Short takes from the week's news.
Intel’s Itanium 2 64-bit chip for high-end only
Intel has confirmed its Itanium 2 64-bit processor will be engineered for high-end servers and mainframes, rather than low and mid-range servers. Paul Otellini, Intel’s president, said last week that Itanium, which was jointly developed with Hewlett-Packard, has not found a large following in the server market.
Ofcom ditches plans to carve up BT
Telecoms regulator Ofcom has shelved plans to split up BT to deliver a better service to customers and allow rivals room in the market. But it has warned the UK’s dominant telecoms operator that unless it offers competitors cheaper access to its communications infrastructure to offer alternative services, the government’s Competition Commission will be brought in to force its hand.
UK firms waste £63bn on technology downtime
UK companies are wasting £63bn a year in technology downtime costs, a survey of 450 UK businesses by independent researcher Vanson Bourne has found. Two-thirds of the firms surveyed have experienced technology downtime in the past two years, with nearly two-thirds of those suffering at least once every three months. A fifth of companies use external support or backup services. The survey found users experienced costs in lost sales, fixing the problem, reduced customer satisfaction and lost opportunity costs.
IBM E-server sets new world speed record
IBM’s processor-based Power5 E-server, running DB2 Universal Database, has set a new world record for computing speed. It passed the three million transactions per minute on the TPC-C benchmark. According to the TPC, no other posted results in history have exceeded 1.2 million transactions per minute.
Survey finds IT training is Cinderella of budgets
A survey of 100 IT directors found that for more than a third IT training budgets have not changed for two years. The survey for the Computing Technology Industry Association also found that 25% of IT directors spend less on training now than previously, even though 40% recognised the demand for relevant, specially skilled and certified staff. Some 29% of respondents believed IT personnel lacked management skills.
Tower Software wins £1.3m document deal
The Northern Ireland Civil Service has awarded £1.3m to electronic document and records management software company Tower Software to deploy its Trim Context software. The software will be used by 18,000 civil servants to manage business information on a single integrated platform.
Comino to manage Fife Council paperless office
Fife Council has signed a £350,000 deal with Comino to provide a centralised and paperless working environment with electronic document management and its workflow application. The software will help Fife improve customer service by reducing benefit processing times and file storage costs.
Civica to supply number plate IT for tunnel
The Kent Police Authority has awarded a £220,000 contract to software and services supplier Civica to equip the Dartford River Crossing with an automatic number plate recognition system. Under the deal, vehicles of note using the Dartford River Crossing will be detected and stopped using the technology.
Midland to provide HR apps for council
Denbighshire County Council has awarded a £205,000 contract to Midland HR to modernise its HR processes using its Trent software. The new system will provide workflow, absence monitoring, people development, training and online recruitment.
Tool simplifies storage management
Sun has introduced Storedge Enterprise Storage Manager (ESM) 3.0 software. The storage management product is aimed at simplifying the administration of heterogeneous storage infrastructures.
Sun optimises Java for 64-bit Opteron
Sun has developed a version of Java, which it said has been optimised to 64-bit systems powered by the AMD Opteron chip. Bundled in the Solaris 10 Java Development Kit, the Java virtual machines will allow developers to build Java-based applications for Linux, Windows and Solaris environments.
Latest Java developers’ tool aids teamwork
An updated version of Java Studio Enterprise 7 has been released, which offers what Sun describes as code-aware collaboration, designed to help distributed teams to interact. It supports the Unified Modelling Language and an application profiler, for analysing application performance.
University builds giant computer grid
The University of Nottingham is building a multimillion-pound 500-node central computer grid based on technology from Sun and Streamline Computing. The grid uses AMD Opteron processor-based Sun Fire V20z servers.
MFI sees light at end of supply chain IT tunnel
Home furnishings group MFI said last week it was beginning to get to grips with its troubled supply chain system. In September, MFI issued a profits warning following implementation difficulties with its £50m SAP-based supply chain system. According to an MFI statement, progress has been made in resolving technical problems with the roll-out and it had reduced the number of incomplete deliveries by half following two months of intensive effort.
W3C considers web access from mobiles
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is considering a proposal called the W3C Mobile Web Initiative that will seek to make web access from mobile devices, such as mobile phones and personal digital assistants, as simple as desktop web access. The announcement was made at a two-day Mobile Web Initiative workshop recently in Barcelona, organised to help improve web-surfing capabilities of handheld devices.
Court fines Russian virus writer £57
Authorities in Russia have found a member of international 29A gang guilty of writing viruses. Eugene Suchkov admitted writing the W32/Stepan and Gastropod viruses and providing the source code to create new variants on a number of underground virus exchange websites. He was fined 3,000 roubles (£57).
Security is top issue for mobile workforce
Security is viewed as the most significant challenge to UK organisations looking to deploy a mobile workforce, said a report from Dimension Data. Of the 505 companies surveyed, 85% said mobile working poses serious security issues to their company. More than three-quarters agreed that their mobile workers have a poor attitude to security.
Oracle to issue quarterly patch updates
Oracle will begin issuing quarterly security patch updates from January 2005 in a bid to simplify patch management. Mary Ann Davidson, chief security officer, at Oracle said, "The quarterly schedule strikes a balance between issuing patches often enough to protect customers while making it easier for customers to manage the maintenance process."