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WServerNews (formerly W2Knews)
Vol. 12, #36 - Sep 17, 2007 - Issue #642
Ready, Set, Shop for Virtualization Products

This issue of WServerNews is sponsored by
  1. Editors Corner
    • Ready, Set, Shop for Virtualization Products
    • Should Governments Be Allowed To Install Spyware?
    • How Much Time For Equipment Maintenance?
    • Webcast: Protecting Exchange Against Spam, Viruses, and Phishing
    • Quotes of the Week
  2. Admin Toolbox
    • Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
  3. Tech Briefing
    • Exchange 2007 Service Pack Beta Released
    • The Defenseless Defender
    • Critical September Patch Could Hit Windows 2000 SP4 Systems
    • The 'Bossie' Awards For Open Source Code
    • Windows Hot-Add Memory Hurts Exchange Server Performance
    • Worm Spreading Through Skype
    • Experts: "Microsoft Changes Windows Files Without Permission"
    • Tip: SQL Server Stored Procedures You Should Know About
  4. Windows Server News
    • Ready, Set, Shop for Virtualization Products
  5. WServer Third Party News
    • Hard Times On The HIPAA Front. Worried About Audits?
    • Hackers Update Malware Tool Kit, Add First Zero-Day Attack Code
    • Live Webinar - Replication and Recovery of Exchange 2007, with Microsoft Guest Speaker
  6. WServerNews FAVE Links
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff.
  7. WServerNews - Product of the Week
    • The Most Versatile Active Directory Tool Available.
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Editors Corner

Ready, Set, Shop for Virtualization Products

This issue we have a special report in the WINDOWS SERVER NEWS section about virtualization. You should definitely read it if you plan or are already using VMs of either VMware or Microsoft, as the conclusions are quite interesting from your budget-perspective!

Should Governments Be Allowed To Install Spyware?

First, thanks for the many responses. Out of the hundreds of you that responded, I picked one that takes a very interesting perspective:

Pat McDermott-Wells sent me this: "I teach a required course in Ethics & Computers in Society at the School of Computing & Information Sciences at Florida International University in Miami. This is one of the topics that we debate in the course. In addition to using spyware, are we willing to let the government:
  • increase its use of CCTV in public venues?
  • use biometric scanning information (facial scanning at the Super Bowl in Tampa)?
  • pull our phone, cell phone, and web surfing history from vendors and ISPs (or listen in real-time)?
  • monitor our movements via GPS, cell phones, OnStar?
  • institute a national ID card (or body chip embedded in our arms)?
Spyware was recently used in this country by the FBI to apprehend a student who was making bomb threats to his high school. Link at:
http://www.wservernews.com/070917-FBI-Spyware

One need only research the FBI Carnivore program to see that this is not a new endeavor. The IRS has launched web bots to watch online purchasing activity. International phone calls have been monitored by our intelligence agencies almost since the first transatlantic phone cables were laid.

All of these issues constitute the "slippery slope" which we as citizens are asked to navigate. Bluntly asked about any of these issues, most people will strongly respond "No!". But if you then ask those same people the same question but with this approach - "If you knew that another 9/11 attack would be stopped before it occurred, would you agree to this government action?" - many people will then readily agree. In straw polls in my classes, a solid majority will now agree. After all, the reasoning goes, if one is not doing anything illegal, there is nothing to fear from government scrutiny.

The troubling aspect is that while this technology can be used for tremendous good, in the wrong hands it can be used against our own citizens for personal or political gain. It therefore increases the risk of handing power to a tyrant. So this now becomes a question of degrees: When it is appropriate to use this technology? Under what circumstances? And, as is the case with most major ethical decisions, it can be boiled down to two central questions: "Where do you draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable?" And "Who decides where that line should be drawn?".

And as somewhat of an answer to this, a significant section of you came back with, "If a Judge issues a warrant, it's OK."

How Much Time For Equipment Maintenance?

