Solidcore Systems Inc. this week will launch a new technology for monitoring and controlling changes to production servers, bringing order to the chaos surrounding server change management.
Despite the discipline that change and configuration management tools can impose on managing server configurations, a continued lack of control over the process and procedures for change management exists. Solidcores new S3 Change Control system is designed to provide visibility into actual change behavior and allow users to selectively enforce defined change processes.
The S3 Change Control system can increase the value of existing change management tools by bringing a greater level of visibility and control over actual changes, according to Jay Vaishnav, vice president of product development at the 3-year-old company, in Palo Alto, Calif.
"The management tools you put in place are there to manage the authorized process. We can therefore take the process of policy and turn it into the process of record," Vaishnav said. "Its a layer of control we provide with management tools that gives you the ability to make that the process of record. Then we document that and keep that document in a tamper-proof record, which is invaluable for compliance."
In typical IT shops, changes are made by "well-meaning" administrators outside the change process, so that those changes are not documented, said Vaishnav. And ad hoc changes that are not tested can cause outages or performance problems.
"As we continue to grow, well add a lot more servers to our environment. Thats going to make [change control] more and more of an issue. We want to put something in place that would prevent someone from making changes at certain times of the day and tell us that this user modified this file and what specific changes were made," said new S3 Change Control user Randy Barr, director of IT security for WebEx Communications Inc., in Santa Clara, Calif.
S3 Change Control, made up of lightweight agents on managed servers and a central server, monitors changes in real time; logs those changes, as well as who made them and when they were made; creates an Independent System of Record; automates reconciliation of changes; and selectively enforces defined change processes and policies.
S3 Change Control is due Nov. 1 and is priced starting at $3,000 per node. It can manage Windows servers as well as Linux and Solaris. HP-UX and AIX will be supported by years end.