Solidcore Supports i5/OS with Real-Time Change Control
March 11, 2008 Alex Woodie
Solidcore Systems is now supporting the System i server with its collection of real-time change control and PCI compliance software, the company confirmed last week. While a formal announcement with IBM is weeks away, System i shops today can use Solidcore’s products to continuously monitor changes to their i5/OS servers, boost security, and help automate PCI compliance.
While it’s true that outside threats can impact the security and availability of your IT services, the fact is that the weather and Eastern European hackers can’t hold a candle to the level of damage that Bob the Midnight Operator can wreak on your carefully configured systems. Sure, you might have a change management system that’s supposed to provide some semblance of order to an otherwise chaotic code-promotion system. But change management systems are easy to bypass, and don’t take into consideration the hundreds of other ways that systems and servers can be tweaked and damaged by an ill-informed hand.
This is where Solidcore Systems S3 Control line of products come into play. S3 Control continuously monitors a variety of operating systems, databases, file systems, applications, and network devices for changes. If a change is made that causes an outage or a state of noncompliance, S3 Control will highlight the change (including answering the “who, what, and when” of how that change came to pass) and bring it to the attention of somebody who can hopefully fix it.
S3 Control, which runs on Windows, can also be hooked up to a change management system, such as BMC Software’s Remedy, to validate that changes to the infrastructure coincide with approved change management policies. On some systems, it can actually prevent changes from being implemented if they do not adhere to the organization’s change policy, although it doesn’t support enforcement on the System i just yet. Solidcore says its S3 Control software connects the “last leg”–from the change control system or service desk, to the actual change being performed.
A week ago, Solidcore launched new versions of S3 Control aimed specifically at the PCI compliance market. The new S3 Control PCI Pro and PCI Starter editions provide file integrity monitoring and keep an audit trail of changes made to systems, and therefore helps fulfill sections 10 and 11 of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS). The new PCI editions provide only a subset of S3 Control’s full functionality, although they can be upgraded to the full S3 Control product.
It was in last week’s announcement that Solidcore listed the AS/400 as a supported platform. Previously, the Cupertino, California, company said it was considering supporting the platform, which is still in widespread use among Solidcore’s customer base. Apparently, the demand for System i support was enough to convince Solidcore to support the platform, which it has been doing since February 1.
Solidcore provides two main control points for System i servers. First, it allows organizations to validate that changes to the System i infrastructure coincide with approved change management policies. Secondly, it automatically documents change activity and populates change management systems with details about the change. Solidcore currently supports i5/OS with two offerings: the enterprise version of S3 Control and PCI Pro Edition.
Solidcore already has System i customers using its software to boost the security and availability of their System i infrastructure, and to help comply with PCI. One of these customers is a retailer whose servers crashed when somebody deleted a bunch of files that weren’t supposed to be touched.
“It took them days to figure out what went wrong and they had no way of quickly knowing what caused the outage,” Solidcore’s spokesman says. The company licensed Solidcore S3 Control so that, next time somebody deletes a chunk of files (Bob the Midnight Operator, most likely), system administrators can immediately pinpoint the changes that led to the crash.
S3 Control and PCI Pro Edition are available for System i now. Pricing for PCI Pro Edition starts at $50 per server, plus $5,000 for the accompanying central console. PCI Starter Edition is less expensive–only $25 per server and $2,500 for the console–but it only works with Windows servers. For more information, visit www.Solidcore.com.