Posts Tagged ‘Software’

RBS settles copyright lawsuit after US judge blocks software’s use

August 22nd, 2014

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc said that it has reached a settlement allowing it to use a key piece of software in its trade finance business that a US judge had prevented the bank from using due to copyright infringement.

Terms of the settlement with Complex Systems Inc were not disclosed. But RBS in a statement said the deal would allow it to use the company’s BankTrade software and continue processing trade finance transactions across all of its legal entities.

“Our clients remain our primary focus, and this settlement assures them of our continued commitment to our trade finance business,” RBS said in a statement.

A spokesman for Jersey City, New Jersey-based Complex Systems had no immediate comment.

In May, US District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan entered a permanent injunction requiring RBS’s ABN Amro unit to stop using the BankTrade software within a year, and not to use it to process new trade finance transactions received 60 days from her decision.

ABN, now called Royal Bank of Scotland NV, had in court characterized the BankTrade software as a “core” feature of its technical platform and said removing it would be like cutting out the system’s heart.

The lawsuit, filed in 2008, flowed out of ABN Amro’s $21 billion sale in 2007 to Bank of America Corp of LaSalle Bank and a unit that had been licensing BankTrade from Complex Systems.

Forrest said the license went to Bank of America, but RBS kept using the software. An outdated version became a deeply embedded component of a platform used in 22 countries by more than 2,600 clients, processing thousands of transactions a week, she wrote.

The judge had ruled in March 2013 that ABN Amro was improperly using the BankTrade software of Complex Systems.

The bank appealed and sought to put Forrest’s ruling on hold in the meantime. But the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York denied the bank’s request on June 26.


Citrix software aims to solve storage/virtual desktop performance problem

August 22nd, 2014

Citrix has updated its virtual desktop and appliance software with a goal of alleviating one of the biggest problems that come with a VDI deployment: Storage.
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It’s common for centralized storage pools to hinder the performance of virtual desktops and apps. When potentially dozens of users are all connecting into a shared storage service at once, it puts tremendous strain on the system.

Traditionally, the problem has been solved by throwing solid state drives at the storage pool, or even adding additional spindles to the traditional spinning disks. With the release of Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6, the company has a new approach.

With the new software – which is set to hit the market next month – users can spin up a commodity server that sits in front of the storage array to help regulate how much data is released into the storage pool at a time. Doing so allows a steady, constant stream of data to be managed by the central storage pool, instead of having it deal with spikes and valleys, which are the cause of the bottlenecks and lagging performance explains Calvin Hsu, a Citrix marketer.

Along with the new storage features Citrix has a number of other new features in the latest update to the company’s virtualization products. One is what it calls Anonymous Login. It means that users can log in once to either a virtual desktop or virtual application and it authenticates the user through both. Citrix has the health care industry in mind for this update. Think of many doctors who are running around an office, jumping from workstation to workstation. Instead of having to re-log into each workstation when they arrive for both the virtual desktop and the virtual application, now just one logon credential is needed for both, and users can remain authenticated across various workstations.

Citrix has also added a feature that allows a central administrator to “warm up” virtual desktops before they’re used. So, if for example doctors begin seeing patients promptly at 9 a.m. every day, the machines can be set to spin up at 8:55 and be ready to go so that doctors don’t have to wait for them to boot.

Both new versions of XenApp and XenDesktop are also both Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) Compliant, which is a common reference standard for federal government, health care organizations and other regulated industries. Being FIPS compliant is a head start when auditing time comes around.

Both the XenApp and XenDesktop software are available as on-premise installations, or customers can chose to host them with one of Citrix’s partners and resellers, or run it in a public cloud such as Amazon Web Services.

The new versions 7.6 of XenApp and XenDesktop will be available next month. XenApp starts at $350 per concurrent users. XenDesktop starts at $95 per user or per device, and the VDI edition is per concurrent user at $195.


Software — and a Woman — at the Heart of Lunar Triumph

August 22nd, 2014

On July 20, 1969, with the successful American lunar landing of Project Apollo, for the first time, humans set foot on another world. Neil Armstrong was the first to take that “giant step” followed by his fellow explorer, Buzz Aldrin. It was an audacious feat that required great personal bravery and skill as well as the vast effort of a supporting army of technicians and engineers — the best and the brightest of the mechanical, electrical, and aeronautical world.

Hardly noticed amidst the spectacle of launch and recovery, the moon rocks, and the live television broadcast was the extremely critical role of the newest kind of electronic hardware — embodied in one of the world’s first chip-based computers — which was programmed, in turn, by one of the first women to enter the software field.

In fact, the lunar landing was one of the first times that software was ever entrusted with such a mission-critical, real-time task. And the application development work for that feat was placed in the hands of Margaret Hamilton — who had taught herself to program and had risen to become director of the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, which developed the computer under contract to NASA.

In the Apollo program, designers had extremely tight weight and size constraints. This prompted the choice of chips, which were still considered too unreliable and too expensive for most computing applications, as building blocks for the device. All together the computer had only about 64k of memory to help navigate to and from the moon and help control the descent to the lunar surface. Putting useful functionality into such a bare-bones device was the triumph of Hamilton, who was awarded the Augusta Ada Lovelace Award by the Association of Women in Computing in 1986. In 2003, she was also given a NASA Exceptional Space Act Award.

Significantly, Hamilton not only crafted the code for this particular machine, through her scientific papers and the work of the company she later founded she also made important contributions to ideas about fault-tolerance and reliability.

Celebrating her accomplishment and that of the astronauts and the whole NASA team is an opportunity to remember how far we have come in her lifetime — from experimental, hand-crafted real-time software to a world where everyone is surrounded by and depends on software for almost everything they do!

She, along with that other early programming pioneer — CoBOL inventor Grace Hopper — also deserve tremendous credit for helping to open the door for more women to enter and succeed in STEM fields like software.

The Apollo program has remained a touchstone for innovation since its inception in the 1960s. Given an enormous technical challenge, a deadline, and a budget researchers and engineers in a wide array of disciplines dramatically advanced the state-of-the-art across the board. It was the triumph of a vision that helped inspire later generations of entrepreneurs and innovators to imagine the impossible and then make it a reality.

As we recall the Apollo program in general and the amazing triumph of Armstrong and Aldrin — particularly, Armstrong’s famous “one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind” comment — let’s also offer some praise to Margaret Hamilton, a true innovator, who also took humanity one giant step toward the future — while also taking an important step for a woman.


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