Vodafone opts to outsource

Telecommunications company Vodafone Australia has announced plans to outsource non-core technology and property operations, as part of its strategy to focus on core business.

There were 107 people affected at Vodafone, 100 of which have accepted positions with the new outsourcing partners, according to a Vodafone statement.

Grahame Maher, managing director at Vodafone Australia, said that the company had gone through a rigorous process to make sure its people would be offered the same employment terms and conditions that they had at Vodafone.

Network access and transmission will be looked after by TCI and AAP Communications Services (AAPCS); processing platforms has been outsourced to Hewlett-Packard Australia; facilities management will be handled by Five D; and applications support has been outsourced to IBM Australia.

Maher said that outsourcing non-core functions would allow it to respond faster to customer needs and give the company greater business efficiencies.


Database vendor launches app integration drive

Embedded database vendor InterSystems has launched a partner portal offering its Caché application partners extra developer, marketing and sales support, as part of an overall push into application integration.

InterSystems' new partner portal incorporates joint marketing opportunities, services such as free engineering resources and sales support, Caché database engine marketing tools and information about government support, business strategy and industry associations. Partners and their products will also be promoted on InterSystems' public website as part of the formal program.

Denis Tebbutt, managing director for InterSystems Australia, said the US-based vendor had signed 50 partners in the past two years, including 35 in the last 12 months, to develop and market InterSystems Caché-based applications. Caché combines SQL and an advanced object system in a post-relational database. The vendor opened its Australian office a year ago.

Tebbutt said he was serious about growing InterSystems' business via the channel. Revenues this year were expected to grow 43 percent, taking the company past US$150 million, in the year ending December 2003.

"Our go-to-market strategy is through application developers and their partners and 80 percent of our revenue comes from application developers," he said. "If our partners' business grows, then ours will as well."

InterSystems does not sell its own consulting services, so relies on partners making successful roll-outs of Caché-based applications.

Tebbutt said he hoped the partner portal would encourage Caché developer partners to target InterSystems' global customer base, partly by providing marketing and technical support. The vendor has operations in 19 countries.

The partner program had already harnessed 'a lot of creative' work done by business-partner developers in Russia on the website itself, he said.

Tebbutt added that vendors worldwide were starting to take their channel partners more seriously. "Most recently some have realised the need to change their partner strategies," he said.

While focus on end-users by specific vertical was critical, working with channel partners such as system integrators to solve end-user needs was increasingly important, he said.

"We want to grow our market-share as a result of our partners being successful," said Tebbutt.

This month the vendor also made a move into Australia's application integration market, launching a 'next generation' application integration platform dubbed Ensemble in Sydney on Monday, 3 November.

Tebbutt said the platform should also help partners strengthen opportunities available to them through InterSystems, backing up his claim with results of an InterSystems-sponsored survey of 270 Australian CIOs. Of that sample, 170 had responded, he said.

The survey's main finding was, unsurprisingly, that application integration to improve data use and knowledge availability was the way to go. "CIOs and senior management have got the message. They're looking to make more use of the data that is available to their organisations. They absolutely will be looking over the next couple of years to increase the level of integration of their applications," he said.

Tebbutt said Ensemble's strengths would stem from InterSystem's experience as a database supplier for corporations around the world, taking an 'object-centric database approach'. End-user and system integrator demonstrations of Ensemble will be held in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne mid-November, he said.


Intel takes the high road

Intel today announced a new method of creating transistor materials which reportedly allows for cooler and more efficient processors.

The traditional silicon dioxide material that forms the gate dielectric of a transistor is prone to power leakage. This limits the extent to which processors can continue to be manufactured in ever decreasing sizes.

According to Ken David, Intel's co-director of components research for the Technology Manufacturing Group, the company will use a new 'high-k' material to make the dielectric gates. Unlike the current leaky silicon dioxide technology, high-k materials can be shrunk to smaller sizes yet still retain their ability to stop leakage. According to David, this is necessary to keep processor technology advancing at a steady rate.

