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 Alexander Wolfe
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Profile of Alexander Wolfe

News & Commentary Posts: 624
Alexander Wolfe is a former editor for InformationWeek.
Articles by Alexander Wolfe

Wolfe's Den: Cisco Seeks To Rule The Cloud

12/7/2010
The networking behemoth intends to automate cloud deployment, as spotlighted via its just-announced partnership with BMC. We chat with Lew Tucker, Cisco's chief technology officer of cloud computing, who talks about cloud-o-nomics, interoperability standards and how Cisco aims to be the go-to supplier of equipment to cloud providers.

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Top 5 Tech Trends For 2011

10/22/2010
Big ideas heard at the InformationWeek 500 conference include a renewed focus on innovation, the importance of data visualization, and the ongoing agony of maintenance fees.

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Unlocking Intel's $50 CPU Upgrade Program

9/21/2010
Sometimes you can't win for losing. Intel is getting hammered by the Web-o-sphere for purportedly ripping off consumers by selling a $50 upgrade to unlock some hidden processor features, when the chip behemoth's main intent is to help its authorized system builders earn a little extra cash. Read on for a possibly deeper dive than you may be interested in.

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Hurd In, Phillips Out As Oracle President

9/6/2010
Oracle has hired former HP CEO Mark Hurd to be its president, replacing Charles Phillips, who has resigned. Hurd will take the reins of Oracle's strategy of combining software and hardware, as it battles IBM.

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Server Technology Hits A Crossroads

8/30/2010
Highlights of exclusive InformationWeek Analytics research as it appears in "State Of Server Technology 2010," our report evaluating changes in the server market motivated by the push to consolidate data center systems, get power and cooling costs under control and make the most of the cloud.

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Google Missing Enterprise 2.0 Future By Killing Wave

8/5/2010
You can't be a serious player in the upcoming Web 2.0/Enterprise 2.0 world if you don't have a communications and collaboration platform. That's why it's alarming that Google is pulling the plug on further development of Wave, even though they're saying the technology will appear in other products. This is where one sees the failure of their model of throwing betas against the wall to see

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Windows Phone 7 As Web 2.0 Pacesetter?

7/25/2010
Possibly my perspective is collaboratively twisted, because I've been spending so much time looking into Enterprise 2.0 technologies. Probably that's why I think all the chatter about Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 is missing the point in comparing the new mobile platform to iPhone and Android. What Microsoft is doing is brilliant: they're bringing Web 2.0-ness to mobile more forcefully than any of their co

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Vint Cerf Eyes Interplanetary Internet

7/22/2010
I've never much considered the potential latency of packets routed between Earth and Mars. Me, I'm more worried about my cable-modem going down or dropped 3G calls. Fortunately, Vint Cerf, co-developer of TCP/IP and currently a Google evangelist, is among a group of more forward-thinking folks envisioning an interplanetary backbone where network traffic hubs could be hundreds of millions of miles apart.

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Cisco Quad Exec Talks Enterprise 2.0

6/24/2010
Part of the first crop of serious Enterprise 2.0 products, Cisco Quad is the networking powerhouse's ambitious attempt to surge to the head of the pack. (My more holistic market take is that Quad is yet another piece of the pie -- alongside Flip and Borderless Networks -- through which Cisco is expanding itself to ultimately become the world's most important technology company; an Intel of the 2010's if you will.) I sat down recently with Murali Sitaram, the Cisco vice president in charge of
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Wolfe's Den: Top 5 Enterprise 2.0 Roadblocks

6/23/2010
Our columnist identifies the challenges which could derail social enterprise tools, as Cisco and IBM battle to turn businesses into Facebook-like collaboration environments. With counterpoint from JP Rangaswami, Murali Sitaram, and Ted Schadler.

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Video: SAP Demos StreamWork At Enterprise 2.0

6/21/2010
I'm just back from the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston, where the big takeaway was that collaborative tools are moving out of the hype phase into the implementation mode. This means a raft of products, to be followed by a titanic market battle among Cisco, IBM, Google, Jive, and others. One offering on display was SAP's StreamWork, which adds a business-intelligence twist to the whole workplace social tool thing. Click ahead for the video demo.

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Oracle Seen Axing AMD Opteron On Sun Servers

6/8/2010
Word has been swirling now for a couple of months that Oracle is going to abandon the use of AMD's Opteron processor on future Sun servers. (Oracle has owned Sun Microsystems since January.) This talk started with an Australian blog post in early May. While Oracle hasn't confirmed the report, it hasn't issued a denial either. Here's what I found out direct from the horse's mouth.