Sunbelt and Yankee have a quick 5 minute survey about hardware & server OS reliability. At the end of the survey, you have the chance to color your information with comments about your experience of patching and repair. This survey will be used by Yankee Group to identify the relative time undertaken to keep equipment maintained. Please take 5 and I will report back the results in a coming issue:
http://www.wservernews.com/070917-Reliability-Survey


Webcast: Protecting Exchange Against Spam, Viruses, and Phishing

Securing your Exchange Server is key to protecting your enterprise environment from spam, viruses, and phishing. You're invited to join Sunbelt Software for the webcast: "Protecting Your Organization from Spam, Viruses, and Phishing". In this webcast, Alex Eckelberry, president and Greg Kras, VP of Product Management for Sunbelt Software will explain the benefits of using an 'all-in-one' integrated and policy-based email security solution versus separate products on your Exchange Server for antivirus, antispam, attachment filtering, and disclaimers.

Learn how Ninja Email Security helps you to fight spam, viruses, trojans, phishing and other email security threats with a series of 'best-of-breed' plug-ins, at a lower cost and in 'Half The Admin Time':

When: Tuesday, September 18, 2007 2:00 PM (EDT)
Please register here:
http://www.wservernews.com/070917-Ninja-Webcast


Quotes of the Week

"There is no way to peace; peace is the way." -- A. J. Muste
"Even peace may be purchased at too high a price." -- Benjamin Franklin
"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Gandhi

Thank you for being a WServerNews subscriber.

Hope you enjoy this issue of WServerNews! Warm regards, Stu Sjouwerman  |   Email me: [email protected]


Admin Toolbox

Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without

With the HD_Speed input/output testing tool, you can test hard drive and other storage device speed-levels. Download at:
http://www.wservernews.com/070917-Steelbytes

You may not know this, but the Community Edition is actually free, so download rDirectory and webify your Active Directory.
http://www.wservernews.com/070917-NameScape

Reclaim up to 95% of your .pst files with PSTCompress 3. Download your trial copy today!
http://www.wservernews.com/070917-PSTCompress-3

Sunbelt needs beta testers for CounterSpy Enterprise V3.0. It's got a hot new dashboard-based console plus new reports. Please send an email to [email protected].

Tech Briefing

Exchange 2007 Service Pack Beta Released

Exchange Server 2007 reached the next step in its lifecycle with a community technology preview (CTP) of its first service pack. Redmond announced the release of beta 1 of SP1, available to MSDN and TechNet subscribers. The service pack includes a great deal of added functionality, much more than is often seen in an SP1 release. Some of the upgraded features of SP1 include greater interoperability with the as-yet-unreleased Windows Server 2008, more integration with Office Communications Server 2007, a better Outlook Web Access (OWA) experience, and improved disaster recovery functionality. More:
http://www.wservernews.com/070917-Exchange-2007-SP-Beta


The Defenseless Defender

Here's the story of one European nation that left the doors to its Defense department Web site wide open. It was Sunbelt researchers that found this hole! eWEEK created a slide show with this one:
http://www.wservernews.com/070917-Defenseless-Defender


Critical September Patch Could Hit Windows 2000 SP4 Systems

IT managers got a light load of patches this month with only one rated critical. Searchwindowssecurity has the details:
http://www.wservernews.com/070917-September-Patches


The 'Bossie' Awards For Open Source Code

This week InfoWorld announced the winners of the Bossie awards, honoring the "Best of Open Source Software" for business.
http://www.wservernews.com/070917-Bossie-Awards


Windows Hot-Add Memory Hurts Exchange Server Performance

Microsoft Windows Server operating systems that support hot-add memory can unintentionally deplete Exchange Server 2003's kernel-paged pool memory and cause serious performance problems. Prevent and resolve hot-add memory issues on Exchange with these performance troubleshooting options.
http://www.wservernews.com/070917-Hot-Add-Memory


Worm Spreading Through Skype

Sans warned that a worm spreading through Skype's instant messenger "injects code into the Explorer.exe process to force it to run the actual malware;" it also puts phony entries in the Windows hosts file to prevent security software from getting updates. A number of anti-virus companies "have already updated their signature definitions to detect and delete the new malware." The worm spreads by sending itself to contacts from infected machines. Here is more at the Internet Storm Center:
http://www.wservernews.com/070917-Skype-Worm


Experts: "Microsoft Changes Windows Files Without Permission"

