February round up

Businesses warned over Wireless Lan weaknessTens of thousands of UK businesses need to reconsider their use of wireless...

Businesses warned over Wireless Lan weaknessTens of thousands of UK businesses need to reconsider their use of wireless networking technology or risk exposing commercially sensitive data to hackers, analysts have warned.

Wireless Lan (WLan) equipment is inherently insecure because of a flaw in the encryption cipher standard, wireless security consultancy Skygate Technology said. The flaw means that hackers using 802.11b equipment can penetrate not only wireless networks but also parts of the fixed network holding confidential corporate data.

Skygate recommends using IPsec virtual private network security technology, which creates secure "tunnels" for connections between devices on otherwise accessible networks.

Server market slows
The annual growth rate for worldwide server unit shipments in 2001 was at its lowest since 1996, according to Gartner Dataquest. Worldwide server shipments totalled 4.4 million in 2001, an increase of 1.8% from 2000.

Wires not included with next CE
Wireless connectivity using the 802.11 and Bluetooth standards and a small memory footprint are among the highlights of Windows CE.net, the latest embedded Windows offering from Microsoft.

The new operating system can be configured with 200Kbytes of memory, making it suitable for devices such as handhelds, smartphones, set-top boxes and handheld retail point-of-sale terminals. Along with Bluetooth and 802.11, Windows CE.net also includes multimedia and Web browsing via Internet Explorer 5.5, Windows Media 8 and DirectX 8 technologies.

Novell unveils improved eDirectory
Novell has released an upgrade of its eDirectory - version 8.6 - and plans a Web-based upgrade called Falcon in April.

Version 8.6 offers persistent search, live continuous back-up and a dynamic groups feature which allows groups to be created automatically according to attributes relating to, for example, roles in the business.

Novell has also released DirXML, a more flexible and powerful version of its data synchronisation software. By using an XML pathway, DirXML can link data stored in directories, applications and databases even if it resides outside the firewall on a business partner's system.

Baan gives CRM a new spin with back-office links
Baan has announced that it aims to link the traditional customer-facing focus of CRM with the ERP and supply chain systems of the back office. It is also producing Linux versions of its applications, to add to current support for Unix,

OS/400 and Windows NT
The core of Baan's CRM strategy is a set of analytics and reporting tools that link front-end CRM modules with back-office applications such as supply chain management to give an end-to-end picture of the product/customer lifecycle. Baan has developed a raft of performance indicators for its key market segments - aerospace and defence, automotive, electronics and industrial machinery.

Pogo offers high-speed Net access mobile
A mobile phone/PDA that gives high-speed Internet access using a new compression method has been launched by Pogo. The device acts as a thin client, with Pogo Technology's server sending the Web pages requested by the user. The server strips out unusable animations, fonts and colours and compresses pages to about one sixth of their normal size. This means that it can deliver content at speeds comparable to a 56.6kbps modem rather than the 9kbps available via GSM.

Oracle acquires voice portal technology
Oracle plans to give users voice-based, wireless access to a range of applications and databases following its acquisition of voice portal company Indicast. The company wants to offer Indicast's voice application technology as a hosted service and will integrate the technology into future releases of Oracle9i Application Server and into Oracle

E-Business Suite and Oracle online services, such as my.oracle.com.

Indicast's voice portal technology has already been integrated with IBM's rival Websphere Voice Server.

BEA promises easier Web services development
BEA Systems is developing an application development framework, code-named Cajun, which is designed to enable ordinary corporate developers to develop and deploy Web services.

Aimed at corporate developers who work in Microsoft and legacy environments, BEA's framework describes Web services and will also offer a model for deployment. There will be an automatic test harness, so users can test their Web services and the interactions between services.

Security tools tackle the unknown
Companies are turning to integrated security management systems to combat the increasing sophistication of security threats. Internet Security Systems and Micromuse have both released control panels to display the status of security devices such as anti-virus software, firewalls and intrusion detectors. By monitoring the overall security status on a single screen, what would be seen as unrelated events can be linked, allowing action to be taken before the damage spreads.

IBM puts Sequent users on upgrade path
IBM plans to introduce a new server family at the March CeBit trade show to give Sequent users a migration path to industry standard PC hardware. IBM said the new server would be based on a scalable four-way building block.

Government says its time for XML
Companies that want to do business with the Government over the Internet will have to adopt XML and other Web services standards, according to Anwar Choudhury, director of technology strategy at the Office of the E-Envoy.

