Active Directory updated in Windows Server 2008

News headlines for the week of Jan. 7:
  • Active Directory gets update for WinServer '08.
  • Top execs leave Microsoft.
  • Cisco goes green with efficiency.
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    News for the week of Jan. 7-11, 2008 -- in brief, updated daily, on topics important to the information technology (IT) channel.

    Active Directory updated in Windows Server 2008

    Brian Desmond recently sat down with SearchWinIT.com to discuss the upgrades to Active Directory (AD) in Windows Server 2008 that users can expect. Traditionally, AD only allowed administrators to set one password policy per domain, but Windows Server 2008 allows users to have multiple policies that can be defined on a per-user basis. This change strengthens password policy without having to implement a separate AD domain. Along with a few other upgrades and tweaks to AD in Windows Server 2008, service providers can offer customers better server security and reduce the risk of having customer shops compromised. 01/11

    Raikes, Jaffe leaving Microsoft

    Microsoft announced the departure of two top executives yesterday: Microsoft business division president Jeff Raikes and head of acquisitions Bruce Jaffe. Raikes, who joined the company in 1981 and promoted channel opportunities through the Solution Provider Program, will retire in September following a transition period. Microsoft has already hired Stephen Elop, former CEO of Juniper Networks, to succeed Raikes. Jaffe will leave Microsoft Feb. 29, possibly to pursue "a more entrepreneurial role in a smaller company," according to The New York Times. 1/11

    Cisco turns green with efficiency

    Green is the new brown, at least according to Cisco, who announced new unified communications tools they say will cut costs for clients while also helping to save the planet. It's part of Cisco's wider green networking initiative, which they announced last month. Cisco concedes that cost considerations may play some role, if not the major one, in determining whether companies adopt green strategies. Online meeting vendor WebEx, which is owned by Cisco, has recently been touting the benefits of Web conferencing as a way of reducing a company's overall carbon footprint and saving valuable employee time. 01/11

    Network monitoring tool woes

    Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are looking for network monitoring tools that are easy to use but still have full, robust features. But vendors seem to think a tool that is easy to use and still usable are conflicting demands. Most SMBs encounter network monitoring tools that are expensive and take time to configure; and if a change happens to those configurations, the tool stops working. Service providers can bring their own monitoring tools to customer shops, eliminating the need for expensive new tools that no one is trained on. Or, if a customer would rather work with the application directly, service providers can help select a tool that offers the functions customers want and then train users to use them. 01/11

    Open source gets harder

    A report issued by security vendor Coverity as part of its work with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Open Source Code Hardening Project fingered major security flaws in 11 notable open source projects. The flaws -- in projects such as PHP, Python and Samba -- have already been fixed, but Coverity's watchdog role will continue. Such work will become increasingly important for channel partners that wrap services around open source tools, especially as those tools gain wider acceptance in the enterprise. 01/11

    LG laptop battery combusts

    An LG Chem laptop battery exploded in South Korea this week, and now LG Electronics and the battery maker are investigating the cause, according to Bloomberg. The news is the latest in a string of laptop battery explosion incidents, which began in 2006 when Sony recalled 9.6 million batteries over fire fears. In 2007, Matsushita and Sanyo also issued battery recalls. 01/10

    Enterprise search done FASTer

    Fast Search and Transfer (FAST), a search engine developer, has accepted Microsoft's tender to purchase the company. FAST partners with Hitachi Data Systems, CA Inc., EMC Corp., CommVault Systems Inc. and other storage vendors to provide search capabilities for archiving and e-discovery. It is believed that Microsoft's purchase is one step in a move to push into the enterprise search market. Enterprise search is a tool that allows users to look for stored or archived data similar to using a consumer search engine, such as Google. Service providers who work with FAST's OEM partners or Microsoft will be able to use the enterprise search tool to ease the pain of finding old data. With FAST, customers can focus on analyzing data instead of spending time trying to track it down. 01/10

    USB 3.0 appears at CES

    The next version of the Universal Serial Bus (USB) appeared at this week's Consumer Electronics Show. The new interface -- pics of which appear on RegHardware -- are designed to connect at 4.7 Gbit/sec, nearly 10 times the 489 Mbit/sec USB 2.0 links deliver. The final specification is due this summer. 01/10

    HP to reduce energy use by 2010

    Hewlett-Packard Co. plans to make its computers 25% more energy-efficient within two years, according to Reuters. The company this week announced its plans to reach that goal for its desktop and laptop computers by using more efficient power supplies, low-energy chips and other environmentally friendly components. 01/10

    Web 2.0's nagging insecurities

    Traditional perimeter-based security methods are groaning under attacks from a networked, Web 2.0 world. As reported by SearchCIO.com, the ubiquity of Web services is forcing security experts to scramble to keep a step ahead of hackers. One major player in the growing Web 2.0 security market is Alcatel-Lucent, and others include IBM-owned DataPower. Both Alcatel-Lucent and IBM have channel programs for VARs and consultants wishing to expand their line cards. 01/10

