Channel Marker


March 15, 2007  12:55 PM

Doing VoIP right, and keeping data in transit safe

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Voice over IP is one of the biggest drivers for new network channel business today, and it isn’t slowing down yet. VoIP services are expected to generate over $6 billion in revenue in North America this year, and are projected to grow to $13.3 billion by 2009, according to data from Infonetics Research .

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy money. Kenny Frerichs, president and CEO of application performance management tool vendor Network Physics, says that about of 70% of VoIP implementations are “problematic”. Misconfigured networks, contention for bandwidth from other applications, and security issues all can potentially make a VoIP project into a money pit—and put serious strains on your relationship with your client.

This week, we’ve pulled together a project guide for VoIP implementation, including tips on planning a VoIP network, migrating from traditional PBX phone systems to VoIP, and ensuring VoIP security.

Speaking of security, if you’ve been tracking the data security woes of companies like TJX, you’ll understand why data-in-transit security is getting a little more attention these days. Contributor Greg Schulz provides some tips on securing data in transit; we’ve also pulled together some related material on the new generation of storage security offerings that can help keep your clients from being the next TJX.

–Sean Gallagher

March 15, 2007  9:43 AM

MTI Technology agrees to resell IBM servers

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

MTI Technology Corporation has announced an agreement to resell IBM’s xSeries servers — a move which expands its offerings and changes the dynamics of its business strategy.

The Irvine Calif., based value added reseller, which provides storage solutions to approximately 3,500 medium to large corporate customers, said the xSeries servers will work well with the suite of solutions MTI provides including Microsoft Exchange Server infrastructures as well as backup and recovery solutions where servers are needed to run the applications.

Aside from EMC, the 20-year-old company has Microsoft, Cisco and Symantec as its partners. It will resell the xSeries through Avnet Technology Solutions, and says it intends to make its partnership with IBM official.

“We will be formalizing our relationship as an IBM business partner, and that information will be forthcoming,” said John Maxwell, MTI’s vice president of marketing. “Unlike some vendors who provide a laundry list of products, we are focused on best of breed vendors in order to provide our customers with the best information infrastructure solution,” Maxwell added.

The news comes in the same week that the company said it has received a Nasdaq Staff Deficiency Letter dated March 8, 2007, indicating that for 10 consecutive trading days, MTI’s market value of listed securities had been below the $35,000,000 minimum required for continued listing on the NASDAQ Capital Market. The company is under threat of delisting if it is unable to raise its market value above the required amount for 10 consecutive business days by April 9, 2007.


March 15, 2007  7:08 AM

Channel news: Games threaten security; HP spy charges fade

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Online game exploits threaten IT security IT professionals should be concerned about online gaming threats, because employees are playing them on company machines, says Gary McGraw, chief technology officer of Cigital Inc. [SearchSecurity.com]

Charges dismissed in Hewlett-Packard spying case A judge dropped charges against the former chairwoman of Hewlett-Packard, Patricia C. Dunn, who was accused of fraud in a boardroom spying scheme. [NYT]

Rare flaw sighted in OpenBSD kernel Thar she overflows. [TheReg]

Windows Server 2003 SP2 drops on patchless Tuesday New service pack from Microsoft includes mostly security updates.[SearchWinIT.com]

Continued »


March 14, 2007  4:53 PM

Why Red Hat Needs the Channel (more than the Channel needs Red Hat)

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Red Hat’s recent renewed ardor for the channel should hardly come as a surprise. But its sincerity is, at best, forced. Here’s why:

  1. Red Hat needs help getting into smaller enterprises. While partnership with OEMs like IBM and HP helps get Red Hat in the door, it needs partnerships with VARs and systems integrators to help generate services revenue — especially for the applications that it acquired with JBOSS. IBM has its own open-source play in the apps space with WebSphere and DB2, so that relationship can’t be effectively extended to JBOSS’ Hibernate and other application components.
  2. Whatever opportunity there is to displace Windows in the SMB market on the desktop and server (thanks to the bloat of Vista and the continued wait for Longhorn Server), Red Hat won’t be able to exploit it without channel partners. Small and midmarket companies looking to extend the life of existing hardware aren’t in the sweet spot for Red Hat’s current route to market; only partners who have existing relationships with those companies can get them in the door with any consistency.
  3. Oracle’s entry into the Linux space with its own “distro”, and increased pressure from Novell’s SuSE (and Ubuntu on the desktop) through many of the same channels Red Hat currently exploits could take a chunk out of Red Hat’s growth curve.

