the Pipeline

Blazing through the log-in process

What's better than enterprise single sign-on software? Some might say single sign-on software that includes smart card support.

After ActivCard's acquisition of Protocom Development Systems, the company released a product that does just that. SecureLogin Single Sign-On Version 5.5 integrates with ActivCard's smart card authentication software. It also is the first single sign-on solution to offer full support for the Mozilla Firefox Web browser.

"We're seeing a very big push within our customer base to have the option to use multiple browsers," said Jason Hart, senior vice president of sales and marketing at ActivCard.

In addition to smart card and Firefox support, the product can integrate with public-key infrastructure systems to enable consolidation of credentials. "We're the only enterprise [single sign-on] product that covers a broad spectrum of applications across multiple browsers and multiple desktops," Hart said.

The product also features close integration with Lightweight Directory Access Protocol directories. It has the ability to learn new applications so users and administrators can add homegrown software to the system.

Single sign-on software simplifies the user experience and reduces help-desk costs by allowing users to log in to multiple applications using one password. And because users need to memorize only one password, the password can be more complex, thereby enhancing security.

Zippy networking

Officials at LTI DataComm have announced the Speedy Gonzalez of networking. It's called the Mini Accelerator 3000E, and it gives a bandwidth boost to networks deployed in tactical environments.

The product is a network optimization tool that accelerates bandwidth efficiency and response time. It improves performance by an average of 100 percent to 400 percent, even reaching 1,000 percent at times, company officials said.

The product increases wide-area network (WAN) capacity, improves application response times and offers hardware load balancing.

The 3000E also uses the Defense Information Systems Agency-mandated Space Communications Protocol Standards to reduce the effects of time delays from satellites.

The device works with existing encryption devices and is scalable for WAN speeds ranging from 254 kilobits/sec to 6 megabits/sec.

If you're still not sure what to think, just ask the Defense Department, in which every branch has adopted the 3000E. During the Combined Endeavor '05 exercise, the world's largest communications and information systems military exercise, the device boosted WAN performance.

The price of the Mini Accelerator 3000E starts at $6,904 on the General Services Administration schedule.

Baby got backup

Maybe it's not as cool as a rap song, but backup and recovery software is a critical component of any network. So much so, in fact, that a new term has been coined: data protection management (DPM).

DPM seeks more efficient data protection and recovery than the capabilities offered by traditional software packages. It can help execute business policies and recognize technical constraints.

One of the players in this space is WysDM Software, pronounced "wisdom." The company recently announced two new products, WysDM for Backups 3 and WysDM for Fileservers 3.

WysDM for Backups gives administrators a global view for understanding complex backup environments. It uses an intelligence platform that obtains data from all of the major components of a network environment, including servers, storage devices and applications.

The software also generates reports on all aspects of backup operations, such as service-level agreements, regulatory compliance and device performance.

"You can be running backups and doing replication, but if you don't understand what your policy is and how it's enforced, you're in a bad way," said Alan Atkinson, chief executive officer of WysDM.

WysDm for Backups continuously monitors the network for faulty configurations, inefficiencies and anomalies. It then alerts users to those conditions before they contribute to backup failures.

In addition, the product's analytic monitoring facilitates capacity planning, optimizes the backup environment and ensures compliance with retention periods and backup schedules. It can also issue compliance reports and risk alerts.

WysDM for Fileservers, meanwhile, offers a set of reports on all aspects of server operation, from hardware configuration to performance.

The software standardizes servers by keeping detailed logs of configuration parameters and tracking all changes. Users can proactively compare server configurations and flag differences to guard against possible future failures.

WysDM for Fileservers uses predictive analysis to help with capacity planning and allocation. The software also tracks metrics on each server and the surrounding environment.

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