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News about SPARC systems and related companies

2004, January weeks 1 - 2

See also:- article:- Chewing over the Storage Market in 2003
article:- Are Sun's Days Numbered?
article:- Data Recovery for Sun Servers
article:- What's the Trigger Event that will Turn Around Sun's Revenue Decline?
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Tech Data
. "This integrated appliance provides customers a convenient, affordable VPN/Firewall solution that is secure out-of-the-box. Midsize businesses will now have greater access to this appliance through Tech Data's extensive reseller community," said Manish Bhuptani, director of Network Services Market Development at Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Tech Data to Offer iFORCE VPN/Firewall Appliance Powered by Sun and Check Point

CLEARWATER, Fla - January 13, 2004 - Tech Data announced today that it has teamed with Sun Microsystems and Check Point Software Technologies to integrate and deliver the iForce VPN/Firewall Appliance, Powered by Sun and Check Point. The iForce VPN/Firewall Appliance offers both enterprise-class and midsize customers higher levels of security, ease of deployment and manageability, all at a competitive price point.

The iForce VPN/Firewall Appliance can now be used by businesses to deploy Check Point Express, a comprehensive VPN/security solution especially designed to meet the unique security needs of midsize businesses with up to 500 users. The optimized software stack is preinstalled on specific configurations of Sun Fire V60x systems.

The iForce VPN/Firewall Appliance has been tested, optimized, integrated, sized and certified by Sun and Check Point to ensure ease of deployment and integration into existing network infrastructure. The solution includes management capabilities via a simple user interface for hardware management and integrated updates for both the operating system and security software.

Offering up to six gigabit ethernet ports, the Tech Data offerings have a peak firewall throughput of 1.95 Gbps and a peak VPN throughput of 390 Mbps. ...Tech Data profile

See also:- article:- SSL VPN Gateways
Tech Data to Offer iFORCE VPN/Firewall Appliance Powered by Sun and Check Point

Logical Solutions Prevails in Lantronix Lawsuit

UltraSPARC 64 bit Solaris notebook and mobile server breaks the $2,000 barrier

Only 45% of Users Will Primarily Use Traditional Desktops by 2006, Says META Group

Forrester Research Says 10% of Global 2,000 Datacenters will Include Linux in 2004

Dolphin SCI Helps Probe the Secrets of the Universe

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Nibble:- Poor Market Research by Storage Vendors Means Users Have to Work Harder to Avoid Paying Too Much

M
any storage vendors are sloppy at market research - particularly in the area of competitive research. This manifests itself in a number of ways.

Incorrect claims about technology firsts.

I often get a sense of deja vu when seeing press releases which claim that a company is the first to ship a certain type of technology or product. A quick bit of research in the STORAGEsearch news archives reveals that another company did exactly the same thing maybe 6 to 10 months before. When I query this with the press release originator the reply is often that they genuinely didn't know about the earlier product. If I do run the news item then I use my editorial prerogative to filter out the misleading "first" claim, while leaving the other facts intact.

Uncompetitive pricing.

It's surprising how often new products are launched at a price point which is significantly above other preexisting products which are functionally identical. If you exclude the memory market - which is a special case - in which the average selling price this year will be higher than in 2003 because of supply and demand issues - then other types of storage would normally follow a declining price curve over time. You'd be surprised how many times company A is promoting a storage product at twice the price of company B. When you look into it - you find that the company selling at the higher price doesn't seem to be aware who its competitors are or what price they're selling at. All they know for sure is that their sales don't seem to be growing as quickly as expected.

The root cause of this is that marketing managers are too busy (or inexperienced) to do competitive market research competently. But there's also a disincentive in venture capital backed companies to spend any money on market research at all. One experienced California based market research friend of mine commented about this phenomenon . He said the VCs and the founders think they know it all anyway, and they see no good reason for spending money to find out what they think they already know. That might account for the high failure rate of many well funded start ups - who close their eyes to the market once their business plan gets the money.

But the fact is you don't have to spend money on market reports to find out who your competitors are. Publications like STORAGEsearch group together companies in the same product catgory - and trawling through the web pages we link to can provide the basic information which many storage marketers seem to lack.

How does this affect users?

Users have to be vigilant about paying too much and they have to ignore many vendors' spurious claims about technology or market leadership. Even though the storage market is a commodity market, which should reduce price point variations, that's not happening. Instead it appears that imperfect market awareness in the storage vendor community creates much bigger price discrepencies than would be tolerated in more mature markets. By shopping around - users can sometimes pay 50% less for identical solutions.

What should storage marketers do?

By learning more about their competitors storage marketers can benefit too. Helping their companies get closer to reality might help some storage companies survive longer.

See also:- Market research

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Logical Solutions
. David Cheever, President of Logical Solutions and one of the individuals Lantronix named as a defendant in the lawsuit, noted his surprise that Lantronix even pursued the case.

