For large enterprises using the remote management services of different manufacturers and IT service providers, giving each of them remote access to the data center is fraught with security, complexity and compliance concerns.
Remote connectivity software provider Combrio on Jan. 16 will address those problems with the launch of its third generation Virtual Service Infrastructure offering.
The privately held company, based in Westborough, Mass., designed its VSI software specifically for secure remote support to address the challenges created by having to install dedicated T-1, Frame Relay or dial-up modem connections or dedicated VPNs for service providers that are offloading the monitoring and management of data center equipment.
Although it has targeted service providers and equipment manufacturers in the past, VSI version 3.0 is aimed at enterprises looking for greater visibility, control and accountability over service provider access to their to data center infrastructure.
A large enterprise such as Citibank may need to give as many as 350 to 500 service providers access to the Citibank network, according to Paul Campaniello, Combrios vice president of marketing in Westborough.
"They want to see all the players coming in and out on a central dashboard. They want to reduce costs [associated with multiple dedicated dial-up or T1 lines for each service provider], and they want security and auditability for compliance," he said.
VSI 3.0 software, which runs on a Combrio appliance installed on the network at the customer site, limits technician access to just the equipment theyre assigned to manage. "It gives the enterprise that drawbridge so they can direct where the service provider can go," said Campaniello.
VSI 3.0 is based on Combrios patent-pending Directed Circuits technology, which provides a device-to-person connection that is secure, auditable and can work with existing enterprise firewalls and networks without modification.
"Our product creates a patented device-to-technician tunnel thats locked down. Its generated via an outbound push through port 443," Campaniello said.
By using that single outbound port for connectivity between the service provider and the customer site, the new release greatly decreases the amount of time required for deployment.
That capability is unique to the market, believes Ray Mota, chief analyst at Synergy Research Group in Reno, Nev. "The service provider can go to customers, put in these devices and then they dont have to touch [the customers] IP addressing scheme. They just connect directly to the devices the customer wants them to manage," he said.
A number of factors drove Emerson Network Power to turn to Combrio and its VSI for their remote support services, according to Steve Bodkin, service product manager for the company in Columbus, Ohio.
"When we take into account the administrative time and skyrocketing costs associated with VPNs and dedicated phone lines, and take into account that VPNs dont work well for remote services, and take into account the audit trail requirements with Sarbanes Oxley and HIPPA, and then mix in the fact that more customers are asking for remote services—this as the best solution we could see in the market," he said.
Version 3.0, available now, also expands its reporting capability, allowing reports to be generated internally or exported to a report generator. Audit trail reports give greater detail on who was authenticated, and how long a technician had access to a device.
The product supports servers, storage and power equipment.