Profile of Alexander Wolfe
News & Commentary Posts: 624
Alexander Wolfe is a former editor for InformationWeek.
Articles by Alexander Wolfe
Social applications in the enterprise are moving up the adoption curve--and newcomers own this market at the expense of big tech vendors.
Diversifying beyond the PC, Intel's multi-billion dollar embedded computing push envisions Atom processors in millions of appliances, Smart TVs, and other connected devices.
If you don't embrace a social platform in the next year or two, you'll probably be out of a job, says the chief executive of the company which wants to provide that platform.
A shift in the way we think about security, along with predictions about the death of the desktop, the rise of the "Internet of Things," and HP's rebound from the Hurd scandal are on our columnist's list of prognostications for the new year.
Hewlett-Packard appears to have had enough of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s bashing, and is answering back in a statement that minces no words.
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.
Gartner reports scary Q3 sales news for the server business Oracle took control of when it acquired Sun Microsystems, but Larry Ellison's focus on optimized systems such as Exadata is the reason Oracle needn't worry.
Wins include the dominance of the Xeon server processor and research into data centers on a chip, while stumbling blocks center on a second-place communications chip business and settling on a potential successor to CEO Paul Otellini.
Do you E2.0? If so, I need your help. InformationWeek Analytics is conducting a survey to determine what's important to you when you're choosing Enterprise 2.0 applications, and how vendors stack up against a list of criteria rating the performance, applicability, cost, and reliability of their software.
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.
Our columnist makes the possibly contrarian assertion that, with Windows Phone 7, Microsoft is reinvigorating the smartphone. Read his take and see if you agree or not.
The former Intel chairman thinks 'we have our priorities a little bit wrong'
Leo Apotheker, who unexpectedly resigned as CEO of SAP in February, has been named to replace Mark Hurd.
Sans any official word from Oracle, the sun has seemingly set on the use of AMD Opteron processors in the company's Sun Servers. Even though Oracle won't comment on the issue, word has been circulating since spring, when I posted Oracle Seen Axing AMD Opteron On Sun Servers. Recently, I received an e-mail from an Oracle customer, which seems to provide corroboration that AMD is done on Sun.
Another salvo in the battle for social enterprise market- and mindshare is being fired on Wednesday, when Salesforce.com takes the stage at Oracle OpenWorld to unveil what it's calling a major upgrade to its Chatter collaboration tool.
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.
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.
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.
Our Wolfe's Den columnist wonders whether Hewlett-Packard's board isn't taking the easy way out--and potentially reducing future shareholder value--by forcing CEO Mark Hurd to resign.
Vendors are vying to lock up rights to the social-enterprise. Here's a selective look at cool patent tech from Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, OpenText , and SAP, as well as two surprising newcomers.
Select Enterprise 2.0 intellectual property filings from Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, SAP, as well as a couple of lesser-known social tech vendors.
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
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
Microsoft has completely updated its mobile operating system with Windows Phone 7, which offers more of a social media focus than one might expect, complete with "hubs" for people, pictures, music, games, and office apps.
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.
The technological urge to merge is evident in Oracle's high-flying Exadata database machine, which is a platform combining hardware and software in a manner totally tuned towards the objective of fast OLTP. I was put in mind of this by Bob Evans' latest column, Global CIO: Larry Ellison's Hardware Boasts Are Nonsense, Says IBM. That got me thinking about my recent chat with John Fowler,
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
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.
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.
With clock speeds at 3 GHz-plus and processors containing four or more cores, compute cycles are ubiquitous--we don't even think about them.
A day after I posted "Oracle Seen Axing Opteron On Sun Servers," we have fresh evidence that the processor wars between Intel and AMD are far from over. The news comes in the form of a slew of announcements from Dell, which include servers variously featuring Intel's Westmere Xeon orl AMD's enhanced Magny-Cours Opteron.
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.
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.
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
Here's a first visual look at the Vista successor, which was previewed for attendees of Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles.
Don Ferguson, chief technology officer of CA Technologies, talks about work to build IT management tools that'll bring transparency to highly virtual and dynamic enterprise architectures.
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.
The rise of cloud computing is going to stoke demand for servers, according to a new forecast from IDC.
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.
The FCC posted photos of the guts of Apple's game-changing device.
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.
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.
Check out 17 images of the guts of Apple's new game-changing Web slate, revealing tightly packed innards with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and an ARM architecture processor.
Our Server Den columnist says that Cisco is smartly encapsulating the deep technology of next-gen networks supporting mobile workers and streaming video, but Juniper and HP ProCurve won't stand idly by.
As the networking behemoths battle over router speed claims, both are attempting to cement public personas, and clue in non-technical consumers on who they are.
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.
