UniForum '97: An Educational Opportunity

Technical conference offers choices, information and fun

The three-day conference at UniForum '97 (Mar. 12-14 in San Francisco) will offer 56 different sessions covering eight major track themes, taught by the industry's leading experts. The conference is broad enough in scope to attract virtually everyone working as an IS professional today. However, there is more than sufficient depth of coverage to satisfy those who are seeking real professional advantage through continuing education. There is also a two-day pre-conference of workshops and tutorials taking place Mar. 10 and 11; watch for details in the next UniNews online.

Complete conference information, including speakers and registration, will be published in a comprehensive brochure. Watch for your copy in the mail in November. Mark your calendars now to set aside the time you'll need to take full advantage of the finest, most complete UniForum Conference ever presented. Here are some details to whet your appetite.

The technical conference for UniForum '97 is organized into tracks and threads. There are four groups, with eight specific tracks, that allow for immersion in specific topics over the course of the conference. These groups and tracks are:

Networking Solutions. The emphasis for this track is on technologies that support the capacity and connectivity of the network.

Network technologies

Distributed systems management

Enabling Solutions. The tools, enablers and technologies to build integrated standards-compliant networks.

Internet/Intranet Enabling Tools

Internet/Intranet Middleware

Emerging Applications. Distributed applications making use of the emerging networking technology.

Internet/Intranet Applications

Electronic Commerce

Enterprise Integration. Technologies that support scalability and fault-tolerant and future-growth environments.

Performance and Mission Critical Systems

Integrating Open and Proprietary Platforms: UNIX, NT et al.


Networking Solutions Group

Network Technologies Track
This track addresses foundation technologies and key components of distributed networking and connectivity. With the state of open systems networking changing at such a furious pace, it is imperative that IS professionals keep up with the latest developments to maintain their organization's competitive edge. The choices made today for network functionality and capacity may be replaced tomorrow with dramatically improved (and different) capabilities. The IS professional must always be evaluating the alternatives and readjusting his or her long-range strategies to accommodate these new options.

Distributed Systems Management Track
Networks and distributed systems have evolved from tools for a relatively few research and technical professionals to a pervasive utility upon which most users are as (or more) dependent as they are for power and telephone services. Like with these common utilities, in order to provide a reliable "data tone," the resources and facilities for networking have to be managed across a variety of demands, purposes and events. Network administrators need to know from a central console the status of the entire enterprise network. Help desk personnel need to dynamically know the status and configuration of user workstations to quickly get them back into production. Asset managers need to know the location, configuration and status of devices for financial management. System managers need to know the installed software, configuration and release levels to simplify the task of distributing software and to maintain a coherent working network.

This session addresses the emerging tools and standards that make managing networks and distributed systems achievable. Attendees will understand the prominent tools available, the work of standards bodies to facilitate heterogeneous systems working together, the experiences of their peers in applying these things and how to incorporate these tools into their enterprise network.

Enabling Solutions Group

Internet/Intranet Enabling Tools Track
Keeping up with technology has never been easy. Today's fast-moving environment make it imperative that we take advantage of the latest enabling tools for building and integrating networks and systems. However, it seems every time we master one set of technologies, another set comes along and we have to deal with a new wave of excitement, creativity and--finally--discipline until these technologies are part of our science of development.

The explosion of the Inter/intranet world has been no exception. New capabilities in object oriented programming and development tools such as Java, VisualBasic and Lotus Notes provide a new level of confusion and concerns as to how to incorporate them into the corporate development process. This track looks at several of these new tools, their capabilities and how they are being incorporated into the corporate development environment.

Internet/Intranet Middleware Track
As users and IT management are coping with the consequences of downsizing while at the same time trying to achieve competitive advantage through information technology, they are confronted with the need to integrate new products, technologies and application packages rapidly, on time and on budget. Middleware is the glue that makes the integration of new and legacy applications practical in the face of ever-accelerating business and technology change. Middleware enables distributed systems with worldwide scope and provides a stable platform for continuous technical innovation and quick response to business initiatives.

This track attempts to demystify middleware, provide conceptual definition to the buzzword and demonstrate successful implementations of middleware infrastructures to solve real-world IT and business problems.

Emerging Applications Group

Internet/Intranet Applications Track
This track addresses ways in which intranets are replacing and supplementing other IT systems in corporate environments. Some of the issues to be addressed include:

Systems: Will intranets replace current LANs (such as NetWare)? How will the intranet relate to client/server systems, which may be relatively new installations on which the company has not yet realized its investment? What role will objects play in Web management?

Applications: How will companies integrate the Web and their databases? What will the intranet's role be in groupware (and its effect on Lotus Notes)? How will the Web browser impact the desktop GUI and end users? What new business applications will intranet use enable?

Doing Business: How will the intranet effect EDI and participate in the "business Internet" for business-to-business interaction? How will the intranet interact with the company's external Internet presence and customers?

Electronic Commerce Track
One of the most exciting aspects of the exploding Inter/intranet environment is the potential for electronic commerce. The promise of eliminating middlemen, shopping from the convenience of your home or desktop and a society has captured the imagination of potential buyers, hopeful vendors and, certainly, the press.

The reality is that there is much to learn to make electronic commerce a reality. Not only are there technical issues concerning security, encryption and financial accountability, but there is much to learn about how to effectively use this new capability. This session addresses current state-of-the-art issues that will either accelerate or impede the realization of electronic commerce. Topics such as the current status of cash transfer, credit card processing, experiences in implementing commerce applications and advice on how to use this capability to promote and market products will be discussed.

Enterprise Integration Group

Performance and Mission-Critical Systems Track
Open systems have grown up. What was once the domain of the experimenter or the scientist pushing the frontiers of their discipline is now moving into the domain of running the everyday operations of our businesses and, in some ways, our lives. Capabilities that were once the domain of the centralized data center are finding their way into distributed systems or being replaced with new technologies and are now central to the future of distributed systems. High availability, 24 x 7 operation and scalability for high data throughput environments are now central to managing corporate mission-critical enterprise systems.

This track focuses on those technologies crucial to mission-critical environments. Sessions such as comparing the relative strengths of massively parallel and symmetrically multi-processing systems in various environments and how to handle very large databases with clustering will be discussed.

Integrating Open and Proprietary Platforms: Unix, NT et al Track
Users are being faced with managing and living in heterogeneous environments. Often the biggest challenge is integrating Microsoft, Novell and Unix environments into single, homogeneous computing solutions. What products and practices can make this environment more livable? This track will include product information and end-user experiences to educate IT managers and users in real-world strategies for integrating these environments.

Focus will be given to multiple parts of heterogeneous workgroups and enterprise computing solutions, including connectivity, data sharing, mail products, and system and network management. It will help users build open and flexible computing environments using products from multiple sources.

Threads are designed to support attendees with interests in topics that cross tracks. Each track is designed to contain a session of interest to attendees following the thread. For example, a user interested in security can attend sessions that relate to security at the physical level from the Networking Technology track, as well as issues of encryption and control that might be covered by the track on electronic commerce.

The four threads for UniForum '97 are:

Management Issues and Answers
This thread focuses on issues and answers unique to each specific track, such as what technologies are relevant, what works and what doesn't, and the future direction for technology most relevant to that track. Attendees following this thread will receive an overview of enterprise management issues.

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

This thread concentrates on the issues of security that relate to each specific track. Topics selected will be those most relevant to those who protect their companies' assets. Attendees following this thread will hear discussions regarding security from the connectivity level through applications and the integrated systems level.

The Next Technology
This thread examines innovative technologies that will likely play a role in future open systems integration. 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.

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