Hewlett-Packard is planning to build Virus Throttler technology into ProLiant servers and ProCurve switches starting in early 2005.
HP vice-president and chief technology officer Tony Redmond said the company's Virus Throttler technology was designed to slow the propagation of a virus or worm within an infected server to give administrators more time to identify the infected system and take appropriate action.
HP's difficulties in making the technology work with Windows server software have been solved by making it available through a network driver. A Microsoft spokesman said that from early 2005 ProLiant servers with Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2000 would be able to download the driver and update their Insight Manager software to take advantage of Virus Throttler.
Any administrator who has had to disinfect a bank of afflicted PCs or servers knows how quickly viruses can spread. During the Slammer worm outbreak in January 2003, almost 75,000 systems were infected around with world within the first 30 minutes of the attack.
HP's virus throttling technology will help contain the spread of viruses and worms by slowing the rate at which they multiply within a network. The throttling does not affect the performance of the server or switch, according to Microsoft.
"We will be building intelligence like this into as many areas of the network that we can reach," said a Microsoft spokesman.
Older ProLiant customers running Windows Server 2000 or Windows Server 2003 should also be able to download the technology. HP is working on a version of the technology for Linux servers, although that effort is complicated by the number of Linux distributions available.
Eventually, HP hopes to build the technology into PCs, but has not fully tested the technology and is not ready to announce a timetable for its release.
HP has also unveiled a number of new initiatives for small businesses that want to protect themselves against the growing security problems plaguing internet users, such as viruses, spyware and phishing. Major enterprises have the resources for dedicated security management, but small businesses and consumers need help in protecting their data against attacks or exploits.
According to HP vice-president Deborah Nelson, customers can now take security classes through HP's website, and the company will spend some of its advertising budget on raising consumer awareness of security threats. Small businesses can also purchase an updated version of HP's ProtectTools software which allows IT managers to set up a single sign-on for their users.
HP also introduced new iPaq PDAs this week with improved security features. The most expensive model in the new hx2000 series, the $549 (£285) hx2700, comes with a built-in fingerprint reader and security management software to protect users in the event of the PDA being lost or stolen.
Tom Krazit writes for IDG News Service