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Building a Private-Cloud Home for Complex Ops
April 02, 2012
Worldwide enterprise applications leader SAP has designed and implemented a private cloud infrastructure model that supports an internal consulting and training program. By standardizing on a VMware cloud platform, SAP has been able to slash provisioning times for multiple instances of its flagship application suite in the training setting, as well as set the stage for wider adoption of cloud models.
The Proper Care and Feeding of Highly Virtualized Environments
March 26, 2012
Advanced and pervasive virtualization and cloud computing trends are driving the need for a better, holistic approach to IT support and remediation. And while the technology to support and fix virtualized environments is essential, it's the people, skills and knowledge to manage these systems that provide the most decisive determinants of ongoing performance success.
Iceland Has the Hots for FOSS
March 26, 2012
The government of Iceland recently launched a one-year migration project for all its public institutions in what appears to be an acceleration of its movement toward free and open source software and away from proprietary systems. The project will apparently lay the foundation for the migration with a common infrastructure.
Does Your IaaS Environment Have Sleeper Cells?
March 21, 2012
As many active users of IaaS can tell you, IaaS, whether implemented by an external service provider or provided by an internal service provider team, arguably grants you much more control of the underlying technology "substrate" than other cloud deployment models. In some cases, this is a good thing.
The Software Distribution Generation Gap
March 19, 2012
There's a huge productivity gap between modern software and the aging manner in which most enterprises still distribute and manage applications on personal computers. At a time when business models and whole industries are being upended by improved use of software, IT providers inside of enterprises are still painstakingly provisioning and maintaining PC applications in much the same way they did in the 1990s.
When in the Cloud, Trust - but Verify
February 22, 2012
Quite a lot has been written about the importance of due-diligence in a cloud environment. Sometimes the importance of security and compliance-related vetting in the cloud is easy to justify, like when you're evaluating an off-premises public cloud hosted at a new service provider. Other times, executives might take some convincing.
Riding the 5th Wave to Escape the Dead Hand of IT
February 15, 2012
Dealing with naturally risk-averse and conservative IT policies becomes increasingly less desirable to consumers when compared to the types of enablement available to the adventurous as technology rapidly evolves. IT is left to languish unappreciated, a resource of last resort, with an insurmountable burden of legacy-induced maintenance, and no chance of being seen as anything other than an impediment.
A Strategy for Post-Virtualization Security
January 24, 2012
Virtualization has been one of the most rapidly and widely adopted technologies in recent memory. It's huge, and it's here to stay. And as security professionals know, setting up a virtual environment securely isn't easy. Significant effort goes into tasks like evaluating off-premise service providers, ensuring regulatory compliance, and standing up technical controls like monitoring and encryption.
Virtualization and the Always-On Education Environment
January 23, 2012
Educators are using desktop virtualization in innovative new ways to enable "bring your own device" benefits for faculty and students. Let's look at how one IT organization has made the leap to allowing young users to choose their own client devices to gain access to all the work or learning applications and data they need -- safely, securely, and with high performance.
Website Scaling, Part 2: The Metrics of Measuring
January 18, 2012
Measuring Web scalability is a critical component of website scaling. The way you do this in a testing environment is, of course, called "load testing." In this second series installment, I'll go over what Little's Law is and how it can be related to load testing, determining how to scale the Web and data layers. Finally, I'll share my tips for troubleshooting common scaling bottlenecks.
Website Scaling, Part 1: What It Means and How to Get There
January 17, 2012
The stories of websites that fell over and died when they got unexpected traffic are legion. A recent example of what not to do would be Target's introduction of a low-priced Missoni collection. The site attracted so much traffic that Target.com was swamped for several hours on Sept. 13, 2011, leading would-be shoppers to face a cute but frustrating site-down page.
Limbering Up for a Data Center Makeover
January 16, 2012
Let's focus in on two major pillars of proper and successful data center transformation projects and some proven methods that have aided productive and cost-efficient projects to reshape and modernize enterprise data centers. Specific trends are buttressing the need for DCT.
