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Posts Tagged ‘Quest Software

Cloud can make your environment *more* secure. A new cloud service alerts IT pros when specific events happen in their environment. For example, you might want to receive an email when a sensitive resource gets accessed, certain permissions get granted, membership for a privileged group gets changed and so on. This all is now part of the Quest OnDemand Log Management service – just watch this two-minute video to see how it works:

(Full disclosure: I work for Quest Software and participate in our Quest OnDemand efforts.)

What’s best is that this is a cloud service – so no local deployment or additional infrastructure is required. You can just go to the website, sign-up for a free trial, download a small agent, and start getting alerts for the events you care about!

Cloud is good for you! Sign-up for a free trial now and have the cloud help you keep your environment secure.

Ruggero Contu has published a case study which he created after studying Quest Software‘s transition from being a pure software vendor to also a SaaS cloud-based IT management company: “Case Study: Quest Leverages Cloud Services to Introduce SaaS-Based Log Management Product” (registration required to access the page):

Although new business opportunities can justify a SaaS project, implementation of a new cloud-based offering is not a straightforward task. CTOs, development managers, and sales, marketing and service delivery managers should plan for the far-reaching changes needed across the organization to reach a successful implementation.

SaaS-based security products have been gaining popularity and adoption within organizations over the past few years. Although demand for SaaS-based security information event management (SIEM) products is not as high as for other security areas, such as messaging security and remote vulnerability assessment, SaaS-based SIEM is a valuable option for those enterprises that cannot implement security information tools. An on-premises SIEM implementation may not be justified, particularly in those cases where there are limited resources available to be dedicated to deploying and managing SIEM products; the cost of SIEM implementation may be unjustified also in those instances with well-defined but limited technology needs, such as to meet a specific regulatory requirement. As a result, there are interesting market opportunities for SIEM vendors willing to embark on the launch of a SaaS-based log management solution. This Case Study discusses how Quest Software developed and implemented a SaaS-based product offering.

Ruggero goes into the details of why and how Quest went from software to SaaS, what was involved in the transition, and which benefits did this move bring to both the vendor and its customers.

If you work for a software company considering a similar move, or if you are an IT professional considering starting to use SaaS in your environment, I would recommend obtaining and reading the full document here.

Now that our services for IT Pros: OnDemand Recovery for Active Directory and OnDemand Log Management – have been out for a couple of months, got their first customers, and demonstrated (knock on wood) 100% uptime, it seems to be the right time to start collecting feedback and give back some prizes.

This is exactly what we are going to be doing from now till the end of October 2010. All you need to do is:

  1. Start your free trial of either of the services.
  2. When you have enough feedback, fill out a quick evaluation survey.
  3. Get your $50 Amazon certificate and (if you are among the the two users who provide the most detailed feedback) iPad!

Try one of our OnDemand IT management services, complete a survey, and win a prize

The prizes should make evaluation more fun, and the survey results will help us make the services even better.

Go to this page to learn more, sign up for the services, and submit your feedback to get the prize.

Another online service we have just launched for IT professionals is Quest OnDemand Log Management. This is a great service for event log collection, storage and analysis.

1. All you need to do to enable it, is download and install a small event collection agent and select which event logs you want to collect,

2.  The agent then runs, collects, compresses, encrypts and sends the event log data to the OnDemand service in the clouds.

3. Whenever you need to search the event log data, you simply go to the web UI, and have dashboards, reports, and keyword search across all the audit trails collected from all your systems.

And all of this is available for a low $30 per server per month subscription fee.

Check out this video on how the service works:

Read more about the service and start your free 30 day trial here.

Last week was the official commercial launch of Quest OnDemand Recovery for AD – a subscription-based automated service which protects your Active Directory for a small monthly fee.

Changes are good, and Active Directory – as the identity core of most companies’ IT – is always changes. However, sometimes wrong changes happen: accounts or whole containers can get accidentally deleted, or a script can go wild and wipe out a bunch of attributes across a set of accounts (I personally once got affected by such an incident a few years ago).

Quest OnDemand Recovery for AD works as a time machine for your Active Directory:

  1. A small local agent in your network on the schedule you select detects changes in AD, compresses and encrypts them and sends them to a remote datacenter.
  2. Whenever you need to roll back any change, you log on to the web site, browse and search your backups, pick the change you want to undo and click Restore.
  3. The agents gets the changes back and applies them to the local AD.