    FTC offers behavioral advertising guidelines

    The Federal Trade Commission has proposed a set of guidelines for online advertising that tracks users' behaviors to offer more targeted ads. The proposal suggests that Web sites should prominently notify users if they are collecting data for behavioral advertising, companies should retain the data only for as long as necessary to provide the advertising, and users should consent before a site can use their data for other purposes. The guidelines are meant to promote self-regulation and are not rules. 01/10

    Ingram Micro offers partners financing help

    Ingram Micro is making new leasing and credit options available to help partners with their financing. Partners who work exclusively with small and medium-sized business (SMB) customers can receive financing for managed services and software deals, and they also qualify for public-sector and small-ticket leases. In addition, Cisco and IBM are offering vendor-specific leasing. Ingram Micro is supporting the new financing options with training courses for partners to learn which is best for their business. 01/09

    Microsoft buys search vendor for $1.23B

    Microsoft is adding to its enterprise search and business intelligence portfolio. The company announced yesterday it plans to acquire Fast Search and Transfer, an Oslo-based vendor, for $1.23 billion.

    Microsoft said the move will boost its SharePoint product line, which at least 75% of U.S. businesses tried out last year, according to Gartner. Executives also hope the acquisition will help Microsoft in the Web search market -- the key area in Microsoft's battle with Google.

    Fast Search and Transfer's board of directors has unanimously recommended that shareholders accept Microsoft's offer, and 37% have already done so. Microsoft said the deal is expected to close by the second quarter of this calendar year. 01/09

    EMC and Dell make SMB SAN play

    EMC Corp. and Dell Inc. are making another play at enticing SMBs to adopt networked storage. EMC's AX4 and Dell's AX4-5 is a SAS/SATA disk array designed to replace the Clariion AX150. The AX4 and AX4-5's higher scalability and different configurations are an attempt to provide for customer's needs while competing with similar SAN product offerings from HP, NetApp and Hitachi. The AX4 allows customers to pick the software options they want to have installed, rather than purchasing a prepackaged bundle. This choice allows service providers in the SMB storage market to help customers choose the right SAN for their shop. Service providers can guide customers through purchasing, choosing software and deploying a new SAN. This hands-on approach allows service providers to deliver customized solutions that customers can use to their best advantage. 01/09

    Gates says no to iPhone rival

    Microsoft has no plans to release a competitor to the iPhone, chairman Bill Gates said in a German newspaper today. Gates told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that Microsoft's focus is on its Windows Mobile software, and the company's partnerships with other mobile device manufacturers provide more flexibility than a proprietary device would, according to Reuters. 01/09

    .NET Framework gets parallel power

    New extensions for .NET Framework 3.5 will allow software developers to tap into the power of the latest multicore CPUs. The challenge, say experts quoted in the story from SearchWinDevelopment.com, will be how, or even whether, to upgrade existing sequential-processing applications to take advantage of the parallel processing capabilities inherent in Microsoft's latest set of .NET enhancements. For the .NET developer community, as well as for Microsoft partners, parallel processing presents both considerable challenges and opportunities in 2008 and beyond. 01/09

    Microsoft announces latest security flaws and fixes

    As they do every month, Microsoft has issued new security bulletins for January. The two latest exploit flaws they announced would, if left unpatched, let hackers take control of PCs running Windows XP and Vista. Microsoft's Bill Sisk provides more detail on the flaws in his column on SearchSecurity.com. Microsoft partners will want to make sure their clients have the latest patches. 01/09

    Citrix partners offered XenServer incentives, training

    Citrix partners can now receive bonuses for selling the XenServer virtual server platform. As of Jan. 1, XenServer became part of the Citrix Advisor Rewards program, and Citrix is offering free online sales and technical training to help existing partners get the most out of the program. Solution providers who become Citrix partners in 2008 will also be eligible for the free training. 01/09

    EMC cuts RSA staff

    While EMC is careful not to call them layoffs, the company announced on Monday that it has identified "positional redundancies" in its RSA security division. EMC notes that those RSA staffers losing their jobs may be offered other positions within the company, and asserts that the news does not signal any long-term problems with its business strategy. 01/08

    Most 2007 PCs shipped without Vista

    Bill Gates said during his Consumer Electronics Show keynote address that Microsoft sold more than 100 million copies of Windows Vista in 2007. But a closer look at that number shows a less successful reality for Microsoft -- that Vista shipped on just 39% of new PCs in 2007, according to Information Week. By comparison, Windows XP shipped on 67% of new PCs during its first year on the market. 01/08

    Social networking a gateway to jobs, talent

    Social networking has become a viable way for professionals to find talent and network in their industry. Networking sites like MySpace, Friendster, Twitter and LinkedIn provide a venue for like-minded -- or like-employed -- individuals to exchange ideas and professional experiences with others who live in the same meta-community. Service providers who aren't using social networking sites may want to begin considering them as a viable way to drum up business and find new employees. 01/08

