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Resource Management the Directory Way

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Long, long ago (at least in Web years), in a place far, far away, a guardian of the counting beans assumed a new position. The guardian’s new task was the administration of supplies for the director of manufacturing, a mission sought by all junior-grade members in the bean-counting community.

After initializing her personal cyber-terminal, the guardian supplied the appropriate inputs necessary to access the supply-management system, to which the terminal responded, “Access Denied!”

“How can that be?” the guardian cried. “I’ve made an appropriate application for access to the director of the binary wires. How could it deny me so?”

The guardian immediately picked up her vocal communication portal and punched in the numeric address of the assistance pod. After a short routing period filled with musical sounds of the season, a helpful assistance technician connected to the vocal channel. After describing her difficulty to the technician, the guardian asked what the issue might be.

“Well,” the technician responded, “let me take a look. According to my records, access to that particular functional complex requires 22 separate management definitions, all of which are under the control of different directors. If you would like to remain on the line, I can begin investigating which definition may be in error.”

After some grumbling from the guardian, the technician went on to say, “One option may be to use the access coding assigned to your immediate predecessor. It may then work properly, since it often takes months to remove someone from the system and seldom is that person ever removed completely.”

“Is there a better way?” The guardian asked the technician. “Absolutely,” was the reply, “We could have a directory!”

Is this a common situation in your own environment? Virtually every system, server, application, network device, workstation, and even the voice-mail system, has its own way of defining users and what they are able do. In my own very small shop, we maintain separate user directories in a production Microsoft Windows NT server domain, a test NT domain, four iSeries systems, a separate email system, a remote access server, and several software applications. Adding and removing users is a significant task and often requires a lot of calendar time to get all of the nuances and interrelationships right.


This is, however, not a new issue, and there was a realization in the IT community long ago that a common management point for users, applications, and resources is a good idea. Just think how simple things would be if a departing staff member could be disabled from all company resources, right down to the voice-mail system, with a single entry, in a single location. Such a capability is called a directory. In this article, I will discuss a bit of the directory’s history, outline the current state of the directory, and mention some of the things you might want to be thinking about as you make system and application decisions.

X.500 Gets Things Started

In 1984, a study group that became the International Telecommunication Union proposed the concept of a standardized directory. One of the key reasons for creating a directory was to allow users within an organization and among organizations to easily locate the email address of another individual—and to do so in a standard fashion. It was a dream for worldwide electronic white pages.

The final definition of the X.500 directory standard was published in 1988 and extended in 1992. It defined the databases and protocols that would allow applications and users to communicate within a directory. Another key aspect of X.500 was the ability of directories to connect to each other, which would allow an organization to recognize the authority established by another.

X.500 was a good thing, but it was also a complicated thing. It required specific

databases and was based on the Open Systems Interconnection protocol model (remember that?), and therefore it was not widely used. Although there was still a need for directories, few organizations were willing to take on the challenges of implementing the X.500 standard.

So the Internet standards community, still wanting a set of directory services, yet realizing the complexity of X.500, set out to define an all-IP implementation, known as
X.500 Lite. The result was RFC 1487, which defined the Lightweight Directory Access

Protocol (LDAP). Accepted in 1993, LDAP, unlike X.500, did not define a specific database and the elements within that database; it defined a way of communicating with a directory database and the protocols to be used in such communications. Vendors could now implement directories as they wished, and there could be a common means of accessing those directories. This was a noble concept that created its own set of issues, which I’ll discuss a bit later.

Following quickly on the heels of RFC 1487, in 1995, was RFC 1777, which defined LDAP 2.0. The 2.0 version of LDAP addressed some shortcomings in the original specification, particularly some significant performance bottlenecks.

Despite the improvements in 2.0 LDAP is not static. RFC 2251, which defines LDAP 3.0, was published as a proposed standard. It adds some functionality in the way LDAP addresses security, provides support for Unicode characters, and allows for more extensibility than that which is available in LDAP 2.0.

Then in 1994, Novell rocked the IT community with the announcement of its Netware Directory Services (NDS). Those who understood what NDS meant for a network of servers were ecstatic about the announcement, although many in the community were still wondering what a directory was. With NDS, you could manage all of your organization’s Novell users and resources from a single place. Users were no longer defined individually to each server. Define them to NDS, associate them with the resources they are allowed to access, and all was good. The primary alternatives in the file- and print- sharing segment of the industry at the time were the IBM OS/2 LAN Manager and the Windows NT Server, both of which used a domain management model, not a true directory.

NDS was, and still is, a good thing, but it primarily finds its home in managing a network of shared files and printers. Not many application programs use its services, and Novell only recently made an LDAP-compatible interface available.


The Microsoft Factor

As I have noted, Microsoft used a domain-based user-management system with its NT server product line. The concept was developed for the OS/2 LAN server and was a directory of sorts. The domain directory was not LDAP-compliant and had difficulty operating whenever communication was lost between the server and the domain server (an issue specifically addressed in the LDAP specification). Applications could not use domain services for resource management, so things like email accounts and database authorities had to be defined elsewhere.

Microsoft was taking over a huge share of the server market with Windows, but Novell was still hanging in there, due in part to NDS. I suspect that in the interest of gaining even more market share, Microsoft made the release of Active Directory Services (ADS) a large part of its original Windows NT 5.0 (eventually renamed Windows 2000) server announcement. ADS would now provide the sort of services that were previously available only in NDS, and it would also support standards like LDAP.

But Microsoft needed to address the directory issue in order to compete with Novell, even though one of the positive effects of the ADS announcement was a renewed interest in directories and in the services they could provide an organization.

What’s in There?

A directory is simply a well-defined place to put information about users, applications, and resources. This information is then associated in a way that manages a user’s authority to resources and to the components of an application.

The database of a directory needs to be flexible. It must be able to adapt to the specific needs of the resource as well as the organization. LDAP makes this happen through schemas. A schema is defined and loaded into a directory. Management records are then loaded into the directory using the defined schema. An application or resource can query a directory, using a common API, and determine whether a user is authentic and whether the association (or lack thereof) between a user and a resource is authentic.