Watch the quick video here:

There is a free 30 day trial of the service, after which you can keep using it for a small monthly fee (which when I am writing this is just 60 cents per AD user account per month).

You can learn more about this service and sign-up for it here.

Full disclosure: I am personally involved in Quest OnDemand efforts. And very excited about it, I must say. 🙂

Don Fornes of Software Advice posted an interesting piece on how cloud solutions are a classic example of disruptive technology emerging from niche/small market and then growing, becoming ever more feature-rich and cost-effective and eventually starting to replace big market incumbents when it is already too late for them to compete on this redefined market.

He shows how SaaS to on-premise software is classical disruptive innovation from Clayton Christensen‘s “The Innovator’s Dilemma“.

Don's diagram of the disruptive innovation cycle applied to SaaS

While I don’t have much doubt in the argument as a whole, I would be very interested to see whether it plays evenly across all software markets or only apply to some of them.

I have little doubt that vendors with huge on-premise platforms and corresponding on-premise platform-dependent revenue streams – such as Microsoft and Oracle – will find this SaaS transition challenging. Just look at Microsoft’s operating income by division: the vast majority of their profits come from Windows client and Office. If SaaS transition would mean that users just need a browser running on iPad, WebOS or Chrome OS device – this would mean that Microsoft’s profits evaporate and go to the corresponding device and service vendors. If they try to go full speed into SaaS world to compete effectively against Apple, HP and Google – they can hurt their own existing revenue streams without necessarily succeeding in establishing new ones. That’s classical Innovator’s Dilemma.

Now, if you look at IT Management/Systems Management sector, the situation is somewhat similar but also quite different. I will use my own company – Quest Software – as an example. We provide a big set of software tools which IT professionals in enterprises use to better manage the platforms they get from Microsoft, Oracle and others.

On the one hand, we are somewhat susceptible to the disruption: SaaS may help competition release products faster and if platform transitions starts happening fast we can potentially see our addressable market shrinking.

On the other hand, the opportunities SaaS gives us, are way bigger than risks:

  • New platforms: Platform fragmentation is great for us. We love heterogeneous environments and transitions. Quest is helping tens of thousand customers make sure that their Unix/SAP/Blackberry systems integrate seamlessly with Microsoft Active Directory, their Notes/Sametime communication systems co-exist with Exchange/OCS, and so on. This is the gap which platform vendors such as Microsoft cannot bridge, and as SaaS platforms start getting added to the mix our solutions become more important rather than less important.We are already switching gears and using this opportunity to expand the range of services which we support, provisioning identities and access to Google Apps,  providing monitoring and management and enabling development for SQL Azure, and so on.
  • New way to reach customers: We are starting to offer our own IT Management technology as SaaS solutions, so customers can just point their browsers to our Quest OnDemand web site, subscribe to our service and start managing their local IT using our remote infrastructure. This means that not just big enterprises but small and medium businesses can start enjoying services such as secure offsite-stored Active Directory backup with granular recovery, or event log collection and management. This lets us expand, rather than cannibalize our market. We have a lot of great technology and can now repackage it for easier consumption by bigger audience.See this video for detailed discussion of Quest OnDemand and IT Management as a Service.

I think these are the reasons, why at the moment it looks like IT management companies will probably – with proper execution – find themselves benefiting from the very same disruption hurting their platform partners.

Judging by the recent Cloud Computing Explained: Knowing the Best Cloud Computing Vendors article published by The Latest Tech News – which included Quest in the short list of the vendors gaining from the SaaS transition, I am not alone who thinks that way.

Quest has just made available technical preview of it’s just-in-time access provisioning provider. The idea is that instead of granting cloud services accounts to all your users, you set up a framework for users to request access if they need it.

The demo below shows how this works for Google Apps. User tries to access Google Apps but does not have an account. The system detects that and allows to user to request the account from her manager. After the approval, she can goes to the exact same Google Apps site and gets to the service with no issues. This all is integrated with corporate Active Directory so no usernames or passwords are ever being asked:

This is pretty cool because it lets each company save money by not over-provisioning accounts for SaaS services, yet keep everyone productive by letting the users request access and get approved without necessarily having IT involved.

Read more about the system in Bob’s post here.


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The posts on this blog are provided “as is” with no warranties and confer no rights. The opinions expressed on this site are mine and mine alone, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer Jelastic or anyone else for that matter. All trademarks acknowledged.

© 2008-2012 Dmitry Sotnikov

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