IT Channel News Briefs, Feb. 29

News for the week of Feb. 25-29, 2008 -- in brief, updated daily, on topics important to the information technology (IT) channel.

Friday, Feb. 29

Microsoft still adjusting to a Web 2.0 world

Bob Muglia, senior vice president of the server and tools business at Microsoft, talked with our sister site,, about how the company is repositioning its

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Windows server and desktop platforms to stay relevant in a Web 2.0 world. The audience for the story is primarily Windows admins working in IT shops with large Microsoft investments -- precisely the same people who will be called on to manage corporate migrations to Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. In the interview, Muglia defends Microsoft's per-server (rather than per-user) licensing model and discusses how Windows Server 2008 can help companies meet their regulatory compliance requirements.

Sourcefire CEO stepping down

The head of Sourcefire, maker of Snort, is stepping down. CEO and chairman E. Wayne Jackson announced his departure Wednesday, the same day the company announced a net $6.5 million loss for fiscal year 2007, according to Sourcefire went public in March, after abandoning a planned acquisition by Check Point Software. Jackson, CEO since 2002, will stay with Sourcefire until a successor is named.

Sun pledges allegiance to tape

Sun Microsystems Inc. unveiled more of its long-term data archiving strategy, announcing some enhanced tape archiving products. The products include a new midrange library, a double-spool tape drive for easier data access and a key management system for tape encryption. Sun is quick to add that it still has room for disk-based backup in its product portfolio -- one of its new products, Sun CIS Infinite Store Archive System, uses tape and disk.

In a boost for open standards in the data center, Alex North, Sun's group manager for tape and archive solutions, told our sister site, "We will be looking across our portfolio at ways to create open standards-based archiving packages." As the data archiving market heats up, with Hewlett-Packard and IBM also staking out territory in the past year, service providers are faced with a growing buffet of choices for their clients.

Zmanda backs up MySQL on Solaris

The new Zmanda Recovery Manager for MySQL adds support for the Solaris 10 operating system. That means Zmanda now supports MySQL backup on Windows, Linux, Solaris and Mac OS . The Solaris support makes sense given that Sun Microsystems is buying MySQL. ZRM Version 1 is available now.

Thursday, Feb. 28

Google relaunches JotSpot as Google Sites

Google continued its apps push this week with the relaunch of JotSpot, an easy-to-use wiki-and-website building tool. The hosted service is now called Google Sites. The Internet search giant bought JotSpot more than a year ago and closed off further subscriptions. The product aims to enable the construction of full-function collaborative wiki sites without requiring HTML expertise. Google Sites could be a less pricey alternative to Microsoft's SharePoint or IBM's Domino for shared workspaces.

Feds OK Oracle BEA buy

The U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday green-lighted Oracle's proposed buyout of BEA Systems, a key provider of Web servers and other middleware. BEA still has to submit the bid at a special shareholder meeting on April 4. The pact must also be cleared by the European Commission (EC). Oracle proposed a $6.6 billion deal in October 2007. BEA initially spurned that offer and in January the two parties hammered out a friendly buyout valued at about $8.5 billion. BEA's Java-based middleware could help Oracle better compete against IBM's middleware arsenal.

EU slaps Microsoft with another fine

The European Union has fined Microsoft $1.35 billion for failing to comply with a 2004 antitrust order. At issue was Microsoft's inclusion of its media player in Windows, which the EC ruled was anticompetitive. The EC also penalized Microsoft for withholding key interoperability information.

The fine had been expected and is not likely to end Microsoft-EC contention. Last month the regulatory body started two new cases against the software giant. Last week, Microsoft said it would open up many of its APIs and specifications to third parties to ease interoperability. It also vowed not to pursue patent litigation against vendors of noncommercial software that used some of this intellectual property for interoperability.

Wednesday, Feb. 27

Cisco and Microsoft unite on remote services

The IT manager's dream of not having to install and maintain separate servers in branch offices is one step closer to reality. A day after Riverbed Technology Inc. took the wraps off its remote services platform, Cisco Systems Inc. said it was partnering with Microsoft to roll out its own remote services platform. By the second half of the year, Cisco said it will have Windows 2008 preinstalled on its Wide Area Application Services appliances. Riverbed will be first to market; on Monday the company said it will offer print and streaming media services beginning in March, with DNS/DCHP and Active Directory planned in the near future. By the end of the year, service providers will have at least two more options for clients who want low-hassle storage solutions.

IBM upgrades its DS8000 storage system

Fresh off its exuberant announcement of the z10, the company's first new mainframe in two years, IBM quietly announced upgrades to its DS8000 high-end storage system. The upgrades to the DS8000 -- including a new maximum volume size of 223 GB and failover for individual volumes -- are required in part so the DS8000 can operate with the z10. Systems integrators eyeing the z10 for enterprise clients should be especially interested in the news.

