Author
 Alexander Wolfe

Profile of Alexander Wolfe

Blog Posts: 35
Alexander Wolfe was editor-in-chief of InformationWeek.com. In his two decades as a technology editor, he has written for Electronics Magazine, Byte.com, and TechWeb. He spent nine years at CMP's Electronic Engineering Times, where he wrote the "Wolfe's Den" column and broke the 1994 story of Intel's Pentium floating-point division bug.
Articles by Alexander Wolfe

IBM Reloads Enterprise Branding

3/9/2010
Global CIO's Bob Evans and I were talking with Rod Adkins, the senior vice president who runs IBM's Systems and Technology Group. That operation is Big Blue's Big Kahuna, accounting for $19 billion in annual revenues and including IBM's chip, server, storage and systems software businesses. Did I mention that Adkins is also responsible for IBM's global manufacturing, procurement and customer fulfillment operations? All of this is by way of saying that, when Adkins speaks, one should listen.

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Take Our Server Survey

3/3/2010
The server space has changed rapidly over the past few years, forced into a technological transition by four broad and simultaneously emerging trends: the ongoing push toward consolidation, the business imperative to rein in out-of-control power and cooling costs, the rise of cloud computing and a looming push for next-generation data center architectures.

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Inside HP's Converged Infrastructure

2/10/2010
Our interview with Gary Thome, chief architect of HP's Infrastructure Software and Blades group, who talks power and cooling like you've never heard it before. Plus, why he thinks Hewlett-Packard's data-center play tops Cisco.

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I Want You For My Server Survey

2/3/2010
In my quest to get a handle on where servers are headed in 2010, I've spent time thinking about architectural innovations from Intel and AMD. I've also been serially interviewing the server vendors themselves (see my new piece on HP). Now comes the next step--I'm pulling together a survey for InformationWeek Analytics. And I'm asking for your help.

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Infoblox Opines On Infrastructure 2.0

1/21/2010
The evolution of the data center and of the enterprise network will be the hot button issues of 2010. As virtualization explodes and networks continue to sprawl, there'll be an impetus to rein in complexity. I believe that the desire to more capably manage the technologies at issue--or, more precisely, to fit everything under an easy-to-grasp intellectual umbrella--is behind the emergence of marketing-inspired monikers such as unified computing (Cisco), integrated infrastructure (HP) and dynamic

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Intel Versus AMD: Servers Straining For Architectural Differentiation

1/15/2010
Sifting the server tea leaves for the new year, one sees clear signs of both the market doldrums lifting and of renewed vigor on the architectural front. The upshot is that 2010 will be an exciting year. Spurred by processor innovations from Intel and AMD, we'll see a pitched battle for market leadership among IBM, HP and Dell. So-called niche players could also have an impact. I'm thinking in particular of Sun, which will reposition itself by refocusing on its high-end offerings, after it has b

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Cisco Video Thrust Telegraphs Bandwidth-Bandit Strategy

1/12/2010
You gotta be impressed by Cisco's persistence. For most businesses, that line about using an economic downturn to positioning oneself for the rebound is just a meaningless mantra repeated from a motivational playbook. However, for Cisco CEO John Chambers, the recession has indeed been an opportunity -- a consumer opportunity -- that's come knocking on the networking powerhouse's door, and he's answered the call.

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Intel Posits Cloud On Chip

12/8/2009
Network Computing readers were the first to learn about Intel???s efforts to pack a data center onto a single chip, via my recent interview with Intel chief technology officer Justin Rattner. Now, the chip behemoth has taken things one step further, formally announcing its single-chip cloud research project.

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Q&A: Intel CTO Justin Rattner

11/28/2009
In the unexpurgated version of my InformationWeek interview with the chip giant's chief technology officer, Rattner dishes on multicore processors as data-center-class solutions, Internet-wide subnets for cloud security, HPC trickle-down, and building Gigabit-class routers out of standard parts.

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Encryption Is Cloud Computing Security Savior

11/19/2009
I'm beginning to think that fears about cloud security are overblown. The reason: an intellectual framework is already in place for protecting data, applications, and connections. It's called encryption. What's evolving now, and isn't anywhere near fully baked, is a set of agreed-upon implementations and best practices. Today's post talks about some relevant and interesting work from Trend Micro and from IBM.

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Cisco Blurring Lines Between Enterprise, Consumer Net

11/3/2009
Analysts who've lately focused on a Cisco's decade-long buying binge will surely weigh in on the networking powerhouse's Monday announcement that it plans to acquire Hong Kong set-top-box maker DVN. Yet most of these financial musings, which focus on Cisco's stock price, are missing the point. It's all about bandwidth, stupid.

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Unified Communications Battle: Cisco Versus Microsoft

10/12/2009
As another umbrella technology which is attempting to integrate ease-of-use and transparency on top of an incredibly diverse collection of services, unified communications is a worthy effort. A new report, which says the overall enterprise UC market will generate $7.8 billion in revenues in 2010, sheds interesting light on the relative strengths and positioning of Cisco and Microsoft. Here are some salient excerpts.

