Is Open Source Virtualization Shooting Itself In The Foot?

James Staten

James In today's LinuxWorld session by Simon Crosby, CTO of XenSource, and shepherd of the Xen open source project made the contention that the open source community is holding itself back by not ensuring compatibility between Xen, KVM and the other open source virtualization efforts. He's right to a degree in that standards for foundation functions would allow the greater community to enhance virtualization for all, but should we honestly hold out hope of this happening? As is always the case in the open source world, the crowd goes where the excitement is and popularity wins. It would be a waste of the community's efforts to try and drive standardization where it isn't wanted and to try and ensure compatibility between competing implementations when everyone expects a winner to emerge.Xensource_toplogo

Enterprise customers want things they can count on, especially if they are pitched for use in production. The fickleness of the open source community runs counter to this desire which keeps open source technologies in the fringe until a commercial entity hardens them and wraps them in professional support offerings. This commercialization collects the interest of the community that wants to make a profit and, voila, the winner emerges. It's not the community that holds back open source projects its failure to bridge the desires of the commercial customers and ISVs and the community enthusiasts - the key to this is collective advancement of the chosen project.

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BI Tug of War

Boris Evelson

by Boris Evelson.

There’s tug of war going on in the world of BI. On the one hand we have IT whose mission it is to manage and protect enterprise information assets, and on the other side there are end users who just want the data when they want it, and in the shape and form that they want it, without any limitations.

Traditional, mainstream BI vendors have catered primarily to IT target audience. These vendors will disagree, but take one look at their complex architectures, multiple layers and components, integration and support requirements, and you can’t help but agree that these are IT tools that can be used to create end user applications.

On the other hand I am seeing am emergence of smaller BI vendors that cater directly to the end users. They pitch simplicity, flexibility and little or no reliance on IT. True, these vendors do not have large enterprise functions like metadata, semantic layers, robust security and scalability, so I do not see them as enterprise-level, but rather departmental, focused solutions. Yet, the appeal to end users is undeniable.

Finding a compromise – satisfying all typical IT requirements, while empowering the end users - remains an elusive goal, and hence an opportunity for all BI vendors.

CIOs Entitlement Management Worries

Andras Cser

While I was looking through current offerings in Entitlement Management (EM), I was struck with the questions that will likely be the next logical thoughts in the CIO’s mind after they are sold on the obvious ROI of an EM solution.

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Content as a First-Class Citizen

Rob Koplowitz

by Rob Koplowitz.

Ever think about how much time, energy and money we expend on managing line of business data? Just drive past the Oracle headquarters in Redwood Shores and you'll see a glimmering green city of glass all built on revenue from managing business data. OK, they make some money in other areas these days, but the emerald city was build on database revenue. Managing structured information is key to the success of any organization. The number in the bottom line needs to be accurate or very bad things happen.

On the other side of the coin lives unstructured information. While some unstructured information has been afforded the respect given to structured business data (engineering drawings, legal documents, pharmaceutical documentation, insurance claims documents to name few) the vast majority has languished virtually unmanaged in file servers and on PC hard drives. Even companies with the right resources and motivation, like Oracle which has the ability to manage structured and unstructured data in its database as well applications to take advantage of both, have made only minimal progress at bridging these disparate worlds.

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An Experiment In A Community-Driven Research Agenda

Rob Koplowitz

by Rob Koplowitz.

This September 25-26 at the Forrester Technology Leadership Forum in Carlsbad California, Matt Brown and I will be presenting a session on Social Computing coming to the enterprise. As we began the process of creating an agenda for the session we were immediately struck by the thought that this session should not be driven by the two of us (as charming and articulate as we may be) but by the community that is interested in the topic. In other words, you all should be setting the agenda for a session on social computing, not us. If social computing has the ability to change how work is done, let's put it to work. We always want feedback after a session, but here's a chance to get way ahead of the game and tell us what want before the event.

To that end, we have set up a Wiki to allow the community to drive the process. Matt and I will build the session agenda directly from the input into the Wiki, so if you have areas you'd like to see highlighted, stories to share, words of caution or encouragement please let us know. Willing to help? Access the Wiki here and let's get started!

We'll provide updates on how it's going (both the good and the bad) right here.

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Autonomy Ushers In New Era Of Information Management With Purchase Of Zantaz

by Barry Murphy.

