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ServerWatch News Briefs for May 2, 2004

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted May 2, 2004


This Week's Swatches

This week: Dell and SAP forged a deal to further penetrate the SMB market; Unisys revved the 32-bit servers in its ES7000 server line; Akonix differentiates spim from spam; and Pramati Technologies said it will certify its app server for J2EE 1.4 in the third quarter.

Dell, SAP Extend Alliance

Dell and SAP this week expanded an eight-year pact to bring servers and applications to the enterprise, forging a deal aimed at shoring up Dell and SAP's reach into the small- and medium-sized business market. CEO Michael Dell made the announcement during a press event at the Nasdaq Marketsite building.

The Round Rock, Texas-based company has optimized its PowerEdge servers with SAP's host of applications for some time. Combined, the companies currently count more 5,000 enterprise installations.

The latest agreement is largely an expansion of professional services, with Unix-to-Linux and Unix-to-Windows migration now offered to SAP customers, according to Linda York, vice president of alliances for Dell. York told ServerWatch that what sets apart the professional services from Dell/SAP is that while the companies previously did some customized services for customers, Dell and SAP have decided to make it a standard offering open to all clients -- existing and new.

"We'll customize those larger installations for customers that need something special, but the first line of support for SAP through Dell is new," York said. "The migration services, in terms of planning and assessing, sizing, and installation and the care thereafter of the SAP solution are new."

York also said Dell and SAP are collaborating on three Dell/SAP "competency centers" where the companies will help customers improve the deployment of SAP software with performance engineering for applications and networking; support services, including planning, training, and problem-solving; product testing for consistency and reliability; and proof-of-concept testing and optimization.

The Dell/SAP Competency Centers are located near SAP's worldwide headquarters in Walldorf, Germany; at Dell's SAP Center of Expertise (COE) in Austin, Texas; and in Kawasaki, Japan.

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Unisys Soups Up Server Line

Unisys unveiled revved versions of the 32-bit servers in its ES7000 server line. The latest iteration offers a number of new hardware enhancements that include souping up the I/O capabilities and embedding the maintenance server, Mark Feverston, Unisys vice president of Platforms for Systems & Technology told ServerWatch.

Unisys also increased its standard warranty on ES7000 servers to three years and improved Sentinel management features on the ES7000 540, resulting in as much as a 40 percent reduction in administrative staff compared to scale-out systems.

The company also published a number of record-setting benchmarks. The 32-way Unisys ES7000 Orion 540 Enterprise Server TPC-C benchmark recorded 304,148.50 transactions per minute (tpmC) with price/performance results of $6.18 per tpmC, for which Unisys is making the claim of it being the best-performing 32-bit server on the market.

Feverston says the combination Windows Server, Datacenter Edition on an Intel Xeon processor MP based platform, have matched the availability and surpassed the performance capabilities of Unix/RISC systems in the data center and make the ES700 540 a mainframe-class server.

Unisys also published the results of a recently completed two-year availability study of data fed automatically from live production environments at customer sites across North America. It looked at 68 environments running non-specialized servers running Windows Server in real business environments, Feverston said. The server was equipped with 32 Intel Xeon MP processors running at 3.0 GHz, each with 4 MB of Level 3 cache, and 64 GB of memory. It ran SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition on Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition.

Unisys found that 78 percent of the systems delivered 100 percent non-stop availability with an average of 99.996 percent availability. Details on the study are available in a Unisys white paper.

The Unisys ES7000 540 servers are available immediately with the latest Intel Xeon chip, Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition and Sentinel management enhancements. An entry-level Unisys ES7000 540 is priced starting at $106,000.

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Akonix Separates the Spim From the Spam

Akonix, a company that sells multi-network enterprise instant messaging solutions, has set out to differentiate spim (AKA IM-based spam) from spam.

Unlike traditional e-mail spam, which is created by remote e-mail servers, spim is generated by worms, adware, and malware that infect other users' machines. An example is the recent Osama Found worm, which hijacked users' computers, and turned unsuspecting "buddies" into "spimmers."

"These types of SpIM attacks create a substantial difference from email spam, where the vast majority of offending spammers are outsiders, in IM that trend is reversed," Akonix Systems founder and CTO Dmitry Shapiro. "Generally, people not on a buddy list are prohibited from sending messages to a user until they are accepted to their buddy list."

Shapiro says that the onslaught of spim has escalated IT worries and workload without increasing security. He notes that the real solution lies not so much in stopping the spim messages themselves, but the malware that generates spim.

"Spim is an ambiguous term with multiple meanings, making it difficult to determine whether it is a real problem or just blown out of proportion," added Shapiro. "The bad news is that it's a problem that's only getting bigger; the good news is that since IM has learned from the mistakes of e-mail and is more technologically advanced, it is easier for companies to stop spim by blocking the adware, worms and other viruses that hijack an IM user's buddy list to cause spim."

Spim's newness and surface similarities to spam have resulted in the notion that solutions that work for e-mail will automatically work with IM. Many standard anti-spam mechanisms, like challenge-response, duplicate capabilities already built into the IM networks that prevent unknown third-parties from contacting a user. Since most spim comes from existing buddies being "spoofed," a technique like challenge-response is minimally effective.

"Although spim messages have the potential to reach almost 1.2 billion by the end of 2004, the spim problem is more of a caution than a severe business issue at this stage," Genelle Hung, market analyst at The Radicati Group, weighed in.

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Pramati to Release J2EE 1.4-Compatible App Server

Pramati Technologies announced this week it will certify its J2EE-compatible application server, Pramati Server, for J2EE version 1.4 in the third quarter of 2004.

J2EE 1.4 provides standards and protocols for building Web Services applications, including WS-I Basic Profile and JAX RPC 1.0. Pramati is an active participant in the Java Community ProcessSM Program Expert Group that worked on the J2EE 1.4 specification.

Pramati Server's features and performance are comparable to the big-name application servers at one-third of the price. The server is aimed at midmarket customers, departments of large corporations, and ISVs, a market segment that Pramati CTO Vijay Pullur, says "is highly sensitive to price but does not want to compromise on features, performance, or support."

"Pramati is filling this gap in the market with a high quality product and services," he adds.

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