Intel yesterday took the wraps off the 2.4GHz dualie Xeon, its fastest low-end server processor to date. The part is manufactured on 300mm wafers, the first dualies to roll off this line, and built using 0.13micron technology. As Intel points out, this combo of bigger wafers and smaller die size means higher volume manufacturing at lower cost. The part is priced at $615, in 1000 unit quantities. Spec? The clock speed, as you already know, is 2.4GHz; the chips incorporate 512K L2 cache, hyperthreading (Intel jargon for symmetric multi-threading) and Intel's bottleneck-busting Netburst architecture. Intel's new E7500 chipset works with dual processing servers; the company says its 860 chipset is "available" for dual processing servers. And now to Xeon building blocks: Intel's got plenty of them, due out in coming months. These include new server boards and associated chassis "featuring dual Intel Xeon processors, PCI-X I/O, and DDR memory". DDR memory is, of course, Intel's server memory of choice - but then it always was. Rambus RDRAM does not have the physical density which Intel wants in a fast memory module for servers. ® Intel press release
And three more mobile P4 processors are rolling out of the Intel fabs. Nothing really new, except for the speeds: there are now 1.8GHz, 1.5GHz and 1.4GHz parts fleshing out the P4-M line up. They join their 1.6GHz and 1.5GHz sisters. So Intel is making big play about the customers, announcing that there are more than 30 new laptops will launch using the new processors. Round up the usual suspects - Dell, HP, MicronPC, Acer America etc. etc. and you will find a notebook using the new P4-Ms. And prices? Buy a thousand and you are quoted the following: $637, $268, and $198 for 1.8, 1.5 and 1.4GHz, respectively. Intel cut its PIII-M prices this week, which will help fuel budget consumer notebook sales, the one bright PC sector right now. ® Intel press release
It may seem ironic, but privacy functionality in IE6 makes it possible to launch several attacks against the browser, and against Outlook and Outlook Express, security researcher Thor Larholm has discovered. "The privacy features added in IE6 to help protect a user's privacy by giving them direct control over cookie management allows any site to read any other site's cookies, in effect removing all privacy. Further, this hole extends to other protocols, allowing you to execute arbitrary commands on the user's machine as well as take over MSN Messenger," Larholm told us. At issue is IE's dialogArguments interaction, which is supposed to prevent objects being passed to a dialog, but doesn't quite. IE regulates interaction between remote pages by comparing the location of the originating page and the dialog page, Larholm says. If they match, interaction is allowed. But he's discovered that it's possible to use HTTP redirects to get around the restriction and provides several harmless examples in his advisory, which readers may play with. We tried them against IE6 on a fully patched XP-Pro box, and they worked as advertised. While the examples are harmless, the potential for mischief is considerable. There is no patch, but a perfectly good workaround is simply to disable scripting. He tells us MS was notified on 18 March, and is currently evaluating the need to issue a patch. Larholm also maintains a page of unpatched IE holes, with which he hopes to inspire some action back in Redmond. ®
The quest for the killer mobile phone app is decidedly on at this week's Symbian Developer Expo, and of the various candidates spotted by The Register, the first wave of apps involving Beatnik's technology look like the ones most likely to get you killed. Think stupid ringtones, think of them becoming polyphonic, longer samples of your favourite music, excerpts from the speeches of Margaret Thatcher (and why not, indeed?)... Do you dare go into a public place toting a device primed to explode into Paranoid? But such atrocities will surely go down a bundle with the kids, and Beatnik's BAE (Beatnik Audio Engine) is going into the next generations of mobile phones, so there's money in it. And you never know, we might even be persuaded to get some kind of official Register ring together, so it ill becomes us to cast tones. Future generations of Beatnik apps are however much more intriguing. BAE is a small footprint audio engine which supports the eXtensible Music Format (XMF), and essentially it works by delivering a content description over the air, rather than delivering the content itself. And it can support CD quality, so do you become intrigued? According to VP sales and marketing Jeremy Copp two and half minutes of Britney that took up four megabytes in MP3 could come down to 300k in XMF, so you now have permission to become even more intrigued. But there's a snag. Yes, says Copp, it would be possible to reproduce Wagner's entire Ring (sorry) Cycle at CD quality, but it's not the case that you could just copy a CD. Instead, you'd have go back to the recording studio and have professional engineers produce it in the new format. Beatnik, however envisages the record industry starting to produce music in XMF format in parallel with its standard productions. This wouldn't be whole albums, but more likely would be sample clips they could use to market their wares on mobile phones. So here we get Britney again, this time as a multimedia clip designed to get you to buy her new record, and if you're a Britney fan you'll likely go for it. The BAE can also bring quality sound to that other prospective killer app, the mobile phone game. This is another contribution to violence in public places, but it's a fact that decent audio has so far been missing from mobile phones, and that it'll also go down well with the kids. More? Well, Copp outlines something he claims the network providers have identified as a "coherent" multimedia messaging application. This presumably means that although they've got plenty of suggestions for multimedia messaging applications, most of them are (as we've been suspecting for a while) incoherent. This one's simple enough - yes folks, it's Britney again, or at least it will include Britney. Imagine musical, multimedia trading cards that can be swapped, acquire value... It works, no? Currently announced partners for Beatnik are Nokia and Danger, which will be using it in its Hiptop, a combo mobile phone, internet and player device aimed at the youth market. But there will assuredly be more. ® Related stories Beyond the Valley of the Polyphonic RingTones