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IBM Adds Heft To Enterprise 2.0

5/26/2010
I confess that I still think of IBM as stodgy, so my head has been turned around by the leadership I'm seeing out of Big Blue on Enterprise 2.0. Two new Pearson/IBM Press books written by IBMers provide a sound intro for managers looking to get pointed in the right direction so they can help their organizations get beyond the hype and extract some real value from E2.0 technologies.

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Top 3 Pluses & Minuses Of Enterprise 2.0

5/24/2010
Getting ready for the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston, June 14- 17, I've been thinking about the value of the online collaboration tools most of us are beginning to embrace. My early take is that the positives are engagement, empowerment, and the potential to spur innovation. The downsides are the dangers of groupthink gone wild and the security risks of exposing valuable company data. Click through for my "top three" lists of E2.0 pluses and minus

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Microsoft Takes Supercomputing To The Cloud

5/17/2010
Buried beneath the bland verbiage announcing Microsoft's Technical Computing Initiative on Monday is some really exciting stuff. As Bill Hilf, Redmond's general manager of technical computing, explained it to me, Microsoft is bringing burst- and cluster-computing capability to its Windows Azure platform. The upshot is that anyone will be able to access HPC in the cloud.

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SAP Smart To Snare Sybase's Mobile Mojo

5/13/2010
SAP's $5.8-billion acquisition of Sybase should finally put some momentum behind the movement of business-critical enterprise software apps onto smartphones. That's something today's increasingly mobile corporate workforces need. However, deployment has proceeded at a snail's pace, probably because the enabling expertise has been centered in pockets outside of the mainstream of the enterprise software-development community.

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Cloud Computing Revolution Seeding Unseen Servers

5/11/2010
The rise of cloud computing is going to stoke demand for servers, according to a new forecast from IDC. For me, the critical point is that public cloud providers like Google don't buy servers, they build them. And the design decisions they make -- constructing sparsely configured but powerful scale-out servers -- will feed back into the enterprise market.

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Cyberwar Threat At Code Red, Clarke Warns

4/21/2010
Former counter-terrorism advisor Richard Clarke has a new book out, and it's scary stuff for all of us concerned about the national security of the United States. Scarier still, the alarms sounded by the book -- "Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It" -- aren't news to anyone who has even a minimal clue about the state of cybersecurity.

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Cisco Boosts Bandwidth Play With CRS-3 Intro

3/9/2010
Cisco took its bandwidth strategy to the next level on Tuesday, unveiling an ultra-high-capacity carrier routing system. The CRS-3 product announcement culminates several weeks of hype, during which Cisco teased it as news which would "change the Internet forever." In reality, it's a smart, incremental move intended to position Cisco as the go-to bandwidth provider.

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Wireless Analyst Weighs In On Life After Stroke

3/4/2010
My post on Intel executive vice president Sean Maloney's stroke prompted an e-mail from wireless and telecom industry analyst Jeff Kagan, who's himself a stroke survivor. I wanted to bring you the exchange, because I expect it'll open your eyes, the way it opened mine, to the unpredictability of the illness and the recovery period.

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Take Our Server Survey

3/3/2010
The server space has changed rapidly over the past few years, forced into a technological transition by four broad and simultaneously emerging trends: the ongoing push toward consolidation, the business imperative to rein in out-of-control power and cooling costs, the rise of cloud computing and a looming push for next-generation data center architectures

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How Will Sean Maloney's Stroke Affect Intel?

3/2/2010
I called Intel to see if I could get some more detail about the condition of Intel executive vice president--and potential future CEO--Sean Maloney, who suffered a stroke earlier this week. Other than noting that he's expected to fully recover, Intel is being very careful about what it's saying. (It's still being a heck of a lot more forthright than Apple was in the wake of CEO Steve Jobs's liver transplant.) I got a few tea leaves from Intel beyond its public statement, so read on.

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Toyota Failure Proves Quality Isn't Scalable

2/26/2010
There's a computer-industry lesson embedded within the bad news surrounding Toyota's unintended acceleration problem. It's out of the same playbook which in an earlier day saw GM morph from an innovator--electric starter, automatic transmission--into a lumbering behemoth. It's this: Quality is not infinitely scalable.

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Force10 Fixin' To Switch HP, Cisco Customers

2/24/2010
Force10 Networks is making hay of the impending termination by Cisco of its partnership with HP. The scrappy Ethernet vendor launched a promotion on Wednesday intended to get HP resellers to push Force10 switches instead of competing Cisco and HP ProCurve gear.

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Cisco Smacks Down HP Partnership

2/19/2010
Cisco has made what can only be characterized as an aggressive move emphasizing its strategic surge from a networking-centric vendor into a unified computing powerhouse. As in, they sell servers now, too. In a blog post, Cisco unleashed the news it will terminate its system integrator contract with HP, and the latter will no longer be a Cisco Certified Channel or Global Service Alliance partner.

