Microsoft delays reduced, Dell goes to the High Street and all is well with AMD
To subscribe to The Register's weekly newsletter - seven days of IT in a single hit - click here
Microsoft regifts Hyper-V delay
When Microsoft promises a "holiday surprise", you want to pay attention. Will Redmond dish out a massive patch that will keep admins working overtime on Christmas Eve? Or perhaps we'll all find a gaping security hole in the stocking this year.
As it turns out, Microsoft's self-proclaimed "surprise" came in the form of a less delayed than expected release of its Hyper-V beta. The software – a fresh hypervisor – gives Microsoft a chance to compete head-on against companies such as VMware and Citrix in the server and desktop virtualisation game.
Need a memory implant? Have at our 'Year in Review'
So many things happened in 2007. Britney Spears achieved world peace by taking off her underwear. The US discovered steroid use in baseball. And NASA's top scientists identified another place on Mars that may or may not have water and may or may not have supported alien bacteria at some point in the distant past.
What else happened? Well, virtualisation software became an industry obsession, disks started swelling to 1TB, Intel rewired its transistors to put out faster, more energy-friendly chips and storage vendors sold iSCSI systems in any way possible.
We covered 2007 in all of its hardened, silicon-filled glory right here so that you don't have to waste any synapses remembering the year that was.
Forecast: Sunshine and rainbows in Sunnyvale
Speaking of silicon, AMD disappointed world+dog this month by revealing that it will delay mass shipments of its four-core processors until the first quarter of next year due to a bug in the products.
The four-core cock-up resulted in reporters calling for AMD CEO Hector Ruiz's head. AMD's brass, however, dismissed any CEO removal plans during a meeting with financial analysts. In fact, AMD said the world at large fails to understand how amazing its future looks. So, pay attention, friends. Everything is great. (Please ignore the ATI write down.)
AMD's chief Hector Ruiz is certainly in better shape than Wikipedia's former COO.
Some investigative reporting by our San Francisco scribe Cade Metz uncovered one of the most significant Wikipedia scandals to date. The foundation in charge of the encyclopedia that anyone can edit turns out to have employed a convicted felon as its bookkeeper.
It's great to see Wikipedia put such top-flight staff in charge of your donations.
Crippleware and you
Western Digital received a lot of attention for shipping an external hard drive that made swapping media files very, very difficult for the average user. But the DRM-infected unit failed to scare all of our hacks. Andrew Orlowski, for example, argued that Western Digital's kit is nowhere near as bad as yesteryear's CPRM scourge.
Cisco to go somethingtastic in 2008 – apparently
Cisco plans to release an all-blogging, all video-playing, all-vague "entertainment operating system" in 2008. Think software-as-a-service meets SpongeBob SquarePants's Facebook page. Or maybe just a fancier set-top box.
Moons over My Web Service
IBM did its bit for bunker busting extensible frameworks this week with a new Eclipse package aimed at embedded use in military systems. Of course, other folks doing boring things such as car making could pick up the Rational System Development Solution (SDS) as well for its hardened goodness.
Not to be outgunned, Red Hat presented developers with the JBoss Developer Studio – an Eclipse-based Java tools extravaganza.
SWsoft suffers from identity crisis
SWsoft lords over the container-based server virtualisation market, but that success hasn't been enough for the company to think itself worthy of the SWsoft brand. Come next year, SWsoft will emerge from its cocoon and become the glorious butterfly Parallels, able to virtualise both desktops and servers in a single bound.
The founders of Commodore and Apple chewed the fat at a Silicon Valley gig this week, arguing over who crafted the best 1982-era computer. Commodore's founder Jack Tramiel went with the populist play, saying he crafted boxes "for the masses", while Apple made pricey gear "for the classes".
Apple CEO Steve Jobs was not on hand to defend the merits of producing over-priced, proprietary systems.
HP promises acronym hell
HP has vowed to make sure a couple of initialisms make their way into the mainstream server lexicon next year. The vendor is all about GPGPUs and FPGAs, threatening to resell the server accelerator products ahead of rivals. The interest in accelerators stems from HP's current passion for another acronym – HPC – or high performance computing.
Interested parties are welcome to ignite their floating point boosters at this time.
Radiohead flashes green teeth
Hype, hype, hype. That's mostly what you get on the green computing front these days.
So, we're impressed to see the band Radiohead showing vendors how to take a serious green stand. The rockers are considering touring the world on an oceangoing cargo vessel, trading in the luxury of the Queen Mary for a rat-filled shipping container.
Fewer virgins to be throttled in 2008
In a revitalisation effort, Virgin Media will pull back on bandwidth throttling, giving more people more time to pull down their favourite
nudes, TV shows and tunes open source software at high speed.
We lay out the tiered, friendlier throttling routine here.
Web 2.0 plugged – official
Could any weekly wrap be complete with Microsoft unfurling a patch pack on customers? Of course not.
Go on and gorge from the patch trough and pick up seven fixes, including some plugs for severe risks in DirectX, Windows Media Format Runtime and – you knew it was coming – IE.
Meanwhile, anti-virus specialist Kaspersky did itself few favours by lobbing out an update that crippled Windows machines. (We know, as if Microsoft needed any help.)
Kazakhstan or bust
London's financial set picked this week to inform IT directors about the future.
As the banking types see it, Intel needs to wield its near-monopoly more violently in order to get partners to product better server products. Once better kit arrives, the City chaps can use the hardware to get rich off IPOs in Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia.
Dell: Now shipping with less directness
Dell's reinvention continues at speed. The PC and server vendor used to force you flip through rumpy pumpy hardware images in catalogues or on websites. These days, however, Dell invites customers to ogle its kit in store.
DSGi has signed on to shift Dell systems in actual shops in 12 countries. Euro punters will find the gear at Dixons, Currys, PC World, Electro World and PC City.
Dell systems certainly won't be appearing in any CompUSAs stateside after the retailer gave up on selling things.
The world's largest violin
And we'll leave any hardware heads out there with some warming visions of the future.
AMD has teamed with a start-up called Violin Memory to attach giant DRAM appliances to Opteron-based servers via Hypertransport.
The result? Screaming fast memory performance at a high price.