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IT Channel News Briefs, June 6

Today's headlines: Security services on the rise. IBM pushes mashups. Microsoft to patch Windows, IE.

News for the week of June 2-6, 2008 -- in brief, updated daily, on topics important to the information technology (IT) channel.

Friday, June 6

Security services becoming prevalent

Security Software as a Service (SaaS) and managed security services are on the rise, according to our sister site Shrinking work forces and IT budgets have kick-started the trend, but it will be the maturation of vendors' offerings that drives it into the future, experts say. For example, Gartner estimates that in 10 years, 85% of security intelligence products, 70% of messaging security products and 65% of secure Web gateways will be available as services.

IBM mashes up mashups

IBM's new Mashup Center aims to help nontechnical business people build customized Web mashups. The center, to be available soon, will let IBM customers create mashups that combine data from various Web sources as needed. IBM customers can register for and experiment freely with the IBM Mashup Center through the IBM Lotus Greenhouse.

The Greenhouse, aside from hosting the mashup center itself, will let users try out IBM Lotus Connections, Quickr, Sametime and WebSphere Portal. The Greenhouse-hosted version of the Mashup Center will include widgets from IBM and from business partners including StrikeIron and Kapow Technologies.

Microsoft to patch Windows, Internet Explorer flaws

Microsoft will offer three critical updates Tuesday, reported this week. The updates will address flaws in Microsoft Windows, Windows Server and Internet Explorer. The vulnerabilities could be exploited by attackers remotely to run malicious code and gain access to a victim's machine.

According to Microsoft's monthly patch advance bulletin, the updates address an issue with Internet Explorer that affects Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows Server 2003. The issues may be exploited via DirectX and affect versions 5.01 and higher of Internet Explorer.

Spending on enterprise service providers to rise

Companies will spend more on enterprise services this year, especially in the service industry, according to a recent AMR research report, reported Thursday. Two-thirds of the 200 U.S. companies and about half of the 200 European companies AMR surveyed are prepared to increase budgets for enterprise application services. U.S. companies are prepared to increase their budgets for outside help this year by an average of 9.4%, and European companies by 7.9%, according to the report. Companies in the service industry will spend even more, increasing their spending 11.2% from the current average of $17 million annually.

Opera 9.5 gets new security partner

The upcoming Opera 9.5 browser will get a security boost thanks to Opera's new partnership with Haute Secure, a leader in malware protection technology. The browser will incorporate Haute Secure's fraud protection technology, which promises to prevent users from accidentally downloading malware that can steal personal data, Opera said Friday. The move is seen as a response to Firefox 3, which partners with Google and StopBadware to block malicious sites. Opera 9 will be available for download "soon" from the Opera website.

Thursday, June 5

Verizon Wireless eyes Alltel acquisition

Verizon Wireless is in talks to acquire wireless carrier Alltel Corp., which would catapult the joint company to the No. 1 spot in the wireless industry, ahead of AT&T, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. The proposed $27.5 billion deal comes just seven months after Alltel was sold to TPG Capital and a unit of Goldman Sachs Group, which was unable to sell the debt from the deal. Reports say the credit crunch made the sale of debt to other investors nearly impossible.

If the deal gets government approval, Verizon Wireless would have more than 80 million customers, including Alltel's 13.2 million subscribers. The acquisition would also give the carrier new geographic reach.

Dell PC shipments increase

Dell put out a press release yesterday touting its success in the new IDC Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. According to the IDC report, Dell's global PC shipments increased by 21.3% last quarter, while the industry as a whole grew 14.9%. Dell was also the worldwide leader in shipments for the following markets: education, government, very large businesses, large businesses and medium businesses. As Dell's direct sales continue, the company is also turning to social media to build trust in its new channel program.

Apple reigns supreme in supply chain

Apple is king of the supply chain castle, according to a recent AMR Research report. Apple's retail stores house almost no physical inventory on site, and the lesson from this year's AMR Research Supply Chain Top 25 report is that companies should build value with ideas, rather than just products, according to Apple exemplifies what AMR refers to as the "content economy."

