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IT Channel News Briefs, July 25

Staff
News for the week of July 21-25, 2008 -- in brief, updated daily, on topics important to the information technology (IT) channel.

Friday, July 25

Oracle appoints Chizen to board

Oracle yesterday announced that Bruce R. Chizen,

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former CEO of Adobe Systems, will join its board of directors as the 13th member. Chizen arrives with extensive technology experience from his role at Adobe and as director of Synopsys Inc., an electronic design automation software vendor. Oracle chairman Jeffrey O. Henley said Chizen will bring a customer-focused perspective to Oracle's board of directors.

Microsoft to buy DATAllegro

Microsoft is buying DATAllegro, a specialist in data warehouse appliances based in Aliso Viejo, Calif. Terms were not disclosed.

Interestingly, DATAllegro has Ingres open source database roots, but that will change. Microsoft senior vice president Bob Muglia said Wednesday, "DATAllegro provides a very, very high-capability scale-out data warehouse that we will move onto the SQL Server platform and Windows platform."

The plan is to devise a warehouse that will "be able to compete for the highest-end enterprise data warehousing solutions," Muglia said at Thursday's Microsoft Financial Analyst Meeting.

In a statement, DATAllegro CEO Stuart Frost said: "Integrating DATAllegro's nonproprietary hardware platform and flexible software architecture into Microsoft SQL Server will provide customers with the strongest offering in the market."

SAP to extend enhancement packages

SAP plans to extend its enhancement packages beyond SAP ERP 6.0, according to our sister site SearchSAP.com. The free, downloadable enhancement packages provide additional functionality for ERP 6.0, and company executives said they want CRM and other modules to also take advantage. SAP has touted the enhancement packages as one of the reasons ERP 6.0 reached the 10,000-customer mark so quickly.

Study: Smartphones bring enterprise risks

A research study has found a disturbing trend in enterprises: employees using smartphones to access sensitive corporate information, SearchSecurity.com reported Thursday.

In a survey of 200 consumers, 89% said they used smartphones to access email and corporate information so they could work remotely, and 70% said they actually accessed sensitive data by phone. Most of those surveyed said they were aware of the security risks,and 82% said they were open to companies deploying security technology on either their personal or company-sponsored phones.

Market research firm Decipher Inc. conducted the survey, which was sponsored by security technology supplier GuardianEdge Technologies.

Yahoo unveils Zimbra Desktop beta

A beta of Yahoo Zimbra Desktop is now available, according to Yahoo.

The software promises offline access for Yahoo Mail, AOL Mail, Gmail or any IMAP and POP supported email client. The desktop will centralize access to all of a person's email accounts and make the mail available even in unconnected mode. The desktop supports the usual Web 2.0 features including mashups and search. Also included: calendar, word processing, spreadsheets, document storage and tasks. The beta is free and will expand functions for users of Zimbra Collaboration Suite.

Thursday, July 24

Tucci: EMC may spin off VMware

EMC CEO Joseph Tucci said Wednesday he is open to spinning off VMware if it's "in the best interest of the shareholders." EMC has a nearly 90% stake in VMware.

During EMC's quarterly earnings call, Tucci first said there were no plans to spin off the virtualization company, but when pressed by analysts, he changed his tune: "We will do the right thing for the shareholder when and if the time is right." In an interview with Reuters, Tucci said a spin-off was possible but would not happen in 2008.

EMC, VMware report earnings

EMC and VMware also announced their quarterly earnings yesterday, and new CEO Paul Maritz led his first VMware earnings call. He outlined the company's strategy to compete with Microsoft, and its stronger focus on infrastructure management products, according to SearchServerVirtualization.com. VMware reported increased earnings, but fell slightly short of analyst expectations.

EMC reported second-quarter earnings that exceeded consensus estimates, SearchStorage.com reported. Overall revenue increased 18% year over year to reach $3.67 billion, surpassing Wall Street's $3.56 billion prediction. Net income increased 20% from last year's second quarter, to $577 million. EMC attributed this growth to new storage products focused on capacity and power efficiency, including features such as virtual provisioning, new Avamar data deduplication software, SATA disks in Symmetrix high-end disk arrays and drive spin-down in the Clariion disk library. EMC partner Quantum has experienced weakening market value over several quarters and may provide a worthy acquisition for EMC. Other acquisition possibilities include companies in systems management, particularly database performance management providers.

VMware giving away hypervisor

And in even more VMware news, Maritz also announced that the company is cutting the price of its next ESXi hypervisor by $495 per dual-CPU server. The current price? $495. So that means it's free.

The move is a clear response to Microsoft, which released its hypervisor, Hyper-V, earlier this month with a $28 price tag. The goal of the price cut is to make virtualization available to more customers -- customers who can then buy additional VMware products, including VMotion, High Availability and VirtualCenter.

