Letters update from April 2003

Most organizations will not realize the benefits IT can provide until they adjust their business practices.

April 14, 2003

4 Min Read
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Apple Talk
I'd like to commend Steve Schuchart on his fair and objective review of the Apple Computer's Xserve (March 21, 2003). He did a good job of pointing out the product's pros and cons as they apply to its use in the enterprise. The Xserve will only get better as it matures and Apple gains experience in the enterprise space.
Dwight Munn

Vice President; MacAssist Co.
[email protected]

Thank you for the refreshing article on the Mac Xserve. I thought it was common knowledge that Wintel KVM switches don't work with Macs but many KVM manufacturers make products that do. As for the iBook that Apple sent you, the GUI with the Xserve is both useful and, I bet, a lot nicer than that of the Wintel laptop you're using.
Jon Wells
IT Administrator; Marion County Court of Common Pleas
[email protected]

I'm afraid I can't muster any sympathy for the gripe about requiring an additional Mac for graphical remote administration. It's something we Mac users endure every day when lazy developers advertise "Web-based" administration that turns out to be a single HTML page with nothing but a huge (and useless to Mac users) ActiveX control embedded in it.
Michael J. Stango

Senior Consultant; IT Solutions Consulting
[email protected]

Editor's Note: Many readers wrote to tell us that the Apple Xserve Steve Schuchart tested should have been equipped with cable-management hardware. They're right. Unfortunately, the unit Apple sent to Steve was missing this piece.

Filter Defined
I really enjoyed reading your March 21, 2003 review of application-level firewalls ("Smaller Net, Tighter Filter"). Why were products from BlueCoat, Kavado and Sanctum left out?

Ramesh Neelmegh
VP Engineering; Brillus Networks
[email protected]

Mike Fratto responds: We tested firewalls that support multiple application proxies. The BlueCoat, Kavado and Sanctum products don't meet that requirement. To read our review of Web application protection suites, see "Proxies Add a Protective Shield" (March 5, 2003).

The Big IT Picture

Rob Preston's column--and the general tone of your "Business Credibility" issue (March 5, 2003)--implies that the IT business unit needs to align itself with the organization as a whole.

As IT professionals, we need to take a larger view, and promote the modification of business-unit practices in concert with IT practices and technologies. Most organizations will not realize the benefits IT can provide until they adjust their business practices to take full advantage of the technology and examine their own barriers to productivity.

Many hospitals, for example, are beginning to understand this concept. Some are putting in systems that will increase efficiency and decrease error by reducing dependency on physician handwriting, eliminating duplication of medication orders and avoiding confusion about meds that have similar names but perform different functions.But IT cannot take up the slack for an organization that is designed to serve its own needs rather than the needs of its customers: A hospital (or any organization) may appear to be a model of efficiency, yet its patients (customers) are forced to wait in line, return later because of scheduling errors, or receive the wrong or defective medication (or product).

Educating organizational unit staffers to recognize this concept will bring a much greater ROI.

My opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.
Tom Clifford
Senior Helpdesk Analyst; Munson Healthcare

[email protected]

Excess Tape
"Making the Case for Both Disk and Tape" (March 5, 2003) raised some good points, but there's one I think you missed.

It's becoming increasingly challenging to plan backups to make the best use of the excess capacity the new tape formats offer. Because the new tapes can hold so much data, restoring it, if necessary, can be a time-consuming endeavor.
Jerome Wendt

Storage Administration; Company name withheld by request

In our Career Coach discussion of Social Security benefits (March 21, 2003), we should have said maximum, not full, benefits come at age 70. The government makes a distinction between reduced benefits; nonreduced, or full, benefits; and maximum benefits.

• In "Another Linux Test for Microsoft" (BuzzCut, March 21, 2003), we misspelled Connectix.

• In "Proxies Add a Protective Shield" (March 5, 2003), we neglected to note in our features chart that the Teros APS supports SSL client certificates and can re-encrypt SSL traffic to a Web server. Also, we tested MultiNet iSecureWeb version 2.5 (not 159.3).

Tell us how you really feel. Send e-mail to us at [email protected], fax to (516) 562-7293 or mail letters to Network Computing, 600 Community Drive, Manhasset, NY 11030. Include your name, title, company name, e-mail address and phone number. All correspondence becomes the property of Network Computing.

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