Comdex Brings Out Microsoft Partners

LAS VEGAS-- Want to make sure employees aren’t cheating on their time cards? How aboutletting another company deal with the headaches of Outlook and Exchange,instead of your company? Maybe you’d like to hook up more than 100 users, allover the country, to teleconference at the same time?

All thisand more are now possible according to demonstrations at the Microsoft PartnersPavilion at this year’s Comdex here. It was almost a section of its own, withplenty of enterprise-level technologies and companies on display.

One was WMSoftware, which has a line of server products that, when taken together, cantune up a system for better efficiency and productivity. Lead developer MichaelMonasterio is proud of the company’s new Sentinel products, a group ofmonitoring tools that doesn’t require a server-based agent to use.

It’s easyto have five or six different monitoring agents running on an enterpriseserver, slowing down performance by chewing up CPU cycles. But the Sentinelproducts -- Sentinel Standard Edition 2.6, Sentinel Terminal Server Edition2.6, Services Sentinel 2.6, and Performance Sentinel 2.6 -- can all be run froman NT or Windows 2000 workstation.

All thoseservers “run as multithreaded services,” Monasterio says. “[Server]administration is zero, because nothing needs to be done to the server that’sbeing monitored.” He adds that a new service that automatically backs up asystem’s registry to a network drive, as opposed to a tape drive, is due outbefore the end of the year. That would make registry restoration much easierthan restoring from a backup, Monasterio says.

The “I LoveYou” virus was one of the most dangerous IT invaders to date. But there was onegroup of companies that wasn’t affected at all: those hosted by applicationservice provider (ASP) Mi8.

Mi8’sstock-in-trade is Outlook and Exchange hosting, wherein the application ande-mail reside with, and is managed by, Mi8. Mi8 can be an ASP for the entireMicrosoft Office suite, but its core business remains Outlook and Exchange.“We’re working with about 400 companies, with about 6,000 seats of Exchange,”according to Jim Price, account manager.

Security isa concern when data is in someone else’s hands, but Price says this is not aworry. “We offer optional VPNs, and everything is 128-bit encrypted,” he says.Larger clients include Arch Venture Partners,, and the JohnsonGraduate School of Management at Cornell University.

Teleconferencinghasn’t taken hold the way many thought it would. Ezenia! hopes to change thatwith its Encounter 1000 series of IP-based multimedia communications.

Encounter1000, which has been out about three months, adds functionality to MicrosoftNetMeeting by enabling legacy technologies like ISDN and ATM through a gateway,says sales engineer Eric Peterson. It also adds significantly to the number ofusers NetMeeting can handle.

“NetMeetingfalls apart after 24 users” log on, Peterson says. Ezenia! products can handleup to 126 end users in one conference, enhancing collaboration possibilities.One of the interesting aspects of its brand of conferencing is the ability tosee multiple users on a monitor, each in a separate window.

Check outTimeclock Plus if you’ve ever wondered if you’re getting maximum productivityout of employees or if you have had problems getting an accurate count ofhours. Timeclock Plus is the graybeard of this group, having been around in oneform or another since 1988.

What is newabout the product is the addition of biometrics, the gathering of data throughbiological means such as fingerprints or handprints. Timeclock Plus from DataManagement can save customers “from 5 to 10 percent [of costs] every time theyrun payroll,” says Scott Turner, vice president of sales at Data Management.Companies lose money, Turner says, through several means: mistakes made whencalculating hours, either by the employee or the payroll department; payingemployees for hours they don’t work due to fraudulent clock punching; orinaccurate counting of vacation hours or sick hours.

TimeclockPlus can get employee hours from biometric scanners, which range from $500 to$2,000, depending on the model, or from simple keystrokes if a company opts forthe software component alone. The software integrates easily with all the majorfinancial software programs.

WM Software Inc., Strongsville, Ohio,

Mi8Corp., New York,

Ezenia!Inc., Burlington, Mass.,

DataManagement Inc., SanAngelo, Texas,