Oracle Access Management Suite debuts

Oracle launched its new Access Management Suite, which combines support for Oracle's PeopleSoft, E-Business Suite, Siebel and JD Edwards applications. Oracle said the suite will provide standards-based single sign-on and strong authentication. The suite will also help companies meet new regulations -- like parts of the Fair and Accurate Transactions Act (FACTA), also known as the "Red Flag Rules," which go into effect Nov. 1.

Sophos lists Web threats

More than 90% of the Web pages spreading Trojans and other nefarious payloads come from "legitimate" websites, according to the Sophos threat report for the first half of the year.

Other findings: An infected page is found every five seconds; bad guys are using Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networking sites more to do their evil; Blogspot.com is the No. 1 host of malware on the Web. It's almost enough to make you turn off your PC!

Other cheery news: Mobile spam is "exploding," with 353.8 billion spam messages sent to mobile users in China last year alone.

Wednesday, July 23

LTE to beat WiMax, but will enterprises care?

Verizon and AT&T's LTE is more likely to succeed than Sprint's WiMax in setting the enterprise mobile standard -- but neither one will have a huge effect on business use initially, according to a Forrester Research study reported by SearchTelecom.com on Tuesday. Forrester's TechRadar report predicts "minimal success" in enterprise adoption for WiMax and "moderate success" for LTE. The report goes on to say that both technologies will have little effect on the enterprise for two reasons: Most early applications developed for them are consumer-oriented, and the current population of mobile 3G broadband users is low and not projected to rise immediately.

Business Objects releases new SMB products

Business Objects, an SAP company that provides business intelligence, enterprise performance management, risk and compliance software yesterday announced two new decision-making offerings for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). BusinessObjects Edge 3.0 addresses query reporting and analysis, data integration, dashboards and virtualization. Crystal Reports Server 2008, the second product, includes simplified reporting and sharing features that allow information distribution among an organization's users, partners, suppliers and customers. Both releases are now available in 12 languages from Business Objects and its partners.

Bell Micro expands integration center

Bell Microproducts yesterday announced expansion of its Acton, Mass., integration facility, increasing the manufacturing floor space from 25,000 to 40,000 square feet. Bell Micro, a storage and computing value-added distributor, will expand the ISO 9001:2000 certified center because of increased customer demand and the growing influence of value-add business on the East Coast. With the new space, Bell Micro will achieve colocated manufacturing warehouse, staging and production space that has already fared well at the company's West Coast integration center in San Jose, Calif. The San Jose facility grew more than 25% each year since its June 2006 conception.

Tuesday, July 22

Here today, gone TomorrowNow

SAP is shuttering TomorrowNow, its service subsidiary, and is working to transition TomorrowNow's 225 customers to Oracle support. The phase-out should be complete by Oct. 31, the company said in a statement on Monday.

SAP bought TomorrowNow, run by former PeopleSoft executives, in February 2005 after Oracle launched its purchase of PeopleSoft. TomorrowNow serviced these enterprise applications for what it claimed was a fraction of the price of Oracle support.

Oracle sued SAP, charging that it used TomorrowNow as a conduit to siphon off proprietary information using PeopleSoft customers' access to Oracle support portals. A San Francisco court date on that matter is set for February 2010, although TomorrowNow's closure may affect that.

Avnet launches VirtualPath partner training

Avnet Technology Solutions launched a new training program called VirtualPath University for its U.S. value-added resellers (VARs) on Tuesday. The VirtualPath curriculum uses a step-by-step interactive toolkit to guide participants through the virtualization market and its sales cycle. The goal is to shorten the ramp-up time for partners to develop successful virtualization practices. Topics include fundamentals of virtualization, business trends affecting IT, how virtualization fits into a company's IT structure, the benefits of virtualization practices and aligning virtualization with business challenges. The first VirtualPath University class is scheduled for Sept. 8-10 in Roseland, N.J.

Apple wins, loses

Gadgeteer darling Apple reported a great spring -- with profits up 31% and revenue up nearly 40% for its fiscal third quarter, but Wall Street remained spooked by the poor economy and indications from Apple that its gross margins would decline this quarter. Apple shares fell 11% in after-hours trading to $147.94, after rising to $166.29 before the market close.

The market is also worried about the health of Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs. On the analyst call, CFO Peter Oppenheimer said Jobs has "no plans" to leave Apple and that his health status "is a private matter," according to The Wall Street Journal.

Fix is in for Windows Home Server glitch

Windows Home Server Power Pack 1, with the long-awaited fix for a data corruption bug, is now available at the Microsoft Download Center, according to TechNet's Windows Home Server team. Power Pack 1 also adds support for Windows Vista x64 home computers, backup for shared folders, remote access enhancements and more efficient energy consumption. Power Pack 1 is available in English, with French, German and Spanish versions to follow. Customers who do not download the Power Pack online will receive it automatically via Windows Update in August.