Data center fire brings extended downtime

Data center hosting company The Planet experienced an electrical explosion Saturday, May 31, that resulted in extended downtime for 7,500 customers, reported yesterday. The explosion occurred in the underground conduit that brings power into one of The Planet's data centers in Houston, resulting in a fire that destroyed electrical gear.

Power came back in phases: 5,000 customers with 6,000 servers saw power restored Monday, while another 2,600 customers with 3,000 servers had to wait until Tuesday. Some customers are still waiting. Customers voiced loud concern over the outages -- with one writing on The Planet's online forum that his business was crumbling before his eyes.

Jigsaw 'open sources' corporate data trove

Jigsaw, an aggregator of user-supplied business data, plans to offer up that data free to on-demand CRM vendors.

"In essence, we're open sourcing our corporate data," CEO Jim Fowler told "Corporate data is close to becoming a commodity. We're going to make it a complete commodity."

Under the Open Data Initiative, Jigsaw will bring its corporate data to Entellium, Landslide, Maximizer, NetSuite, Oracle, Sage and SugarCRM customers. Microsoft's hosted CRM is not part of the program.

Enterprise 2.0 set to take off

Enterprise 2.0 has yet to achieve wide use in enterprises, especially in midsized companies. But analysts predict this year could be a turning point for the technology, reported Wednesday.

Enterprise 2.0 has so far escaped a definitive definition, but it is generally understood to be the business application of Web 2.0 collaborative technologies, including blogs, wikis and Real Simple Syndication (RSS).

Forrester Research wrote last month that 56% of North American and European enterprises consider Web 2.0 to be a priority this year. So far, though, businesses have been hesitant because of concerns about security and reliability, as well as the fact that collaborative software is so closely tied to the consumer-oriented Web 2.0 scene.

Wednesday, June 4

What does Microsoft news mean for IT shops?

Bill Gates unveiled a bunch of new developer technologies at Microsoft TechEd this week. Now the question is, how will they affect IT managers? Our sister site has outlined the advances coming down the pike -- including Internet Explorer 8.0 Beta 2, Silverlight Beta 2 and the Oslo modeling platform that will bridge on-premise and hosted applications. Some IT managers want Microsoft to spell out what these products and others will mean for them; for example, one questions Silverlight's affect on applications management, and another wants to know about Microsoft's security for hosted platforms.

SaaS a hit in midmarket

Software as a Service (SaaS) has found a receptive audience in the midmarket, according to The results of a new survey by Saugatuck Technology found that SaaS has the most aggressive adoption among midmarket companies, because those businesses are in the best position to cut costs and simplify operations with SaaS. Larger businesses are too big for full-scale SaaS deployments, while smaller companies aren't focused enough on IT to get into SaaS, according to Saugatuck.

These results reinforce what most SaaS vendors have been saying: that small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are the target customers for SaaS, and that they need channel partners to reach that audience.

Sun supports solid-state disk drives

Sun Microsystems has joined EMX, Hitachi Data Systems and others in supporting solid-state disk drives when they hit the market later this year. Sun also announced plans to include the technology in its own offerings, reported yesterday. John Fowler, Sun's executive vice president of systems, said he disagreed with analyst estimates that widespread adoption of expensive solid-state disks wouldn't arrive until at least next year.

"By the Christmas holidays, anyone with an I/O performance intensive application is going to be trying to find a way to get [SSDs] into their systems," he said.

Sun also said that customers can put together their own Tier 0 inside existing devices this year, and the company will prepackage hybrid devices with solid-state and spinning disk drives as well.

SAP enhancements ease ERP 6.0 upgrades

SAP's strategy of offering software upgrades via small enhancement packages, as well as the possible end of support for R/3 4.6C software, are encouraging customers to upgrade to ERP 6.0, according to Forrester Research, reported Tuesday.

A total of 6,700 SAP customers, about 20% of the existing customer base, have moved onto ERP 6.0. SAP has shipped 1,400 enhancement packages in the year since they became available. Customers who have already upgraded to ERP 6.0 are finding that the packages, which offer more frequent software updates in smaller doses, are increasing the value of the upgrade, a new Forrester report said.

