Why does your business (or organization) need a consolidated managed file transfer application?  When working within an organization and with its partners, organizations find that

  • Paper-based processes are inadequate, they are labor-intensive and these paper-based processes slow down the ability to conduct business
  • Doing away with shipping physical media lowers their risk of losing sensitive data to theft and accidental loss
  • Streamlining operations so that there are fewer systems to manage and leverage the lower costs of doing business on the internet, the intranet and in the cloud

From outside an organization, regulatory mandates from agencies and governments are increasing (like PCI, HIPPA and GLBA).  Moreover, markets and business are moving faster.  Companies that can process transactions quickly (e.g., less than a second) can compete on speed and effeciency.

One MFT Application can replace the disparate file transfer tools and the rogue FTP servers scattered throughout your organization.

As a result, many businesses find they need one file transfer solution that addresses the needs of the entire organization.  These businesses need one application and not numerous point applications and tools from several vendors scattered throughout the organization surreptitiously poking holes in their firewalls.  They need a one-stop shop for their end users (a single, easy to learn and easy to use UI), their applications (a straightforward API) and their administrators and managers (an application that helps to increase revenue, lower their TCO and maintain their high security standards).

Remember, Managed File Transfer (MFT) is software application (or an appliance) that provides organizations of any size with a holistic solution for all their file transfer needs. Unlike point solutions for file transfer, rogue FTP servers or physical media, a consolidated MFT application means that your organization has one product and one vendor to meet all your file transfer needs.  A consolidated MFT application translates into increasing the accessibility and the trackability of your customer, partner and employee information (only for authorized users and uses).  At the same time, it increases security, reduces the risk of exposing critical data and lowers your total cost of ownership.

In addition, a consolidated MFT application means increased revenue because your sales electronically instead of by paper, fax or telephone.  Remember, a consolidated MFT application helps to integrate your applications (and your partner applications) by making it easy to exchange data programmatically.

In short, a consolidated application increases your visibility to all file transfers within your organization, it increases the speed at which you can do business (thereby increasing the revenues) by seamlessly integrating the data from all your applications and it reduces your total cost of ownership for all file transfer (data movement) applications within your organization by providing a one-stop shop for the application (from one vendor), for its web services APIs and for your teams to work with.

We are excited to announce our new new international partner programme!

Some Partner Programme benefits include:

  • A Premier Partner Portal with up to date information and resources, coupled with enhanced navigation and user interface
  • A deal registration and lead sharing programme (in select geographic regions) that streamlines business opportunities by protecting in-process projects and eliminating channel conflict
  • Tiered discount levels that provide double digit margins
  • Access to WhatsUp Gold technical and pre-sales engineering support to enable partners to deliver greater value and services to customers
  • Access to exclusive promotions and incentives that facilitate engagement with customers and prospects
  • Online technical and sales certification programs for self-paced learning
  • Customisable, turnkey marketing tools to help accelerate sales cycle

“We have had great success working closely with Ipswitch for over 15 years. The new Partner Programme will enable us to take advantage of even more new revenue opportunities, including services and training, thus reaching more potential customers than ever before. The improvements that have been made in terms of technical and sales certification will further enhance our ability to offer customers a strategic value proposition and expand our footprint within existing accounts,” said Gillian Randell, WhatsUp Gold Sales Consultant at Aryane Computers.

Learn more about our exciting new Partner Programme!

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I’ve been back on the road visiting file transfer customers and there’s growing concern out there about the ability to track and predict failure against defined service level agreements (SLAs).  In general, I’m seeing most SLAs in our industry cleave to one or more of the following requirements:

1) Application Availability:  Did our service meet the 99.xxx% goal we set?  Most companies I’ve seen track this in minutes per month and year, and some track this by visibility to key customers.  For example, if the file transfer srvice was unexpectedly down at 3am but only 15 customers would have noticed, can we count it as an outage for only those 15?

2) Round-trip Response Time:  Does our service reliably return results from incoming submissions within X time?  This is big at data centers that self-identify as “item processors” or have an “EDI/transmissions” group.  This can also be further specified by class of customer or work (e.g., higher priority transactions) and time of day.

3) Expected Data Within Defined Transfer Window:  Did we receive (or send) the “right” files during the transmissions window from X:XX to Y:YY?  This one can be harder than it looks.  First, you often have “right files” definitions that have dependencies on control or summary files plus specific file formats, names and sizes.   Then there is the additional challenge of predicting which bundles are “running late” and the question of setting up warning alerts with 30 minutes or 15 minutes to go?

Even with these common requirements in the field, the nature of SLAs continues to evolve.   As we see additional trends develop we’ll continue to note them – please expect more information in the coming months.

In my current role I speak to a lot of network engineers trying to automatically map their network topology. Actually it’s more than that, they don’t just want to discover devices, the want a port level diagram of exactly how all their switches, routers, servers, workstations, phones, firewalls . . . you get the point. Some engineers I speak to practically ask:

“Can this tool provide a detailed topology and physical map illustrating the rack number and space in the rack for all the devices in my environment without configuring SNMP?”

