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FTP pushes into Net management

FTP Software readies a barrage of new Java-based push technologies for distributing software and managing networks.

Maybe all FTP Software (FTPS) needs is a good push.

Hoping to reinvent itself as a networking infrastructure software company, FTP says it will introduce two new Java-based management applications at Spring Networld+Interop '97 in Las Vegas, Nevada, next month with push capabilities that go way beyond the current content filtering features of most software.

Formerly a giant in offering a TCP/IP communications software stack for Microsoft operating systems, FTP Software was left out in the cold when the software giant decided it made a lot of sense to include the stack in Windows 95 and Windows NT. Now the company is looking for a niche supplying Java-based push technology to network administrators.

The tools, called IP Auditor and IP Distributor, will allow administrators to audit information contained within systems attached to a network and distribute new software such as updated printer drivers over the Net using push technology. The announcement will be the first in a series of push-related releases due from FTP through the end of the year.

With the new applications, a user who relies on updated sales figures could take advantage of the software distribution features of the FTP agent application. An administrator could program the agent to collect the latest sales figures and push that information down to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet residing on the user's machine after that user has left the office. In the morning, the latest figures would be available to that user, with a screen noting that the file was delivered.

FTP Software may actually have a lead on well-heeled competitors developing advanced push technology, such as Marimba. The company plans initial rollouts of the agent applications by June.

The first releases will be IP Auditor and IP Distributor, with pricing in the $25 to $50 range per node, according to FTP representatives. Preview releases of the applications are currently being deployed by FTP customers, with a formal beta due next month that will include the updated Java Virtual Machine 1.1.

Other push applications set to be launched in the third quarter include IP Monitor, which investigates security problems and network breaches, and IP Manager, which can reassign precious network IP addresses remotely, among other features. Administrators can use a central Agent Manager console to launch the push applications and data collected can be stored in all ODBC- or JDBC-compliant database systems.

Separately, the company released a new Network Access Suite for Windows 95 and NT 4.0. The suite allows a user to access information residing on mainframes, minicomputers, midrange servers, and workstations. The software includes Network File System, FTP (file transfer protocol), terminal emulation, and printing tools, as well as the Agent Responder necessary to implement the push programs.