InfoSecurity EuropeInfoSecurity Europe Wireless networking insecurity was a key theme of this week's InfoSecurity show with a number of suppliers coming out with surveys on just how vulnerable world+dog is to drive by hackers. However a quick scout around the show yesterday revealed the problem is closer to home than most vendors would like to admit - half of the show's wireless LANs were wide open to attack. Using a Compaq iPAQ equipped with a 802.11b card, Rob Baskerville, a consultant at security services firm Vistorm, discovered that eight of the 15 networks he found were running WLANs without WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy), often taken as a sign that networks are vulnerable. Baskerville, who found his results "surprising", didn't perform any invasive attacks (illegal without permission), so it's unclear how much mischief could be wrought through the oversight. The use of WEP, which is itself vulnerable to attacks using cracker tools such as AirSnort, is often taken as a benchmark for surveys on wireless networks security. But Baskerville says the issue is more complex: some companies - knowing WEP provides only minimal protection - simply don't use it, opting for security mechanisms, such as VPNs, to secure their networks. But what about the wireless LANs in Olympia? Vistorm consultants reckon the networks were put up in a hurry and without much thought for security. Oh dear. ® Related stories Drive-by hacking linked to cyberterror 802.1X can be toppled 'like set of dominoes' Cisco and MS team on wireless security RSA supplies answer to drive-by hacking? Secure the Wireless Network firmware Tool dumbs down wireless hacking Rogue WLANS - the next security battlefield? Wireless security is even flakier than we thought
It's a veritable cornucopia of IT literature this week from Reg associate www.it-minds.com First out of the horn of plenty is Linux System Administration Handbook by Evi Nemeth, Garth Snyder and Trent Hein. This is the first Linux administration guide specifically focused on preparing students to administer large-scale enterprise systems. Written by the well-respected authors of Unix System Administration Handbook, Third Edition - the classic book that has taught Unix system administration to generations of students - Linux System Administration Handbook covers every key aspect of running systems utilizing todays leading Linux distributions for university and enterprise environments. This book can be yours for £23.99 - a mouth-watering 40 per cent discount on the list price of £39.99. You can get the same saving on the companion UNIX System Administration Handbook, plus either 30 or 35 per cent off the following: Mac OS X Unleashed Core J2EE Patterns STY Adobe Photoshop 7 MySQL & JSP Web Applications Effective Java STY Java 2 in 21 Days JSP and XML Maximum Security Linux Firewalls How To Program Python Hot stuff. And as ever, IT-minds offers Vulture Central readers permanent discounts on a legion of IT titles. ®
InfoSecurity EuropeInfoSecurity Europe NetScreen has boosted the speed and added a new customised ASIC to its line of hardware firewall and VPN appliances. The NetScreen-5000 Series, based on its GigaScreen-II ASIC, boasts firewall speeds of up to 12 Gigabits per second and virtual private network (VPN) speeds of up to 6 Gbps. The NetScreen-5000 Series comprises the NetScreen-5200, which was introduced in Europe at the InfoSecurity show yesterday, and the NetScreen-5400 (which trebles the performance of the 5200), which will be available in Q3. According to the company, the NetScreen-5200 (which costs $129,000 and upwards in Europe) achieves more than 13 times the firewall performance and 23 times the VPN performance of competing software firewalls in dealing with small data packets. The NetScreen-5200, capable of 4 Gbps firewall and 2 Gbps VPN performance, is a two-slot, 2U chassis that supports up to eight Gigabit Ethernet interfaces or two Gigabit Ethernet plus 24 Fast Ethernet security interfaces. The NetScreen-5400 is a four-slot, 5U chassis capable of up to 12 Gbps firewall and 6 Gbps VPN performance, with a maximum combination of 78 Gigabit and Fast Ethernet ports. Both products can handle up to 25,000 VPN tunnels and 1 million concurrent TCP connections. Peter Crowcombe, a marketing manager at NetScreen, said the speed of the devices made them suitable for use by companies to protect their internal infrastructures, as well as making them suitable for high speed service provider networks. Large enterprises will be able to use the NetScreen's technology to segment internal networks into secure sub-nets to guard against internal hacking, wireless LAN security risks, or Nimda-like worms. Most deployments, however, are expected to be on the edge of the networks of service provider or large enterprise networks, Crowcombe added. Ease of deployment and the (theoretically) enhanced security that comes from a hardware-based approach are among the reasons vendors such as NetScreen are beginning to take market share away from software firewall vendors, such as Cisco and Check Point Software. To counter this threat Check Point has made alliances with appliance vendors, including Nokia. In January, analysts Frost & Sullivan reported that appliances generated more revenues than software firewalls for the first time during the course of last year. ® Related stories Software firewall vendors under sales pressure Vendors sharpen tools to thwart DoS attacks Defending against SYN-flood DoS attacks
Email viruses infecting 10 per cent of users and are costing business millions of pounds each year - even though AV software is used by 95 per cent of companies That's the main finding of a study by analysts Hurwitz Group, sponsored by managed security outfit MessageLabs. This concludes that traditional anti-virus software development is failing to keep pace with email-borne infections. Managed services from ISPs which scan email for viruses offer lower total cost of ownership for AV protection, the Hurwitz report concludes. Clearly there's a vested interest here, but Hurwitz / MessageLabs claims are consistent with reports of infections that readers send us after every major email virus outbreak - and what the AV software vendors say among themselves. Every time a new virus is released it takes time to spot it, time for AV vendors to develop an antidote and time to distribute this antidote (virus signature definition file). At the industry's annual get together, Virus Bulletin, in Prague last year, concerns were expressed that this approach is in danger of becoming obsolete. Improvements in the speed of antivirus analysis and management tools are continuing but can only go so far. Meanwhile virus writing s'kiddiots are taking full advantage of the Internet to spread their wares; and every indication is the problems caused by SirCam, BadTrans-B, Klez-H et al is getting progressively worse. This means a small number of virus writing s'kiddiots can tie up, or even potentially exhaust, the resources of the industry. Mark Sunner, Chief Technology Officer at MessageLabs, said: "most anti-virus software was developed in a pre-Internet age when the sharing of an infected floppy disk was as dangerous as things got, now over 90 per cent of viruses are email-borne, spreading across the globe in a matter of minutes." "For many companies downloading virus patches amounts to no more than closing the gate after the horse has bolted." MessageLabs argues that the problem needs to be tackled at source and that the first line of virus defence should be positioned at the Internet level, not at the gateway or desktop. Scanning at the Internet level means more aggressive heuristic scanning (automatic detection) can be used, so emails can be blocked if they have suspicious attachments. The same approach at the desktop would lead to numerous false positives, and although managed services for virus scanning are not without issues (companies have to trust a third party and scanning encrypted email being two) we reckon they are the way forward. It's either that or wait for the mythical Warhol worm to floor us all in 15 minutes... ® Related stories AV vendors sell 'blunt razor blades' Rise in viruses within emails outpacing growth of email 2001: vintage year for virus infections Hybrid viruses set to become bigger threat Undead virus infects the dim-witted BadTrans virus bites Windows users hard SirCam virus hogs connections with spam Firms hit in Nimda mutant outbreak Nimda worm tails off Users haven't learned any lessons from the Love Bug
