Sunbelt W2Knews Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, May 17, 2004 (Vol. 9, #20 - Issue #476)
Why Is Microsoft Killing Its Partners?
This issue of W2Knews contains:
- EDITORS CORNER
- Why Is Microsoft Killing Its Partners?
- SunPoll: Storage
- TECH BRIEFING
- Caught Between 'Finger-Pointing' Vendors?
- NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
- XP SP2 Explained
- Troubleshooting Sleep-mode Problems
- How To Recover From 'Recovery Mode' Error In Exchange 2003
- Moving From NT To Linux?
- NT/2000 THIRD PARTY NEWS
- Latest Updates for Sunbelt Network Security Inspector
- Security Patch Management Facts
- W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
- This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
- PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
- Sunbelt Network Security Inspector
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Why Is Microsoft Killing Its Partners?
OK, I have decided I'm going to be angry.
As you may or may not know, developing tools for the Microsoft
environment is fraught with risk. Why? Let me put it bluntly.
You're in bed with an 800-pound gorilla: if the gorilla turns
you get squashed. Redmond has done this numerous times in the
past: including things in MS-products that used to be third
party tools. A good example in our admin space is disk quotas.
Redmond uses third party vendors initially when they cannot
provide the functionality themselves right away. Often though,
the moment that it's possible, they include it in their own
products and sooner or later the third party developer is dead
or bought up in a fire sale. History is strewn with failed
third party MS-developers.
Of course they have the right to do this, MS is known to be a
ferocious competitor. They have lawsuits going all the time,
alleging they violated patents, anti-trust laws and the like.
But MS also realizes that having healthy developer relations is
crucial. Even Redmond cannot provide everything to everybody.
So, why are they threatening to kill an additional several
dozen third party developers?
You may ask yourself, what's the issue this time? Easy answer:
Spam. MS's so called Intelligent Messaging Filter [IMF] will
be released later this month, likely at the TechEd conference
in San Diego. This is per Edward Wu, a product manager for
Exchange Server. Wu apparently suffers from a case of so called
"history-revisionitis". In contradiction to Redmond's clear
statements about who gets the IMF (only companies on software
assurance, see the press release here:)
Wu said Redmond is "still reviewing" whether IMF will be offered
only to customers with Software Assurance (SA), or whether it
will be made available to all customers.
A decision is expected at TechEd, he said. You start wondering
though, are there competitive pressures, like Lotus Notes adding
a spam filter? No. Providing a free spam filter in Exchange 2003
is anti-competitive and could cause not just one, but a whole
bunch of "Netscapes". I wonder if Microsoft's legal beagles are
aware of Wu's plans, I can see an alliance of messaging vendors
band together and add significantly to Redmond's existing legal
case load. What's this new 'Anti-Trust Watchdog Committee' doing
over there anyway?
Another thing to consider is that tons of MS-customers have
bought into third-party vendor solutions based on MS's statement
that only SA-customers get IMF. So now MS might pull the rug from
underneath its own customers as well. They have justified their
twisting with bland politically correct statements like: "It is
our position to encourage our customers to use layers of
protection against spam and viruses. Our customers tell us that
the best solutions are often a combination of both MS and partner
capabilities. Many partners provide value-added features that
complement the functionality delivered in the first release of
IMF. The IMF is a basic filter and there is significant
opportunity for partners to add additional value with their own
Well, I say: BULL. Looking at it from a system admin perspective,
you might want to spend expensive server CPU cycles to double or
triple-filter viruses because of their damaging payloads, but
doing the same for spam? I don't think so.
You can see how important this is. Will the gorilla turn again
and squash a bunch of its partners and at the same time make
a whole bunch of customers unhappy about having spent money,
or will they honor their initial promise that the IMF is only
for large customers that participate in the Software Assurance
program? You can only ask yourself how come these kinds of
decisions are made, is it arrogance, stupidity, shortsightedness
or all of the above? We'll see at Tech.Ed how Redmond will treat
its third party software ecosystem. As for me, I understand more
and more why people start running Linux. Redmond simply can't be
trusted to keep its word it seems.
