Raz-Lee Gets the Twitter Bug
May 11, 2010 Alex Woodie
i/OS security software vendor Raz-Lee Security unveiled a slew of product enhancements during last week’s COMMON conference in Orlando, Florida. At the top of the list was iTweet, a new Raz-Lee app that leverages the Twitter Web service to enable bi-directional communication with System i servers. The vendor also unveiled other improvements to its iSecurity suite, including support for SYSLOG and multi-system environments. It also announced plans to give away free copies of Filescope, its file editor for DB2/400.
The addictive power of Twitter was on full display last week in the Hilton Orlando, site of the fourth annual COMMON conference and exposition. Despite the opportunity to meet with other attendees face-to-face and use their mouths to communicate verbally, many COMMON attendees succumbed to their Twitter jitters and elected to communicate electronically via keypads on their phones and portable PCs. To view some of the comments that were going back and forth–and there were many of them–point your Web browser thingamajig to twitter.com and type “commonug” or “ibmi” in the search box at the top of the screen.
While Twitter is unquestionably a great way for friends to gossip and gripe, there is also no denying the power of Twitter as a tool for business communication. One year ago, Kisco Information Systems became the first i/OS vendor to harness Twitter as a systems management tool for the System i server.
With last week’s announcement, Raz-Lee becomes the second i/OS vendor to offer a shrink-wrapped Twitter utility. In addition to functioning as a standalone tool for bi-directional communication between Twitter and the System i server, Raz-Lee’s new iTweet offering is also integrated with its iSecurity suite of i/OS security tools.
Raz-Lee’s work with Twitter opens up all kinds of new possibilities for real-time security notification on the System i server. For example, if iSecurity’s Anti-Virus module detects a piece of malware on the IFS, an administrator can be notified of it immediately via his or her Twitter account. If iSecurity detects that somebody viewed data that they weren’t supposed to, or if data was changed without proper authorities, the administrator can be notified instantly via iTweet.
In fact, any security alert that was previously sent by iSecurity via other communication mediums, such as e-mail, operator messages, SMS, or SYSLOG messages, can now be distributed via Twitter with iTweet.
Raz-Lee CEO Shmuel Zailer says Twitter has proved its robustness and ease of use. “It fits. It performs the act,” Zailer said during an interview with IT Jungle at last week’s COMMON. “It’s more secure, easier to use, and cheaper than SMS. It performs fantastic.”
Raz-Lee provides mechanisms to restrict iTweet from sending messages to unauthorized users. The software also has a filtering mechanism to sort the most important events from run-of-the-mill messages, so as not to exceed Twitter’s limit of 100 tweets per hour. Pricing for iTweet was not provided.
Multi System Enhancements
Raz-Lee, which maintains its worldwide headquarters in New York and does its R&D in Israel, made several other announcements at COMMON last week.
On May 3, the vendor announced changes to iSecurity that enable the product to work more effectively in i/OS environments that contain multiple servers or logical partitions (LPARs).
Specifically, Raz-Lee has added mechanisms for replicating important settings, such as user profiles, passwords, parameters, and system values, to multiple systems or LPARs. Keeping these critical settings the same across multiple i/OS environments is critical for maintaining security, the vendor says.
Similarly, the audit component of iSecurity gains the capability to gather and consolidate logs and reports from multiple systems or LPARs. This is important for compliance purposes, Raz-Lee says.
On April 15, Raz-Lee announced its support for SYSLOG, a cross-platform log and message format that’s used for compliance purposes. The capability to export logs and messages generated on the i/OS server in the SYSLOG format provides a good way for iSecurity to integrate with powerful security information and event management (SIEM) applications that provide a consistent view of cross-platform network security and compliance posture for large enterprises.
SYSLOG support will be particularly useful for the Audit, AP-Journal, Authority On Demand, and Anti-Virus components of the iSecurity suite, the vendor says. One iSecurity customer–a large insurance firm in Israel that was not named by Raz-Lee–is currently exporting its entire i/OS journal receiver in the SYSLOG format. According to Raz-Lee, more than 1,000 SYSLOG alerts are transmitted every second, but this process consumes less than 1 percent of the server’s CPU.
“Our SYSLOG facility is not only spreading to additional products, but also to more and more customer worldwide,” says Eli Spits, Raz-Lee’s vice president of business development. “It gives customers the utmost flexibility to control both message conditions and content, thereby making security in the organization considerably more efficient.”
Free Licenses for FileScope
Last but not least, Raz-Lee announced that, for the next three months, it will be giving away copies of FileScope, its file editor for System i servers.
Developed in 1982 and released to the market a year later, FileScope is the oldest file editor developed for IBM midrange systems, Zailer said last week. The powerful tool enables users to browser DB2/400 in a visual manner, and even change or delete data in DB2/400–an important capability, but one that does not come without risks.
While other file editors have exceeded FileScope in popularity in recent years (Zailer mentioned ProData‘s DBU by name), Zailer maintains that no file editor has the power of FileScope. In particular, Zailer says FileScope’s full support for Unicode character sets puts FileScope on its own plane.
Unicode enables applications to store data from many different languages in a single repository. Many of the biggest companies in the world rely on Unicode-enabled ERP suites, such as those from SAP and Oracle, to simplify the storage of data, as well as to centralize the development and customization of source code.
“A Unicode-supporting file editor is a highly desirable product, unrivaled by any other company, and we’ve already witnessed the demand for it,” Zailer says in a press release. “It is a fitting enhancement for our FileScope product, which is already well-stocked with unique features, such as undo, join, and user activity list e-mails.”
For more information on Raz-Lee’s suite of tools or to download a free copy of FileScope, visit the company’s Web site at www.razlee.com.