Seriously? Really?? While I may be dramatizing a bit, the reality is that network engineers regularly walk into hostile environments where the responsibility for the documentation and organization of equipment on the network has been sorely neglected. In some cases these engineers are filling a role that never existed before so nobody took these responsibilities seriously, and in others . . . let’s just say their predecessor may have left in less than amicable circumstances. In these situations engineers need tools that will flexibly discover and map the environment by any means necessary and provide them with the information they need to make sense of this strange new world they’ve thrown themselves into.

I feel for these engineers. I’ve been one of those professional services road warriors walking into a new environment every week and seen everything from well organized, well labeled, cable managed, SAS 70 certified datacenters where the greatest risk is getting stuck in the mantrap or having your coffee confiscated when you accidentally carry it onto the raised floor, to the cable spaghetti general purpose wiring closets where copper network cables are picking up EMF cross-talk from 240V electrical wiring that was dangerously close to a leaky roof. That’s no dramatization, and the point I’m trying to make is no matter how well funded, organized, or configured an environment may be, without a map to illustrate the physical and logical relationships between systems every engineer I’ve met would be lost.

Getting those maps early on and keeping them updated is a critical part of every network engineer’s role and a tool that will automate the process of discovering and drawing those maps is invaluable. That said we can’t expect miracles, tool developers are not the brothers Grimm, there are no networking fairies that will console into all your switches while you sleep and enable SNMP/CDP. There’s always going to be some amount of legwork to enable the environment to tell you what you need to know and it will be an iterative and ongoing process to keep that environment properly configured, documented, and mapped. The tools that minimize that legwork and maximize the value of our efforts as engineers is something truly worthy of legend.

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Is the Private Cloud Right for You?

You may have noticed our recent poll on cloud use in 2011, which found that almost 2/3 of all organizations are planning some kind of cloud investment this year. Nearly 30% said they would be investing in the private cloud specifically. If you happen to fall in with this percentage, then you’re in luck. The Ipswitch Network Management Division has been hard at work, documenting the steps and best practices for implementing and managing a private cloud. But sometimes the decision to move to the cloud isn’t easy.

Before committing to an investment such as this, it is important to know what makes it advantageous. A private cloud offers:

  • Improved hardware optimization
  • Reduced support costs with self-service management
  • Reduced capital expenditures
  • Reduced time to deploy applications and services

You may also want to consider potential drawbacks and what might not make a private cloud the right option for you. It is usually an efficient and cost-effective way of utilizing IT resources when the following conditions are met:

  • The cloud provider has standardized hardware
  • The cloud provider has standardized OS and application stacks
  • Sufficient networking infrastructure is in place to support cloud computing
  • Management tools, such as server and network monitoring, are in place
  • The distribution of jobs lends themselves to distributed computing platforms

If you do decide the private cloud is a good fit for your network, there are still more steps that need to be taken before implementations. To determine your current state of readiness for the cloud you must first assess your existing infrastructure, resource utilization levels, policies and procedures governing IT operations, and reporting and cost allocation procedures.

Ready to begin the migration to a private cloud? Read our white paper on deploying and managing private cloud.

Also, check out this article in the Enterprise Networking Planet on some tips on deploying your private cloud.

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In the words of Victor Kennedy, Director of Talladega County 9-1-1, “Networks don’t get more mission-critical than emergency communications.”

In November 2009 Talladega consolidated all of their call and dispatch services for 5 law enforcement agencies, 4 fire departments, 3 emergency medical services and 4 other private services into a single communications network, covering 760 square miles. In its first year, Talladega County 9-1-1 handled 99,000 requests for assistance and 252,000 calls.

Until last year, calls for assistance could be received by any of the multiple Public Safety Answering Points, depending on the caller’s location. However, it was not always clear where the caller was located when cell phone and VoIP were in the picture. To alleviate this problem Talladega County implemented a single IP-enabled E9-1-1 Consolidated Communication Center. That was still a lot for one network to handle.

Here’s where WhatsUp Gold comes in. A consultant for Director Victor Kenndedy introduced him to WhatsUp Gold, and they have never looked back since. It allowed for a drastic improvement in efficiency with alerts setup for email to Blacberry and laptop devices, double monitoring of the entire network: phone, CAD database, etc.), and optimized SNMP and network monitoring, including ping latency reports.

After a two-day custom install through Ipswitch Professional Services, Kennedy claimed “that’s when I stopped wondering about the value of WhatsUp Gold [and] realized it could actually help us save lives.”

Read the full case study here.

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The WhatsUp Gold Engineer’s Toolkit was designed to make your life as a network administrator easier. We are excited to announce three new tools to help increase your ability to quickly and easily manage your network.

Having trouble managing syslog messages from various parts of your network? Syslog Server allows you to collect, save, view and forward syslog messages from anywhere in the network.

