Stories by David Hellaby

TECHNOLOGY: CRM: It's a private affair

According to Forrester Research, this year's purchase plans for CRM in the United States have taken a nosedive when compared with those in 2001. Constrained by tighter IT budgets, executives are avoiding the big-ticket, drawn-out installations associated with enterprise applications. What's more, those who have already installed them are looking for more payback.

When the chips are down

Two months ago Intel launched its long awaited 64-bit Itanium chip without fanfare and two years late. It has yet to become a mass-market product and won't become anything more than a tool for developers until Intel releases the McKinley version of Itanium sometime next year. However, it is already having an impact on the enterprise server market. At that time, two of the market's big guns (and now likely to be one very big gun) - Hewlett-Packard and Compaq - threw their weight behind it.

Growing pains

As pressure mounts on many industries to remain operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week, scalability is becoming a key issue. It can loosely be defined as the ease with which a system or component can be modified to fit a problem area, but while defining the problem may be relatively easy, solving it is another story.

Always on

During the 1980s and early 90s a company called Tandem built servers that had every component duplicated. It was expensive and required complex technology but the company claimed it would run at six 9s (99.9999 per cent) availability and you could fire a gun through it without it failing. Six 9s availability translates to a downtime of just fractions of seconds a year - something that a lot of companies are still striving to achieve.

Broadband channel to take off

The market for broadband modems is booming and with the introduction of ADSL to major centres later this year, the potential appears to be almost unlimited. However, it will be next year before the channel sees any of the benefits, says David Hellaby