The Week in Networking News

Ripped from the headlines, these are the stories that network administrators should know about for the week of April 5-9.

ANSI Ratifies Key Storage Device Spec
A leading storage standards body said a specification for rendering storage drives more ‘intelligent’ to improve their management and performance has been ratified by the American National Standards Institute.
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Solaris ‘Next’ Gets Closer to Launch
Sun Wednesday released the sixth update to Solaris 9 and previewed pieces of Solaris 10 for developers and partners to test in their systems. Sun has been supplying a steady stream of software builds for the next generation OS on a monthly basis as part of its Solaris Express program. Sun plans to release Solaris 10 later this year.

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As Goes VoIP, So Grows Softswitches
The market for softswitches, the platforms that connect wireline phone calls to IP networks for Voice over IP, is poised for explosive growth through 2008, after a jump of more than 42 percent in 2003, according to In-Stat MDR.

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COTS Spotted as Key to Clusters
The hottest trend in clustering, High Performance Computing, is using commercial off-the-shelf products (or COTS), according to Intel’s multi-threading expert. David Kuck, enterprise platforms group fellow and director of Intel’s KAI Software Lab, said advances in price, performance and interconnects are improving at such a rate that the clustering industry is becoming more available to enterprise customers and may even force some longstanding supercomputer owners to rethink their designs.

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McDATA Joins Low-Cost Switch Fray
Responding to recent low-cost offerings from rival Brocade, McDATA has unveiled its next generation switch-on-a-chip (SOC).
The Broomfield, Colo.-based firm says the SOC, a result of the company’s partnership with IBM, “will significantly lower the total cost of ownership for both first-time and enterprise-class storage networking customers.”

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First SMI-S Conformant Products Announced
The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) Tuesday announced the first round of products to have passed the SNIA Conformance Testing Program (SNIA-CTP) for the Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S).

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Hidden Costs Said to Stymie Linux Growth
Commercial Linux distributors can hold their own against rival Microsoft, but won’t displace Windows’ server deployment lead over open source operating systems for the next few years, a new study says.
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Clustering For the Rest of Us
IBM took the wraps off a variety of pre-packaged and pre-tested cluster servers targeted toward small to mid-size organizations Tuesday. Under the marketing name of “Departmental Supercomputing Solutions,” the Armonk, N.Y.-based company is targeting universities, departments within universities and research companies with a combination of IBM eServers like its Intel Xeon-based BladeCenter HS20, AMD Opteron-based e325 and xSeries 335 and xSeries 345 systems.
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Gateway on Route to Switches
Gateway entered the networking business Tuesday with switches for small and medium businesses, schools and government agencies as it strives to improve its product and revenue mix. It’s the second strategic move in as many weeks for the Poway, Calif., computer maker. On Friday, Gateway decided to shutter 188 retail stores and lay off 2,500 workers amid sluggish PC sales.
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Microsoft Spruces Up Storage Management
Microsoft on Monday unveiled a new feature pack that helps customers consolidate data from Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 on network attached storage (NAS) devices powered by Windows Storage Server 2003, a key component of the Windows Server System for enabling XML-driven Web services based on Microsoft .NET technology.
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