Net talk gets real

On Sept. 11, 2001, the phone company's central switching station serving the headquarters of New York City's Department of Sanitation (DSNY) was crushed by the collapse of the Towers. The very agency with line responsibility for the Herculean cleanup effort that would soon be required suddenly found itself unable to communicate with its offices and personnel. Even worse, DSNY headquarters soon learned it was on its own so far as restoring service was concerned; its telecom provider-- Verizon Communications Inc. --had its own wounds to look after. But the Sanitation Department's commissioner made his needs clear to MIS Director Steven Stam: He wanted his telephones back immediately, whether it was possible or not.
Fortunately Stam had a few functional assets, including a reasonably robust LAN and the knowledge that there was a fiber data line running through the building that did not terminate at the destroyed Verizon facility. Strictly speaking, the fiber didn't belong to his department (it was leased by the Department of Health), but these were unusual times ("I begged, I borrowed, I was accused of stealing," Stam remembers), and by Monday, Sept. 24, he had started to lash those together to support a voice-over-IP (VoIP) network--using the LAN to carry phone calls and support a gateway into the public switched telephone network (PSTN). By the following Monday he received the go-ahead for the rollout, and the new phones began to ring one week later. With technical help from Dimension Data Holdings PLC (a networking infrastructure services company in Reston, Va.), Stam had 285 VoIP phones running throughout the department's headquarters. Today, with 600 phones in three buildings on the new system, Stam is beginning to refocus on more traditional IS issues, such as tracking the reduction in costs. "Fifty percent of our phone calls are internal," he says. "The savings we get from putting those calls on the network are already substantial."

Written by Fred Hapgood08 Feb. 03 22:00

Analysis: Intelligent storage

Imagine a storage device that uses its own horsepower to manage data, requires no manual settings for security and doesn't care if the client server speaks in blocks or files. That's the promise of object-based storage. Object-based storage technologies shield the application or operating system from the low-level details of managing file storage. In one method, intelligence is added to the storage device in order to offload low-level storage management tasks traditionally handled by the operating system, such as mapping files to actual storage blocks on the disk drive and managing file attributes and other associated metadata.

Written by Lucas Mearian29 Jan. 03 09:22

Oracle previews future strategy

Outsourcing for the mid-sized market and cost of ownership will be two key areas of focus for this year's Oracle AppsWorld conference in the US, according to company officials.

Written by Victoria Berry23 Jan. 03 08:02

Be sure your IT workers are Linux-qualified

Like a 1960s hippie who now wears a conservative business suit and works for a big investment firm, Linux has matured from a cult-embraced operating system to a real-world, cost-saving option for business.

Written by Todd R. Weiss17 Jan. 03 16:30

Easy as A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H and I

While WI-FI is a branded certification for wireless LANs and wireless LAN products, it's also a catchy shorthand that's become synonymous with the products it certifies. And it's a lot easier than saying IEEE 802.11b, the technical term for conventional wireless LANs. But no matter what you call it, everything is coming up roses for Wi-Fi.

Written by Ben Worthen16 Jan. 03 22:00

SCO war of attrition descends to farce

Source Wars, Episode 7. The intellectual property battle over who really owns what lies inside the Linux source code is primed to develop into a full-scale legal orgy, as Linux vendor Red Hat filed suit in Delaware last week alleging SCO is conducting an "unfair, untrue and deceptive campaign…to harm Red Hat's…operating system". Red Hat is demanding a jury trial, and the move immediately follows IBM's legal counter-attack on SCO.

Written by Julian Bajkowski12 Jan. 03 11:14

Analysis: CRM: To host or not to host

With Microsoft's forthcoming CRM (customer relationship management) software drawing headlines and renewed industry attention to the CRM sector, several growing ASPs (application service providers) are seizing the opportunity to evangelize about the advantages of hosted CRM deployments, a model analysts say remains a small market, but one that is making significant headway in customer acceptance.

Written by Stacy Cowley06 Jan. 03 07:51

Ideas 2003: 'You ain't nothin' but Ogg Vorbis'

Today, the most easily downloadable digital music sits in one of three formats: MP3, Real Audio and Windows Media Audio (.WMA). All three use compression algorithms to shrink huge files into manageable sizes, while retaining much of the clarity and quality we've come to expect in the CD age. The problem is that these formats are proprietary. Microsoft Corp. owns .WMA, RealNetworks controls Real Audio, and the German Fraunhofer Institute owns (and extracts royalties for) MP3. As a result, some smaller vendors and music makers can't afford to play in the digital audio game, while some listeners are bugged by the thought that their favorite tunes are held hostage by corporate-owned formats.

Written by Christopher Lindquist16 Dec. 02 22:00

It's alive!

Let's say you decide to go for a run. After a few minutes, your breath quickens, your heart rate increases, and you start to perspire. All this happens whether you think about it or not--because your autonomic nervous system has roused the right organs to respond to the increased load on your body.
Autonomic computing, a phrase coined by IBM Corp., describes technology that self-regulates and even heals itself much as the human body would do. "When I say technology, I'm including all of the software, all of the applications, all of the storage, all the pieces of the infrastructure," explains Irving Wladawsky-Berger, vice president of technology and strategy for IBM's server group. "Now, I don't mean any far out AI project. What I mean is that...instead of the technology behaving in its usual pedantic way and requiring a human being to do everything for it, it starts taking care of its own needs."

