WRQ makes another connection

Reflection Gateway 7.0 links Windows desktops to NFS resources

By Stephanie Steenbergen

February  1998
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San Francisco (February 10, 1998) -- WRQ announced this week its Reflection NFS Gateway 7.0, the newest addition to a growing market of Unix/NT integration products.

To help create a lingua franca between two operating systems that must be on speaking terms, WRQ created Reflection NFS Gateway 7.0, which runs on Windows NT Servers and gives Windows desktops access to Network File System resources.

WRQ's product marketing manager, Dave Hebert, says the product "is intended for IT managers who want to leverage their existing investment in Unix resources."

"Reflection NFS Gateway loads onto an NT Server running NT 4.0, service pack 3," says WRQ spokesperson Linda Lewis. "From the Reflection Gateway Manager console, you configure connections to NFS resources for your user population on Windows PCs. You can give PC/Windows users access to NFS file and print services without touching either the PCs or the Unix systems."

Lewis continues, "For the PC end user, NFS drives appear as just another shared resource on the Microsoft network. Files and folders on an NFS server look no different from local files or folders."

"Using the gateway means that Microsoft SMB (Server Message Block) networking runs from the PCs to the NT server on which the gateway is loaded," Lewis explains. "The gateway, using NFS, makes the connection to the NFS resources on the Unix side of the house and makes those resources transparently available to the PCs."

"WRQ [is] trying to deal with the issue that NT has its own way of doing just about everything that really was incompatable with the way people were doing it, especially in the world of Unix," says Dan Kusnetzky research firm International Data Corporation. "You go down the list of what messaging protocols they would use, what base level of protocols, different naming services directory, directory services, file services. There are so many differences that people who wish to adopt NT into a Unix environment found themselves having to work very hard."

WRQ's is one example of a vendor who decided to make this easier, Kuznitsky says. "I think that that's a significant move forward because when we look at where NT appears to be going, in the United States anyway, it's moving into a position that supports PC clients, but then has to talk to distributed computing solutions such as Unix and then the Unix systems talk to the mainframe in the organization. Everything has to work together and it's quite difficult."

Jay Zimmett, the director of IT for Applied Micro Circuits Corp. says, "WRQ's beta software is better than most people's production software. I've run their beta as production and have been happy with it."

Zimmett says he has experienced, "minor annoyances. They're just in administration. I'd like to have more information on statiscs like who's got connections, and what they're doing with them. I'm still beating on it. I haven't found any show stoppers."

Some in the industry are hesitant to employ the use of NFS gateways. They feel it's more cost effective to use NFS client software rather than invest in gateway server technologies.

But use of NFS client software is more time consuming because it must be installed on each individual computer. Zimmett says, "WRQ also sells an NFS client. This issue is one of administration, and it requires a bit more of a sophisticated user. It (NFS client software) works well, but there's more administration.

Zimmett says "[Reflection NFS Gateway 7.0] is transparent to the user. It provides me less administration and less help desk calls."

Reflection Gateway 7.0 is available for $1,800 and includes 10 user licenses. Additional licenses are available for $180.


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