Briefs: October 25, 2004


Quantum, which unveiled the plans last week during its fiscal second-quarter earnings conference call with analysts, already develops and manufactures SDLT tape drives and subsystems. LTO is important to the company because it has surpassed SDLT as the backup technology of choice among midsize businesses and enterprises.

The company is expected to pay $60 million in cash for Certance and turn over about $34 million in cash from Certance's balance sheet to Certance's current owners. The deal is expected to close this quarter.

The channel should benefit from the acquisition, said Quantum Chairman and CEO Rick Belluzzo. "We're excited to have a wide product line from the low end all the way up," he said. "It's good for our channel. ... We want this to be very channel-friendly. We want synergy."

IBM introduced storage and software to help companies meet government mandates in health care, financial services and other industries.

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The company calls its offerings the Risk and Compliance Framework and hopes they will attract companies wrestling with Sarbanes-Oxley Act, HIPAA, Basel II and other regulations that require retention of data for specific periods of time.

For holding data, IBM offers the TotalStorage DR550, which is powered by IBM's Power5 processor and stores up to 56 Tbytes of data. The system is managed through IBM's Tivoli Data Storage for Data Retention software.

Pricing for the IBM TotalStorage DR550 starts at $81,123, and it ships in November.

Also part of the framework is an enhanced TotalStorage tape line that supports attaching the IBM 3494 B10 and B20 virtual tape server models to the IBM TotalStorage 3592 tape drive.

Microsoft is prepping new test versions of Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 and Windows Update Services for availability this quarter, the company said.

The Release Candidate for the Service Pack is due by the end of the year and the beta version of Windows Update Services, formerly Software Update Services 2.0, is expected in November, said Samm DiStasio, group product manager for Microsoft's Windows server product management group.

During the second half of next year, Microsoft expects to deliver the Windows Server High Performance Computing Edition, Longhorn Server beta, Windows Server 2003 R2 and Windows Storage Server based on the R2 code.

Hitachi Data Systems has brought financing to the channel for the first time.

Hitachi Data Systems Credit, which has been offering financing to direct customers for about 12 years, now will make such offerings available through its solution providers, said Dan Diltz, president of the credit unit. "This gives [solution providers] the capability to offer financing in addition to the hardware and software," he said.

To get partners' attention, the group will offer bonuses to solution providers in its TrueNorth Channel program for all leasing that goes through them until the end of the year, Diltz said. The promotion's final date is subject to change.

"This is a way to bring notice and hype around the program," Diltz said. "Nothing says it can't be extended. I don't think we have ever launched a program without an end date."

Red Hat took the next step in its push to branch out beyond the Linux open-source operating system. The company appointed former Sun Microsystems vice president Karen Tegan-Padir as vice president of its new desktop infrastructure technologies group, putting her in charge of the strategy to provide a desktop version of Linux.

The group grew out of a task force launched earlier this year to investigate desktop Linux technologies and marketing strategies. Tegan-Padir, who joined Sun in 1993, will report to Paul Cormier, Red Hat's executive vice president of engineering.

The move signals Red Hat's aspirations to compete with Windows, the leader in desktop operating systems.

"Linux on the desktop is a formidable competitor to Windows," Tegan-Padir said. "One of the keys will be to work with hardware OEMs that Red Hat is already working with on the server side to come up with programs for selling Linux desktop."

Hewlett-Packard or IBM might promote Linux-based PCs even though they're already selling plenty of PCs running Windows because "the marketplace is looking for open-source technology," Tegan-Padir said. Red Hat's success selling its Linux operating system in the server and, particularly, workstation markets gives it the confidence to push in this next logical direction, she added.

Tegan-Padir's hiring follows Red Hat's move earlier this month to acquire Netscape Directory Server and Netscape Certificate Management System from America Online for possibly as much as $23 million.

Symbol Technologies launched a line of enterprise-class handheld devices aimed at mobile professionals such as retail managers and supply chain management professionals.

The MC50 targets workers who need devices that can access enterprise applications and are more durable than consumer-grade PDAs but don't require the rugged handhelds used in industrial environments, said Douglas Lloyd, director of product marketing at Symbol.

Available in six configurations, the MC50 includes a 3.5-inch touch-screen display and built-in 802.11b wireless support. The product is also VoIP-ready. It is available with three data capture options, including a linear CMOS bar-code scanner, a 2-D bar-code scanner or a color digital camera. It also features two keyboard options and 16-plus hours of battery life. While the device is not classified as rugged, it does include industrial-class components, making it more durable than a PDA, Lloyd said. It also supports Symbol's Mobility Services Platform device management system.

The MC50 runs on Microsoft's Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition operating system.

Scanner versions of the MC50 are scheduled for availability by the end of this year. Camera versions are slated for availability in the first quarter of 2005. Prices range from $925 to $1,200.