1st > July > 2002 Archive

Tiscali denies it is selling out

Tiscali has strongly denied a report that Wanadoo or T-Online could buy the "cash-strapped" pan-European ISP within the year. The FT cited an unnamed "senior Tiscali executive" as the source of the story. The paper also quoted an assessment of the ISP by the bank J P Morgan, which concluded that Tiscali would run out of cash by the end of 2003 but would not generate any profit until 2006. In a terse statement Tiscali rejected the report claiming it is neither selling the company or "cash-strapped". Said the statement: "With reference to the article published today by the Financial Times titled "Wanadoo or T-Online 'may Buy Tiscali'", Tiscali firmly denies what is claimed in the article; as Tiscali is not in negotiations, or any kind of contact, with Wanadoo or T-Online in respect of selling the Company. "Furthermore, Tiscali refutes that it is 'cash-strapped', as has been reported by the journalist, and draws attention to the Euro 150 million bond that it has just issued to increase the Company’s financial flexibility. "Tiscali also confirms that it expects to be cash-flow positive in 4Q 2002," it said. ®
Tim Richardson, 01 Jul 2002

Win an Atari Star Wars arcade console

Earlier in the year we ran a delicious competition in association with Rackspace Managed Hosting after which one lucky reader walked away with an original Atari Space Invaders arcade machine. So popular did this prove that Rackspace has taken time off from its fanatical support responsibilities to team up with AMD and offer Reg readers the chance to win an all-singing, all-dancing Star Wars console. But hold on, you ask, why the joint promotion? Well, 5,000 of Rackspace's custom-built servers are powered by AMD Athlon chips. They tell us that this is the the largest number of AMD processors to be used in web hosting history. Makes perfect sense. So, if all you Jedi Knights out there fancy having something to stand next to your life-size promotional cut-out of Obi-Wan Kenobi, simply click here. You'll be asked to complete a survey and then enter some details - simple enough. That'll enter you in the prize draw and who knows, within a few short weeks you could be going head-to-head with Darth Vader himself. May the Force be with you. Further info: The competition closes at 10am GMT on Monday 15 July.
Lester Haines, 01 Jul 2002

Insignia strikes Palm OS Mobile Java deal

Insignia Solutions Inc has sealed a lucrative deal to work with PalmSource Inc to create a standard Java interface for Palm OS-powered devices. Although Insignia would not reveal the value of the arrangement, the deal will see the Fremont, California-based mobile Java specialist's Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME) implementation become the preferred mobile Java environment for the newly released 32-bit Palm OS 5. This opens the door for Insignia's technology to appear on devices from PalmSource parent, Palm Inc, as well as Palm OS licensees such as Handspring, Sony, Samsung, Kyocera and Symbol Technologies. Peter Baldwin, executive VP operations with Insignia, said the deal also clears the way for the creation of a unified PDA development environment, independent of any underlying operating system, be it Palm OS, Symbian OS or Microsoft Pocket PC. PDA-based J2ME utilizes the recently released PDA device profile (PDAP) rather than the more limited mobile information device profile (MIDP) used in Java- powered mobile phones. At present, only a small proportion of Java developers are working with mobile Java, although this is likely to increase as J2ME-enabled devices become more widespread. And this is likely to increase as the technology advances. According to Baldwin, work is currently underway in the Java Community Process (JCP) to further enhance the J2ME environment with multimedia and 3D engines, with other advanced APIs to follow. These developments could, in theory, make J2ME (or its descendents) a viable platform in its own right for the kinds of rich applications that are currently limited to the much "fatter" device platforms mentioned above. © ComputerWire
ComputerWire, 01 Jul 2002

