Maxum Development Releases iAssist, Internet Server Management For OS X

April 16, 2003. Maxum Development today announced a new software product
targeted at Mac OS X Internet server administrators. The new package,
iAssist, is being launched with the lofty goal of becoming the “The
Internet Server Manager For Mac OS X”.

John O’Fallon, founder of Maxum and architect of iAssist, explains: “At
it’s core, iAssist is really a single application that organizes a
collection of Internet server management tools. Since iAssist dynamically
loads each software component, we can grow iAssist’s functionality over
time, automatically, without the administrator having to install patches or
upgrades, and without a fixed release schedule.”

The new framework was born out of Maxum’s 9 year history of customer driven
Internet software development. Traditionally, highly customer-focused
companies like Maxum would take user feedback, develop software updates,
and release them in a timeframe measured in months or years. iAssist breaks
out of this pre-Internet era development cycle by integrating
documentation, software execution, and distribution in a dynamic,
Internet-aware architecture.

If the architecture sounds complicated, the user experience certainly is
not. Administrators first install a small program onto each server they
wish to manage. Servers can then be remotely managed from the
administrator’s desktop through iAssist, which automatically completes it’s
own installation and leads the user through a single-window setup
assistant. Once installed, all of iAssist’s diverse capabilities are
accessible via a single interface window that includes a simple, organized
menu of actions and help text describing the task the administrator wants
to perform.

“Internet server administrators need more information about the software
they are running than a typical computer user,” continues Mr. O’Fallon.
“They need tools that make life easy, but they also need fast access to the
details about what’s really going on. In iAssist, we’ve turned the
traditional ‘help system’ upside down, basing the rest of the interface
design on it, rather than tacking it on as an afterthought.”

The current feature set of iAssist starts with a full proxy server
implementation, based on a modified version of the popular Squid caching
proxy server. In fact, all Maxum customers that have previously purchased
Maxum’s Classic Mac OS proxy server WebDoubler are being offered an upgrade
to iAssist at no cost, regardless of when they bought WebDoubler. Other
functions include a tool for managing remote login, a key element of OS X
Server but a source of numerous potential security issues, and a set of
general server management tools that make working with an OS X server’s
Unix underpinnings quicker and easier.

The Squid proxy server, which can be installed and started by iAssist with
default settings in just a few mouse-clicks, has been extended with
WebDoubler’s HostBlock content filtering system. HostBlock allows schools
and other organizations to filter inappropriate content without expensive
annual service contracts. Of course, iAssist also includes functions to
manage other aspects of the proxy, from cache settings to access
restrictions to log file management.

Every copy of iAssist includes a one year “updates subscription”, which
means that as the iAssist feature set evolves, the new capabilities
introduced will be automatically and dynamically integrated into every
iAssist customer’s software. The subscription is an important aspect of
iAssist, especially since the next element of server management to be
addressed by iAssist is server security. “Traditional Mac administrators
haven’t had to deal with Unix security issues in the past”, explains
O’Fallon. “Our next step is to uncover potential security issues and build
new modules to deal with them. As we do that, iAssist will be able to bring
up the potential problems, and the solution, to our customers.”

Pricing starts at $250.00 for a single copy of iAssist that will manage up
to 2 servers. Volume discounts are available for multiple copies of iAssist
and for extended licenses to manage additional servers. For complete
details, including a fully-functional, free trial version of iAssist, visit:

Founded in 1991, Maxum Development became the first company to ship
commercial Internet products for the Macintosh when it released NetCloak
and NetForms in 1994. Since that time, Maxum has continued to innovate with
a series of unique, widely acclaimed Internet server products.