LDAP directories are organized hierarchically like an inverted tree. There is a root node, followed by nodes that may represent organizations or applications. The next layer could contain departments or application components, under which another layer could contain users and application functions. The depth of the hierarchy depends on the implementation of a vendor’s schema.

LDAP queries can search up through the hierarchy and back down again in order to locate the appropriate resource information. Through this query mechanism, users associated with one part of an organization can either have access to resources in another part of the organization or have his access limited to only specific parts of the tree.

Variable schemas make LDAP very flexible but can also cause problems. Vendors are free to define their own schemas, and, in fact, Microsoft took some freedom with its definitions within ADS. There was a sort of de facto schema used within many LDAP implementations, including the OS/400’s, that made it possible to at least guess where information might be located, but Microsoft chose to add another unique layer in its hierarchy. Current applications that work with LDAP servers likely will need some modification to operate with ADS.

The Java community recognized the necessity of directories within its standard. A set of classes under the title of Java Naming and Directory Interface (JNDI) supplies a means, from within a Java program, of accessing LDAP directories, as well as other naming services, such as Domain Name System (DNS). JNDI is technically directory- independent, although most implementations rely on LDAP.


LDAP in OS/400

Since V4R3, LDAP has been included free in OS/400 as part of Directory Services for OS/400. Check to see if you have Option 32 of 5769-SS1 installed. If you do, there is an LDAP server available, along with a complete set of LDAP clients and utilities.

The LDAP server uses DB2/400 for storing the directory information and is configured using Operations Navigator. OS/400 commands are not available for managing the server, other than the ones for starting and stopping it. The server is started and stopped either through Operations Navigator or by using the *DIRSRV option of the Start TCP/IP Server (STRTCPSVR) and End TCP/IP Server (ENDTCPSVR) commands, respectively.

The OS/400 LDAP client supports the accessing of any LDAP server from all of the OS/400 ILE programming languages: C, COBOL, and RPG. The standard API set is implemented, so LDAP skills developed in an ILE application will transfer to other platforms. An LDAP client for Windows is included with OS/400 Client Access, and a Java client is included in OS/400’s support of JNDI.

Also included is a set of command line utilities for accessing an LDAP server from Windows and OS/400. These utilities are compatible with the LDAP utilities provided for other operating systems, and they allow you to search, add, modify, and delete directory information.

The OS/400 LDAP server and database are separate from the traditional OS/400 directory, although a replication mechanism is available for keeping either the local LDAP directory or any other LDAP directory in sync with OS/400. The Operations Navigator server properties dialog box contains a Directory Update tab. On that tab is a list of resources that can be synchronized into the directory, one of which is Users. With this option configured, users are added to and removed from the LDAP directory, as the traditional directory changes, by using the Work with User Profiles (WRKUSRPRF) command.

Unfortunately, there is not yet a way—except in a completely custom environment—to use the LDAP directory exclusively within OS/400. I expect this will change at some time in the future as OS/400 moves away from the green-screen. Such a move would also be consistent with IBM’s commitment to Internet standards.

Where ADS Fits

Because of the extreme proliferation of Microsoft servers, many shops will have an ADS server installed at some point in the near future. Doing so places another LDAP server in the environment and replaces the clunky domain-based management system of the NT Server.

The LDAP client in OS/400 could certainly use the ADS server for application security. New applications for the Windows environment will likely use ADS for their security needs, and there may be some opportunity to share a user definition between a Windows application and an iSeries application.

The OS/400 directory also could synchronize with the ADS directory, although I don’t know anyone who’s tried it yet. That could allow user definitions on the iSeries to propagate to ADS for use in other applications. Given Microsoft’s rather unique schema definition, however, I’m not sure it will work.

Another option might be to lobby IBM to include OS/400 support for ADS as the primary directory. Somehow, I don’t believe that will happen soon, but I may be wrong.

A Possible Strategy

LDAP looks like the directory protocol of choice for the foreseeable future. This means that application and platform support for the protocol will expand over time, making it realistic to expect that the use of a single, common directory is an achievable goal.


The first step would be to get comfortable working with LDAP. There are a variety of good resources available on the Web, like Network World Fusion’s Research page for directories (www.nwfusion.com/research/ directories.html). There are also a couple of good books, such as Implementing Directory Services and Understanding and Deploying LDAP Directory Services.

Another step would be to start the server on OS/400, replicate the OS/400 directory into the LDAP database, and start poking around with Operations Navigator or some of the command line tools. That should give you a feel for the structure of a directory and what its possible uses are. There are also a number of directory exploration tools available on the Internet that can supplement the standard ones.

Consider using LDAP for resource management when developing your next application. If you’re using Java, the standard JNDI interface will allow access to an LDAP directory with little or no pain. If your application is in an ILE language, take a look at the LDAP API set. See if it is practical to use the LDAP directory instead of creating your own security mechanism to control access within the application. This could be the fastest way to get a directory into production on your network. Such a strategy may seem difficult initially, but it could pay off in the future.

The addition of LDAP support to many existing directories is making another option practical, that being the concept of a metadirectory. A metadirectory exists as a layer over other directories, typically providing a single user interface that will update the back- end directories based on a set of update rules. This sort of mechanism could keep a series of directories up to date without having to get all applications and platforms talking to a single directory.

Consider asking your application providers what their directory integration plans are. Many commercial products I’ve seen use their own security infrastructures and could simplify the management of their applications through integration to a standard directory. If enough people within the user base ask for LDAP function, there is a good chance of getting it.

Ultimately, standards must prevail. There is some motion in the industry toward a common LDAP schema. As I noted before, there are de facto standard schemas. Vendors just need to get together and settle on a common way. The vendors also need to apply those standards to their products. As always, what Microsoft chooses to do or not do will be the wild card in the standards effort.

