Stories by Robert L. Mitchell

Xerox looks beyond paper

After having reorganized late last year, Xerox is on a roll. The company's profits are up, thanks to rising sales of color printers and copiers, as well as a new focus on services, which now account for 20 percent of revenue. Herve Gallaire, Xerox's chief technology officer and president of the Xerox Innovation Group, spoke with Computerworld's Robert Mitchell recently about research and development projects in the lab, real-world applications and whether Xerox's move to services means the company is letting up on its commitment to hardware R&D. Xerox registered more than 500 patents in 2004.

Selling out on standards

Thirty-two years ago, IEEE participants hammered out one of the most successful standards ever developed. Ethernet succeeded in part because the big players involved at the time, including Xerox, Intel and Digital Equipment, donated intellectual property (IP) to the specification.

Record risks

Driven by million-dollar fines, businesses are using technology to comply with legal land regulatory requirements - and regain control over electronic records.

Data warehouse boost on a budget

When Premier Inc's medical databases began bogging down last year, the provider of clinical data put its data warehouse in a box -- literally.
Premier sells access to clinical data it gathers from 400 hospitals to pharmaceutical manufacturers. Last year, the company's IBM Red Brick data warehouse had grown to 3TB, and one table included 3 billion entries. "When you go through 3 billion rows of data, you get long runtimes," says Chris Stewart, director of data warehouse architecture.

Ghosts in the machine

Once the province of in-house developers to quickly test software within multiple virtual environments, virtualization technology is finding new fans.

Invasion of the iSCSI SANs

As the technology has matured, IP-based storage arrays have established a beachhead as the preferred low-end SAN option.

Microsoft Walks Multipath

Since much of the server-based storage targeted for consolidation on Internet Protocol storage-area networks (SAN) resides on departmental servers running Windows, Microsoft's commitment to iSCSI has been key to the success of IP SANs so far.

ERP at your service

When John Schindler thinks of enterprise resource planning software, business flexibility isn't exactly the first phrase that leaps to mind, he says. But increasingly, that's what he and other users are demanding from their ERP vendors. "We're in a growth mode, and the business needs are changing," says Schindler, CIO at Kichler Lighting Group. The problem is that today's ERP systems haven't adapted quickly enough to those change requirements.

Standards: A high-stakes game

More than ever, businesses rely on IT products and services built around standards. But that demand, and the evolution of the industry, is changing how standards are created -- and who creates them. The old image of a group of engineers working together to find the best technology to solve a problem is giving way to new realities.

Matters of trust

As Microsoft's chief Trustworthy Computing strategist, Scott Charney can escalate his concerns directly to the senior leadership team headed by Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. Charney, a former government prosecutor, also spearheads the company's Security Strategies Group, which works to advance the cause of secure products and services. During a recent visit to Boston, Charney met with Computerworld's Carol Sliwa and Robert L. Mitchell to talk about how Microsoft does security.

Opinion: Almost real time

There are dozens of ways to search for flights, and I tried them all. I carefully worked each of the three big Web travel sites at the same time, juggling multiple browser windows. Orbitz's Web site, Sabre Holdings' Travelocity and Expedia's site each offered different results. I tried alternative dates and airports. After more than an hour, I emerged from my office and called in my wife to confirm the final choice, bragging that the savings had been worth the time spent. But when I made that last mouse click to commit the transaction to my credit card, the reservation didn't go through.

Innovation drives the desktop

Desktops and laptops are about to be transformed by an array of emerging technologies, according to Dell technology strategist Brian Zucker. In a conversation with Computerworld's Robert L. Mitchell, Zucker tells how desktops and laptops are becoming -- among other things -- faster and smaller, and operating on wireless networks more frequently.

Six things I hate about IT

Don't get me wrong. At heart, I'm a technology enthusiast. But there are a few things about the IT industry that just make me crazy. I'm not talking about failures of technology itself but rather failures in how people promote and use it. From gimmickry to punditry, here's what I truly hate about IT: