Sunbelt W2Knews Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Thu, Aug 9, 2001 (Vol. 6, #60 - Issue #295)
MS Ships WXP Early
This issue of W2Knews contains:
- EDITORS CORNER
- Vote For Your Fave Tools!
- TECH BRIEFING
- Government Regulation Of IT Infrastructure
- NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
- MS Ships WXP Early!
- Gates Quote Turns Out To Be "Urban Legend"
- NT/2000 THIRD PARTY NEWS
- Lands' End Manages Group Policy In W2K with FAZAM 2000
- OpalisRobot Case Study: Disseminate Critical Information
- W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
- This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
- PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
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Vote For Your Fave Tools!
I'd like to welcome all new subscribers (we've had a ton recently)
and remind you that Sunbelt and W2Knews sponsor a yearly event: The
W2Knews? Target Awards 2001. You can vote on over 100 different
products, from sixty seven developers, in two dozen categories of
system management tools.
It's a great way to see which tools are finalists in each category
and also to see what your colleagues are voting for. In many cases
this will cut down on your search for new tools, as the shortlists
are already prepared for you, and the 'faves' are indicated. Please
take a minute to vote. You'll get immediate results after you are
done. VOTE HERE:
UNDO DEPT: A snafu in a WQuinn press release said Dell was selling
Prosignia servers to the US Navy. Wrong, that's PowerEdge please.
Some one mixed up two Texas PC-makers ;-)
(email me with feedback: [email protected])
Windows & .NET Server Connections, THE event for this Fall!
Hear from Mark Russinovich, Mark Minasi, and many more.
Get the latest on Windows 2000, XP, and .NET Server.
Also learn about the entire line of .NET Enterprise Servers.
Includes more than 75 sessions at a five-star resort hotel -
hundreds of hours of training in beautiful Scottsdale, AZ!
This is the systems event you can't afford to miss out on!
Details: Visit www.winconnections.com or call 1-800-505-1201
Visit WinConnections for more information.
Government Regulation Of IT Infrastructure
Quite a few people sent me email and asked about HIPAA - The "Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act" passed in 1997. It's
an example of the Government making stringent requirements regarding
security and disaster recovery protection for "individually identifiable
healthcare information". I'd not be surprised if something similar
is coming down the pike for European sites as well, in a year or so.
So, what's HIPAA mean to YOU, and what does this have to do with MS
NT/W2K? More than you think. Healthcare organizations (plus the
companies that serve them) basically fall into the same category
of business as banks. Yup, you read that right. This means there
are certain security and disaster recovery standards you will have
to comply with according to Federal law. You can compare it to a
Y2K deadline for the healthcare bizz, as a LOT of stuff needs to
be in place before a certain date, (or else).
How do you know if HIPAA applies to your networks?
Entities that must comply are:
In the last case, you are required to have the same level of security
as that healthcare organization. Kind of the 'weakest link' principle
that is being applied. This law reaches farther than most people
know. In a nutshell, it (simplified) boils down to: do you receive
individually identifiable health data. If so, better start investigating
the HIPAA requirements, follow the necessary steps to become compliant,
and self-certify through your lawyer.
- Healthcare providers (hospitals, doctor's offices, etc)
- Health plan insurance companies like HMO's
- Healthcare clearing houses (these process claims for providers)
- If you do business with one of the three above (meaning you
transfer healthcare information between yourselves) you are
also subject to HIPAA.
The law has several components, and needs to be implemented by
different people in organizations that are affected. From the
viewpoint of the system administrator that wears the hat of
"business continuity planner", you have several requirements:
From my perspective, this boils down to a thorough Disaster
Recovery Plan with tested procedures and policy, tools, drills
and trained staff in place. And of course security standards
and protection at high levels. But you should have that anyway.
If you do not: better start planning now!
- You have to conduct a business impact analysis
- You have to have a data backup plan
- You must have an emergency response plan
- You have to be able to recover applications and data in a reasonable amount of time.
- You must have a plan testing and revision plan
NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
MS Ships WXP Early!
CNET just reported that MS has given PC makers the OK to ship
WXP as a whole month early. The official launch date was Oct.
25-th but it looks like at least four of the large PC builders
can start shipping late September. For the industry this is
good news. WXP requires powerful hardware and the new goodies
included might sway people to trash their old PC's. That could
make total Q4 PC sales look a little better, as total PC sales
declined about 8% the last quarter.