If you’re tired of manually logging into your interfaces to visualize traffic readings, see our new Interface Bandwidth tool. This application provides you with one interface from which you can read, gather and understand traffic info in real-time.

The third new addition to the Engineer’s Toolkit is the TFTP Server. This service-based tool can help you simplify and secure the transfer of system and configuration files, such as operating system software or device configuration files, throughout your network.

Enjoy these and other network administrator tools with the WhatsUp Gold Engineer’s Toolkit version 1.1.  Download it now.

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Sometimes long term predictions are correct. Back in 1994, The Internet Engineering Task Force  (IETF) predicted that the IPv4 address pool would be depleted between 2005 and 2011. Here we are in February of 2011 and as of the first of the month, the last /8’s were handed out to the regional registries. Whether it’s the growth of mobile devices and emerging nations or just a final IPv4 land grab, users are requesting more IP addresses than are available.

But, where do we go from here? It looks like IPv6 is finally becoming a reality for everyone. A better question might be “How do we prepare for the migration?”

Here are some suggestions:

–          Invest in some type of training. IPv6 is another change that IT will need to adopt and it’s always easier to just do it right the first time.

–          Check your equipment. Obvious things like routers and switches are easy to identify, but what about that old printer on the 3rd floor with the toner cartridges from eBay because no one makes them ?

–          Look into your software. Most run at the application layer but what about the network tools you use? Does your vendor have a history of quality IPv6 support?

–          Develop a migration strategy. Have your service providers adopted a strategy? Is it better to run a dual stack environment or use a gateway? Maybe both will be required.

The next several months will determine how quickly we will all need to move on to IPv6. This migration is just like any other, whether it was from flat files to relational databases, copper to fiber, physical to virtual servers, or any other technology change.  Remember to prepare and plan for your project.

Now if only the predictions about flying cars were as close…

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This week’s NASDAQ data breach has raised serious questions about the security of the US stock exchange and clearinghouses – not to mention further shaken an already fragile investor confidence.

My head is spinning just contemplating the possible ramifications if this network breach had resulted in the theft of non-public inside information that could be used illegally to gain a stock trading advantage!

Ipswitch’s Frank Kenney shares some additional thoughts on this week’s NASDAQ breach, including why it’s so critical that your software/service providers be held accountable for the security and privacy of your files and data.   The confidentiality of your information may very well depend on it.

We are so honored to be selected as a finalist in four categories for the Network Computing Awards!

According to the Network Computing site, “The Network Computing Awards were set up to recognize the hardware, software and services  – and of course the companies behind them ­ which have most impressed the readers of Network Computing.  These readers are responsible for buying, specifying and using networking solutions at organisations throughout the UK. What they think really matters to the supplier community. That’s why these awards, now in their fifth year, are so highly respected.”

WhatsUp Gold is being considered for four categories this year:

  • Network Management Product of the Year
  • Testing and Monitoring Product of the Year
  • Software Product of the Year
  • Overall Product of the Year

Vote Today!

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There are many reasons why organizations have shifted their approach to file transfer away from being a purely tactical point-solution (which was likely driven by a new/immediate need of a single business unit) to being viewed as a strategic project that’s now considered an important part of an organization’s overall business operation.

Jonathan Lampe recently published a very insightful article on CIO titled “The Evolution of File Transfer in 2011: From Tactical to Strategic”.  Jonathan makes a very insightful case that the increased focus on (and backlash from) data breaches and compliance regulations has played a big role in this evolution.

As Jonathan points out, the grace period for lapses in personal data protection is thankfully over!  And Managed File Transfer technology is being leveraged more and more as a strategic tool to not only facilitate the secure transfer of files, but also in a way that allows for much needed visibility, management and enforcement of company data, both within an organization and also between external partners and customers. And all with auditing and reporting capabilities that satisfy even the strictest of governed environments not to mention person-to-person, transformation and application integration too.

Some highlights of what to expect with the MFT evolution in 2011:

“First, there will be the ongoing challenge to present interfaces and metaphors that are relevant to today’s end users – the days of an FTP client on every desktop are long ago.

Second, there will be increased pressure to more closely integrate with enterprise middleware, authentication and monitoring/control technology.

Finally, there will be the ongoing need to present and manage more information about the flows of data, all within the context of tightening regulations around data privacy”.

Take a quick read of the CIO article…. It’s well worth 5 minutes of your time.

Collecting and tracking asset and inventory information about all of the Windows devices on your network can be tedious. This info can include all of the software components installed, including serial numbers, all of the Windows updates installed and even warranty information for Dell and HP devices. WhatsConnected 3.0 can do that for you with new asset management capabilities that include Windows services and workstation inventories.

Join Jason Williams, the WhatsUp Guru, as he shares best practices for mapping and discovering servers and workstations in a live webinar this Wednesday, February 9th at 10 a.m. EST. Register today!

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