Briefs: November 22, 2004


Following published reports that Paris-based Capgemini was considering the sale in the face of continued losses, CEO Paul Hermelin, through a company spokesperson, denied the consulting giant is considering shedding its New York-based North American arm, which employs about 100,000 people and is responsible for about $2 billion of Capgemini's $7 billion in annual revenue.

Capgemini acquired the consulting practice of Ernst and Young—which now comprises the firm's North American operations—in 2000 for $11.1 billion in cash and stock.

Oracle now plans to issue security patches quarterly. The company announced its new schedule just months after saying it would update security monthly.

The patches will be broadcast to all customers via Oracle's MetaLink Web site quarterly starting Jan. 19, the company said last Thursday. Other updates will be disseminated April 12, July 12 and Oct. 18 of next year. The database giant said customers prefer planned-out releases rather than surprise patch alerts, and the quarterly drops will avoid patch application during critical times in a company's financial quarter. Many companies will not apply updates during so-called blackout days at the end of their earnings quarters.

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While Oracle has not been hit as hard by hackers as rival Microsoft, there have been some widely publicized security issues with its "unbreakable" database over the past year.

Dell, Microsoft Team UP on Software Updating Dell and Microsoft are developing a one-click software update service for Dell hardware running Windows.

Due to arrive in January, the joint technology, called Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003 Inventory Tool for Dell Updates, is a combination of Dell's OpenManage 4 systems management software with Microsoft SMS 2003, said Kevin Rollins, president and CEO of Dell. Using SMS 2003 Inventory Tool for Dell Updates, IT administrators will have a simplified method for quickly deploying software updates, operating systems and compatible applications across Dell PowerEdge server platforms.

The service will offer administrators a single view of all Dell PowerEdge servers running on a network and report which servers require updating. Updates can be scheduled to avoid bandwidth conflicts with business-critical operations. The tool will also give detailed reports of which system software version resides on any given server and enable administrators to automate the process of downloading BIOS, firmware and drivers from Dell's Web site.

Hewlett-Packard's ProCurve Networking unit and IP communications vendor Mitel Networks last week expanded their partnership to offer converged IP solutions.

The two companies are working to bring together their channel, service and support, and research and development efforts as part of an overall initiative to deliver Mitel VoIP solutions built on HP infrastructure, said Matt Zanner, global mobility solutions manager for ProCurve Networking by HP.

"We've been expending a lot of effort to understand customer needs from a solution standpoint rather than a point product standpoint," Zanner said.

While Mitel is HP's preferred VoIP partner, the relationship is not exclusive, Zanner said.

"Clearly it's in our best interests to interoperate with a variety of vendors," he said.

However, he did say the company currently has no plans to enter into a similar partnership with any other VoIP vendor.

Several of HP's networking competitors offer their own portfolios of VoIP solutions, including Cisco Systems and Nortel Networks. Another networking rival, Extreme Networks, forged a partnership with IP communications vendor Avaya last year.

Under the new agreement, HP and Mitel are cross-training support and engineering staff on each other's product lines, including personnel that work with channel partners in the field, Zanner said.

The companies are jointly recruiting channel partners with expertise in both VoIP and networking and are creating design and implementation guides to illustrate for partners how their technologies can be deployed together, he said.

In addition, by cross-training service and support personnel, "customers will get treated, whether the call is routed to HP or Mitel first, in a unified manner," Zanner said.

In June, HP launched the ProCurve IP Telephony Solution, which includes ProCurve infrastructure optimized for use with Mitel's VoIP products.

SecureWave this week plans to unveil a channel program with 22 inaugural partners.

The program, which currently does not have a formal name, was designed for solution providers that build services around the vendor's SecureWave Sanctuary product suite.

Instead of blacklisting threats and forcing customers to constantly update signatures, products in the Sanctuary line incorporate whitelisting technology, an elaborate series of access control commands that revolve around a single, simple list of allowed devices and actions.

Bob Johnson, SecureWare CEO, said the technology makes it easy for solution providers to help customers detect and prevent threats and rogue access points from infecting a network.

The new channel program breaks solution providers into two tiers: Gold and Platinum. While all partners receive discounts on maintenance, training and sales, Platinum partners receive slightly higher margins on all products.

Participation in the channel program also gives solution providers free access to My Sanctuary, an extranet that offers online technical support, marketing and sales resources, as well as a powerful online license management solution that enables resellers to generate an evaluation key license for prospects and customers alike.