Channel Marker

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]

February 13, 2007  8:44 AM

Headlines — What’s happening in the channel Feb. 13, 2007

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Linux license delayed by Novell/Microsoft review
The partnership between Microsoft Corp. and Novell Inc. has delayed completion of a new license that will govern rights to key parts of the Linux operating system. [Reuters]

IE and Firefox cough up hard drive contents
Updated Floor by flaw. [TheReg]

OIG report criticizes FBI over missing laptops, weapons
A report by the Office of the Inspector General finds that the FBI reported two to three laptops lost or stolen per month during a 44-month period. [eWEEK]

Congress pushes (again) for ISP data retention
Silicon Justice. More data = more damage, when breached. [TheReg]

Cisco’s new security target: consumers
The multibillion-dollar player in security tools for businesses plans to move into the lucrative consumer market later this year. [CNET]

Cisco Sees video surveillance as IP security opportunity
The networking giant says it can help enterprises integrate their existing video surveillance technologies—using a centralized IP network-based approach—to create new applications for keeping their operations even more tightly under wraps. [eWEEK]

Mobile malware menace hits high – McAfee
3GSM Should telcos be scared or skeptical? [TheReg]

Avaya to offer VOIP to small businesses
The new version of IP Office caters to businesses with 10 to 20 users, allowing them to use the SIP trunking services from service providers for their outside phone lines, potentially cutting calling plans by half. [eWEEK]

System integrators effectively serve federal government
More than half of U.S. government IT decision makers are satisfied with the overall performance of systems integrators, according to Government Insights, an IDC company. The survey also found that many SIs are shifting from performing the integration to managing the process of integration. [Tekrati]

IBM’s Power6: Bigger iron, lower power
IBM’s new chip works in 64-processor servers and contains features to let users cap system power consumption. [CNET]

February 12, 2007  4:39 PM

Just got (an unintelligible) Word from Microsoft

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

One of the less-appreciated features of Office 2007 — whose arrival was overshadowed by the hype over Windows Vista — is its XML-based file format. XML has a lot going for it, but Microsoft’s implementation isn’t compatible with file-formats in earlier versions of Word.

So even if you don’t switch to Office 2007 you’ll have to deal with the file-format problems eventually, as other people switch.’s first “unrecognized file format” Word doc came in today — from Microsoft.

To read it we had to download the Office Compatibility Pack from It wasn’t difficult, but it did delay things a bit as we figured out why our versio of Word 2003 wouldn’t open a Word document from Microsoft.

Just a reminder to download it yourself, and to remind your customers. You might mention to them that the download is 27.1MB, just so they don’t have all their employees download it themselves, all at once.

Oh, but don’t launch it before you install whatever critical Windows updates you have not yet loaded. The site doesn’t say, but presumably Bad Things Could Happen.

February 12, 2007  1:40 PM

Big Blue, Apple and Microsoft Vienna?

BKraemer Brian Kraemer Profile: BKraemer

The past couple of weeks have been a constant stream of Microsoft related news. Vista this; Vista that. So today I’m going to take a break — sort of.

An interesting little news nugget came floating down today from Microsoft. Apparently, if you haven’t been able to get enough Vista information, you don’t have to wait for the next announcement: Microsoft Vienna. That’s right. The successor is already starting to get a little bit of press coverage.

As depressing as that may be to you, it looks like Big Blue has got some good news. IBM’s open desktop software is being released as a direct competitor to the Windows platform in the corporate environment. The goal is to allow enterprises to lower the cost of managing an Apple or Linux box in the workplace. This release could have an interesting ripple affect across the VAR community. Instead of focusing primarily on Microsoft support, you may begin having to support and maintain Apple-rich environments. Who knows if that switch will actually happen but it is worth watching over the next few months and years.

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