance. The appliance is optimal for midsize enterprises with 10 to 50 networked sites and approximately 600 employees. Ideal for branch/head office deployment, it generates reports on key applications, performance statistics and resource utilization. Top URLs and hosts can also be tracked. The historical data can be used for statistical analysis for capacity planning. One way to improve performance is to increase bandwidth. The box increases virtual bandwidth while decreasing latency and stabilizing jitter on existing infrastructure. Exinda's Unified Performance Management integrates network optimization and application acceleration technology on a single platform.
Network Physics NP-500
networkphysics.com, Price: $17,495
NetSensory NP-500 network application management appliance from Network Physics identifies and isolates security problems across large and complex networks. There are many reasons for poor performance—this appliance can help pin down the cause, regardless of whether it's the application, the network, a server, other network devices, or acceleration tools. The appliance can be installed as a stand-alone device or as part of a larger NetSensory management deployment. Once in place, the NP-500 can monitor two different sources at once and network traffic at speeds of up to 20 Mbps. The software bundled with the NP-500 offers realtime summaries, can drill down into captured data and generate graphs.