As a MS-customer, you should care, because Microsoft's behavior
creates a de-motivating atmosphere for MS developers, and more
and more will want to jump ship to go to another platform. So in
the end, you'll have fewer and fewer developers for MS platforms
if Redmond continues to make it so risky to develop for their
If Wu's plans are approved by Redmond Top Management, the IMF
acronym will take a new ugly meaning for its partners:
I Am F-----. So, Bill & Steve, are you listening?
Now over to something else. Storage! Here is the new SunPoll:
"Are software-only based Storage Area Networks a thing of the
future?"Naah. I'm sticking with direct attached storage
Maybe. Might save me some hardware
We already run SANs and I'm interested
That seems technically very interesting!
Vote here: rightmost column:
Quotes Of The Week:
"Exactitude in some small matters is the very soul of discipline"
-- Joseph Conrad
"I love a dog, he does nothing for political reasons." -- Will Rogers
UNDO Dept: The correct quote is - "Those who cannot remember
the past are condemned to repeat it." and it was by George
Santayana, (1863 - 1952). It may be that Truman "paraphrased"
Santayana when he said: "Those who do not read and understand
history are doomed to repeat it.
(email me with feedback: [email protected])
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for both of these. This is HUGE for many of you that needed
this feature. Double-Take's companion product for MS-clusters
(called GeoCluster) now officially works with Exchange 2000 and
2003 as well. Check the latest version.
Visit DOUBLE-TAKE For Exchange 2000(3) for more information.
Caught Between 'Finger-Pointing' Vendors?
You likely run servers from a few hardware vendors, and dozens of
software products from different software shops. Ever got caught
in the middle of one of these finger pointing blizzards?
Microsoft only goes so far with its certification process. It's
for their OS-en only, not for any of their major applications, and
a good example is Exchange. Microsoft hasn?t certified any third-party solutions around Exchange 2003 protection. Company-wide, MS
relies on ISV?s to add functionality and solutions around their
So, how do they prevent finger pointing problems when thing break?
Microsoft and about 200 other companies participate in TSAnet.org
to handle these types of support issues. Without TSA, every
hardware and software vendor would blissfully say that customer
issues which even smell of another product is "not their problem"
and throw it over the proverbial fence. TSA?s support system
provides for Vendor A (for example Microsoft) to bring in Vendor
B?s support (third party tool vendor) to solve a mutual
As I am sure you are painfully aware, troubleshooting is as much
art as science. But at some point, you try to isolate an
offending process ? perhaps a Microsoft hotfix or an anti-virus
driver or a monitoring component. At that point, one can identify
the vendor to escalate to. That vendor tries to work within TSA
to identify cause. For example, you might find an Anti-Virus
product is an offender, but the cause is a Microsoft service pack
release. But the point is that TSA provides a community for
vendors to work collectively on a common customer?s problem ? without finger pointing but also without claiming "full support".
And once Vendor B?s components are absolved of the issue, then
Vendor A will search for other potential causes (Vendor C, D,
etc.). In reality, Microsoft doesn?t "fully support" any server
except for a machine that is explicitly on their O/S Hardware
Compatibility List and running only Microsoft products.
If you choose vendors for mission critical applications, it makes
sense to check if they are a TSA Member at the link below. It's a
not for profit, vendor-neutral infrastructure where vendors
cooperate to solve tech problems together.
(with thanks to Jason Buffington, NSI Software)
NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
XP SP2 Explained
If you're waiting for XP SP2, we've got the lowdown on how it
will change XP security and how it will impact your systems. Here
are tips, expert responses and news stories to guide you in your
planning. Check out the SearchWin2000 site for this article!
Troubleshooting Sleep-mode Problems
Most versions of Windows use the Advanced Configuration and
Power Interface (ACPI) to enter a number of different low-power consumption modes by the user or after a certain amount
of elapsed time without activity. There are five different
power states available to Windows on an ACPI computer.
Occasionally, some of these power states become unavailable.
Find out the cause of this problem and how to fix it. (Free registration required.)
How To Recover From 'Recovery Mode' Error In Exchange 2003
If you have upgraded your Exchange server from Exchange 5.5 to
2000 or 2003, you may get a spurious error that reads: "Exchange
is currently in recovery mode. You can either connect to your
Exchange server using the network, work offline or cancel
this login." Read this tip to find out why, and what to do
about it at the searchExchange.com site (Free registration required.):
Moving From NT To Linux?