When Nintendo originally announced the GameCube's European launch details, it was meant to retail in the UK at £150, a couple of quid below the €249 RRP at current exchange rates. Retailers were soon up in arms about the slim margins this would leave them with though, and soon the street price had risen to around £165 at most stores. Flash forward to a couple of days ago, and with less than two weeks to go before the Cube's long overdue arrival on our shores, Nintendo dropped a bombshell, slashing the price to €199 and adding that it "expected" the console to retail for £129 in the UK. Given that £129 is the equivalent of about €210 at the moment, that seemed a reasonable expectation. Indeed, just a few hours after the press release arrived from Nintendo, one online store told us that "the £129.99 price announced is the final retail price". Sadly it now looks like they jumped the gun, with retailers reported to be hiking the price to £139.99. From a consumer viewpoint it looks like the Brits are being ripped off once again, expected to pay 15% more than their European neighbours for the same piece of kit. Retailers obviously have a different story though. Nintendo announced the new £129 "expected" price point in a surprise press release at 8am on Monday(April 22), but it wasn't until yesterday morning that most retailers found out what Nintendo would be charging them for the Cube. Needless to say the trade price came as something of a shock, with one retailer telling us that there was "no way" they would be able to sell the console at £129. "Yet again Nintendo's Press Department make the assumption that retailers can afford to sell their machines for them without making a profit", one anonymous retail source told us. "It's disappointing for the customers most of all - I am sure many were excited by the news... and will now blame us on the frontline for putting the price up by £10." Whoever you choose to blame for the price hike, the sad fact is that British punters will probably be paying almost €30 more than their European counterparts for the GameCube come May 3rd. © Eurogamer.net. All rights reserved.
Last week we asked the UK Cabinet Office to tell us what a DIS box is, but the statement we got in response was somewhat bashful. Getting a complete answer to the question is however extremely important, as a DIS (Departmental Integration Service) box is a necessary component for government departments and local authorities to purchase if they're going to get online with the Government Gateway. They don't, you should be aware, have a great deal of choice about this either. Prime Minister Tony Blair has set a deadline of 2005 for having all government services online, so they will do it. The Government Gateway itself uses Microsoft software and Dell hardware, but the Cabinet Office wasn't specific about what the DIS boxes use, simply stating that "Each connecting department or organisation uses DIS in order to interchange XML messages with the Gateway in a trusted, secure and reliable manner." Microsoft's own overview of the Government Gateway architecture, which has now fallen into our clutches, displays no such reticence. At the Government end we have Windows 2000 Advanced Server, Commerce Server, SQL Server 2000 and BizTalk Server, while DIS consists of Windows 2000 Advanced Server, SQL Server 2000, and Biztalk Server. There, Cabinet Office, that wasn't difficult, was it? This confirms that, pending the Gateway's delivery on the commitment to support "other reliable messaging technologies such as MQseries," 480 government departments and 200 agencies will have to buy Intel hardware and a sizeable wodge of Microsoft server software in order to achieve Blair's target. And as we don't know how "other reliable messaging technologies" will be supported, it's perfectly conceivable that even after they are, the MS DIS box will still be necessary. This will represent a substantial amount of revenue for Microsoft UK, and a serious expense for local government. When Microsoft's participation in the Gateway was announced last year, it was desribed as the largest Biztalk installation so far. One begins to see why. ®
STMicroelectronics NV believes that its revenue bottomed out in the first three months of the current year and is looking for revenue growth of more than 10% in the current quarter. President and CEO Pasquale Pistorio said this expected growth in sales is expected to reflect strengthened demand from virtually all its end markets, which would significantly increase company-wide fab utilization rates. In the first quarter to March 31, net income was $32.9m, down from income of $340.8m on revenue of $1.35bn, down from $1.9bn. This bullish assessment from the world's third largest chipmaker, on the same day that German rival Infineon reported growing demand in all of its business segments (see separate story), provide evidence that the industry is at the beginning of an upturn. "We still don't see much change in prices right now, but the first quarter was much more robust in terms of orders - we haven't seen such sparkling order flow for several quarters - and the first thing to do is to fill capacity," said Pistorio. "Barring any unexpected circumstances, we expect continuous and progressive growth in the market in 2002 so that the year as a whole will be broadly flat for the industry. We are starting from the very bottom, so the outlook is pretty good." The recovery began in March when Pistroio said the order flow accelerated significantly and there was also "a degree of price stabilization." STMicro's strength has been to move away from the commodity sector of the market, and differentiated products now account for more than 70% of revenue. However, the telecoms market accounted for 29.3% of sales and showed a sequential decline of 19.8% to $396.7m. Pistorio sees the company's strength as its favorable competitive position in those targeted applications that are likely to lead the market recovery in unit growth. So while the performance of the semiconductor industry as a whole will depend on global economic and business conditions, he believes it will continue to gain share in the markets it services. STMicro forecast in January that the overall chip market would shrink 2% this year, but its own markets would grow by 1%, and it has yet to revise that assessment. © ComputerWire. All rights reserved.
