IBM’s Windows 2000 Strategy: Bad Ideas

ibmswindowsIBM had an aggressive support plan for Microsoft Corp.’s Windows 2000, but under the surface, the two companies’ love/hate relationship is stronger than ever.

As the largest independent developer of software for the forthcoming platform, IBM hopes to position itself as users’ go-to company for Windows 2000 by including in its plans readiness assessment; installation; integration; and a breadth of applications, service and support.

At the same time, IBM executives are more than willing to point out the myriad technical shortcomings of Windows 2000 Server and Microsoft’s inability to support it. They also predict slow adoption rates of the operating system. Above all, IBM officials privately say Microsoft has been unable to support very large software partners, like itself.

“This is more than just a ‘dot-oh’ release,” said Lothar Mackert, director of IBM’s Windows 2000 program office at IBM here. “Customers will want to do this alone, but they won’t be able to. There will be colossal costs associated with …

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Early Addons Were Key To Intel’s RAID Strategy

raid3Intel Corp. is rolling out hardware and software building blocks designed to make it easier and less expensive for server and workstation makers to add RAID to their systems.

The result, according to officials of the Santa Clara, Calif., company, will be better performance and reliability, particularly for entry- level servers.

“If you have a $1,000 server, it’s hard to justify a $1,000 RAID controller,” said Chris Crotoeau, marketing director for Intel’s I/O products division. “We think that by using a building-block approach, [OEMs] can get [RAID] in for under $300 for single-channel and still benefit end users with reliability and protection.”

RAID technology spreads data over multiple hard disk drives to improve performance and provide some degree of fault tolerance and error checking.

Specifically, Intel announced, at Strategic Research Corp.’s I/O Technologies Forum and Expo here earlier this month, that it was shipping the Integrated RAID Design Kit SMU22R for building two-channel Ultra2 SCSI RAID solutions. The kit, based …

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IT Departments Need Diversity More Than Ever!

itdepatEvery February, it hiring managers have a chance to take a look at their organizations and ask, “Well, it’s Black History Month again-is this place any more diverse than it was last year?”

Here’s the bad news for this Black History Month: Although African- Americans were ten times as likely to own computers in 2015 than they were in 1994, when the U.S. Department of Commerce started tracking the digital divide, the rate at which blacks are migrating to the Internet lags further than ever behind the rate for whites.

That means many African-Americans are not getting hands-on experience with technology. And experts say that without that experience, they will continue to be shut out of the lucrative world of IT employment. “Minorities and women make up 10 percent of the [IT] work force, so there’s some work left to do,” said Keith Fulton, director of technology programs and policy at the National Urban League, in New York.

So what’s

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Hackers Join The Other Side

hackersjoinThe hackers of l0pht heavy industries Inc. are going corporate. But that doesn’t mean IT departments will readily hand them the keys to the back office.

Last week, @Stake Inc., a Boston-based security consulting startup that wants to provide customers with everything from security audits to systems integration, announced it has acquired L0pht and the services of its often flamboyant hackers.

With the acquisition, the half-dozen or so hackers of L0pht become the R&D heart of @Stake, said Ted Julian, a former Forrester Research Inc. analyst and @Stake’s founder.

With seven years of high-profile security debunking under their belts, L0pht’s hackers don’t need to convince the world of their expertise. But L0pht needs to convince customers its hackers are trustworthy consultants who enjoy referring to one another by such colorful names as Professor Mudge, not malicious code breakers afraid to reveal their true identities. (The hackers plan to remain anonymous.)

“Would you bring someone in to do something as sensitive …

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Micromuse’s Impact Was Solid Gold

businessA small San Francisco-based developer has produced a tool it claims not only identifies network problems but also gauges how an outage affects a company’s business.

Micromuse Inc.’s new Impact software, which the company plans to introduce this week, can quickly assess how a network or server problem affects a business and its customers and can then speed resolution of the problem by establishing procedures that match business needs.

The software is designed to help administrators who oversee large public and private networks get their arms around the need to rapidly respond to network problems-an increasingly critical requirement in this world of 24-by-7 network access.

Much of that administration is currently done using a combination of tools, checking the status of different components in a variety of places and relying on frantic phone calls from end users or the help desk to understand who or what is affected by a downed server or network node.

“We’ve been building a Tower …

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Missouri Courts Showed Dynamic Vision With Their IT Setup

missouriIt was only a few years ago that swift due process in the Missouri courts was threatened by antiquated computer systems and wayward workflow applications. The decision to overrule this inadequate IT architecture came when administrative functions, including brief filings, court records, transcripts of proceedings, motions and judgments, threatened to bury courthouses in reams of paper.

It is taking a massive IT overhaul and airtight project management to tame the unruly setup and balance the scales between IT and court administration. The multipronged re-engineering effort includes standardizing on desktop, database and network technologies. Once that foundation is laid, the state can easily automate document management processes and make public records available electronically over the Web to 3,300 employees, 25,000 attorneys and several state departments.

This large undertaking, done under the supervision of Jim Roggero, project director of the Missouri Court Automation Project and CIO for the Missouri Office of State Courts, in Jefferson City, will unify the independent IT operations …

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Older Firewall Software Still Effective

firewallBlackIce Defender lets remote users not only deflect attacks but also see who’s doing the hacking

Network Ice Corp.’s BlackIce Defender 1.0 gives IT managers a handy way to prevent hackers from getting into a company’s network by hitching a ride on a remote user’s Internet connection.

In some recent tests, the personal intrusion detection utility proved bothsupersimple to use and effective against scads of common attack methods. As a bonus, it identifies the attacker by IP address and DNS (Domain Name System) name, domain and node name, media access control address, and log-in user name whatever it can get.

And, at only $39.95 for a two-year subscription (volume pricing isn’t available for BlackIce but probably will be for a network version of the product that Network Ice plans to release next month), the product isn’t very expensive for anyone concerned about hackers. However, Black Ice Defender does not afford protection against things that several “personal firewall” products rebuff: cookies, …

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Being Smart About Strategic Planning

strategicplanning“I’ve seen the dangers of not aligning strategic plans-you end up with technology that no one is ready for or even had an idea was going to be provided,” Dennis Sato says. “There has to be a process and framework involved to get all parts of the business involved with information technology.”

A comfortable fit

Sato’s presentation to Salem Hospital’s executives and board of directors focused on explaining how information technology fit into the broader goals of the organization as well as different departments.

He gave examples of how employees in different departments-from human resources to nursing to the hospital’s foundation-could use I.T. to improve their efficiency and coordinate their efforts across the enterprise.

The presentation was an eye-opener, says CEO and President Norm Gruber.

“Most I.T. initiatives are in left field and finance initiatives are in center field, and you never see how they can work together,” Gruber says. “It’s often hard to see that employees are not islands, …

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Labor-Management Relationships Key To Any Solid Business

laborSnart executives suggest that the trend toward more outsourcing and partnerships will have even broader impacts in the future. Managing those relationships will be key.

To work well, all these relationships – all dynamic and subject to change – will require thoughtful planning and constant attention. Many executives anticipate their organization becoming more “virtual” in the coming years, but they also see some obstacles to getting there, such as the difficulty of managing people effectively and the problem of maintaining clear and frequent communications.

A company must decide what its core competencies are – meaning the root business it is in and its primary functions in that business. These are often what the company handles internally, while support systems, secondary markets, and allied products and services are handled through outsourcing or partnerships.

Companies that once handled everything internally now find they must concentrate on their core competencies, so they outsource much more than they once did. Competitors, too, sometimes become …

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