News Briefs

SAP AG plans to develop a new data management product that will integrate data from multiple systems, locations and vendors, and then use this data to support e-business processes in heterogeneous IT systems, the company said in a statement released at its recent Sapphire customer conference and trade show in Lisbon, Portugal. Several large companies, including Dow Chemicals Co., Motorola Inc. and Nokia Corp. are advising SAP in the development of the product, called SAP Collaborative Master Data Management (SAP CMDM).

With the proliferation of data and systems, plus ever-changing business environments, companies are looking for ways to integrate and consolidate master data, trapped in multiple systems, while using their existing infrastructures, SAP said. The product is scheduled for customer shipment in the third quarter of 2003.

HP-Athlon business PCs now available

After deliberating on when to release its new Compaq D315 Business PC in Canada, Hewlett-Packard (Canada) Ltd. announced recently it is bringing the entry-level AMD Athlon XP processors to Canadian enterprise customers.

Starting at $1,329, the combination of HP, AMD and NVIDIA in the Compaq D315 Business PC brings “high-end PC performance to mainstream and value-conscious business users,” according to HP Canada. The Mississauga, Ont.-based company said the new PC includes the AMD Athlon XP processor, is Microsoft-certified and has been tested for compatibility with more than 60,000 business applications and 40 different operating systems. While the offering was announced last month in the U.S., HP Canada had originally elected not to ship the product saying in a statement that it had “chosen to further evaluate the demand.”

Novell offers price cuts on Web services

Two vendors recently announced big price cuts. Novell Inc. says it will provide discount license pricing for businesses and government agencies that use its software to provide Web services to customers and citizens. The new business-to-consumer user license price for Web services software is only 25 per cent of the standard user licence, while the government-to-citizen user licence is only 10 per cent of the standard price, the company said.

Meanwhile, Hewlett-Packard Co. launched a new line of Unix servers aimed at cost-conscious buyers. Dubbed the 05 series, the servers use slower processors than its mainstream Unix line and are only available in a few standardized configurations. They come with 10 per cent to 40 per cent price reductions compared with the faster Unix servers, said HP.

SCO brand name to make a comeback

The SCO name, long synonymous with Unix on the Intel Corp. platform, is being revived.

At its GeoForum user show in Las Vegas, Caldera International Inc. recently announced it is changing its name to The SCO Group, or simply SCO, pending shareholder approval. Caldera had acquired SCO in May 2001, after announcing acquisition plans in August 2000. SCO had forged a reputation as a provider of Unix on the Intel platform in the 1980s and 1990s when it was originally known as The Santa Cruz Operation. The renamed company will maintain headquarters in Lindon, Utah, and offices in Santa Cruz, Calif., original home of SCO. Also unveiled were plans to upgrade three operating systems, SCO Open Server, SCO UnixWare, formerly known as Caldera OpenUnix, and SCO Linux, formerly Caldera OpenLinux, during the next six months.

Server makers take a revenue hit

Hewlett-Packard Co.’s server business took a beating in the second quarter as the company lost ground to all of its major rivals, according to data released by Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc.

Overall, worldwide server revenue shrank to US$10.1 billion in the second quarter, down from US$11.6 billion in the same period a year ago – a 12.8 per cent decline. All of the major vendors saw their revenue fall, but HP and Compaq Computer Corp., now a single merged company, showed the largest drop-offs. Meanwhile, IBM, Sun and Dell were able to gain market share against HP. IBM held its top spot in worldwide market share, garnering 29.6 per cent of total server revenue. Sun took the second-largest slice of the market with 18.4 per cent of revenue. Compaq’s share came in at 12.5 per cent, with HP just behind at 12.2 per cent, down 1.4 points.

PC migration focus of workgroup

The obstacles of moving data from an old PC to a new one are familiar frustrations to many corporate IT support workers. Now, several IT vendors, including IBM Corp., Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp., have formed a new working group to study and promote methods of improving the PC data-migration experience, the companies recently announced.

Chaired by Intel’s ease-of-use initiative manager, Alex Gefrides, the group will focus initially on raising awareness of available migration products and creating guidelines for ISVs (independent software vendors) aimed at easing user migrations. Longer-term goals include creating new tools and processes to shorten the migration time frame. “You should have this (capability) as part of your out-of-the-box experience. When you get a PC, this should be just part of the regular setup process. That’s our ultimate goal,” Gefrides said.

Days numbered, e3000 gets an overhaul

Hewlett-Packard Co. may be ending shipments of the popular e3000 server next year, but the company recently announced upgrades to the system with the addition of new processors and an updated operating system.

HP will stop selling the e3000 server as of October 2003 but is providing those users that still rely on the platform with faster processors and more software tools to help them make the transition to new equipment, said Kriss Rant, HP’s e3000 server and storage product manager. HP is now shipping the lower end models of the e3000, called the a-class systems, with 150MHz PA-RISC chips available for one-processor servers and 200MHz PA-RISC chips for two-processor servers. A base configuration of a one-processor server with 128MB of memory starts at US$15,900.

Microsoft to sell storage software

Microsoft Corp. recently unveiled storage management software that will let systems running Windows 2000 Server and Windows .Net Server 2003 communicate with storage arrays across multiple devices supported by more than a dozen leading vendors.

Microsoft’s Multipath I/O technology will ship as a device development kit to third-party partners such as EMC Corp., Hitachi Ltd., Hewlett-Packard Co., Network Appliance Inc. and Veritas Software Corp. Microsoft said the technology allows more than one physical path to be used to access storage devices, providing improved system reliability via fault tolerance and load balancing of I/O traffic. Multipath I/O is due to ship by year’s end with both Windows 2000 and Windows .Net Server 2003, which is scheduled for release then as well.