Infineon Technologies AG says that in the last quarter it has seen growing demand in all of its business segments, especially for memory products. However, for the second quarter to March 31, it posted a net loss of 108m euros ($95.8m) down from income of 23m euros ($20.4m) on revenue of 1.38bn euros ($1.22bn), down from 1.65bn euros ($1.46bn). At the mid-term stage the net loss was 439m euros ($389.7m), down from income of 303m euros ($268.9m), on revenue of 2.4bn euros ($2.14bn), down from 3.3bn euros ($2.9bn). The Munich, Germany-based chipmaker said that the outlook for the next six months remains uncertain and will depend on the extent and sustainability of the world economy, particularly in Europe and the US. Despite this, it said the consolidation process in the memory market continued, with strong demand and a normalization of inventory levels, leading to a significant increase in DRAM prices. Infineon's memory revenue increased 13% over the same period last year and 105% sequentially to reach 585m euros ($519.3m). This cut its losses before interest and taxation to 28m euros ($24.6), a huge improvement on the loss of 371m euros ($326.5m) in the previous quarter Infineon said the prerequisites for sustained improvements in DRAM price levels is further continuation of strong demand, in particular with regard to the corporate upgrade cycle in PC and infrastructure investments, as well a further increase in megabit-per-box demand. In its wireless solutions business, sales showed a 1% increase on the previous quarter to 208m euros ($183m), though this was 21% down on the same period last year. It expects that the recent moderate recovery of the market for mobile handsets will continue and the market for handsets to grow moderately this year, driven primarily by the introduction of GPRS. While sales of 90m euros ($79.2m) in security and chip cards ICs were 10% up on the previous quarter, they were half the previous year's level and Infineon sees an increase in demand due to normalization of inventory levels. Although visibility remains low, Infineon is clinging to the hope that the weakness in the wireline communications business has bottomed out. Revenue of 96m euros ($84.5m) was 58% down on the previous year's level though showed a 16% improvement on the previous quarter. It believes the broadband access market will grow modestly this year due to continued deregulation and the continued roll-out of the DSL market. ©ComputerWire. All rights reserved.
AT&T Wireless seems to be braving the crisis in the US telecoms market, and has reported a better first-quarter performance than Wall Street had expected. The company managed to add 650,000 customers in the first quarter, considerably better than the earlier estimates of between 425,000 and 600,000, taking its total customer base to 19.5 million. In the first quarter ending March 31, it grew revenue by 12.5% to $3.6bn. The company posted a net loss of $178m up from a loss last year of $42m, although the company booked a charge of $166m relating to a change in accounting principles. Redmond, Washington-based AT&T Wireless also increased the average minutes used per customer by 21.8% to 430, but booked a decline in average revenue per user by 5.8% to $58.60. The company has commited to targets set at the end of 2001 to increase its customer base by 20% by the end of the year. ©ComputerWire. All rights reserved.
IBM Corp has released two brand new alpha products together with version 3.0 of its tried and tested Web Services Toolkit, in a bid to capture the hearts and minds of service providers as well as developers. Web Services Hosting Technology comprises a set of management tools for setting up and running revenue-generating web services. The Web Services Gateway is a configurable hub where web service invocations can be redirected, translated to other formats, or transparently processed in arbitrary ways. At a lower level, Web Services Toolkit (WSTK) 3.0 provides utility services, automatic documentation analogous to javadoc, and support for LotusScript, Apache Axis and UDDI version 2.0. All three products are available for free download from IBM's AlphaWorks web site. As the name suggests, they are currently in alpha, the earliest stage of field-testing, and are not suitable for building any kind of production software. IBM uses AlphaWorks, which currently showcases 200 fledgling products, to get promising new tools out to developers and gauge their reactions. "By the time the standards harden, we have something that has been used by a lot of people," said Bob Sutor, IBM's director of e-Business strategy. Thus, while IBM also offers "general availability" web services tools as part of WebSphere application Server 4.0, AlphaWorks is competing for developer mindshare with Microsoft Corp's Visual Studio.Net beta. Web Services Hosting Technology, the most business-oriented of the three products, allows an organization to host online web services; publish them to a public or private Universal Discovery, Description and Integration (UDDI) registry; and set up accounts, track usage and bill accordingly. This is done by defining a bundle of web services as a subscription package called an offer, with an associated tariff. The idea is that, at a stroke, a set of web services becomes a source of income - and the owner can easily tell which services are earning the most money. The Web Services Gateway acts as a bridge between service requestors and service providers, and a single point of control. "You can hand off requests to different servers," said Sutor, "distribute for load balancing, define interceptors for logging or other types of intermediate processing, or even set up a notification system." He conceded that, in this initial release, the Gateway is only partially defined: IBM is confident that the developers who download and experiment with it will suggest plenty of new applications. Web Services Toolkit 3.0 introduces a raft of new and enhanced features, including a preview of UDDI4J 2.0 (which supports the new UDDI version 2 registries from HP, IBM, Microsoft and SAP) and support for Axis, the Apache Group's open source Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) toolkit. SoapConnect for LotusScript is a partial implementation of SOAP 1.1 for LotusScript, allowing Domino and Notes to consume web services, while WSDLdoc parses a Web Services Definition Language (WSDL) document and automatically generates a corresponding HTML description. Example utility services include accounting, contract, identity, metering and notification; Web Services Hosting Technology relies on these. Web Services Toolkit runs on top of WebSphere 4.0 (a cut-down version of which comes in the kit) or Apache Tomcat, theoretically on any platform that supports Java 1.3 or above. IBM has tested it on Windows 2000 (with Service Pack 2) and Red Hat Linux 7.0 and 7.2. The Web Services Gateway has similar requirements, but Web Services Hosting Technology is available on Windows 2000 only. Predictably, Sutor said that IBM is out in front of the pack because its web services tools work with Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) and can thus be used to build scaleable enterprise software on multiple platforms (though, as just mentioned, the AlphaWorks tools are not quite multi-platform just yet). He said he sees IBM and Microsoft as "the big two" with Sun and BEA following at a respectful distance. Oracle, he admitted, has an offering of sorts, and Borland is a player "in the tools space." Promising as these IBM products may be, it looks as if web services still have a long way to go before they are ready for prime time. © ComputerWire. All rights reserved.
