A Web of new releases

The Internet is an old friend by now, but Internet-related technologies continue to improve and companies continue to churn out new products

for users at all points along the spectrum, from end users to network managers to Web hosts.

CryptoCard officials have launched Crypto-Server 6.2, an authentication system for Apache Software Foundation Web servers. The two-factor system authenticates user identities by combining a physical tool, such as a smart card or a hardware token, and a personal identification number.

Company officials said they targeted Apache servers because an estimated 75 percent of the world's Web hosts use them.

CRYPTO-Server 6.2 will ship for the Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS X server operating systems in the next few weeks, company officials said. They plan to sell a five-user bundle for $499, and a Linux version is due shortly after the initial release.

The system has a Web browser-based administrative interface, so network managers can easily support any number of servers via an administrative computer.

The system can be used to eliminate password sharing so that authorized users of a Web-based service can't allow others to use their passwords. It can also make it easier for officials to restrict specific parts of organizations' Web sites and authenticate virtual private network users, according to CryptoCard officials.

Akonix Systems officials have launched Akonix L7 Enterprise Version 4.0, an instant messaging gateway that allows an agency's information technology staff to control enterprise IM systems and public IM networks.

The system serves as a proxy for external IM traffic and enforces an organization's rules regarding access and use. It can stop IM-borne viruses, and it monitors and logs all IM conversations. The new version provides instant policy enforcement for users of Microsoft Live Communication Server and IBM Lotus Instant Messaging.

The system gives officials control of specific IM features. They can block access to games via America Online's IM system, for example, without hampering the use of chat functions.

Akonix officials also released Enforcer Version 4.0, a security tool that allows IT managers to block unmanaged access to IM and peer-to-peer networks. Enforcer can prohibit unauthorized use of services, such as BitTorrent, that provide large multimedia files that can slow network performance, bring in viruses and possibly violate copyright laws.

Enforcer is designed to be deployed as part of a defense-in-depth approach to protecting enterprise networks, according to company officials. That means it should be seen as an augmentation to firewalls and other security measures, not a replacement.

Super server

Silicon Graphics Inc. officials have unveiled a server that allows users to pack more power into a limited space.

The new Altix 3700 Bx2 offers twice the bandwidth and processor power of the 3700, the company's top-of-the-line model, in about the same space,

officials said. It is based on the Linux operating system and the Intel Itanium 2 processor.

The new system enables users to pack 64 processors into a standard Altix rack, SGI officials said. The Bx2 achieves a price-

performance improvement of up to 50 percent compared with the earlier model.

Supercomputers are generally built out of many smaller computers, which often use multiple processors. NASA's Columbia supercomputer, for example, is made up of 20 Altix 3700 servers. Eight of those are the sleeker, denser Bx2s.

"SGI continues to pursue the aggressive evolution curve that we first established with the introduction of Altix in January of last year," said Jeff Greenwald, senior director of marketing and management in SGI's Server and Platform Group.

The new system also offers an optional water-cooled door, the first time SGI has offered such a feature, in addition to the existing air-cooled architecture. The door makes the box even more suitable for settings where systems are tightly packed, and have a harder time dissipating heat.

Security blanket

Configuresoft officials have released the Enterprise Configuration Manager/FISMA IT control solution to help officials at agencies and other

organizations monitor their compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act.

The Configuresoft system manages patches, collects and archives event logs, and provides compliance templates addressing specific security control requirements in areas pertaining to IT security management and assessment.

Chris Farrow, director of Configuresoft's Center for Policy and Compliance, said FISMA defines a range of business issues pertaining to the protection of information assets. The new product will help IT managers "balance the need to keep their networks available while ensuring security and consistency of configuration settings to meet FISMA requirements," he said.

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