Marimba introduces Castanet 3.0

Upgrade focuses on management

By Stephanie Steenbergen

June  1998
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San Francisco (June 23, 1998) --Marimba Inc. will today announce a beefed-up version of its Castanet application distribution and management product suite. Castanet 3.0 focuses on improvements made in the management aspect of the Castanet product.

Castanet is a client/server product -- the Castanet transmitter (server) and Castanet tuner (client) keep software, services, and data up-to-date using the Internet. Users create a "channel" and place it on a Castanet Transmitter, and Castanet automatically updates the information by distributing, installing, maintaining, and updating the channel, across all networks. The applications that can be distributed are ones written in Visual Basic, C, C++, and Java.

Well-known companies such as Seagate, Intuit, and Bear Sterns have been testing the new Castanet product. And, according to Marimba, the response has been positive.

Sam Hobson, Marimba's director of product marketing, says Castanet 3.0 will allow companies like Seagate to push out new information in a very timely fashion: Updates can go out every five minutes. Castanet 3.0 will distribute only the byte information that's changed from the last time the information was pushed out.

Of Castanet 3.0, Steve Foote, vice president of research strategy for the Hurwitz Group in Framingham, MA says, "It looks really good. 2.0 was about security. 3.0 is concentrated on the management. The basic premise is here is taking individual applets -- you package that together so that a transmitter can deliver it out to various other transmitters."

Foote says there's a strong need for this type of technology in the marketplace. "The concept is all the distribution takes place over the Internet," he says.

Foote says he especially likes a feature called back channel. With this Web sites are able to capture information about how users are using functions. That way administrators can enhance or drop functions of a Web site if they're not being used. It allows Web administrators to customize applications. "Sites get to monitor the usage. This is not standard systems management," says Foote.

Castanet components
The Castanet 3.0 product suite has three main components -- the Infrastructure Suite, Production Suite, and Management Suite. New features added to the Infrastructure Suite include a Certificate Manager for simplifying the process of obtaining a digital certificate, and License Installer for making the retrieval and installation of licenses easier.

The Castanet Production Suite has three additions:

Finally, the enhancements to the Management Suite include:


Security for Castanet 3.0
Regarding security for Castnet 3.0, Marimba's Hobson says, "First, we've licensed SSL encryption technology from RSA. Second, Castanet 3.0's authentication functionality can use digital certificates from any Certificate Authority (CA)."

Of the CAs, Marimba has worked most closely with VeriSign. "With VeriSign, we've achieved an easy way for customers to get a digital certificate from VeriSign. From within the Castanet product wizard, customers can request and install a VeriSign certificate. It's a nice integration. If a customer wants to use certificates from another CA, that's possible, though not as well integrated," Hobson says.

According to Foote, Prudential spent approximately $2 billion in IT investment this year, "and probably a majority was taking the company's services and pushing them out on the Web," he says. "When you're providing a service to the client it's all about trust. This is not an easy thing to do."

What could Marimba improve upon in future releases of Castanet? "They've got more work to do as far as authenticating the users," says Foote. "Marimba has multiple repeaters which are difficult to manage." This is more an organizational issue than a technological issue, says Foote.

Hobson says that Castanet enables an end user to authenticate both the source of an application (also known as "channel") and the application itself. When a Castanet Tuner end user looks at a Transmitter server to find an application, the end user can authenticate which organization operates the Transmitter. "For example," he says, "I can tell that is actually operated by Federal Express Corporation of Memphis, Tennessee. This gives me confidence in the source of an application."

Ship date for Castanet 3.0 is June 30 and pricing starts at $10,000.


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