Centerfield Addresses Compliance with delta/TRACKER
December 14, 2004 Alex Woodie
Centerfield Technology is rolling out new OS/400 software called delta/TRACKER, which is intended to help administrators keep track of changes made to their systems over long periods of time and to prepare for regulatory compliance audits. The promising plug-in for iSeries Navigator already features 41 different pre-configured reports, which cost only $60 each, and Centerfield wants your ideas for more reports that it can build into the product.
As a plug-in for IBM‘s iSeries Navigator GUI systems management product, Centerfield’s new delta/TRACKER product sends agents to the iSeries server to gather a variety of system-related information, which it digests and outputs as a report in Microsoft Excel, in either spreadsheet or graphical form.
If you know where to look, you can find all the performance data yourself, says Elvis Budimlic, Centerfield’s lead developer on the server side. Or you can let delta/TRACKER do the heavy lifting while you concentrate on decision-making. “We take the grunt work out of gathering and managing all the details,” Budimlic says. “The graphic documentation of status and trending information increases productivity in addition to finding errors that can then quickly be acted upon.”
Centerfield first announced delta/TRACKER in November, and in December it announced the addition of five new database reports for helping administrators to keep tabs on the security of their OS/400 server. The new compliance-related reports added to delta/TRACKER include the “failed sign-on attempts” report; the “new profiles over a time period” report; the “unused user profiles” report; the “users with special authority” report; and the “changes in special authority” report. The company recommends that administrators run these reports periodically to ensure the integrity of their system, as well as before an audit.
With December’s additions, there are now 41 pre-built delta/TRACKER reports that users can choose from, which, at $60 per report per year, seems like a deal, especially considering that Centerfield is now giving away the first report for free and is asking users for ideas for new reports. Centerfield says these five new reports, as well as several existing ones, help users to comply with the tracking, auditing, and reporting requirements of a variety of laws, including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, HIPAA, GLBA, FDA 21 CFR Part 11, UCCnet, COBIT, and NIST800.
The Rochester, Minnesota, developer has also added another new report that automates the process of pulling operational data in World, EnterpriseOne, BPCS, and MAPICS ERP environments. “The app-specific configuration options simply weed out less important information,” says Centerfield’s other lead developer, Igor Seremet, who heads client-side programming. “If the user wishes to configure other applications, they can manually configure those application data libraries as well.”
It Tracks Change
The delta/TRACKER product contains a wide variety of reports, including 11 reports for database statistics, such as the “files with the largest number of records” report; seven reports for database structure, such as the “files with database triggers” report; two reports for database query activity, including the “files with the highest query activity” report; seven reports for disk space management, including the “objects ranked by size” report; three reports for system performance, including the “CPU utilization between two dates” report; six reports for jobs reporting, including the “longest running jobs between two dates” report; and the five new database security reports mentioned above. Centerfield Technology provides a complete description of delta/TRACKER reports (in Word format) on its Web site.
Using delta/TRACKER is like having another programmer on staff for pennies a day, without garnering attention from management, says Centerfield’s Budimlic. “Another set of eyes is sometimes necessary to help iSeries pros watch their back,” he says. “When the iSeries is working well, often because of high quality administrators, management often overlooks that accomplishment.
Centerfield’s delta/TRACKER product requires OS/400 V5R1 or higher, iSeries Navigator with the latest PTFs, and Microsoft Excel 2000 or higher. If you currently encrypt communication between iSeries Navigator and your iSeries server, you’ll have to wait for another release, as delta/TRACKER doesn’t currently support SSL.
SSL support may be something to ask Centerfield to support. The developer is being very open in asking users to suggest new functionality and reports in delta/TRACKER. The way the developer sees it, the more OS/400 shops adopt the product and request good changes, the better the product set becomes, and the more licenses it sells.
Centerfield is currently giving away licenses to use a single delta/TRACKER report for a period of 12 months. Each additional report can be added for $60 per report per year, which includes all maintenance and support fees. For more information and downloads, go to www.centerfieldtechnology.com.