"[High-k] will continue to scale to Moore's Law," said David at a press conference. It will not be limited solely to processors; rather it "is extensible to other technologies".

The new technology is a significant step for Intel to bring its chips down to a 45nm die size in the next few years.

"Intel is on track to put this new transistor design into production in 2007," stated David.


Xbox 2 raises its head

COMMENTARY: When Microsoft first set aim at Sony and announced its move into the gaming console realm with Xbox, much was made of the underlying hardware and its affinity with the PC.

Xbox used a hybridised Intel Celeron Processor, slightly modified NVIDIA GeForce3 graphics chip and NVIDIA designed core logic that became a motherboard chipset called nForce.

The strange side effect was that it pushed interest in console hardware to new levels. The same enthusiasts who were obsessed with PC components suddenly saw glimpses into the future coming through the Xbox hardware, and then wondered why the PlayStation2 and GameCube were so different.

Current generation consoles are now midway through their lifespan, with the next generation expected to arrive in late 2005/early 2006. So it is reasonable to expect that work is well underway designing hardware for the systems.

While Sony and IBM have been touting the revolutionary Cell computing architecture that is destined for PlayStation 3 for almost a year now it has only been in the last few days that a rounded Xbox 2 picture has emerged.

In August Canadian graphics company ATI announced that it had entered into an agreement with Microsoft to develop the graphics hardware for Xbox 2. ATI is NVIDIA's strongest competitor in the PC graphics market and so this was seen as a big win for ATI and its technology.

Yesterday IBM announced that its CPUs would power Xbox 2, usurping the obvious contenders Intel and AMD for the deal. This announcement also solidified IBM's position as one of the few companies that provides technology to all three major players in the console industry. IBM's chips power the GameCube and it is Sony's major research partner in the CPU development for PlayStation 3.

But the surprise announcement overnight was that Taiwanese chipset manufacturer SiS had scored the deal to make the core logic for Xbox2. SiS is a high volume; low cost manufacturer and its chipsets are not usually associated with gaming platforms.

Until now the industry buzz was that ATI would take over a similar role to NVIDIA and supply the core logic as well. NVIDIA was quite cunning in its involvement with the original Xbox -- it used Xbox developer feedback to hone performance of its GeForce4 line of graphics chips, and the work done for the core logic has become the foundation for a very successful entry into the PC chipset market. In fact, during his recent Computex Keynote, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Sen Huang stated that the digital media functionality of its nForce chipsets would be a major focus for the company from now on.

ATI has recently launched its first serious foray into the motherboard chipset market with a product called the RADEON 9100 IGP, so the assumption would be that ATI would use the Xbox experience to pump up the currently poor digital media functionality of the chipset, and try to ape NVIDIA's success.

The most likely reason for this is that the relationship between NVIDIA and Microsoft soured when breakthroughs by the surprisingly large Xbox hacking community necessitated changing security codes. This wouldn't have been a problem except the codes were hardwired into the core logic that NVIDIA had made for Xbox. This meant that NVIDIA essentially had to swallow its stockpile and start fabricating redesigned chips, which set the two companies at each others throat for a while.

It is not a path any company would like to walk down, so unlike the original Xbox it appears Microsoft is going directly to the specialists in each area for its hardware, even if it means Microsoft coding an OS for IBM's CPU architecture for the first time since DOS.

We won't know the final specifications until Microsoft actually announces the next Xbox product, but with companies like ATI, IBM and SiS onboard we can be assured that it will again revolutionise how we perceive the humble gaming console.

John Gillooly is Atomic's technical editor. More information about Atomic can be found at: http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/


WebSpy appliances itself overseas

Perth security ISV WebSpy has signed a deal with a Melbourne security appliance manufacturer to take that vendor's products overseas.

Jack Andrys, CEO of WebSpy, said the ISV and security appliance maker Exinda Networks had agreed to combine their complementary capabilities to ramp up their market push.

