Microsoft tools link Office with ERP, CRM apps
A new set of integration tools from Microsoft Corp. will more tightly weave together the company’s business applications with its Office suite. The Dynamics Snap line of programs let users trigger workflows or access data in their AX 3.0 (formerly Axapta) ERP and CRM 3.0 systems via Outlook desktop-based applications. Dynamics is the name for Microsoft’s next-generation business applications platform. According to Microsoft, the new tools are designed to integrate various applications and eliminate redundant data entry, boost productivity and more tightly integrate business processes. The first set of programs includes the Timesheet Management Snap-In, which links an appointment or meeting created in Outlook to a back-end time entry in AX. In the same vein, Microsoft has released the Vacation Management Snap-In, which lets end users submit time-off requests through Outlook. Once the request has been made, an e-mail is automatically sent to a supervisor for approval and the vacation time is entered into the AX time-and-attendance module.
Availability: Available now Pricing: Free download URL: www.gotdotnet.com
Vaio media notebook for the power user
Sony of Canada Ltd.’s VAIO FE Series notebook personal computer is described as a mobile media centre for mobile power users. The FE includes the newest mobile technology from Intel Corp., DDR2 memory and a serial ATA hard drive. It boasts a 15.4-inch widescreen display with Xbrite HiColor LCD technology, and on the audio side employs Sound Reality technology. The FE has an integrated camera and microphone, and VoIP applications can be accessed via a wireless hotspot through integrated 802.11a/b/g wireless LAN connectivity. Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 is the standard OS.
Availability: Available now Pricing: Starting at $1,999.99 URL: www.sony.ca
IBM software sniffs out internal attacks
A new security product from IBM Corp. is designed to help protect companies from internal IT system attacks. The Identity Risk and Identification software analyzes the activity of users on a network, looking for irregularities that might be a tip-off of unauthorized or improper access. The component is part of IBM’s Identity Management Services. The software is configured to integrate with the company’s Tivoli Identity Manager and Tivoli Access Manager, both of which manage application passwords and permissions. According to IBM, Identity Risk and Identification is a step beyond user IDs, passwords and even biometric or secure cards, since those ID methods confirm user access but can’t verify proper use.
Availability: Available now URL: www.ibm.com
Aten’s IP-based KVM controls remote resources
Aten Technology Inc.’s CN5000 KVM on the NET is an IP-based KVM (keyboard/video/mouse) control unit that lets IT administrators access and manage from any location desktops, servers, and other network resources connected across a LAN, WAN, or the Internet. The unit supports up to 64 users and delivers concurrent server access for up to 16 users. The device integrates the Radius remote authentication protocol to help network administrators manage access authorizations within enterprise IT environments. The CN5000 includes a Windows GUI and Java client software to simplify the process of remote server management, and works with Aten’s power distribution unit PN0108 for remote power management.
Availability: Available now Pricing: Starting at US$649.95 URL: www.aten-usa.com
Nortel network access control shuts out unwanted entry
Nortel Networks’ access control is an appliance that directs switches to enforce security policies. The Secure Network Access Switch (SNAS) can manage whether Nortel switch ports should allow, restrict or deny traffic from individual hosts, based on a scan of the end machine as well as preset user authorizations. The device advances a previous access controller design that required no permanent agent on remote machines trying to gain access to the network. It contrasts with Cisco’s Network Admission Control (NAC), which requires the Cisco Trust Agent on each machine, or Microsoft’s Network Access Protection (NAP), which requires Microsoft Vista clients. The Nortel gear also integrates with NAP to create what’s called Network Assured NAP. SNAS can talk to Microsoft NAP clients and policy servers, and will enforce policy decisions. The Nortel device can also communicate with endpoint agents from Trend Micro, McAfee and Check Point’s Zone Labs. Each SNAS supports up to 1,000 end users, and they can be clustered to accommodate more.
Availability: Available now Pricing: From US$18,000 for a 200-user license URL: www.nortel.com
Seagate 160GB laptop drive boasts highest capacity
Seagate Technology LLC claims its 160G-byte hard-disk drive for laptop computers is the highest capacity 2.5-inch drive on the market. It is Seagate’s first laptop drive to use perpendicular data recording, which involves standing the magnetic fields that represent data bits upright. In most current drives these fields lay flat on the disk surface. Standing them upright means these take less space, enabling more to be packed on the disk and and increasing storage capacity. The Momentus 5400.3 drive is, as its name suggests, a 5,400 rpm (revolutions per minute) drive designed for use in laptop computers. The version shipping now has an Ultra ATA/100 interface and a second version with a faster Serial ATA interface will be available later this year, said Seagate.
Availability: Available now URL: www.seagate.com
EMC backup software provides restore capability
EMC has enhanced its Retrospect data protection software with new features such as user recovery of data, automated deployment of software to clients and the ability to restore data or copy to tape during backups to disk. In addition, Retrospect now includes automated software updates, offline verification and support for more operating systems and business-critical applications. Retrospect now also supports Windows Server 2003 R2, SQL Server 2005, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, Novell Linux Desktop 9 and Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger clients. It’s part of EMC’s Insignia line of products for small and mid-sized businesses.
Availability: Available now Pricing: Windows version starts at US$399, and a small office/home office version at $129. URL: www.emc.com
Sophos now in the e-mail security appliance business
Sophos, which has long offered its anti-virus and anti-spam software for resale with a number of e-mail security appliance makers’ wares, is now getting into the business itself. The company’s first messaging security appliance, the ES4000, features Sophos’s own anti-virus and anti-spam software for inbound and outbound e-mail. It includes outbound compliance filtering such as searching outgoing messages for keywords and blocking them. Through an Internet connection, Sophos staff remotely monitors the health of the hardware and alerts customers when, for example, a queue is filling up and might affect the performance of the unit.
Availability: Available now Pricing: Starts at US$9,000 URL: www.sophos.com
Five new enterprise printers from Lexmark
The Lexmark X644, X646dts, X850e, X852e and the X854e are among the five new monochrome multifunction laser printers now available from Lexmark Canada. Touted as enterprise-class printers, these can print anywhere between 35 to 55 pages per minute and offer scan previews plus the ability to either scan to or print from a USB flash memory drive. Security aspects of the printer include encryption, IPSec, and secure user authentication. The X644e and X646dte also offer a colour touch-screen operating panel. The company said these printers are designed to help users print less by moving information from hard copy to e-format and also help save time and decrease printing errors.
Availability: Available now
Pricing: X644e – $3199, X646dte – $4299, X850e – $10,199, X852e – $11,649, and the X854e – $12,999
Juniper DX OS provides enhanced app performance
A new version of the operating system software for Juniper Networks DX data centre application acceleration platform lets customers enhance the performance of centralized applications. DXOS version 5.1, enables all DX platforms to integrate functionally with Juniper Networks SSL VPN appliances and routers, deliver global server load balancing and simplify management with a new Web interface.
Availability: Available now Pricing: Starts at US$15,000 URL: www.juniper.net
Software AG enters SOA fray
Software AG is packaging existing products into an integrated platform for SOA (service-oriented architecture) management and governance, with the CentraSite registry and repository serving as the linchpin of the platform. Also featured in the company’s new Crossvision suite is the vendor’s Service Orchestrator product for composing and orchestrating business services. It serves as Software AG’s enterprise service bus. Crossvision will function with multiple vendors’ messaging buses, as well as application and portal servers. Crossvision also features Application Composer, which leverages technologies such as AJAX and BPEL to compose new business applications from existing services using models rather than code.
Availability: Available now Pricing: US $180,000 for four initial “deployment units,” which act as floating licenses URL: www.softwareag.com