Stories by Paul Venezia

No-cost solutions in the antispam ecosystem

Like the rising cost of postage stamps, increasing complexity in e-mail is inevitable. In the early, halcyon days of the Internet, SMTP connections flowed like a mountain spring and mail filters were used solely for mail organization. Now, the water is brackish, and mail filters are an absolute necessity.

'Wide open' means extra security

There's a reason nearly every security appliance vendor uses open source tools, and it has little to do with licensing. The vast majority of these devices -- ranging from spam and spyware filters to network scanners to intrusion detection and prevention systems -- are not only built on an open source platform such as Linux or FreeBSD, but they also actively use other open source products to accomplish their given tasks.

Virtualization gaining momentum

What's all the fuss about virtual machines? From AMD to Intel, Microsoft to Novell to Red Hat, every major OS and hardware platform vendor today has a stake in the virtualization game. But the truth is that running multiple virtual systems on a single physical workstation or server is simply pass.

Building the branch office from the ground up

Inevitably, the call comes in at 4 p.m.: problems at a remote site. The network seems OK, but one server is completely inaccessible. One switch is pingable but isn't answering a Telnet connection. There's no IT staff at the site, and this problem has caused all work to cease. Looks like a long night for the admins.

LogLogic hits high log management points

There are a million and one log-management tools running in networks all over the world. Some are simple file-searching utilities. Some dig a little deeper. But all are focused on a specific log file from a specific service or network device. They don't always talk to one another, however, which creates havoc for admins.

Muscular SunFire X4200 feels the burn

Last year, Sun announced the Galaxy server line, the company's first foray into the dual-core Opteron world. In conjunction, Sun sent writers Oliver Rist and Brian Chee a preproduction unit of the Sun Fire X4100. Although it proved a formidable and cleverly designed machine, the X4100's preproduction status was readily apparent, and the duo ran into several significant issues.

Cisco delivers 10 Gigabit Ethernet to the closet

Gigabit Ethernet to the desktop isn't for every infrastructure, but it's become a popular push both by switching vendors and network admins. And no wonder: Servers are generally using bonded gigabit links to the network, the cost of Gigabit Ethernet closet switches are dropping, and many corporate desktops are now shipping with Gigabit Ethernet NICs by default.

Budget-beating bandwidth

Sometimes, a switch is just a switch. Sometimes, it's worth another look. Dell has long been looking to expand its reach beyond servers in the datacenter, hoping to capitalize on the small to midsize business that needs high-capacity switching power but isn't ready to spring for a Cisco-powered network. The Dell PowerConnect 5324 is the most recent example of this initiative.

Linux-based Nitix serves the works

If there's one thing IT managers of small businesses or branch offices need, it's solid, uncomplicated technology. Net Integration Technologies thinks it has the answer. The company's Nitix server is essentially a custom Linux distribution focused on the small office. Driven entirely from a Web interface, the solution boasts an impressive array of features, using the most common Linux services such as Samba and Apache.

Dell PowerConnect switch takes aim at network core

Long a purveyor of server solutions, Dell is branching out into the world of network switching. With the brand-new Dell PowerConnect 6024, the company is leaping from their previous layer 2 edge switches to the centre of the network: layer 3 core switching.

Building a better firewall

The firewall as a layer 4 packet-inspection device has reached maturity. Although not every network requires high-end LAN switching gear, every Internet-connected network needs a firewall, if only to provide NAT services and simple packet filtering. What's growing out of this mature market is the next wave of firewalls.

NetDetector captures intrusions

It's not often that I bear witness to a perfect match of innovation and execution, but Niksun Ltd.'s NetDetector is as close as I've seen. To the casual observer, the NetDetector appears to be simply another IDS (intrusion-detection system), but it actually goes much further than that.

Product Review: Entry-level SAN arrays square off

The days of adding a local disk to every server are waning. With the rise of the storage SAN, it's no longer necessary to make an educated guess on future storage needs when you spec server hardware. In a SAN environment, servers deliver data requested by the client applications; the SAN takes care of storing that data.