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
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
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
"How to make policy implementable by business is the
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 your...um, underwear.
For more information contact FTP Software Inc. at http://www.ftp.com/ or
Interwork Technologies (Canadian Distributor) at http://www.interwork.com/