"We thought we left Lantronix on good terms. Most surprising was Lantronix's attempt to hold us liable on contracts from which Marc Nussbaum had released us less than 9 months before they filed suit."

Cheever also stated that, while the Lantronix litigation was unnecessarily disruptive, it did not prevent Logical Solutions from moving forward on its program for product development:

"This litigation has cast a false light on our company and on our most important asset -- our people. We always considered the Lantronix suit to be wholly lacking in merit, and we are thankful that the case has concluded with a vindication of our mission to provide competitive products in the markets we serve. We will advance with an unwavering commitment to excellence, and look forward to the opportunity to meet our customers' needs now, and in the future."
Logical Solutions Prevails in Lawsuit Brought by Lantronix

Milford, CT - January 13, 2004 - Logical Solutions is pleased to announce the positive resolution of the lawsuit filed by competitor Lantronix, Inc.

In June of 2001, Lantronix acquired Lightwave Communications, Inc. Following a period of employment with Lantronix, in the fall of 2002, many of the former shareholders and employees of Lightwave Communications began employment with a new company, Logical Solutions, Inc. Shortly before the separation of their employment with Lantronix, the former shareholders of Lightwave Communications received a full and general release from all contractual obligations to Lantronix, specifically including a release and discharge of any contractual restrictions on competition. The release was signed by Lantronix President and CEO Marc Nussbaum in July of 2002.

In March of 2003, Lantronix filed a lawsuit in the Connecticut Superior Court against Logical Solutions and eight of its shareholders and employees. Lantronix sought injunctive relief and substantial monetary damages, essentially claiming that Logical Solutions and its employees had violated contractual obligations, misappropriated trade secrets, and otherwise engaged in unfair trade practices. Shortly before trial, Lantronix voluntarily withdrew all of its claims against four of the eight individual defendants, and six of the 10 claims it originally made against the remaining four defendants.

On December 11, 2003, the court issued a ruling in favor of Logical Solutions and its shareholders on all claims asserted by Lantronix. The court specifically found that the defendants had not misappropriated trade secrets, improperly interfered with Lantronix's business relationships, or engaged in unfair competition or unfair trade practices. Instead, the court fully accepted the defendants' contention that they were entitled to compete in the console server market because they did not improperly use any trade secrets, and because Lantronix released them from any contractual obligations precluding direct competition. ...Lantronix profile, ...Logical Solutions profile
NextCom UltraSPARC 64 bit Solaris notebook and mobile server breaks the $2,000 barrier

Nashua, NH - January 12, 2004 - NextCom LLC announces the first sub $2,000 UltraSPARC 64 bit Solaris Notebook and mobile server.

The NextBlade160 product family bring the power of Sun Microsystems 64 bit UltraSPARC IIe architecture and 64 bit Solaris operating system to a portable PC style notebook package without compromising performance and with an innovative hardware Personal ID security feature.

A $1,995 priced configuration includes a 14.1" high resolution TFT display, UltraSPARC IIe 400MHz RISC processor, 2D/3D graphics, 40GB Hard drive, 256MB SDRAM, 10/100 Ethernet, 2nd removable HDD bay, Solaris 8 or 9, 2x USB ports, Sun's Star Office suite and an innovative Hardware Security ID feature.

650MHz based configurations start at $3,200. Systems can be used both as a mobile workstation, SunRay equivalent thin-client and mobile or small footprint server.

Ideal applications include Homeland Security, Mil/Aero command and control and imagery analysis, mobile MIS administration, mobile office based software development, as well as server application demo and support systems. Product availability is 2 weeks ARO. ...NextCom profile

Editor's comments:- notebooks seem to be on a high growth trajectory according to the market research story below.
Meta Group
. "By 2007, the average user will interact regularly with at least four distinct computing devices — a personal home PC, smart digital entertainment system, corporate computer, and mobile information device," said Steve Kleynhans, vice president with META Group's Technology Research Services. "This multiplicity of devices will force software vendors to focus on information synchronization as well as 'thinning' or 'roaming' applications to enable users to access their information independent of the device they are using."

"There is an opportunity in the corporate space, where 60% of information workers are 'corridor warriors' that roam from meeting to meeting, to provide users with access to basic information (e.g., e-mail, instant messaging, Web browsing) and note-taking capabilities while attending meetings on premises," said Kleynhans. "The devices could even be shared among users or possibly kept in meeting rooms. Any costs should be outweighed by the increase in meeting productivity for most knowledge workers."
Only 45% of Users Will Primarily Use Traditional Desktops by 2006, Says META Group

STAMFORD, Conn. - January 12, 2004 - By 2006, only 45% of corporate users will count a traditional desktop as their primary information device, according to META Group, Inc. Another 40% will primarily use a notebook or tablet PC, with the final 15% focusing on thin-client or other information appliances (e.g., custom device, handheld).

A key factor is the increasing percentage of users who will be equipped with multiple devices over and above the current combination of a PC and a personal information/communication device (e.g., handheld, cell phone).