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Servers 2010: Wonky Tech Trumps Hype Cycle

1/8/2010
I've spent the early days of the new year--I know; it seems like we've been back at work for a month already--delving into the server landscape. Talking with vendors this week, the big thing that jumped out at me is the discontinuity between what folks like me ask about and what they're working on. As in, we're chattering about the cloud-computing hype cycle, while they're striving to improve power-supply efficiency and build virtualization management dashboards.

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Apple Tablet Success Riding On Touch-Panel Patents

12/31/2009
In my recent story on the Apple iSlate speculation, I pointed to Windows tablets to make the point that Steve Jobs and company don't invent things, they perfect them. But when I wrote that Apple doesn't have any tablet patents, a reader noted that what Apple does have is multi-touch interface patents. And those will be the key to the Apple tablet.

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Windows 7 Year In Review

12/30/2009
The operating-system buzz in 2009 may have been split 60/40 between Windows 7 and Google Chrome OS, but only the former is here today. As to whether a Web-centric OS like Chrome can ultimately edge out the most polished traditional desktop version ever, that's yet to be determined. During 2010, though, I expect that Windows 7 will increase its footprint, as enterprises initially wary of adoption begin to fold Win7 boxes into heterogeneous environments.

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Intel Recap: Atom, Nehalem Were 2009 Highlights

12/28/2009
For processor-architecture voyeurs of the Intel variety, 2009 was most interesting for the emergence of the low end as market segment with legs enough to compete with traditional laptops. (Read: Atom and netbooks.) At the same time, servers got a big kicker with release of the Nehalem line in April.

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Top 10 Intel & AMD Stories Of 2009

12/11/2009
High-profile developments on the processor landscape this year included aggressive multicore designs, research to put data centers on chip, and a surprise antitrust settlement between the dueling semiconductor vendors.

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AMD, Intel: Graphics To Trump Processors In 2010

12/10/2009
For the last few days, I've been mulling over the top semiconductor stories of the year. Clearly, the settlement by Intel and AMD of their ongoing antitrust and patent/licensing disputes is the biggest business news. Picking the tech champ is tougher, because it's not about where we've been in 2009, but rather where we're headed in 2010.

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Windows 7 Upgrades Drop Ball On Data Migration

12/8/2009
Today's experience of upgrading one's PC to a new operating system is qualitatively different from that of a decade ago. It's no longer so much about the OS. You've already got something decent; you're mostly adding new bells and whistles. What's different now is there's a lot more user data--pictures, e-mails and music/video files--to move over. And that experience, quite frankly, stinks.

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Podcast: Panda Security CEO Juan Santana

12/2/2009
I sat down recently to chat with Juan Santana, chief executive of the largest security vendor you might not be familiar with. Yet Panda Security, founded in Spain in 1990, is huge in Europe and no slouch either in the United States, where it competes against the likes of Symantec, Trend Micro, Kaspersky, and McAfee. I talked with Santana amid the launch of Panda Cloud Protection Service, which moves threat analysis to the cloud and installs with a very small footprint on the client.

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Microsoft Seeks Patent For Cloud Data Migration

11/30/2009
On the cusp of launching its Azure cloud computing service, Microsoft is also making a savvy bid to lock up a patent for one of the main worries--vendor lock-in--of cloud users. (The other big concern is security.) The folks from Redmond have filed a patent application for migrating data to a new cloud, which is what you'd have to do when leave your first vendor.

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Encryption Is Cloud Computing Security Savior

11/16/2009
I'm beginning to think that fears about cloud security are overblown. The reason: an intellectual framework is already in place for protecting data, applications, and connections. It's called encryption. What's evolving now, and isn't anywhere near fully baked, is a set of agreed-upon implementations and best practices. Today's post talks about some relevant and interesting work from Trend Micro and from IBM.

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Cloud Security In Focus Amid Data Theft Fears

11/11/2009
Yeah, I know, this is another one of those "everything changes" moments where we're prodded into frenzied activity--as opposed to effective action--because an emerging technology has surged ahead of our ability to properly manage it. I'm talking about cloud computing, and the attendant fears not just of data theft, but of breaches of SaaS computing resources themselves. Fortunately, there are a bunch of below-the-radar efforts attempting to address these worries.

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Admiral Warns Cybersecurity Threat Looms For U.S.

11/10/2009
This week's 60 Minutes broadcast should make everyone afraid, very afraid, of the real, looming specter of cyberwarfare attacks. As I recently blogged, government agencies are already going full-bore to come up with guidelines to protect federal networks. So when an Admiral goes on national television to say hackers have the ability to take down our power grid, he's

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Facebook Security Crisis Could Derail Social Nets

11/6/2009
There's a security problem on the horizon, which could derail the progress of social networking has made in breaking down the barriers between business and personal Internet usage. (Whether that's a good thing or not is a separate argument.) I'm speaking of the rising tide of fake Facebook messages, phishing threats, and malware.