Written by Eric Knorr25 Nov. 02 22:00

Penguin in flight

The last thing Andrew Care would call himself is a Linux geek. If anything, says Air New Zealand’s acting CIO, “I’m an IT cynic; I’m not one of the brigade that’s out there modifying Linux, and I was actually surprised at how well it’s gone into organisations, especially large ones.”

Written by Patrick Smith16 Nov. 02 22:00

Gartner issues wakeup call

By Don Hill
Gartner group vice-president Craig Baty has issued a wakeup call to CIOs. “Today’s CIOs need to be able to demonstrate the business value of IT in the same way that other business units have been required to do in the past,” he says.

Written by Don Hill16 Nov. 02 22:00

It's not your portfolio - it's theirs

One of the most urgent debates in our field today is: How do we ensure that the IT plan is consistent with the company's strategy? We attend conference after conference grappling with just this question. I think this is one of the most important issues that IT faces, and it is at the heart of how IT is accepted within an organization.

Written by Paul Ingevaldson16 Nov. 02 22:00

Manufacturers expect IT budgets to rise

Manufacturers in New Zealand and Australia are planning to ramp up their investments in information technology in the coming year. A sample taken from a global survey of 530 manufacturers across 40 countries revealed that 38 per cent of ANZ manufacturers plan to deploy e-commerce solutions and almost another 27 per cent are planning customer relationship management projects in the coming year.
The Global Manufacturing Survey 2002, sponsored by manufacturing IT vendor, SSA Global Technologies, showed that 56 per cent of CIOs worldwide expect to have bigger budgets next financial year. Findings in ANZ were even more positive, with 62 per cent of senior IT managers who responded expecting budget increases. Conversely, only one in eight ANZ manufacturers anticipate a contraction.

Written by News16 Nov. 02 22:00

Telco spending set to take off

Despite recent troubles plaguing the telecommunications industry, including bankruptcies, plummeting valuations, and deep cuts in capital expenditures, there is finally some light at the end of the tunnel.
IDC’s newly launched research service, Worldwide Telecom Black Book, says worldwide spending on telecommunications services will exceed $US1.2 trillion in 2003.

Written by News16 Nov. 02 22:00

Amazon finds profits in outsourcing

Since its founding in 1995, Inc. has taken a lot of titles. Internet bookseller. Warehouse builder. Personalization expert. Shipping discounter.

Written by Michael Fitzgerald08 Nov. 02 22:00

The art of dealing with IBM services

IBM Corp. president and CEO Samuel J. Palmisano proclaimed, "the client is the driving force" behind his giant company's US$3.5 billion acquisition of New York City-based PWC Consulting, a deal that was approved by the PWC partners on Oct. 2. But analysts watching the deal say CIOs who are customers of IBM Global Services and PWC Consulting would do well to approach the combined IT services superpower with caution during the next year.

Written by Trendlines06 Nov. 02 22:00

CIO Leaders Lunch presentation

Here's Sheryl Gavin's presentation.
Click the file below to view the Powerpoint slides within your browser, or right-click and choose "Save Target as" in Internet Explorer (or "Save as" in Netscape) to download the file to your local hard drive.

Written by Sheryl Gavin05 Nov. 02 22:00

An open-source world

If Care had any lingering doubts about Linux, they were dispelled when he paid a visit to the LinuxWorld conference in the US a few months ago. Among other things, he found American and European companies had been using Linux on mainstream systems — “platforms, applications, what you will” — for a number of years, “so it was quite reassuring to see that we were behind that first wave, knowing what other people had gone through. But considering the potential it has to be a disruptive technology, it’s actually gone quite smoothly. The kind of case studies that went up, the likes of Amazon and others out there, it’s amazing, for an IT technology, how easily and smoothly and relatively cost-effectively Linux went in”.
It was also reassuring, he says, to find that a company like Sun Microsystems, with its vast commitment to Solaris and Sparc, was there and supporting Linux — even providing a keynote address — after having roundly slated it a few years before.

Written by News03 Nov. 02 22:00

Disappearing DAM?

Digital asset management (DAM) products may be a hot topic now, but a January report by Stamford, Conn.-based Meta Group predicts that by 2004 or 2005, such tools will likely evolve into nothing more than a set of features inside more complete enterprise content management tools.
That said, Meta doesn't think customers should ditch DAM systems. Instead, the report, "An Update on Enterprise Digital Asset Management Systems," indicates that companies should still use DAM systems to manage their unstructured multimedia content, resting safe in the knowledge that existing tools from established players will likely be acquired by more inclusive content management players. That may provide some security despite ongoing consolidation in the marketspace.

Written by Christopher Lindquist03 Oct. 02 22:00

You talking to me?

When Nassir Navab talks to inanimate objects, they usually answer him. That's because Navab, a Siemens researcher, helped develop a system that gives industrial equipment the power to vocally answer questions posed by humans.
The technology is designed to provide an easy way of checking on the operational status of various gadgets, including valves, pumps, switches and motors. Equipped with a wearable or mobile computer containing a built-in camera, a user could determine the status of any piece of equipment simply by walking around the factory floor. An 802.11b wireless network transfers data from the equipment to a central server and from the server to the user. A microphone-equipped headset and voice-recognition and synthesis software supply the user interface.

Written by John Edwards03 Oct. 02 22:00