Gold Wire device locks down network

Gold Wire Technology Inc. last month announced an appliance that could help operators of large multivendor networks get a better handle on configuring and auditing changes made to infrastructure gear.

The company says its Formulator appliance, which is a Sun Microsystems Inc. Solaris-based box, could help users by providing single-sign-on access to network operators for multiple types of multivendor network equipment. It can be used to audit and detect unauthorized changes made to any device that is accessible via telnet or Secure Shell.

Gold Wire has sold device configuration and management software to service providers such as PSINet Inc., Qwest Communications International Inc. and Teleglobe Inc. since 1997, but Jonathan Wolf, president and CEO of Gold Wire, says his company decided to go after the enterprise market as the telecom market sank.

Wolf says the software version previously sold to carriers has been “boiled down” for enterprise use by eliminating some of the carrier features – such as billing applications and large-scale automation features.

By packaging its network management and auditing software onto an appliance, corporate customers can deploy a centralized element management system and auditor, Wolf says.

The Formulator can be plugged into network port and identify all nodes on a network, such as routers, switches, VPN gateways and firewalls. The box can be used in proxy mode, where all access to the configuration consoles is gained through the Formulator. This lets managers use a single sign-on to access different types of equipment from various companies, instead of accessing boxes individually.

In addition to providing single sign-on, the appliance can track configuration changes made to network devices and issue alerts to other management applications, such as Hewlett-Packard Co.’s OpenView, if unauthorized network management changes are made. It also can log keystrokes, giving network executives a comprehensive view of how and when changes are made in networks. And it can integrate with network and enterprise management software from Micromuse Inc. and NetCool.

Vendors offering similar software products that provide alerts of unauthorized management changes or consolidated equipment management include Tripwire for Network Devices from Tripwire and Intelliden’s R-Series software suite.

The Formulator also can operate in passive mode, which includes logging and alerting features, but network devices are accessed individually.

The Formulator works with most switches, routers and security hardware from Cisco Systems Inc., Extreme Networks Inc., Foundry Networks Inc., Juniper Networks Inc., NetScreen Technologies Inc., Nortel Networks Corp. and Riverstone Networks Inc. While the company says the Formulator has been tested to work with these vendors’ equipment, it says the product can work with most network gear accessible via a Telnet or SSH console.

The appliance is available now starting at US$25,000 for a 50-node network.