April by the Numbers

Call it our numbers issue. In the April edition of Redmond magazine, we’ve got three stories offering a total of 22 tidbits that will alternately save you time, money, improve your network performance and/or security, or maybe all of the above:

SA Exposed
Another highlight of our April issue is our cover story, “SA Exposed.” Editor in Chief Doug Barney has immersed himself in Software Assurance these last few months. It all started with his story in the November 2004 issue of Redmond, “7 Steps to a Better Bargain,” on how to negotiate a better deal with Microsoft. That story included a tidbit on how an SA contract for server software costs you 25 percent of the full retail license cost each year for three years (which is a bargain compared to the desktop version). “Doug,” I said, “are you sure about that? That means you’re paying 75 percent of the cost in three years.” “Yep, I’m sure,” he said. “That’s outrageous. We should write a story on that,” I replied. “OK,” he said. We didn’t see Doug again for several weeks, as he was buried under a pile of SA-related documentation that he translated into something easily comprehensible, to help you determine whether SA makes sense for you.

Jim Allchin Questions Wanted
Jim Allchin, group vice president for Microsoft’s Platforms Group, has agreed to conduct an interview for a Q&A to be published in Redmond magazine. A member of Microsoft’s Senior Leadership Team, Allchin has overall responsibility for Windows (including Windows Server), .NET and new media technology. “His group’s mission is to build platforms software that consumers and businesses will make an integral part of their day-to-day activities,” according to his bio on Microsoft.com. Keeping in mind his rather broad set of responsibilities, what questions do you have for Allchin? We’ll collect the best ones and pass them on to him. Send responses to Doug at dbarney@redmondmag.com (please put “Allchin” in the subject line) or go here.

More Longhorn Tidbits
With each passing week, more info comes out on features that may be included in Longhorn. Following up on a story that appeared in the Wall Street Journal on Monday, Scott Bekker reports on identity software code-named “Info-cards” that will reportedly be in test versions of the Longhorn client. The technology appears to be essentially the opposite of Passport, in that identity info is stored on the client, rather than on Microsoft-owned servers. Users can dole out personal information, such as credit card numbers, as they see fit, like when conducting an online transaction. The data is encrypted and it sounds like some form of Public Key Infrastructure technology will be used to ensure everyone is on the up and up.

Get Your Indigo and Avalon Previews
Of course, it’s in Microsoft’s interest to drum up some interest in Longhorn after it essentially removed the original “three pillars” of the OS: WinFS, Indigo and Avalon, which will now all be available for Windows XP. Over the weekend, Microsoft posted community technology previews of Indigo and Avalon, making them free for all comers.

Windows vs. Linux: We Want Numbers
The Web is buzzing with reports on researchers who gave a presentation at the RSA Conference presenting Windows in a favorable light versus Linux with respect to security, but failed to disclose that Microsoft funded their study. It wasn’t until the full report came out last week that the researchers came clean. (Although their presentation was “almost a comedy routine” according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, a fact that casts the whole thing in a somewhat different light.)

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This gets to a story we’re working on for Redmond mag on determining total cost of ownership (TCO) for Linux and Windows. As with the security issue, both Microsoft and Linux proponents can cite no shortage of studies that prove their OS offers better TCO—and it’s a pretty good bet that whoever funded the study wins. We’re looking for users who have cut through the muck and crunched the numbers themselves. If you fit that description, please contact Keith Ward, our managing editor, at kward@redmondmag.com (please use the subject line "Linux"), or go here.

Champing at the 64-Bit
We’ve got a couple of 64-bit hardware items this week. First, Intel on Tuesday launched “Truland,” a 64-bit platform intended for four-way and larger servers. Dell, HP, IBM and Unisys were quick to lend support for Truland, which—true to Intel form introduces a number of new names: the Twincastle chipset and the Potomac and Cranford chip families.

On our sister site ENTMag.com Scott Bekker has written a special report called “Server Hardware Trends,” which spells out the changes on tap from the 64-bit x86 extensions. “In the Windows world, software is finally catching up to hardware when it comes to 64-bit extensions to x86 systems,” Bekker reports.

This Week's Complete Waste of Time
Got a blogger you’d like to tell what-for? Maybe an online merchant didn’t deliver on time, leaving you in the lurch on your anniversary? Exact your (virtual) revenge on their Web site with the fine tools at www.netdisaster.com. Choose from a wealth of weapons: nukes, meteors or the simple fried egg. I found satisfaction in crushing Demi Moore’s face with a dinosaur foot, then dousing her with hot coffee -- just ‘cause she was there.

About the Author

Paul Desmond, the founding editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine, is president of the IT publishing firm PDEdit in Southborough, Mass. Reach him at paul@pdedit.com.

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