FOSE 2009

FOSE's wall-to-wall floor show

New products run the gamut from wireless presentation systems to virtual SANs

Yes, the economy is still struggling. The Obama administration is still getting up to speed on this churlish process called government. But government information technology efforts charge ahead as IT managers grapple with mandates and requirements both new and old. On March 10-12, FOSE, the largest expo of government-related IT products and services, will take place in Washington, D.C., offering tech managers ideas of how to take their systems to that next level and a look at products that can help them do it.


FOSE handicapper's guide

Walking the FOSE aisles is an endurance sport — so many relevant new hardware and software products are out there that you barely have time to view them all. And for every nifty new technology, there is another that does almost the same things but has some entirely new capability. Because GCN is owned by the same company that runs FOSE, the 1105 Government Information Group, we get an early glimpse of what the vendors will be displaying. Here are some of the products that caught our eye.

For the front office

Tired of spending way too much time in meetings hooking up each speaker's laptop to the projector? Take a look at the VGA Wireless Video Presentation System, from Black Box Network Services (Booth 608). Once you wire this device into a VGA projector, all the users can access the projector wirelessly, from as far as 200 feet away, using a Microsoft Windows-based laptop. Participating computers do not need any additional hardware. The system can host as many as 254 users and can also support full-screen video. It can be protected with secure log-in features and Wired Equivalent Privacy security. You can also use the device as a wireless access point for an internal network or the Internet.

For the past several years, Hewlett-Packard has had a particularly strong presence at FOSE, and its latest multifunction printers have always been part of the spotlight. This year will be no exception. The company will demonstrate a wide range of new models, including the HP Color LaserJet CM3530, the HP Designjet Z6100, the HP Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless All-in-One and the HP Color LaserJet CM6040f MFP (Booth 1701).

HP is pitching the CM3530, for instance, for offices that would like to save money doing more custom printing jobs in-house, rather than making a run to Kinko's. The unit can print as many as 31 pages per minute and can be purchased with an optional 500-sheet paper and heavy-media tray. It also can automatically scan two-sided documents and includes software that can e-mail scanned documents. This printer costs $2,499.

HP will also be showing off a new enterprise A3 flatbed scanner, the Scanjet N9120. This scanner was made for ingesting thick-bound materials and irregular, worn or stapled documents. Think checks, legal forms, ledgers, medical records or any other documents as large as 11 inches by 17 inches. It also features an integrated ink imprinter that can print a page number, character string or distinguishable mark on the back of scanned hard-copy pages, as long as 40 characters. With a 200-page automatic document feeder, it can scan as many as 50 pages per minute or 100 images per minute. The initial price for this model is $3,999.

HP is not alone in displaying new scanners. Fujitsu will show off its new Fujitsu fi-5900C (pictured) document-imaging device (Booth 2101). This beast is capable of processing 120 pages per minute or 240 images per minute. This is the first Fujitsu scanner to come with the company’s new anti-misfeed technology and a self-adjusting stacking tray, both of which will allow larger batches of mixed document types. This scanner costs $24,995.

Portable computers continue to make inroads in the government market. Dell will display its latest line of Dell Latitude E-Family Notebooks (Booth 1001), which have been revamped with advancements in durability and remote administration. Lenovo (Booth 2201) is demonstrating a new, ultra-low cost laptop, called the IdeaPad S10e, which runs for only $300 per unit.

For the ultimate in portable toughness, check out Panasonic (Booth 1909), General Dynamics (via reseller Ridgeline Technology at Booth 1322) and Trimble (Booth 1936), which will all be showing off ultra-rugged laptops, no doubt subjecting the machines to strenuous operating conditions on the show floor.

For the back office

The amount of data that agencies must store continues to pile up, though the same can't be said for the number of storage employees assigned to manage the material. So any product that simplifies the tasks of managing storage can be a help. Sun Microsystems Federal will display its Sun Storage 7110-7210 Unified Storage Systems (pictured) (Booth 2309). The company has been promising to keep costs low on these units -- they start at $9,300 -- at least partly the result of using open standards and open-source software for management duties. The company streamlined the interface to make deploying and provisioning the system easier. This system is also one of the first to use solid-state disks. Each 2U node has 128G of near-line solid-state memory, which can serve recently accessed data much more quickly than pulling it from the hard drives. The system can provide as much as 576T of data while offering a streaming performance of more than 1 gigabyte/sec, the company said.

ScienceLogic will be showing off the latest version of its network-monitoring appliance, the EM7 Meta Appliance (Booth 2531). This unit does the usual monitoring chores: It can watch networks for unusual activity and perform software performance monitoring and asset management. What is unusual here is that the EM7 uses a store-and-retrieve approach, an alternative to the usual hub-and-spoke approach typically used. Units monitoring the network from edge points will hold on to the collected data if they are disconnected from the core unit. When the link is re-established, the data is once again synchronized. EM7 will also offer the ability to monitor IPv6 traffic flows along with the typical IPv4 traffic. This feature could be perfect for agencies migrating to IPv6. EM7 also includes features such as intelligent load handling, Data Encryption Standard-3 encryption and cost-allocation features.

The data center and telecom closets are getting packed, so any product that helps save space could be of interest to data center managers and administrators. Tripp Lite will display its new rackmount uninterruptible power supply system, the SMART2200CRMXL (Booth 509). A 4U network-grade unit, with a cabinet depth of only 17.75 inches, this unit takes up less space than comparable power supplies. It features a power distribution unit that can be used to reboot as many as three devices. Good for mitigating power surges and brownouts, it maintains a sine-wave-perfect 120 volt output even as the input ranges from 83 to 145 volts. It has a 1,900-watt capacity.

Security for all

As it is every year, security will be a big part of the show floor -- bigger even, because this is the first year FOSE will be held in conjunction with the GovSec conference. GTB Technologies will feature its Data Loss Prevention appliance (Booth 2437). Agencies worry about sensitive data getting into unauthorized hands, and GTB's appliance helps guard against such leaks and, even better, stops them outright, the company claims. It works with all the major document formats and transport methods, even trickier ones such as instant messaging, secure HTTP and peer-to-peer file sharing. It also watches the end points to ensure that no data leaks onto iPods or writable-DVDs. The company said its product has a high accuracy of sensitive-data detection while maintaining a low false-positive rate.

Domain Name System (DNS) vulnerabilities have been in the spotlight for the past year, and if you're an administrator who has been scurrying to get things right, you might want to take a look at the Secure64 DNS Signer, being displayed by Secure64 (Booth 1036). This technology is partly a result of a research grant by the Homeland Security Department’s Science and Technology Directorate. It allows agencies to sign DNS zones with secured keys, using the DNS Security Extensions, a requirement set forth by the Federal Information Security Management Act.

Elsewhere at FOSE, Motorola is showing off Version 7.3 of AirDefense Enterprise, which secures Wi-Fi networks against rogue access and other undesirable behaviors (Booth 1301). MXI Security will demonstrate a portable storage device, Access CAC, that can be secured through a Common Access Card (Booth 2223). And Astaro will demonstrate its Astaro Security Gateway (pictured) threat management appliance, the latest version of which features secure HTTP filtering, wide-area network link balancing and e-mail encryption (Booth 2337).

This is only a partial listing of the exhibitors at FOSE. For a full list, visit www.fose.com.

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