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November 2006
Solutions
GCOS momentum
Update from Jean-François Bauduin, Director of the Bull GCOS Business Unit
Bull, ‘Architect of an Open World’ for its GCOS customers
The multi environment offering (GCOS, Linux and Windows) available on our NovaScale 9000 servers for GCOS 8 and NovaScale 7000 for GCOS7, at the heart of Bull’s open systems strategy, is proving highly successful in commercial terms amongst our customer base. Very many of them have now chosen these solutions and successfully deployed them for their production environments, in a way that’s totally transparent to users, while recording significant gains in performance.

Among our most recent successes, I’d mention the business applications for the Council of Yvelines, the school system applications for the city of Erie (PA) in the USA, Belgium’s National Register which administers the database managing the country’s entire population irrespective of their nationality or residency status, the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange in Argentina, and Spanish insurance company Cahispa.

For our customers, the NovaScale 9000 and NovaScale 7000 solutions offer:
Flexibility and openness: thanks to the hardware’s physical partitioning capabilities, our customers can simultaneously run applications under GCOS, Linux and/or Windows, and share data with IDS2 or open databases such as Oracle, PostgreSQL, etc. ;
Simpler IT infrastructure and systems administration ;
Cost control, as well as guaranteed performance and reliability, because these servers offer both the superior price/performance ratio of the standard Itanium® 2 processors supplied in large numbers by Intel, and mainframe robustness, traditionally Bull’s area of expertise ;
Risk management: because these offerings give our customers a long-term evolutionary path without the prospect of them needing to modify or recompile their applications. Having GCOS and open Linux and/or Windows environments running in co-operation together on the same platform means evolution can happen seamlessly, avoiding costly and sometimes hazardous migrations. This co-operation allows our customers to focus their resources on creating value by offering new functionality to their end users.

New developments regularly enhance this strategically important product line
Interoperability tools enable our customers to integrate their systems into service-oriented architectures (SOAs), via gateways and Web Services between GCOS, Linux and Windows partitions and other information systems platforms.
In addition, we have launched StoreWay Virtuo, our data storage virtualization solution, for Bull DPS 7000-XTA X5 and NovaScale 7000 servers, offering our customers the same back-up tool for GCOS7 data and data from open sytems from which our NovaScale 9000 customers are already benefiting. StoreWay Virtuo, developed by Bull’s expert storage system engineers, is an extremely timely offering in the face of the increasingly diverse range of back-up solutions and material currently available, because it enables data to be shared in a completely secure way. Based on ‘Disk-To-Disk-To-Tape’ technology, StoreWay Virtuo gives lasting access to the accumulated wealth of enterprise information.
Finally, when it comes to NovaScale 7000 and NovaScale 9000 support services, we are offering our customers dedicated operational and application maintenance services for GCOS environments, thus helping them to optimize their costs, operate production environments more efficiently, and manage the integration of new technologies. Our contractual arrangements are especially flexible, to respond as closely as possible to our customers’ requirements:
Technical support, for regular or ad hoc access to expertise ;
‘Insourcing’ (on-site outsourcing services) ;
Outsourcing, for customers who want to hand over all or part of their IT operations to Bull, and benefit from shared resources as part of a long-term service agreement based on commitment to results.

StoreWay Virtuo 6.1: a new generation of virtual storage solutions for the datacenter

With StoreWay Virtuo 6.1, back-up and restore operations for data in large-scale computing centers are simpler, more powerful, more reliable and much less costly.

Designed for heterogeneous environments - IBM z/OS mainframes (with ESCON or FICON connections), Bull GCOS and open systems such as Windows, Linux, AIX, HP/UX, Solaris, etc. - StoreWay Virtuo 6.1, the new generation of virtual storage solutions just released by Bull, enables universal sharing for data back-up within any company, offering a very rapid return on investment.
StoreWay Virtuo automates, safeguards and accelerates the back-up and restore process while also delivering much greater flexibility and optimization of back-up resources. As a result, StoreWay Virtuo reduces the initial investment and operational costs for the entire back-up environment.

Putting an end to the problems encountered during data back-up and restore operations
Handling dozens of media formats and supporting multiple server and operating systems is a real nightmare for system administrators who need to carry out regular back-up and archiving operations for corporate data. Emulating the tape reels and standard robots in the industry, StoreWay Virtuo allows them to free themselves from the inherent complexity of a heterogeneous infrastructure, while still maintaining their routine back-up software and associated procedures.

Substantial reduction in costs
Because they are now independent of media formats as well as different types of server and operating system, back-up and restore operations are simplified, and investment hardware and consumables is optimized. Among other things, the integration of information lifecycle management (ILM) functions – such as configuring how long data is held in the cache before being transferred onto tape – enables the cost of storing different types of data to be optimized as a function of the need for availability. This means the latest, more powerful and less costly technological advances can still be included in the data center, without having to redefine back-up procedures.

Optimum performance and security
Running parallel operations using a disk cache considerably reduces the back-up and restore timescales, and enables the system to meet on-going application availability requirements despite ever-increase data volumes. StoreWay Virtuo uses a secured disc cache ("mirroring" or RAID-5 depending on the model), and features a redundant fiber-channel connectivity and switching device that operates in the event of a breakdown and restoration of activity. StoreWay Virtuo also enables all or part of the back-ups to be automatically duplicated at a remote site, as an extra precaution against major incidents.

