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Quest Looks To Expand Channel Presence

Fresh off its acquisition of Vintela, which closed last month, Quest Software this week laid out how it will integrate the Vintela technology with its own management tools. Vintela’s software enables Unix and Linux machines to be tied in to Active Directory domains, and managed with Group Policy. Now those tools are being added to the Quest lineup of Windows-based management and security tools.

At the same time, Quest is changing its tune on its sales strategy. The company uses primarily direct sales today, although it does rely on systems integrators to perform the “heavy lifting” in terms of supporting its products on-site, says David Waugh, vice president of product management for Quest. “We realize to take the company to the next level we have to take advantage of VARs more,” he says. Over the next several months, the company will assess all of its products—some 100 of them—to see which are most suitable to offer through the channel. Those that extend Microsoft products, like Microsoft Operations Manager and Systems Management Server, such that they can manage heterogeneous enterprises are a natural fit, Waugh says.

And there’s already some natural synergy between Vintela and Microsoft. For example, you can call Microsoft for support on Vintela Management Extensions (VMX) products, according to Jackson Shaw, vice president, cross-platform integration at Quest.

Quest is clearly taking the channel play seriously. Heading up the effort is Chris Skillings, the former CEO of Vintela, who is now vice president of worldwide business partner development for Quest.

The Full Skinny on Identity Management
Quest and Vintela are also players in the identity management market, where the Holy Grail has long been single sign-on (SSO). Contributing writer Stuart Johnston this week has an in-depth piece looking at the whole issue of federated identity management and SSO, which may well heat up with the impending arrival of Windows Server 2003 Release 2 (R2) later this year. R2 promises to bring a Web services-based identity management scheme that enables Active Directory to integrate with other identity management systems. You might think that has companies like Quest and its competitor Centrify concerned, but Johnston says that’s not the case -- or at least, not yet. “Our software extends Active Directory to non-Microsoft environments [so that] you get single sign-on so we are entirely complementary to what Microsoft does,” says Tom Kemp, CEO of Centrify. Check out Johnston’s piece for more on this issue, including the various standards in play. It’s bound to be a topic we’ll be struggling with for years to come.

The other chief standard in play with respect to identity management comes from the Liberty Alliance, which this week announced products from eight companies have successfully passed interoperability with its SAML 2.0 OASIS SPEC.

Lessons from Zotob
The Zotob worm that was launched last weekend should help you drive home a couple of key points with customers. For one, it can help you make the case that it’s time to get rid of Windows NT. As Scott Bekker reports in his story on Zotob, researchers at Trend Micro say the flaw that Zotob targets also exists in Windows NT, but since Microsoft no longer supports NT, it didn’t publicly provide a patch for it. The other key is the speed with which virus writers managed to develop this worm. Microsoft released a patch for the previously unknown vulnerability on Tuesday and the worm was unleashed over the weekend. While that’s not quite a zero-day vulnerability, it’s pretty close. The message: It takes extreme vigilance, including a layered security defense and systematic patching, to fend off these virus-writing miscreants. And using older systems makes the chore that much more difficult.

Download Alerts
A couple of new downloads have recently been posted to the Windows Download Center, including the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) for Windows Vista (aka Longhorn). The kit is designed to help OEMs, system builders and corporate IT pros deploy Windows onto new hardware.

Also new is the Solution Accelerator for Business Desktop Deployment, a best practices guide for desktop deployments targeted at companies with 250 or more PCs looking for increased deployment automation. The guide is based on the experiences of a multinational bank with more than 15,000 employees on five continents using multiple data centers, according to Microsoft. (Registration is required for the download.)

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In Case of Emergency, Enter “ICE”
Here’s an item that won’t help you sell more of anything, but it just seems like a good idea. USA Today reports that a British paramedic came up with the idea of putting an entry into your cellular phone for “ICE,” which stands for “in case of emergency.” The entry would have contact info for someone to call in case something happens to you. I’m sure we’ll never get the cell phone companies to agree on something so simple and potentially effective (why can’t they all use the same commands for voicemail? Do I hit #7 to delete with this phone, or is it #3?), so it’s up to us to spread the word.

A Not So Subtle Plea for Letters
Last week I mentioned that we want to hear from readers about what they think of the content thus far in Redmond Channel Partner magazine, RCPmag.com and this newsletter, both because we want to know what you think and because we need some feedback to populate out our letters page—always a challenge for a new magazine. This week, I’ll try a more direct approach: We want letters! We have a page to fill! Please write!

A few sentences, that’s all we ask. Read a story, give us your thoughts -- rants, raves, questions, answers, musings, recipes, whatever. Drop me a line at pdesmond@rcpmag.com or use our online form.

Need a prompt? OK, have a stab at answering this question: What’s the best way to find another Microsoft partner to help you with a customer project?

Posted by Paul Desmond on August 17, 2005 at 11:53 AM