This is the next in a
succession of vertically focused
While initial offerings are clearly targeted at larger organizations, appropriately scaled solutions for the SMB are planned. Although from a sheer numbers standpoint the larger the distributed installation, the more absolute efficiency gained, the fundamental approach of this offering should prove appealing organizations of more modest scale. Nevertheless, we are intrigued with offerings such as this and are pleased to see continued investment in blade-based solutions as general purpose computing platforms as well as specialized platforms.
The Google Desktop
search was the first in its class to launch, with Yahoo and Microsoft quickly
following up with similar products. One of the concerns that people soon had
with these products was security and the ability to control something that was
essentially free and downloadable by any user with Internet access. Some have
argued that enterprise-level desktop searches should be avoided, as cached Web
pages with secure information (for example) can be accessed if the tool is not
configured appropriately. However, the truth is that good desktop indexing is a
much-needed capability and inevitable in the steady march of technology. The
greatest problem in the information age—and the flip side of the fear that
anyone can access your data—is the fear that you can access data in
unmanageable amounts that are unable to fit into usable context, rendering that
data mostly meaningless. Or worse yet, without context or in a limited context
that gives you a potentially inaccurate picture. Documentum of course is aimed
at solving all these problems, and
For end users, the joy
of the Documentum approach is in having one application to do the searching. While
the document management market itself is fragmented with many companies
providing solutions with no single dominant player, content management is a
growing concern that everyone wants to be part of. Content providers were the
first wave, and then the conventional wisdom decided it was management of that
content, not creation, that was the ticket to success. For users, this ties in
to business intelligence and analytics programs, as business faces a near
unbelievable amount of data from a plethora of sources and no easy way to find
the connection between diverse information.
It has been reported that SWsoft is seeking to have OpenVZ, a virtualization technology, integrated into the Linux kernel. In addition, Red Hat has indicated that it would include the virtualization technology into its free Linux distribution known as Fedora. OpenVZ is an open-source underpinning to Virtuozzo, which is sold by SWsoft. OpenVZ divides a single instance of Linux into multiple virtual servers, conceptually similar to that of Solaris 10 containers, but with each operating as if it were a unique server. This approach to virtualization differs from that of VMware or other Hypervision-based approaches that create a virtual instance of a server upon which multiple operating systems may reside.
Virtualization and Linux: a couple of contemporary buzz words if ever there were any. Neither of these are new concepts; however, for the vast majority of Linux users, if they are in a virtualized environment, it is due to a discrete software add-on or a hardware level implementation of virtualization. What SWsoft is hoping to accomplish is to have the Linux kernel found in the mainstream distributions being virtualization ready, through open source software that the company is fond of. There are other similar solutions available, but OpenVZ has received the backing of Red Hat, which of course is non-trivial in itself.
What catches our thought on this is not whether OpenVZ is or is not the leader in this space, or that SWsoft wants to have it christened the virtualization solution for Linux. Rather, the question to us is whether virtualization that is dependent upon one operating system per machine the long-term winner in the marketplace. While we are rather fond of hardware-based virtualizations, software approaches such as VMware or Xen are quite capable, and do support multiple operating systems on a machine. In fact, Xen is already slated to be included in SUSE 10 later this year. Given the push for efficiency evident in the marketplace, combined with a best-of-breed approach to applications and operating systems, virtualization schemes that do not support multiple OSes seem to achieve less than the full potential of virtualization. Granted, if an organization has only Linux workloads, this is a moot point. But Linux-only organizations are not in the majority, as most Linux users are adding the OS to a mix of existing technologies. While one could argue that the OpenVZ technology is complementary to a VMware for example, the question is begged: why slice up Linux at the OS level when the underlying system already supports multiple instantiations of any operating system? A rational reason someone might want to do so could probably be found, but we believe that for the majority, this would not be the case. Nevertheless, we foresee that there will be multiple approaches to virtualization for quite some time, as each seeks to provide the user with a way to enhance the ROI of their existing IT investments. For users, this is a message that is unlikely to generate a lot of push back.
iAnywhere has introduced Sales Anywhere for the Salesforce.com AppExchange on-demand platform. The offering provides instant access to AppExchange through wireless or synchronized connections to deliver over 150 software choices to Windows Mobile, Palm OS, or BlackBerry devices. Sales Anywhere is a hosted service that provides full read-and-write access to Salesforce.com accounts, contacts, tasks, etc. with minimal deployment effort. The aim is to improve productivity and sales effectiveness by allowing the salesperson to access company AppExchange programs while away from the office. Sales Anywhere for AppExchange is now available for test drive and deployment at www.appexchange.com, in conjunction with the Salesforce Winter ’06 release.
Anything that increases efficiency and productivity is a boon to small businesses, which often operate on the edge of the profit/loss line. It is for just this reason that in order to be adapted by small businesses, a new technology must first be proven to work. Salesforce.com has developed a much respected brand and it only makes sense for it to try and leverage that brand in other ways. We believe that this announcement is another proof point as to the potential of selling software as a service, with mobility being a differentiating edge. Providing access to software as a complete service with monthly electronic billing and presumably automatic upgrades is the trajectory of consumer and small business software. In general, neither consumers nor small businesses want to deal with buying, installing, and updating software—an unnecessary hassle for those who aren’t tech-minded. Security concerns, one of the largest hindrances to the widespread adaptation of package software delivery, are being dealt with in a different way, with the threats of viruses and malware being restricted to a single source location. So while it is far from time to pronounce that shrinkwrap software applications as we know them are dead, it will prove interesting to see how receptive the market is to this package, which implies a much more remote while connected user.