Esker, a French developer of TCP/IP suites, will launch a server software suite called EskerNet that is designed to ease the installation and management of a company's Internet/intranet applications on Unix-based servers.
EskerNet is operated from a PC, using a Windows 95 interface to set up and control connection between -- as well as access to -- domain name servers, Web servers, mail servers, file servers and proxy servers, with a news server available as an option.
The system got the thumbs up for simplicity from beta-tester MPO (Moulages Plastiques de l'Ouest), a French manufacturer of CD-ROMs and laser and vinyl disks. The company is currently using EskerNet for its internal email and Web server. In the near future MPO will use EskerNet for an Intranet to link its offices in Canada, the US Germany, France, the UK and its production site in Dublin.
"It's very simple to use at an administrative level, but what really tipped the balance is it's very much a turnkey system," says Jerome Tridon, MPO's networks and telecoms manager.
Esker provided the company with all the software and help it needed to quickly and painlessly set up their Web server and mail server, Tridon says. Tridon's only qualm with EskerNet was security. Although adequate for his company's needs, anyone wishing to sell goods over the Internet may find that Esker falls behind the competition, he says.
MPO had looked at suites of products from companies including Netscape, whose products it found powerful but complicated to use, and Apple, whose software was relatively simple to install, but not Unix-based.
Some of the features of the EskerNet server applications are:
*The domain name server software offers multi-domain management, which means the administrator can house different domains on one or more machines and manage them from a single PC running on Windows 95. It also differentiates between those addresses that can circulate on the Internet and private addresses. The DNS allows the administrator to employ tables of addresses already on the company's Unix system.
*The Web server, apart from being a means to publish company information, allows the administrator to manage rights of access to different sites and visualize, with hyperlinks, how pages interlink and keep a tally of hits.
*The mail server manages aliases and circulation lists and automatically redirects mail to other servers.
*The file server allows the administrator to govern rights of access and manage bandwidth so that it is fairly distributed amongst users. The file server can also house FTP sites from other companies.
*The proxy server permits a company to choose which sites its employees have access to and when.
Prices start at US$ 6755) for use with a system based on a single Intel processor. Esker can be reached on the Web is at http://www.esker.com/.