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Cisco: It's All About Bandwidth, Stupid!

11/4/2009
Analysts who've lately focused on a Cisco's decade-long buying binge will surely weigh in on the networking powerhouse's Monday announcement that it plans to acquire Hong Kong set-top-box maker DVN. Yet most of these financial musings, which focus on Cisco's stock price, are missing the point. It's all about bandwidth, stupid.

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Linux AWOL From Desktop Upgrades

11/2/2009
It hit me the other day that something's missing amid the Windows 7 launch hoopla. Last time around--indeed, during every prior upgrade cycle--we've witnessed the fanboys pop up like Whack-A-Mole survivors to hector us about the big mistake we're about to make and to proffer the open-source operating system as the better option. This time, nada. Why?

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Should Your Enterprise Network Be An Internet Hot Spot?

10/21/2009
Thursday's Windows 7 consumer launch finds me wondering about a seemingly radical idea suggested by a chief technology officer. Namely, enterprises should open up their networks, effectively turning them, as far as users are concerned, into Internet hot spots. The emergence of both cloud computing and Windows 7 could push this forward, though one will be able to argue that this is simply conventional networks in hot-spot clothing.

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Big Brother Looking To Control Your Smart Grid?

10/14/2009
Is Big Brother about to muck about with your toaster? That's that latest concern--out of left field though it may be--which is being raised about Smart Grids, the technological push du jour to update our creaking electricity transmission infrastructure with efficiency inducing digital controls. Or, as I call it, the utility is the network.

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SocialCalc Could Help Wikis Grow Up

10/7/2009
Have you been wiki-ized? I don't know if that's a word, but if you work at a tech company, you know exactly what I'm talking. Mostly it's been Clearspace which has provided the platform that's doubled your e-mail load, even as it has genuinely helped us all grope towards greater levels of collaboration. But there are other innovators in the wiki space, notably Socialtext, which has just advanced the cause of group-wise spreadsheets. In the process, they could push wikis towards better real-world

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Microsoft DRM Patent Could Revive Peer-to-Peer Music Nets

9/22/2009
Here's an odd twist that might give new life to the dying horse of music digital-right management. Microsoft has just been awarded a U.S. patent for a distributed DRM system -- it works over peer-to-peer networks -- which uses encrypted public and private keys as the licensing mechanism. This is significant because, while centralized music stores like Apple's iTunes have forsaken DRM, the Microsoft patent would enable peer-to-peer networks to reemerge as viable, albeit protected, content source

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MDOP Smoothes Path For Windows 7 Deployment

9/18/2009
Microsoft is firing on all marketing guns as it moves to create an adoption groundswell for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. For enterprise users, another key piece of the ecosystem is about to fall into place. That would be the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) 2009 R2, a multi-tentacled toolkit containing virtualization technologies and a bunch of management tools.

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Cryptographic Keys Focus Of Next-Gen Net Security

9/12/2009
Against the backdrop of rising malware threats and organized cybercriminal rings, a national cybersecurity initiative is taking shape which will bring a "locked down" mentality to the way we authenticate users, apps, and anyone or anything that touches a network. I'm talking about the Cryptographic Key Management (CKM) project that is being run out of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Computer Security Division.

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IBM, Dell, HP Top Tight Server Market

9/10/2009
While server technology is proceeding apace -- see my column, "AMD, Intel Remake Servers From Processor Up" (here) -- shipments themselves are being challenged by the overall economic environment. That picture is apparent in the latest worldwide server market report from Gartner, with results from the second quarter of 2009. One bright spot is that blades sagged less than any other segme

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Wolfe's Den Vlog: SAP BusinessObjects Explorer Brings BI To Masses

9/5/2009
I caught up with SAP recently during their customer tour to roll out their hot new, intuitive Business Intelligence product, and shot a short video demo. SAP BusinessObjects Explorer is billed as a venture into real-time BI. What that means is it enables non-power-users -- as in, sales and marketing folks looking for quick data runs -- to extract useful information via simple, Google-like queries.

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Trend Micro Rips Lid Off Estonian Cybercrime Hub

8/26/2009
An important Trend Micro paper, spotlighting a cybercriminal hub operating out of Estonia, has surfaced on Slashdot. The racket here is that a seemingly legitimate Internet Service Provider is in reality the headquarters for a rogue network, which extends into Europe and the United States. The breadth of the deception outlined in the paper is scary; doubly so because cybercrime is emerging as the single biggest security threat of the next decade.

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