A network traffic control tower

By Barry Nance, Network World |  Networking

Even though Total Control for e-Business' several components are easy to select and configure, don't think that they're not high-quality, serious software. For example, in our firewall tests we found Lightspeed's product immune to almost all our hacking attempts. Our efforts revealed some vulnerabilities in TCP sequence prediction, but the firewall component successfully thwarted SYN floods, data storms, port scans and a teardrop-style denial-of-service attack. The firewall operated at near wire speeds in the performance tests, resolving all packets within 12 secondss of the end of each 10-minute stress test. Furthermore, IP Magic's installation program replaces Microsoft's TCP/IP stack with Lightspeed's more robust and secure protocol stack.

For configuration purposes, each component has its own property sheet, activated via a right click. Rules on the stateful firewall's property sheet define security policies for particular types of IP traffic. The outbound NAT tool's property sheet contains internal-to-external network IP address translation rules for TCP and User Datagram Protocol (UDP) traffic, and it works with static and dynamic IP addressing schemes. Similarly, the inbound NAT tool has settings for how to swap each packet's IP address and port number with values you specify. The NAT tools also have settable timeout intervals for TCP and UDP packets.

The Total Control for e-Business collection of components includes a server load balancer and WAN load balancer. The server load balancer works somewhat like Microsoft Windows Load Balance Service. It excelled at distributing transaction traffic across multiple Web servers in our tests, and it even detected and thereafter avoided servers that we abruptly removed from the network. By setting bandwidth values for each gateway in the WAN load balancer, we throttled and distributed outbound IP traffic over multiple WAN links.

We also liked how we could place a traffic-monitoring IP Magic component wherever we wished. As we first configured our Total Control for e-Business installations, we inserted these packet counters liberally to see the effects of the filtering and load-balancing components. After verifying our configurations, we then removed the packet counters with a mouse click.

The installation was straightforward. Although it lacks an index, the documentation was clear and thorough.

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