Industry News & Analysis
FCI Spins off Education Business, Reaches Summit
Formula Consultants Inc. (FCI) has sold its education business, including the educational and sales staff, to Linda J. Agresta, FCI's Manager of Education. The new company, Summit Education Inc., will be headed up by Agresta. The two companies are working together to effect a seamless transition concerning classes currently scheduled.
Under its new identity, the Colorado-based company will continue to provide education on the Unisys 2200 and ClearPath systems, and will expand its course offerings to UNIX and NT. By purchasing the education and sales department as part of the business, Summit will retain the same instructors, and continue to offer education classes both at FCI's corporate facility in Anaheim and at customer facilities around the world.
For more information on course schedules, the company or the transition, visit www.summiteducationinc.com.
Army Contracts Unisys for DMS
The United States Army 5th Signal Command, based in Europe, has purchased the Unisys e-@ction Enterprise Server ES5045 to augment its Defense Message System (DMS). The $2.6 million contract includes 49 Unisys ES5045 servers to support the DMS, which provides flexible, secure multimedia messaging and directory services to Department of Defense (DOD) Army organizations throughout Europe.
The Unisys ES5045 servers are currently being installed at a variety of military locations across Europe. Running the DMS Microsoft Exchange 5.5 e-mail system, the ES5045s will support organizational and individual electronic messaging for the Army's base operations in Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands.
The 5th Signal Command, which supported the peacekeeping operations in the Balkans, provides communications for U.S. combat and peacetime operations throughout the European Theater. The DMS is a DOD-wide initiative to provide American military forces secure electronic messaging capabilities.
Attachmate e-Vantage WebPublish 3.0
e-Vantage WebPublish gives organizations the ability to selectively publish host application screens in a GUI presentation for viewing from a Web browser without changing any host application code. And, host data remains secure with e-Vantage WebPublish, because end users only have access to a Web server - they do not have direct access to host applications.
e-Vantage WebPublish 3.0 new features include the ability to run on a local Web server, and support for 500 or more simultaneous users and customizable templates.
For more information on WebPublish 3.0, visit www.attachmate.com/unisys.
ES7000 Offers Lowest TCO
The e-@ction Enterprise Server ES7000 has set a record for lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) among Windows 2000 servers. The test was conducted using GartnerGroup's TCO measurement tool set, which compares different IT environments based on key variables that include improvements to assets, such as servers, desktops and networks; changes in platform usage and user type; and commonly accepted best practices for applying Intel and Microsoft technology. The results demonstrated that using the ES7000 for server consolidation yields the most competitive overall cost of any server based on Microsoft Windows 2000 software.
The Unisys study showed that a 16-processor Unisys ES7000 will deliver a 65 percent reduction in TCO, when compared to its equivalent in departmental one- and two-processor Intel-based Windows NT 4.0 servers. Compared to four Intel-based Windows 2000 servers equipped with four processors, the Unisys ES7000 provides a 45-percent TCO reduction, and a 24-percent TCO reduction, compared to two commodity Intel-based 8-processor servers.
"These results demonstrate the significant savings in TCO that are possible when organizations deploy a server consolidation," according to the GartnerGroup. "Moving from a larger number of smaller servers to a smaller number of much larger servers can free up significant resource, and results in a lower TCO. The Unisys e-@ction Enterprise Server ES7000 shows just what can be achieved here."
LINC Conference Rescheduled
EAGLE Computer Associates has rescheduled the "LINC ON NT" session. The session will be presented as part of the GLB.Conference to be held in King of Prussia, Pa., on June 13 and 14.
The session will be conducted in four phases, covering each aspect of the LINC product running in the Microsoft NT environment. It will include detailed working examples of each step in the process, focusing on process overview, loading NT onto a server, reviewing Oracle issues, and loading and configuring PCE.
For more information, visit www.eagleca.com.
Unisys, IDOM's E-Banking Solutions
Unisys and IDOM Inc., a provider of management consulting services and banking automation products to the financial sector, have formed a business alliance that will enable the companies to deliver a front-to-back-office e-business banking solution that enhances the accuracy and integrity of financial reports, while increasing reporting efficiency.
The new solution, the e-@ction Capital Markets Solution and IDOM's REG-Reporter, will support straight-through processing with full regulatory reporting for international, commercial and retail banks.
For more information, visit IDOM's Web site at www.idomusa.com.
