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Data Warehousing Battles Are Harsh

James Curran recently found himself face to face with a data warehousing time bomb that would not be dismantled by any technology fix. The senior vice president of management information services at State Street Bank & Trust Co., in Boston, wanted to change the format for some key financial data, but the users in control were balking. Grounds for a skirmish? Not according to Curran, who instead opted for compromise to keep his data warehousing project from detonating.

After heated debate, Curran agreed to leave this particular data alone. In return, the users promised to show support for the warehouse in other ways that …

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Oh OSI… So Much Promise

osiTen years ago, conventional wisdom said that the computing industry would be hurtling toward wholesale adoption of the OSI standards by now. TCP/IP protocols were positioned as a stepping-stone to OSI. Likewise, SNMP was merely a precursor to the OSI network-management standards that were expected to gain world dominance.

But if you stop and take a look around, it hasn’t happened. In fact, it hasn’t even started to happen. TCP/IP continues to gain market momentum, and products based on OSI (Open Systems Interconnect) standards are few and far between.

In fact, rumblings can be heard within the industry that OSI as a whole is dead, …

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Microsoft Showed Its Evil Early On

mssieAs word leaked out that Microsoft has included a subset of its E-mail product in beta copies of Windows 4.0, other vendors began screaming bloody murder.

This is exactly what they were afraid of, they say. Microsoft, they insist, needs to be sensitive to its dominant position in the PC business and not add features to its operating systems that threaten vendors selling those functions as add-ons.

There is some logic here. If Microsoft replaced the amiably feeble Windows Write with Word for Windows, I think we could all agree that Redmond had gone too far. Or if it added a gray-scale editor to …

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Things To Consider With Data Recovery Services

Have you ever wondered how you can recover files that have already been lost due to problems with your computer or hard drive? This is indeed a frustrating scenario especially if those files are very important. If you want to retrieve your files, one thing you can do is hire an expert as they can do the job without running the risk of damaging your hard drive. Aside from find out about the data recovery services cost, you also need to obtain additional information such as the number of years the company has been operating and their reputation. The data recovery services cost is not …

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Early Multiprocessing: A Killer App

mpgWhile lack of software support for multiprocessing has deterred buyers from investing in expensive multiprocessing servers, Schatt and other analysts forecast better days ahead. The proliferation and expansion of LANs and the demands of the mission-critical applications running on them will spur buyers and advance the market over the long run, they said.

“I think the important factor is to look at the big picture. Downsizing [and] enterprise networking [are] definitely going to be a force,” Schatt said. “Probably 1994 will be the year of the super server. We’ll see significant growth in 1993 and 1994.”

According to Schatt, overly optimistic expectations have contributed to …

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Server Construction That Replaced Mainframes Still Effective

svrcnCorporations are moving to multiprocessor servers from two directions. Some are stepping down from outdated and expensive mainframe environments, while others are stepping up from the slightly souped-up PCs they’ve been using as file servers.

Either way, buyers seek out power, scalability and fault tolerance, though not necessarily in that order.

“Super” servers flex their multiple processors in one of two architectures. Asymmetric multiprocessing dedicates each processor to a specific task. In symmetric multiprocessing, a more advanced and costlier technology, tasks are distributed to whichever processor is available.

But some network operating systems, most notably Novell Inc.’s NetWare, do not support more than one …

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When Developing Software, Take It Slow, Man!

dpswIn the 1980s, a decade in which it was impossible to tell the actors from the politicians, it was fitting that the Macintosh gave anyone with a little cash the ability to produce absolutely gorgeous documents with absolutely no content.

Now rapid software-development tools bring the same potential to developers. If you are quite reasonably looking to such tools to reduce your software backlogs, be careful: It’s as easy to abuse them as it is to use them well.

We’ve seen such abuses up close, and they’re scary. Here are a few of the symptoms. If you spot them in your developers, take action quickly.…

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Computers Aren’t The Math Wizards We Think They Are

catmwThe myth of the computer’s math prowess runs so deep that it’s even built into the name. The verb “compute” comes originally from a Latin root that means “to think,” but during the last 400 years the English word “computation” has become almost synonymous with doing arithmetic.

The less we know about computers, the more likely we are to think of them as giant math machines — a belief that leads to excessive trust in computers’ mathematical abilities, despite their potential for making fundamental errors. As with almost every kind of computer problem, these errors are a result of the decisions made by programmers seeking …

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Borland Destroyed Itself, Frankly

bamcWell, yes, $99 prices do get our attention, don’t they?

But an introductory price under a hundred bucks certainly isn’t going to be the key to whether the Redmond gang succeeds in its effort to muscle into the serious database market — one of only two applications-software areas where it has never been able to compete.

(The other area? Async communications, where Microsoft sold briefly seven years ago one of the worst programs ever shipped. It was named — eerily — Microsoft Access. I think I might have been a little more sensitive to history, Mr. Gates.)

Nope, $99 prices won’t do it. All Gates …

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RAID’s Baby Stages Built A Great Future For Data Storage

rbsbadsFeeding on the proliferation of PC LANs, user interest in RAID — Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive Disks — is building rapidly.

“As the network applications become more critical to the company, you’ve got to take significant steps to make sure that when the network goes down it doesn’t take everything with it,” said Roy Wilsker, manager of end-user servers for Kendall Co., a health-care and adhesives company based in Mansfield, Mass.

Wilsker said one of those steps he is considering is installing RAID products in his network servers.

“It’s believed to be potentially a $5 billion market and there’s not a clear market leader, so …

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