IBM Does the Monster Mash(up)

At its yearly Lotusphere conference this week, IBM showed off its Web 2.0 chops by demonstrating an early version of a tool called Lotus Mashups. The upcoming tool is designed so that average business people, as opposed to corporate and third-party developers, can quickly cobble together Web-based applications. Mashups will let users smoothly stitch together data contained in enterprise applications and the Web. The product makes use of a browser-based tool along with a set of pre-built widgets in order to display information.

As an example, IBM said company executives could piece together a mashup that could combine weather information with a retail management system that could then adjust inventories based on project weather patterns.

While the resulting Web applications are low-end and may not have a long lifespan, IBM executives believe the tool represents a major business opportunity for the Lotus collaboration software division. IBM plans to use the QEDWiki technology -- created two years ago by its Emerging Technology group -- with Lotus Mashups, although it will be a separate commercial offering. According to company officials at the conference, the finished version of Lotus Mashups should be available by the middle of this year.

Startup's Clustered File System Works with Citrix
Sanbolic Inc., a startup developer of software that helps simplify SAN storage, has announced that its Melio 2008 and LaScala 2008 products have been certified for use with Citrix's line of Provisioning Server products. While this announcement might not sound like a big deal, it's interesting that Sanbolic possesses a clustered file system that both Microsoft and Citrix don't have and might be very interested in taking a look at. Even more interesting is that archrival VMware does possess such a technology.

Clustered file systems are central to enabling live migration, which is the ability to move an active virtual server from one physical server to another without interrupting the application running on it. This is not easy work; it took VMware seven years to build its own. But with this certification, now Citrix has one. The Sanbolic technology already works with Microsoft's servers.

In a Citrix PVS installation, a company official explained, Sanbolic's software would allow the configuration database, the virtualized images -- called vDisks -- and target device write caches to be stored on a shared volume on SAN storage. This would enable I/O requests to be load-balanced, as well as permit servers and desktops provisioned using PVS to operate normally even if a physical server running PVS were to fail.

Essentially, Sanbolic's products support Windows applications which benefit from the central administration of a large virtual storage pool accessed by multiple physical or virtual servers. It can offer concurrent shared read and write access to a shared file system from multiple servers.

Sanbolic officials said they will be showing off a number of solutions involving its products working with those of Citrix at the Citrix Summit in Orlando on Jan. 28 to 30.

Vista Finally Shows Signs of Life
Results from CDW's third and final Windows Vista Tracking Poll show the beleaguered operating system finally gaining some traction among business users.

After one year on the market, poll results show that 48 percent of respondents say their organization is using or evaluating Windows Vista. That's up from the 29 percent reported last February, and dramatically up from the 12 percent reported in the first poll on October 2006.

More importantly, actual Windows Vista adoption has also substantially increased. Among those who said they're evaluating or using it, some 35 percent said they're in some stage of migrating to Vista. That's up from last year's from 12 percent. According to the poll, 13 percent of the implementations are complete, with another 33 percent scheduled for completion by May of this year.

Surprisingly, almost 50 percent of those evaluating and implementing Vista rate its performance against the promise of important features and benefits as "above expectations." The highest ratings were given to the improvements Microsoft has made in security, performance, productivity and search/organization. Respondents also said they were less concerned about Vista's hardware requirements, compared to the results in the February 2007 survey; only 27 percent said that hardware requirements were "excessive," down from 37 percent.

There was still more good news for Redmond. The poll also showed a significant increase in Office 2007 adoption, with 24 percent of respondents saying they've upgraded to the latest version. That's up from just 6 percent in the 2007 poll. Another 23 percent said they plan to upgrade to Office 2007, and the vast majority of these say they'll do so by the end of 2008.

The survey can be obtained here.

About the Author

Ed Scannell is the editor of Redmond magazine.


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