Stories by P.J. Connolly

New contender for storage management

When thinking about enterprise storage, most people think of mainframes and large Unix systems. But storage software vendors are building a future for storage that takes into account a relative newcomer in the field, Linux.

A modest proposal

Spit and dirty socks, I said, upon learning of Microsoft Corp.'s new plan to reduce the number of critical security patches for Windows and other software.

It's the OS, stupid

Let's be honest with ourselves. The introduction of new technologies is by default going to present new security challenges. That's because it's easier to get something to work than it is to get it to work in a secure fashion. Whether we want to admit it or not, this is because invention always follows the path of least resistance.

Who are you?

Identity management is a popular topic these days. But unlike previous technology flavors of the month -- VOIP (voice over IP) and Bluetooth networking come to mind -- identity management is important to business and consumers alike. As I've said elsewhere, without a simpler way to handle identity transactions, the Web services model that we're all scrambling toward will fail.

Storage interoperability? Not yet

I must be an optimist, because when I hear storage vendors promising -- yet failing to deliver -- interoperability year after year, I simply shrug and say, "Better luck next year." I can afford to be so detached because I don't have to make all the pieces of the storage puzzle work. But I feel for those who do.

MS dubs server .Net, will users bite?

Most IT organisations distinguish themselves by the operating systems on their servers: "We're a (name of OS vendor) shop. We don't use that junk from (OS vendor's leading rival)." Therefore, it's not surprising that Microsoft Corp.'s next server OS, Windows .Net Server, puts its best foot forward in the Beta 3 release.

Getting serious about Web security

Usually we juxtapose the terms Web and security only to get a laugh, seeing as one seemingly can't go for more than a few days without reading about yet another Web security fiasco. But the sorry state of Web security hasn't stopped companies from rushing to make goods and services available via the Web, and many of these efforts are thriving despite the general implosion of the dot-bomb sector. The next few years are going to see dramatic changes in the way businesses use Web technologies, and security standards are already evolving to meet the new requirements.

XP rewards our patience

Business leaders questioning what they can expect to gain from Windows XP can stop wondering and start making plans to accommodate the latest release of Microsoft Corp.'s flagship desktop operating system.

Crypto law misguided

Russian developer Dmitry Sklyarov is now a guest of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, having been charged with violation of the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act). The feds and Adobe Systems Inc. are unhappy because Sklyarov reverse-engineered the encryption scheme used in Adobe's eBooks technology. This may be perfectly legal in Russia, but here it's a felony.

Policing user identities

One of the most difficult things we do as human beings is define ourselves as individuals. This is hard enough to do in the real world; consider the vast amounts of money people spend on cars, hairstyles, and other body modifications to create a persona. In cyberspace, it's even tougher -- as The New Yorker pointed out in a famous cartoon six or seven years ago, "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog." For businesses the problem is twice as difficult because executives not only are trying to sort out their customers but are defining their company, all while trying to maintain a sense of privacy to shield personal user information and sensitive corporate data from prying eyes.

In AIX 5L, blue suit meets tie-dye

Anyone who still doubts that Linux has a future in the enterprise should consider IBM Corp.'s attitude toward the upstart OS. If Big Blue weren't convinced of Linux's viability, would it have modified its AIX Unix platform to incorporate support for Linux applications?

BizTalk automates b-to-b

Today's conventional wisdom holds that XML is the key to helping businesses work together, at least from the standpoint of merging information from disparate systems. But by itself, XML can't do anything to help. Someone has to define the extensions to the XML schema, the structure that the two partners are going to use when exchanging data. Needless to say, a lot of money rides on how well you make this work, and where there's money, there's Microsoft.

IBM proves Linux commitment in AIX 5L

If the "big three" industrial-strength versions of Unix had personalities, Hewlett-Packard Co.'s HP-UX would be the engineer, manipulating wireframe CAD files while crunching numbers from a lab experiment; Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris would be the jock-turned-salesman, forever flexing its muscles; and IBM Corp.'s AIX would be the buttoned-down MBA who, while quietly clipping coupons and counting pennies, piles up a fortune that the others will never match.