Briefs: November 28, 2005


Barring an appeal, the settlement finalized by San Mateo Superior Court Judge John Schwartz closes the books on a lawsuit filed nearly four years ago on behalf of Oracle. The civil complaint involves a $900 million gain that Ellison generated by selling some of his Oracle stock shortly before the company's shares plummeted in 2001.

Like many other high-tech companies, Oracle's sales sagged badly that year amid the aftershocks of the dot-com implosion that wiped out hundreds of companies. Oracle's shares plunged by 52 percent in 2001, wiping out about $85 billion in shareholder wealth.

Unless the settlement is appealed, Oracle will have to identify the recipient of Ellison's donation within the next three months. Ellison will have up to five years to donate the entire $100 million. The $22 million in attorney fees and expenses will be divided among 13 law firms.

A number of startups are lining up to take a chunk of VMware's growing virtualization software pie, a market expected to grow to roughly $15 billion by 2009, according to research firm IDC.

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In the fourth quarter, startups including XenSource, Parallels and Prospero are going public with new platforms, while the more established SWsoft launched a major upgrade of its Windows and Linux server software.

In December, XenSource will officially announce its first commercial software solution for managing a virtual infrastructure, called XenOptimizer. The solution is based on Xen 3.0, the updated open-source virtualization code being officially launched on Dec. 5, according to the company.

Xen 3.0 offers support for unmodified operating systems using Intel's VT-x virtualization technology, SMP guest workloads and support for 32-bit, PAE and 64-bit processors.

Meanwhile, Parallels is beta-testing a workstation product due to ship by year's end and developing server virtualization software that will debut in early 2006, said an executive from the Herndon, Va., company.

Parallels Server will allow IT managers and partners to create and run multiple virtual servers on one physical server, while Parallels Enterprise Server, expected to ship in mid-2006, is a pure hardware solution, the company said.

In late October, Prospero, a virtualization company founded in 2000, announced the release of version 5.0 of its WorkSpace Virtualization Platform, which includes a WorkSpace Analyzer, Manager and Server. The firm recently opened an office in New York. SWsoft, meanwhile, announced in mid-November the availability of Virtuozzo 3.5 for Windows. The OS-based software offers advanced disaster recovery features, more server resource controls, enhanced performance and support for both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows and Linux platforms, the company said. Most significantly, Virtuozzo 3.5 offer both host and guest support for 32-bit and 64-bit platforms, including EMT64T and AMD 64.

SenSage is bundling its enterprise security analytics software with EMC's Centera compliance storage array in a single offering for its channel partners and customers.

SenSage, a developer of software that analyzes, monitors and stores event log data, expects the bundle to safely handle the growing volume of data being stored for regulatory and auditing purposes, said Scott Gordon, vice president of marketing.

"Security event data is a new class of data," he said. "These are terabytes of data that have to be stored for years." The average enterprise collects a minimum of 15 Gbytes of access and security data a day, and some collect 50 Gbytes to 100 Gbytes per day, Gordon said.

Starting this week, SenSage will bundle its software with EMC's Centera, an appliance that allows data to be stored without being modified or deleted except according to corporate policies.

The bundles, which SenSage will sell through its direct and indirect sales forces, include the SenSage software, a module with predefined rules and reports for specific compliance requirements such as HIPAA, and a four-node Centera. There are three configurations available. The base configuration allows the retention of up to 11 Tbytes of secure data for at least two years, with a price starting at about $200,000, Gordon said.

Information Builders announced a program for resellers of IBM mainframes and servers designed to promote business intelligence on the Linux operating system.

The privately held $300 million BI vendor is targeting IBM's System z9 mainframe, as well as IBM eServer zSeries, iSeries, BladeCenter and pSeries. Resellers that have signed on with the program include CMA, Cornerstone Systems, Jeskell, Mainline Information Systems, MSI, NoviPro, Sirius Systems, Vicom Infinity and Yorel.

The program will focus on bringing enterprise-level BI to Linux on all of IBM's platforms, Information Builders said.

Visual Networks launched a new VAR partner program last week that offers more incentives to solution providers.

"We want to reward those partners who invest in us," said Owen Brennen, vice president of channel sales at Visual Networks.

Visual Networks wants to add as many as 50 new solution providers to its current roster of about 100 partners, said Brennen. The two-tier program rewards VARs based on sales volume, delivers leads to top performers, and provides a three-month deal registration program, he said.

Visual Networks' core product, Visual UpTime Select, has been expanded to offer LAN-oriented tools such as application performance monitoring and reporting in addition to its traditional ability to offer insight into WAN performance, said Brennen.

In August, Visual Networks also released a VoIP assessment product, VoIP Advisor, that enables solution providers to diagnose the readiness of a customer network for a VoIP deployment, he said. For VARs, the lure of Visual Networks is the opportunity to upsell customers into Visual UpTime Select in order to improve network and application performance, or use the vendor's products as a way to start a conversation about adding VoIP, said Brennen.