So, Red Hat needs the channel now more than ever. But does the channel need Red Hat? Red Hat’s recently-announced Certified Service Provider program provides a valuable stamp of approval, but so far Red Hat has only invited six partners into it. And the remainder of Red Hat’s partner program doesn’t do much to distinguish the company competitively.

So, who needs who more?

–Sean Gallagher


March 14, 2007  2:43 PM

Microsoft, Red Hat show off new software

Yuval Shavit Profile: YuvalShavit

New-version aficionados of all camps are in for a treat today, with Microsoft and Red Hat both showcasing new products on the west coast.

Much of the news from Redmond focused around Microsoft CRM. The company’s next version, code named Titan, will be available as software as a service (SaaS) on-site, with partners hosting customized SaaS implementations and Microsoft itself hosting a broader edition, as Salesforce.com does now. How successful that product will be will in part depend on the growth of SaaS for CRM in general; the numbers look good, but it’s still too soon to see how far they’ll go.

Microsoft says its next version of CRM will increase usability and integration with Office, and CEO Steve Ballmer will be demoing the Dynamics Live SaaS edition at Convergence 2007 today. The company also announced new versions of its Dynamics ERP software, which it plans to release in June.

For open source fans, Red Hat Enterprise Linux release 5 went live today, and the company took advantage of the day to reemphasize its channel strategy. The new version offers features like increased virtualization capabilities, which Red Hat says will help companies use their IT resources more efficiently.


March 14, 2007  7:25 AM

Channel news: Cisco buys storage vendor; VMWare upgrades stall on cost

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

VMware ESX 3.0 upgrades stall on license costs, VAR says Longstanding VMware ESX shops are miffed by the high cost of upgrading to Virtual Infrastructure 3, one VMware reseller says.
[ServerVirtualization.com]

Cisco announces agreement to acquire NeoPath Networks Cisco Systems today announced a definitive agreement to acquire privately-held NeoPath Networks, the leading provider of high performance and highly scalable file storage management solutions. NeoPath’s patented SMART virtualization technology and its File Director family of products simplify the management of network attached storage (NAS) and other file servers. [Cisco]

Microsoft and speech recognition: The final frontier? If the rumors are true that Microsoft is in talks to acquire Tellme Networks, Microsoft’s next big push in the area of Unified Communications could involve voice search. [eWEEK]

Apple megapatch plugs 45 security holes Update for Mac OS X includes a number of fixes for zero-day vulnerabilities released as part of two high-profile bug-hunting campaigns. [CNET]

HP storage revenues sink, reports IDC According to the latest IDC research, HP shows declining revenues in several storage categories; EMC, HDS, Symantec and NetApp show surprising results.[SearchStorage.com]

Windows Server 2003 SP2 is out Microsoft has made available for download service pack (SP) 2 for the 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2003.[eWEEK]

Red Hat hopes to solidify lead with new Linux Red Hat hopes its latest release will lock in its position as the Linux leader as more companies vie for a piece of the competitive market. [CNET]

RSA names Citrix exec as new channel chief RSA, the security division of EMC, has tapped a former Citrix executive to fill the newly created position of director of worldwide channels. [ChannelWeb]

Intel intros low-voltage quad-core Xeons ahead of AMD Intel’s first foray into low-voltage processors may have been a flop, but data center managers’ increased interest in power efficiency bodes well for its new low-voltage Xeons.[SearchDataCenter.com]

AT&T to spend $750 mln on global network in 2007 AT&T Inc. said on Tuesday it will spend more than $750 million in 2007 to expand its global communications network for corporate customers, an 89 percent boost over last year, as customer companies increasingly do business abroad. [Reuters]

Monster ties up with help-wanted service Monster Worldwide Inc., a leading job-search Web site, is taking its latest step to forge partnerships with traditional media by linking with a technology company that runs the online help-wanted sites for more than 200 newspapers. [Reuters]

Dell, Alienware offer 1TB single-drive upgrade Dell and its Alienware subsidiary have begun offering buyers the chance to configure new gaming desktop PCs with
Hitachi’s 1TB hard drive – enough space to store an almost inconceivable quantity of digital stuff. [TheReg]


March 13, 2007  3:07 PM

Red Hat reaffirms channel committment

Yuval Shavit Profile: YuvalShavit

On the eve of Red Hat’s announcement of release 5 of its enterprise Linux operating system, the company is reaffirming its commitment to the channel.

