Channel Marker

March 7, 2007  10:36 AM

Software as a Service: The Hype Must End

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Software as a Service (SaaS) can’t possibly live up to the hype that’s being lavished upon it these days. Despite all the talk about creating a channel–or to borrow a more in-vogue term, an “ecosystem”–around Saas as a platform, and some significant early successes, it’s time to snap out of the reverie and smell SaaS for what it is.

And what is it? SaaS is already-widely-failed business model with a new happy Web 2.0 front end slapped onto it. Its main attraction is its promise of affordable scalability–and the accounting trick of moving enterprise software from the capital expenditure to the expense category in the books.

But what organizations might gain in accounting benefits, they will inevitably lose in productivity and flexibility. In other words, they lose all the benefits that we got from the shift to a distributed computing model in the first place.

All of the big technology vendors would just love for SaaS to become the dominant model for delivering their products. Sun, IBM, and HP all would just love to resell some more of their data center compute cycles for it as they try to find new ways to sell more hardware without calling it hardware. But there are a few things standing in the way of SaaS achieving total domination of the software distribution model in its current form–and they’re the same things that brought the ASP model to its knees for all but a selective few who managed to squeeze a profit out of it.

Continued »

March 7, 2007  8:06 AM

Channel news: EMC users switch; Msft readies VoIP, responds to DOT ban

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Users quit EMC over replicationTwo former EMC storage users said they switched vendors last year because of confusion and complexity within EMC’s replication portfolio. []

Microsoft responds to DOT ban on Vista, Office 2007The Department of Transportation has put an indefinite ban on upgrades to Windows Vista, Internet Explorer 7 and Office 2007. Microsoft has issued a response to some of the charges outlined in the DOT moratorium memo.[All About Microsoft]

Microsoft set to deliver enhanced VoIP solutions Microsoft is predicting that in just three years, the average VoIP solution for business will cost half what it does today. It also announced plans to distribute the public beta-test version of Office Communications Server 2007, Microsoft’s VoIP and unified communications server, and Office Communicator 2007, Microsoft’s unified communications client, to millions of testers later this month. []

Stormy weather for malware defenses Virus writers go after anti-virus vulnerabilities [TheReg]

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March 6, 2007  5:44 PM

Experts warn that time is running out to test daylight-savings fixes

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

IT organizations and the VARs that support them need to be on alert this week for the Y2K-like problems expected to result from changes in the date for the start of daylight savings time (DST).

That according to app dev experts who said most companies should be well into the test phase for the DST patches to their Windows systems, databases and other applications.

Microsoft Corp. and other vendors are doing “a great job” of keeping end users informed of the potential problems, but the patches and advice available aren’t always working on specific applications. Patches and workarounds can break custom applications, data setups and even relatively generic systems, analysts said.

The best thing to do is take systems that could be affected, isolate a server running one or more, and run the clock forward to see what breaks – far enough before the deadline to fix any unexpected problems.

The full version of this story appeared on TechTarget sister site

March 6, 2007  5:36 PM

Some Exchange Server 2007 prospects delayed by another migration — to Exchange 2003

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Microsoft Corp. plans to ship Exchange Server 2007 to volume customers in December of this year, and will start taking orders Nov. 30. Many customers said they’d like to install the newest version of Exchange, but need to finish their migration to Exchange Server 2003 instead.

Government agencies will be a lot slower than the private sector in moving to Exchange 2007 because their security requirements are specific, and each application has to be approved by the proper security agency.

In the private sector, some managers said they’ll wait until the first Exchange 2007 service pack. Others, because of budget cycles and long rollouts to thousands of users, are still upgrading from Exchange 2000, and the jump to 2007 is just too far.

Others won’t move at all. Microsoft touts the additional security features in both  Exchange Server 2007 and Windows Vista, which it is expected to support. Some, in fact, use less popular e-mail servers such as GroupWise, for advantages in both cost and a smaller population of attackers than the ones plaguing Microsoft’s products.

The full version of this story appeared on TechTarget sister site

March 6, 2007  5:21 PM

Mozilla announces flaw, fix in FireFox, SeaMonkey

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Mozilla has announced that there is a flaw in both its FireFox browser and the SeaMonkey application suite that would allow attackers to bypass security using a regression error in the way the open-source apps handle IMG tags.

The flaw affects Firefox version and, and SeaMonkey version 1.0.7. The flaw is repaired in later versions of both applications.

Mozilla released those versions last week, including a fix for more than 10 other flaws in Firefox.

Mozilla’s security chief said the organization tries to release a security upgrade every six weeks or so.