'They're starting to push their product out. That product is bandwidth management, so determines how much bandwidth is available for current protocol,' he said. 'And they've spent a lot of money doing that.'

WebSpy already had a well-developed customer network overseas, including offices in places such as the US but sought to consolidate that business as a platform for further growth, he said. He added that WebSpy in October came 35th in the Business Review Weekly Fast 100 list of Australia's fastest growing companies.

Andrys conceded that security appliances had certain disadvantages but argued they still had market potential.
Hardware-based all-in-one integrated appliances often ran customised, proprietary software and were thus often out of date by the time they appeared on the market. 'It takes more time [to build a hardware-based appliance] than to build the software to work with it,' Andrys said.

However, appliances in certain business situations could offer cost benefits. Smaller businesses with different offices using the same platforms could find a security appliance installation quicker and more cost-effective than trying to mix and match individual software packages to create overall security for their networks.

'Think about it. It is an essentially integrated solution most of the time,' Andrys said. 'When they install the appliance and get it working in one area, they know it will work in other areas that same way.'
Andrys points out that routers are appliances, yet are getting more configurable security features built in over time. Also, appliance costs were coming down, he said.

'In the old days, you used to route through a PC. Not everyone could afford a Cisco router so they used a network card and routed through a PC,' he said. 'For my ADSL [connection] at home, I have a $300 box that does all different things [and] which sets up security on it. It's a year old and it's wonderful.'

Exinda Networks gear was formerly distributed by defunct security software specialist Janteknology. Janteknology was closed down earlier this year due to a serious internal security breach, its then-MD Glenn Miller told CRN at the time.



Data#3 acquires f5

ASX-listed integrator Data #3 on Thursday announced it had acquired Brisbane Microsoft web development company f5, in a move it claimed would make it one of the software giant's largest partners in Australia.
The acquisition would create an expanded Microsoft Application Solutions business unit inside Data #3 and customers would benefit from integrated expertise in Microsoft applications, infrastructure, services and licensing, the company claimed.
'f5 brings six years of specialist expertise in Microsoft-centric applications development, particularly in the emerging fields of Internet, Intranet and web services software and in f5's Freedom Communication Server,' said Warren Wood, ex-managing director of f5 and now manager for Microsoft Application Solutions at Data #3.
In related news, Data #3 also announced it has discontinued its reseller agency with ERP software vendor SAP. The integrator was appointed in 1997 as one of the first resellers of SAP software to the mid-market.
Data #3 managing director John Grant said: 'With the release of SAP's mid-market products and the additional commitment the company would need to make as an application partner, we had to make a decision on where we could deliver most value to our customers and achieve the greatest return for shareholders.
'We believe this is as an SAP technology specialist and so we have discontinued our reseller relationship with SAP,' he said.
He said its decision cleared the way for the company to work with SAP application partners in the mid-market, an opportunity not available to it as a competitor for the application sale. 'In a way, being a reseller of the application limited our growth in SAP related areas,' he said.
At the company's AGM this week Grant said the integrator was targeting a full year EBITDA of around $5.7 million in 2004.
Data#3 shares were trading at $1.82 per share on Thursday afternoon.



We\’re innocent, Epson claims

Printer vendor Epson has defended recent US-based lawsuits and allegations that it was misleading consumers by prematurely warning them to replace ink cartridges.

In July, Dutch consumer organisation Consumentenbond alleged Epson misled buyers, warning them to replace the cartridge via an integrated chip that prevents the cartridges being run dry. The company has since retracted all claims and issued an apology, Epson said.

Three lawsuits were also filed by the same law firm in several US jurisdictions and are 'based on allegations that Epson believes are completely without merit, the company said.

Epson printers are designed to retain a small safety reserve of ink to ensure good image quality and prevent damage to the print head that could be caused by drawing in air bubbles when there is no ink remaining in the cartridge, Epson claimed.

The integrated chip records the number of ink droplets that have been dispensed from the cartridge and also lets users swap cartridges between printers as needed to handle various print jobs, Epson said.