Directory support needs to be considered in everything you purchase. That includes devices like phone systems and networking hardware, along with application software and operating systems. Industry initiatives to incorporate LDAP support in traditional hardware devices are underway, and products may become available in the near future.

If you concentrate on developing systems and buying products that support LDAP, it may soon be possible to add a user to every system in your network from a single management point. Likewise, it may be possible to remove or disable that user from a single management point.

The next step beyond implementing directories in your environment is to integrate with other organizations’ directories. The Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI) project—supported by IBM, Microsoft, and others—is a comprehensive initiative that should enable businesses to discover each other and to define how those businesses interact over the Internet. Access to directories like UDDI will make B2B e-business applications self-defining yet allow them to remain secure. You can keep an eye on the progress of the UDDI project at www.uddi.org.

A single, common directory will truly be a panacea. It will be simpler to manage and substantially more secure than anything now available. I’d like to write more about it, but right now I have to go to the server room and add a new user to three different directories. Honestly!


REFERENCES AND RELATED MATERIALS

• Implementing Directory Services. Archie Reed. McGraw-Hill, New York City, 2000

• “Introduction to X.500,” Timothy A. Howes, Ph.D., Mark C. Smith, and Gordon S. Good, Cisco Knowledge Suite, May 30, 2000, www.knowcisco.com/matter/ tut1000007

• iSeries 400 Information Center (LDAP): www.iseries.ibm.com/infocenter

• Network World Fusion Research Directories: www.nwfusion.com/research/ directories.html

• UDDI Web site: www.uddi.org

• Understanding and Deploying LDAP Directory Services. Timothy A. Howes, Ph.D., Mark C. Smith, and Good S. Good. MacMillan Technical Publishing, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1999


Long, long ago (at least in Web years), in a place far, far away, a guardian of the counting beans assumed a new position. The guardian’s new task was the administration of supplies for the director of manufacturing, a mission sought by all junior-grade members in the bean-counting community.

After initializing her personal cyber-terminal, the guardian supplied the appropriate inputs necessary to access the supply-management system, to which the terminal responded, “Access Denied!”

“How can that be?” the guardian cried. “I’ve made an appropriate application for access to the director of the binary wires. How could it deny me so?”

The guardian immediately picked up her vocal communication portal and punched in the numeric address of the assistance pod. After a short routing period filled with musical sounds of the season, a helpful assistance technician connected to the vocal channel. After describing her difficulty to the technician, the guardian asked what the issue might be.

“Well,” the technician responded, “let me take a look. According to my records, access to that particular functional complex requires 22 separate management definitions, all of which are under the control of different directors. If you would like to remain on the line, I can begin investigating which definition may be in error.”

After some grumbling from the guardian, the technician went on to say, “One option may be to use the access coding assigned to your immediate predecessor. It may then work properly, since it often takes months to remove someone from the system and seldom is that person ever removed completely.”

“Is there a better way?” The guardian asked the technician. “Absolutely,” was the reply, “We could have a directory!”

Is this a common situation in your own environment? Virtually every system, server, application, network device, workstation, and even the voice-mail system, has its own way of defining users and what they are able do. In my own very small shop, we maintain separate user directories in a production Microsoft Windows NT server domain, a test NT domain, four iSeries systems, a separate email system, a remote access server, and several software applications. Adding and removing users is a significant task and often requires a lot of calendar time to get all of the nuances and interrelationships right.


This is, however, not a new issue, and there was a realization in the IT community long ago that a common management point for users, applications, and resources is a good idea. Just think how simple things would be if a departing staff member could be disabled from all company resources, right down to the voice-mail system, with a single entry, in a single location. Such a capability is called a directory. In this article, I will discuss a bit of the directory’s history, outline the current state of the directory, and mention some of the things you might want to be thinking about as you make system and application decisions.

X.500 Gets Things Started

In 1984, a study group that became the International Telecommunication Union proposed the concept of a standardized directory. One of the key reasons for creating a directory was to allow users within an organization and among organizations to easily locate the email address of another individual—and to do so in a standard fashion. It was a dream for worldwide electronic white pages.

The final definition of the X.500 directory standard was published in 1988 and extended in 1992. It defined the databases and protocols that would allow applications and users to communicate within a directory. Another key aspect of X.500 was the ability of directories to connect to each other, which would allow an organization to recognize the authority established by another.

X.500 was a good thing, but it was also a complicated thing. It required specific

databases and was based on the Open Systems Interconnection protocol model (remember that?), and therefore it was not widely used. Although there was still a need for directories, few organizations were willing to take on the challenges of implementing the X.500 standard.

So the Internet standards community, still wanting a set of directory services, yet realizing the complexity of X.500, set out to define an all-IP implementation, known as
X.500 Lite. The result was RFC 1487, which defined the Lightweight Directory Access

Protocol (LDAP). Accepted in 1993, LDAP, unlike X.500, did not define a specific database and the elements within that database; it defined a way of communicating with a directory database and the protocols to be used in such communications. Vendors could now implement directories as they wished, and there could be a common means of accessing those directories. This was a noble concept that created its own set of issues, which I’ll discuss a bit later.

Following quickly on the heels of RFC 1487, in 1995, was RFC 1777, which defined LDAP 2.0. The 2.0 version of LDAP addressed some shortcomings in the original specification, particularly some significant performance bottlenecks.

Despite the improvements in 2.0 LDAP is not static. RFC 2251, which defines LDAP 3.0, was published as a proposed standard. It adds some functionality in the way LDAP addresses security, provides support for Unicode characters, and allows for more extensibility than that which is available in LDAP 2.0.

Then in 1994, Novell rocked the IT community with the announcement of its Netware Directory Services (NDS). Those who understood what NDS meant for a network of servers were ecstatic about the announcement, although many in the community were still wondering what a directory was. With NDS, you could manage all of your organization’s Novell users and resources from a single place. Users were no longer defined individually to each server. Define them to NDS, associate them with the resources they are allowed to access, and all was good. The primary alternatives in the file- and print- sharing segment of the industry at the time were the IBM OS/2 LAN Manager and the Windows NT Server, both of which used a domain management model, not a true directory.