IBM will adopt "Smarter Systems for a Smarter Planet" as its data center marketing moniker, putting distance between today's "dynamic infrastructure" and the me-too catch phrases used by competitors.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Monday's post was not the whole story as regards Hewlett-Packard's response to Cisco's impending termination of the partnership agreement between the two. While the statement HP e-mailed me might create the perception that it's a mature--albeit wilting--flower, shying away from a good fight, a look beneath the sur
Hewlett-Packard is taking the high road in response to the Cisco's impending cut off of its reseller relationship. Click ahead to read HP's statement.
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.
Our columnist interviews AMD chief marketing officer Nigel Dessau, who talks about the scrappy chip vendor's upcoming processors, the four stages of virtualization, and why scale-out servers could be the platform of the future.
Paul Prince, chief technology officer of Dell's Enterprise Product Group, discusses his company's efficient enterprise strategy, and explains why virtualization and cloud computing are on the same continuum.
In my quest to get a handle on where servers are headed in 2010, I've spent time thinking about architectural innovations from Intel and AMD. I've also been serially interviewing the server vendors themselves (see my new piece on HP). Now comes the next step--I'm pulling together
Gary Thome, chief architect of HP's Infrastructure Software and Blades group, talks power and cooling like you've never heard it before. Plus, why he thinks Hewlett-Packard's data-center play tops Cisco.
AMD is bring an interesting twist to the processor wars. The scrappy semiconductor maker will be offering a triple core--count 'em, three--mobile chip as part of its new "Danube" laptop platform.
Greg Ness, senior director of the networking automation vendor, talks about managing infrastructure sprawl and offers insight into the standards-oriented Infrastructure 2.0 Working Group, of which Cisco is a member.
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.
The conventional wisdom, in the wake of the failed Christmas terrorist attack, is that the big beneficiaries will be Rapiscan Systems and L-3 Communications. The two are the companies which are TSA-qualified to provide airport scanners. But a quick USPTO search turns up a cornucopia of interesting patents, which could set off a security tech gold rush.
Spurred by processor innovations from Intel and AMD, we'll see a pitched battle for market leadership among IBM, HP, and Dell.
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.
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.
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.
Apple's expected release of a humongous-screened iPod will legitimize the platform for business users. It could, in turn, revive Windows-based tablets and make Webpads the big alt.platform story of 2010.
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.
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.
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.
The plan to field a multicore graphics engine, which would have put Intel into direct competition against Nvidia, has been put on hold for now.
InformationWeek readers were the first to learn about Intel's efforts to pack a data center onto a single chip, via my recent interview with Intel chief technology officer Justin Rattner. (See Intel CTO Envisions On-Chip Data Centers.) Now, the chip behemoth has taken things one step further, formally announcing its single-chip cloud research project.
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.
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.
Justin Rattner, chief technology officer at the chip giant, talks about the explosion of multicore processing, bringing security to cloud computing, and processor-based networking.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
Our columnist ponders the demise of virtual private networks (VPNs), examines virtual hard disks (VHDs), and chats with Gavriella Schuster, Microsoft's Windows client general manager, and Ward Ralston, Windows Server product manager.
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.
The CTO of Hewlett-Packard's network equipment division talks about virtualization, managing sprawl, where cloud computing fits in, and his IEEE standards work to make Ethernet the single converged fabric in the data center.
Legislation just sent to the floor by the Senate Finance Committee includes recommendations encouraging rapid adoption and use of health IT systems.
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.
Intriguing evidence points to the fact that cloud computing services for both enterprises and consumers--in the form of Azure and Windows Live--will loom larger in Microsoft's future than anyone realizes.
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
Jerry Johnson, chief information officer of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, offers insights into cloud security, the war on cybercrime, and the expansion of the perimeter.
The big takeaway that surfaced at the successful Windows 7 Virtual Event we held on Wednesday is that many CIOs and admins are moving beyond the big-picture question of "should we upgrade or not" and are now focused on technical point issues, mostly related to performance and compatibility. (For those who couldn't attend, we'll have a replay archive posted withi
In getting ready for Wednesday's 10 am eastern Windows 7 Virtual Event, hosted by the InformationWeek Business Technology Network (i.e., us, and you can register here), I've been trying to get a feel for just how rapidly enterprises will adopt the new operating system.
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
How Intel's painful efforts to diversify beyond computer processors have dogged president Paul Otellini, and why they'll challenge Sean Maloney, the man viewed as next in line to lead the company following a management shakeup.
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.
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.
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
Faster chips, which deliver an unprecedented bounty of CPU cycles at more efficient power levels, are opening up a new chapter in the reinvention of the data center. The latest crop includes AMD’s Istanbul and Magny-Cours Opterons and Intel’s Nehalem-EX Xeon.
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.
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.