Channel Marker

February 20, 2007  1:23 PM

Are IT Salaries about to jump?

Yuval Shavit Profile: YuvalShavit

Finding good IT technicians is getting harder, and companies may have to start paying more to get and keep consultants, according to a study of IT salaries by Computer Economics, Inc., a research firm based in Irvine, Calif.

The company’s 2007 IT Salary Report found that half of companies surveyed will increase their IT staff by 5% or more in the next year. Factor in that fewer college students are studying to be IT consultants, and consulting firms could find it harder to fill their payrolls, according to Mark McManus, vice president of IT research at Computer Economics.

But the pinch could actually be good news for managed service providers (MSPs) for two reasons, he said. First, end-user companies that aren’t able to get in-house IT help will have to outsource. Perhaps more importantly, the remote nature of MSPs’ business model will attract the growing number of former consultants who are looking to cut back on travel.

“What we’re really seeing is that the majority of IT workers are really wanting to go with large companies. [They’ll] have a stable environment, and they can work in a location that’s desirable and not do a lot of traveling,” McManus said.

So far, IT salaries have not skyrocketed. After several years of fairly stagnant pay rates, salary increases started accelerating in 2005, according to the report. They have now reached an average of 3.8%, although that is still below the average increase of 4.2% for all professions as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2006, according to the Computer Economics report.

That rate is also before inflation, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported at about 3.26% from 2005 to 2006. But McManus said he expects worker shortages in IT will cause a “jump” in salaries this year, sparking a bidding war for companies trying to get the best employees.

“I think in the short run it’ll hurt [MSPs], and in the long run it’ll work out to be more of an advantage” as the MSP model becomes more widely adopted, McManus said.

February 20, 2007  7:54 AM

Channel news: Stop & Shop security breach; Microsoft, no deal with Red Hat

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Stop & Shop acknowledges security breach

In other news, researchers warn of a new security hole in Mozilla Firefox that could allow attackers to tamper with cookies.

New Microsoft deal in the works with Red Hat? Don’t bet on it

There’s a story making the rounds today that Microsoft is poised to sign a new technology partnership with Red Hat that could be as sweeping as the one it signed with Novell. There’s only one problem with the report: Red Hat is denying it.[All About Microsoft]

Wind River acquires real-time Linux tech

Purchase of RTLinux technology–used for devices like animatronic robots–opens new markets for
Wind River’s embedded Linux efforts. [CNET]

SanDisk makes move to cut costs

SanDisk looks to cut executive salaries and eliminate 250 jobs. [DailyTech]

Crucial SQL Server 2005 service pack ships

SQL Server 2005 SP2, which is required for use with
Vista and Office 2007 is now ready for downloading.

Virtual PC 2007, downloadable now, supports Vista as host and guest

Continued »

February 19, 2007  12:21 PM

CDP and open source storage — future of the VAR

BKraemer Brian Kraemer Profile: BKraemer

Storage continues to be a hot topic among VARs, customers and the tech world in general. One area that’s had the magnifying glass help up to it is continuous data protection (CDP). The debate among experts is: which is better — true CDP or near CDP? True CDP offers a granular level of information management that allows for the storage “tape” to be rolled back to any point in time. This way, if any data is lost, true CDP has already captured it and can restore it. You may know a consumer product with similar capabilities: TiVO. Near CDP is basically taking a snapshot of a database on a predefined schedule — say, every ten minutes.

Still not clear on CDP? Get the low down on everything VARs need to know about CDP with our guide, Delivering continuous data protection services.

If you already use the technology, you should look at this article on the CDP debate by Jo Maitland on That debate may be moot if Mendocino can carry through with the promises that it is making.

One other piece of storage news of note: Open-source storage? This is one story that all storage VARs should be following. The opportunity to provide a storage service in an inexpensive, affective manner is astounding — not to mention that in addition to providing a valuable service, the opportunities for reoccurring revenue make the head spin.

February 19, 2007  9:06 AM

Channel headlines Feb. 19 — questions about EMC and SMB; Cisco flaws; Vista flaws

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Questions fly as EMC Retrospect fades

All signs point to the end of life for EMC’s Retrospect backup software for small businesses. Sources say the company cannot support an SMB software channel.

EMC, Netapp plan switcheroo

EMC stoops for the midrange, while NetApp stretches for the high end. [eWEEK]

Vista security overhaul questioned

User Account Control: insecure by design? [TheReg]

Multiple vulnerabilities in Cisco PIX and ASA appliances

Multiple vulnerabilities are found in Cisco PIX 500 Series Security Appliances and the Cisco ASA 5500 Series Adaptive Security Appliances. [Cisco] 

Vista OEM ‘Express’ upgrades stuck at the gate

People actually redeeming vouchers [TheReg]

Google survey shows what makes for a  reliable server hard drive

Google studied the reliability and performance history of a hundred thousand of its SATA and PATA drives with between 80 and 400GB storage and 5400 to 7200rpm, and while unfortunately they didn’t call out specific brands or models that had high failure rates, they did find a few interesting patterns in failing hard drives. [Engadget]

Continued »

February 16, 2007  1:41 PM

Microsoft’s Business and Technology Assessment Toolkit

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

It’s in the nature of the channel beast that VARs, SIs and computer consultants need to know every computer woe that might, could, may, does, does not exist and what could help, or might harm a customer’s business. There always will be a need to refine assessment tools.

This week Microsoft released its Business and Technology Assessment Toolkit free to its partners. According to our site,, partners are giving it the thumbs up. Both Evolve Technologies, Inc, and Computer Consulting Inc credit Microsoft for making their jobs easier. Dave Sobel, president of Evolve Technologies, Inc says it increased his deal close rate increased by 20 percent.

