Stop Squeezing Desktop Apps ...

Joseph Salesky, CEO of ClairMail Inc.
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Joseph Salesky, CEO of ClairMail Inc.
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... to fit on a mobile device for end-user access. Instead, turn application access into message processing. That notion comes from ClairMail Inc. in Novato, Calif. According to CEO Joseph Salesky, people are mobile, but desktop applications aren't, and IT's attempt to give the apps some mobility has been like "trying to squeeze an elephant into the doghouse." For example, a lot of desktop software is dependent on using multiple windows on a monitor, Salesky says. But, he points out, small handheld displays mean that "mobile devices don't window well." That's why his start-up company is offering a message- access process for mobile users beginning this week. End users put application access links into their devices' contact lists. When they need access, they simply click on a link, like they would to make a phone call or send an e-mail. Data can be retrieved or entered based on a user's rights, which are checked against the privileges stored in a company's network directories. A ClairMail appliance sits behind the corporate firewall and handles all of the message transactions, so no client-side software is necessary, Salesky says. He adds that combined with an application's user-authentication processes, the ClairMail appliance's knowledge of the "trusted path" to a specific device adds two-factor security, since both the user's identity and the handheld are verified. ClairMail is releasing its technology with scripts for accessing software and services from vendors such as Salesforce.com Inc., Business Objects SA and BMC Software Inc.'s Remedy unit. Next year, the company will release access scripts for Siebel Systems Inc. and SAP AG apps, Salesky says. Annual fees start at $60 per user.

Ron McCabe, CEO of MiraLink Corp.
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Ron McCabe, CEO of MiraLink Corp.
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Forget about the engineer, but still ...
... get long-distance fault tolerance.
Ron McCabe, CEO of MiraLink Corp. in Portland, Ore., quips that traditional WAN-based fault-tolerant systems "are so complex, they ship with an engineer." On the other hand, McCabe claims that his company develops appliances that handle fault-tolerant needs and don't require a BSEE grad to tag along with the technology. "Anyone who can manage an IP address or SCSI drive can use it," he boasts. MiraLink's data-mirroring devices use the company's IntelliBuffer software to write data to remote servers while saving the information to the primary system, McCabe says. He adds that in the event of a primary server crash, databases can be rolled back to the transaction processed just before the server hiccup. MiraLink's high-end unit can handle up to 120GB of data per hour. Next month, the company will roll out a low-end appliance, Model 400, which will be able to save as much as 8GB of information to remote servers hourly. It will be priced at under $4,000.

Kevin Haar, CEO of Appistry Inc.
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Kevin Haar, CEO of Appistry Inc.
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Or virtualize your apps to achieve ...
... local fault tolerance.
That's the approach taken by Appistry Inc. in Crevecoeur, Mo. CEO Kevin Haar argues that "applications should transcend the infrastructure" and be virtualized to achieve fault tolerance. Appistry does that through its Enterprise Application Fabric software, which will be updated with a 3.0 release in Q1 of next year. The new version will dynamically store data in memory on multiple servers on a LAN segment, much like a RAID storage system secures saved data to multiple disk drives. When one server fails, the Appistry software, which maintains the state of every transaction, simply grabs needed data from another machine in the fabric so transactions can continue unaffected. What's more, says Haar, the software can automatically provision a new server when it's attached to a LAN segment. Subscription-based pricing starts at $1,950 per CPU on an annual basis.

Protect PowerPoint presentations ...
... from prying eyes.
Leo Baschy, a research consultant at Nirvana Research LLC in Copperopolis, Calif., gives a lot of thought to the connection between graphical user interface design and security in common software applications. For example, he's working on technology that's designed to help people who put together PowerPoint presentations define the content according to its sensitivity. With that functionality, Baschy says, a CIO could create different versions of a presentation about his company's IT investments and the state of current projects for different audiences. One version could be a warts-and-all look for the board of directors; another could be aimed at internal users and highlight the benefits and changes that IT projects will bring; and a third might be used at external conferences. By defining the audience access rights in the PowerPoint program, the CIO could ensure that only the appropriate slides get flashed on the screen. (Which audience is in the room is something the presenter had better not forget, of course.) Baschy wouldn't speculate on when such a tool could become available.

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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