NDS was, and still is, a good thing, but it primarily finds its home in managing a network of shared files and printers. Not many application programs use its services, and Novell only recently made an LDAP-compatible interface available.


The Microsoft Factor

As I have noted, Microsoft used a domain-based user-management system with its NT server product line. The concept was developed for the OS/2 LAN server and was a directory of sorts. The domain directory was not LDAP-compliant and had difficulty operating whenever communication was lost between the server and the domain server (an issue specifically addressed in the LDAP specification). Applications could not use domain services for resource management, so things like email accounts and database authorities had to be defined elsewhere.

Microsoft was taking over a huge share of the server market with Windows, but Novell was still hanging in there, due in part to NDS. I suspect that in the interest of gaining even more market share, Microsoft made the release of Active Directory Services (ADS) a large part of its original Windows NT 5.0 (eventually renamed Windows 2000) server announcement. ADS would now provide the sort of services that were previously available only in NDS, and it would also support standards like LDAP.

But Microsoft needed to address the directory issue in order to compete with Novell, even though one of the positive effects of the ADS announcement was a renewed interest in directories and in the services they could provide an organization.

What’s in There?

A directory is simply a well-defined place to put information about users, applications, and resources. This information is then associated in a way that manages a user’s authority to resources and to the components of an application.

The database of a directory needs to be flexible. It must be able to adapt to the specific needs of the resource as well as the organization. LDAP makes this happen through schemas. A schema is defined and loaded into a directory. Management records are then loaded into the directory using the defined schema. An application or resource can query a directory, using a common API, and determine whether a user is authentic and whether the association (or lack thereof) between a user and a resource is authentic.

LDAP directories are organized hierarchically like an inverted tree. There is a root node, followed by nodes that may represent organizations or applications. The next layer could contain departments or application components, under which another layer could contain users and application functions. The depth of the hierarchy depends on the implementation of a vendor’s schema.

LDAP queries can search up through the hierarchy and back down again in order to locate the appropriate resource information. Through this query mechanism, users associated with one part of an organization can either have access to resources in another part of the organization or have his access limited to only specific parts of the tree.

Variable schemas make LDAP very flexible but can also cause problems. Vendors are free to define their own schemas, and, in fact, Microsoft took some freedom with its definitions within ADS. There was a sort of de facto schema used within many LDAP implementations, including the OS/400’s, that made it possible to at least guess where information might be located, but Microsoft chose to add another unique layer in its hierarchy. Current applications that work with LDAP servers likely will need some modification to operate with ADS.

The Java community recognized the necessity of directories within its standard. A set of classes under the title of Java Naming and Directory Interface (JNDI) supplies a means, from within a Java program, of accessing LDAP directories, as well as other naming services, such as Domain Name System (DNS). JNDI is technically directory- independent, although most implementations rely on LDAP.


LDAP in OS/400

Since V4R3, LDAP has been included free in OS/400 as part of Directory Services for OS/400. Check to see if you have Option 32 of 5769-SS1 installed. If you do, there is an LDAP server available, along with a complete set of LDAP clients and utilities.

The LDAP server uses DB2/400 for storing the directory information and is configured using Operations Navigator. OS/400 commands are not available for managing the server, other than the ones for starting and stopping it. The server is started and stopped either through Operations Navigator or by using the *DIRSRV option of the Start TCP/IP Server (STRTCPSVR) and End TCP/IP Server (ENDTCPSVR) commands, respectively.

The OS/400 LDAP client supports the accessing of any LDAP server from all of the OS/400 ILE programming languages: C, COBOL, and RPG. The standard API set is implemented, so LDAP skills developed in an ILE application will transfer to other platforms. An LDAP client for Windows is included with OS/400 Client Access, and a Java client is included in OS/400’s support of JNDI.

Also included is a set of command line utilities for accessing an LDAP server from Windows and OS/400. These utilities are compatible with the LDAP utilities provided for other operating systems, and they allow you to search, add, modify, and delete directory information.

The OS/400 LDAP server and database are separate from the traditional OS/400 directory, although a replication mechanism is available for keeping either the local LDAP directory or any other LDAP directory in sync with OS/400. The Operations Navigator server properties dialog box contains a Directory Update tab. On that tab is a list of resources that can be synchronized into the directory, one of which is Users. With this option configured, users are added to and removed from the LDAP directory, as the traditional directory changes, by using the Work with User Profiles (WRKUSRPRF) command.

Unfortunately, there is not yet a way—except in a completely custom environment—to use the LDAP directory exclusively within OS/400. I expect this will change at some time in the future as OS/400 moves away from the green-screen. Such a move would also be consistent with IBM’s commitment to Internet standards.

Where ADS Fits

Because of the extreme proliferation of Microsoft servers, many shops will have an ADS server installed at some point in the near future. Doing so places another LDAP server in the environment and replaces the clunky domain-based management system of the NT Server.

The LDAP client in OS/400 could certainly use the ADS server for application security. New applications for the Windows environment will likely use ADS for their security needs, and there may be some opportunity to share a user definition between a Windows application and an iSeries application.

The OS/400 directory also could synchronize with the ADS directory, although I don’t know anyone who’s tried it yet. That could allow user definitions on the iSeries to propagate to ADS for use in other applications. Given Microsoft’s rather unique schema definition, however, I’m not sure it will work.

Another option might be to lobby IBM to include OS/400 support for ADS as the primary directory. Somehow, I don’t believe that will happen soon, but I may be wrong.

A Possible Strategy

LDAP looks like the directory protocol of choice for the foreseeable future. This means that application and platform support for the protocol will expand over time, making it realistic to expect that the use of a single, common directory is an achievable goal.