IBM, Microsoft and Liberty: together at last

A Sun Microsystems Inc-backed initiative on secure network identity has taken its first steps towards supporting a specification from Microsoft Corp and IBM, Gavin Clarke writes. The Liberty Alliance Project this month had a presentation from VeriSign Inc, a co-author of WS-Security with Microsoft and IBM, with a view to including the XML-based specification in its own planned specifications. The move signals an further easing of tensions between Palo Alto, California-based Sun and the industry-backed Liberty, and IBM and Microsoft, both absent from Liberty and pursuing separate security policies. Liberty's interest comes after Sun agreed to endorse WS-Security's submission to the Organization for Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) last week. That decision followed months of hostility between the vendors. Sun was apparently excluded from the formation of the Web Services Interoperability (WS-I) organization, which was backed by IBM and Microsoft. Sun formed Liberty as Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft announced plans for a federated Passport. Prior to VeriSign's Liberty presentation this month, talks had taken place between Microsoft and Liberty members who were concerned both camps would develop specifications minus interoperability. Bob Sutor, IBM's director of e-business standards, told ComputerWire he hoped Liberty would adopt WS-Security in its own specifications. A first set of Liberty specifications for a federated network single sign-on are due next month. "We strongly hope Liberty will adopt WS-Security. The hope is that in time, the threads will come together to get a single standard," Sutor said. A Liberty spokesperson said while members had received a presentation, an "official" analysis by a technical committee has not yet begun. "The Alliance will look at any open standards based technology for applicability within future versions of the Liberty Alliance specifications," the spokesperson said. Sutor said last week's submission of WS-Security to OASIS could ensure other industry initiatives, such as Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), also adopt elements of the specification. This would ensure SAML's XML-based security assertions work with WS-Security. WS-Security provides a framework for different security assertions and certificates, such as SAML, Kerberos, 501 certificates and PKI. SAML has been developed at Oasis by 12 vendors including Baltimore Technologies Plc, RSA Security Inc and Novell Inc. Authors have developed a version that works with Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and are already adapting this to work with WS-Security. The first public demonstration of SAML 1.0 is expected at the Catalyst Conference in San Francisco, California, on July 15. Eve Maler, co-ordinating editor of the SAML specification, supported inclusion of WS-Security. "WS-Security has the potential for raising the security of web services security while SAML provides the guts. SAML is just one of the things WS-Security could wrap around it," Maler said. One advantage of submitting WS-Security to Oasis will be the ability to flesh-out the basic specification. Sutor believes the existing specification is currently too generic in the way it integrates with assertions. WS-Security is the first in a number of WS- specifications covering policy and trust, among other areas, proposed by IBM and Microsoft. No date is yet set for their submission to an independent standards body, although Sutor said policy level specifications would likely be next with specifications for federation following. © ComputerWire
ComputerWire, 01 Jul 2002

T-Mobil launches MMS

T-Mobil AG, the wireless service unit of Germany's incumbent operator, Deutsche Telekom AG, said Friday that it will start offering multimedia messaging service (MMS) from today. T-Mobil will become one of the first operators outside of Japan to offer the high-tech evolution of the phenomenally popular short message service (SMS) technology, which has so far accounted for the build up of data service revenue generated by GSM network operators. J-Phone Ltd and KDDI Inc, the two smaller rival of Japan's NTT DoCoMo, have enjoyed some success with their early variants of MMS, which the companies have both promoted by selling as an adjunct to handsets that incorporate digital cameras. The two companies have credited this new image-based dimension to messaging with enabling them to claw back market share form DoCoMo, which was slower to realize the appeal of camera-phones. In Europe, T-Mobil is the first to enter service with a full MMS platform, and is taking its lead from its Japanese counterparts by supporting the service with camera-enabled phones. In this case the Sony Ericsson T68i, which has an add-on camera module, and the Nokia 7650 which has an embedded digital camera, will be offered to MMS users at heavily discounted prices: 299.95 euros ($295.87) and 349.95 euros ($345.19) respectively. As a further sweetener, T-Mobile will not charge for MMS messages themselves for the first month of the service, after which it will charge 0.39 euros ($0.38) for a 30KB message (which might contain an audio message) or 0.99 euros ($0.98) for a 100KB message, which might contain a video file. T-Mobil's progress with MMS will doubtless be watched closely by rival operators and handset makers alike. The whole wireless industry is currently sweating over the appetite users may, or may not have for next generation wireless data services, and MMS is believed by some to be most likely a "killer app" that will drive uptake of data network services. However, as T-Mobil's announcement shows, the unfamiliarity of MMS, and the high price of MMS-enabled handsets are both barriers which may delay its uptake in the near term. © ComputerWire
ComputerWire, 01 Jul 2002