Device selection needs to be matched to user job requirements, including information access and mobile needs to ensure that full value is obtained from end-user platform investments. Corporate IT planners must be aware of the alternatives coming into the market for servicing end users and make selections appropriate to the needs of the user base.

Although light and convenient, current-state tablet PCs (without an integrated keyboard) are not functional enough for most office users as their only computing device. Improved form factors will bring the tablet to the mainstream by 2006 - one-third of all corporate notebooks will include tablet capabilities.

Blade computers initially emerged as a way to make compact scalable servers by combining numerous low-cost self-contained PCs within a single chassis. This enabled the systems to share infrastructure such as power supplies, network and storage interconnects, and consoles. PC manufacturers have now begun to move these systems beyond the server and into the end-user tier by assigning individual blades to users who access the blade using a thin-client device. Most of the administrative benefit and potential cost savings of blades come from designing a truly roaming environment. However, the effort involved and the backlash from users unwilling to succumb to a locked-down PC environment are substantial, making this option appropriate only for some groups. Blades will remain a niche product - by 2006, blades will replace traditional PC form factors for roughly only 10% of users." ...Meta Group profile
Forrester Research Forrester Research Says 10% of Global 2,000 Datacenters will Include Linux in 2004

Cambridge, Mass - January 7, 2004 - A recent series of more than 50 reports from Forrester Research, Inc. reveals the top IT trends for 2004 and technology predictions across a number of industries. According to Forrester, this year will see continued growth for Linux and offshore outsourcing, an increased focus on technology to measure corporate performance, and early signs of recovery in the telecom industry. In 2004, technology investments will increase in a number of industries, including healthcare, travel, and consumer packed goods.

IT Trends 2004 Forrester recently spoke with 528 IT decision-makers about their 2004 plans for adopting key infrastructure and integration technologies. Among other findings....

Linux will cement its place in the data center. Linux reached a new level of maturity with the latest version, maturing distributors, and increased application support from larger vendors. Forrester anticipates that by the end of 2004, close to 10% of Global 2,000 companies will have migrated from Windows servers to Linux for their basic Network Operating System infrastructure. ...Forrester Research profile
Dolphin
. "We needed a fast, reliable way to move enormous amounts of data as it streams off the reflector array," said Scott Wakely, of the University of Chicago and one of the research scientists masterminding the project dubbed VERITAS, which stands for Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System. "The Dolphin SCI hardware gives us a very reliable high-bandwidth, low-latency technology for transferring data with minimal CPU overhead."

"This unique utilization of our high-performance SCI technology demonstrates that when an application requires lower latencies, SCI is an unbeatable price/performance solution," said Keith Murphy, Dolphin's Vice President Sales.
Dolphin SCI Interconnect Helps Probe the Secrets of the Universe

Clinton, MA and Oslo, Norway - January 6, 2004 - Located in a remote canyon in Southern Arizona, an extraterrestrial-looking array of seven optical reflectors resembling large satellite dishes will soon be scanning the outer atmosphere diligently looking for extremely faint flashes of light lasting mere billionths of a second. This seemingly esoteric pursuit will produce massive amounts of information, that, when analyzed will further scientists' understanding of the universe. A key link in capturing and processing all this data in real time is the Dolphin Interconnect Solutions SCI (Scalable Coherent Interface) IEEE standard high-speed interconnect installed in the front-line servers handling the data.

The Dolphin SCI WulfKit cards are installed in a 500 MSPS flash analog-to-digital converter (ADC) system and handle transferring the digitized information to the first-level data integration system. SCI provides excellent latency performance for short messages and enables processor-to-processor communication with a minimum of protocol overhead. Typical SCI latencies for PCI bus architectures are 1.4 microseconds for an 8-byte store. SCI also has excellent bandwidth capabilities in RMA (remote memory access) mode or DMA (direct memory access) mode.

The VERITAS project will search for very high-energy gamma rays from many different classes of objects including black holes at the centers of active galaxies, pulsars, gamma-ray bursts, supernova remnants, globular clusters and galaxies including our own Milky Way Galaxy. Almost all of the information to be gained about the universe beyond planet Earth comes from the study of electromagnetic radiation. Gamma radiation is part of the electromagnetic spectrum that includes the familiar visible light and radio waves. Because gamma rays are very difficult to produce, the objects that emit them are very interesting to astrophysicists. In particular, high-energy gamma rays provide information about exploding stars (supernovae), pulsars, quasars and black holes, rather than ordinary stars or galaxies. As they strike Earth's atmosphere, high-energy gamma rays generate secondary radiation that can be detected by ground-based instrumentation, making it possible to study them with telescopes such as VERITAS.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, VERITAS is collaboration of several universities and research institutions including University of Chicago, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Purdue University, Iowa State University, Washington University, University of Utah, University of California Los Angeles, McGill University (Canada), National University of Ireland (Dublin), and University of Leeds (UK). ...Dolphin profile

See also:- Satellite Telemetry Interfaces

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