The first step would be to get comfortable working with LDAP. There are a variety of good resources available on the Web, like Network World Fusion’s Research page for directories (www.nwfusion.com/research/ directories.html). There are also a couple of good books, such as Implementing Directory Services and Understanding and Deploying LDAP Directory Services.

Another step would be to start the server on OS/400, replicate the OS/400 directory into the LDAP database, and start poking around with Operations Navigator or some of the command line tools. That should give you a feel for the structure of a directory and what its possible uses are. There are also a number of directory exploration tools available on the Internet that can supplement the standard ones.

Consider using LDAP for resource management when developing your next application. If you’re using Java, the standard JNDI interface will allow access to an LDAP directory with little or no pain. If your application is in an ILE language, take a look at the LDAP API set. See if it is practical to use the LDAP directory instead of creating your own security mechanism to control access within the application. This could be the fastest way to get a directory into production on your network. Such a strategy may seem difficult initially, but it could pay off in the future.

The addition of LDAP support to many existing directories is making another option practical, that being the concept of a metadirectory. A metadirectory exists as a layer over other directories, typically providing a single user interface that will update the back- end directories based on a set of update rules. This sort of mechanism could keep a series of directories up to date without having to get all applications and platforms talking to a single directory.

Consider asking your application providers what their directory integration plans are. Many commercial products I’ve seen use their own security infrastructures and could simplify the management of their applications through integration to a standard directory. If enough people within the user base ask for LDAP function, there is a good chance of getting it.

Ultimately, standards must prevail. There is some motion in the industry toward a common LDAP schema. As I noted before, there are de facto standard schemas. Vendors just need to get together and settle on a common way. The vendors also need to apply those standards to their products. As always, what Microsoft chooses to do or not do will be the wild card in the standards effort.

Directory support needs to be considered in everything you purchase. That includes devices like phone systems and networking hardware, along with application software and operating systems. Industry initiatives to incorporate LDAP support in traditional hardware devices are underway, and products may become available in the near future.

If you concentrate on developing systems and buying products that support LDAP, it may soon be possible to add a user to every system in your network from a single management point. Likewise, it may be possible to remove or disable that user from a single management point.

The next step beyond implementing directories in your environment is to integrate with other organizations’ directories. The Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI) project—supported by IBM, Microsoft, and others—is a comprehensive initiative that should enable businesses to discover each other and to define how those businesses interact over the Internet. Access to directories like UDDI will make B2B e-business applications self-defining yet allow them to remain secure. You can keep an eye on the progress of the UDDI project at www.uddi.org.

A single, common directory will truly be a panacea. It will be simpler to manage and substantially more secure than anything now available. I’d like to write more about it, but right now I have to go to the server room and add a new user to three different directories. Honestly!


REFERENCES AND RELATED MATERIALS

• Implementing Directory Services. Archie Reed. McGraw-Hill, New York City, 2000

• “Introduction to X.500,” Timothy A. Howes, Ph.D., Mark C. Smith, and Gordon S. Good, Cisco Knowledge Suite, May 30, 2000, www.knowcisco.com/matter/ tut1000007

• iSeries 400 Information Center (LDAP): www.iseries.ibm.com/infocenter

• Network World Fusion Research Directories: www.nwfusion.com/research/ directories.html

• UDDI Web site: www.uddi.org

• Understanding and Deploying LDAP Directory Services. Timothy A. Howes, Ph.D., Mark C. Smith, and Good S. Good. MacMillan Technical Publishing, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1999


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    SB Maxava PPL 5476PRACTICAL TOOLS TO IMPLEMENT DISASTER RECOVERY IN YOUR IBM i ENVIRONMENT

    CLOUD VS. ON-PREMISE?
    - COMPREHENSIVE CHECKLISTS
    - RISK COST CALCULATIONS
    - BUSINESS CASE FRAMEWORK
    - DR SOLUTIONS OVERVIEW
    - RFP BUILDER
    Download your free copy of DR Strategy Guide for IBM i from Maxava today.

     

  • White Paper: Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization

    SB Profound WP 5539

    If your business is thinking about modernizing your legacy IBM i (also known as AS/400 or iSeries) applications, you will want to read this white paper first!

    Download this paper and learn how Node.js can ensure that you:
    - Modernize on-time and budget - no more lengthy, costly, disruptive app rewrites!
    - Retain your IBM i systems of record
    - Find and hire new development talent
    - Integrate new Node.js applications with your existing RPG, Java, .Net, and PHP apps
    - Extend your IBM i capabilties to include Watson API, Cloud, and Internet of Things


    Read Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization Now!

     

  • 2020 IBM i Marketplace Survey Results

    HelpSystems

    This year marks the sixth edition of the popular IBM i Marketplace Survey Results. Each year, HelpSystems sets out to gather data about how businesses use the IBM i platform and the IT initiatives it supports. Year over year, the survey has begun to reveal long-term trends that give insight into the future of this trusted technology.

    More than 500 IBM i users from around the globe participated in this year’s survey, and we’re so happy to share the results with you. We hope you’ll find the information interesting and useful as you evaluate your own IT projects.

  • AIX Security Basics eCourse

    Core Security

    With so many organizations depending on AIX day to day, ensuring proper security and configuration is critical to ensure the safety of your environment. Don’t let common threats put your critical AIX servers at risk. Avoid simple mistakes and start to build a long-term plan with this AIX Security eCourse. Enroll today to get easy to follow instructions on topics like:

    • Removing extraneous files
    • Patching systems efficiently
    • Setting and validating permissions
    • Managing service considerations
    • Getting overall visibility into your networks

     

  • Developer Kit: Making a Business Case for Modernization and Beyond

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.

    Having trouble getting management approval for modernization projects? The problem may be you're not speaking enough "business" to them.

    This Developer Kit provides you study-backed data and a ready-to-use business case template to help get your very next development project approved!

  • What to Do When Your AS/400 Talent Retires

    HelpSystemsIT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators is small.

    This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn:

    • Why IBM i skills depletion is a top concern
    • How leading organizations are coping
    • Where automation will make the biggest impact

     

  • IBM i Resources Retiring?