That commitment is relatively new. The company’s vice president of North American channel sales, Mark Enzweiler, told SearchITChannel.com last month that although Red Hat has had partners in the past, it has never had a formal, unified channel strategy — a gap Enzweiler said he was brought on board specifically to address in October.

Red Hat launched a new Certified Service Provider (CSP) program last month to a select few of its partners which the company says will help them achieve a faster turnaround, and thus higher profits, for certain core services .

Sometime later this month, Red Hat will be introducing a program to help partners communicate with one another, said Brett Hunter, Red Hat’s director or partner marketing .

It is also upgrading its partner portal Web site soon, including a new subscription center that will track partners’ customers and remind those partners when a client’s subscription needs renewing. That will not only make it easier for partners to get cuts on renewal fees, but will give them a good excuse to talk to customers and potentially up-sell to them, Hunter said.

Red Hat also hired executives to develop its partner program abroad, bringing in Petra Heinrich to lead its European channel in January and Masatsugu Koketsu to build up the channel in Japan earlier this month.


March 13, 2007  8:54 AM

Hackers aren’t ALWAYS evil

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

I read in Ryan Naraine’s Zero Day blog this week that HD Moore, hacker extraordinaire, is building a tracking system capable of pinpointing specific workstations that searched for and downloaded child pornography.

Pedophiles using Onion router Tor can no longer count on anonymity. Moore’s countermeasures are sparking debate, however. According to some, Tor developers should have anticipated that this anonymity would lead to sneaky or criminal activities. That’s the whole point of routers like these.

But it warms my heart to know that top-tier hackers are using their skills to fight crime. According to Moore, his “server is able to determine the internal address of the user, the external address from which they access the internet, and the ISP they use to provide DNS resolution, as well as the IP address they come from through the Tor network. This information, along with the unique tracking ID, allows me to identify a specific workstation within an organization or residence.”

Go team! VARs, of course, should be aware of malicious hackers, but ethical hacking has its place. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Good men must not obey laws too well.”

Hack away, HD Moore.


March 13, 2007  7:03 AM

Channel news: Vista vulnerable to known attack; Cisco, IBM team on services

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Windows Vista vulnerable to long-time attack method A researcher explains that a well-known attack carried out though StickyKeys, can be exploited in Windows Vista.  [SearchSecurity.com]

Cisco, IBM to merge maintenance services abroad Cisco Systems Inc. and International Business Machines Corp. said on Monday they will combine technical support services for mutual customers, highlighting increasingly close ties between the network equipment maker and computer services company. [Reuters]

Apple slip exposes eight-core Mac Pro Quad-core Xeon machine imminent? [TheReg]

Few woes mark computers’ daylight shift This weekend’s early switch to daylight-saving time was billed as a little re-enactment of the Y2K computer problem at the turn of the millennium. And as it happened, the daylight bug appeared to have equally minor results. [AP]

Time change brings ‘nightmare’ issues with Outlook, calendars Microsoft officials say the worst of the problems regarding the daylight-saving time change have passed, but some customers are still complaining of “nightmare” issues. [eWEEK]

DST switch offers lessons learned Those who survived the daylight-saving time deadline offer some words of wisdom in case the laws change yet again.[SearchWinIT.com]

Continued »


March 12, 2007  5:01 PM

IT landscape may be in for an overhaul

Yuval Shavit Profile: YuvalShavit

The IT industry may be heading toward a state in which vendors and their channel partners focus more on service than software, according to a new report by Forrester Research. The report predicts that a confluence of four factors — commoditization, miniaturization, industrialization, and globalization — will drive major vendors to refine their products in the next five years, resulting in software that’s mostly pre-configured and requires less tinkering by system integrators (SIs) and IT departments.

The effect will be most pronounced at the high-end level of enterprise software, according to Andrew Parker, a vice president and research director at Forrester who co-wrote the report. But even smaller, regional players could be affected, especially as vendors of enterprise software look downstream in an effort to sell beyond an increasingly saturated high-end.

The increased level of pre-configured software could push some SIs back towards more of a VAR operation, with more sales employees and fewer technicians, Parker said. He added, however, that it is too soon to be sure of such a shift. Other SIs could end up as software brokers — essentially mixing and matching products for their clients — or focus on a specific niche — either a vertical industry or a specific software component.


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