Market Roundup

January 19, 2007

Security Vendors Commit to Support Vista

IBM Launches Simple-to-Use Storage for SMBs

Content Protection and Encryption: A Natural Combination

Sun Updates Solaris 10

 Fujitsu Siemens Bolsters FibreCAT Backup with Bundled CA Software


Security Vendors Commit to Support Vista

Microsoft has announced that leading security providers are committing to delivering fully tested and compatible versions of their consumer and small-business security solutions by January 30, when the Windows Vista operating system becomes generally available. According to Microsoft, Windows Vista is built to provide in-depth defense against existing and emerging digital threats. New built-in security features such as Windows Defender, User Account Control, an improved Windows Firewall, Parental Controls, and Windows Internet Explorer 7 Protected Mode and Phishing Filter provide additional layers of protection. Microsoft’s industry “partners” add yet another layer by building security solutions on top of the Windows platform. Antivirus vendors Computer Associates, Grisoft, Kapersky Laboratories, McAfee, Panda Software, Symantec, and Trend Micro were all named in Microsoft’s release. Trend issued a release on January 17 and announced the January 30 availability of their Certified for Windows Vista Internet security suite specifically for the Windows Vista operating system.

What does this all mean to the consumer and what is likely to mean to the enterprise security market? Sageza believes that Vista is very likely to be more secure than any of its predecessors. We also believe that Microsoft tends to learn from its experience. Microsoft and the security vendors recognize they have to engage in a symbiotic, “coopetition” relationship.

A new operating system is very much like a new model of a car. It takes a while for all the manufacturing bugs to surface, as no test track can replicate the everyday driving experience. The same goes for labs and operating systems. Sageza believes that over time the consumer security market will be even more commodity-driven and price-sensitive than it is today so that more and more consumers will settle for “just good enough” protection. Enterprises, on the other hand, will continue to implement a variety of complementary and reinforcing information security technologies due in part to the complexity and heterogeneity of most large organization’s infrastructure. We also feel that as enterprises simplify their IT architecture and rely more on virtualization and service-oriented architecture, security needs will become focused on IT centers of gravity such as protecting data at rest, authentication, and IP protection.

IBM Launches Simple-to-Use Storage for SMBs

This week IBM announced the launch of the System Storage DS3000 entry level disk arrays. The new platform has been designed to appeal to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) as well as larger enterprise organizations with a requirement for distributed storage arrays. The DS3000 is meant to be a simple, reliable and affordable storage platform and as such it makes much of its ease of use. For example the systems feature Storage Manager software as standard on all configurations, allowing customers to set up and manage their data in six steps. The DS3000 series enjoys simple configuration, administration, and management capabilities in order to allow organizations without dedicated, trained storage specialists to utilize the platform. The new series initially comprises the DS3200 and DS3400 systems. The DS 3200 is a single-controller, direct-attached model that supports clustering and delivers a 3GB/sec SAS connection to the server. The DS3400 is a dual-controller system supporting both direct and SAN (Storage Area Network) connectivity to the host servers and utilizes 4GB/sec Fibre Channel connectivity. Both systems can handle twelve SAS disk drives delivering 3.6TB of raw capacity and may also connect to up to three EXP3000 disk enclosures taking maximum raw capacity to scale to 14.4TB. Both systems are also compatible with the IBM DS4000 Storage Manager thereby providing an upgrade path. The IBM System Storage DS3000 series will be available from January 30, 2007. Entry price for the DS3200 will be $4,495 while the DS3400 will feature an entry price of $6,495.

The release of the DS3000 series is an interesting move for IBM and its growing family of storage solutions. The arrays represent a new entry point for customers in terms of capacity and pricing but those are probably the least important features. While it is true to say that the vast majority of SMB customers are price sensitive, it is also more than fair to state that very, very few of them count large numbers of skilled IT staff among their ranks. In the SMB space where dedicated IT staff exist they are very much generalists rather than specialists so the fact that these platforms have been built to be simple to get up and running and straightforward to administer in daily operations is extremely important.

