A New World for IT in the Enterprise

By Richard R. Shippee

UniForum '97, the acknowledged leading forum
for open systems solutions, addresses the issues vital to
IS professionals in 1997.

The dramatic changes in the world of computing over the past few years have brought not only technological innovations but new ways of approaching management, new ways that companies communicate, and new ways that information is stored, moved around and accessed. Managers of information systems (IS) have had to adjust to change at a rate that is perhaps unprecedented in the history of business. No longer can an information system be designed, approved, installed and tested as a single, static entity. It must be designed to grow and change during its life cycle, and respond to an ever-expanding need for interoperability inside and outside the enterprise.

The UniForum Conference and Exposition has tracked these trends more closely than any other continuing business and technical program in the world. As the number one annual IT event in the Silicon Valley region, the UniForum Conference is closer to the pulse of technological change than any similar event. And as such, UniForum '97, being held Mar. 10 through 14 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, will offer IS professionals a fresh experience and rich exploration into the trends that make computing the dynamic and challenging environment that it is today.

Some aspects of the old are gone now. The Unix operating system has gone from cult to mainstream, and with it has passed the attitude that one operating system will prevail and eliminate all others. Long gone is the single vendor that can dominate all facets of the enterprise computing environment. The real IT world--and real business requirements--compel today's leaders to integrate a variety of technologies and manage the resulting systems and networks, while balancing the performance of those systems against the unending, sometimes conflicting demands of the enterprise. Unix is here to stay, but so are other operating systems, the Internet, the World Wide Web, intranets, networks, e-mail, security requirements, data warehouses, Java and even legacy systems. UniForum '97 is the place to learn tomorrow's IT trends from the people who are creating them.

This year the show has a new emphasis on the unifying elements of emerging IT: the Internet and intranet, the Web, the network computer, objects and the server as the heart of corporate computing. Windows NT and ActiveX will be covered, as will other emerging technologies--all related to practical enterprise solutions. On the exhibit floor, leading vendors and emerging companies alike will show their technologies, hardware and applications. In the conference rooms, experts will present the details of the latest open systems trends and solutions and how to apply them to business problems. The UniForum '97 Program Committee has created 56 conference sessions and 12 workshops, tutorials and symposia, as well as plenaries and keynotes, to deal with these topics in a way that delivers what you, the open systems IT professional, want to know.

Pre-Conference Sessions
Mar. 10-11

The pre-conference tutorials, workshops and symposium offer a chance to get into the details of the latest technologies, with expert instruction. These sessions are presented by UniForum, Usenix, InfoTest, WANTUG and The Open Group Research Institute. Here are brief descriptions:

UniForum Tutorials

Unix and Advanced Internet Security
Instructor: Rik Farrow, Internet security consultant
Level: intermediate to advanced

System and network administrators and managers familiar with Unix and TCP/IP will gain from this meaty course, which focuses on good user and administrative practices for real-world Unix systems security. Programmers, auditors and managers will also find the course of interest. The material covers how to harden the security of computers that provide network services, as well as provide an understanding of TCP/IP and effective access to your networks.

Navigating through Middleware Choices: TP Monitors to Distributed Objects
Instructor: Max Dolgicer, director, International Systems Group, Inc.
Level: intermediate

This session defines and examines the coming world of distributed object middleware. For many corporations, selecting middleware solutions and integrating client/server with legacy systems have become critical to successfully developing high-end, multitier distributed applications. The right choice of middleware determines how effectively an application can scale and how smoothly applications can be integrated into existing environments. The course defines common architectural requirements demanded by multitier distributed applications, provides an evaluation of different middleware categories such as database and TP monitors, reviews solutions for integrating distributed applications with legacy systems, and introduces techniques of wrapping existing legacy code in objects so the existing applications can be exploited.

You Can Develop Marketing Excellence on the World Wide Web

Instructor: Marty Gruhn, president, Strategm

Level: intermediate

If you need to create marketing for the Web based on factual studies of the Internet, sign up for this dynamic workshop. You'll get the specifics you need to develop marketing excellence on the Web. Take the experience you already have in marketing and sales and couple it with what you learn in this course for heightened awareness of your company's products and services. Topics include the basics of a high-tech Web site, the potential uses of such a site, innovations for competitive advantage, undesirable technologies, the "seven sins" for Web sites, who should own your Web site, planning and designing, and a list of ideas that work.

