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Enterprise systems, software and strategies for integrators and outsourcersJavaStation delay overlooked as Wang GS wins another RTA dealby Naomi JacksonSYDNEY - Despite running behind schedule on the rollout of almost 900 Sun JavaStation NCs, Wang Global Services' (GS) involvement at the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) has been extended.

Wang GS recently won the right to supply maintenance services to the RTA for the next three years, and it also about to finalise implementation of 1097 EFTPOS (electronic funds transfer point of sale) terminals in 128 motor registries and two customer service centres across NSW.

As part of the EFTPOS project which began late last year, Wang GS has provided software and systems integration support for the Intellect Multi-Pay terminals which are being integrated with the RTA's driver licence and vehicle registration system known as DRIVES.

According to Rory Hampson, Wang GS' man-ager of strategic accounts, the EFTPOS rollout is part of an ongoing relationship between Intellect and Wang GS, and both companies are keen to leverage the RTA project to move into other government departments.

Carl Scully, the NSW Minister for Roads and Transport, believes that is a distinct possibility.

"The RTA's EFTPOS system is quite innovative and has attracted considerable interest from other government departments," he said.

Meanwhile, Wang officials told ARN the JavaStation NC project is expected to be com- pleted by the end of August, four months later than originally planned.

Lotus gives a sneak peak at next Domino releaseby Naomi JacksonSYDNEY - Lotus is on track for a fourth-quarter release of Domino R5 after preview copies of its flagship product were recently made available to customer beta sites and 18,000 business partners worldwide.

The company plans to further whet the appetites of the messaging and collaboration market with a public beta to be made available in mid-August.

Among the new enhancements expected in Domino R5 are improved deployment and management features; wider Internet protocol support; and the increased integration of cc:Mail functionality.

The performance of Domino as a Web application server is also being further fine-tuned by the extension of the Domino Application Services - such as directory, routing and security services - to browsers and existing Web sites powered by Microsoft's Internet Information Server (IIS).

Internet clustering technology

Leveraging IBM's research and development arm, Lotus will also integrate Internet clustering technology to provide failover and load balancing for browsers; intelligent projection clustering algorithms (ICPAs) to arrange large volumes of data hierarchically; tighter integration with enterprise data and applications; and enhanced search facilities that recognise criteria, even if they are misspelt.

But R5 will not be without its hiccups. At this stage, support for Novell's NetWare operating system will not be included in the release.

Instead, Domino will initially run on OS/390, OS/400, OS/2, Windows NT, AIX, HP-UX and Sun Solaris only.

BEA takes next middleware step

BEA Systems has announced BEA M3, its next-generation Object Transaction Manager middleware platform. This shipment is part of the company's strategy to continue to expand its middleware solutions through development in objects and access to Web-based application servers. A future release will have support for Enterprise Java Beans (EJB).

IBM buys data-mining tool

IBM has acquired a data-mining technology from ISV Integrated Technology that is expected to add more complex mining algorithms to IBM's Intelligent Miner mining tool. The KnowledgeX software bought by IBM offers more focused analyses than the general analytical algorithms now in Intelligent Miner. KnowledgeX algorithms support analysis of factors such as relationships between companies or between people and companies.

SSA rolls out Unix upgrades - for HP onlyApplication vendor SSA has had trouble getting its Unix software out of first gear. But some users should finally see a pair of long-awaited power boosters this quarter.

There is a catch, though: The Unix upgrades being readied by System Software Associates (SSA) will run only on Hewlett-Packard's servers. The company, which still gets most of its sales from users of IBM's AS/400 systems, decided to develop for just one Unix platform as part of a cost-cutting program announced earlier this month. That creates a quandary for users who were planning to install the new versions of SSA's Business Process Control System (BPCS) software on Unix servers from IBM or the former Digital.

