Facing Microsoft Licensing Decisions? Bridge The Gap Between Operations And Sourcing

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Whether or not to sign or renew an Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft is a sticky question that many organizations face. For many companies out there, their spend on Microsoft licensing can be a significant portion of a company's IT budget, whether it be Enterprise Agreements or Select License agreements. Some of you may be directly responsible for the negotiation of the agreement, but many more of you work with your sourcing professionals who negotiate the agreements with Microsoft or resellers. The increasing complexity around Microsoft licensing decisions require more heads at the table. For Infrastructure and Operations pros, your voice is critical in the decision process. Certainly, your current state of Microsoft products and your future rollouts over the life of the agreement (and beyond) play a role, but there are other factors to consider. Some of the other key questions you’ll face include:

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Red Hat And Citrix Ratchet Up Open Source Virtualization Relevancy

James StatenThe open source hypervisor landscape got a lot more interesting today after the latest announcements from Red Hat and Citrix. Both were shots across the bow of VMware’s juggernaut, but Red Hat’s volley may have overshot and struck Xen.org in the stern.

Citrix, the flag bearer for Xen.org, recently announced that two significant hypervisor features would be made available in the free version of its Xen distribution, XenServer – live migration and multi-node management. Neither of these capabilities are provided in the free version of VMware ESX and live migration won’t be available in Microsoft Hyper-V until Windows Server 2008 R2. Citrix is also busily placing calls to the major Linux distributors hoping to sign them up to commitments to replace the free Xen.org hypervisor with the free XenServer.

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Is Lean-And-Share The Right Approach In A Downturn?

What's Your Green IT Baseline? Introducing Forrester’s Online Green IT Baseline Calculator

Dougwashburn You've heard it once and you'll hear it again: You can't manage what you can't measure. This adage is relevant to any IT project — especially if you're getting serious about green IT. Forrester advises that before investing a single dollar, measure your green IT baseline — an annual estimate of the energy consumption, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and financial costs of operating your IT within and outside of the data center.

With that in mind, I would like to introduce Forrester's online green IT baseline calculator — an intuitive, online tool to help IT professionals calculate their green IT baseline.

The tool walks you through the key green IT baseline assumptions, including the number of IT assets, energy draw, and hours of up-time. For additional accuracy, you can customize your price and CO2 emissions per kilowatt. The tool will then automatically calculate your green IT baseline for your review. From there, you can email the results to yourself for future reference (and you can also help guide our research agenda).

Why should you calculate your green IT baseline? My complimentary  green IT podcast and report "Is Green IT Your Emperor With No Clothes?" offer answers and much more. Here's a start:

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eLearning And Knowledge Acquisition Are Up In A Down Economy

Claireschooley By Claire Schooley

Daily, we hear about more layoffs and downsizing. Along with this comes scrutiny of all internal budgets including learning and development. Companies are not lopping off learning as drastically as in previous recessions. Companies know that skilled employees make their business successful. But, at the same time, some budget cuts are inevitable. This is where eLearning comes in. Most organizations already have some eLearning but they are not using the full capabilities like the rapid eLearning tools or the virtual classroom from their Web conferencing provider, or the informal learning using collaboration tools like blogs, podcasts, and wikis.

Yes, classroom training will be cut since travel costs are a quick savings. But this doesn’t mean you can’t have effective learning . . . via a different approach! This is good time to take stock of what tools and features you have but haven’t used from your LMS or your online meeting providers and exploit these online synchronous and asynchronous forms of learning.

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Managing Business Demand Is The Keystone For Managing IT Cost

Recently, I’ve had a number of conversations with CIOs and senior IT staff on the pressures caused by business belt-tightening.

This, of course, has cascaded to IT in the form of the need to cut.  Favorite targets:  new investments, whether for business-sponsored projects or infrastructure, followed by ‘IT overhead’ – travel, training, IT improvement programs, followed by opportunistic cuts in the operations budget.  For most I’ve talked with, they have their budget for 2009, but are still watching for the request for further cuts. 

Now, the hard part has started for them.  As one said “having less to spend means I need to work harder to make sure it’s spent wisely’.  The problem isn’t just one of picking areas to spend on, but also in making sure that the business execs who are getting more involved in these decisions agree it’s being spent wisely.

Formula2 I constructed this formula to help the conversation.  It basically lays out what I call the IT’s ‘cost/capacity/demand’ challenge.  Perceived business value is business management’s belief that they are getting good value from overall IT spend.  It’s a function of aggregate business demand; not just projects but also tactical requests for application enhancements, or expectations for service quality - spread over available capacity; both staff, external services and infrastructure capacity - at a particular cost.  The cost is IT spend, and when spend goes down, capacity goes down. 

The challenge comes from three factors:

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What Cisco’s EnergyWise Technology Means To Green IT

DougwashburnTo date, IT pros have given very little attention to the “greening” of the network. Why? Three words: follow the money. According to recent Forrester research, the top motivation for pursing Green IT is to “reduce the energy-related costs of operating IT.” And when compared to other IT energy-drawing assets – like servers, data center cooling or PCs – the energy consumption of the network falls at the bottom of the list, meaning that the ROI to reduce energy use is less compelling.

But the launch of Cisco’s EnergyWise technology is likely to raise the “greening” status of the network. EnergyWise is a free software upgrade to Cisco’s entire line of Catalyst switching gear. The technology allows customers to monitor, manage and ultimately reduce energy consumption of anything “connected” to the network. As Cisco describes, EnergyWise will evolve over three phases, adding new functionality with each iteration:

In the first phase (February 2009), Network Control, Cisco EnergyWise will be supported on Catalyst switches and manage the energy consumption of IP devices such as phones, video surveillance cameras and wireless access points.

In the next phase (Summer 2009), IT Control, there will be expanded industry support of EnergyWise on devices such as personal computers (PCs), laptops and printers.

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Charles Darwin's Assessment Of Application Developers

Charlesdarwin This month marks Charles Darwin's 200th birthday. His classic work, The Origin Of Species, wasn’t much of a hit when it was originally published back in 1859 but no one can argue that the idea of evolution hasn’t changed the world. Survival of the fittest is an elegant explanation of why so many species exist, why some become extinct, and why some flourish. So, what would Charles Darwin have to say about the species that are so affectionately known as application development professionals? Hmmm.

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Five Reasons To Consider PC Power Management

DougwashburnThe rolodex of Green IT projects available to IT leadership is seemingly endless. But at some point, prioritization is necessary, and IT professionals tend to gravitate to those projects that produce an acceptable financial return with the path of least resistance. And in recent interactions with Forrester clients, it's becoming clear that PC power management -- the act of powering down PCs when not in use (e.g. nights, weekends) -- is one of those projects IT leadership are willing to act on.

Do I agree? In short yes. And here’s why: PC power management can reduce costs, cheaply and effectively, while at the same time help justify more strategic IT investments and improve your green "credentials." Let me elaborate:

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