The larger a network becomes, the harder it is to manage. While newer operating systems incorporate features that make network management easier, there are numerous tools that can streamline the process even further. CRN Test Center engineers tested two products designed to give network administrators the upper hand when managing large networks: NetIQ's Security Administration Suite 5.0 and Sunbelt Software's ServerVision.
NETIQ SECURITY ADMINISTRATION SUITE 5.0 Operating systems use directory services to store information about software applications, files, printers and employees. Microsoft's Windows Active Directory integrates management tasks such as automatic software installation and increases security and system interoperability. Even with Active Directory built into the operating system, however, a lot of overhead is still involved in network management.
MARC SPIWAK Technical Editor
NetIQ's new Security Administration Suite version 5.0 integrates smoothly with Active Directory and makes it easier to use. The package starts at $2,400 for a 100-user license and consists of three main components: Directory and Resource Administrator (DRA) 7.0, Directory Security Administrator (DSA) 2.0 and Group Policy Administrator (GPA) 4.0.
DRA 7.0 automates the time-consuming and repetitive tasks involved in provisioning users and groups and granting or denying user permissions. DRA's intuitive interface makes it easy to add new groups and users by cloning the rights of others.
DSA 2.0 helps administer security policies in Microsoft Active Directory through advanced permissions management, and has not been updated from previous versions. DSA manages Active Directory's Access Control List using role-based security functionality. A graphic interface lets administrators search, audit, analyze and modify security policies.
Once a policy is modified using DSA 2.0, GPA 4.0 provides a safe, offline environment where administrators can simulate new policies to gauge the effects of policy changes on network security and performance before making them live. This capability helps minimize downtime from improper configurations. GPA supports Microsoft's Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) backup and reporting formats. The tool can also audit security policies to identify any changes made by comparing the present settings to past reports.
NetIQ's Authorized Reseller Program was launched in January 2002 and consists of Premier, Select and Associate partner levels. Placement and benefits in the multitiered program are based on revenue performance, solution expertise, certification training and support level.
All partners have access to the NetIQ Partner Web site, Channel Help Desk team, listing on the NetIQ partner locator, new product launch kits and other sales support materials. Typical margins average between 12 percent and 15 percent.
SUNBELT SOFTWARE SERVERVISION ServerVision enables network administrators to monitor the status of a network and its distributed servers. The software can track CPU capacity, memory or hard-disk space, as well as any important warnings or errors in the event logs. It can also reveal performance bottlenecks, ensure that appropriate services are running, and alert administrators of new security patches.
ServerVision costs $245 per server with sliding-scale volume discounts.
ServerVision can perform performance-trend analysis based on data gathered over varying time intervals ranging from 10 seconds to several months. Service availability monitoring ensures that vital services are running and can automatically restart any services that have failed. ServerVision is accessed via a Web-based interface or from a Microsoft Management Console snap-in. The Web-based interface can be customized for a specific look and feel or to integrate with other software.
While ServerVision provides in-depth network status information, the software also offers color-coded Status Summaries for at-a-glance status reports. Three states (normal, warning and error) are easily identified by color, and the warning- and critical-level thresholds can be defined by users. ServerVision monitors all system logs and can alert an administrator via e-mail or a telephone page if anything unusual occurs. It also monitors for Windows security updates at set intervals and will notify administrators by e-mail of any required patches. ServerVision can also back up critical databases to a remote FTP server at scheduled intervals.
Sunbelt Software's single-level channel program provides an average solution provider margin of 20 percent. Partners receive presales and post-sales support. White papers, screen shots, promotional one-sheets and more are downloadable from the vendor's solution provider Web site. A dedicated technical support line is available to partners from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST.
CHANNEL PROGRAM SNAPSHOTS > SERVERVISION COMPANY: Sunbelt Software Clearwater, Fla. (800) 688-8457 www.sunbelt-software.com DISTRIBUTORS: ASAP, Software House International, Software Spectrum TECH RATING: CHANNEL RATING:
Note: Vendors can earn up to five stars for technical merit and five for their channel program. If the average of these two scores is four stars or greater, the product earns CRN Test Center Recommended status.
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