ICANN board adopts reform plan, ditches elections

The board of the Internet Corp for Assigned Names and Numbers on Friday unanimously approved an internal reform plan that dramatically changes how directors are selected and how internet domain name policies are made. The proposals, which are set to be honed and possibly enacted at the organization's next quarterly meeting, call for the abolition of board seats elected by the internet-using public, and the establishment instead of a Nominating Committee that selects directors from industry luminaries. The board voted 18 to 0 to approve a plan that was created by a committee of four directors and was published two weeks ago. The director most likely to oppose the resolution, Karl Auerbach, who himself was elected by North American internet users, was not present at the meeting in Bucharest, Romania. The resolution calls for the Evolution and Reform Committee to come up with an implementation plan that will be presented to the board for approval at its next meeting in Shanghai, China in late October. In the meantime, the ERC has had its remit modified somewhat to take into account additional concerns. The committee will now have to come up with measures to ensure the geographic and cultural diversity of "all parts of ICANN's structure". ICANN is legally a California non-profit corporation, and gets its power from the US government, but it is widely expected to fail if it cannot secure the support of international domain bodies. The resolution also directs the committee to come up with a way to replace the so-called At Large board directors with an alternative way of allowing formal public input in policymaking. The committee is directed to "consider the creation of an At Large Advisory Committee as a potential vehicle for informed participation in ICANN by the broad user community," the resolution says. Critics, including sections of the US government, have recently expressed concerns that ICANN should be more transparent and publicly accountable. And there are legions of ICANN participants who believe the reform proposals are merely a mechanism for ICANN insiders, government, and corporate interests to get more power. Given the unhappiness recently expressed about the reforms by the three critical Regional Internet Registries (the organizations that manage the allocation of IP addresses in coordination with ICANN), the resolution also contains instructions for the ERC to take more direction from "critical infrastructure providers and the technical community to further the establishment of effective working relationships". © ComputerWire
ComputerWire, 01 Jul 2002

Apple drops Emagic bombshell

Apple dropped a bombshell on music makers today by acquiring Emagic which, with Steinberg, dominates the market for sequencing software. Apple said it will axe the Windows version of Emagic's Logic sequencer come September. "I'll bet there are 70,000 fucked-off users," a musician who uses PC versions of both products told us today. The companies today said that two-thirds of Logic's 200,000 users are on the Mac already. But the user forums are beginning to reflect some angst. "Quite shocking," writes one Cubase user. "What about the 35% PC-based users?" writes another. "I for one can't understand the discontinuation of the windows-based products. Seems to me that this will be the death of emagic. … it will be a loss in competition, no question about it." Over at the Emagic user group, there's a mixed response. "Have to say it is good news for Mac users - hopefully this means an OSX version will come along real soon now. It also means no more 'waiting for Apple' for new features etc," writes one user. Who then goes to express fear that Logic's new owners will be even less than forthcoming with technical information than Emagic. The move effectively hands the PC sequencing business to Steinberg's Cubase - although Cakewalk users [see below] are sure to disagree - and we hope they're right. Not that Steinberg will be breaking open the champagne today: Apple is now effectively in competition with one of its most important ISVs. Both Steinberg and Emagic are German-based companies and both Cubase and Logic were born on the Atari. Between them, they span the range from serious noodlers all the way up to professional musicians. It's unthinkable that Apple will not introduce some form of rebate program to lure PC users to the platform, but it's still early days. Update: Furious Cakewalk SONAR users have been mailing us to say how great it is. "From a technical standpoint [Sonar] contains many features Steinberg and Emagic have only recently caught up with, or do not yet support." Cakewalk claims 900,000 users for its products - and if this is a representative user, we don't want to argue. ®
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Jul 2002

BT trials mesh in Wales

BT Wholesale is to trial mesh radio technology in Wales as part of the monster telco's bid to broaden the availability of broadband in the UK. Mesh radio works on the principle that a small radio antenna installed at each household or business, transmits on to neighbouring users to form a network or "mesh". This approach does away with the need for large antennae or masts used to transmit to each individual customer in traditional point to multipoint wireless solutions. Around 100 households will take part in the trial, which covers an 80km squared area around Pontypridd including Llantrisant, Beddau and Newtown Llantwit and surrounding villages. The trial is due to last until the end of the year. BT reckons this trial "shows [its] commitment to looking at ways of delivering broadband economically to more rural areas and extending the boundaries of broadband Britain." Bless their cotton little socks. Separately, BT's broadband registration scheme went live today. The service should act as a barometer for demand in areas currently not served by ADSL. If enough people per exchange area commit to broadband then BT will upgrade it to DSL. ® Related Story Broadband sales surge ahead of DSL price cuts BT to map broadband demand
Tim Richardson, 01 Jul 2002

