This eWEEK - 21

If you want to get an idea how the economy is doing, ask a credit card company.

If you want to get an idea how the economy is doing, ask a credit card company. Senior Writer Anne Chen learned from Visa USA Executive Vice President Scott Thompson that Visa transactions are 15 to 16 percent higher now than a year ago. Now, says Thompson, hes got to come up with enough capacity to handle the holidays. Since Thompson encounters this question every year, hes come to the conclusion that "paying by the drink" makes more sense than buying capacity by the keg. Thats leading Thompson to look seriously at grid computing. Although he has yet to build a strategy around the concept, a recent visit with IBM CEO Sam Palmisano in which Palmisano pitched Thompson IBMs on-demand approach—which includes grid technology—went over quite well, he told Chen.

Nearly a year after Palmisano and Co. came out with the on-demand message—and just weeks after significant DB2 vulnerabilities came to light—IBM last week sought to pitch another message: that IBM is the place to go for security. As Senior Editor Dennis Fisher reports, IBM introduced a wireless intrusion detection system that can detect attacks on wireless LANs and monitor access points. Further, the company is at work on an intrusion response system that will reroute network traffic during attacks. With Arvind Krishna, of Tivoli, holding court at the event, its clear that IBM is looking to its Tivoli unit to carry the security ball.

Dont look now, but the CTIA Wireless show is right around the corner. As Senior Editor Carmen Nobel reports, announcements will include one from fledgling BelAir Networks: a WLAN "mesh point," or combination access point, router and switch.

Most enterprises have developed handheld strategies as well as wireless ones, so its always of interest when theres a significant handheld innovation. Senior Analyst Jason Brooks bestows an eWEEK Labs Analysts Choice award on Palms Tungsten T3. And why not? At $100 less than its predecessor, the Tungsten T3 also includes integrated Bluetooth support and, best of all, a significantly larger, half-VGA-size display.

Meanwhile, in the data center, the reigning king of data storage, EMC, is continuing to make a case for itself as a software vendor, and not just for large enterprises. Senior Analyst Henry Baltazar says the companys most recent storage management tools, EMC VisualSAN 3.0 and EMC VisualSRM 1.5.9, are competently designed and built for small and midsize businesses.

Till next eWEEK, send your comments to stan_gibson@ziffdavis.com.