Briefs: February 6, 2006


“The challenge is that Solaris is a very sophisticated beast, and it lacks easy-to-use tools,” Goguen told a small group of reporters gathered in San Francisco to hear about updates to Solaris 10, which celebrates its one-year anniversary this week.

Goguen wouldn&'t say when the updates would be released but noted that additional binary-compatible updates will be coming out for Solaris 10 over at least the next year. Increasing solution provider participation in managed services also will be a focus, Goguen added. Sun wants to ensure that solution providers can resell support, break-fix and patch management services for a commission and to allow its partners to offer some sort of branded service atop of Sun&'s back end.

The Kama Sutra computer virus did not cause the mayhem that was anticipated, computer security firms said last week.

The virus also known as Nyxem, MyWife and Tearec hides inside e-mail attachments and contains a time-activated payload due to execute on the third day of each month. Once activated, the worm will try to spread itself, attempt to stop antiworm software from running and try to delete all Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF file types from an infected PC.

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Last week, security VARs said they weren&'t too concerned about the potential fallout but said it doesn&'t hurt to be prepared.

“Hopefully, nothing will happen, but we gear up for the calls we might get afterward,” said Darrel Bowman, CEO of solution provider AppTech.

“There&'s still plenty of unprotected home users, but this virus isn&'t groundbreaking,” said Andrew Lochart, senior director of marketing at Postini, a hosted e-mail security vendor.

VARs serving small businesses said these customers are notified of viruses and worms such as Kama Sutra, but not all clients take the proper measures to protect themselves by having the latest virus definitions in place for their antivirus software, said Gary Cannon, president of security solution provider Advanced Internet Security.

“We typically notify customers of the big ones. But every once in a while, someone doesn&'t have the updates,” Cannon said. “There&'s only so much we can do.”

Security is moving from the firewall to network access control, according to attendees at Vernier Network&'s 2006 partner summit in San Francisco last week.

According to research from Gartner, by the end of 2007, 80 percent of enterprises will have implemented network access control policies and procedures. Vernier plans to take as much of a piece of that pie as it can, and even with networking giants such as Cisco and Juniper eyeing the same market, CEO Simon Khalaf said that they don&'t understand how the security landscape has changed.

The Internet is no longer just about connecting employees, but rather it&'s connecting employees, partners and outsourced contractors, all with access to your network, making company data even more vulnerable, Khalaf said. Khalaf made it clear that Vernier plans to grow through the channel. “We are never going to build a direct sales force,” he said.

The company said that 90 percent of its sales are currently through the channel, highlighting the importance of having as much of a personal relationship as possible with channel partners.

General Motors said Thursday that six tier-one companies will cooperate on its global systems integration projects over the next five years.

The world&'s largest auto maker, however, said the door is still open for smaller regional players to participate on specific projects, notably in application development and deployment.

Among those chosen by GM were EDS, Hewlett-Packard Services, Capgemini, IBM Global Services, Compuware Covisint and Wipro. EDS garnered the lion&'s share of the work, but the amount EDS landed will be slightly less than what it handles today, according to GM CIO and Group Vice President Ralph Szygenda. HP Services and Capgemini wound up with more work. Szygenda declined to discuss the dollar values.

“I would say that everybody is a winner, because first they had to win back the business they had,” Szygenda said during a conference call about the integration projects.

Though Szygenda wouldn&'t disclose the total value of the GM contracts, he said they represent about half of the Detroit company&'s annual IT spending. Based on GM&'s current IT budget, its total expenditures for IT could be as much as $15 billion over the next five years, but Szygenda said efficiencies and savings achieved through the new contracts will keep the total value of the integration contracts awarded Thursday at less than half that amount.

EDS reported that it won about 70 percent of the contracts it had pursued in the GM bidding process and that they would be worth approximately $3.8 billion over five years. The integrator estimated that, on an annualized basis, it will generate $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion in business from GM.

According to Szygenda, the six integrators will focus on sustaining applications, building out GM&'s enterprise computing infrastructure and providing integration management services. A key reason they won the business was that all six suppliers agreed to work as one GM team using a common set of processes that are focused globally.

The new IT contracts were negotiated with an eye to the June expiration of GM&'s pact with EDS, which was drawn up when the integrator was spun out 10 years ago. GM also is renegotiating its telecommunications arrangements and plans to award the contracts later this year.

3Com has gained a majority ownership of its joint venture with Huawei Technologies after purchasing an additional 2 percent interest from the Chinese networking vendor.

With the $28 million deal, which was completed on Jan. 27 and unveiled last week, 3Com now owns 51 percent of the China-based venture, Huawei-3Com, while Huawei maintains ownership of the remaining 49 percent. 3Com is naming five directors to the board, and new 3Com President and CEO Scott Murray will become chairman of the joint venture, which was founded in November 2003.

Through the joint venture, 3Com has added new enterprise-focused networking products to its portfolio, including its 3000 and 5000 routers and its 8800 core switch family.