Technology Review magazine recently ran a provocative cover story titled, "Is the Internet Broken?" The article expressed the ideas of David Clark, senior research scientist at MIT, who says he believes the Internet is crumbling under the weight of security problems and it must be rebuilt.
"We might just be at the point where the utility of the Internet stalls--and perhaps turns downward," Clark stated. His vision for a new Internet architecture contains four components: security in the form of authentication, spam and virus blocking; protocols that allow Internet service providers to better route traffic and offer advanced services without compromising their businesses; provision for future computing devices to connect to the Internet; and technology that makes the network easier to manage and more resilient.
To get a perspective from outside academia, we turned to Mike Nelson, IBM's director of On Demand Business and former director for technology policy at the FCC. An MIT grad, Nelson previously served in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
"The Internet isn't broken; I would say it's very robust," Nelson counters. On the other hand, "We're all figuring out what we can do to keep the Internet going. There are a few standards that will make the Internet more reliable."
First is IPv6, a network layer standard that will ensure there are enough IP addresses for billions of new devices. Second is IPsec, a framework of network security protocols. Third is DNSSEC (DNS Security Extensions), which will add security to the DNS used on IP networks, bolstering authentication.
Data integration software provider Informatica acquired Dublin, Ireland-based Similarity Systems in late January. Similarity specializes in data quality, a hot topic and one of the biggest challenges in data integration projects. The acquired company's software, including business-user-oriented capabilities for data profiling, standardization, cleansing, matching and monitoring, will be incorporated into Informatica's PowerCenter 8, set for release in April.
Invigorating its pursuit of Web content management (WCM) implementations, Filenet announced in late January that it will introduce a Web Site Manager module for personalization and multisite management. Expected to be released in late March, the module is aimed at enterprises replacing aging WCM systems. Vignette customers facing version upgrades are a target as they're used to WCM-based personalization. Other WCM vendors, including Interwoven and EMC/ Documentum, usually leave personalization to app servers, but Filenet says it can do a better job of customizing site navigation and content delivery on the fly.
Enterprise information integration software maker Composite Software has added support for packaged applications such as SAP and Siebel to its Composite Information Server. This new feature will let users visualize data more easily from SAP, Siebel, Netezza NFS and Web services alongside existing databases and data sources. The product's graphical modeling capability enables more flexible configuration. It comes with a trial version of SAP and Siebel Application Views.