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Hewlett-Packard’s highly regarded NonStop server hardware, previously costing $500,000 or more, should now be an option for more companies as an entry-level NonStop NS1000 Server becomes available at a third of the old entry-level price.

The NonStop range of fault-tolerant computers is widely used by banks, stock exchanges and other big businesses for applications that need “five nines” availability – designed to keep running 99.999 per cent of the time.

Measuring performance
Microsoft has unveiled Office PerformancePoint Server, a business intelligence (BI) product designed to make it easier for businesses to analyse data stored in their IT systems.

The software is for performance management: creating plans, budgets and scorecards and measuring progress against them.

Microsoft argues it can be used by anyone because the data is accessed using familiar Microsoft Office products such as Excel or Outlook.

It requires a Microsoft SQL Server database and will be available commercially in 2007, although a beta programme for businesses that want to try it earlier starts this autumn.

Alerting staff to changes
SeeWhy Software, a UK start-up, promises a fresh approach to business intelligence, which it dubs “operational BI”. Its software does not analyse data in a database or data warehouse, because it is often out of date.

Instead, it monitors business events – point-of-sale transactions, for example – and detects changes. If the changes pass a threshold, staff can be alerted before the problem gets worse.

The SeeWhy system allows businesses to react to events and predict levels of fraud, payment defaults, late deliveries etc.

Auditing headaches
The proliferation of security programs in large organisations creates headaches when it comes to auditing and reporting, particularly for those businesses that have to satisfy regulatory requirements.

Technology from Preventsys, a company specialising in automated compliance reporting that has just been acquired by McAfee, the US security software vendor, eases this problem by consolidating the data produced by various security programs and presenting a single view of the risks facing a business via an on-screen “dashboard”.

It also produces compliance reports that communicate the state of security compliance to auditors and senior management.

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