Channel Marker

February 20, 2007  5:51 PM

Security vendor mergers cause angst, sometimes anger, among customers

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Mergers among security vendors often leave customers – and VARS – in the lurch.

Before Symantec took over Veritas, for example, techs at Newton, Mass.-based IT management service provider MIS Alliance Corp. got good tech support from Veritas.

Now the phone-support techs don’t seem up to speed, and it can take 45 minutes even to get to an unhelpful tech. Licensing issues – including getting access keys for clients – is also a problem.

Symantec acknowledges the glitches, but says many are the result of merging its ERP system with Veritas’ and that the problems will disappear quickly.

Other mergers have worked out better for their customers and VARs. Secure Computing’s acquisition of CipherTrust worked out partly because of the number of high-level CipherTrust execs kept on after the merge, one customer said.

For others, including EMC’s acquisition of RSA, the jury is still out, and the customers are still nervous.

The full version of this story appeared on TechTarget sister site

February 20, 2007  5:39 PM

VoIP is big change, one step at a time, for AAA

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Unified communications (UC) systems can be performance-challenged and sometimes don’t match the way their users would like to work – at least according to colleagues of IT director Mike Gladish.

So Gladish was cautious in rolling out UC to the East Central division of the American Automobile Association (AAA), testing it with a small group of headquarters staff before trying a full rollout – the better to map out both hard and soft productivity benefits.

So far the rollout isn’t going over like a house afire, but users aren’t rebelling, either. As time goes on, though, the UC system is diverging from the way people work, or at least the way they used to work. The UC-enabled group is moving away from strict reliance on voice communications, has easier access to an mobility of voice mail, and is thinking about adding video.

So far, so good.

The full version of this story appeared on TechTarget sister site

February 20, 2007  5:30 PM

Snort problem — security flaw in security software

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Sourcefire Inc. has plugged security holes in its popular Snort intrusion detection tool that could have allowed attackers to get in through the security software itself to run unauthorized code on a victim’s server.

The flaws in Snort’s DCE/RPC preprocessor would have allowed a stack-based buffer overflow, according to an advisory from Sourcefire. The preprocessor is enabled by default.

Sourcefire advised users to fix the flaw by upgrading to Snort version or beta 2 of Snort 2.7.

The full version of this story appeared on TechTarget sister site

February 20, 2007  5:13 PM

Microsoft brings SQL Server up to speed with Vista

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Microsoft released a Vista-compatible version of its SQL Server 2005 database this week, rectifying a critical gap in its own Vista-enabled product line, and eliminating virtualization restrictions on the popular database at the same time.

The rules that come with SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2 remove any limit on the number of instances of SQL Server that can run in virtual machines as long as the server on which they run has a SQL Server license for each CPU on the machine.

Earlier rules would have required a license for each virtual machine.

The new version does not support the Microsoft Data Engine, the database engine under SQL Server 2000. SQL Server is important to Microsoft customers because it’s widely embedded in applications that require a local database, though it is typically not considered robust enough to scale to the levels of Oracle or IBM’s top databases.

The original version of this story appeared on TechTarget sister site

February 20, 2007  1:51 PM

Backup/recover specific virtual servers

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Double-Take Software, Inc. has introduced new virtualized-server protection features to its disaster recovery backup-and-replication software. Double-Take for VMware Infrastructure is designed to safeguard work being done on each virtual server by backing up the data running on that server specifically, as well as on data from other virtuals and from the host. With regular backups, Double-Take can recover and reload a single virtual server with all its most recent data if it or its host machine should crash, the company said.

The enhanced replication software cuts costs by eliminating the need for the software to run inside each guest-server operating system.  It also shrinks restore times for virtual machines, the company said. 

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!

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