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Jam-packed Configuresoft Enterprise Configuration Manager

Jun 18, 20033 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMicrosoft

* ECM 4.5 for scheduled or on-demand rollbacks

Many folks were disappointed with the recent TechEd conference. Because of a number of factors, Microsoft didn’t have any product releases or even make any product announcements of note. It’s not usually that dull. Still, other people did have interesting announcements to make and one that you may have missed came from Configuresoft, which announced Version 4.5 of its Enterprise Configuration Manager.

I’ve talked about ECM before (see link below) and a move from Version 4.0 to 4.5 normally isn’t a big change, but there is one new feature that, by itself, deserves your attention. I’ll simply quote the headline on the press release: “Compliance Enforcement Capabilities Prevent Unplanned Change to Critical Configurations without Human Intervention.”

What that means is that once you’ve set a configuration policy, any unauthorized change to that configuration is automatically rolled-back to the last authorized state. Think about that. A rogue user, a cracker, a worm or virus, even a less-than-attentive administrator could, and frequently do, it seems, crash or disable servers with their actions. ECM 4.5 sees these actions and rolls them back so that the damage is undone. What’s that worth to you?

ECM 4.5 can execute rollbacks on a scheduled or on-demand basis, so that you can (should you desire) see the effects of the rollback before allowing it to occur. You can, of course, authorize ECM to do the rollback whenever it feels it is necessary. If you then decide the rollback isn’t needed, you can instruct ECM to, in effect, roll back the rollback. That’s neat.

Another new feature allows you to pinpoint problems by comparing the “bad” configuration to a known good one and highlight the differences. This wizard-driven point and click facility for instantly comparing one or more machines saves significant time and effort when managing large infrastructures that require a standardized configuration image be maintained across multiple machines, such as a server farm.  Using ECM’s compliance benchmarking capability, you can precisely identify and correct configurations that are out of compliance with the standards that exist on the baseline machine. That’s a real time saver, something you really need when the users are all screaming “when will it be fixed?”

There are many more new features packed into ECM 4.5, so much so that I’m surprised it wasn’t announced as Version 5, but I’m convinced I’ll never understand marketing’s rationale for version numbers so I’ve given up trying. You just need to know that ECM 4.5 will be shipping later this month and that all the details can be found on the Configuresoft Web site.