IBM Corp has promised that its almost mythical Storage Tank software will emerge next year as the market's first heterogeneous file system, alongside an in-band in-house developed virtualization system, Tim Stammers writes. The promise of a file system which can support multiple source operating systems is great enough that if IBM can actually deliver on it, even as late as next year, it will earn kudos for the company. It will also wipe some egg off its face put there by Storage Tank itself. First announced in 2000, the software must be beginning to embarrass IBM. For the last year or so the company has been very shy of discussing the progress of the Storage Tank project, which has been handed back and forth between IBM and its subsidiary Tivoli Systems Corp. When exactly next year Storage Tank or its accompanying virtualization system will ship is open to speculation however. IBM declined to give any indication, other than to say that it currently hopes to begin beta testing late this year. Given the complexity of the software, this would suggest that shipment will not be early in 2003. Defending the long wait for Storage Tank, IBM storage software group general manager Mike Zisman said that when it was first announced by Tivoli it was described only as a "technology initiative." But Tivoli also at that time what it describe as a "target" shipment date of mid-2001. What will ship is a lot clearer than when, and falls into two categories - virtualization, which IBM also refers to as block aggregation, and the Storage Tank file aggregation system. Storage Tank began life at IBM, then passed to Tivoli, before returning to IBM, where it is still being developed, according to Zisman. Running on Linux appliances, a Storage Tank Metadata cluster will communicate with application servers running Storage Tank client software. Those servers will be able to share data managed by Storage Tank, even though they themselves will be running a range of different operating systems - AIX, Windows 2000, HP-UX and Solaris for the first release of Storage Tank. The sharing of data will involve file-locking mechanism in Storage Tank. "If they can do this, it's huge," said Arun Taneja, analyst at The Enterprise Storage Group. Taneja said that until now he has been very under-impressed by IBM's promises for Storage Tank. "They were laughably superficial. But now, IBM can answer a lot of questions about what they're doing, and it's for real." The file system will be linked to a policy-based management application according to IBM will be able to automate tasks such as the distribution of data across SANs according to its characteristics - for example putting the most valuable data on most reliable or mirrored arrays. Describing Storage Tank as combining the benefits of NAS and SAN systems, Zisman said: "All applications care about is files. You can solve block data problems with virtualization, but to solve some of the file problem you've got to pull file systems into the network." Like Storage Tank, the virtualization system will run on a clustered Linux IBM Xseries server, as an in-band SAN appliance. "You can expect a product like this to evolve into a blade server architecture," Zisman said. Perhaps responding to the bottleneck and vulnerability criticisms of in-band rather than out-of-band virtualization appliances, IBM stressed the scalability and reliability of its proposed appliance and the company's "long history of storage controller development." Like other already-shipping virtualization systems, IBM's promised technology will free up customers from vendor lock-in by allowing replication of data from "node to node "- or appliance to appliance - regardless of which makers' storage is connected to the appliances. Last year IBM's storage division signed its first-ever third-party reselling deal with virtualization supplier DataCore Software Inc, which has since also signed reselling deals with Hitachi Data Systems, and Fujitsu Softek. However it may have appeared then, IBM was not using the re-selling deal to fill a gap - at least not in virtualization, according to Zisman. "The DataCore deal was really about delivering functionality that did not include virtualization. Functions like asynchronous copying. It certainly wasn't about virtualization," he said. Even if the deal was not about virtualization itself, Taneja pointed out that DataCore's ability to develop advanced storage functions faster than IBM may have been because such tasks are far easier to do when there is a virtualization system on which they can be built. When the deal was signed however IBM described it as a tactical move, allowing it to offer virtualization software ahead of rivals Compaq and EMC Corp. At present, only three major storage suppliers offer SAN-wide virtualization systems - IBM and HDS via DataCore, and Hewlett Packard Co with technology it acquired through a start-up purchase. Tim.firstname.lastname@example.org ©ComputerWire. All rights reserved.
As we suggested yesterday, today's big announcement from the Symbian Developer Expo is the Intel-Symbian one, which means that the two mobile phone platform partners Microsoft announced at GSM World Congress, TI and Intel, are now both announced Symbian partners. Today's Intel deal seems to be a straight Symbian equivalent of the Microsoft GSM announcement. Symbian OS 7.0 has been optimised for Intel's XScale and Personal Internet Client Architecture (PCA), and the two companies will be shipping a board support package to "accelerate the process of designing next-generation cellular phones and applications." It's described as a "data-enabled mobile phone platform" rather than a reference design, as was the case at GSM, but essentially it seems to be the same thing with the other software partner. Intel's PCA is the company's big bid for a slice of the mobile market, and is intended to provide a blueprint for "wireless handheld communications devices that combine voice communications and Internet access," and as the company is now keenly pushing it for both Microsoft and Symbian, we can for the moment deem it agnostic. Intel will start shipping the DBPXA250 development system with the Symbian board support package in May. It will include development tools, a compiler and the Intel XScale microarchitecture XDB JTAG Debugger for Symbian OS. Intel will also offer additional tools including the Intel® Integrated Performance Primitives (Intel IPP) and support for GSM/GPRS, 802.11, and Bluetooth. ® Related stories MS, Intel, TI and HP pitch PDA-phone combo blueprints
This afternoon, East Coast time, AMD will hold a conference call to update the world on "significant developments" on Hammer. The most obvious significant development would be Microsoft support for its upcoming 64-bit CPU platform. The other obvious thing is the brand name for the 64-bit CPU (Hammer is simply a code name), the subject of much speculation on the Web. Shortly after writing, Electronic News was first with the name for server versions of Hammer. It's now to be called Opteron. Desktop versions will come under Athlon's branding cloak. The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the announcements, say that AMD will confirm MS' backing. Neither party would talk in public to the WSJ, beyond a "we're evaluating the technology" from Microsoft. On Feb 8, Jerry Sanders begged a 64-bit favour from Bill Gates, when the Microsoft chairman phoned to solicit his testimony at the MS antitrust trial. Gates said he would look into going public with support for Hammer, Sanders told the court last week. This week The Inquirer published an internal email from AMD, incorporating an earlier email from Microsoft, which refers to the software giant's tests of the "AMD64 K8 system". ®