Previewing a keynote address he is due to give to IT suppliers in March, Choudhury said standardisation on technologies such as Soap, UDDI and HTTP will reduce the risk of project failure due to incompatibility issues.

Choudhury said emerging Web services standards will provide a level playing field for small companies to compete with larger firms when tendering for public sector contracts and will create an environment for "greater competition and innovation.

Oracle's ASP service flounders in Europe Oracle has just 10 European customers for its Oracle.com hosted applications service, but still expects half of its users to move to the ASP model within five years, a senior company official told Oracle's European AppsWorld conference in Amsterdam.
Oracle's ASP business Oracle.com offers a managed, hosted version of the Oracle 11i enterprise applications. The bulk of the Oracle.com customers are in the US. Oracle says it is confident that its ASP business will pick up, despite the current lack of interest. Socitm/Microsoft talks end in deadlock The Society of Information Technology Management (Socitm) and Microsoft have failed to agree on new licensing terms introduced by the software giant last year. Socitm has estimated that Microsoft's software licensing arrangements could cost local councils as much as £80m over the next two years Intel and HP back Mono project for open .net In an effort to create an open source version of Microsoft's .net, Intel and Hewlett-Packard have said they will lend support to the Mono project.
Led by open source software maker Ximian, the Mono project aims to develop a version of the .net programming environment that lets developers build applications to run on Linux and Unix operating systems. Intel, HP and the Mono group have agreed to use a new software licence, called the X11 licence, which allows firms to use part of the technology developed by Mono, called class libraries, in the software they sell without disclosing how they use it. Users slow to upgrade to Windows XP Windows users are in no hurry to roll out Windows XP for desktops or the forthcoming server software release Windows .net Server, according to a survey of 300 IT managers by IDC.
Cost and the technical burden of upgrading computer systems were cited as reasons for not upgrading. IDC also noted that most companies are still working to get Windows 2000 systems rolled out. Some said they are considering abandoning Windows on the server because of constant upgrades. Users take action over HP3000 The UK Hewlett-Packard Computer Users' Association (HPCUA) is to hold a joint meeting with HP UK in late February/early March, following HP's announcement of the demise of its HP3000 minicomputer.
The user group is concerned that the planned withdrawal of the machine in 2003 and the ending of support in 2006 will be a heavy blow to businesses that have invested in the platform. Peter Bradley, general manager at the HPCUA, said, "There is never a right time to cease support for a platform, but people have made investments based on HP's promises. There will be a lot of unhappiness about the situation."
IT security incidents more than double in 2001 Security incidents more than doubled in 2001 compared to 2000, according to statistics released by US computer and network security body the Computer Emergency Response Team (Cert) Co-ordination Center.
While 2000 saw 21,756 security incidents, 52,658 such incidents were reported in 2001, the Cert Co-ordination Center said.
Security incidents, which Cert defines as any related set of security events, have increased nearly every year since Cert was founded in 1988. Dell partnership to sell supercomputers Dell has launched a new server clustering program and announced a partnership with supercomputer firm Cray.
The company has started selling groups of 8, 16, 32 and 64 Poweredge servers that can be clustered to work as one system. An eight-server cluster from Dell will be available in the US for $75,000 (£52,899).
Cray will offer users its software and services for Dell servers, as part of a separate original equipment manufacturer agreement. Compaq offers cut-price storage Compaq says further storage promotions are in the pipeline, following its pre-Christmas low-end storage area network (San) offer.
In December Compaq let resellers buy the components needed to connect two Windows and/or Netware servers to a 432Gbyte shared storage-based San at half the recommended selling price. Compaq would not reveal details of its forthcoming offers. IBM puts mainframe kit in PC server IBM has introduced the first PC server based on the Intel Xeon MP processor and a chipset derived from its mainframe and high-end systems.
The eServer x360 uses a compact rack that IBM claims will offer users 40% more processors per rack while taking up a third less floor space than competing systems. The server runs Intel's Xeon MP processor and IBM's XA-32 chipset, code-named "Summit". Oracle to drop support for 10.7 apps suite Oracle will end support for its version 10.7 business applications suite in June 2003, despite customer requests for another extension.

By June 2003 the product will have been supported for seven years. Oracle is encouraging 10.7 users to migrate to a new release, either 11i or 11.0, before June 2003. The support period was extended in 2001 after pressure from user groups and Oracle is still getting requests for another extension.

Read more on IT risk management