Tripwire Adds i OS Support to Configuration Control Software
February 24, 2009 Dan Burger
Regulatory compliance, increased accountability, and providing audit-ability have tightened the screws on some otherwise sloppy corporate practices. It’s also put pressure on IT departments to take care of a lot of the messes. And once again, we have issues relating to monitoring multiple platforms in an effective manner. Moving a step closer to cracking this nut, Tripwire has added support for IBM i (formerly i5/OS and OS/400) to its change control software called Tripwire Enterprise.
Many organizations that have been wrestling with compliance issues looked first to the quickest way to compliance, which often took platform-specific approaches. Every silo had its own fix. Now those fixes are being examined and efficiencies are being applied. As Tripwire has learned form many of its customers, monitoring from a single console is an advantage that companies are eager to deploy. Management wants to see the entire environment. They want the capability to generate reports to hand to an auditor that will demonstrate a framework is in place to monitor for change and detect it.
Because Tripwire had achieved success providing automated configuration control software for customers with Windows, Unix, Linux, and other environments, the i OS piece was a needed feature. The Tripwire customer base has plenty of AS/400s in their data centers. Otherwise this wouldn’t be a priority.
Change control, from the Tripwire perspective, is about monitoring or detecting changes that occur and keeping systems in a state of compliance. It begins with company policies pertaining to servers, networks, and connected appliances. The control doesn’t stop with the discovery that something changed. It has to be attributable to a change that caused a breach in compliance. And, it should include an alert so that someone can remediate the issue.
Tripwire Enterprise detects change across the entire IT infrastructure including applications, databases, servers, active directories, virtual environments, middleware, and network devices.
Detecting changes made to the IBM i OS environment and the DB2 database provided challenges to Tripwire
“Support for DB2 was familiar to us,” claims Tripwire’s product manager Mark Petrie, “because we support other databases like Oracle, MySQL, and Microsoft SQL Server, for example. The types of things we cover in DB2 are similar to those other databases. Schema objects, other database objects, audit policies, and groups for security access. DB2 has some uniqueness, but it was pretty straight forward. We talked with customers and found what they wanted us to cover.”
A point of reference for the operating system was not as easy to find. “When it comes to the i OS,” Petrie says, “we brought in subject matter experts and talked with a lot of customers. There are concepts used in the AS/400 operating system that we had to learn about.
“Our lead engineer fell in love with the i5/OS environment. He thinks it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. He basically said that the AS/400 represents the pinnacle of operating system design and development. This engineer is a pretty smart guy and he knows many of the different platforms. He was impressed with the thinking that goes into the AS/400.”
At the heart of Tripwire Enterprise is a console that runs on Unix, Linux, or Windows. The platform that the console runs on doesn’t affect performance, Petrie says. He describes performance as “pretty consistent across platforms. What it runs on is really just a personal preference.”
Scalability, Petrie says, has not been an issue. “What really matters is the total number of elements that are stored in the database,” he says. “That relates to the number of nodes that are being monitored and how many attributes on each node are being monitored. It also relates to how often are the nodes communicating to the console server and updating information. Recently we scoped a job that had 35,000 nodes.”
The types of nodes and number of nodes have a direct bearing on the pricing of Tripwire Enterprise.
“We are committed to providing customers with a single pane of glass into their regulatory, security and operational compliance,” said Dan Schoenbaum, Tripwire’s COO of products. “Today’s announcement means that those Tripwire customers who’ve relied on us to keep their Solaris, Windows, Linux, AIX, or HP-UX machines in known and trusted configuration states can now use Tripwire products to do the same for their mission-critical i5/OS systems and DB2 database servers. It’s yet another milestone in our continuous drive as the industry-leading provider of configuration control across the IT infrastructure.”
In its press release, Tripwire referred to the IBM i as the “systems of choice” for many retail, finance, and manufacturing business-critical applications, and noted that it is widely used infrastructure frequently subject to Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards, a regulatory area that Tripwire has demonstrated particular expertise through organizations such as the Society of Payment Security Professionals.
Tripwire has its headquarters in Portland, Oregon, and has sales and marketing offices in Australia, the U.K., and Singapore. Its Web site is www.tripwire.com.