Microsoft's update system is changing files on both XP and Vista -- even if a user disables automatic updates. Microsoft, however, calls it built-in behavior and no cause for alarm. Scott Dunn at the Windows Secrets site has all the details. This is an interesting read:
http://www.wservernews.com/070917-Microsoft-Updates


Tip: SQL Server Stored Procedures You Should Know About

How can SQL Server stored procedures be helpful if you don't know they exist? In this tip, database architect Denny Cherry shares 18 handy stored procedures that have gone undocumented by Microsoft.
http://www.wservernews.com/070917-Hidden-SQL-SP


Windows Server News

Ready, Set, Shop for Virtualization Products

To follow up on last week's item about Redmond's new Virtual Server manager, here is more news. VMWare's VMWorld customer conference held in California this past week featured the usual parade of products and vendor partnerships announced amidst the standard hype.

But the most interesting news at the conference happened behind the scenes. VMWare, the current market leader with approximately 60% market share, is getting ready to discount its Virtual Center pricing and offer new bundles and promotions before year's end, according to resellers familiar with the company's upcoming initiatives.

VMWare's anticipated price cuts are not prompted by a feeling of holiday cheer; it's to block their chief competitor Microsoft. Redmond has only half of VMWare's market share -- about 30% -- and is working hard to catch up. Right now, as many of you know, VMWare's Virtual Center is the leader in terms of features and functionality. Microsoft will roll out a major beta of its Hypervisor technology code named "Viridian" by year's end.

Viridian though, won't be available in 'gold code' general release until earliest June 2008, at least 6 months after W2K8 ships. So meanwhile, Microsoft is playing its trump card: pricing. Their executives held a series of customer and press briefings of their own during VMWorld to showcase how their list prices favorably compared to VMWare. And hard as it is to believe, Microsoft list pricing is anywhere from 42% to roughly 75% cheaper than VMWare's current retail pricing.

I was surprised since Microsoft is not known for being a discount software vendor. I reviewed the retail prices (based on publicly available list pricing from both Microsoft and VMWare's respective Websites) and confirmed it for myself.

Right now, a list price 'apples-to-apples' comparison of Microsoft vs. VMWare shows that Microsoft's Virtual Server costs about 50% less in a Single Server entry level configuration and two-thirds or 66% less in an enterprise configuration. In a 10 server configuration that includes management and Windows Server licenses, VMWare VI3 Virtual Server platform (including management and Microsoft Virtual Server licenses) retails for $58,750 compared with $33,600 for Microsoft's Virtual Server in a comparable configuration. Yes, I know that no one pays list price, but it gives you an idea of the pricing disparity that exists between the two platforms right now.

The big irony and main reason VMWare costs more is because anytime a corporate customer purchases VMWare's virtualization offering they also have to buy a Windows Server license (or a Red Hat or Novell server license if using Linux) on top of paying for the VMWare offering. Microsoft -- and the Linux vendors like Red Hat include virtualization for free as part of the baseline server OS. Ironically, the need to purchase client access licenses on top of a Windows Server license is the very reason that Windows list pricing is more expensive than comparable Linux offerings.

Conclusion:
The catch in this equation is that you get what you pay for. Microsoft's current virtualization product is a 1.0 release. Any business that needs best of breed right away should stick with VMWare or one of the smaller niche market players like Cassatt, Egenera, SWSoft or Virtual Iron to name just a few. But if your business is price driven and "good enough" will suffice for the time being until Viridian ships, then you might want to consider Microsoft's Virtual Server.

The bottom line is that the competition in the virtualization market is fierce. And competition is good leverage for corporate customers. The last Virtualization survey Sunbelt conducted earlier this year, showed that nearly one-third of organizations plan to deploy virtualization solutions from multiple vendors in their shops. Again, this bodes well for increasing your bargaining power with all the vendors since they will be anxious to gain and retain your business. I've given you some sample prices to judge for yourself. But don't just take my word for it. Call your vendors and resellers and ask them to give you some price quotes. Happy Shopping!

Single Server Configuration for Virtualization
                                          VMWare        Microsoft
Windows Server Enterprise License         $2,400           $2,400
VMWare VI3  Platform                      $3,750               $0
VMWare Virtual Center                         $0               $0
Microsoft Virtual Server/Hypervisor           $0               $0
Microsoft System Center Server Mgmt Suite     $0             $860
HA/Clustering                             $2,000               $0
Dynamic Resource Mgmt                     $2,000               $0
Back up                                     $500
Total                                    $10,650           $3,260


WServer Third Party News

Hard Times On The HIPAA Front. Worried About Audits?

