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NETWORK WORLD NEWSLETTER: DENNIS DROGSETH ON NETWORK/SYSTEMS
MANAGEMENT
10/05/05
Today's focus: One to watch: SilverBack remote branch office
technology

By Dennis Drogseth

From time to time, it's a good idea to look at technologies that
may not be available to enterprise IT today, but could be soon.
One such technology is currently focused at resellers, service
providers and system integrators but it could be easily adapted
to enterprise needs. The technology can be adopted to manage
remote branch offices and comes from SilverBack Technologies.

SilverBack's mix of fault and performance, resource and asset,
and security capabilities is complemented by a policy-based
provisioning capability (which I wrote about a year ago
<http://www.networkworld.com/nlnsm8097> ) that could be a boon
for remote branch office management.

Since SilverBack's core market is service providers targeting
small-and-midsize businesses, it has learned to scale process
and complexity downward to meet the economics of that
marketplace. It has also enabled SilverBack to focus its
attention on all the "eases" - ease of deployment,
administration and use, which the broader enterprise IT
management marketplace has still to address.

The SilverStreak Management Tunnel is a case in point. It
provides access between a central management provider and their
remote managed locations based on three objectives: scalability,
cost effectiveness and security. SilverStreak requires a modest,
client-side software footprint for remote polling and data
collection. All communications with the host management system
are initiated from the client and then transmitted via SSL
encryption. The software clients (needed on a per site, not a
per device basis) can enable outbound HTTPS (port 443) traffic.
Central management can terminate sessions once they have taken
care of an alert or problem and free up the tunnel for other
use.

This enables easy set up and secure transmissions driven on an
as-needed basis from client-side monitoring software. In its
current release, SilverStreak does require some manual
intervention from the central management provider to acknowledge
and administrate those next-step sessions to actually remediate
problems on a remote device. But even this fairly minimal
requirement should be addressed in future releases.

The SilverStreak model is reflective of a "clear and present"
requirement to enable remote management to large numbers of
locations in a scalable manner. It should become a "building
block to watch" as not just service providers, but enterprise IT
with vast numbers of remote branch offices, as well as many
retail operations, need more cost-effective and facile
adjustments to standard management practices.

Copyright Network World, Inc., 2005

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Copyright 2008 Art Beckman. All rights reserved.

Last Modified: March 9, 2008