    Report: New Dell blades imminent

    Dell is preparing to come out with two new server blades, according to The Register. The technology news site reported yesterday that Dell will soon launch the Xeon-based M600 blade, the Opteron-based M605 blade and the 10U M1000e chassis. The M1000e will accommodate 16 half-height blades and feature three redundant power supplies. 01/08

    'Prank' trojan hits iPhone

    The first iPhone trojan has appeared. Researchers over the weekend discovered "iPhone firmware 1.1.3 prep," a trojan that disguised itself as a system update, according to Symantec. The program overwrites two applications, Erica's Utilities and OpenSSH, and users who delete it will also delete those applications. But for the most part, Symantec said, "it does appear to be more of a prank than an actual threat." 01/08

    Gates enlists celebs for final CES keynote

    Outgoing Microsoft chairman Bill Gates made a star-studded farewell during his Consumer Electronics Show (CES) keynote last night but offered little in terms of new products or technologies. Gates, who will step down as chairman in July, started off by showing a mock documentary of his last day at Microsoft, featuring Al Gore, Bono and other celebrities rejecting his applications for a new job. And for the finale, he brought out guitar legend Slash to fend off a "Guitar Hero 3" video game challenge from another Microsoft executive.

    In between, Gates presented his vision for the technology industry's immediate future. Calling it the "second digital decade," he said devices from computers to mobile phones to televisions will all seamlessly interact with each other, driven by more intuitive user commands. CES activity began yesterday in Las Vegas; the show formally opens this morning. 01/07

    Systemax buys CompUSA name, some stores

    Port Washington, N.Y.-based PC manufacturer and reseller Systemax Inc. has announced the acquisition of the CompUSA brand name and a number of the collapsed retail company's stores. CompUSA sold itself last month to the investment company Gordon Brothers in Boston, which said it would close the company's 103 retail stores. Systemax will add about 16 CompUSA retail locations in Florida, Illinois, North Carolina and Ontario to its existing line of 11 TigerDirect stores in those areas. Systemax owns popular online IT-gear sales site TigerDirect.com as well as a number of other retail, distribution and white-box PC manufacturing businesses in the U.S. and Europe. Systemax will maintain the CompUSA brand name, but revamp its online sales operation. 01/07

    Verizon sues Alltel over phone-nerd commercials

    Verizon Wireless sued Alltel Corp. in federal court last week, charging that Alltel was making false claims about Verizon's service by saying Alltel is the only wireless provider that lets customers change calling plans without extending their contracts. Verizon Wireless' suit said it had offered the same ability since October 2007. The ads began running before that time, but Verizon Wireless' complaint said it had asked Alltel to change the ad's statement about it. Verizon Wireless has had its own customer-service and legal problems, including a settlement with the New York attorney general's office under which it had to repay customers of its unlimited EVDO wireless data plan a portion of their fees because the function-limited service was advertised as "unlimited." 01/07

    FAA: Hackers could access plane's controls

    Passengers of the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner could hack into the plane's navigation system through on-board Internet access, according to a Federal Aviation Administration warning. The FAA report, issued Jan. 3, said the plane's mission-critical systems, on-ground support systems and in-flight Internet connection are all on the same network, and they "do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for protection and security … against unauthorized access." A Boeing spokeswoman told Wired that the different systems are not completely connected and that additional tests are planned for March, when the first test flight is scheduled. The FAA will not allow the planes to go into service until Boeing addresses its concerns. 01/07

    IBM and Double-Take top weekly storage news

    Top storage news over the past week includes IBM's restructured Systems and Technology Group, Double-Take's addition of continuous data protection through its acquisition of TimeSpring, a notebook featuring 1 TB of hard drive space and SanDisk adding automated online backup to its new 4 GB flash drive. The IBM news signals their continued courting of the SMB market, which is good news for IBM channel partners looking for new growth opportunities. Double-Take's move bolsters its point-in-time recovery capabilities for Microsoft SharePoint, SQL and Exchange servers, a boost for both Double-Take and Microsoft partners. 01/07

    NetApp to purchase Onaro

    Network Appliance Inc. (NetApp) recently announced plans to purchase change and management software company Onaro Inc. The fact that Onaro's products -- such as Onaro VM Insight, a module that plugs into Application Insight and allows virtual machines to connect with storage fabrics down to the disk -- stand out in the storage resource management (SRM) market is important, NetApp may be after the difference in customers. While the move has been criticized by competitors such as EMC for allegedly addressing different customer bases, some analysts said that may be the point of the acquisition. Onaro's typical customers run Fibre Channel SAN environments, while NetApp products are traditionally aimed at NAS and iSCSI customers. The purchase will give NetApp penetration into big Fibre Channel accounts. Service providers in the storage market should watch the moves that NetApp and Onaro make in the coming months. Partnering with NetApp may offer new markets to service providers while providing a new virtualization product to sell. 01/07

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