Demo Takes on the

By John Taschek  |  Posted 2003-02-19 Print this article Print

Enterprise"> Demo Takes on the Enterprise If any theme emerged from Demo, its that enabling organizations to make use of what theyve got should be the core of any new business plan. While we acknowledge that this is not a surprising new aspect of the technology world, there are some innovative companies that offer new products to enable more efficient networks.
The best of this group was Vieo, a company that will probably have to spend at least an hour explaining what it does simply to get in the door of any organization. Vieo essentially takes available CPUs and systems and virtualizes them with a hardware appliance. This in turn allows administrators to control fairly discreetly all the resources of the network.
This sounds exactly like what Sun is doing with N1 or IBM and HP with their on-demand computing initiatives. The difference is that Vieos AAIM (Adaptive Application Infrastructure Management) platform exists now. Putting this technology in something like Tivoli would have created a dramatically different world. IBM is trying to do this right now. Vieo, whose CEO founded Tivoli and whose CTO was Tivolis CTO, has a good years head start on anything else out there. ITworx, which was one of more than a dozen Boston-area based companies at Demo, also demonstrated how to extend the capacity of an existing infrastructure. The companys NetCelera product sits at each end of a WAN network and compresses and multiplexes all the IP traffic and reassembles it at the other end. The result is what ITworx officials claim will be a 10x improvement in efficiency of the network. Since some traffic, like streaming video, does not compress well, Netcelera includes a policy management console that controls the type and priority of the traffic. Products like this should definitely be evaluated, but security and fault tolerance should be investigated as a normal due diligence effort. Applications Take Stage The quote of the day has to go to Certive CEO Ford Goodman, who said "watching IT implement BI is like watching Sisyphus on Speed." Clearly Ford has good speech writers or is well versed in the complexities of business intelligence and Greek mythology. Certives Performance Intelligence software however is clearly differentiated from the rest of the business intelligence crowd. That group led to business intelligence being labeled as an oxymoron and the creation of a secondary term called analytics. First of all, Certives solution is fundamentally easier to use, especially for the business user. Secondly, it offers predictive modeling without having to resort to separate applications. The biggest issue with Certive is that the tough part of business intelligence is how to connect the various data pools together in order for a software solution to make sense of them in the first place. Certive makes some strides here with a grid-like approach to data modeling; however, it may take just as much work to connect into the data model as with other BI solutions. From appearances though, the Certive model clearly raises the bar in BI from the end-user perspective. Application vulnerabilities are among the biggest problems in computing today. A simple look at how fast the SQL Slammer worm spread to unpatched systems proves this. Two companies that should be working together as soon as possible approach the problem from different angles. BigFix—the enterprise company with a consumer name—takes patch management to a new level. Using a technology called "Fixlets," BigFix is able to update and patch vulnerabilities on Windows operating systems immediately. BigFix goes beyond the Windows Update feature which is ignored by many and turned off by others and forces patches to be installed from an administrator console. BigFix faces big issues though—it needs to work in a heterogeneous environment and needs to prove that it will stay a step ahead of Microsofts mission with how updates eventually will work. One way it can do this is by partnering with PreCache, a company that provides a platform for discreet publish and subscribe communications. PreCache is funded by Sony of all things; however, by providing detailed pub/sub technology to all computing devices, PreCache is going to change the face of mobile computing. On the other hand, PreCaches first mission is to replace and enhance the automatic update features used for patch management. The problem with automatic updates is that the vendor needs to package updates together and ship them out, say on a weekly basis. PreCache enables a less expensive and more discreet way of publishing those updates. Eventually PreCache will be known as the CICs of the mobile and set-top box world, which is why Sony is investing. For now, its the Pointcast of patch management.

As the director of eWEEK Labs, John manages a staff that tests and analyzes a wide range of corporate technology products. He has been instrumental in expanding eWEEK Labs' analyses into actual user environments, and has continually engineered the Labs for accurate portrayal of true enterprise infrastructures. John also writes eWEEK's 'Wide Angle' column, which challenges readers interested in enterprise products and strategies to reconsider old assumptions and think about existing IT problems in new ways. Prior to his tenure at eWEEK, which started in 1994, Taschek headed up the performance testing lab at PC/Computing magazine (now called Smart Business). Taschek got his start in IT in Washington D.C., holding various technical positions at the National Alliance of Business and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. There, he and his colleagues assisted the government office with integrating the Windows desktop operating system with HUD's legacy mainframe and mid-range servers.

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