HP's pocket-size Web servers aim to ease remote systems management
By Cara Cunningham
Posted at 6:27 AM PT, Aug 30, 1997
Hewlett-Packard is developing a line of pocket-size Web servers that, with
a little help from Java, aim to reduce some of the frustrations encountered
with remote systems management.
By January 1998, the company plans to release the first product in this
family, called Secure Web Console. This modem-size device, which attaches
to a server, facilitates secure access to the system's management console
from a Web browser, said Eric Grall, project manager at HP's enterprise
networking and security division, in Grenoble, France.
HP demonstrated the device at its HP World conference in Chicago this week.
Secure Web Console aims to go beyond other products that offer remote
management capabilities by raising the bar on security through heightened
authentication and, eventually, encryption, Grall said.
Windows, authorized system administrators access the HP device via its URL
and are password-authenticated by a Java applet running on it or through a
smart card inserted into their remote PC.
Secure Web Console, which attaches to the server through the RS-232 port,
offers remote administrators all the capabilities they would have if they
were physically sitting in front of the console, Grall said.
One HP user is interested in Secure Web Console's potential.
"We have about a dozen remote offices with no technical people; it would be
better to have this device to support them, rather than trying to get [the
remote employees] to do it," said Bill Weber, vice president of technical
services at The NPD Group, a research company in Port Washington, N.Y.
The device could also be useful in consolidating the company's eight or
nine management consoles currently running at its central data site, Weber
A separate Secure Web Console is required for each server, but the console
can manage multiple remote access instances by giving only one
The console interface that greets remote administrators lets them perform
tasks such as hardware reboot and other management and maintenance
functions. A panel is also displayed that represents the reading of the
The initial release of HP's Secure Web Console, which is slated to enter
beta testing in November, will run an embedded, real-time operating system
called VXWorks, from Wind River Systems, and will attach to HP RISC-based
In a subsequent release scheduled for June, the appliance will also work
with any server running Windows NT or NetWare, Grall said.
In this June release, HP plans to add another layer of security to the
appliance by ensuring secure applet download via the Secure Sockets Layer
protocol and 128-bit encryption, Grall said.
Other pocket-size HP Web servers to follow this release will be designed to
handle tasks such as remote printing and remote imaging.
Hewlett-Packard Co., in Palo Alto, Calif., is at http://www.hp.com/.
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