Michael Pleasants, director of marketing and communications at Epson Australia, said the company's customers get the full benefit 'of the ink we promote if they use our printers as we recommend'.

'Therefore we take these ill-founded accusations very seriously and deny them vigorously. Furthermore, we are concerned that some of the people making these accusations are doing a disservice to consumers by recommending that they override our ink replacement message, which will cause poor quality prints and damage the printers,' he said.

Jim Forrest, an imaging expert with US-based Lyra Research, said the lawsuits and allegations are frivolous. 'An Epson inkjet cartridge that runs completely dry could damage the hardware's printing mechanism.

'Yes, there may be some ink left over, but that is by design for the protection and longevity of the printer. And, since its cartridges are priced by page yields, not volume, consumers are in fact getting all that they paid for,' he said.


Senetas more secure than ever

Australian business intelligence vendor Senetas is on track for further steady growth this financial year on the back of its security portfolio sales through subsidiary CTAM.

At the company's AGM, Senetas chairman Francis Galbally said that the ASX-listed vendor expects the 2003-04 financial year to reap $18 million to $20 million, an increase from 2002-03's break-even $13 million in line with the company's strategy for steady growth.

'Senetas has now consistently increased operating revenues by double digit growth over the past four financial years and is on track for a profitable 2004,' he said.

Galbally said that a renewed focus by 'most Western governments' on cyber-terrorism meant businesses were increasingly making IT security top priority while Senetas subsidiary CTAM targeted the high-speed data security niche.

'The expansion of the security business, with the significant sales pipeline for our CTAM products both through US partner SafeNet and through local sales, should see Senetas move to sustainable profit generation in the next six months.' he said.

Galbally said that, overall, the IT market had proved uncertain and margins had fallen as a result. However, double-digit growth in revenue was expected for the next few years, especially since SafeNet products were now distributed in Australia.

'It has taken longer to achieve this [revenue] target than we would have liked. However, your board has adopted a cautious approach to growth in what has been an uncertain IT market,' he said.

Senetas had focused on niche specialisation rather than broad services provision, he said, with an 'earnings core' of enterprise information management, security and business intelligence.

'The focus in the coming year will be on growing the security segment both in product and services revenue,' Galbally said.

He flagged possible expansion through acquisitions or partnerships, saying Senetas had a mind to 'playing a role' in the consolidating several Australian IT security 'players' into one listed company in coming years.

Meanwhile, Senetas would continue to develop its Datum business intelligence and IBK enterprise management consultancy units as a revenue base, he said. 'Technology is not the flavour of the month it once was ... [but] Senetas is well-positioned,' Galbally told the AGM.


Brocade offers fabric platform to OEMs, ISVs

Storage vendor Brocade has made its flagship fabric application platform available to its OEM and developer partners worldwide.

The US-based SAN company has announced general availability to partners of its Brocade SilkWorm Fabric application platform, on display at Storage Networking World Sydney today.

Brocade claimed the platform was the industry's first intelligent switching platform. It is designed to host SAN fabric-based storage management applications such as volume management, data migration and data replication.

The vendor also announced it would offer a set of multi-protocol fabric routing services for the platform. Customers could use the services to consolidate SAN islands to extend their functionality, Brocade claimed in a statement.

The company said Brocade OEM partners and about 10 ISV partners -- including HP, EMC and Veritas -- were already working with the new application platform.

Brocade quoted Mark Lewis, EMC US executive vice-president, as saying that the SilkWorm Fabric application platform would help it deliver open applications extending the 'value' of automated networked storage environments and simplify fabric-based storage management.

Other fabric-based storage management applications on show at Storage Networking World included remote replication, virtual tape library services and data migration.

Brocade said such new applications should help cut operational cost and complexity in storage management.

Play : Agame | Y8 Games | Y3 Games
Copyright © 2011. Blogger Tips And Tricks 2012 - All Rights Reserved

Proudly powered by Blogger