And for MS, releasing early makes it very difficult (but not
impossible) for any Court to stop the XP release as part of the
Federal case that is still slogging its way through the legal
system. Last Monday MS asked the Supreme Court to review the
recent appeals court ruling. That's well orchestrated timing if
you ask me. A great way to stall and get WXP out the door. In
case you had not noticed, practicing Law is the High Art of
delaying and obstruction.
A lot of parties hope that this will be a shot in the arm for the
PC-industry. I expect it to do a little better in Q4, with the
news that Intel will slash prices of the 1.8 Ghz P4 up to 50%
this month. But for us techies it only means we will have to deal
with yet another flavor of Windows that needs to be supported,
and one with copy protection to boot.
However, knowing MS, nothing is certain until the code really goes
gold. Retail copies of WXP would not be available until Oct.
If you have a MS licensing program, you might plan for the next
upgrade headache around late Sept. As I said last week, MS sent
out the final WXP release candidate to 250,000 people. That was
build 2526, and since that time another build (2532) has come out.
WXP will also ship with Internet Explorer V6, which seems to be
pretty much wrapped up by now.
Keep in mind that due to this early release, MS is falling back
on something that system admins do not like. They are leaving
stuff out of WXP, that you later can download and add. (Think
100 Meg Service Packs, ugh) Some of these are services that
update things like the new Messenger, and .NET alerts.
Gates Quote Turns Out To Be "Urban Legend"
Last issue I referred to Gates and "64Meg" is enough. Well I was wrong
twice in the same sentence! [grin] This was sent to me by an alert subscriber.
By BILL GATES (c.1996 Bloomberg Business News)
QUESTION: I read in a newspaper that in 1981 you said, "640K of memory
should be enough for anybody." What did you mean when you said this?
ANSWER: I've said some stupid things and some wrong things, but not
that. No one involved in computers would ever say that a certain
amount of memory is enough for all time.
The need for memory increases as computers get more potent and software
gets more powerful. In fact, every couple of years the amount of memory
address space needed to run whatever software is mainstream at the
time just about doubles. This is well-known. When IBM introduced its PC
in 1981, many people attacked Microsoft for its role. These critics
said that 8-bit computers, which had 64K of address space, would last
forever. They said we were wastefully throwing out great 8-bit
programming by moving the world toward 16-bit computers.
We at Microsoft disagreed. We knew that even 16-bit computers, which
had 640K of available address space, would be adequate for only four
or five years. (The IBM PC had 1 megabyte of logical address space.
But 384K of this was assigned to special purposes, leaving 640K
of memory available. That's where the now-infamous "640K barrier"
A few years later, Microsoft was a big fan of Intel's 386 microprocessor
chip, which gave computers a 32-bit address space. Modern operating
systems can now take advantage of that seemingly vast potential memory.
But even 32 bits of address space won't prove adequate as time goes
on. Meanwhile, I keep bumping into that silly quotation attributed
to me that says 640K of memory is enough. There's never a citation;
the quotation just floats like a rumor, repeated again and again.
Well, there you have it. Gates never said it in the first place!
THIRD PARTY NEWS
Lands' End Manages Group Policy In W2K with FAZAM 2000
FullArmor Corp announced today that the technology savvy retailer Lands'
End has chosen its FAZAM 2000 Group Policy management solution to ease
the deployment and management of Group Policy in W2K.
"We chose to use FAZAM 2000 because of the time-savings and efficiency
the product brings to our Windows 2000 deployment and management strategy,"
states Tom Johnson, Director of Technical Services at Lands' End. "FAZAM
2000 makes our policy definition process more automated, reducing policy
creation and management to minutes rather than hours and days. We also
believe that this management solution will help us eliminate any additional
people required to support Group Policy across the enterprise."
"Lands' End has a reputation for using cutting edge technology to increase
their business effectiveness and customer satisfaction and we are happy
they are looking to our technology to continue this goal," states Richard
Farrell, CEO of FullArmor. "Group Policy is a major component in Windows
2000's ROI and manageability and we are excited to help Lands' End maximize
these benefits with FAZAM 2000."
FAZAM 2000 is a critical solution for enterprises that are looking to take
advantage of Windows 2000-based IntelliMirror management capabilities.