Juniper Networks, chief competitor to Cisco in the high-end routing market, has unveiled a monster high speed router designed for the core of service provider networks. The T640 Internet Routing Node (code-named 'Gibson'), which uses third generation of high-density silicon, supports 32 10Gbps (OC-192c) ports in a half-rack chassis, and offers eight 40Gbps slots. It offers bandwidth density greater than four times that of its nearest competitors, according to the company. Juniper is arguing that the underlying ("matrix") technology is so advanced (scalable to "multi-terrabit" backplane throughput) that it offers investment protection to its service provider customers. The lifespan of a T640 can be expected to be twice or even three times that of conventional core routers, it says. Juniper named three customers (including the people behind the next-generation Internet2 Abilene network) of the T640 when it launched yesterday. But how many other service providers will buy it? For one thing, telco spending has collapsed under a mountain of debt. What little spending is going on is invested in edge devices which can be used to set up profitable services that deliver a more rapid return on investment, according to conventional thinking in the networking market. The idea is that there's already excess bandwidth in carrier core networks - so why then do you need to provision more, now? Juniper has consistently rejected these arguments but it seems to us that it's got a hard sell on its hands. ® Related Stories Juniper stuck in the red Routers 'best platform for WAN connectivity'
BT Retail has unveiled its plans to dominate the UK's consumer broadband market in a move that could leave a lasting mark on the ISP industry. Earlier today the monster telco announced details of its "no frills" broadband access product which will be provided directly by BT's giant customer-facing division. This new product - simply called "BT Broadband" - will become a central plank of BT Retail's offering and is expected to generate a net increase in revenues of £490 million by 2005. The entry level service - which looks likely to ration usage to 1 Gb a day - will cost £27 a month and is due to be launched in the autumn following a trial in the summer. BT will also provide a modem and micro-filters for £80, although these can be obtained elsewhere. There is also a one-off connection charge of £60. By just providing access to the Net without any value-added services such as email or content, BT reckons this will allow punters to pick and chose which services they require. The telco aims to get 500,000 punters signed up by summer 2003 - half the target of one million broadband connections BT has already set for the UK. Announcing plans for its mass-market broadband service Pierre Danon, chief exec of BT Retail, said: "Today BT has gone another step to ensuring broadband is at the heart of BT. We have good products. They are at the right price. And they will be backed by a new approach to customer service, strong marketing, and increasing availability." Industry sources claim this new offering could pose a serious threat to mass-market ISPs such as Freeserve and even BT's own ISP outfit BTopenworld. However, Freeserve is prepared for a fight maintaining that it has yet to throw its full weight behind an all-out marketing campaign. Furthermore, it's critical of BT's offering, claiming that it could actually cost consumers more than signing up to an ISP if they have to pay for extra services such as email and access to newsgroups. And it warned that today’s announcement yet again "raises the spectre that BT could enjoy a further anti-competitive advantage by being able to promote and service its so-called ‘no-frills’ product at marginal incremental cost to its existing retail activities". Freeserve has called on the regulator, Oftel, to be vigilant and to ensure that it "protects consumers from the effects of abuse of dominant market position by BT". Cableco, Telewest, used today's announcement to ridicule BT claiming that it will "charge more for a sub-standard ADSL service" than competing cable options. ® Related Stories BTo digs in for marketing push BT to launch cheaper 'no frills' ADSL service
BT today acknowledged that it has to do more to make its broadband service more robust and reliable. One in five (18 per cent actually) of BTopenworld's business customers are dissatisfied with the service, according to a presentation at BT's London's HQ today. It seems that businesses which rely on BT's broadband service get irate when the service starts playing-up - or worse - goes tits up. Things are different for home users where customer dissatisfaction levels have fallen from 15 per cent in September last year to 6 per cent. "The customer experience six months ago was disastrous," said Pierre Danon, chief exec of BT Retail. "Now it is mediocre." ® Related Stories UK suffers ADSL glitch BTo botches billing for cut price DSL
CompetitionCompetition Modern life seems to move at an ever-increasing pace, and nowhere is this lust for speed more evident than in computing. With a foot flat on the accelerator and one eye on the clock speed, we seem to have forgotten a gentler, more sedate age. So, in the spirit of "less is more", Vulture Central has teamed up with VIA to give away three of its VIA Eden™ EPIA Mini-ITX boards. VIA reckons it's ideal for fanless, small chassis installation with very little cooling or ventilation, as we previously reported. You get the idea - small, quiet/silent, connected and affordable. We think our highly-talented and creative Reg readers will be able to think up a whole raft of ingenious uses for this handy product. And that's what we want to hear - your own Eden creation story. For the chance to win one of these boards, simply tell us - in 200 words or less - how you would put the VIA Eden™ EPIA Mini-ITX board to work. Just formulate your technical masterplan, and email it to us here. Mark the subject of your entry "Eden". Should you require inspiration, you can peruse the specs here. Good luck. If you'd like to to receive regular email updates on the VIA Eden™ Platform and other VIA products, sign up on VIA's homepage here. Rules Entries which exceed the 200 word limit will be disqualified. Competition closes at 5.00pm GMT on Friday 12 April. Results will be announced the following week. By submitting any design, idea and/or other result to VIA, Competitor acknowledges and agrees the following: (a) the designs, ideas and/or other results provided by Competitor in this competition (the "Work") and all rights therein (including, without limitation, copyright) belongs to and shall be the sole and exclusive property of VIA. (b) If for any reason the Work would not be considered a work belonging to VIA, Competitor does hereby assign, and transfer to VIA, the entire right, title and interest in and to any intellectual properties in the Work and any registrations and applications relating thereto and any renewals and extensions thereof, and in and to all works based upon, derived from, or incorporating the Work, and in and to all income, royalties, damages, claims and payments now or hereafter due or payable with respect thereto, and in and to all causes of action for past, present, or future infringement based on the intellectual properties, and in and to all rights corresponding to the foregoing throughout the world. Competitor hereby also irrevocably and unconditionally waives all enforcement of moral rights. (c) Competitor agrees to assist VIA to execute all papers and to perform such other proper acts as VIA may deem necessary to secure for VIA or its designee the rights herein assigned. (d) The relationship between Competitor and VIA in this competition shall be governed by the laws of the R.O.C.