    SB HelpSystems WC GenericLet’s face it: IBM i experts and RPG programmers are retiring from the workforce. Are you prepared to handle their departure?
    Our panel of IBM i experts—Chuck Losinski, Robin Tatam, Richard Schoen, and Tom Huntington—will outline strategies that allow your company to cope with IBM i skills depletion by adopting these strategies that allow you to get the job done without deep expertise on the OS:
    - Automate IBM i processes
    - Use managed services to help fill the gaps
    - Secure the system against data loss and viruses
    The strategies you discover in this webinar will help you ensure that your system of record—your IBM i—continues to deliver a powerful business advantage, even as staff retires.

     

  • Backup and Recovery Considerations for Security Data and Encrypted Backups

    SB PowerTech WC GenericSecurity expert Carol Woodbury is joined by Debbie Saugen. Debbie is an expert on IBM i backup and recovery, disaster recovery, and high availability, helping IBM i shops build and implement effective business continuity plans.
    In today’s business climate, business continuity is more important than ever. But 83 percent of organizations are not totally confident in their backup strategy.
    During this webinar, Carol and Debbie discuss the importance of a good backup plan, how to ensure you’re backing up your security information, and your options for encrypted back-ups.

  • Profound.js: The Agile Approach to Legacy Modernization

    SB Profound WC GenericIn this presentation, Alex Roytman and Liam Allan will unveil a completely new and unique way to modernize your legacy applications. Learn how Agile Modernization:
    - Uses the power of Node.js in place of costly system re-writes and migrations
    - Enables you to modernize legacy systems in an iterative, low-risk manner
    - Makes it easier to hire developers for your modernization efforts
    - Integrates with Profound UI (GUI modernization) for a seamless, end-to-end legacy modernization solution

     

  • Data Breaches: Is IBM i Really at Risk?

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIBM i is known for its security, but this OS could be more vulnerable than you think.
    Although Power Servers often live inside the safety of the perimeter firewall, the risk of suffering a data leak or data corruption remains high.
    Watch noted IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he discusses common ways that this supposedly “secure” operating system may actually be vulnerable and who the culprits might be.

    Watch the webinar today!

     

  • Easy Mobile Development

    SB Profound WC GenericWatch this on-demand webinar and learn how to rapidly and easily deploy mobile apps to your organization – even when working with legacy RPG code! IBM Champion Scott Klement will demonstrate how to:
    - Develop RPG applications without mobile development experience
    - Deploy secure applications for any mobile device
    - Build one application for all platforms, including Apple and Android
    - Extend the life and reach of your IBM i (aka iSeries, AS400) platform
    You’ll see examples from customers who have used our products and services to deliver the mobile applications of their dreams, faster and easier than they ever thought possible!

     

  • Profound UI: Unlock True Modernization from your IBM i Enterprise

    SB Profound PPL 5491Modern, web-based applications can make your Enterprise more efficient, connected and engaged. This session will demonstrate how the Profound UI framework is the best and most native way to convert your existing RPG applications and develop new modern applications for your business. Additionally, you will learn how you can address modernization across your Enterprise, including databases and legacy source code, with Profound Logic.

  • Node Webinar Series Pt. 1: The World of Node.js on IBM i

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

    Part 1 will teach you what Node.js is, why it's a great option for IBM i shops, and how to take advantage of the ecosystem surrounding Node.

    In addition to background information, our Director of Product Development Scott Klement will demonstrate applications that take advantage of the Node Package Manager (npm).

  • 5 New and Unique Ways to Use the IBM i Audit Journal

    SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericYou must be asking yourself: am I doing everything I can to protect my organization’s data? Tune in as our panel of IBM i high availability experts discuss:


    - Why companies don’t test role swaps when they know they should
    - Whether high availability in the cloud makes sense for IBM i users
    - Why some organizations don’t have high availability yet
    - How to get high availability up and running at your organization
    - High availability considerations for today’s security concerns

  • Profound.js 2.0: Extend the Power of Node to your IBM i Applications

    SB Profound WC 5541In this Webinar, we'll demonstrate how Profound.js 2.0 enables you to easily adopt Node.js in your business, and to take advantage of the many benefits of Node, including access to a much larger pool of developers for IBM i and access to countless reusable open source code packages on npm (Node Package Manager).
    You will see how Profound.js 2.0 allows you to:

    • Provide RPG-like capabilities for server-side JavaScript.
    • Easily create web and mobile application interfaces for Node on IBM i.
    • Let existing RPG programs call Node.js modules directly, and vice versa.
    • Automatically generate code for Node.js.
    • Automatically converts existing RPGLE code into clean, simplified Node.js code.

    Download and watch today!

     

  • Make Modern Apps You'll Love with Profound UI & Profound.js

    SB Profound WC 5541Whether you have green screens or a drab GUI, your outdated apps can benefit from modern source code, modern GUIs, and modern tools.
    Profound Logic's Alex Roytman and Liam Allan are here to show you how Free-format RPG and Node.js make it possible to deliver applications your whole business will love:

    • Transform legacy RPG code to modern free-format RPG and Node.js
    • Deliver truly modern application interfaces with Profound UI
    • Extend your RPG applications to include Web Services and NPM packages with Node.js

     

  • Accelerating Programmer Productivity with Sequel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    Most business intelligence tools are just that: tools, a means to an end but not an accelerator. Yours could even be slowing you down. But what if your BI tool didn't just give you a platform for query-writing but also improved programmer productivity?
    Watch the recorded webinar to see how Sequel:

    • Makes creating complex results simple
    • Eliminates barriers to data sources
    • Increases flexibility with data usage and distribution

    Accelerated productivity makes everyone happy, from programmer to business user.

