News for the week of March 17-21, 2008 -- in brief, updated daily, on topics important to the information technology (IT) channel.
Friday, March 21
SAP managed hosting lifts off
Analysts who spoke with SearchSAP.com said they're starting to see some reality behind the promise of
Microsoft Stirling preview coming
A public beta of Microsoft Stirling, the company's planned integrated security suite, is due within three months, according to All About Microsoft. The blog reports that the suite, which is due for final release early next year, is already in private testing. Stirling is the next generation of Microsoft's Forefront security products, which were launched in 2006.
HP simplifies data center building and consolidation
Hewlett-Packard has announced packaged services that will enable users to build new data centers, consolidate old ones and host applications on HP's own infrastructure, SearchDataCenter.com reports. The packaging of services is meant to simplify the customer's experience of working with HP and its many offerings.
Ultimately, the offering should help users build energy-efficient centers, reduce the number of actual data facilities and offer Adaptive Infrastructure as a Service (AIaaS), which provides users access to HP-owned data centers all over the world to host applications. To guide customers in their consolidation efforts, HP created a playbook that documents its own consolidation project, which slashed the company's data centers from 85 to six.
Microsoft buys rootkit detector
Microsoft acquired Komoku Inc., a rootkit detection vendor, for an undisclosed amount. Four-year-old Komoku makes advanced rootkit detection products and has been awarded several government contracts, according to SearchSecurity.com. Komuku's technology will eventually fold into Microsoft's Forefront and Windows Live OneCare security software. Security vendors McAfee and Sophos have both added rootkit detection to their products.
Thursday, March 20
Microsoft vs. Google enterprise battle heating up?
Google plans to compete with Microsoft's Exchange Server and Outlook enterprise email products, according to tech blogger Robert Scoble. He reported yesterday, citing "several" confidential sources, that Google will soon offer an offline version of its GMail application as well as its own enterprise email server. Google and Microsoft are also taking each other on in the Web-based applications market, and Microsoft plans to take on Google in the online search and advertising market by acquiring Yahoo.
Rapid 7 defends itself in data breach
The data breach at New England supermarket chain Hannaford Bros., disclosed this week, may have happened thanks to a misconfigured network. That was one possible explanation given by an executive from Rapid 7, Hannaford's network security vendor, in an interview with our sister site, SearchSecurity.com. The executive said Rapid 7's network scanner, NeXpose, does not monitor Internet service provider (ISP) traffic or other services accessed by a virtual private network (VPN). He added, "Our system had nothing to do with the breach." The breach exposed 4.2 million credit and debit card numbers.
HP gets serious about virtualization
Hewlett-Packard Co. embraced virtualization this week, introducing an eight-way server packed with 512 GB of memory and new management software, SearchServerVirtualization.com reports. The HP ProLiant DL785 G5 server supports AMD's quad-core Opteron processor, which features lower-latency memory, a dual-dynamic power manager, virtual machine indexing and Direct Connect Architecture, which all facilitate virtualization. HP's ProLiant will compete with eight-way servers from Sun Microsystems Inc. and IBM Corp.'s scalable four-way servers.
HP's new software, HP Insight Dynamics - Virtual Server Environment (VSE), will manage both physical and virtual machines with features including analysis capabilities, capacity planning and a unified interface.
Microsoft alliance aims to improve call center service
Beefing up its unified communications (UC) and call center strategies, Microsoft made an equity investment in contact center software expert Aspect Software Inc. this week, SearchWinIT.com reports. The companies will integrate the presence, conferencing and calendaring functions of Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 with Aspect's .NET-based Unified IP.
The integrated product could help call center agents speed up the resolution of customer problems by, for example, enabling them to instant message with a more knowledgeable person in the company while on a call with a customer. Aspect competes with Avaya, Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks and other heavy-hitters in the contact software space. Microsoft and Aspect did not provide a specific release date for the integrated product.
Wednesday, March 19
Novell details SUSE 11 plans
Novell talked up SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 and promised better interoperability with Windows, easier Unix migration and reduced power needs at the BrainShare conference this week. The ability of SUSE Linux to run well in mixed environments was a big focus at the Salt Lake City show.