Even in her dotage, we suspect, Carly Fiorina will feel some trepidation before answering the doorbell. Instead of the regular Meals on Wheels guy, or the home help, there will be Walter B Hewlett delivering a severed horse's head. Hewlett Jr tacitly accepts that it lost the SirCam merger vote, but only by a whisker. Nevertheless he continues to pursue the case through the courts, and for Carly, the torment continues. Hewlett has filed suit in Delaware, alleging that HP misled shareholders in the run-up to the final vote, and so obliging Fiorina to take the stand. Hewlett's trawls through HP and Compaq mail servers have produced a paper mountain of doubt expressed by senior executives - including the rock and rolling Compaq CEO himself. "At our speed and progress, we will fail," wrote Capellas in a diary entry , shortly before Hewlett Jr began his expensive campaign of newspaper advertisements. (It's hardly a indication of confidence in Compaq's own PocketPC that Mike committed these thoughts to paper, not a PDA. And we don't blame him). A lower ranking executive in HP's finance office confirmed that there was little upside for Hewlett Packard shareholders in the deal - a point Walter had consistently made since publicly dissenting last fall. It doesn't require a Harvard MBA to see that such leviathan technology mergers have historically failed to produce shareholder benefit. And that's Hewlett's strongest card. Although the Capellas memo is supposedly the most "shocking", the duller analysis by the junior executives are actually far more damaging. Capellas' memo can be justified on the grounds of due diligence, although he'll hardly thank Carly for her contribution on the witness stand yesterday claiming that as he was writing his pessimistic note, the merger was actually "ahead" of scheduled. Either Carly's not quite telling the truth, or the respective CEOs were singing from different hymn sheets. Two days before the final vote, HP executives were panicking that the deal did not have enough backing from shareholders, having discovered that Deutsche Bank was going to vote against the Sircam Merger. Hewlett alleges that as an inducement to back the merger, HP promised Deutsche Bank business for a extending a credit arrangement. This mirrors the practice of investment bankers whoring for business while privately believing their investments were worthless, which the New York state attorney detailed earlier this month in this report [126k PDF]. "The agreement was never disclosed publicly, was never disclosed to the board of Hewlett-Packard. And it was never apparently even disclosed to the chairman and CEO of the company,'' said Walter B Hewlett's attorney, cited in the Mercury. But in spite of a voicemail from Fiorina to the Bank in which she said that she looked forward "to doing business", Walter needs to produce the smoking pistol as innuendo isn't good to be enough. He might have it - but we haven't seen it. However, as we note earlier, the detailed analysis from the Hewlett Packard CFO office may be enough to convince the judge that HP was engaging in a deception, saying one thing publicly, and another privately. HP memos suggest the merger would drive down the share price ten per cent, rather than up by twelve to thirteen per cent, that combined losses would be far higher than publicly stated, and that an $800 million charge was missing from the public prediction, too. Carly said these were the result of "sandbagging". Now "handbagging" we're familiar with - in the 1980s it was the name coined by the press to describe Prime Minister Mrs Thatcher's admonitions of her male cabinet colleagues. Which were frequent and very public). More than the Capellas memo, and even more than alleged Deutsche Bank backhander, Carly's sandbag - a deception of HP shareholders - could be fatally damaging. ®
LettersLetters Another hiatus in the Letters page. I hit the road to see the dusty glories of Arizona for a few days in early March, and on the way back stopped off at what I'm now convinced is America's Greatest Work of Art. Since late last year, you can walk right through it, and if you're in need of spiritual uplift, I can't recommend it enough. It's awesome. [Fantastic. Now get on with the Letters - ed.] But first a footnote to our April's Fool Story. Many of you enjoyed this, too many to thank personally (OK, I'm being lazy). It was fun to see some of the blogs pick up the gag and run with it - including Steve MacLaughlin's Saltire site, which embellished the details here, and Glenn Reynold's Instapundit, which revised its masthead: Now for some etymology. We inadvertently credited Register co-founder Mike Magee with coining the word Itanic. Actually this is something Mike's never claimed. (On the whole). The first appearance of the word on the site is here, and it was contributed by reader "Andrew N". (Andrew would like us to withhold his full name.) But pre-dating El Reg by days was Dan Knight, publisher of the fine LowEndMac site, who first used the word "Itanic" on 20 October 1999 in this article. Future dictionary compilers please note. (Our Jargon Guide can be found here, although it doesn't include more recent entries such as the user-contributed "Share Denial" technology, or the Sircam Merger, and our Acronym Dictionary here). Is Bill Gates a criminal? Gates pitches Armageddon scenario to court Feel My Pain! - mapping the mind of Chairman Bill Gates testimony a PR jewel Judge betraying pro-MS bias? Is the Pope a Catholic? Well, some of you object to our description of the good Chairman: Please stop referring to Bill Gates as a criminal. It really does taint your articles. Shaun O'Kane Surely it's a civil case? Martin Keegan Lyrically though this article begins, it is founded on an absurdity: The antitrust trial to which you refer was never a criminal trial. Microsoft is therefore not a convicted criminal, nor does it seem remotely likely that there is sufficient evidence of criminal activity to secure a criminal conviction. As for your talk of punishment, the only concept of punishment in US civil law is punitive damages. These were not awarded. Neither, if I recollect correctly, were they sought. Let's count the errors: [since 1999 ] we've had the addition of a print preview feature, and little else of note Someone has not been paying attention. Improved CSS support Standards compliant DHTML DOM Improved XML support -- now includes CSS layout of XML and standards compliant XML DOM. Support for XSchema, Support for XSL-T etc.... Improved support for international languages such as Thai, Right-to-left layout for arabic and hebrew, top-to-bottom layout for CJK and so on... Improved securtity cross-site-scripting model, and endless patches thereto. Surely the patches must take up ten engineers full time alone! Some of these are dual-use to be sure, but that merely underlines the microsoft point about it being an integrated product. [How? - Ed.] Remember: this is the plea for clemency from a convicted criminal. No it isn't. See above: It's the retrial of portions of a civil (non-criminal) antitrust trial. The current hearings are being held to resolve the punishment. But it isn't supposed to be a punishment! And additionally some of the facts are being retried. The applals court we remand the District Court's finding that Microsoft violated s 1 of the Sherman Act by unlawfully tying its browser to its operating system. and: we vacate the District Court's finding of a per se tying violation and remand the case. Plaintiffs may on remand pursue their tying claim under the rule of reason. punishment is supposed to hurt. Murderers - either civic or corporate - don't get to choose their own sentence. Punishment is irrelevant, as it was never asked for by the plaintiffs. Even if this was a criminal