Addressing Virtualization's Achilles Heel

James Staten

Jamesstaten
The benefits of virtualization are quite obvious but when you start to really increase the density of virtual machines in order to maximize utilization suddenly it ain't such a simple proposition. The latest CPUs from AMD and Intel are more than up to the task of running 10-20 or more applications at a time. Most servers run out of memory and I/O bandwidth well before processing power. Recent announcements from the leading server vendors have been made to address the memory side by packing more DIMMs onto a single motherboard (including blade server boards), but you can only add so many Ethernet cards and Fibre Channel HBAs. Oh yeah, and then there's the switch ports to go with them (blade systems help a lot here).

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Egenera's Strategy Shift Is A Good Thing

James Staten

James
Earlier this week, The Boston Globe reported that Egenera laid off short of 100 employees under the guise of the weakening economy, but there is more to this story. The reduction also reflects a shift in strategy to increase its focus on PAN Manager, its virtualization management software. Originally tied to its unique BladeFrame hardware products, PAN Manager was freed earlier this year and is currently distributed by Fujitsu-Siemens and Dell. As is often the case for hardware companies, Egenera's crown jewels are in this software and PAN Manager is one of the most mature, feature rich and enterprise tested of the virtualization software managers on the market.

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Can Force.com Help Consolidate Your Web Tier?

James Staten

James

At Dreamforce today, here in San Francisco, Salesforce.com announced a significant, and seemingly long overdue, enhancement to its SaaS offering. They announced Facebook and Force.com for Amazon Web Services that are pre-integrations between their platform and these two other platforms. This new capability lets enterprise customers of their CRM solution (or any other AppExchange or Force.com) provide a public front-end to their instance of these services, directly from these services.  The big deal with these additions is that they let you tie third party applications directly into your Force.com applications. In the case of the AWS integration, if you have applications or services built in Java, the LAMP stack or native C code, you can integrate them with your Force.com apps.

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Enterprise Readiness Of Cloud Ratcheting Up

James Staten

James
It may just be time for enterprise customers to take a serious look at cloud computing. Major announcements in the past few days from Microsoft and Amazon have certainly signaled that the on-demand Internet computing model has staying power. And with a long recession looming there may be no better time to start getting familiar with something that could dramatically lower infrastructure costs.

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Don’t buy management tools for exoneration

Glenn O'Donnell

Glenodonnell
One of the unfortunate legacies of management software is the still-too-universal force of exoneration as a purchase rationale. When the “blame game” kicks in, we turn to our management tools in an attempt to gather evidence that will exonerate us from blame. This is a dangerous, yet pervasive element of IT culture that must be exterminated. Perpetuation of these insidious forces will threaten the very viability of the entire organization.

IT has long been the scapegoat for everything that goes wrong in the company, and quite frankly, we deserve much of this unsavory scrutiny. The way we’ve run IT is more characteristic of sloppiness than disciplined execution. Such an atmosphere is destructive to the entire organization and this destruction is obvious to many business leaders. They will take action to remedy the situation, action that will prove disastrous for those who fail to demonstrate progress toward discipline.

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Cloud Courting: Round 1

James Staten

James VMware and Citrix want to be your cloud infrastructure provider. The competing virtual infrastructure makers announced dueling cloud initiatives this week aimed at providing xSPs with simple to deploy and buy cloud computing platforms that come from very different angles and may serve to bifurcate the mid to small market service provider space.

Citrix Cloud Center (abbreviated as C3, a nice homage to cloud pioneer Amazon Web Services' S3 cloud service) gives xSPs a portfolio of tools for automating virtual machine deployment, movement, and SLA management. It bundles together their XenServer Virtual Infrastructure, Netscaler application switch, WANScaler access gateway and bandwidth optimizer, and the forthcoming Workflow Studio for application self-provisioning and admin orchestration.

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PC Power Management Heats Up

Doug Washburn

Dougwashburn_3

As the PC power management space is heats up, it’s quite fitting that today is “Power IT Down Day” – a participatory event put on by Hewlett-Packard, Citrix Systems, and Intel to encourage governments and businesses alike to reduce their IT-related energy consumption by powering down computers, monitors, and printers at the end of the day. Other recent examples also highlight the attention directed to the reducing energy consumption across PCs:

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Making Green IT Palatable For The Business: Should You Call Green IT, “Green IT”?

Doug Washburn

Dougwashburn In many of my recent interactions with both enterprise IT end users and vendors, the notion of calling Green IT something other than “Green IT” occurs with fair consistency. Some of the variations to Green IT that I’ve come across purposely call out an environmental agenda, i.e. Greener IT, Sustainable IT, and Eco-Efficient IT. While others are purely business such as Efficient IT, Energy Efficient IT, or Lean IT.

This very debate came up during a panel I hosted at last week’s Next Generation Data Center Conference, and it reminds me of a book I came across called the “The Sneaky Chef: How To Hide Healthy Foods In Kid's Favorite Meals.” The premise is that parents can encourage healthy eating habits in the children by “hiding” healthy foods in meals that kids already love — without their kids’ knowledge. For example, brownies spiked with spinach or chocolate pudding laced with avocado.

So how should you decide to message your Green IT initiative? My standard response is that it depends on your audience:

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Is The “Green” Data Center The Next Generation Data Center?

Doug Washburn

Dougwashburn Yes, but the shade of green will vary. While it’s clear that the next generation data center will be an energy efficient data center, incorporating other green data center features — from reduced water usage, to sustainable site planning, to sourcing IT gear manufactured in a more eco-responsible fashion — are not likely to happen at the same pace.

Why? Reduced energy consumption in the data center offers tangible and immediate environmental and economic savings, but also goes hand-in-hand with alleviating out of space and out of power concerns — challenges, that for now, trump purely green motivations.

At last week’s annual Next Generation Data Center Conference held in San Francisco, I had the opportunity to discuss the role of “green” in the data center by moderating a panel on the topic of “Greening of the Data Center — Practical Steps That Can Be Implemented Today With Real World Savings.” The panel consisted of major industry hitters — including Jack Pouchet of Emerson Power Network, Joe Prisco of IBM, Michael Patterson of Intel, Christian Belady of Microsoft, and John Pflueger of Dell — with all panelists having a stake in enacting green and or energy efficiency strategies within their organizations. Here are some key takeaways from the session:

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Goldman: CIOs Don’t Want Cloud – Well, Duh.

James Staten

Jamesstaten
Goldman
Sachs & Co. recently released the results of their latest survey of CIOs

which showed that enterprise IT is contracting spending a bit and that cloud
computing is at the very bottom of their priority list. This shouldn’t come as
a surprise to anyone, nor should it be seen as a needle inserted into the cloud
computing hype balloon because CIOs
aren’t the target market for clouds
. Like other disruptive innovations in
the technology space, such as cloud
collaboration
, software
as a service (SaaS
) and the
iPhone
, cloud computing targets the tech savvy business developer, startup
and interactive marketer. These business innovators don’t take their technology
cues from the corporate standards set by infrastructure & operations
professionals.

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