Client/Server Magazine reported a very interesting little tidbit
of information that I thought was newsworthy. It's just a short
item so here it is: "According to IBM, upwards of 50,000 NT
servers worldwide were migrated to Linux in Q1. IBM is expecting
to capitalize on the fact that Microsoft is supposed to pull
the plug on service and support for the two million NT servers
in the world and is recruiting resellers to push Linux on the
NT sites. In March it had 45 migration-trained business partners
and is reportedly adding about five a week. IBM thinks 760,000
of the NT servers will migrate off of NT this year and that Linux
can capture half of them. The rest will gravitate to Windows
Server 2003". Grateful acknowledgement to Client Server News,
It is published weekly by G2 Computer Intelligence Inc at:
THIRD PARTY NEWS
Latest Updates for Sunbelt Network Security Inspector
To get the latest SNSI version, visit:
To update from within the SNSI console, select Settings, enter
your full registration key and click on Check Now button.
New vulnerability updates for this release include:
W2169 - HP Web JetAdmin Ver. 6.5-7.0 Vulnerabilities
W2170 - HP Web JetAdmin Ver. 7.1-7.5 Vulnerabilities
W2171 - McAfee Security Installer Control Vulnerability
W2172 - Help Center HCP URL Validation Vulnerability - XP, W2K3
SNSI uses the latest Mitre Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures
(CVE) list of computer incidents. It also contains the latest
SANS/FBI top 20 vulnerability list. SNSI also uses the latest
CERT, CIAC Microsoft and FedCIRC (Department of Homeland
Security Patch Management Facts
FACT: Microsoft® constantly releases patches for Windows®
NT/2000/XP/Server 2003, Terminal Server, IIS, SQL Server,
Exchange, Internet Explorer, MDAC, Media Player, Windows
Media Services, NetMeeting®, Office, Outlook and others.
Primarily, these patches fix security vulnerabilities and
FACT: Networks are vulnerable to intrusion if the latest
patches are not applied.
FACT: Managing service packs and hotfixes is complex and
ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS: Do you know which patches to
deploy? Do you know which ones can be safely installed and
in what combination/order? Do you find yourself testing patch
deployments for more time than it takes to install them? Do
you have an automated, reliable method for managing patches
that reduces the risks to downtime? Can you validate that the
job was done right?
SECURE YOUR BUSINESS: With one breach of your systems, a
malicious intruder can change your web site content, dump
critical files, destroy and steal customer data, or worse.
These real events result in downtime for your company and
affect the bottom line. Security hotfixes are released
constantly. Plus, patches change all the time (sometimes
without much fanfare). UpdateEXPERT empowers you to manage
this process with information and deployment intelligence
that is the best in the industry.
REMOTE MANAGEMENT FOR ANY NUMBER OF SYSTEMS: UpdateEXPERT
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KNOW WHAT YOU ARE MISSING AND VALIDATE: UpdateEXPERT includes
enhanced patch validation with intelligent version checking
functionality that automatically validates files according to
checksum, file size and version information. If a new patch
overwrites a file from an older patch, UpdateEXPERT knows that
the newer file is still valid. There are many good reasons to
invalidate a patch?s installation, but a newer version of a
DLL may not be one of these reasons. Check out UpdateEXPERT
This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
Four very tricky questions, but a lot of fun!
Yeti and his Penguin pal are back for more fun- 4 games in all.
Another set of amazing pictures. These were sent to me by friends.
(There may be copyrights on these that I'm not aware of.) (PowerPoint)
Soccer in Japan on a sunny day. The ball gets stolen by...what? (Media File)
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040517FA-TornadoConcepts, but getting closer. Look at the "Home Tablet PC Concept"
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040517FA-ConceptWho says you can't do this at home? (Media File)
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040517FA-LaserA really cool template for a system admin resignation letter:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040517FA-ResignShortly after his flight, a very excited Melvill told CNN that
seeing the sky go from blue to black was the thrill of his life.
PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
Sunbelt Network Security Inspector
Close the door on hackers! You have to find vulnerabilities
before they become problems. SNSI is a low-cost, quick-install,
fast-result vulnerability scanner that uses a top quality,
commercial-grade database of ranked vulnerabilities for Windows
networks. It's got great reports and shows how to plug holes fast
and easy. Download your eval copy and test it in your own