Also on the docket, details on how Novell's buyout of PlateSpin will bolster the company's disaster recovery and data center functions. Novell chief technology officer Jeffrey Jaffe said PlateSpin's ability to run multiple virtualization technologies across platforms, along with backup and recovery and other functions, is "totally unique," according to SearchEnterpriseLinux.com. The company's Linux revenue grew 65% year over year from the first quarter of 2007 to the first quarter of 2008, CEO Ron Hovsepian said. The company garnered $122 million in revenue from its existing collaboration agreement with Microsoft, he said.
Sun chooses Eclipse for JPA 2.0
One surprise out of EclipseCon 2008 this week was that Sun Microsystems Inc. selected the Eclipse Persistence Services Project (EclipseLink), led by Oracle Corp., as the reference implementation for the Java Persistence API (JPA) 2.0. It was surprising because the Eclipse Foundation -- which includes IBM, Oracle and nearly every other Java-aligned vendor -- competes for Java coders with nonmember Sun. Oracle is cooperating on the new JSR 317 version of the JPA in the Java Community Process, according to SearchSOA.com. Analysts have said that Eclipse may be the platform of choice for service-oriented architecture (SOA) projects, as opposed to Sun's Java Enterprise Edition.
Quantum caught on (EMC) tape
Sources tell SearchStorage.com that Quantum Inc.'s deduplication software will come preinstalled on EMC's virtual tape libraries. EMC has yet to make an official announcement, but the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) deal is a shot across the bow of market leader Data Domain Inc. One analyst says EMC has chosen "a technically inferior solution," but he suspects that EMC's sales and marketing machine will nonetheless help the company chip away at Data Domain's market share.
Juniper pairs ScreenOS, Junos 9.0
Hoping to gain an edge in the tightly competitive enterprise networking market, Juniper Networks has coupled its ScreenOS security solution with its Junos 9.0 operating system. The aim is to simplify management for network administrators by pairing routing and security. Now all security functions -- including firewall and VPN -- will be an inherent part of Juniper's J-series routers, which run on the Junos software.
Symantec launches new Veritas products
Symantec yesterday announced new versions of its Veritas Storage Foundation and Veritas Cluster Server products. New features include Windows Server 2008 support, expanded support for Windows Vista and enhanced disaster recovery. They are scheduled to be available in June as part of Symantec's new Symantec Solutions for Windows portfolio.
Nortel and Tandberg tune into telepresence
Nortel Networks and Tandberg have inked a nonexclusive deal to offer managed telepresence and videoconferencing services to businesses through service providers and Nortel's direct team. The deal represents the push by many telecom companies into telepresence, and more specifically Nortel's move to compete with Cisco Systems in unified communications (UC).
Tandberg's video applications will run on Nortel's UC platform, but the solution is interoperable, so it can be integrated into existing conferencing products. They will work with Microsoft and IBM's UC platforms and also integrate with Nortel's Agile Communication Environment, which enables customization and development of further communications and video applications for businesses.
Tuesday, March 18
Google: Microsoft-Yahoo bad for the Net
Microsoft's potential acquisition of Yahoo would be "bad for the Internet," Google CEO Eric Schmidt told reporters yesterday in Beijing. Schmidt said he doubted that Microsoft's actions would be "consistent with the openness of the Internet," and he alluded to "the things that [Microsoft] has done that have been so difficult for everyone," according to Reuters. Microsoft made an unsolicited $44.6 billion bid for Yahoo last month -- an attempt to boost its standing in the online search and advertising market, where Google is king. Meanwhile, Google is going after Microsoft in the desktop applications market.
VMware pricing program goes global
VMware has announced that its Enterprise License Agreements (ELA) Preferred Pricing Program is now available worldwide. The company has retooled its ELA policies and documentation and is asking partners to register their ELA opportunities on the VMware Partner Central website.
