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Download HP Service Pack (SPP) for ProLiant Servers for Free (Firmware & Drivers .ISO)– Directly from HP!

Posted in Other Articles

Download HP Service Pack (SPP) for ProLiant Servers for Free (Firmware & Drivers .ISO)– Directly from HP! - 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 votes

hp-service-pack-for-proliant-spp-free-download-1aDownloading all necessary drivers and firmware upgrades for your HP Proliant server is very important, especially if hardware compatibility is critical for new operating system installations or virtualized environments (VMwareHyperV). Til recently, HP customers could download the HP Service Pack (SPP) for Proliant servers free of charge, but that’s no longer the story as HP is forcing customers to pay up in order to get access to its popular SPP package.

For those who are unaware, the HP SPP is a single ISO image that contains all the latest firmware software and drivers for HP’s Proliant servers, supporting older and newer operating systems including Virtualization platforms such as VMware and HyperV.

From HP’s prospective, you can either search and download for free each individual driver you think is needed for your server, or you buy a support contract and get everything in one neat ISO with all the necessary additional tools to make life easy – sounds attractive right? Well, it depends which way you look at it… not everyone is happy to pay for firmware and driver updates considering they are usually provided free of charge.

A quick search for HP Proliant firmware or drivers on any search engine will bring up HP’s Enterprise Support Center where the impression is given that we are one step away from downloading our much wanted SPP:

HP Proliant SPP Driver and Firmware Free Download

Figure 1. Attempting to download the HP Service Pack for ProLiant (SPP) ISO

When clicking on the ‘Obtain Software’ link, users receive the bad news:


Figure 2. Sorry, you need to pay up to download the HP Service Pack ISO image!

Well, this is not the case – at least for now.

Apparently HP has set up this new policy to ensure customers pay for their server driver upgrades, however, they’ve forgotten (thankfully) one very important detail – securing the location of the HP Service Pack for ProLiant (SPP) ISO :)

To directly access the latest version of HP’s SPP ISO image simply click on the following URL or copy-paste it to your web browser:

Introduction to Palo Alto Next-Generation Network Firewalls

Posted in Palo Alto Firewalls

Introduction to Palo Alto Next-Generation Network Firewalls - 4.1 out of 5 based on 14 votes

palo-alto-firewalls-introduction-features-technical-specifications-1aDuring the past decade, we’ve seen the global IT security market flooded with new network security and firewall security appliances. New vendors emerging into the market while existing well-known vendors introduce new smarter and complex firewalls that aim to keep enterprise organizations as safe as possible. Palo Alto Networks is one of the new-generation security vendors who have managed to break into a saturated market and make their stand.

It’s no coincidence that Palo Alto Networks is considered to be a leader and pioneer when it comes to Next Generation Firewall appliances and Gartner seems to agree with this statement based on their Magic Quadrant report in the Next Generation Firewall Segment:

Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Network Firewalls

Figure 1. Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Network Firewalls

Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Firewalls unique way of processing a packet using the Single ­­­Pass Parallel Processing (SP3) engine makes them a clear leader.

Note: Read all our technical articles covering Palo Alto Firewalls by visiting our Palo Alto Firewall Section.

Basically, the SP3 engine utilizes the same stream-based signature format to process the protection features like Anti-Virus, Spyware, Vulnerability Protection and Data Filtering. By doing so the firewall saves valuable processing power, unlike other Unified Threat Management (UTM) appliances which serially process each security feature offered, this often introduces latency to the network traffic.

The advanced security features like App-ID, User-ID, Content-ID along with Security profiles, comprising feature like Antivirus, Anti-Spyware, Vulnerability protection, URL Filtering, DoS Protection and Data Filtering makes Palo Alto the leader. Most importantly its malware analysis solution WildFire offers advanced protection from unknown threats.

Palo Alto Networks offers its firewalls as Hardware Platforms and Virtual Platforms. Its Hardware Platforms comes in different flavors.


Figure 2. The Palo Alto Firewall family

PA-200 and PA-500 Series Firewalls are meant for Small Businesses and come with very limited throughput and do not support Virtual Systems. Virtual Systems, also known as VSYS, is used to create virtual firewall instances in a single-pair of Palo Alto Firewalls, in other words, Virtual Systems can be compared to contexts in Cisco ASA Firewalls or vdom in Fortinet firewalls. The PA-200, PA-500 Series Firewalls offer a very limited number of security policies like security rules, NAT rules, policy based forwarding rules and a few more.

Datasheets on Palo Alto Firewall appliances and Virtual Servers are available at our Palo Alto Datasheets and Guides download area

The table below provides a clear comparison of features and technical specifications of both PA-500 and PA-200 firewall models:

The Importance of a Comprehensive Backup Strategy for Physical and Virtual Servers

Posted in Windows 2012 Server

The Importance of a Comprehensive Backup Strategy for Physical and Virtual Servers - 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 vote

comprehensive-backup-strategy-physical-virtual-serversPeople and companies usually adopt a backup strategy suited to the needs of their working environment. As such, there is no absolute right or wrong method of backing up data however in order to backup and restore data swiftly and easily a comprehensive strategy is necessary, even though most virtualized platforms such as Hyper-V and VMware offer built-in backup-like features such as snapshots or ability to copy a whole virtual machine to another location.

Broadly, this encompasses four rules which we've briefly outlined below:

  • Backups must be performed automatically
  • Backups must have redundancy
  • A copy of the backup must be available offsite
  • Backups must be regularly tested
  • Usage of high-quality backup applications for Virtualized environments e.g Altaro Backup

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Most often, people will not remember to take backups on time. They may keep deferring the task because of laziness, oversight or work pressure. Whatever the cause, it defeats the very purpose of backing up. Therefore, a backup solution that automates the task is essential. Simply configure it once and let it take backups at regular intervals.