trial -- which it isn't -- this is a really poor analogy. And if it had been a good analogy, it is nevertheless founded on an error: Even murderers get to argue life vs. death penalty. As for remedy, it is the court which will choose, and it is entirely in order for Microsoft to argue its case. The appeals court: A party has the right to judicial resolution of disputed facts not just as to the liability phase, but also as to appropriate relief. Those 43,000 words explain how badly the proposed remedy will harm the convicted company. Which rather misses the point, No, it doesn't miss the point, because it is not a punishement but a remedy. Someone hasn't read the appeal, and it isn't Microsoft. One of the reasons the final judgement was overturned was because there was no hearing on the effect of the remedy on Microsoft. The appeals court made much of that fact. the District Court's remedies decree must be vacated for three independent reasons: (1) the court failed to hold a remedies-specific evidentiary hearing when there were disputed facts; (2) the court failed to provide adequate reasons for its decreed remedies; and (3) this Court has revised the scope of Microsoft's liability and it is impossible to determine to what extent that should affect the remedies provisions. and: We therefore vacate the District Court's final judgment, and remand with instructions to conduct a remedies-specific evidentiary hearing. Since you appear unsuited to a career in journalism, may I suggest a move to be a Slashdot editor? Or are facts no longer important in journalism? Thanks, Ben Liddicott You make a mistake here ... you are assuming we have a judaeo-christian justice system. We don't, we have a roman system. For example, the judaeo-christian punishment for murder might be execution, but it would just as likely be blood-money. Paying the victim's family to replace lost income. Remember the nurses' trial in Saudi? The muslims have the same judicial base as Judaism and Christianity. It's just that, unlike us, they use it. Or breaking in and vandalising someone's front room. Our judicial system would send the perpetrator to jail (or fine them and the state pocket the money). Judaeo-christian justice would make them redecorate the entire house - at their expense! Look at the standard biblical punishments - for example sheep stealing. Steal a sheep, and you have to return the self-same sheep that was stolen, PLUS ANOTHER in compensation. If you can't return the original, the punishment is doubled - to four sheep. And note, the fine goes to the VICTIM, not the state. So no, judaeo-christian punishment is NOT meant to hurt, it is meant to re-imburse the victim - and then a bit more. Cheers, Anthony W. Youngman Now a few odds and ends. Several of you point out in reference to our story about OQO's tiny PC, that the screenless Tiqit has been on the market for several months. But one reader makes an excellent point that quite I missed when I wrote the article: Here is what they are probably doing with their "screen and keyboard" shell Insert the "Ultra-Personal" as the touchpad in a laptop case. The case will have all the components the "UP" lacks. The beauty? While you may pay $1200 for the "UP" and $1800 for the shell, next year when the "UP2" comes out, you'll only need to pay another 1200 to upgrade your 3000 laptop. I have been waiting for this device since I first heard with word Transmeta. Corey McGuire Now that's pretty modular. Of course the price could come down below $1200 if the device didn't include an LCD of its own, all though would nullify its appeal as a standalone unit. An intriguing thought, however. Not all of you are impressed: Subject: OQO-oh Andrew, Well, I'll put my vote in early. This thing is destined for the crapper. It looks too small to be useful for day-to-day computing tasks on the go (bigger yes, but not big enough) and too big to be a convenient and unobtrusive PDA. It reminds me of a cheese brick, but thicker. And the thicker part is not good. I am used to being able to slip my Palm into pocket and this looks like it would rip the pockets of any other than a street kid with ultra baggy pants. So that's a strike against it. Secondly (thirdly?) the custom connectors look almost as large as the unit in photos on the site. Not good. I can imagine when this is docked it's going to be a snake fest of cabling. Oh, and lots of bits to get lost it looks like too. Nice try I think, but not enough of one. Especially at this price point. With ultra-light rapidly coming down in price, it would be hard to imagine wanting this. Bryan McCormick But you might be being a bit hasty there, Bryan. The OQO is actually about the size of an Apple iPod, and I haven't heard anyone complain that the iPod rips their pockets. OQO's single connector (that carries the PCI bus, video, audio and peripheral I/O) also suggests that they've thought about the spaghetti cabling nightmare. We'll see. And anyway, aren't ultra baggy pants already making a comeback? Return of Columbine FoTW: "You hafe no balls and are all homosexulle" Marc Seldhin wants it on a T-Shirt - we've forwarded the request to our merchandising department. Several of you wanted her email address, and many more wondered if it had been run through Babelfish a couple of times. Or are we just being too nice, these days? You call that a FoTW? I've never had reason to flame El Reg (my favourite IT news source) before, but that was PATHETIC! For you to call that rubbish the FoTW, clearly indicates that your cheeky attitudes at El Reg have resulted in FEWER DISSATISFIED READERS! I hereby demand that one of the staff write an inflammatory article POST HASTE in order to give cause for a superior FoTW for next week! Whatever happened to integrity!? (We've heard of it!) The fact that El Reg would even run FoTW when all that was available was THAT rubbish, is pathetic! Quickly now! To the keyboards, mighty hacks! The grapevine says that Red Hat intends to be bought by Microsoft in an all-stock deal! ;D With tongue in cheek, Phillip R. Jaenke Well it's an authentic email of course, but on the basis of Columbine's follow-up to us, we're sure it's an authentic troll, as Subject: "Stupid English Wankers" FoTW Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2002 10:25:50 -0700 Andrew, I reckon you hafe bin trolled. "Stupid English Wankers" (SEW™) is awfully colloquial for an alleged Frog with limited English skills. Furthermore, the troll spells Canada as "Canade," which would represent extreme orthographic innovation in Francophonia, a (linguistic) region notorious for its reactionary attitude towards such behavior. Probably the author is Australian. Or a SEW. As a flame, it is definitely at least a 9.5. As a troll, I only rate it a 4. However, the Pelican's willingness to go for the bait makes me think that maybe the fishing is good in these parts. Cheers, Jason Christian (the SCalifW) Now judge for yourselves from "Rachel"'s latest missive: Date: Tue, 23 Apr 2002 16:45:57 +0200 Subject: Re: FoTW From: "columbine" [address and IP address witheld] To: email@example.com X-XaM3-API-Version: 3.0.1build13 R13 X-type: 0 Ha! Ha! So you types are so foolish that you can not recognise criticisme when you see it. You think you can flatter me by saying I write usefull and complementary message ? I am moqueing of you ! And you do not even know your own langage, which is from French any way. "crudite" is a small cut raw vegetable not a complement. You probably think that you just have to flatter french woman and she will sleep with you. We french are a proud race - why would we have sex with gay english mens ? I would rather sleep with a hairy wombat than you silly beer drinking rosbifs ! -Rachel For "Rachel"'s benefit, here's a Guide to The Fine Art of Trolling. ®