Usenix Tutorials

Sponsored by the Usenix Association and SAGE, the System Administrators Guild

Topics in Solaris System Administration
Instructor: Marc Staveley, consultant
Level: intermediate to advanced

This course concentrates on describing new features in the Solaris operating system but also mentions some new methods for accomplishing the same task as in SunOS. System administrators with some SunOS experience will learn the differences between SunOS 4.x and Solaris 2.x administration. Topics include installation, booting and halting, kernel enhancements, networking, AutoFS and CacheFS, Service Access Facility and printing.

Hubs, Bridges and Routers: The Tools of Networking
Instructor: Dr. Vincent C. Jones, consultant
Level: intermediate to advanced

Today's network designer faces an array of choices for connecting multiple LANs into a single integrated network. The variety of bridges, gateways, routers and brouters can be bewildering, and some applications can be severely degraded in performance or reliability if an ill-suited selection is made. Other applications may dictate a specific choice. Technical managers and system architects who are familiar with basic networking terminology will find the theoretical background and practical understanding they need to select an appropriate interconnectivity architecture.

Setting Up and Administering a Web Server
Instructor: Bryan Buus, Web services group manager, XOR Network Engineering
Level: intermediate to advanced

Companies are quickly discovering that they need to be on the Web to provide information to customers and to keep up with the competition. This course for webmasters and administrators describes how to set up and maintain a Web server on a Unix platform. The servers covered include the popular, freely available Apache and NCSA Web servers. You will learn that setting up the Web server is only half the battle. Understanding exactly how the protocol works, what performance issues are critical, what the security implications are and other nuances are some of the important issues that all webmasters need to understand.

Advanced HTML
Instructor: Dave Taylor, consultant and author, Intuitive Systems
Level: intermediate to advanced

A variety of sophisticated layout techniques, design and interface considerations, programmatic Web sites and added interactivity are explored in this full-day course. Authors, marketing managers and programmers interested in applying Hypertext Markup Language will delve into topics such as tables; Netscape-specific, Microsoft-specific and other HTML extensions; frame-based sites; sophisticated table design; CGI scripts and dynamic pages; image maps and page counters; and an overview of Java, Java Script, VRML and custom plug-ins.

Selected Topics in System Administration
Instructors: Trent Hein, chief network architect, XOR Network Engineering; Evi Nemeth, University of Colorado, Boulder
Level: intermediate to advanced

System and network administrators will get a heavy dose of network crisis management in this course. These network crisis case studies provide important insights into common network problems. The instructors discuss and correct a set of real-life network and security crises. Problems to be covered include IPv6, advanced routing protocols, security auditing, network monitoring, and server performance.

Java Applets and the AWT
Instructor: Natarai Nagaratnam, Syracuse University
Level: intermediate to advanced

Developers interested in developing GUI-based Java applications will explore the capabilities of the Java Abstract Window Toolkit (AWT). You will become familiar with applet construction using the classes in the Java AWT package and the techniques to build a GUI in Java. Topics include applet construction, structure of the AWT, principal AWT classes and methods, and designing and implementing Java GUIs. The course includes an in-depth treatment of developing platform-independent GUIs, details of laying out windowing components using layout managers, and enhancing applets by using graphical classes.

Workshops and Symposium

The Extranet: Workshop on the InfoTest Enhanced Product Realization (EPR) Project

This half-day workshop for business, manufacturing and IS professionals examines one of the largest Internet technology trials ever conducted. EPR is an experimental collaborative computing system, developed by InfoTest members, which will allow U.S. manufacturers to accelerate time-to-market for new products, and to make product modifications anywhere in the world in as little as five days. Issues include system security and performance, collaborative tools development, Internet performance, benchmarking and business case evaluation.