Basically, this tool kit provides a set of questions for the tech-heavy VAR to ask his or her not so tech-savvy clients. This communication tool provides general best-practices assessment recommendations and is not Microsoft centric.

But wait — the word on the blogosphere is that there is a caveat: it requires Office 2007. Blogger Steve Moffet warns readers that a user has to have InfoPath 2007 for the English language download.

So if you got your free toolkit, but can’t install it, Office Small Businesses 2007 retails at $279 and Office Professional 2007 retails at $329 at CompUSA. Thanks, Microsoft!

February 16, 2007  8:52 AM

Channel headlines: Msft, Cisco, Ingram, AMD, Novell, Apple, HP

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Microsoft plays down a sales lift from Vista

Analyst sounds AMD cash-flow warning

Continued »

February 15, 2007  11:51 AM

Are VPNs the weakest link?

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

On February 6th, Julia Henderson, of fame, told us of a study that revealed some of the weaknesses of site-authentication images. This study was the most damning to banks, such as Bank of America, who have instituted the security method for their online banking sites.

However, an article in today’s Guardian offers a report that paying attention to the secure nature of the log-in page for your bank may be the least of your worries. According to the article, the Royal Bank of Scotland has been struggling with “systematic attempts” by “organized hacking gangs” to compromise the organization’s security via executives working from home.

The hackers, evidently, work under the assumption that systems used outside of the office are less secure than those under the umbrella if corporate IT. Through emails designed to appeal to the specific user targeted and keylogging software, the attackers are able to get into the company’s system through the VPN.

As telecommuting becomes more and more popular, VPN security, including its weaknesses, will become increasingly important to the integrity of corporate networks.

February 15, 2007  9:15 AM

Blog your way to better IT solutions

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Okay. We know that blogging is the next big thing. We know that bloggers are getting invites to the coolest parties, the most exclusive criminal courtrooms, and IT product conferences.

Wait, what? That’s right, folks. An article from Information Week explained that 13 bloggers were invited to last week’s Fast Search and Transfer meeting. The idea was that the bloggers would rant, rave, criticize, and inform Fast right to the forefront of the new challenge to find solutions that gather unstructured data. Fast is a growing enterprise search platform vendor who thinks that group blogging is an important factor for search in Enterprise 2.0. (If you want to know what bloggers are saying about Enterprise 2.0, check out Dion Hinchcliffe’s blog)

As a VAR, SI or consultant, maybe you should plan to get a few friends together to blog in order to drive product improvements. Fast insists that it is paying attention to what the bloggers are saying — and taking criticism and fresh ideas seriously — because they think that bloggers inform companies like Fast about their core culture. So if you have a complaint, blog about it! Vendors are listening.

February 15, 2007  7:59 AM

Channel news: Net-transfer speed could help spot malware; SAP skills continue paying offdate.

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Speed could kill for Internet worms
Computer security researchers are developing ways of protecting PCs from malicious programs known as worms by monitoring how fast data is sent through networks. [TimesOnline]

Europe demands say on US data trawling
Wants to rein in war on terror. [TheReg]

SAP skills pay off big for IT pros
The values of CCIE, CISSP, PMP and Web development certifications held their own in 2006, but it was nothing compared to the 15 percent income growth experienced by ERP-skilled IT workers in 2006, according to a new report. [eWEEK]

Data center power update: power use is alarming; or…not

Demand grows, but data centers don’t hog power
Data centers are sucking up more electricity as more people and organizations log on to the Internet. But there’s been some disagreement over how power-hungry the servers running the nation’s network are. [SanFranChronicle]

February 14, 2007  9:52 AM

Valentine’s Day security risks — Channel headlines for Feb. 14, 2007

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Microsoft warns of six “critical” security flaws

Microsoft Corp. issued six “critical” security patches on Tuesday to fix flaws in its software products that the company warned could allow attackers to take control of a user’s computer. [Reuters]

Microsoft tries to stuff the Windows 7 genie back in the bottle

The Windows 7 genie is out of the bottle. Trying to stuff it back in will do nothing but create more customer confusion.
[All About Microsoft] 

Multiple IOS IPS Vulnerabilities

The Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) feature set of Cisco IOS. contains several vulnerabilities. These include: Fragmented IP packets may be used to evade signature inspection. IPS signatures utilizing the regular expression feature of the ATOMIC.TCP signature engine may cause a router to crash resulting in a denial of service. [Cisco] 

IBM says new technology can triple data storage-report

IBM says it is developing new circuitry that could triple the data stored on a typical microprocessor, and thereby double the performance of computers, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. [Reuters]

IBM Launches New Virtualization Tools

The announcement comes as analysts tout virtualization’s entry into its 2.0 phase. [eWEEK] 

Citrix updates presentation server, kills Access Suite

Citrix Systems this week unveiled a major update to its flagship Citrix Presentation Server product line, a move that kills off its Access Suite and incorporates its functionality into a new Premium Edition. [ChannelWeb] 

25 most interesting VoIP startups

If you’ve only heard about Vonage and Skype when it comes to VoIP, you’ve only scratched the surface. Dozens of startup companies from the U.S., Canada and Europe are bringing out innovative IP telephony products. Here are our picks for the Top 25 new VoIP companies set to change the way we all work and do business [VoIPNews]

ip.access opens Oyster femtocell to the world

Unit picks up 3G signals, routes them over ‘net.. [TheRegister]

At ISSCC, the circuit set makes connections

As chip engineers gather in
San Francisco, Intel shows off its teraflop chops, and AMD talks pricing pressure and power consumption. [CNET]

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