In January, with little more than a Novell Product Announcement and a blog posting in Cool Solutions, Novell released Novell File Reporter 2.0. The quiet release was somewhat out of necessity according to Nick McCleery, product manager for Novell File and Networking Services. "With all of the weekly BrainShare communication to customers and partners, we thought a release announcement might not get noticed. The product was certainly ready and some customers wanted it right away. So we released the product with a plan to have a marketing launch after BrainShare."
While BrainShare 2013 might have been the cause for the delay in marketing activities for the Novell File Reporter 2.0 launch, it seemed to be the validation event for the new product. "There were many BrainShare attendees that had heard about the new release and the new features, and either attended sessions or stopped by the product table to see a demo of the new product," McCleery continued. Most of these people walked away highly impressed with the updated product—especially existing Novell File Reporter 1 customers.
According to Ed Shropshire, Project Manager for the Novell File Reporter 2.0 development, there were four key engineering objectives for File Reporter 2.0:
- Make File Reporter much easier to install and configure.
- Make File Reporter much more functional and navigable.
- Expand the scope of reports.
- Integrate better with eDirectory and Active Directory.
Improved Installation and Configuration
Unlike File Reporter 1, which required a detailed understanding of complex installation, configuration, and directory services integration, the Novell File Reporter 2.0 installation and configuration procedures are straight forward and easy to follow.
There are easy-to-use installation and configuration wizards for:
- Installing the PostgreSQL database on either a Windows Sever or Open Enterprise Server 11 host
- Installing the NFR Engine
- Installing the NFR Agents
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A setup wizard lets you easily install and configure the web server application, the NFR Engine, and configure the PostgreSQl database.
When a select number of Novell sales engineers were given a beta version of the product a few weeks before its release to demo to some customers, no one had any problem getting all of the components of File Reporter 2.0 installed, configured, and running. A few weeks later on the first day of BrainShare, more than 50 Novell sales engineers and partners participated in a training session where they installed and configured all the components of File Reporter 2.0 and enabled integrations with both eDirectory and Active Directory, within the first 30 minutes of the class.
Improved Functionality and Navigability
With Novell File Reporter 2.0, all management, scanning, and reporting is done through an intuitive web browser-based interface that can be run on Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. All tasks are conducted by selecting an option from one of the menus at the top of the page.
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Novell File Reporter 2.0 features a browser-based management interface. This screen shows a set of saved report definitions.
Early feedback to the new browser-based interface has been overwhelmingly positive. BrainShare attendees who were given product demos quickly figured out the process for conducting scans and then generating reports. And the aforementioned training for Novell sales engineers and partners actually ended early because all attendees were able to navigate through the interface and complete the training exercises quicker than anticipated.
Expanded Scope of Reports
Novell File Reporter 2.0 greatly expands the amount of reports, and the types of reports it can generate. In addition to most of the File System reports that were available in Version 1, Novell File Reporter 2.0 introduces:
- Improved Trending reports detailing growth of a network volume or share over time
- Better integration with Novell Storage Manager for policy reporting
- Permission reports which can specify:
- Assigned NCP permissions
- Assigned NTFS permissions
- Permissions by path
- Permissions by identity
It was the Permissions reports that brought the most comments during the product demos at BrainShare. After watching Novell File Reporter 2.0 generate a report of all users who could access a particular network folder, or seeing Novell File Reporter 2 report on all of the folders that a selected user could access, the responses ranged from "Wow!" to "I needed this last year during our security audit."
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A sample Permissions report specifying which users have access rights to a particular network folder and how those rights were derived.
Better Integration with eDirectory and Active Directory
For organizations that disperse their storage resources between eDirectory and Active Directory, Novell File Reporter 2.0 is the only product available that lets you simultaneously report on the file contents and associated rights of both directory services.
By default, Novell File Reporter 2.0 can report on all of the storage resources in the eDirectory tree or Active Directory domain that you use as the "primary identity system". From there, you can add additional directory services or "secondary identity systems". Along with a single Active Directory domain, you can enable multiple eDirectory trees.
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A diagram of Novell File Reporter 2.0 components reporting on storage resources in both eDirectory and Active Directory.
Once again, the training of Novell sales engineers and partners validated the simplicity of this process as they quickly added an Active Directory domain and all of its storage resources as a secondary identity system to the primary eDirectory identity system.
With the Novell File Reporter 2.0 product launch now underway, you'll no doubt be hearing more about this amazing product. A press release will be issued, emails are going out to Novell customers, web banners have been placed on novell.com, and we've already been participating in interviews with people in the press.
I invite you to learn more about Novell File Reporter 2.0 by visiting our completely updated product website and see why so many BrainShare attendees who were wowed by the product, are now making plans to deploy Novell File Reporter 2.0 in their organizations.