  • Business Intelligence is Changing: Make Your Game Plan

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIt’s time to develop a strategy that will help you meet your informational challenges head-on. Watch the webinar to learn how to set your IT department up for business intelligence success. You’ll learn how the right data access tool will help you:

    • Access IBM i data faster
    • Deliver useful information to executives and business users
    • Empower users with secure data access

    Ready to make your game plan and finally keep up with your data access requests?

     

  • Controlling Insider Threats on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericLet’s face facts: servers don’t hack other servers. Despite the avalanche of regulations, news headlines remain chock full of stories about data breaches, all initiated by insiders or intruders masquerading as insiders.
    User profiles are often duplicated or restored and are rarely reviewed for the appropriateness of their current configuration. This increases the risk of the profile being able to access data without the intended authority or having privileges that should be reserved for administrators.
    Watch security expert Robin Tatam as he discusses a new approach for onboarding new users on IBM i and best-practices techniques for managing and monitoring activities after they sign on.

  • Don't Just Settle for Query/400...

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericWhile introducing Sequel Data Access, we’ll address common frustrations with Query/400, discuss major data access, distribution trends, and more advanced query tools. Plus, you’ll learn how a tool like Sequel lightens IT’s load by:

    - Accessing real-time data, so you can make real-time decisions
    - Providing run-time prompts, so users can help themselves
    - Delivering instant results in Microsoft Excel and PDF, without the wait
    - Automating the query process with on-demand data, dashboards, and scheduled jobs

  • How to Manage Documents the Easy Way

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericWhat happens when your company depends on an outdated document management strategy?
    Everything is harder.
    You don’t need to stick with status quo anymore.
    Watch the webinar to learn how to put effective document management into practice and:

    • Capture documents faster, instead of wasting everyone’s time
    • Manage documents easily, so you can always find them
    • Distribute documents automatically, and move on to the next task

     

  • Lessons Learned from the AS/400 Breach

    SB_PowerTech_WC_GenericGet actionable info to avoid becoming the next cyberattack victim.
    In “Data breach digest—Scenarios from the field,” Verizon documented an AS/400 security breach. Whether you call it AS/400, iSeries, or IBM i, you now have proof that the system has been breached.
    Watch IBM i security expert Robin Tatam give an insightful discussion of the issues surrounding this specific scenario.
    Robin will also draw on his extensive cybersecurity experience to discuss policies, processes, and configuration details that you can implement to help reduce the risk of your system being the next victim of an attack.

  • Overwhelmed by Operating Systems?

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this 30-minute recorded webinar, our experts demonstrate how you can:

    • Manage multiple platforms from a central location
    • View monitoring results in a single pane of glass on your desktop or mobile device
    • Take advantage of best practice, plug-and-play monitoring templates
    • Create rules to automate daily checks across your entire infrastructure
    • Receive notification if something is wrong or about to go wrong

    This presentation includes a live demo of Network Server Suite.

     

  • Real-Time Disk Monitoring with Robot Monitor

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericYou need to know when IBM i disk space starts to disappear and where it has gone before system performance and productivity start to suffer. Our experts will show you how Robot Monitor can help you pinpoint exactly when your auxiliary storage starts to disappear and why, so you can start taking a proactive approach to disk monitoring and analysis. You’ll also get insight into:

    • The main sources of disk consumption
    • How to monitor temporary storage and QTEMP objects in real time
    • How to monitor objects and libraries in real time and near-real time
    • How to track long-term disk trends

     

     

  • Stop Re-keying Data Between IBM I and Other Applications

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericMany business still depend on RPG for their daily business processes and report generation.Wouldn’t it be nice if you could stop re-keying data between IBM i and other applications? Or if you could stop replicating data and start processing orders faster? Or what if you could automatically extract data from existing reports instead of re-keying? It’s all possible. Watch this webinar to learn about:

    • The data dilemma
    • 3 ways to stop re-keying data
    • Data automation in practice

    Plus, see how HelpSystems data automation software will help you stop re-keying data.

     

  • The Top Five RPG Open Access Myths....BUSTED!

    SB_Profound_WC_GenericWhen it comes to IBM Rational Open Access: RPG Edition, there are still many misconceptions - especially where application modernization is concerned!

    In this Webinar, we'll address some of the biggest myths about RPG Open Access, including:

    • Modernizing with RPG OA requires significant changes to the source code
    • The RPG language is outdated and impractical for modernizing applications
    • Modernizing with RPG OA is the equivalent to "screen scraping"

     

  • Time to Remove the Paper from Your Desk and Become More Efficient

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericToo much paper is wasted. Attempts to locate documents in endless filing cabinets.And distributing documents is expensive and takes up far too much time.
    These are just three common reasons why it might be time for your company to implement a paperless document management system.
    Watch the webinar to learn more and discover how easy it can be to:

    • Capture
    • Manage
    • And distribute documents digitally

     

  • IBM i: It’s Not Just AS/400

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    IBM’s Steve Will talks AS/400, POWER9, cognitive systems, and everything in between

    Are there still companies that use AS400? Of course!

    IBM i was built on the same foundation.
    Watch this recorded webinar with IBM i Chief Architect Steve Will and IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington to gain a unique perspective on the direction of this platform, including:

    • IBM i development strategies in progress at IBM
    • Ways that Watson will shake hands with IBM i
    • Key takeaways from the AS/400 days

     

  • Ask the RDi Experts

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericWatch this recording where Jim Buck, Susan Gantner, and Charlie Guarino answered your questions, including:

    • What are the “hidden gems” in RDi that can make me more productive?
    • What makes RDi Debug better than the STRDBG green screen debugger?
    • How can RDi help me find out if I’ve tested all lines of a program?
    • What’s the best way to transition from PDM to RDi?
    • How do I convince my long-term developers to use RDi?

    This is a unique, online opportunity to hear how you can get more out of RDi.