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SSD Onslaught Spotlights Defrag Debate

10/7/2009
Let's stipulate that the proliferation of solid-state drives is a fact, and that, based on their high performance, SSDs are in the process of rapidly moving from a high-priced consumer curiosity into an increasingly popular data-center storage technology. So now the big questions revolve around dealing with a whole new set of disk "gotchas."

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Cisco Putting Stamp On Smart Grid

9/23/2009
I confess I can't get much excited about either green or smart grid technology, but that doesn't mean that both aren't legitimate new beachheads in which -- to update Scott McNealy's famous aphorism -- the networking stuff will be the big deal. The whole deal, in fact.

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Cisco Snares Virtualization Patent For SAN Load Balancing

9/21/2009
Cisco has just been awarded a U.S. patent, which shows that virtualization now applies as much to storage as it does to central computing resources. For that matter, virtualization is also being applied to I/O and memory resources. In practical terms, the patent, filed in 2005 but just granted last month, seems to relate to technology that appears in Cisco's SAN Fabric Switches, which incorporate virtual fabric support.

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Networking In Microsoft Hyper-V: The Video

9/17/2009
I've been diving into all aspects of the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 ecosystem lately, as the operating systems move out into the enterprise. High on my radar is Hyper-V, the server virtualization solution that's available both as a standalone product and as part Windows Server 2008 R2.

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Does Windows 7 Make VPNs Obsolete?

9/10/2009
The new one-two operating system ecosystem from Microsoft -- Windows 7 on the client side coupled with Windows Server 2008 R2 on the back end -- includes a feature, called DirectAccess, which automatically connects users to their enterprise network without having to go through a VPN client, effectively eliminating the need for users to fiddle with (or hide from ) virtual private network clients.

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Crypto Key Management Is Next Wave In Net Security

9/9/2009
Against the backdrop of rising malware threats and organized cybercriminal rings, a national cybersecurity initiative is taking shape which will bring a "locked down" mentality to the way we authenticate users, apps, and indeed anyone or anything that touches a network. I'm talking about the Cryptographic Key Management (CKM) project, which is being run out of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Computer Security Division.

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Cisco OTA Provisioning Vulnerability Reported

8/26/2009
AirMagnet's intrusion research team has reported a security vulnerability associated with two Cisco wireless LAN access-point devices. The potential exploit, which placed in context is relatively minor, could nevertheless enable rogue users to gain access to a user's wireless LAN, inject malicious packets, and potentially create a Denial-of-Service condition.

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FreeBSD Boosts Routing Architecture, With Blue Coat's Help

8/24/2009
FreeBSD, the popular open-source server OS, is about to get an update -- to FreeBSD 8.0 -- with some help from Blue Coat Systems senior architect Qing Li. Li and FreeBSD developer Kip Macy have implemented a new routing architecture which improves network performance by parallelizing the routing stacks.

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Microsoft WINS Still Under Attack

8/20/2009
A Windows Internet Name Service vulnerability, which Microsoft has patched, remains in the news following an alert from the SANS Institute of what it believes is a rising level of attacks on TCP Port 42 (the port commonly used for WINS).

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Psst, Wanna Buy Some Used Networking Gear?

8/7/2009
Cisco got enough grief this week, after announcing a big slide in sales and earnings in its fiscal fourth quarter. Yet you can't criticize the networking giant for its execution and focus, which is why I was surprised to see them dinged in the Wall Street Journal for bypassing the $2-billion market in used networking gear.

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Homebrewers Abuzz Over Linksys Router Hacks

8/3/2009
Want to turn a low-cost consumer router into a heavy duty piece of enterprise networking gear? Well, there's a large community of Linksys homebrewers who are ready to help you. I was turned onto this the other day by a Twitter tweet; read on for the details.

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In Packet Inspection Race, Cisco Sees FPM As Key To Network Security

7/30/2009
Cisco has an interesting tease for an upcoming Webcast entitled "Defending Your Router in 256 Bytes or Less." The thesis is that "the increase in accuracy and performance of network security products has pushed hackers to create attacks within the first 256 bytes of code that slip into networks under the radar." The upshot is that Cisco is pitching Flexible Packet Management (FPM), a technique it developed as a more effective way to block attacks than the deep packet inspection methods that are

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Blade, Intel Push Parallel Programming, Software's Holy Grail

7/24/2009
The two vendors are teaming up to teach parallel programming to students, on the heels of the release of Intel Parallel Studio. (I know, you're thinking they should teach them regular programming first.) But maybe such mainstream tools will help us bridge the shocking gap between multithreaded, multicore processors and poorly parallelized software.

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Larry Roberts Says 'Net Broken, Proposes Flow Management

7/6/2009
Lawrence Roberts, the illustrious engineer who led the development of ARPAnet, is back with a provocatively titled IEEE Spectrum article, "The Internet Is Broken". The piece makes the case for his long-standing proposal to ease Internet congestion with a bandwidth-management technique called flow management.

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Quad-Core Processor Forecast

10/3/2006
Here's a quick guide to help you sort through the blizzard of CPU information spewing forth from Intel and AMD as they preview their respective quad-core plans.

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Dual-Core CPU Buyer's Guide

9/5/2006
With Intel and AMD embroiled in a performance and price war, choosing a desktop processor can be tough. We'll make the decision easier with a guide to chip choices and

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