Videoconferencing poised to boom

The enterprise videoconferencing market will grow to $4.9 billion in 2013 from $1.3 billion in 2007, according to an annual report by Wainhouse Research released Monday. Revenue from videoconferencing infrastructure products, including multipoint control units (MCUs), gateways and gatekeepers, is forecasted to grow to $725 million during the same time frame.

"Personal enterprise" videoconferencing will see the biggest bump, growing at more than 50% per year. Many vendors have recently scaled down telepresence applications into smaller units, making it possible to have one-on-one high-definition video meetings. Wainhouse chalks personal videoconferencing growth up to the need to reduce corporate travel, new unified communications applications and the emergence of better video technology. Meanwhile, enterprise-wide videoconferencing systems are expected to grow at a compound rate of 18% over five years, about twice the growth rate of the past decade, also due in large part to telepresence.

Motorola smoothes the move to wireless LANs

Motorola's enterprise mobility unit will help businesses transition to 802.11n wireless LANs (WLANs) with an application called LANPlanner that can simulate access points and other parts of the WLAN. Motorola said in a statement that enterprises face challenges not previously encountered with legacy standards as they switch to 802.11n technology. The LANPlanner provides predictive modeling to ease WLAN design. The application can also be used to deploy intrusion prevention systems, predicting sensor coverage. The LANPlanner can be used in a new wireless network, in a "rip-and-replace" network scenario or in a mixed wireless/wired environment.

Monday, July 21

Accenture killing other IT services companies

Hard times are good for management consultant Accenture Ltd. -- which is making a killing helping struggling companies cut costs through streamlining IT and other resources, Barron's reported over the weekend.

Accenture has posted double-digit growth since the credit crunch began last year, due in large part to its IT services, and Barron's reports that the company's shares are worth about 20% more than they are actually trading for. That's because despite having Tiger Woods as a spokesperson in a highly visible ad campaign, most investors are unaware of Accenture's solid performance and pristine balance sheets. Shares are trading at around $39 and should be in the high 40s, analysts said. The IT outsourcing arm of Accenture is comparable to that of Electronic Data Systems Corp., and one analyst dubbed Accenture the "blue chip company" of information technology services, according to Barron's. Accenture's results have outshone those of other companies with IT services arms, including IBM, according to the story.

Motorola bleeds employees

Motorola Inc. filed suit against a former executive who jumped ship for Apple Inc.'s iPhone division despite a noncompete clause. Motorola alleges that there is no way employee Michael Fenger can do his job as vice president of global iPhone sales at Apple without disclosing trade secrets he learned in his former position overseeing mobile devices in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Fenger was paid millions of dollars in cash and options in exchange for agreeing not to go to a competitor for two years after leaving Motorola. But when he exited Motorola he turned up at Apple less than a month later, according to the suit. The suit also alleges that Fenger hired away other employees from Motorola. Apparently bailing on Motorola and going to competing companies is becoming a trend at the struggling wireless firm. Among the high-ranking executives who moved to rivals are former chief technical officer Padmasree Warrior, who went to Cisco Systems Inc.; mobile device chief Ron Garriques, who went to Dell Inc.; and Nortel Network Corp. CEO Mike Zafirovski, who had been COO at Motorola. Motorola also took court action against Zafirovski, who is now widely credited with bringing Nortel back to life after years of struggle.

Yahoo, Icahn come to terms

And some said it couldn't be done.

Yahoo Inc. and dissident shareholder Carl Icahn appear to have mended fences.

The parties agreed to settle their proxy battle with eight members of Yahoo's current board of directors standing for re-election at the annual meeting in August, according to a Yahoo statement. Those directors are Roy Bostock, Ronald Burkle, Eric Hippeau, Vyomesh Joshi, Arthur Kern, Mary Agnes Wilderotter, Gary Wilson and Jerry Yang.

Robert Kotick will not stand for re-election and the board will expand to 11 members. Icahn will be appointed to the board with the two remaining seats to be filled on the recommendation of the board's nominating and governance committee from a list of Icahn's nominees as well as Jonathan Miller, partner with Velocity Interactive Group and former chairman and CEO of AOL. Icahn, who owns about 5% (or 68,786,320 shares) of Yahoo will withdraw his nominees for consideration at the annual meeting and vote his Yahoo shares in support of the board's nominees, according to the statement.

Oracle spackles up its database

Oracle released 45 security fixes Tuesday as part of its quarterly Critical Patch Update (CPU) to address flaws in its product line.

The CPU includes 14 patches for Oracle's databases, 11 of which are for database versions 11g, 10g and 9i, according to SearchOracle.com. The vendor said none of the vulnerabilities addressed can be remotely exploited without authentication. Three updates address flaws in the TimesTen In-Memory Database that could be exploited remotely without authentication, Oracle said.


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