The storage demands of the SMB market along with those of distributed locations of larger enterprises will continue to grow over the course of the foreseeable future. Easy-to-use platforms will be in demand. The challenge for IBM will be to gain recognition in these markets where it and its channel partners have suitable solutions that should be investigated. Today IBM is not naturally associated with the SMB storage space or, perhaps, the SMB space in general. The company must take considerable pains to consistently communicate with the vast potential customer base where its solutions, now including the IBM System Storage DS3200 and DS3400, now fit. IBM has done much to develop suitable platforms for these entry-level markets and it is beginning to find ways to encourage its existing channel partners to leverage these offerings. However, it must market more effectively to let potential buyers of SMB storage solutions know that IBM has something for them.

This applies not just to the DS3000 series but equally to many of IBM’s storage management and data protection tools. If the company can get its go-to-market right with the DS3000, the potential exists for IBM to sell many other related products, especially on the data protection side, an area where many SMBs do not adequately protect their data, often through lack of knowledge. IBM has great potential here, but it needs to be more aggressive in marketing to these customers than it has typically been in the past.

Content Protection and Encryption: A Natural Combination

Code Green Networks, a developer of solutions for protecting customer data and intellectual property by detecting and preventing leaks of sensitive data, has announced that it has signed an alliance agreement with PGP, a security and encryption solutions developer, to deliver a comprehensive content protection and secure email solution. The combined solutions will allow users to take preventative actions in two ways. They can prevent sensitive data from being transmitted outside the organization, and perhaps more importantly, they can encrypt authorized email containing sensitive information to protect that sensitive data outside the organization. The Code Green Networks Content Inspection Appliance 1500 (CI-1500) monitors content flows on the network and automatically enforces content protection policies. The appliance-based solution includes integrated support for the PGP Encryption Platform. If the Content Inspection Appliance detects the unauthorized transmission of sensitive information, it invokes a management-defined policy to log, alert, block, or quarantine the message. If it detects an authorized transmission that contains sensitive content, it can automatically re-route the message to the PGP Encryption Platform for encryption and secure transmission.

Organizations that handle sensitive data have been wrestling with the challenges of protecting their information, while optimizing their strategy for compliance and trying to impose the least burdens on their end users. The notion of add-on protection simply doesn’t work. Furthermore, there will always be people trying to get around the system for one reason or another. Consequently, protection for sensitive data must be built into the workflow and IT infrastructure itself. This includes not only the transmission function addressed by this announcement, but the protection of sensitive data at rest as well. Privacy and disclosure laws are clear as to what constitutes personal or private data; however, thus far organizations have yet to significantly embrace protecting data at rest.

We believe that filtering and encryption are actually complementary technologies and that it is incumbent on IT management to effectively deal with sensitive information without user intervention. Further, we believe that the employment of intelligent technology to prevent sensitive information from leaving an organization is only half the puzzle; the other half is ensuring that data or information that does leave the organization can only be accessed by authorized users and in the manner authorized. The alliance between PGP and Code Green appears to accomplish both. However, the technology alone is not a silver bullet. At the core is the fact that management will have to devise a classification scheme to delineate what data is sensitive and how it should be treated. Implementation of the classification scheme and policies enforced via seamless technology is a solid move for good corporate governance.

Sun Updates Solaris 10

Sun has announced a series of updates to its flagship Solaris operating system. Solaris 10 11/06 OS enhances efficiency, safety, and reliability. New security features include Solaris Trusted Extensions, which protects sensitive data and applications using labeled security technology. Secure By Default Networking automatically configures a system to be impervious to network attacks by disabling many unused services, thus reducing the network exposure, while leaving the system fully functional for typical use. Solaris 10 11/06 is currently in process for Common Criteria Certification at EAL4+ with Controlled Access, Role-Based Access Control, and Labeled Security Protection Profiles (CAPP, RBAC, LSPP) for SPARC and x64/x86 servers. Virtualization improvements include Logical Domains, whereby customers can now dynamically provision and run up to thirty-two OS instances on each UltraSPARC T1-based system, and enhanced Solaris Containers within Logical Domains that allow the isolation of applications and services to enable the creation of multiple private execution environments within a single instance of Solaris. The company indicated that it plans to add additional virtualization technology to Solaris 10 during 2007 including the Xen Hypervisor. Separately, Sun announced new support plans, remote systems management capabilities, migration assistance, training, and professional services to enhance Solaris 10’s position as a strategic alternative to commercial Linux distributions. The company noted that Solaris 10 runs on 700+ x64/x86-based systems from vendors including Sun, HP, IBM, and Dell, among others. The new Solaris Support Subscriptions include indemnification, binary, and source code compatibility, and provide access to free updates and upgrades. Subscriptions range from $49 per-incident support to the customized site-wide Solaris Everywhere Plan. In addition, Sun also announced a series of migration support programs including the Web Tier Advantage Program focused on Web-tier deployments, and the Global Migration Program for a broad range of OS platforms including AIX, HP-UX, Tru64, VMS, Red Hat, and Novell SUSE Linux.