UNITE: Adapting to New Circumstances
On April 18, 1862, a Union fleet commanded by Admiral David Farragut began a five-day bombardment of two Confederate forts on opposite sides of the Mississippi River, cutting them off from the city of New Orleans, compelling the forts and the city to surrender. The initial bombardment had caused considerable damage to the forts, but did not destroy them. Farragut realized that a different plan was necessary and led 16 ships against the forts. His force dispersed the Confederate fleet of 13 smaller ships and took control of the river. The forts were cut off from their source of supplies in New Orleans and surrendered.
At the beginning of April, Unisys informed UNITE that it will no longer support the Spring Technology Symposium. Accordingly, UNITE has decided that there will be no more spring conferences; Cherry Hill, N.J., was the last one. Instead, the new plan is to have just one conference per year, to be held in the fall, which will provide both the overview sessions typical of the fall and the more detailed technical sessions offered in the spring. The Fall 2000 Technology Conference in New Orleans, Oct. 1-4, will start with the opening session and keynote speaker late Sunday afternoon, making Monday morning available for additional sessions. (Pre-conference seminars will be on Sunday.) Future fall conferences will also be longer than three days. (The exact details have not been worked out.)
Like Admiral Farragut's core fleet of five powerful steamships, the Fall 2000 Technology Conference has its core of the five usual tracks full of sessions: ClearPath/A Series, ClearPath/2200 Series, Open Enterprise Systems, Application/Integration Products & Services, and Management & Technology Planning. In addition, there will be a new electronic commerce track put together by Unisys. The details of the schedule will be posted on the UNITE Web page at www.unite.org. Some of the more interesting presentations in the schedule are: Improving the Way We Improve the Software Process, Software Development in the 21st Century: Philosophy, Issues and Problems, Java for ClearPath HMP, ES7000: Right for Enterprise Application Deployments, Workstation Tool Set for COBOL 85 Programmers, Microsoft Windows Management Strategy, Open/OLTP Applications Treated as Microsoft Components, More GUI Tools for MAPPER, Using OLE DB as a Back Office Solution for e-Business Applications, 3GL Object-Oriented Programming Overview, Combining Active LINC and Cool ICE for New Web Applications, The Expert That Comes with Every ClearPath (Pathmate), LINC Can Automatically Generate My Web Site, and COMS Has Always Done Windows.
So, be as flexible as Admiral Farragut and make your plans to send a large contingent to New Orleans in October.
- George Gray, UNITE_Board of Directors
CNT Focuses on SAN Over IP
Computer Network Technology (CNT) has made available the first component in its strategy to provide storage networking applications over Internet Protocol (IP)-based networks, such as intranets and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).
For its initial IP-based offering, CNT augmented and refined the storage transport capabilities in its UltraNet Storage Director, a high-speed switching platform, to support IP. These software enhancements, packaged under the name "I-Stor," will enable EMC Symmetrix Remote Data Facility (SRDF) data mirroring software to operate over IP networks. This feature adds transport layer functionality.
CNT has also developed software to create a communication mechanism that converts SRDF data frames to standard IP packets to ensure data delivery and performance over an IP network. This enhancement adds transport layer functionality, which features data compression, alternate routing, load balancing, enhanced flow control and routing.
For more information, call (800) 638-8324, or visit www.cnt.com.
Laborers' Claims May Signal Red Flag
Human resources departments could soon be scrutinizing the length of time certain employment agency temporary workers and independent contractors spend at client job sites. A ruling by a federal appellate court that some Microsoft temporary workers were entitled to benefits they had been denied, could have far-reaching effects on staffing agencies and other providers of long-term temporary workers.
D. Richard Creson, President of Meridian Technology Group Inc., says potential court-ordered benefits, primarily stock options for non-benefited W-2 and 1099 agency temporaries and contract employees, could be a red flag for hundreds of technology companies. Meridian employs 100 full-time IT consultants, often placing them at client sites for long periods of time.
"We try to be very careful that they are highly compensated and get all of the benefits our company has to offer, just to make sure we don't have this sort of situation on our hands," he says.
Creson says that many consulting and staffing firms place people at client sites for months, even years, and call them "temporaries." In the Microsoft case, some of those temporary people received extraordinarily high hourly rates, while others did not. In most cases, however, the people were non-benefited, 1099 contractors or W-2 employees placed by an agency. Consequently, some of the non-benefited temporary employees believe that they should be treated the same as company employees and share in the benefits.
"If Microsoft loses this case and the courts back the contract employees, it could be a serious problem for many consulting companies and many client companies. There are many benefits to hiring good temporary employees to handle extra work demands, supply special expertise and complete essential short-term projects," Creson says.
Creson says that many of Meridian's larger clients have built into their contracts the requirement that only benefited, W-2 employees of the consulting firm can be considered for short or long-term temporary employment.