Sunbelt W2Knews Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, May 7, 2001 (Vol. 6, #32 - Issue #267)
Thanks Much Everyone
This issue of W2Knews contains:
- EDITORS CORNER
- TECH BRIEFING
- Which Machines Would Get An AutoPilot Performance Boost?
- NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
- Marathon Wins, Ships 5Nines Win2K
- Want To See NT/W2K Source Code? With Some Luck You Can!
- NT/2000 THIRD PARTY NEWS
- Are Idle Users A Security Risk And Hogging Resources?
- W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
- This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
- PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
- Windows 2000 Power Toolkit, written by yours truly
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Thanks Much Everyone
It's been an exciting few last days to say the least. Last Thursday I
announced my new book and we got up to THE #2 SPOT on Amazon.com before
it dropped back again. Wow. Thanks very much everyone!
But on Friday, disaster struck. The email gods made mincemeat out of
the little reminder email I sent. It lost all its formatting and
arrived looking like a dog's breakfast. Oh well, you live and learn.
Anyway you helped me to show that TECHIES RULE! Did not get yours yet?
Go pick up that puppy at:
So now, let's get back to the normal news and see that the hap is.
(email me with feedback: [email protected])
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Which Machines Would Get An AutoPilot Performance Boost?
PlanetIT published an article on this, earlier this year. It was done
by independent and objective testers without a commercial interest.
I'm giving you an extract here, and the link to the full article is
at the end, and I suggest you check out the PlanetIT site. It's cool.
"Sunbelt Software claims that its product, AutoPilot, can increase
the performance of Microsoft Exchange servers by as much as 40 percent.
One school of thought recommends that you optimize server performance
by adding additional CPUs, memory or faster disk drives. But AutoPilot
is supposed to increase performance simply through software. It uses
modules that run like NT services at the kernel level. The company
claims that by carefully applying fuzzy logic and neural networking
code that reschedules tasks and prioritizes threads, performance gains
will be greater than the overhead needed to run the additional code.
"In essence, AutoPilot continually monitors the state of the OS, of
each processor and of each thread, and it determines which thread
should run next. That sounds pretty impressive, but does it work?
"To test AutoPilot, we ran it on a generic Intel dual-processor Pentium
III/600 with 512 MB of RAM and 32 clients. This was a "pure" Microsoft
Exchange server, running Exchange 2000 under Windows 2000 Advanced
Server. Using parameter-measuring software, we ran a variety of tests
with AutoPilot turned on and also with the software turned off. The
expected performance boosts not only weren't there -- they were hardly
even measurable. This was disappointing, to say the least. Then something
pretty obvious occurred to us: If the product was dealing with prioritization,
there wouldn't be any contention on a server running only one
"So with that theory in mind, we loaded Microsoft SQL Server and MS IIS
on our test server. We then started doing large SQL queries and Web page
hits in addition to sending varying sizes of mail packets back and forth
between our Outlook client PCs. AutoPilot kicked in, and it worked! We
saw substantial performance boosts -- not 40 percent, mind you, but
improvements of between 15 percent and 28 percent, depending on what
processes were in play on the server.
"The optimal environment for AutoPilot is a system that is receiving a
wide mixture of requests. If your Exchange servers also host SQL Server,
SMS Server or any other programs that are in contention for CPU and
memory, then AutoPilot will definitely be worth purchasing. Granted,
this all depends on your budget, as additional CPUs and RAM are often
better solutions, but AutoPilot is certainly worth trying out. If you
obtain the gains we did, it may well be worth your investment".
The only thing I can add, is that this is of course also true for your
workstations. Got lots of stuff running, all contending for resources?
AutoPilot should do a good job.
Here's the link for a 30-day trial:
Here's the link to buy the new book "W2K Power Toolkit" and get AP free:
NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
Marathon Wins, Ships 5Nines Win2K
Client Server News reported in their May 7-11 issue that Marathon
Technologies won the race to ship 99.999% (5Nines) Win2K-based
high-availability clusters based on Dell hardware. The Marathon stuff
isn't relying on any particular hardware vendor though, and it will
run on pretty much any Intel-based systems.
Today, Marathon will announce that their first 5Nines has been delivered
to the Utility Protection Center in Duluth, Georgia. You may not know
that Marathon has been in a race with Stratus, whose Win2K 5Nines stuff
was supposed to arrive last year.
Of course MS hopes to be able to show the market a 5Nines-box in a big
multi-processor environment, like the Unisys 32-CPU system, but that ain't
here yet. The hardware the customer is getting was built out of four dual-
CPU PowerEdge servers. Marathon's 5Nines architecture designates two of
the servers to handle computing tasks. The other two are only doing
the I/O tasks needed to get to 5Nines reliability.
I have seen one of these Marathon systems run at the 911 center here in
the Florida Pinellas County. Pretty impressive.
Want To See NT/W2K Source Code? With Some Luck You Can!
It depends on where you work. MS plans to widen up its existing source-
code licensing agreements. Two new programs will be coming down the pike
later this year, that look suspiciously like "open-source", but MS does
not want you to call it that.
MS is making its Windows source code more widely available to selected
parties. These are people like soft- and hardware vendors, and academic
institutions. But MS is working overtime to distance itself from the
open software movement. "Our choice is to give the customers what they
want, and that is standards for interoperability, more than source code,"
said Craig Mundie, Microsoft senior vice president of advanced tech.