     

  • Node.js on IBM i Webinar Series Pt. 2: Setting Up Your Development Tools

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. In Part 2, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Attend this webinar to learn:

    • Different tools to develop Node.js applications on IBM i
    • Debugging Node.js
    • The basics of Git and tools to help those new to it
    • Using NodeRun.com as a pre-built development environment

     

     

  • Inside the Integrated File System (IFS)

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericDuring this webinar, you’ll learn basic tips, helpful tools, and integrated file system commands—including WRKLNK—for managing your IFS directories and Access Client Solutions (ACS). We’ll answer your most pressing IFS questions, including:

    • What is stored inside my IFS directories?
    • How do I monitor the IFS?
    • How do I replicate the IFS or back it up?
    • How do I secure the IFS?

    Understanding what the integrated file system is and how to work with it must be a critical part of your systems management plans for IBM i.

     

  • Expert Tips for IBM i Security: Beyond the Basics

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

    Don't miss this chance to take your knowledge of IBM i security beyond the basics.

     

     

  • 5 IBM i Security Quick Wins

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn today’s threat landscape, upper management is laser-focused on cybersecurity. You need to make progress in securing your systems—and make it fast.
    There’s no shortage of actions you could take, but what tactics will actually deliver the results you need? And how can you find a security strategy that fits your budget and time constraints?
    Join top IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he outlines the five fastest and most impactful changes you can make to strengthen IBM i security this year.
    Your system didn’t become unsecure overnight and you won’t be able to turn it around overnight either. But quick wins are possible with IBM i security, and Robin Tatam will show you how to achieve them.

  • How to Meet the Newest Encryption Requirements on IBM i

    SB PowerTech WC GenericA growing number of compliance mandates require sensitive data to be encrypted. But what kind of encryption solution will satisfy an auditor and how can you implement encryption on IBM i? Watch this on-demand webinar to find out how to meet today’s most common encryption requirements on IBM i. You’ll also learn:

    • Why disk encryption isn’t enough
    • What sets strong encryption apart from other solutions
    • Important considerations before implementing encryption

     

     

  • Security Bulletin: Malware Infection Discovered on IBM i Server!

    SB PowerTech WC GenericMalicious programs can bring entire businesses to their knees—and IBM i shops are not immune. It’s critical to grasp the true impact malware can have on IBM i and the network that connects to it. Attend this webinar to gain a thorough understanding of the relationships between:

    • Viruses, native objects, and the integrated file system (IFS)
    • Power Systems and Windows-based viruses and malware
    • PC-based anti-virus scanning versus native IBM i scanning

    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. IBM i security expert Sandi Moore explains the facts, including how to ensure you're fully protected and compliant with regulations such as PCI.

     

     

  • Fight Cyber Threats with IBM i Encryption

    SB PowerTech WC GenericCyber attacks often target mission-critical servers, and those attack strategies are constantly changing. To stay on top of these threats, your cybersecurity strategies must evolve, too. In this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

     

     

     

  • 10 Practical IBM i Security Tips for Surviving Covid-19 and Working From Home

    SB PowerTech WC GenericNow that many organizations have moved to a work from home model, security concerns have risen.

    During this session Carol Woodbury will discuss the issues that the world is currently seeing such as increased malware attacks and then provide practical actions you can take to both monitor and protect your IBM i during this challenging time.

     

  • How to Transfer IBM i Data to Microsoft Excel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic3 easy ways to get IBM i data into Excel every time
    There’s an easy, more reliable way to import your IBM i data to Excel? It’s called Sequel. During this webinar, our data access experts demonstrate how you can simplify the process of getting data from multiple sources—including Db2 for i—into Excel. Watch to learn how to:

    • Download your IBM i data to Excel in a single step
    • Deliver data to business users in Excel via email or a scheduled job
    • Access IBM i data directly using the Excel add-in in Sequel

    Make 2020 the year you finally see your data clearly, quickly, and securely. Start by giving business users the ability to access crucial business data from IBM i the way they want it—in Microsoft Excel.

     

     

  • HA Alternatives: MIMIX Is Not Your Only Option on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this recorded webinar, our experts introduce you to the new HA transition technology available with our Robot HA software. You’ll learn how to:

    • Transition your rules from MIMIX (if you’re happy with them)
    • Simplify your day-to-day activities around high availability
    • Gain back time in your work week
    • Make your CEO happy about reducing IT costs

    Don’t stick with a legacy high availability solution that makes you uncomfortable when transitioning to something better can be simple, safe, and cost-effective.

     

     

  • Comply in 5! Well, actually UNDER 5 minutes!!

    SB CYBRA PPL 5382

    TRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms.

    Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product.

    Request your trial now!

  • Backup and Recovery on IBM i: Your Strategy for the Unexpected

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates the routine tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:
    - Simplified backup procedures
    - Easy data encryption
    - Save media management
    - Guided restoration
    - Seamless product integration
    Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Try the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Manage IBM i Messages by Exception with Robot

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events?
    Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated message management
    - Tailored notifications and automatic escalation
    - System-wide control of your IBM i partitions
    - Two-way system notifications from your mobile device
    - Seamless product integration
    Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing.
    Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

    - Automated report distribution
    - View online without delay
    - Browser interface to make notes
    - Custom retention capabilities
    - Seamless product integration
    Rerun another report? Never again. Try the Robot Report Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Hassle-Free IBM i Operations around the Clock

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated batch, interactive, and cross-platform scheduling
    - Event-driven dependency processing
    - Centralized monitoring and reporting
    - Audit log and ready-to-use reports
    - Seamless product integration
    Scale your software, not your staff. Try the Robot Job Scheduling Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • ACO MONITOR Manages your IBM i 24/7 and Notifies You When Your IBM i Needs Assistance!

    SB DDL Systems 5429More than a paging system - ACO MONITOR is a complete systems management solution for your Power Systems running IBM i. ACO MONITOR manages your Power System 24/7, uses advanced technology (like two-way messaging) to notify on-duty support personnel, and responds to complex problems before they reach critical status.

    ACO MONITOR is proven technology and is capable of processing thousands of mission-critical events daily. The software is pre-configured, easy to install, scalable, and greatly improves data center efficiency.