Windows NT Developer and ISV Workshop

Sponsored by the Worldwide Association of NT User Groups (WANTUG), this workshop explores two areas of interest to Unix and NT developers: porting Unix applications to Windows NT and ActiveX technologies. Increasingly, developers and IS managers are seeing a mix of Unix and NT. Most IS shops still need the advantages of Unix, including clustering, robust systems management tools and widespread applications support. But as the NT environment matures, it is meeting those same challenges, and its other strengths are becoming more apparent: less expense, integration with Microsoft's desktop applications and ease of administration. More and more, sites are looking to closely integrate the two environments to enable applications, data and file sharing between NT and Unix clients and servers. ActiveX is a set of technologies that integrate software components in a networked environment, regardless of the language in which they were created. In this portion of the workshop, there's an opportunity to learn about the core ActiveX technologies, including the specification and source code reference.

Research Institute Symposium

The Open Group Research Institute will host its sixth Research Symposium in conjunction with UniForum '97. Three program areas are extensively covered: operating systems, Web technology and Java technology. Within these programs, the Research Institute will report on advances in scalability, distribution/mobility, realtime operations, fault tolerance, security and high assurance. Speakers come from the Research Institute, industry and academia. The symposium is organized to encourage participants to follow up with speakers and projects of interest to them through one-on-one contact. It will appeal to students, engineers and engineering managers at all levels of experience. These sessions report recent results and directions and are not tutorials. More information is available at the Research Institute's Web site, http://www.osf.org/RI.

The Conference
Mar. 12-14

Sessions, Tracks, Groups and Threads

The sheer variety of ongoing changes in IT means that comprehensive programs such as the UniForum '97 Conference must make sense of the world as it is and will be. Because UniForum realizes that no one individual can absorb all that the conference has to offer, the program is organized so that an IS professional can easily design a program tailored to his or her individual needs and interests. The tutorials, workshops, symposium, keynotes, plenary sessions and main conference are all arranged with the individual in mind, so you can find your way to the sessions that you want without hassle. The conference sessions are organized into four groups of two tracks each, for a total of eight tracks, as follows:

Networking Solutions
Technologies that support the capacity and connectivity of the network. Tracks are:

Enabling Solutions

The tools, enablers and technologies used to build integrated, standards-compliant networks. Tracks are:

Emerging Applications

Distributed applications utilizing emerging networking technology. Tracks are:

Enterprise Integration

Technologies that support scalability, fault tolerance and future growth. Tracks are:

In addition, there is a new tool--conference threads--to guide attendees with cross-track interests in selecting pertinent topics. For example, a user interested in security can attend sessions that deal with security at the physical level from the Network Technologies track, as well as issues of encryption and control that are covered in the track on Electronic Commerce. The four threads are:

Management Issues and Answers

This thread focuses on issues and answers unique to each specific track--issues such as what technologies are relevant, what works/what doesn't and the future direction of technology most relevant to that track.


This thread looks at real-world success stories of organizations that have implemented significant open systems solutions. Attendees following this thread will hear from users who have been successful in pushing the state of the art, and understand what worked, what didn't work and the benefits of their solutions.


The issues of security that relate to each specific track are part of this thread. Topics are those most relevant to protecting company assets. Attendees following this thread will hear discussions regarding security from the connectivity level through applications and the integrated systems level.

The Next Technology

Innovative technologies that will likely play a role in future open systems integration form the basis for this thread. Selected technologies that show promise to change or expand elements of the enterprise open systems network are discussed, with an emphasis on new functions rather than on improved price/performance.

Mar. 12

Getting Serious About Security: Open Standards and Procurement
Chair: Allen Brown, vice president, The Open Group

The theme of this plenary session is simple: For applications to be secure, open standards should be employed in procurement. Its conclusion is clear; suppliers will continue to promote proprietary solutions unless buyers make it known that they intend to discriminate in their procurement in favor of products that adhere to open standards. This plenary is designed for anyone interested in implementing commercial applications using intranet or Internet technologies.

