Not so long ago, if Underwriters Laboratories needed to add three additional servers worth of computing power in three weeks, the company just bought three new units, says Kent Walker, manager of computer operations for UL. With more time for capacity analysis - which is both labor and time-intensive - Walker might be able to shift resources around and stave off the purchase. But when the need is immediate, there's no time for that.
Stories by Carol Sliwa
On the surface, security questions surrounding virtual servers don't seem much different than those for the physical machines on which they run. In fact, starting a virtual security audit by keeping in mind what you've already learned in the physical world is an excellent approach. Security analysts say the same practices, principles and basic common sense apply for a group of virtual servers as for any physical server farm. But, IT managers also need to factor in some additional considerations, due to the unique characteristics of the virtual world.
Although Microsoft has released the first beta of its Windows Vista client operating system -- as well as a test version of its next server operating system -- only corporate users who are members of Microsoft's MSDN development program, TechNet or Windows Vista Technical Beta Program can download the software
Swapping out big-iron boxes in favor of Windows servers may not be the hottest of IT trends. But at its first Mainframe Migration Conference, Microsoft Corp. said it's making steady progress with its efforts to court mainframe users.
Three mainframe-to-Windows converts at the Chicago event pointed to expected cost reductions, one of the main benefits that Microsoft has been touting since it forged the Mainframe Migration Alliance with Micro Focus International Ltd. in April 2004.
Companies with aging PCs running old and often unsupported versions of Windows will get a stripped-down operating system option from Microsoft Corp. at an undetermined future date.
Microsoft this week confirmed plans to develop a lean version of Windows XP, code-named Eiger. The release will be targeted at government agencies and large businesses that are concerned about the security and manageability of PCs running Windows NT 4.0 and older versions of the operating system, said Barry Goffe, a group product manager for Windows client software.
Brent Callinicos, Microsoft's vice president of worldwide licensing and pricing, spoke with Computerworld US about a variety of issues related to the company's licensing plans and policies. He also talked about Microsoft's Software Assurance program, as well as the Microsoft Capital financing program.
When can we expect to see something more on Software Assurance -- weeks, months? It's not in weeks. ... I don't want to preannounce anything on Software Assurance before we can actually do an excellent job of delivering it to customers and operationalizing it. ... We're going to make sure we get this right, but it's also not going to be something whereby we do something and we're done. We are committed to enhancing this thing over time.
Apple Computer Inc. hopes its new Tiger operating system will help the company crack open the enterprise server market, where its Xserve line lags behind Windows, Linux and other Unix offerings.
But analysts said it's unclear if the 10.4 version of Mac OS X Server, which has built-in support for more than 100 open-source software technologies, will propel Apple beyond its traditional user base. That consists of academic and scientific institutions attracted by the powerful processing capabilities of Apple's systems, as well as publishing companies and others lured by its graphics and multimedia technology.
IT managers who once used Linux chiefly to support Web and file-and-print servers said at last week's LinuxWorld Conference & Expo here that they're now running key applications and databases on Linux-based systems -- a sign that the open-source software is penetrating deeper into corporate enterprises.
Many corporate users dragged their feet in testing beta versions of the security-focused Service Pack 2 update for Windows XP and still had plenty of application compatibility testing to do when Microsoft Corp. released SP2 last August.
But a random poll of IT managers conducted by Computerworld this week, plus anecdotal evidence from industry analysts, indicates that far more companies are making significant headway in deploying SP2 or are preparing to do so.
Open-source software will be a hot topic ithis month between the OSDL Enterprise Linux Summit in Burlingame, Calif., and the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo, which begins Feb. 14 in Boston. With that open-source focus as the backdrop, Red Hat Inc. CEO Matthew Szulik spoke recently with Computerworld US about what's most important to his customers, the Raleigh, N.C.-based company's upcoming 4.0 release and the competition.
Excerpts from that interview follow:
The Firefox Web browser has been causing a commotion among users and snaring snippets of market share from Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer since June -- long before Version 1.0 of the open-source software was officially released earlier last month.
But statistics suggest that corporate users aren't the major group fueling the growth of Firefox. The new browser's most dramatic spikes in usage are on weekends, according to Chris Hoffman, director of engineering at the not-for-profit Mozilla Foundation, which developed Firefox.
Sara Lee Corp. is testing radio frequency identification (RFID) tags on some product cases and shipping pallets to meet a mandate that RFID technology be used on goods sent to Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s Dallas-area distribution centers starting in January. Ray Hagedorn, who works in Cincinnati as vice president of business solutions for the IT department in the Sara Lee Foods division, recently spoke with Computerworld's Carol Sliwa about what Sara Lee has learned about RFID. Excerpts follow:
Microsoft's chief financial officer, John Connors, last week talked up the "innovative pipeline" that will ensure that new products and technology keep rolling out through future years.
Microsoft Corp.'s latest security efforts are focused on Service Pack 2 for Windows XP, which is due shortly. Mike Nash, vice-president of Microsoft's security business and technology unit, recently discussed SP2 and the company's security strategy with Computerworld. Excerpts from the interview follow:
What guidance can you give IT pros about Windows XP Service Pack 2 breaking applications? Making sure that we're doing things to make XP SP2 compatible with key customer scenarios is a top priority for us. One of the things with the new firewall in Service Pack 2 is to make sure that it's compatible with more scenarios so that it can be turned on by default and left on by the customers.
FRAMINGHAM (04/05/2004) - The majority of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s top 100 suppliers are expected to have RFID projects in the works by January. But whether they'll be in full compliance with the requirements Wal-Mart laid out for them is another matter.
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