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Internet service provider Q9 Networks Inc. marked its entry into western Canada recently with the opening of a data centre in Calgary.

The facility, the company’s third in Canada, will offer Alberta businesses various infrastructure and hosting solutions for mission-critical Internet applications, according to a company statement. The list of services offered includes managed servers, colocation space, managed firewalls, back-up, load balancing and virtual private networks. Q9 operates two other data centres – one in Toronto and the other in Brampton, Ont. The Calgary data centre will work in conjunction with the other centres to provide national customers with added business continuity and disaster recovery options, the company said. The company has indicated it may also expand further east, with a data centre possibly in Ottawa or Montreal.

IBM ramps up Informix integration

IBM Corp. has revealed plans to move more of its Informix-bred database technologies to Big Blue’s own DB2 data management platform.

Meanwhile, DB2 technology is being fitted to the Domino messaging server IBM now owns via its Lotus acquisition, company executives report. Technologies from IBM’s acquisition of Informix in 2001, such as the Cloudscape embedded Java database and Datablades which manage special data types, are being migrated to IBM platforms, IBM officials said. The development teams for Cloudscape and IBM’s embedded database, DB2 Everyplace, have been combined, said Janet Perna, general manager of IBM’s data management software group. DB2 Everyplace runs on embedded Linux and the Pocket PC platforms, she said.

Group to study security reporting

A number of software vendors and security firms are teaming up to discuss reporting strategies for security flaws, balancing the right of users to know whether their software is flawed against the possibility that publicizing vulnerabilities may encourage hackers.

The Organization for Internet Safety (OIS) will work to develop a system that will set standards for the way security vulnerabilities are disclosed, officials said in a prepared statement. Generally, security companies and independent security researchers who discover software bugs inform the vendor of the discovery, and give it some time to develop a patch for the flaw before releasing the information publicly.

However, this is not always the case, and security vulnerabilities have made their way into the public before the vendor had a chance to examine the bug, or determine its importance.

Help desk workers are in demand

IT professionals working on company help desks experienced the strongest growth in the job market, according to a recent Robert Half Technology report. According to the semi-annual study, entitled Robert Half Technology Hot Jobs Report, 18 per cent of surveyed Canadian CIOs chose help desk/end-user support as the most sought-after job category. The IT consulting service company’s report tracked the job growth of IT professionals through a survey of more than 270 CIOs across the country. A random sample of Canadian companies with 100 or more employees was contacted.

The help desk/end-user support job category rose four per cent since the firm’s last report. Desktop support analyst, technical administrator and computer technician – positions in the help desk/end-user support category – were job titles most sought-after in the IT industry, the report found.

Spending, app dev expected to rebound

Despite economic difficulties tied to accounting scandals and to the looming prospect of war on Iraq, revenue in the worldwide packaged software market will grow by around four per cent in 2003, after slower growth of around 1.5 per cent in 2002, according to IDC.

Applications such as operating systems and business software will be the largest area of spending in the software market in 2003 as compared with 2002. Global spending on applications will grow to US$131 billion by 2006. Meanwhile, application development and deployment promises to be the fastest-growing software segment through 2006, growing 11.5 per cent annually, according to a statement released by IDC. Growth in the software market is expected despite the lack of any obvious “killer app” to stimulate development, the firm said.

Solaris for Intel to ship by December

Sun Microsystems Inc. will ship a version of its Solaris 9 operating system around the end of the year for computers based on Intel Corp.’s x86 processor architecture, with a likely price tag of US$99. The company announced in August that it would ship the software bundled with its LX50 dual Pentium III server, but said at that stage it would support Solaris 9 only on that server and on systems based on its Sparc processors.

The previous version of the operating system, Solaris 8, was supported on a variety of x86 systems, and was available for free download, but in January, less than five months before the launch of Solaris 9, Sun announced that to cut costs it would end the free download scheme for the Intel platform and would not release Solaris 9 for Intel processors. Now, Solaris 9 is back on the menu for everyone.

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