He called it "shared source philosophy." . MS believes the open-source
business model is unsound and unsustainable. Mundie said that MS plans
to extend over the next few weeks its Windows 2000 customer source-code
license agreements to 12 additional (not yet named) countries. But you
can bet your boots these will have enforceable intellectual property
laws. Read: They will mainly spread it into Europe.
Mundie added that Microsoft plans to extend its OEM source-code license
agreements later this year as well. Microsoft plans to add an academic
site-license option to its existing Windows CE Platform Builder program.
THIRD PARTY NEWS
Are Idle Users A Security Risk And Hogging Resources?
Fortress-NT/2000 might be the right Security Guard. It provides several
flexible but tamperproof security enhancements to NT/W2K Workstations
and Servers, applied on a per-user or per-workstation basis. Easily to
use, Fortress-NT can be remotely installed and configured. Ideal for
secure environments. For example, Fortress-NT is in use at Boeing and
the United States Coast Guard.
Security enhancement features of Fortress-NT
New Functionality of Fortress-NT v3.0
- Allow non-Administrator logons only during specified hours, and forcibly
log the user off at a predetermined time, ending all tasks initiated
by that user. This allows control of workstation logons in addition
to domain logons, and logs the user off from the workstation as well
as the domain. (Restricting logon hours through User Manager for
Domains does not affect a user's ability to use a workstation.)
- Provides an Idle Logout screen saver which logs the user off after a
predetermined period of inactivity. The inactivity delay and the screen
saver's running time before logoff can be set independently. The screen
saver also displays a logo or other graphic which can be customized.
- Enforces that the workstation always have a password-protected screen
saver enabled with a maximum specifiable delay. Users may still
customize their desktops or choose a shorter screen saver delay. Users
can also choose any screen saver they wish unless the Idle Logout
screen saver is required.
- Provides the FortLock utility which lets users quickly lock their
workstation or logoff with a simple button click, taskbar icon click,
or hotkey press. For more information about FortLock, see its online
- Fortress-NT runs in the current user's logon session. It is intended
to be started upon logon, preferably via a logon script. It is not
installed as an NT service and does not require the use of any services,
although the Event Log service will be used if it is running.
What are the Product Benefits?
- Idle Logout Screen Saver - logs out idle users after a predetermined
period of inactivity.
- Guarantee that a password-protected screen saver is always enabled,
with a maximum specifiable delay. This goes beyond the enforcement
possible with the domain-wide policies, closing some gaps that are
left open. Fortress-NT also allows the user to specify a shorter
timeout, if desired.
- Enforcement of logon/logoff times, with more flexible settings than
those offered by standard Windows NT/2000 user management; Fortress-NT
also lets you specify the duration of a user's session (e.g., logon
session cannot last longer than 30 minutes).
- Remote administrative control: An Administrator can log off a user
remotely, start a password-protected screen saver on a remote WS,
view workstation and logon session information, or update Fortress-NT
policies on the fly.
- Specify different policies based on time of day and/or NT group
- FortLock utility that lets users quickly lock their workstation or
logoff with a simple button click, taskbar icon click, or hotkey press.
- Tamper-proof. Users cannot defeat or override Fortress-NT mechanisms.
- Very small memory footprint, with no impact on system performance.
With Fortress-NT, these problems are a thing of the past. When a user
leaves their Workstation, the Fortress-NT tamper-proof screen saver
will activate within a short time and only a password will unlock the
system. Then after a preset time span and a series of alarms (e.g. 10
minutes) the user gets logged off and all licenses are freed up. This
creates both a secure environment and saves significant sums of money
in concurrent license environments.
- Utilities like the new Fortress-NT have been used on other platforms
for years and are a trusted helper of NT System Administrators.
- Despite the fact that very elaborate and powerful solutions exist to
make sure hackers do not enter your networks, a very high percentage
of security breaks come from a very down to earth cause: employees
leaving their workstations with confidential information on the
screen or readily accessible.
- Apart from the security issue, a user that logs on in the morning
in an environment where concurrent licensing is in use and grabs a
batch of licenses is a resource hog. This can cost a company very
expensive additional concurrent licenses.
"Fortress-NT works very well and is a solid product. It meets all of
the problems we have run into in this area. Once the program is started
it cannot be terminated without logging out the current user connections
and applications. . ." --Micah O'Connor, Sumitomo Bank Capital Markets
More specs, screenshot, full manual and your 30-day eval here:
This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
UK Scientists developed tractor beams based on Laser that really work
Want your apps to follow you from one computer to the next? How it works:
Very remarkable gray-hair feature in the "person" icon for User Group.
PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
Windows 2000 Power Toolkit, written by yours truly
As I said in the Editor's Corner, you can now order your W2K Power
Toolkit via Amazon.com and get almost 500 bucks worth of software
thrown in! If you make your reservation right away, they will ship
the book+CD to you the moment they get their big shipment in on the
11-th. W2K power toolkit assist you in the analysis, tuning, opti-
mization, automation, enhancement, maintenance, and troubleshooting
of Windows 2000. Barry and I show you how to use operating system
utilities, Resource Kit applications, and third-party tools to help
you accomplish everyday and advanced W2K system tasks.
And with it, comes a FREE permanent full function copy of AutoPilot
for Windows 2000, (See Tech Briefing). You'll find a coupon in the
back of the book that allows your free download of these tools. This
is a value of $497.00 thrown in at no cost. Here's where: