Google Goes After SharePoint
Perhaps as a move to upstage Microsoft's first SharePoint
next week, Google today took the wraps off Google
, a set of tools that can be used to create collaborative Web sites.
The new offering, which is built on a wiki technology the company acquired
last year, will be the latest member to the company's Google Apps suite of software.
Supposedly, Google Sites helps users with just a smidge of technical ability
to piece together Web sites in a matter of minutes. They can use these sites
to house different functions such as calendars, spreadsheets and videos.
While the technology appears to be aimed at non-technical consumers, the timing
of the announcement relative to Redmond's SharePoint conference might be sending
a signal about where Google ultimately wants to target the product. Some feel
that Google is hoping business users will hold Google Sites and SharePoint side-by-side
and, consequently, steal some of those users looking primarily for hosted solutions.
The company is betting some users don't want to invest any more infrastructure
solutions based inside their IT shops.
Google has been pretty adept at wedging its way into corporate environments
under the IT radar (something Microsoft itself was pretty adept at doing 20
years ago), but it figures to have its hands full competing against Redmond's
SharePoint franchise, which is becoming fairly well-entrenched in larger IT
The Once and Future King of the Datacenter?
You have to marvel at the new ways IBM comes up with to keep the venerable mainframe
relevant to the IT industry.
On Tuesday, Big Blue threw the spotlight on its next-generation mainframe,
z10, which is designed to simplify the management of a range of complex
tasks in the new-age enterprise datacenter. The 64-processor system, built on
quad-core technology, does this by helping IT pros to start managing IT as a
Company officials at the launch event explained how and why the z10 was built
from the ground up to be shared so business units inside large enterprises can
share and automate the management of IT resources.
Technically, the new system accommodates a number of different workloads --
including those based around Linux, XML and Java -- as well as workloads from
SOA implementations. Not a lot of distributed solutions can do that. IBM and
Sun officials added that they're now jointly working on piloting the OpenSolaris
operating system on System z10.
Here are some fun facts and figures IBM threw out about the z10: One z10 has
the strength of 1,500 x86-based servers and requires some 85 percent less power.
And the new machine can consolidate x86 software licenses up to a 30 to 1 ratio.
What IBM is hoping to do here, of course, is cash in on what's very front-of-mind
for many cost-conscious IT shops: knocking out inefficiencies that continually
creep into large datacenters responsible for managing thousands of servers,
desktops and mobile devices. With this offering, Big Blue comes up against the
usual problem of trying to promote mainframe-based technology as sexy in the
face of distributed solutions made up of more widely advertised products that
are better-known to the general computing community.
But apparently, IBM continues to make some pretty decent dough from its big
iron sales. The company says mainframe revenues have grown in five of the last
seven quarters and has increased MIPS (Millions of Instructions Per Second)
shipments in nine of the last 10 quarters. As further evidence of strong interest
in mainframe technologies, some 400 universities have now signed up for IBM's
mainframe skills program, compared to the 20 in 2004.
At the press conference, IBM also announced it has spent $300 million in architects,
technical abilities, and design and benchmarking centers to help corporate accounts
reinvent their datacenters so they can manage IT as a service.
It Ain't Yahoo, But It'll Do -- For Now
It's not exactly like landing Yahoo, but Microsoft did acquire
a small Israeli-based startup that specializes in ad targeting. Published
reports claim Redmond paid between $20 and $30 million for YaData (lunch money
compared to the $44.6 billion it's ready to lay out for Yahoo).
Microsoft said the YaData team will be folded into the software giant's existing
research and development center in Herzliya, Israel, and will operate as part
of its ad unit. YaData focuses on so-called behavioral targeting, which serves
up advertising based on what users are doing at their computers.
The big idea with this purchase is that the newly acquired technology will
allow Microsoft to offer advertisers significantly better targeting capabilities,
enabling the company to not only engage with users more efficiently but also
provide customers with more relevant ads. Solutions dreamed up jointly by YaData
and Microsoft's research center will be available through Microsoft's Advertiser
and Publisher Solutions group.
Meanwhile, there's been no significant progress on the Microsoft-Yahoo deal.
Talk coming out of Redmond's big Windows
Server 2008 launch yesterday in Los Angeles was that it's going to be quite
some time before there's any significant movement.
Mailbag: Mother Knows Best
A reader close to Doug's heart sets him straight about the origins of a prayer
he learned as a child, which read: "If I should die before I wake,
I pray Thee, Lord, my Soul to take."
No, no, NO! One of the most impressive things I heard as a child about
my father was the story of the prayer plaques. He was given an order to make
the two prayer plaques, a big order and one he needed. Mary and I were little
and he didn't like the "If I should die" line and said he would
not make the plaques unless the wording was changed. The woman agreed and
the plaques he made said, "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord
my soul to keep. When in the morning light I wake, help me the path of love
to take and keep the same for Thy dear sake." If you saw the "die"
line, it was NOT in our house, but that is the common line. That is one of
the acts that best defined my father and his standards. Love you loads!
P.S. Since your father remembers being scared as a child, it must have
been in Gram's house.
Send us your thoughts on any of the topics we've covered. Leave a comment below
or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ed Scannell is the editor of Redmond magazine.