In one of the most interesting technology stories of the year, an open-source product descended from one of the founding applications of the Web took on a seemingly invulnerable foe and knocked it down several pegs. (Im talking, of course, about Firefox, Mosaic and Internet Explorer, respectively.)
Although some of IEs lost market share can be attributed to security problems and general Microsoft mistakes, the Mozilla Foundations Firefox 1.0 Web browser certainly accounts for much of the difference. Firefox has a good feature set, excellent usability and seamless cross-platform support.
VMware VirtualCenter management software provides powerful dynamic virtual machine provisioning and workload management capabilities when used alongside VMwares enterprise server virtualization tool, ESX Server.
eWEEK Labs was especially impressed with VMwares unique VMotion technology, which can be implemented for an extra cost. VMotion allows IT managers to run critical applications on virtual machines that can be changed on the fly, so there is almost no downtime when moving virtual machines files from one host to another.
Weighing in at a mere 2.7 pounds, IBMs ThinkPad X40 is light in weight but not capability.
Competitively priced starting at $1,499, the X40 is packed with features, including a choice of wireless technologies and Bluetooth. It also comes armed with impressive battery life and a full-size keyboard.
eWEEK Labs found especially impressive the X40s Rescue and Recovery tools, which enable users to recover in the event of a failure, and IBMs Active Protection System, which temporarily parks the hard drives read/write head in the event of a fall.
We hope future generations of ThinkPads will impress as much following IBMs spinoff of its PC unit to Lenovo Group.
Intrusion prevention is still a tricky proposition because a misconfigured IPS has the potential to bring business to a halt. However, IT managers should consider IPS technology, if only because a good IPS can protect systems long enough that patching can be made routine instead of reactive.
TippingPoint Technologies UnityOne-1200 intrusion prevention system is one of the good ones—in fact, it advances the state of the art in IPS technology.
The TippingPoint UnityOne-1200 appliance is a top-notch network security device that sits in line with network traffic, dropping attack traffic and clearing the way for legitimate users.
eWEEK Labs tests show that the device requires a fair amount of tuning, but it also prevents a substantial number of attacks, including DoS (denial-of-service) attempts that would otherwise cause severe disruptions to the network.
Decrus DataFort appliances give IT managers a powerful and easy-to-manage encryption solution for protecting a variety of storage systems, including file shares, RAID arrays and tape.
During tests of the appliances, eWEEK Labs was impressed with Decrus key-management software, which ensures that data can be accessed only by authorized personnel. Using the innovative CryptoShred feature, which destroys keys, IT managers can retire old storage systems with peace of mind.
.0″> Plone 2.0
The Web content management and enterprise portal markets are crowded and highly competitive, so it must be especially difficult for vendors of these high-priced systems to compete with a free open-source product that matches or beats them in most key feature comparisons.
Plone 2.0 is a solid, enterprise-class Web publishing and portal system with excellent content creation and user collaboration features, as well as extensive customization and corporate integration capabilities. This polished application is simple to deploy to any operating system and will meet almost any corporate portal and content management need.
SecureID for Windows
SecureID for Windows
RSA Security this year made it much easier for IT managers to ditch the user-name-password paradigm in favor of two-factor authentication for access to Windows environments.
At a cost of $107 per user for 1,000 users, RSA Securitys SecurID for Windows is appropriate only for protecting high-value assets. But for companies that must closely guard access to sensitive data—and that must also provide rock-solid audit trails of information access—SecurID is one the best solutions available.
.6″> Linux 2.6
Although it was released at the end of last year, it was during this year that the latest major revision of the Linux kernel began making its way into distributions large and small.
Linux 2.6 includes overhauls of key subsystems, such as those that manage process scheduling, threading and memory management. All these changes combined to yield improved scalability, performance and responsiveness across the operating system.
Linux 2.6 also saw the number of subsystems grow to include everything from massive multiprocessor systems—through support for NUMA (Non-Uniform Memory Access)—to very small systems—through the inclusion of uClinux project technology for embedded devices that lack a memory management unit.
RLX Control Tower 6G
RLX Control Tower 6G
RLX Technologies Control Tower 6G offers a top-notch set of tools for managing large deployments of RLX blade servers.
During tests, eWEEK Labs liked the Control Towers intuitive Web-based interface, which will make it easy for IT managers to launch deployment jobs, schedule imaging and monitor system health.
Control Tower can also centrally manage blade chassis at multiple locations, and one appliance system can manage hundreds of blades. Finally, the systems in-depth and granular diagnostic capabilities are a real timesaver when troubleshooting problems.
Oracle Database 10g
Oracle Database 10g
Released midyear, Oracles Database 10g suite addresses both established administrative needs and emerging enterprise demands.
Oracle delivered innovations on all levels with its grid-enabled database engine, auto-tuning utilities and service-oriented development tools.
The result was improved ease of management, even as the product took on more complex environments and tasks. The “g” in the product name stands for “grid,” but the company might also have called the product “10rm” for its rich-media handling capabilities.
Oracle Database 10g offers a choice of Java- and Web-based management consoles, as well as automated diagnostic tools and a native XML store, making it significantly easier for companies to build and maintain sophisticated applications across many platforms.
—Michael Caton and Peter Coffee