Today began with very interesting news — Autonomy entered into a definitive agreement to purchase message archiving and eDiscovery vendor Zantaz. This is a great purchase for Autonomy. They have already integrated IDOL server into Zantaz's archiving and eDiscovery applications, so they can capitalize on synergies immediately. eDiscovery is a hot market for both companies — the combined entities will have likely the best brand value in the eDiscovery space. With organizations truly called to action by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCPs), Autonomy/Zantaz has the solution set to help implement a short-term solution that can evolve into longer-term information management strategies (see our eDiscovery market overview for more information on how the FRCPs have become an information management spending driver).

This also makes Autonomy more attractive to the larger vendors, and I would not be surprised at all to see a CA, EMC, IBM, or Oracle in turn acquire Autonomy. Oracle makes the most sense as it is the only of the big infrastructure vendors that lacks the message archiving capability that Zantaz could provide.

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IT Must Lead Legal To The eDiscovery Promised Land

by Barry Murphy.

I recently co-presented at a workshop on eDiscovery.  Before I spoke about what enterprises are doing about exploding discovery costs and the fragmented solutions landscape, a very experienced corporate general counsel spoke to the IT-heavy audience.  The theme of his presentation was "help a lawyer today."  That's right CIOs and IT project managers - your legal team is not going to tell you how to handle eDiscovery.  You are going to be responsible for effeciently and defensibly collecting information in response to regulatory and legal requests.  In fact, legal is relying on your expertise in technologies to better manage information.

The moral of the story is that IT must take the leadership role in creating a formal, cross-functional team and process for managing eDiscovery.  Don't fret - here's a few cheat sheets to get you started:

A list of the vendors to consider in any solution (http://www.forrester.com/rb/vpc/catalog.jsp?catalogID=24)

And the questions to ask those vendors (http://www.forrester.com/Research/Document/0,7211,40824,00.html)

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Do Enterprise Users Need A Second Life?

Rob Koplowitz

by Rob Koplowitz

A while back I was invited to a very interesting presentation of some research going on in Sun Microsystems' labs. They were showing off a project called MPK 20. The name of the project is aligned with the naming of the buildings on their Menlo Park campus, MPK 1 - 19. MPK 20, the next building, will be completely virtual. Think of MPK 20 as a private, behind the firewall, version of Linden's Second Life. The idea is for Sun to provide a very rich area for remote workers to come together and collaborate. Their early vision is very much a virtual version of their physical workspace world. The question that occurred to me is, do we need to pursue this path of virtual workspaces?

Let's start with an assumption. The paradigm of bringing workers to a physical office is beginning to break down and it's only going to get worse. A few driving factors:

  • Carbon footprint. Organizations will be increasingly held accountable for the overall effect they have on the world. Asking workers to drive or fly to a physical location in order to do work that can be done virtually is undoubtedly the biggest contributing factor to overall carbon footprint for most organizations.
  • Competition for workers. If you require workers to come to an office every day, your hiring is constrained by the talent pool that is located within commute distance of your office. Would you rather have the best worker available in the world or the best worker within 30 miles of your office? Additionally, workers that commute from long distances are far more likely to become frustrated and leave.
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Microsoft Surface: A User Experience Designed For People

by Erica Driver

At the end of May, Microsoft announced a project called Microsoft Surface. Microsoft Surface is a new, game-changing computing interface: a 30-inch display table that individuals or small groups can gather around and use collaboratively. Ms_sc_collab_photo_app The user interacts with Surface using natural hand gestures, touch, and physical objects placed on the surface. Here's a photo courtesy of Microsoft, but photos don't do Surface justice so check out the demo on Microsoft's Web site.

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Use Real Metrics To Assess Value Of Collaboration

by Erica Driver

When trying to establish metrics for the success of your collaboration strategy or software implementation, use measures of real business value, not false indicators.

False Indicators

  • Number of items in a discussion thread
  • Number of community members
  • Megabytes of unstructured content in a site
  • How many times you get in front of decision makers to present -- and the responses you receive
  • Number of ideas entered into an idea tracking system
  • Repeat users on a site (e.g., team workspace, wiki, blog, community)
  • Number of site visits

Problems With False Indicators

  • Can be manipulated for positive results
  • Not valued by business stakeholders
  • Ideas don't automatically translate into business value
  • Use of a software tool does not mean it is producing results -- it could be nothing more than a productivity sinkhole
  • Time a user spends on a site may indicate an affinity but does not mean the content on the site is influencing the reader to create higher value

Measures Of True Business Value

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