Main characteristics
The StoreWay Virtuo range consists of several models, to meet any organization’s requirements in terms of availability and disk cache capacity (from 280Gb to 46Tb for standard models, and more than 100Tb for specially-commissioned models).
The range entry configuration is priced at around 50,000 €.

With Upstream Provisioning, Bull Evidian simplifies the implementation of company ID databases

The latest module in Evidian Identity Manager simplifies the creation of an identity-based database
It facilitates synchronization of multiple sources and different identity formats
It offers a simple alternative to costly meta-directories

The construction of an identity database is at the core of effective identity and access management (IAM). In effect, no matter how good your access security policy may be, or how effective or refined its implementation or reporting tools are, if the data defining the user is unreliable, the whole edifice will crumble.
Setting up such a database can run into serious problems, for example when the model used is too complex, when the approach taken is purely technical, or the data defining the user’s identity and his or her access rights is muddled. Before launching into this kind of project, it is vital to use a methodology that will enable simple, robust and effective models and processes to be defined right from the start.

With ‘Upstream Provisioning’ – a new component in the Evidian Identity Manager module of its IAM (Identity and Access Management) software suite – Evidian responds to the needs of businesses that want to create a database of reliable identities simply and quickly. The new component is designed to facilitate the creation, integration or migration of corporate directories: for example as a result of a merger or acquisition, or a re-organization of decentralized business entities. It also enables customers to build identity databases, for example when creating a white pages service, or for identity management or company Single-Sign-On projects.

Today, unifying identity and access management is at a central preoccupation for numerous businesses that have implemented diverse approaches to identity management, ‘in silos’ or by type of application, over the years,” explains Hassan Maad, Bull Evidian’s Managing Director. “This dispersal of information results in a loss of productivity, an increase in the number of security risks, and a proliferation of extremely unreliable identity sources. Upstream Provisioning enables these systems to be synchronized and unified, without the need to implement costly meta-directories.

Upstream Provisioning: a simple and effective solution
Upstream Provisioning complements Evidian’s identity provisioning software solutions: ‘Identity Manager’ and ‘Provisioning Manager’. The solution offers three major advantages:
A global approach to the creation of identity databases. Upstream Provisioning supports all the main identity sources on the market: not only LDAP directories, but also SQL databases, Lotus Notes and Exchange directories, CVS or LDAIF flat files, etc.
An easy-to-install solution with no need to deploy agents. Simply installing Upstream Provisioning on a server is all that’s needed to implement the solution. No additional deployment of agents is required.
A powerful solution. With Upstream Provisioning, a straightforward XML interface allows the mapping and synchronization rules between the reference directory and the multiple existing identity sources and formats to be defined. This means there is no need to commit to the costly development programs usually associated with meta-directories.

For further information: download the white paper: Upstream and directory identity provisioning. This white paper describes the basic principles for constructing a consolidated identity directory

Intelligent Video Surveillance (IVS): computer intelligence at the service of video surveillance camera networks
Interview with Frederic Lacombe, Director of Emerging Markets, Bull

What do we mean by ‘Intelligent Video Surveillance’?
Video surveillance has been growing significantly for many years now, accelerated by the introduction of programs such as ‘Homeland Security’ in English-speaking countries and ‘Sécurité Intérieure’ (internal security) in France. Video surveillance operators, on their own when it comes to detecting a crisis situation, are gradually drowning under the exponential growing amount of footage that needs to be processed. Under these circumstances, there is a growing risk that an important event will go undetected
Intelligent Video Surveillance (IVS) involves using software to filter video footage, so that only relevant information is retained. Only this information is forwarded to the video surveillance operator, to remove any concerns of doubt and immediately trigger the predetermined action plan or response where appropriate. Detecting intruders or abandoned baggage, or counting people or vehicles, lend themselves particularly to IVS.

So why is Bull interested in IVS?
For the past decade, Bull has been involved in R&D projects around image processing and video surveillance, mainly in partnership with the INRIA/ORION laboratories in Sophia-Antipolis (the French national institute for research in computer science and control).
Once this technology was mature, INRIA/ORION asked Keeneo – a company staffed mainly by engineers who had worked in its ranks – to develop and bring to market an IVS software solution. In the footsteps of this, Bull and Keeneo have signed an exclusive business and technical partnership contract.
Drawing on Bull’s expertise in servers, systems integration and security solutions, IVS is a key element in Bull’s emerging markets development strategy, and a driver for growth in the years to come.

What are the main advantages of Bull’s IVS solution?
Bull provides its customers with a turnkey solution – including hardware, software and services – capable of being integrated with any existing video surveillance camera network.
Thanks to its modular character, the Bull NovaScale range of servers is particularly well suited to guarantee IVS operators a high level of performance and availability, no matter how many cameras are deployed on the network.
Based on a 4D architecture (3D + time) that is unique in this market, the IVS software developed by Keeneo considerably enhances the reliability of detection, while at the same time drastically reducing the rate of false alarms.
Bull also offers a wide range of services including feasibility studies, scenario modeling, camera calibration, integration and deployment services, maintenance and support.
All these solutions are available internationally.

 
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