Smarter Databases

It's been a bit of secret how much Microsoft has been pushing SQL Server 2005 and 2008 as a business intelligence (BI) platform. But Microsoft doesn't want it to be such a secret anymore, and has a range of new features to increase the IQ of BI in the next rev of SQL Server. Topping the list? New reporting and analysis services aimed not just at BI gurus, but rank-and-file managers and information workers.

Like any important initiative in Redmond, it may take a while, but eventually Microsoft usually gains a leadership position. Who knows? It may even happen some day for the Zune!

New Lease on XP Life
It might not be a reversal of XP's death sentence, but if reports are to be believed, XP did at least get a six-month reprieve and won't be yanked from OEM hands until July 2009.

Some say this is a bunch of hooey, but whether or not Microsoft has formally made the decision, I have to believe the company will offer XP as long as humanly possible. After all, people want it, Microsoft gets paid for it and the monopoly remains intact. Where's the downside? There isn't one.

Tell me where I'm wrong (yeah, I stole that line from Bill-O) at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Real Security Needed for Virtualization
This isn't the first time this newsletter has warned about the need for better virtualization security. The whole issue is that virtualization is a relatively new form of computing (and yes, I do know IBM mainframes were virtualized in 1968), and many security tools haven't kept up. Add to that the fact that a single virtualized server can act as dozens of machines. Compromise that server and you can compromise the whole shooting match.

A new survey by security vendor nCircle Inc. shows just how nervous IT is. About half of those polled don't trust security in virtual environments. Meanwhile, Shavlik surveyed VMworld attendees, and while 80 percent of these folks are very concerned about the issue, only about a third have taken concrete steps to secure virtual servers.

Scareware Scams and Pop-Up Perils
Last week, I wrote about scareware, those pesky pop-ups that claim your PC is infected. Click the pop-up and you're either buying security or performance software you don't need and doesn't even work, or your machine is now infected and ready to cash it in.

I've been getting plenty of horror stories -- you can check out a few of them in yesterday's Mailbag section -- but the topic also prompted me to write a feature story...and that's where you can help. Drop me a note at dbarney@redmondmag.com and tell me how you or one of your company's machines was compromised by scareware. I'm also very interested in how to prevent the pop-ups and repair the damage they do. You could well be quoted in a future issue of Redmond magazine.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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