Sun turns to rival for app server aid

Despite efforts to sell its own application server software, Sun Microsystems Inc. recently opened its arms a little further to rival and partner BEA Systems Inc. by agreeing to ship an evaluation copy of BEA’s WebLogic Server with the Solaris 9 operating system.

Sun will include a six-month trial copy of WebLogic Server 7.0 with the next update to the Sun Solaris 9 operating system, which is set to arrive in January. BEA’s product will sit alongside the free Sun ONE (Open Net Environment) Application Server 7 Platform Edition and a similar evaluation copy of the higher-end Sun ONE Application Server 7 Standard Edition, said Graham Lovell, director of Solaris marketing at Sun. Analysts said Sun is making a concession to include BEA’s product alongside its own in order to satisfy customer demand and help boost sales of its own server hardware.

Storage think-tank to tackle security

The recently established Secure Networked Storage Advisory Council was created to better anticipate storage security needs, according to council chair and Kasten Chase senior vice-president Hari Venkatacharya.The Toronto-based industry think-tank will provide both storage vendors and customers a forum for dialogue and the ability to establish best practices for secure networked storage implementation, Venkatacharya said in a statement.

The Secure Networked Storage Advisory Council reflects “the growing awareness of the vulnerabilities to stored data assets within enterprise organizations,” Venkatacharya said, adding that the group will also tackle emerging storage issues such as interoperability and standards. Both the storage vendor community and end-user groups make up the Advisory Council; members include Kasten Chase, Xerox Canada, Hitachi Data Systems Canada, FalconStor Canada, StorageTek Canada and Brocade Communications Systems.

CGI launches bid for Cognicase

At press time, officials at Montreal-based services firm Cognicase Inc. were still studying an acquisition bid made last month by another Montreal-based IT services firm, CGI Group Inc.

Cognicase’s offerings focus on four main business solutions: financial processing; IT and outsourcing; enterprise relationship management (ERM); and public sector solutions. The company has offices across Quebec, as well as in Calgary, Ottawa and Toronto, and across the U.S. and Europe.

CGI entered its bid to purchase all of the outstanding common shares of the company, which focuses on the financial sector, and has entered a lock-up agreement with the firm’s largest shareholder and its largest client, the National Bank of Canada. The bank – which owns approximately 15 per cent of Cognicase – has agreed to tender its shares to CGI. Should the bid be approved, the bank’s existing outsourcing contracts with Cognicase will be extended for an additional 10 years, according to CGI.

2002 a banner year for malicious code

Viruses, spam and malicious Internet scams transmitted by e-mail all grew sharply in 2002, posing a threat to the smooth running of worldwide e-mail systems, according to security vendor MessageLabs Ltd.

It says the problem of spam, or unsolicited e-mail, has become so bad that the number of spam e-mails being received will exceed the number of legitimate e-mails in 2003. MessageLabs also found that: one virus was sent for each 212 e-mails in 2002 compared with one virus per 380 e-mails in 2001, an upward trend that is expected to continue; technical sophistication of viruses continues to increase; and blended threats, where spam e-mails are combined with viruses, showed sharp growth in 2002.

Big Blue lends its voice to IP

Citing demonstrable cost savings and improved efficiencies, IBM Corp. recently announced it has begun offering a full set of services for migrating separate enterprise voice and data networks to a single IP-based network.

According to Yves Lozach, director of IBM’s network services, the market for VoIP (voice over IP) and converged networks is finally positioned for rapid growth after years of hype. Lozach said the company estimates a 30 per cent cost savings by deploying a converged IP-based voice and data network as opposed to continuing to maintain two separate networks.

“The big value of a converged network is as a building block for business solutions,” said Lozach. “With customers going to IP soft phones and the cost of IP phones going down too, cost savings can be realized.”