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Gold Wire strikes high-availability chord

This week, Gold Wire Technology released its Formulator 200 High Availability Cluster appliance, offering administrators a single point of access for managing devices and configurations across a mission-critical network. The product is geared toward large companies that need to keep detailed logs of all network configuration changes, as well as data about who made the changes and when they were made.

In an effort to help large companies more easily turn back the clock after network management snafus, Gold Wire Technology Inc. has augmented its network configuration control appliance with a new, high-availability edition.

The Waltham, Mass.-based company's Formulator 200 line combines hardware and software to offer network administrators a single point of access for managing device access and configurations across a multi-vendor network. Its new sister offering, Formulator 200 High Availability Cluster, combines a pair of Gold Wire's appliances that are specially configured for continuous replication.

In addition to its ability to interoperate with most of the major networking products on the market, Formulator 200's access-control feature enables a company to keep a detailed log of all network configuration changes, data about who made the changes and when they were made.

Gold Wire CEO Jonathan Wolf said the product is well suited for companies with network operations centers that resemble "NASA-like control rooms," where router, switch and firewall settings are continuously adjusted by a number of individuals.

"It can show you all the [network configuration] changes you've made in the past 24 hours, and you can look at each of them one by one and determine if you want to undo one of them or several of them," Wolf said.

During network outages, Wolf said, some of his customers, especially companies in the financial services market, can lose between $4 million and $6 million per hour of downtime. In many cases, he said, Formulator 200 can significantly decrease downtime because, with the product, network administrators don't need to search multiple systems for all the necessary backup configurations needed to restore a network to working order.

Kevin Walsh, director of the network performance reference lab at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, said researchers and students at the lab use the product to perform and catalog network configuration tests.

Even though SDSC isn't using the product in an enterprise-class environment, Walsh said, Formulator 200 enables network managers with varying skill sets to more quickly and easily learn how to manage a large, multi-vendor network. Plus, it provides slightly more room for error.

"If technician Bob makes a change, it logs when the change was made and what the changes were, so if technician Steve needs to adjust the network as a result of an alarm condition three minutes after, it presents a common user interface to roll back the bad changes inadvertently made by technician Bob," said Walsh.

Pricing for the Formulator 200 appliance and 50 device licenses starts at $25,000, while pricing for the Formulator 200 High Availability Cluster is determined on a per-customer basis.

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