Microsoft readies tools for Server 2008 launch

As Microsoft gets ready to launch Windows Server 2008, the company is releasing tools for application and hardware compatibility testing. Some of the tools include the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Solution Accelerator, which gives IT managers a hardware and device inventory compatibility rundown, and Microsoft Deployment (formerly Business Desktop Deployment 2007) with Windows Server OS support. These tools will be essential for service providers as they begin the migration process for clients over the next few months. Such tools will complement the advice Microsoft partners are getting this week about selling Windows Server 2008.

Tuesday, Feb. 26

Adobe puts its head in the clouds

Though it's following a path that has grown worn in recent months, Adobe believes that its AIR software development platform will become the standard for online-anywhere computing that cares little about how or where information is accessed. Adobe is positioning AIR as the logical extension of its ubiquitous Flash, which can be played using its free Flash Player. The company is hoping a vibrant developer community will purchase AIR SDKs and create a myriad of must-have, AIR-based applications to allow PCs, smart phones and other mobile devices to access a user's data seamlessly and transparently anywhere. Adobe's entrance into the cloud computing arena should open up networking integration and enhancement opportunities for service providers with clients that aren't shy about becoming early adopters.

RecoverPoint gets a CDP upgrade

EMC Corp. is adding support for local continuous data protection (CDP) to the latest incarnation of its RecoverPoint replication and CDP software. The company also took the wraps off a virtual tape library called EMC Disk Library for Mainframe (DLm). By allowing companies to keep a local copy of their replicated data, EMC believes they've eliminated a key barrier for enterprises looking at a RecoverPoint-based CDP solution. Some analysts, however, are skeptical that CDP has much of a future because of low enterprise adoption rates. On the other hand, service providers might be heartened by a recent report that almost half of organizations plan to roll out CDP within the next two years.

VMware put to the (security) test

Security experts from Boston-based Core Security Inc. have released code to test a serious exploit flaw found in VMware. The flaw -- which affects all VMware products except VMware ESX Server and VMware Desktop Infrastructure products -- has the potential to allow unauthorized access to a user's VMware virtual machine if that user allows file sharing. Core Security customers will be testing the exploit code this week in an attempt to gauge the extent of the security flaw. Still, despite the recent series of security flaws found in VMware and other virtualization software products, many security analysts continue to believe that the security risks to virtual software environments are lower than those to nonvirtualized software environments. In other words, VMware partners should continue to be concerned about security, but not about the imminent collapse of virtualization in the enterprise.

Monday, Feb. 25

Red Hat skeptical about Microsoft's pledge

Red Hat Inc. is questioning the sincerity of Microsoft's most recent attempt to play nice with the open source community. Red Hat took particular aim at Microsoft's pledge not to sue open source developers working on noncommercial products. Why, Red Hat asked, were commercial open source companies left beyond the pale?

The company reiterated its assertion that Microsoft refuses to create a level playing field between Windows and commercial Linux distributions such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux, choosing instead to create more legal FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) for IT shops -- just as Red Hat hopes to ink more Linux service contracts through its channel program. Red Hat's chief open source rival, Novell Inc., appears to be protected from Microsoft litigation because of its year-old patent agreement with Microsoft.

Email archiving SaaS not catching on

Email archiving Software as a Service (SaaS) is "not quite ready for prime time" compared to its on-premise counterparts, according to Forrester Research. As reported by our sister site, two new Forrester studies found two major problems with hosted email archiving services: the long time it can take to retrieve stored messages for e-discovery purposes, and the relative youth of most offerings. The findings mean that solution providers should continue to focus on selling email archiving on premise.

IBM to announce new mainframes

IBM tomorrow will introduce the IBM z10 Enterprise Class series, its first new mainframe in two years, and the accompanying z/OS mainframe software. The z10 Enterprise Class, a 64-way machine, will come in five different models. Big Blue expects shipments to begin in September, and IBM's channel partners will no doubt have a large role to play in prepping customers for mainframe upgrades.

'Vista capable' suit gets class action status

The federal "Windows Vista Capable" lawsuit against Microsoft received class action status late Friday afternoon, paving the way for a trial, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The plaintiffs have accused Microsoft of placing "Windows Vista Capable" stickers on PCs that could not run Vista's advanced features. Microsoft is disputing the claims, despite internal emails in which employees said "We really botched this" and "Even a piece of junk will qualify" for a sticker. Those emails came to light during a court hearing earlier this month.

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