The Nitty Gritty of the Virtualized Data Center
January 11, 2012
In 2012, we will see the rise of the data center fabric. Within the year, multiple Ethernet fabric technologies will mature into shipping products. This is very timely because server virtualization is now giving rise to a whole new set of data center challenges that traditional switching technologies were not equipped to address.
Identity and Access Management: A New, Less Excruciating Approach
January 10, 2012
As essential as open systems and mobile applications are for doing business, they also put significant strain on an organization's security systems and, in particular, the key line of defense: identity and access management systems.
Virtualization Meets City Hall
January 09, 2012
The city of Fairfield, Calif.'s IT organization has leveraged virtualization and cloud-delivered applications to provide new levels of service in an increasingly efficient manner. Fairfield, a mid-sized city of 110,000 in Northern California, has taken the do-more-with-less adage to its fullest, beginning interestingly with core and mission-critical city services applications.
One Year Later: MS Exchange Practices Most Companies Should Still Shun
January 04, 2012
Over a year ago, we presented a list of the top 10 worst practices that you should avoid if you want to maintain the performance and uptime of your Microsoft Exchange email system. Since then, some things have changed, while others have not. So here's a revised Top 10 List of "Don'ts" to point out which practices still hold true and which do not.
The Scalable, Available Cloud
December 27, 2011
With the evolution and proliferation of cloud computing, as more and more applications are being migrated to the cloud, many organizations are considering moving their database to the cloud as well. Two main concerns on users' minds are database scalability and availability.
The Sky-High Expectations Surrounding Mobile Networks
December 19, 2011
We hear about the post-PC era, but rarely does anyone talk about the post-LAN or even the post-WAN era. Yet the major IT trends of the day -- from mobile to cloud to app stores -- are changing the expectations we all have from our blended networks. How are the campus networks of yesterday going to support the Internet-borne applications and media delivery requirements of tomorrow?
The Evolution of Online Data Access: Keeping It Secure
December 12, 2011
Access to data has never been easier than it is today. With a few easy steps, it's possible to uncover just about any type of information you can imagine, even data that is supposedly legally protected, such as personal, financial, healthcare and government records.
A Real-World Approach to Improving Security in the Cloud
November 14, 2011
Everybody knows that the cloud -- in particular, the security of cloud deployments -- is a huge pain point industry-wide. And as is the case with any new endeavor with such broad-sweeping impact, there's no shortage of well-meaning advice about how to secure it. But I confess to finding much of that advice about cloud security somewhat frustrating.
Data Integration in the Cloud - or Not
November 11, 2011
Data integration is critical for companies that need to combine systems and databases after a merger or acquisition, or need to link legacy systems to new business applications. This need is vast throughout commercial and public industries, and the task can be daunting, especially for CIOs and IT managers of small- to medium-sized businesses.
Avoiding a Crash When the Holiday Hordes Attack
November 08, 2011
The countdown to Cyber Monday has begun. Is your online business ready for the holiday shopping spree? We're all too familiar with sluggish online shopping experiences that have left us frustrated or caused us to leave the site altogether before we've completed a transaction. As the holiday shopping season looms, businesses can't afford to have their websites slow down, or worse yet, taken down by traffic overload.
The Cybersecurity Money Pit
November 08, 2011
Despite the hundreds of millions of dollars the U.S. federal government spends on cybersecurity, it seems that shoestring-budget attackers are still often able to get a foot in the door. At a security colloquium in North Virginia on Monday, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency told reporters it's losing ground in the battle to secure cyberspace.
New 'Server on a Chip' Aims to Lighten Up Cloud Hardware
November 02, 2011
While the image that the high-tech industry has adopted for the source of services delivered over a remote network -- the cloud -- conjures thoughts of airy skies where quasi-magical things happen, the actual cloud is firmly anchored to the ground in data centers bristling with computer servers. As the cloud continues to expand, so does the demand for servers.

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