Mar. 13

Mitchell Kertzman, CEO of Sybase, will be a featured keynoter. Well-known as the founder of PowerSoft, Kertzman merged his company with Sybase in 1995 and became CEO in July 1996. He has effected a dramatic turnaround through a reconcentration on Sybase's core competancies in client/server database tools and applications. Kertzman has a vision for the new Sybase that includes strategies for the Internet/intranet/network computer revolution.

Special Events

"A Taste of SCO Forum" brings to UniForum the best educational tracks from this respected industry event. Offered free to all registrants, these intensive tutorials cover topics including Web server technologies, legacy applications and the Internet, Unix internals, system tuning and performance, database tuning, and delivering high availability.

The Birds of a Feather (BOF) program continues at UniForum '97, with timely, informed discussions slated for the opening day of the conference, Wednesday, Mar. 12. UniForum's Technical Steering Committee, chaired by Jeanne Baccash, has planned topics that range from Linux to object-oriented middleware and from Web servers to Unix and NT integration. New BOFs can be arranged right at the show.

The UniForum '97 Exposition

The exhibit floor this year spreads across the North Hall of the Moscone Center. Attendees will see more than 100 different companies with their offerings of the latest technologies that are providing solutions for managers and users of information technology. Leading systems vendors, such as Data General, Digital Equipment Corp., Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Unisys, will be in attendance, along with applications providers including Attachmate, Bristol, Elan, Esker, Globetrotter, Hummingbird, Lucent Technologies, Platinum, Segue Systems, Unison, V Systems and many others.

The show floor will offer some surprises this year, including a special pavilion that will demonstrate the latest in cross-platform integration. Also not to be missed will be The Open Group Pavilion and UniForum's own exhibit, where the two organizations show off what they have in store as they begin their new affiliation together.

San Francisco: Our Host

The City by the Bay is this country's number one convention destination, and it's easy to see why. The Moscone Convention Center itself is easily reached from all center city hotels, and now it is crowned by a new jewel, the Yerba Buena Gardens, one of the most attractive urban parks to be found anywhere. The convention center is surrounded by some 30 museums of all sizes and devoted to various subjects, of which the stunning new Museum of Modern Art is paramount and a must-see for everyone attending UniForum '97.

San Francisco's hotels range from grand to boutique. Registrants are urged to book their travel and accommodations promptly to take advantage of conference early-bird rates and discounts on airfare, and to secure the hotel of their choice. With so many events going on, San Francisco's better hotels frequently sell out early.

In fine dining San Francisco is the equal of any of the great cities of the world. The diversity of its restaurants is unsurpassed and reflects the influence of many cultures on the city. Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese; French, Italian, Spanish; seafood, grilled meats, vegetarian dishes and extraordinary admixtures are all served, in breathtaking variety.

While UniForum '97 educational and show floor activities will take up much available time, there is much to see and do while in town. San Francisco neighborhoods are wonderful to walk through (ask at your hotel for walking and hiking itineraries). Regularly scheduled ferry boats ply the harbor, including the immensely popular trip to Alcatraz Island, and all include lovely views of the skyline, the Bay and Golden Gate Bridges. Other points of interest are the Palace of the Legion of Honor with its museum, the Exploratorium (a great place for kids), and Golden Gate Park (the famous Presidio Golf Course, now public, is found here).

Those planning to go farther afield can head north to the wine country of Napa and Sonoma, south to the beauty of Monterey, Camel and Big Sur, or east into the Sierras for world-class skiing.


There are three ways to register for UniForum '97: over the Internet, by fax or by mail. Internet registration is available on the Web at http://www.uniforum97.com. You may fax a completed registration form to (617) 449-2674. Or mail your completed registration form to Registration Dept., UniForum '97, 300 First Ave., Needham, MA 02194-2722 USA. For a complete brochure, call (617) 433-1650; the entire schedule and conference grid is available on the Web site above.

UniForum '97 is a unique experience. Where else does a world-class educational event combine with unique workshops and symposia, top-flight speakers and keynoters, then blend with an expo that excites the imagination and helps solve problems? Where else can the entire world of IT gather to share and learn from one another while enjoying the wonders of a legendary city?

Nowhere else but UniForum '97.

Richard R. Shippee is director of communications for UniForum. He can be reached at dick@uniforum.org.