It's all in the mind.

Is this the year that clusters of Intel Corp.-based servers start populating corporate sites? Not likely, despite the pending release of Microsoft Corp.’s Wolfpack software for Windows NT.

Beginning this spring, several server and storage manufacturers will release cluster-ready systems based on Wolfpack, which will deliver high-availability features between two server nodes.

But IT managers probably won’t sink their teeth into Wolfpack until 1998. The reasons? Many sites are still kicking the tires on NT as a mission-critical operating system and certainly aren’t willing to bet their businesses on a first-generation product such as Wolfpack. Secondly, customers have other options for adding high-availability features to their network servers. And finally, many sites haven’t been able to sift through all the hype about clustering technology to decide if it’s a worthwhile investment.

“Right now we don’t know a lot about clustering and the benefits it gives us,” said Dan Hendrickson,

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(Apple Network Servers were a short-lived technology, but the geeks that still have them swear by them.)

Apple’s Network Servers are aimed at corporate users who want the power and flexibility of Unix without the grief of the power and flexibility of Unix. The Network Server hits this target and is also worth a look for those expanding an installed base of AIX or other Unix systems.

The Network Server comes in two different models, Network Server 500 and Network Server 700, with several configurations of each. I tested the Network Server 700/200, with a 200-MHz PowerPC 604, 64MB of RAM, two 4GB disks, and an eight-speed CD-ROM. Weighing in at a cool $18,367, this machine is not for everyone, but Apple offers a variety of configurations starting at about $9,768 for the Network Server 500/132, a 132-MHz version with fewer expansion options.

Classic look!

Both the 500 and the

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Questions abound in the enterprise server industry. For instance, if you had to stake your business on PC-based technology or go the way of larger, legacy systems, what would you do?

Some vendors in the enterprise server arena plan to sway users into moving to PC-based enterprise servers. The mainframe era is dead, they say.

Opponents argue that the mainframe is the only machine that can do the job. Anything else presents too many management headaches. You can probably guess which side Intel Corp. is on.

The king of desktop PCs is hoping it can maneuver into the server business in a big way. Key to Intel’s strategy is its recently introduced Pentium Pro microprocessor.

Optimized to take advantage of true 32-bit software, Intel plans to catapult itself into the server market with Microsoft Corp.’s Windows NT by its side. Vendors of Intel-based products speculate that the chances of Intel

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Hard drives store all data in your computer system. When your hard drive gets broken, you will definitely have a bad day. Finding out how to fix it becomes your main concern. Experts suggest that throwing away broken hard drives is the next best thing to do and replace it with a new one. However, most people do not like the idea of immediately throwing away what is valuable to them. That is why many people prefer to find ways for hard drive repair.

The first step when fixing your hard drive is to make sure that the drive is totally dead. Check your computer’s BIOS settings to ensure the detection of broken drives. Wires, ports and other connectors must also be checked carefully. Moreover, understand all the details that you need to know about hard drive repair.

Hold the drive using one hand and carefully spin it back and …

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mmlYour marketing campaign is that set of activities that you use to get the word out – get the right people to know who you are, what you do, and where to find you. (Then your sales campaign takes over and converts prospects into customers.)

You can try to wing it.

But going through the same planning process as larger companies before launching your marketing campaign will pay off – perhaps by reducing your costs, and almost assuredly in getting better results for the same investment of time and money.

During the past several years I’ve advised software developers, physical therapists, dance instructors, dog trainers, consultants, and other small, usually service-oriented businesses on setting up their own marketing campaigns. Here’s what campaigns are all about, and how you can make your marketing work for you.


You can’t hit a target if you don’t know what you’re aiming …

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iffyIn a sluggish economy, the entrepreneurs who suffer least adjust their repertoire to a shifting marketplace. Find out which skill related to your current services is still in demand in your community. By developing this skill, you can offer it as a new service.

A classic way to hone a new capacity is by taking a course. But you can also diversify through pro bono work for a nonprofit organization you admire. Offer your talents for a project that will showcase the skill you want to refine. When the owner of a market-research firm in a small town in California needed experience working with children, she donated her services to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

While donating your services to a non-profit agency, you may meet its board members, usually successful business executives. It can’t hurt to have them know who you are–and they’ll appreciate your contribution …

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Data warehousing announcements last week from Sequent Computer Systems Inc. and Intellidex Systems LLC Data reflect a growing corporate trend of cleaning data from disparate operational stores and funneling it into a single repository.

Sequent announced its CompleteWarehouse program, a bundle of hardware, services and software for building a data warehouse. Sequent promises to build a complete data warehouse in 90 days for a starting price of $500,000, according to officials at the Beaverton, Ore., company.

Meanwhile, startup Intellidex began shipping its first product. The Warehouse Control Center gives warehouse administrators a central point to manage metadata, the index information for the warehouse’s data.

These two areas in data warehousing–one-stop bundled solutions and metadata management–are likely to form the core of a fast-growing market this year.

Sequent joins a long list of vendors rushing to meet companies’ desires to buy from a single vendor all or most of the hardware,

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ncLin Fish, a marketing and communications consultant, gets together with 30 or 40 friends every Friday morning, enjoys a nice breakfast, and develops new business for her company at the same time. Fish is a member of a networking club. These clubs have been around for years, and they are gaining popularity as more and more people open their own businesses and start to work from home.

Networking clubs are groups of business-people who meet on a regular basis to interact, trade referrals, and exchange business ideas and advice. Whether you live in a small town or in the heart of a big city, you should have no trouble locating (or forming) a club in your area.

When I started looking for ways to expand my practice as a certified public accountant, I decided to join a networking club. Our community newspaper lists business meetings scheduled each week, so I …