The full version of this story appeared on TechTarget sister site

March 6, 2007  5:07 PM

Microsoft updates Vista beta certification exams

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Microsoft Corp. is revising Windows Vista certification exams to include more information about application support. The additional questions will come in tests to upgrade a Microsoft Certified Desktop Support tag to a Certified IT Professional, in one on troubleshooting applications on a
Vista client, and one on consumer desktop support (specific titles in the story

More information will be added on supporting 2007 Microsoft Office System. A Microsoft spokesperson said the company would add the information because it had been left out inadvertently from earlier versions. Those who have taken the beta exams will be notified of the change and the chance to take an additional beta exam free.

The original version of this story appeared on TechTarget sister site

March 6, 2007  4:03 PM

Vint Cerf reflects on Internet security

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

If you’re not sick of all the hacking talk generated by last week’s Black Hat training in DC, check out the DarkReading article about Internet Founding Father Vint Cerf.

Imagine Cerf sitting on his Founding Father throne, listening to Wagner, looking back on a long career. This might be a guy whose advice is worth taking.

Cerf says the biggest Internet security threats are the proliferation of spam, botnets, malware, and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. He has hope for security, though, and cites domain name security (DNSSEC) technology, filtering of source IP addresses, use of IPSec, and two-factor authentication as the promising security measures of the near future.

Didn’t we know this already? Perhaps. But it always helps to hear it from the horse’s mouth.

I’ll leave you with a little Jimi Hendrix this week: “Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.” Be a wise VAR. Listen to your dad.

March 6, 2007  2:57 PM

Daylight Saving Time may cause hiccups this year

Yuval Shavit Profile: YuvalShavit

In case you haven’t heard yet, the switch away from standard time this year won’t be, well, standard. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 changed the start of daylight saving time to March 11 this year, meaning that some software written before the act may rely on the wrong algorithms to calculate when to bump the clock up an hour.

Specifically, DST kicks in on the second Sunday of March from now on, instead of the first Sunday of April.

Much of the software out there has already been patched, so it is possible to prepare for the new DST. One program to watch out for is Microsoft Outlook; its automated scheduling feature will be an hour off.

IT departments at larger companies should have already alerted their employees, but workers at smaller companies may not be aware of the potential software glitches, said Patrick Mills, senior software engineer at NeverLand Software & Systems, a system integrator in Arlington, Va.

The good news is that many of those smaller companies don’t rely much on automated scheduling, Mills said. NeverLand has upgraded its clients’ software and given them a heads-up as needed, bit it’s important to keep in mind, Mills said, that in the end, most users will experience nothing worse than a little confusion over when meetings were scheduled.

“Worst case, even if you haven’t updated your machine at all, you can set the time by hand. This is not a Y2k [kind of] issue; this is a time change. You’re talking about being an hour out,” he said.

In mission-critical applications like databases or log files, there may be some issues, Mills said. Most of those should have fixes available, though; it’s just a matter of making sure they’re applied.

March 6, 2007  11:57 AM

Avaya/Lenovo deal could give VARs simple VoIP product to sell

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Avaya could provide some additional competition to both Cisco Systems Inc. and Vonage, following an agreement to put its voice over IP (VoIP) software on Lenovo ThinkPad notebooks.

Avaya — a solid competitor to Cisco in the international voice systems market, but a distant trailer in the U.S. — made the agreement to expand its VoIP market share by putting its products right on the desktops of highly mobile executives, allowing them to use their office phone numbers while on the road, according to a statement from Avaya.

The products could give channel companies that specialize in systems and network integration the ability to sell basic VoIP systems along with their laptops and without the expense of training or hiring voice networking specialists.

The software includes “click to call” integration with Microsoft Corp.’s Office Communicator and IBM’s Lotus SameTime instant messaging clients, as well as with the systems software on the ThinkPads themselves.

The Avaya IP Softphone will be able to authenticate users with the fingerprint-reading biometric security on ThinkPads, as well as with the system’s message notification system, so the screen will light up when a voicemail arrives.

The first version of  the integrated system is due in the third quarter of this year. No pricing was available.

March 6, 2007  7:51 AM

Channel news: McAfee hires ex-EMC exec; WordPress has backdoor

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Hackers plant backdoor in blogging software Stop the WordPress. [TheReg]

Connecticut AG investigating Best Buy sales tactics  Blog: The attorney general for the state of
Connecticut has opened an investigation into sales tactics used by retailing giant Best Buy. [CNET]

McAfee names ex-EMC executive as new CEO  The security company, which has been without a permanent CEO since October, taps Dave DeWalt to be its new chief. [CNET]

Fickle AMD rocked as channel gets revenge AMD’s obsession with top server and PC makers has proved costly. The chip maker claims to have focused on so-called Tier 1 OEMs at the expense of its longtime channel partners and now blames declining channel sales for its expected first quarter revenue miss. [TheReg]

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