Carmack backs OpenGL in shader wars

Game god John Carmack has given OpenGL his blessing in the ever-thickening shader wars. Carmack says that given the 3Dlabs P10 card, he opted to use the OpenGL 2.0 extensions for the shader path, even though the Nvidia Cg extensions offered "the most expedient choice". And the port went so well, he writes in the latest addition to his .plan file, he's committed to using OpenGL as the back end for all implementations of Doom 3.0. It isn't so much a shader war (not our term) as a language war, and Carmack sees such higher level languages as Nvidia's Cg as inevitable for graphics developers. "It won't be too long before all real work is done in one of these, and developers that stick with the lower level interfaces will be regarded like people that write all-assembly PC applications today," he writes. Nvidia has garnered much industry support for its Cg language, but this could help swing critical opinion behind a vendor neutral approach. Carmack has enthused about the quality of NVidia's OpenGL drivers in the past. Carmack's comments are received with great interest in the community, particularly because he chooses his words so carefully. He's no rambling blogger; Carmack had made just three updates to his .plan file this year. You can read his comments here and while we're on the subject, here's a gratuitous link to our favorite Carmack interview. ®
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Jul 2002

Opera signs with RedFlag in China embedded Linux deal

China's RedFlag Software is to offer embedded versions of the Opera browser on a range of Linux-based devices and appliances for the Chinese market. According to a strategic alliance announced today, RedFlag will become an Opera reseller and will begin joint development and marketing efforts to tailor Opera for the Chinese embedded market. The deal is Opera's first big one for the Asian embedded market, as until recently Opera didn't include support for non-Roman alphabets, and as embedded is a new area for RedFlag (historically it has dominated the Chinese desktop market), it's potentially a major coup for the Norwegian company. You can learn a little about RedFlag's embedded portfolio here, and if your Chinese is significantly better than The Register's, you might even learn quite a lot. However, you'll note that RedFlag is working on an ARM-based PDA (and that Opera's Oslo neighbour Trolltech is by massive coincidence involved in this), and a set top box based on a Geode GX1. RedFlag also produces thin client systems using Graphon Bridges, NT 4.0 and Windows 2000, and we also note references to Web Pads, Ebooks and Web phones - all of these would appear to be potential sales areas for Opera. Also today, Opera announced that Opera will be in Swedish company i3's Mood Box next generation set top box, and released Opera 6.04 for Windows. ®
John Lettice, 01 Jul 2002

Reg gets Yaha treatment from top exec

Ah, the perils of profile. Every morning The Register has to get out the shovel and the wheelbarrow to deal with the huge pile of viral dross infesting the inbox. Well OK, we just use the delete button really, but it's still ordinarily a pretty tedious process. But just occasionally, you get a shipment that cheers you up immensely - it's still dross, granted, but dross from Very Important People working for Huge Companies Who Should Know Better. For just over an hour now a computer apparently belonging to the vice president of technology solutions, EMEA for one of the major players in the Internet, e-business and database software markets (no, not Microsoft, we said major) has been sending us Yaha at approximately six minute intervals. Or to be strictly accurate, it's really been sending us empties because at the bottom of each it says: [Filename: ...scr, Content-Type: application/octet-stream] An attachment was removed from this message per * Corp Security Policy. This type of file is often used to transmit viruses or malicious payloads Names deleted to protect the probably guilty. But it's not Sun either - got it yet, people? But it's thoughtful of the corporate mail system to monitor outgoing traffic so it can remove dangerous junk, while still allowing its operatives to spam all their contacts with harmless junk. We've had a look at the message headers, and while this sort of stuff can look like it comes from an email ID when in reality it doesn't, this lot looks pretty genuine. But considering how crazy the company's boss (what do you mean you still haven't got it?) might go if he found out, we've decided to spare the VP's blushes. For the moment. Now, have you ever considered booking a major promotional campaign with The Register? ®
John Lettice, 01 Jul 2002

UK tips Fayrewood into loss

Fayrewood blamed a rise in expenses at its UK distie for sinking into a net loss for the year to April 30. But the networking distribution group said that costs are back under control at Interface Systems International, with a new management team in charge. There's a way to go before it returns to profit but losses are reduced sharply (-£1.3m for this FY). France and Spain are trading profitably as is Computerlinks of Germany, in which Fayrewood holds a 50.1 per cent stake. The group's net loss or (i.e. earnings after bad stuff, goodwill amortisation, paying the tax bill and the like) was £1.2m(2001: £505K profit). Operating profit, before amortisation of goodwill fell to £6.3m, compared to £10.1 million last year. Group revenues were up 7 per cent on a like-for-like basis to £279.4m and 19 per cent to £311m when new acquisition UMD SA of Spain is thrown in to the pot. Fayrewood issued a profits warning in April, alerting the market to the poor performance of its UK sub. Related story Fayrewood misses targets
Drew Cullen, 01 Jul 2002