FAZAM 2000 features include Resultant Set of Policies (RSoP), restore and
back-up capabilities, reporting and searching features, delegation options,
and scripting. By automating the labor-intensive tasks of GPO creation,
distribution and management, FAZAM 2000 is quickly becoming the critical
solution for corporate enterprises and ASPs looking to increase the speed,
effectiveness, and scalability of their Windows 2000 deployments and
ongoing management. You can check the product out over here:
OpalisRobot Case Study: Disseminate Critical Information
OpalisRobot with E-mail Add-on Keeps Investment Community in The Know
The Liberty Ermitage Group (LEG) is one of the largest hedge fund managers
in Europe. Their service is built around portfolio-administration and
valuation, using the latest technology. On a daily basis they collect
data, use the information to prepare fund (portfolio) valuations and
communicate the results to all parties involved. A lot of this is
repetitive and needed to be automated.
At LEG, information on financial deals is received electronically and
must be made available to employees of the company ASAP. Data is received
via several sources, then input in the valuation system. Next, reports
made by the Valuation team are then distributed worldwide by fax, e-mail
or FTP to many different targets.
Each morning, a dozen staff members had to manually open and read the
hundreds of e-mails, then export the information or cut and paste it
into a master Excel document so that the information could be reviewed
by experts and the company's valuation software. This was a time consuming
and therefore expensive task.
Two years ago, an IT staff member at LEG obtained an eval copy of
OpalisRobot. It proved to be a valuable and reliable automation solution.
They set OpalisRobot to monitor the sending of faxes and e-mails as soon
as a new valuation on a fund was received by the system. The IT department
did this by configuring OpalisRobot to monitor a "trigger file" in a shared
When new information is added to the trigger file, it sends e-mails and
faxes by creating a text file with the extension '.fax'. The file is then
sent by the company's email or fax software.
OpalisRobot also updates the organization's historical database and
extracts performance data to compile more detailed reports and updates
the company's website with the new data. Reports are sent to various uses
on a send list. The send list is now written into an Access database,
where OpalisRobot uses user-defined parameters to start reporting cycles.
Every night OpalisRobot backs up the content of all faxes that were sent
out and stores them in a ZIP archive file.
OpalisRobot with it's corresponding E-mail Add-on also automated the
retrieval of information from the hundreds of e-mails once opened and
manually processed by many staff members. Opalis now "reads" the emails
automatically and "looks" for specific information about the funds that
the company tracks. When this information is found, it is automatically
exported to the master Excel document so that valuation experts and the
valuation software can review it.
"OpalisRobot with the E-mail Add-on now copies each and every attachment
to an archive directory on the network. Depending on the context of the
message or attachment, it can trigger an automated process. For example,
all the trades of some of our largest counterparts are received in text
or Excel format and loaded into the valuation system. Trades are posted
within two minutes after they are received via e-mail." - Dick Moelee, IT Manager Liberty Ermitage Luxembourg S.A.
Before, the procedure of posting 40 trades took about three hours, one
hour to check against the original document and additional time to
correct mistakes. What's more important, it now happens automatically
in the background and there are no keystroke mistakes.
Last, but not least, OpalisRobot reliably reduces the workload of admins.
A big advantage is that each process put in OpalisRobot is as good as
documented already. Processes are broken down in smaller blocks and the
graphical environment makes it easy for new staff members to understand.
You can get a 30-day eval of OpalisRobot here:
- Environment of the implementation:
- Windows NT 4.00 (service pack 4) with OpalisRobot
- SWIFT Alliance Entry (financial software)
- Tobit (fax software)
- SunGard INVEST ONE + Apollo (valuation software)
- Lynx (registration software)
- Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Access)
- Microsoft Visual Basic
- Microsoft SQL Server
This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
HP has also a mainframe in the works that runs W2K. Pretty cool stuff
The vmyths.com site debunks a lot of virus hysteria. Guy knows his stuff
Two Galaxies colliding and forming new stars. 100,000 light years across
This is how Steve Ballmer whoops up the MS-troops. Seatbelts on!
PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
A release in "Books for IT Leaders" series, Information Warfare explains
the methodologies behind hacks and cyber attacks and provides defensive
strategies and counter measures designed to help companies survive
infrastructure attacks, military conflicts, competitive intelligence
gathering, economic warfare, and corporate espionage. The authors are
renowned industry experts--Michael Erbschloe has connections with the
government and is known for his analysis of The Love Bug.