OSPF Neighbor States – OSPF Neighbor Forming Process

Posted in OSPF Routing Protocol

OSPF Neighbor States – OSPF Neighbor Forming Process - 4.8 out of 5 based on 10 votes

This is the third article of our OSPF series which analyzes the different OSPF States routers go through during the OSPF discovery and neighbor forming process. We analyze OSPF states (Init state, 2-way state, Exstart state, Exchange state, Loading state Full state, Down state), LSA Hello messages and more.

Our first OSPF article covered basic OSPF concepts - OSPF Topology & Routing table, OSPF Areas & Router roles, plus more. It is recommended users read the first article before continuing, to help refresh their OSPF theory. Our second OSPF article covered how OSPF routers perform neighbor relationship and adjacency and examined contents of OSPF Hello Packets, exchange of database descriptor (DBD) packets and Link State Request (LSR) packets.

OSPF Neighbor States

When OSPF forms adjacency with neighbors, the connection goes through several states before the routers are fully adjacent with each other, this section describes each state in detail. Following are the OSPF States we'll be examining:

  • Down state
  • Attempt state
  • Init state
  • 2-Way state
  • Exstart state
  • Exchange state
  • Loading state
  • Full state

The diagram below shows the different states OSPF routers will go through when discovering their OSPF neighbors:


Figure 1. OSPF Neighbor States & OSPF Neighbor Forming Process

Down State

The Down State is the first OSPF neighbor state and means no Hello packets have been received from a neighbor. In an already established OSPF adjacency, an OSPF state will transition from a FULL or 2-Way State to the Down State when the router Dead Interval Timer expires (4 x Hello Interval timer), which means OSPF has lost communication with its neighbor and is now considered non-reachable or dead.

This is a special state used only for manually configured neighbors in a Non-Broadcast MultiAccess (NBMA) network, it indicates that the router is sending Hello packets to its neighbor in a Non-Broadcast MultiAccess (NBMA) environment via unicast but no reply is received within the Dead Interval (4 x Hello Interval).

An example of an NBMA network is a Frame Relay network where there are no intrinsic broadcast and multicast capabilities.

GFI WebMonitor Installation: Gateway / Proxy Mode, Upgrades, Supported O/S & Architectures (32/64bit)

Posted in GFI WebMonitor: Web Security & Monitoring

GFI WebMonitor Installation: Gateway / Proxy Mode, Upgrades, Supported O/S & Architectures (32/64bit) - 5.0 out of 5 based on 3 votes

GFI WebMonitor is an awarded gateway monitoring and internet access control solution designed to help organizations deal with user internet traffic, monitor and control bandwidth consumption, protect computers from internet malware/viruses and other internet-based threats plus much more. GFI WebMonitor supports two different installation modes: Gateway mode and Simple Proxy mode. We’ll be looking into each mode and help administrators and engineers understand which is best, along with the prerequisites and caveats of each mode.

Proxy vs Gateway Mode

Proxy mode, also named Simple Proxy mode is the simplest way to install GFI WebMonitor. You can deploy this on any computer that has access to the internet. In Simple Proxy mode, all client web-browser traffic (HTTP/HTTPS) is directed through GFI WebMonitor. To enable this type of setup, you will need an internet facing router that can forward traffic and block ports.

With GFI WebMonitor functioning in Simple Proxy mode, each client machine must also be configured to use the server as a web proxy for HTTP and HTTPS protocols. GFI WebMonitor comes with built-in Web Proxy Auto-Discovery (WPAD) server functionality that makes the process easy - simply enable automatic discovery of proxy server for each of your client machines and they should automatically find and use WebMonitor as a proxy. In case of a domain environment, it is best to regulate this setting using a Group Policy Object (GPO).

When WebMonitor is configured to function in Internet Gateway mode, all inbound and outbound client traffic will pass through GFI WebMonitor, irrespective of whether the traffic is HTTP or non-HTTP. With Internet Gateway mode, the client browser does not need to point to any specific proxy – all that’s required is to enable the Transparent Proxy function in GFI WebMonitor.

WebMonitor Download: Control internet resources available to your organization's users. Get complete control on how users and applications access the internet. Application level blocking and malware protection.

Supported OS & Architectures

Whether functioning as a gateway or a web proxy, GFI WebMonitor processes all web traffic. For a smooth operation that amounts to using a server architecture capable of handling all the requests every day. When the environment is small (10-20 nodes), for instance, a 2 GHz processor and 4 GB RAM minimum with a 32-bit Windows operating system architecture will suffice.

Larger environments, such as those running the Windows Server operating system on a minimum of 8 GB RAM and multi-core CPU will require the 64-bit architecture. GFI WebMonitor works with both 32- as well as 64-bit Windows operating system architectures starting from Windows 2003 and Windows Vista.

Installation and Upgrading

When installing for the first time, GFI WebMonitor starts by detecting its prerequisites. If the business is already using GFI WebMonitor, the process determines the prerequisites according to the older product instance. If the installation kit encounters an older instance, it imports the previous settings and redeploys them after completing the installation.

Whether installing for the first time or upgrading an older installation, the installation kit looks for any setup prerequisites necessary and installs them automatically. However, some prerequisites may require user interaction and these will come up as separate installation processes with their own user interfaces.

Installing GFI WebMonitor

As with all GFI products, installation is a very easy follow-the-bouncing-ball process. Once the download of GFI WebMonitor is complete, execute the installer using an account with administrative privileges.

If WebMonitor has been recently downloaded, you can safely skip the newer build check. When ready, click Next to proceed:


Figure 1. Optional check for a new WebMonitor edition during installation


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