Mafia boss jailed in FBI keyboard bugging case

A New Jersey federal court has sentenced Nicodemo Scarfo to 33 months in prison at the end of a case that tested the legality of law enforcement surveillance techniques. Government agents placed a keystroke-logging device on Scarfo's computer and a key point in the case was reached when US District Court Judge Joel Pisano ruled in December that evidence from the device was admissible. Two months later Scarfo, the son of the jailed former boss of the Philadelphia mob, changed his plea and admitted his role in an illegal gambling operation. FBI investigators entered Scarfo's office in January 1999, but were initially foiled by his use of PGP to protect documents they believed would provide evidence of his crimes. They returned after obtaining a search warrant that allowed them to place a keyboard-logging device on his PC, enabling them to obtain his password. Scarfo used to work for a Florida software firm and is considered something of a geek in Wise Guy circles. Defence lawyers unsuccessfully argued that the authorities needed to obtain a wiretap warrant - which is more difficult to obtain than a search warrant - prior to planting the device. ® Related Stories Mafia trial to test FBI spying tactics FBI chief Mueller lied to Senate about key-logging FBI let off cyber snooping hook Anti-terror bill may regulate Carnivore use Trojan lets cyber-cops plant bogus evidence
John Leyden, 01 Jul 2002

Ex-Intel, Sun chip guru brewing multichip SPARC

Sun Microsystems has a closer connection to Afara Websystems, its most recent acquisition, than we realized last week. One of Afara's co-founders is Les Kohn, one of the designers of Intel's i860 and i960 RISC chips, NatSemi's 320xx Swordfish and the UltraSPARC-I. The secretive start-up won't say what it's doing, but announcing the news last week Sun's VP of microprocessors and network products David Yen said that it was a SPARC licensee and would be unveiling "highly innovative" boxes quite soon. The Silicon Valley rumor mill suggests that Afara has built a multi-chip, multi-processor SPARC chip for its new networking box. This is an approach apparently adopted by almost all the network processor vendors, but Afara's will be distinguished by being the only high-end SPARC-based offering. Which makes it fairly unique. T.sqware (which was acquired by Globespan a couple of years ago) built a low-end SPARC derivative called SPARClet, which hasn't been seen since. (All Globespan Viridana's current processors appear to be ARM based). "A multi-chip, multi-processor SPARC may not win any SPEC benchmarks, but it would likely do very well in both price/performance and power/performance comparisons in things like server blades," a Valley mole tell us. Kohn worked for Intel from 1982 to 1989. Between leaving Sun in 1994 and starting Afara, Kohn was chief architect at C-Cube, designing digital video compression chips. We left a message with the great man, but strongly suspect that we won't be hearing back. You don't get to wear the "secretive start-up" mantle by blabbing to the likes of us. ® Related Story Debian boost as Sun buys SPARC edge start-up
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Jul 2002

War, famine, disease. Never mind – 1bn PCs built

A billion PCs have rolled off the world's production lines according to Gartner Dataquest today. No, more, the milestone was reached in April this year. So that would translate into how many thousands of tonnes of lead and hundreds of tonnes of cadmium? How many water supplies destroyed, how many tens of thousands of poisoned acres of Chinese farming land? Gartner's not saying. But imagine the transformation of economies, as the world presses forward to two billion PCs. Especially when true broadband (i.e fat pipes in excess of 10Mbps) becomes ubiquitous. No mention of the digital divide here: the computer industry talks a lot about bridging the Digital Divide, but it is chasing a chimera. In the hierarchy of needs, shelter, safety, food clean water - a billion people worldwide don't have access to safe water, 2.4bn don't have adequate sanitation - all rank higher than broadband-connected PCs. The computer industry is run by rich optimistic technophiles. A billion people or so have access to PCs, the rest will join sooner or later, the reasoning goes. Probably sooner - look at China, look at India catching up fast (Bill and Melinda Gates are honorable and huge exceptions). But not sub-Sarahan Africa, home of 300 million dirt-poor people, where life expectancy has declined from 50 to 47 since 1980, where AIDs is on the rampage, where only 12 per cent of the roads are paved, and only 3 per cent of the population have access to a telephone line or mobile phone. In sub-Sarahan Africa, 99 per cent of children don't have access to PCs, even in schools, according to ComputerAid, which describes itself as "the world's largest non-profit supplier of computers to developing countries". Tomorrow we will be running an appeal on behalf of ComputerAid which is looking for end-of-life PCs to refurb and set up in non-profit organisations in Africa. Unfortunately this will run only in the UK. If there are any other PC recycling-for-developing- countries charities out there, let us know and we'll add you to the list. ®
Drew Cullen, 01 Jul 2002