Tuesday, June 3

Docs: Yahoo execs opposed Google deal

Yahoo executives were not thrilled about a possible search-advertising partnership with Google, according to court documents. Just days before Microsoft made its unsolicited bid for Yahoo, Yahoo execs said a Google deal may not account for the long-term effect on the market "if search becomes an effective monopoly."

The documents are part of a shareholder lawsuit against Yahoo. The documents could bolster Microsoft's attempt to foil the Yahoo-Google partnership. Microsoft has said the alliance is anticompetitive.

Adobe aims at Google, Microsoft

Google and Microsoft have new competition in the Web-based applications market. Adobe yesterday launched, a suite of free hosted services that includes word processing, Web conferencing, file sharing, PDF conversion and APIs for developers. will compete against Google Docs and Microsoft Office Live Workspace for customers in both the enterprise and consumer markets.

Oracle updates database developer tool

The new Oracle SQL Developer Release 1.5 adds better integration with popular source code control systems from CVS and Subversion. That, in turn, helps developers more easily navigate through their object and code version repositories, according to Oracle.

The new release supports the latest version of Oracle's TimesTen In-Memory Database and Oracle's 11g database. The overall goal of SQL Developer, since its first release two years ago, is to ease the development and debugging of SQL and PL/SQL code. Release 1.5 is available for Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. The download is free for customers with supported Oracle database licenses.

Microsoft extends Windows to low-cost devices

Because of the popularity of Windows on ultra-low-cost notebooks, called netbooks, with first-time customers in emerging markets, Microsoft announced today it will extend the software to nettop devices -- the desktop version of the netbook.

Microsoft first announced the availability of Windows for netbooks in April, and the company has seen growing demand since. By making Windows available to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), Microsoft wants customers to be able to integrate with other computers and devices.

Nexsan combines SAS and spin-down for power

Nexsan Technologies is combining two technologies rarely seen together -- high-performance SAS disks and spin-down for power savings -- in the release of its SASBox disk array, reported yesterday.

SASBoy, Nexsan's first SAS disk array, contains 4.2 TB of 300 GB 15,000 rpm SAS drives, 4 Gbps Fibre Channel or 1 Gbps Ethernet ports, and up to 4 GB of cache. The array also has the ability to spin down disks for power savings using Nexsan's AutoMAID feature.

With the combined technologies, Nexsan is trying to close the gap between Tier 1 transaction processing storage and bulk SATA secondary storage. "With this product, we're focused on fast random access of fixed-content storage," said Bob Woolery, Nexsan marketing vice president.

Monday, June 2

EMC adds VMware features to Microsoft apps

EMC has boosted its support for Microsoft Exchange and SQL Server, adding new backup and recovery features for those applications running on VMware, according to The moves include expanded support for EMC Clariion AX4, data deduplication through EMC Avamar and increased application availability with VMware VMotion.

Stolen data easily found on Google

Researchers from Web gateway security firm Finjan uncovered several unprotected hacker servers and found that stolen data, including highly sensitive information about thousands of people, can easily be found stored on Google, reported last week.

By using a simple string of search terms, the researchers were able to find stolen passwords and usernames, social security numbers, and even the usernames and passwords for internal databases of companies all stored in Google's public caching server.

Google returns the results based on log files available on the unprotected servers. The servers stored stolen data collected by Trojan horses running on infected end-user PCs, Ayelet Heyman, a researcher at Finjan's Malicious Code Research Center, said on Finjan's Malicious Code Research Center blog.

Sourcefire to Barracuda bid: No thanks

Intrusion detection company Sourcefire is fighting a takeover bid, according to Sourcefire officials said Friday that the company refused an unsolicited buyout offer from Barracuda Networks, a maker of antispam appliances. The offer was for $7.50 per share, a premium of about 13% over Sourcefire's share price at the time.

Sourcefire has figured in acquisition talks before. There was a proposed merger with Check Point, which flamed out amid concerns about regulatory objections to the Israeli company acquiring Sourcefire, whose technology is used in a number of government agencies.

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