SGI records fourth consecutive quarterly lossSilicon Graphics Inc (SGI) ended fiscal year 1998 with its fourth consecutive quarterly loss, but predicted it will do better next year thanks in part to the forthcoming release of its first Windows NT-based workstation.

Including restructuring charges, SGI posted a net loss for the quarter, ended June 30, of $US220 million compared to earnings of $US102 million a year ago. Excluding the charges, SGI's net loss for the quarter was $US57 million.

Mixed Q2 results for Informix

Informix has reported a second-quarter profit of $US12.3 million, but saw revenues decline from a year ago. Revenues for the second quarter, ended June 30, 1998, were $US174.2 million, down from $US182.5 million in the second quarter of 1997.

Fibre Channel yet to take off

by Jaikumar Vijayan and Naomi Jackson

SYDNEY - Nearly five years after vendors first began pitching Fibre Channel architectures, the technology remains the "next big thing" in enterprise storage.

Fibre Channel is an interface technology that connects servers and storage systems. With a data transfer rate of 1GB per second, Fibre Channel is five times faster than SCSI technologies.

Fibre Channel lets users attach servers and storage systems dir-ectly across 10km vs SCSI's 25-metre limitation.

Implementations are growing steadily (though not as fast as expected), while costs are coming down and more vendors are supporting the technology.

Recently, for example, Storage Technology introduced its StorageNet family of Fibre Channel products aimed at letting users build high-performance dedicated storage networks.

And EMC has started to ship a Fibre Channel network hub that lets companies do the same. The vendors are among several companies that support Fibre Channel, including IBM, Sun Microsystems, Compaq and Data General.

But concerns about interoperability and product maturity mean that Fibre Channel is unlikely to move into the mainstream for at least another two years. At just over $US200 million, revenue from Fibre Channel sales last year was less than half the $US450 million predicted by International Data Corporation (IDC).

A soon-to-be-released IDC report pegs Fibre Channel revenue at $US6 billion to $US8 billion in 2001 - lower than the $US8.85 billion predicted earlier. That's because users must wait for all the pieces of Fibre Channel to fall into place, said Robert Gray, an IDC analyst.

"What you are seeing is a normal rollout of a complex, new technology," Gray said.

Moving to Fibre Channel means enabling an entire infrastructure that includes storage systems, chips, disks, mechanical components, adapters, device drives and management software - all of which have to work well with one another, he said.

Still, Fibre Channel's high speed and long maximum cable length are crucial at a time when mushrooming corporate data is forcing administrators to look for faster, more efficient ways to back up and store data throughout buildings and campuses.

Increasing number

According to Michael dal Maso, product man-ager for CV Services International, an increasing number of customers are turning to Fibre Channel because of its redundancy, flexibility and distance advantages.

The support of system vendors like Sun - which means many disk arrays ship with Fibre Channel adapters - is also boosting its adoption in Australia, dal Maso told ARN.

However, SCSI is likely to remain the dominant technology for some time, he said.

Oracle and IBM team up

SYDNEY - Oracle and IBM are teaming up to take on the dominance of Microsoft and Compaq in the Intel processor-based server market with a range of solutions incorpor-ating hardware, software and consulting services.

The first product to be offered as part of the strategic partnership will be IBM Netfinity servers bundled with the Oracle8 database.

"The bundling program of Oracle8 reflects the Oracle and IBM commitment to providing Windows NT customers with high-value business applications and easy-to-implement data management solutions," Brian Mitchell, Oracle's regional director for marketing and business development, said.

Initial support for Oracle products offered in partnership will be provided by the Oracle Customer Call Centre.

The two companies also announced the introduction of Oracle Financials for IBM's new RS/6000 HA50 cluster.

Oracle Tel (02) 9900 1000

Drop me a line

ARN's Enterprise Solutions section is designed to keep business partners, integrators and outsourcers informed about the latest in enterprise systems, software and strategies. Drop me a line at naomi_jackson@idg.com.au with any news leads you would like followed up or opinions you feel are important to this sector of the channel.


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