ComputerWorld has a very good story if you are in the Healthcare space, and are supposed to be HIPAA compliant. They started out with: "It's been a week of bad news for lazy or sloppy healthcare organizations. An employee fired after a security breach of protected health information filed a wrongful termination suit against his former employer, and it may have merit because of poor policies. A community health care provider hacked by a disgruntled employee may be dragged into a compliance quagmire because it's not clear that the organization took basic steps to revoke his access.

And to top it off, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is starting to swing the enforcement rule -- a dowdy part of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that few people read -- like a scythe in a field of weedy policies and overgrown practices. Worried about audits?

The first HIPAA audit by the HHS has been widely reported. Atlanta's Piedmont Hospital received notice of the audit, and much has been made of the information requested. But did we not see this coming?
http://www.wservernews.com/070917-HIPAA-Audit

If you need an affordable, and military-spec vulnerability scanner:
http://www.wservernews.com/070917-SNSI


Hackers Update Malware Tool Kit, Add First Zero-Day Attack Code

Yup. There are now basically commercial-quality tools to create malware. And those tools get updates as well. ComputerWorld had the scoop: "A new version of the IcePack hacker exploit tool kit has been released, security researchers warned today, and for the first time it includes attack code designed to exploit an unpatched, or zero-day, Microsoft vulnerability.

Three of IcePack's eight exploit tools are new, said Roger Thompson, chief technology officer at Exploit Prevention Labs Inc. That's noteworthy in and of itself, Thompson said. "The mix of old and new exploits is to be expected, but three new ones in one update is pretty impressive," he noted. Here is the story:
http://www.wservernews.com/070917-IcePack-Updates

If you need industrial-strength, enterprise anti-malware, check out CounterSpy Enterprise. The definitions file now has 1.5 million threat definitions!
http://www.wservernews.com/070917-CounterSpy-Enterprise


Live Webinar - Replication and Recovery of Exchange 2007, with Microsoft Guest Speaker

Date: September 18th, 2007
Time: 11am - 12pm EST

Speakers:
- Bob Roudebush, Director of Solutions Engineering, Double-Take Software
- Patrick Foley, Technical Evangelist, Microsoft

Exchange Server 2007 represents a new platform for messaging, collaboration and communication from Microsoft. It creates new opportunities for e-mail data protection and availability including Exchange-specific replication capabilities for the first time with the inclusion of Local Continuous Replication (LCR) and Continuous Cluster Replication (CCR) for Exchange data. Together, the protection and recovery capabilities of Double-Take Software combined with the new recovery features within Exchange 2007 provide an end-to-end solution for Exchange protection, eliminating single points of failure and providing the utmost flexibility and redundancy for your business-critical Exchange messaging data.

Please join this webinar to learn how Double-Take Software solutions for Exchange and Exchange 2007 can:
  • Provide a third copy of Exchange data replicated to a remote server for disaster recovery or remote availability purposes
  • Provide an additional level of protection for Exchange 2007 server Hub and Transport, Mailbox Server and Client Access Server roles by replicating the data using asynchronous, byte-level replication to standby systems
  • Provide remote availability and disaster recovery of Microsoft Clusters running Exchange Server 2007
Register today:

http://www.wservernews.com/070917-Exchange-Webinar


WServerNews FAVE Links

This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff.



WServerNews - Product of the Week

The Most Versatile Active Directory Tool Available.

Tap into Active Directory's potential with composable web applications you can deploy in minutes. New & improved rDirectory 2.0 combines an easy to use designer with templates and preconfigured applications for secure solutions that leverage your existing AD. It's the perfect system: a self-editable directory, a template driven account creation tool, a way for users to create and self-subscribe to email lists and groups, a self-service password reset utility, a valuable tool for any help desk and more. Discover the flexibility of rDirectory and new ideas on how to leverage AD will start popping up. See why customers call rDirectory the "the most versatile Active Directory tool available."
http://www.wservernews.com/070917-rDirectory