It is fascinating to watch Sun’s current approach to the marketplace and see how in a relatively short time the company has changed its focus from a proprietary high-end hardware supplier to an open source, x86, x64-friendly, services- and solutions-fixated zealot. Not that Sun has forgotten the high end by any stretch, but the behavior of the company is so much more accessible to mere mortals than a few years past. The improvements to Solaris for high-end computing are evident here and Sun’s application for Common Criteria Certification for its latest Solaris release is indicative that the firm has not forgotten its core strengths. However, despite this technical ability, which we almost take for granted from Sun, what strikes us most interesting is the focus on the lower end of the Linux marketplace.

Bringing Solaris for x86 back to life was one of Sun’s smartest moves in recent years as it allows the company to have a substantive conversation with the volume marketplace. Further, by shifting to an open source model, the company is mirroring the buying expectations of this market segment, while providing some creative financing options for its hardware. Sun’s latest service/support offerings only reinforce its positioning as a viable alternative to commercial Linux distributions and help the company to look much more like a penguin, as opposed to an elephant sporting tattoos of a penguin, to the target audience. Direct support for 700 different computer systems is non-trivial achievement and is a credit to Sun’s relentless purpose in reinventing its relevance in the high-volume marketplace. Its stated intentions of integrating the Xen Hypervisor is also a plus for the company as virtualization remains a hot topic de jure but increasingly a strategic deployment decision for organizations as well. We are pleased to see the company continue down this path. Nevertheless, Linux is the torchbearer in this market segment, and Sun is clearly the follower. Ultimately, the support of ISVs and channel partners will determine whether Sun’s initiatives will prove successful. This is what helped make Sun successful in the 1990s, and what the company needs to reclaim from the Linux faithful, many of which used to be Sun worshippers, in its quest to play in the volume workstation and server marketplace.

 Fujitsu Siemens Bolsters FibreCAT Backup with Bundled CA Software

Fujitsu Siemens Computers has announced that starting next month it will bundle CA’s BrightStor ARCserve Backup solution and XOsoft Enterprise Rewinder continuous data protection software with FSC’s FibreCAT NX and FibreCAT SX disk storage systems as well as the FibreCAT TX tape storage systems. The bundled licenses will each cover one server without any time limitations and represent a €2,900 savings in software licensing fees. CA BrightStor ARCserve Backup is a flexible, integrated backup and recovery solution that allows central management of the backup environment in small and medium-sized enterprises. CA XOsoft Enterprise Rewinder is compatible with file and database servers such as Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL servers and Oracle database systems. All changes are documented and saved during operation, which closes the remaining gaps in conventional backup systems and achieves continuous data protection. XOsoft Enterprise Rewinder software can be expanded through XOsoft WANSync products to support data backup and distribution over longer distances, such as with branch offices.

Today small and medium-sized businesses increasingly find that despite their more modest size, they are subject to all of the same IT risks and rewards as their larger brethren. As user expectations of IT rise, and regulations increase, the timely storage and retrieval of data only continues to rise in importance. Although there are several solutions available to SMBs, such organizations rarely have specialized storage staff, nor excess staff of any kind to piece together best of breed solutions in-house. Their needs are straightforward. Give an SMB something that works out of the box, has sufficient integrated features, a reasonable toolkit, and financing that is affordable. With this announcement, FSC is ratcheting up its competitive position for entry- and mid-level storage solutions. As a bundle, some of the cost is eliminated, but also the inconvenience of having to install third party backup software. For smaller organizations, this will likely be well received. With other vendors taking more notice of the SMB storage opportunity, such as the IBM DS-3000 this week, it is a smart move for FSC to continue to enhance its offerings and help drive its storage value proposition to SMBs overall.

The Sageza Group, Inc.

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