Recently I had the pleasure of being a part of the Napera Indigo Beta program in which Napera, (a networking company founded by Todd Hooper formerly of Watchguard) sent me a 24 port gigabit switch with their new embedded switch platform installed on it.
The Napera beta is basically a test of a network software platform for installation by companies interested in the features that Napera is spearheading. With the recent release of Windows XP SP3, Vista and the upcoming release of Windows 7, microsoft has taken the bold move of having the ability to offload the monitoring and auditing of machines connected to your internal network and checking them for things like up to date OS patches, firewalls and antivirus.
The program focused on a couple key components.
1. Set-up and Activation
2. Enable NAP and Health Reporting
3. Health Enforcement
4. Identity Enforcement
5. Guest Access
You can read a little more on exactly what NAP is here : http://www.microsoft.com/technet/network/nap/napoverview.mspx
All of that aside, in the most recent episodes of Hak5, I dived into the interface and health reporting functionality of the Napera switch and it’s ability to limit workstation access based on Health and Authentication with Active Directory.
I’m a steadfast believer that anything that makes my life easier as a Systems Admin, or now in my case a CTO for a small company, is a great advancement and something that I think is sorely lacking in the industry.
I can go on and on about the functions of the napera software but I think it’s best experienced from the horse’s mouth.
For more information on Napera, head on over to http://www.napera.com/indigo/Napera%20Indigo%20User%20Guide.pdf for the Users’s guide on Indigo.