Zmanda adds MySQL to partner roster
Zmanda's open source backup and recovery software will now be available via MySQL direct sales and partner channels. MySQL, now part of Sun Microsystems, makes a popular open source database. Zmanda has sold its products direct, through systems integrators (SIs) and via a partnership with Red Hat. Now it's adding Sun/MySQL channels to the mix, company president Chander Kant said.
Zmanda's product competes with Legato, but in many MySQL cases it replaces homegrown backup and recovery scripts written by database administrators (DBAs), Kent said. This deal means that "systems integrators putting together solutions based on either the LAMP stack or the SAMP [Solaris, Apache, MySQL, Perl] stack can get a fully supported solution," Kant said.
Trend Micro neatens up security management
Attempting to simplify management of its security solution while improving protection of sensitive data across the network, Trend Micro has updated the Web-based management console of its NeatSuite Security Suites for both small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and larger enterprises.
Trend Micro's upgraded Control Manager 5.0 runs on an integrated agent model meant to reduce IT staff desk visits. The updated console now decentralizes management of the system to regional IT staff, while enabling centralized control at company headquarters in an attempt to improve coverage. Control Manager also promises enhanced security by offering improved user access control and licensing, as well as customized reporting and query functions.
SEP sesam gets SAP, VMware certification
Germany's SEP Software has released SEP sesam 3.4, a software kit enabling cross-platform data backup, data encryption and disaster recovery. What's new in this release is full certification from both SAP and VMware. Other features include disaster recovery down to bare metal, automated data recovery and secure data transfer. SEP still has few U.S.-based partners, so there may be opportunities for service providers interested in offering their clients another cross-platform data backup and recovery option.
Unitrends puts data in the vault
Unitrends' new UVault is a "hosted vault" that automatically backs up data off-site for business continuity and disaster recovery purposes. Managed service providers (MSPs) and value-added resellers (VARs) can use UVault as an entry to data vaulting, because it lets them economically scale up their business as demand increases. The data protection and vaulting technology supports more than 30 operating systems, Unitrends said.
UVault's two-tier backup system consists of local recovery at each client, using Unitrends Data Protection Unit (DPU), and remote recovery with Unitrends Data Protection Vault (DPV). By placing a DPV at a colocation facility, VARs can provide off-site vaulting services to clients who either own or lease a DPU at the client site.
Monday, March 17
Microsoft, Yahoo meet
Word broke over the weekend that executives from Microsoft recently took a trip down the coast to meet their Yahoo counterparts and discuss a possible acquisition. The Associated Press reported that "senior management" from Microsoft and Yahoo attended the meeting and said it could be a "breakthrough" to avoid a hostile takeover -- something Microsoft has threatened if Yahoo does not accept its bid, which was originally valued at $44.6 billion. Yahoo's board of directors has already rejected that offer.
Vista SP1 to hit Wednesday
Windows Vista Service Pack 1 will be available to retail and other customers Wednesday, according to postings on Amazon.com and other websites. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and volume customers were able to get the operating system update in early February, agitating other constituencies who hoped to get their copies of Vista SP1 earlier than Microsoft wanted to provide them. CEO Steve Ballmer has said SP1 will spur Vista migrations, but Microsoft partners are still expecting slow sales.
Avaya launches new UC server
Avaya execs are hoping for the luck of the Irish as they unveil a new line of unified communications (UC) products and services today. eWeek reports that Avaya is touting the ability of its new Intelligent Presence Server to more accurately route calls across the enterprise, using complex rules to identify the proper point of contact. The company is also releasing a UC client called one-X Communicator, which allows users to operate a myriad of video, voicemail, email and instant messaging clients from a single interface. Avaya partners will no doubt be talking up the company's claim that Avaya's new UC offering is the most affordable in the industry.
Imation does a solid for data storage
Imation introduced two flash-based solid state drive (SSD) products last week. The drives, which are manufactured by South Korean firm Mtron, come in consumer (MOBI 3000) and enterprise (PRO 7000) versions. The Imation Solid State Drive PRO 7000 comes in 2.5" and 3.5" sizes and offers a maximum storage capacity of 32 GB for the 2.5" size and 64 GB for the 3.5" size.