Briefs: October 2, 2006


The Visual Studio/Vista incompatibilities were announced on Microsoft developer division head S. Somasegar's blog, sparking howls of protest from developers who don't like the idea of a forced migration.

"Why is [it] that your flagship dev product does not work well enough with your flagship brand new OS?" one reader asked in the blog.

Microsoft pledged to smooth out the Visual Studio 2005 software conflicts with a patch "soon" after Vista's release, but the company isn't committing to a time frame for the update. "This was a tough decision for us internally, whether to hold the service pack to get all of the [Vista] fixes or get it out there sooner," said Jay Roxe, group product manager for Visual Studio at Microsoft. "The feedback from customers was that they want it sooner."

Hewlett-Packard has taken a page from Dell's acquisition playbook with a definitive agreement to acquire one of the best-known high-end gaming PC vendors, VoodooPC.

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HP executives said last Thursday that the company plans to form a separate business unit within its Personal Systems Group focused on the gaming business. Rahul Sood, president and CTO of VoodooPC, Calgary, will become chief technologist for the unit, while CEO Ravi Sood will be director of strategy. They will report to Phil McKinney, who will become the general manager of the unit. McKinney will also continue his role as CTO of the Personal Systems Group.

The move by HP follows Dell's acquisition this March of Alienware, one of the other top gaming PC vendors.

VoodooPC builds many of its gaming PCs to order. Because it focuses on performance gaming machines, its highest-end Omen brand desktop PCs command a starting list price of $6,000, and can sell for well more than $8,000 with options. The company also has a full line of midrange to high-end notebook PCs.

Todd Bradley, executive vice president of HP's Personal Systems Group, said in a statement, "HP is already a market leader in two of the three major segments in the gaming market by providing industry-leading workstation solutions for game development and powering the largest online game services. We're absolutely thrilled to welcome VoodooPC, gaming industry pioneers and the premier name in gaming, to the HP team. Together with VoodooPC's leadership and influence, HP will have the expertise to become the leader in the gaming customer segment."

Ingram Micro plans to unveil digital signage and business-continuity practice groups, as well as more information on the new Ingram Micro Services division, at the VentureTech Network Invitational in Palm Desert, Calif., this week.

Solution providers must meet a list of criteria and apply to become members of the signage or continuity practice groups. The members in turn will be promoted by Ingram Micro as experts in the field and receive dedicated sales and tech support.

Meanwhile, the Ingram Micro Services Division will unveil its IMOnsite Web portal for IT labor services, and Vice President of Services Justin Crotty will give details of Ingram Micro's managed services offering, including the identity of a third-party partner.

Adaptec next month is expected to unveil a device with built-in software to turn an industry-standard server into a combination NAS and iSCSI SAN array.

With the expected release of OnTarget, Adaptec joins a handful of software developers that enable custom-system builders to turn commodity server hardware into storage appliances.

Wasabi Systems, Open-E, the ANStor64 division of Cutting Edge and now Adaptec are part of a small group of vendors selling storage-specific operating systems embedded as firmware on a bootable module, called a disk-on-module (DOM) or, more commonly, a dongle. These modules plug into an IDE port on nearly any standard server, turning it into a NAS and/or or iSCSI appliance. While Adaptec executives refused to discuss OnTarget or plans to enter this space, CRN has learned that the new product scales out of the box to up to 75 Tbytes using JBOD (just a bunch of disks, or non-RAID) expansion boxes.

Websense last week unveiled software to help companies control sensitive information and prevent leaks of confidential data.

To help deliver the technology, dubbed Deep Content Control, Websense has inked an OEM deal with PortAuthority Technologies, a startup in the information leak prevention space that just landed $18 million in venture capital funding.

PortAuthority's technology monitors internal and outbound traffic and detects when certain types of data are made available outside a company's protected data infrastructure. It then quarantines the data or encrypts it to prevent it from being accessed by unauthorized users.

Websense plans to leverage PortAuthority's technology to develop software that allows organizations to control where users go, how they get there and what information they can send or use. The company plans to roll out the new software in the first half of 2007.

To help sell the new product line, Websense plans to enlist about 50 security VARs with expertise in providing vulnerability assessment services. Websense also will provide education, training and certification programs to help the rest of its channel partners get up to speed on selling and supporting the technology.

Cisco Systems last Tuesday continued its push into the video market with the launch of a new enterprise product family for delivering live and on-demand video content.

The Cisco Digital Media System lets customers create, manage and deliver video and audio content over the IP network, Cisco said. It was developed by the vendor's Emerging Markets Technology Group, which is tasked with building product lines that push beyond Cisco's traditional networking focus.

"While the digital media explosion has taken off in the consumer world, businesses are just beginning to realize the potential of video," said Marthin De Beer, vice president of Cisco's Emerging Markets Technology Group, in a statement. "The Cisco Digital Media System, combined with the power of the IP network as the platform, allows organizations to move to a business environment where compelling interactions and experiences are created and shared."

Cisco President and CEO John Chambers has highlighted video communications as a potentially fertile focus area for Cisco and its partners.

The Digital Media System is available now with a starting list price of $133,000.