Notes from the field: Backup takes centre stage

Notes from the field: Backup takes centre stage

If that traffic doesn't get better you're going snowboarding by yourself," Amber warned me after our long haul back from Lake Tahoe last week. Amber has taught this old dog some new tricks on the snowboard, and I'll hit the slopes on my own if that's what it takes.

Speaking of transport, one of my spies has given me inside info on this whole Enron scandal.

Andersen has been working with ADIC (Advanced Digital Information Corp), Enron, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and lawyers to recover lost electronic documents. Andersen has a backup strategy that includes a "byte-level differential backup" of all employee laptops into a "data vault" whenever they touch the network. This corporate e-mail and memo police department is mysteriously called DREAD. So Andersen can be expected to fully disclose, even if Enron employees are handy with the delete key. Meanwhile, Andersen people still have a sense of humour. The company needed to ship one of the ADIC units offsite for data restoration but packing materials were short. The Andersen guy suggested there should be plenty of shredded paper around to do the job. The lawyers in the room didn't find that as funny as I did.

Boiling Java

On a different note, I hear there's lots of angst in the Java community about Sun's purported plans to make the J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) reference platform part of iPlanet to gain a competitive advantage in the battle with IBM and BEA. Sun's got to find a delicate balance with that one.

And talking things app dev, my spies have uncovered a rumour that substantiates the concept of Web services. They suggest Cisco is about to ink a multimillion-dollar deal with Talaris under which it will outsource administrative support for its remote workers to an online Java-based service.

Talaris has been something of a poster child for Java-based Web services, and it's getting a lot of attention from Microsoft these days, so don't be too surprised when these guys extend their service to add support for .Net environments.

Disappointing Dell

Online ordering and supply might be great, but you're not buying support with those deals. A reader complains about a bad experience: after hours of waiting on phones, getting cut off, service representatives promising to send e-mail that never arrives, "it was only through the subterfuge that I was a new customer with doubts about placing an order that I was able to break through the barrier", the reader explains. Memo to Michael Dell: hostile customer support is bad for business.

"On the upside, you've got some snowboarding talent there," Amber said with surprise. It's good for the ego, even if she's teasing me.

Send rumours and snowboarding tips to

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