Briefs: May 15, 2006

SMB networking

The husband and wife team is leaving Cisco’s Linksys division to work in its China business. Victor Tsao had been serving as senior vice president and general manager of Linksys, while Janie Tsao was senior vice president of sales, marketing and business development.

Michael Pocock has taken over as senior vice president and general manager. He reports to Charlie Giancarlo, senior vice president and chief development officer of Cisco and president of Cisco-Linksys. The Tsaos co-founded Linksys in 1998. It was acquired by Cisco in June 2003 in a stock deal valued at $500 million.

In his new role, Pocock will oversee worldwide operations, sales, marketing, human resources, training, customer advocacy and all product development and engineering for Linksys. Pocock, a former Compaq channel chief, most recently was president and CEO of Polaroid, which he joined in 2003.

SAP this week is slated to anoint IBM’s upcoming DB2 database, code-named Viper, as the ”preferred and recommended” database for midmarket customers.

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The announcement is expected to come at SAP’s annual Sapphire event in Orlando, Fla. Industry observers estimate that most of SAP’s customers, or around 60 percent, still run Oracle databases, but those customers are clustered in older R/3 accounts.

In further evidence of IBM’s ties to SAP, the company announced SAP flavors for its Workplace and Notes collaboration offerings.

Workplace offers browser-based access to SAP applications whereas Notes access for SAP lets users tie together SAP data and processes with Notes tasks including workflow, timer reporting and contact management.

IBM is due to release DB2 Viper later this year. Last year, IBM unveiled a version of the current DB2 that’s optimized for SAP applications. Earlier this year, IBM and SAP said they were teaming up on CRM as well. IBM already hosts on-demand CRM for Siebel.

Nexsan Technologies last week expanded its Assureon storage security appliance offering with new technologies to improve compliance, file accessibility and performance.

The new Assureon 4.0 is a storage array that combines data encryption, remote data replication and information life-cycle management into a single appliance based on content-addressable storage technology, said Diamond Lauffin, Nexsan’s senior executive vice president.

Content-addressable storage, or CAS, turns a data file into an object using a cryptographic algorithm to develop a unique object based on the content of the file to be stored. Because each object is unique, even a slight change to the content of the file changes the hashed object, making it possible to eliminate duplicate files.

Using CAS technology also prevents the unauthorized reading of stored information, and allows administrators to see if data has been changed from when it was originally stored.

Nexsan, which goes to market with a channel-only sales model, last month held a day-long solution provider training session for the new Assureon in Las Vegas followed by a half-day test composed of 86 essay questions.

The Assureon 4.0, which already has started shipping, now includes a hardware data encryption technology instead of the firmware implementation it previously offered, Lauffin said.

In addition to speeding up the AES 256 encryption function, the new hardware also encrypts individual files, not just a specific block of data. As a result, an encrypted file can be read back by software as quickly as it was written, he said.

Brian Keane, head of IT services firm Keane, abruptly resigned as president and CEO last Wednesday over unspecified allegations involving his personal conduct, according to news reports.

The company issued a statement after markets closed saying that Brian Keane and the company’s board had agreed that he would step down. His father, John Keane Sr., founded the company in 1965.

The statement said the company “had received employee allegations relating to Mr. Keane’s personal conduct. Mr. Keane has denied any unlawful behavior.”

Keane is a member of the board, along with his brother, John Keane Jr., who heads another company, ArcStream Solutions. Their father is the Keane board’s chairman.

The allegations do not involve the company’s “operational performance, finances, reported results of operations or internal controls,” said Maria Cirino, chairwoman of the board’s governance committee, according to reports.

Brian Keane said the allegations present “a distraction that I wish to avoid for the company my father founded 41 years ago. Under the present circumstances I can best serve the company and its shareholders on a consultant basis.”

John Leahy will serve as interim president and CEO while the board seeks a permanent replacement. Leahy is Keane’s chief financial officer.

The company reported net income of $33.4 million for 2005, up 3.5 percent from the previous year, on revenue of $956 million.

Avnet Partner Solutions, Americas, has promoted Rick Alvarez to vice president and general manager of its Hewlett-Packard business unit. Alvarez will be responsible for the HP unit’s strategic direction, supplier relations, long-term growth, marketing and sales operations, according to the distributor.

Alvarez previously served as vice president of sales for Avnet Partner Solutions, where he helped grow sales to more than $600 million.

Prior to joining Avnet, Alvarez worked as vice president of sales for QIV, a solution provider specializing in technology and service solutions for the SMB marketplace.

He replaces Jim Kleeman, who left Avnet in February to pursue “entrepreneurial activities” outside the company, according to Avnet.

Mark Barrenechea, CA’s executive vice president and chief technology officer, plans to leave the software vendor in June for a job as a director at Garnett and Helfrich Capital.

Barrenechea will start at Garnett and Helfrich on June 19, the technology investment firm said. Barrenechea's departure comes on the heels of an announcement from CA just weeks ago that it would miss its guidance for the fourth quarter fiscal year 2006. Barrenechea reportedly said his departure is unrelated to CA’s financial woes. In April, CA COO Jeff Clarke left the vendor for a job as president and CEO of the Travel Distribution Services division of Cendant.