Britain trails Euro broadband chart

When it comes to the adoption of broadband, Britain still trails behind the rest of Europe. So says research outfit NetValue which found that Denmark tops the European broadband charts with one in four of all households online connecting via broadband. Like its performance in the World Cup, Germany came second with 15 per cent of households using broadband to access the Internet. The UK lies in sixth place with broadband accounting for just 6 per cent of Internet connections. However, recent price cuts in the UK has resulted in broadband usage doubling since December 2001, said NetValue. ®
Tim Richardson, 01 Jul 2002

Klez tops virus charts – again

Variants of the Klez worm were by far the most common viruses circulating on the Internet this month. Again. That's according to monthly statistics from managed services firm MessageLabs, which stopped 788,137 copies of the virus in June, compared to 524, 507 in May. Virus infection rates are currently running at around one per 240 emails, which compares to one in 30 infected emails at the heights of the Goner and Love Bug epidemics, MessageLabs reports. Klez became the worst virus ever in May, and it shows no sign of abating, according to the firm Other viruses were much less common. The next most common virus, Yaha, was blocked only 67,146 times by MessageLabs during the last four weeks. However Yaha has become a major irritant at Vulture Central because of its capacity to spew hundreds of infectious emails to a single address from infected machines. Very irritating. Klez cleanup Klez is a mass-mailing worm which searches the Windows address book for email addresses and sends messages to all recipients that it finds. The worm uses its own SMTP engine to send the messages. It can also spoof the 'From' in messages, a factor which has resulted in widespread confusion about the bug. The subject and attachment name of incoming emails is randomly chosen, making it harder for users to spot. The attachment will have one of the following extensions: .bat, .exe, .pif or .scr. Klez is capable of infecting files. The worm exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express in an attempt to execute itself when you open or even preview the message. Information and a patch for the vulnerability can be found here. ® Top ten viruses blocked by MessageLabs in June Klez-H Klez-E Yaha-E SirCam VBSWG.AQ Magistr-B Hybris-B Magistr-A Yaha-C Frethem-F External Links Analysis of the spread of the Klez-H worm by MessageLabs Related Stories Klez-H is the worst virus ever - official Klez storms monthly virus charts Virus writers outpace traditional AV
John Leyden, 01 Jul 2002

IBM's utility computing push

Utility computing is on the way, says IBM, which today opened a pay-as-you-go service offering software resources over the Net. Linux Virtual Services connects customers with Linux-based applications to IBM e-business hosting centres that provide managed server processing, storage and networking capacity on an on-demand basis. Customers tap into "virtual servers" on IBM zSeries mainframes running Linux in a secure hosting environment, paying only for the computing power and capacity they require. It sounds awfully like a return to 70s-style bureau computing. What's goes around comes around IBM, like Hewlett-Packard, is advancing the idea of utility computing which, in fairness, has come a long way since the 80s. At the core of Virtual Linux Services is an IBM technology which creates "virtual servers" from the computing capacity of IBM zSeries mainframes running Linux. By partitioning the processing, storage and network capacity for each customer, IBM isolates individual demand on the system and maps resources to that demand, while providing the equivalent separation between customers that a physical server would supply. IBM positions the service as a way for larger enterprises to consolidate workloads from multiple servers and as a mechanism for smaller companies to easily develop and roll-out Web-based applications. Businesses have a choice of server platforms, including an Apache-based Linux Web server, DB2 database software and WebSphere, along with an option to deploy a managed Linux environment for their own applications. For customers on non-Linux platforms, IBM will provide application porting services to a Linux environment. IBM has signed partnerships with a number of telecommunications providers to provide multiple sources of on-demand network capacity. ®
John Leyden, 01 Jul 2002