Network News Break is Crossnodes’ daily summary of networking news, served up fresh daily. Please send your comments and suggestions to the editor.
Once upon a time, being a network admin was simple in the same way life
in a medieval village could be considered simple: Things could be
difficult because we didn’t have the modern conveniences of fancy
monitoring tools and decent hardware, but no one seemed to be up to
much, either. The packets flowed, squirrels gnawed through the
occasional cable, we crawled around in ceilings trying to figure out
what we were thinking when we’d hung that node off of
that switch, and that was that. For entertainment we tailed the
name server logs and figured out who was visiting all the wrong sites.
Lately, the idyllic life of net admins has taken a turn for the
complex. If you see a naughty domain name scroll across the DNS logs,
you’re probably expected to help someone else in the shop enforce an
acceptable use policy, black-hats have turned the ‘nets into their
playground, and if a squirrel gnawed a cable, you’d probably welcome a
vacation from eye-watering network diagrams to go climb around in the
ceiling to figure out where the beast did its damage. Worse, habits
you used to abhor in your users are being legislated.
Take, for instance, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which mandates
thorough archiving of e-mail and instant messages. If the executive
you answer to hasn’t come to your cubicle for a little face time about
this yet, you might want to go ahead and fill the candy dish, anyhow:
In about six months, the act’s provisions kick in, and CIO
Update reports that while 86% of companies expect they’ll be fully
compliant by year’s end, a third of them still have a long way to go.
Worse, because an admin’s job is never made easier by too much
attention from the executive suite, about a third of the companies
surveyed say they expect “significant negative impact on […]
profitability during the next two years.
So if you haven’t already taken up the cause of maintaining terabytes
worth of messaging archives, there’s a good chance you’ll be hearing
about it soon enough. One place to get started assessing solutions to
the problem might be here at Crossnodes, where we consider the
basics of message archiving.
» Also on the message archiving tip,
Microsoft announced the general availability of
its feature pack for consolidating data from Exchange Server 2003
on network-attached storage (NAS) devices running Windows
Storage Server 2003. HP
followed up with its own product announcement, rolling out support
for the feature pack: “HP said its StorageWorks NAS 1200s and 2000s
will now support Microsoft’s Exchange Server 2003 Feature Pack. Prices
begin at $2,495 for the 1200s and $5,800 for the 2000s.”
» Iomega is set to announce a
pair of entry-level network-attached storage devices starting at $1399
for a 320GB model and working up to $1999 for a 480GB model. Each
model will have 10-1000 megabit ports (the higher-end model will have
two), and both will have four USB 2.0 ports for attaching other
storage devices. The company’s pitching the software as a way to get
around Microsoft’s Storage Server 2003 licensing costs.
» There are two approaches to
spam-fighting gaining in currency. The first, which got a shot in the
arm last week when Yahoo! announced the
submission of the DomainKeys specification to the IETF,
involves forcing a server to prove that it’s legitimately passing mail
for the domain it claims to be passing mail from. The second is
whitelisting. There are, Datamation
reports today, two fast comers in the whitelist game:
Habeas (which utilizes Haiku, of all things, to authenticate
mails), and Bonded Sender, which just requires mass mailers to
take out a bond worth hundreds or thousands of dollars and then make
sure they don’t annoy more than one person per million messages per
month to avoid additional penalties.
Of the two approaches, it seems whitelisting has broader support
at the moment (Hotmail is behind Bonded Sender, the popular spam
filter SpamAssassin is backing Habeas). DomainKeys and its
competitor, Sender Policy Framework (SPF), don’t seem to have
as much momentum or have implementation problems that make them less
appealing for complex operations.
The Week in Crossnodes
Secures the Wireless Perimeter
In the rush to go wireless, administrators will find that they must
supplement standard security measures with serious reporting and
policy-enforcing products. Count AirDefense among them.
WiMAX is slated to provide high-speed connectivity over distances that
dwarf 802.11’s effective range. Of course, it also promises to keep
things interesting for network administrators just coming to grips
Don’t guess when it comes to creating a wireless network at your
company. LANPlanner SE lets you design and deploy a wireless network
If hogs are gobbling all your bandwidth, throttle them
with a squid. The squid caching proxy, that is.