Issue 6  Page Seven

Virtual Networking
is one thing, but
Virtual Underwear?


by Barry Eames

Q: Quickly now, "What do Personal Computers, toothbrushes, and underwear all have in common?"

A: "They are three things that people don't share!"

Well, maybe in a real emergency, you could share my toothbrush and underwear, but use my PC to access your work? In your directories? On your network? Not likely.

Don't even ask.

That was just one of the things that got Dave Traynor, FTP Software's personable Technical Director, revved up at LANDA's May Dinner Seminar.

LANDA members were treated to an enthusiastic and informative look at FTP Software's constantly evolving VIP Network strategy, and as it turns out, sharing PC's and network resources is not such an impossible thing after all.

The Vision Thing

Mr. Traynor began by confirming that, "IP is the corporate world's network of choice...", then quickly added, "...but there are significant problems in management and security"

FTP Software recognized two fundamental things: that the explosive growth of the Internet is permitting organizations to build information links to their partners and customers, and; that this inter-enterprise collaboration poses two serious obstacles ­ hardware-defined access, and security/management challenges.

Simply put, yesterday's LAN isn't enough. What is needed is an infrastructure solution to create a secure, manageable, and transparent "virtual network" that seamlessly connects all users-regardless of location, hardware, or network protocol. FTP Software's products allow customers to create such a network.

 The Technology Thing

"Let's get rid of the IP addresses! Business wants to make departments secure ­ not firewalls & segments"

As Mr. Traynor explained, they're not eliminating IP addresses altogether, but drastically reducing the number needed. For example, a server based TCP/IP connectivity solution allows for IP addresses at the file server, so you can use as few as one IP address to connect hundreds of NetWare workstations.

Locating the IP address at the server means there's no need to install or manage IP's at each individual workstation.

"To communicate we need to change networks."

FTP Software suggests changing once, to their VIP Network solution. It's architecture is completely software-based, open, intelligent, and secure, and can overlay any topology, providing access to legacy systems, the Internet, and extranets. But the real magic is in their user-centric approach, and Agent applications.

Network access follows the familiar practice of users profiles and privileges rather than hardware IP addresses. The user sees resources rather than hardware and system software.

Mr. Traynor called this "pushing Policy Management to the level of the desktop" instead of forcing it globally via firewalls and gateways.

"How to make policy implementable by business is the issue..."

Agent applications use Java-based push technology which can manage, monitor, and troubleshoot systems and devices, without any user interaction or outside decision-making.

VIP Network components currently include a wide range of Agent applications, as well as management and communication products for the Server side, and full security and application suites for Client networking. And the list is growing...

The Next Thing

Members were treated to a technology preview of the Directory Pump, which allows you to "rationalize network objects" and even choose your own directory access methods (GUI client, Oracle, Internet browser, etc).

Network directories are currently un-manageable under one system, and mapping between different schema is difficult, but the Pump "sucks and spits" data easily across platforms allowing you to:

  • browse any object regardless of schema, format, or protocols
  • drag and drop directory objects between different directories
  • view, find and synchronize information
  • do automated replication
  • view the same information in different ways

The VIP Network offers a new way to achieve open and secure IP networking, without redefining current hardware. It makes changing your network as easy as changing, underwear.

For more information contact FTP Software Inc. at or Interwork Technologies (Canadian Distributor) at