For all the hype about cloud computing in the enterprise-hype that Gartner believes is now nearing its peak-IT professionals continue to tell cloud-related vendors that the cloud will not be practical until several serious concerns are addressed. <a href="http://www.vmware.com">VMware</a>, with its vSphere 4 announcement today, is laying the foundation for what it hopes will be a central role for VMware technology in enterprises making use of both public and private cloud computing systems.<br/>
Stories by Laurianne McLaughlin
The spotlight just turned up a notch for <a href="http://www.cio.com/article/484265/subject/Vivek+Kundra">Vivek Kundra</a>, <a href="http://www.cio.com/article/484265/subject/Barack+Obama">President Barack Obama</a>'s choice for the newly created position of federal CIO for the United States. Kundra had previously been serving as Washington D.C.'s CTO, before being named to the new federal CIO post last week: <a href="http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0309/FBI_raids_office_of_DC_CTO_Obama_appointee.html">According to published reports</a>, the <a href="http://www.cio.com/article/484265/subject/Federal+Bureau+of+Investigation">FBI</a> raided the Washington, D.C. CTO office Thursday morning as part of a bribery investigation.
Cloud computing has become too popular a term for its own good. As Oracle chief Larry Ellison pointed out recently, so many tech marketers are using the term "cloud computing" in so many contexts that it can almost mean anything-and thus often means nothing. Still, a new CIO survey of IT and business leaders shows that Ellison's dismissal of cloud as a disruptive force in the technology industry is premature. Among our survey respondents, 58 percent say cloud computing will cause a radical shift in IT and 47 percent say they're already using it or actively researching it.
CA, a vendor that made its name with tools for managing complex data centers long before virtualisation became a household word, will announce a group of products aimed squarely at the new-world data centre and its growing ranks of virtual machines. Can CA convince customers that it's a knowledgeable and steady kind of Switzerland for virtualisation tools, while VMware and Microsoft continue to throw marketplace slugs?
Hewlett-Packard is taking a similar approach with success thus far. But it may not be easy.
CTO John Suit meets with a lot of companies who are trying to get a better grip on managing virtualisation. In the field lately, he sees the results of the virtualisation downside that IT leaders have been telling us about for months: VMs roll out awfully quickly. This speed is a blessing and a curse, since each VM you create is another one you must track, manage and secure. Unfortunately, it becomes even more complicated to keep track of VM sprawl and related worries when you start playing with more than one vendor's virtualisation technology.
This week, NASA's Phoenix Mars lander will enter the Martian atmosphere at nearly 13,000 miles per hour, complete a complex seven-minute series of events, then land on the red planet to begin a three-month mission to explore Martian soil and ice. Some 500,000 people are expected to watch this on the Web: Few of those people will be more interested than Jeanne Holm, chief knowledge architect for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and one of the IT leaders responsible for making sure all the images and video from this high-profile mission get managed and delivered to NASA staffers and the public without a hitch.
Evan Jafa, CIO of First American, says getting your virtualised servers set up and running right really is just the start of any IT leader's virtualisation work. And that if you don't think holistically about virtualisation, you're in for a rude surprise.
IT departments embarking upon a massive data center consolidation project along the lines of what CIO Elizabeth Hackenson is doing at Alcatel-Lucent, must beware of four common pitfalls, says Forrester Research principal analyst James Staten. Don't get caught in these traps:
After the Alcatel-Lucent merger in late 2006, CIO Elizabeth Hackenson found she had 25 data centres and 125 server rooms spread across the globe. If all goes well with the company's massive data centre consolidation project now under way, that complexity will soon be history.
Virtualisation could hardly be hotter as a trend, yet virtualisation management and security tools are still in their infancy. At first, it defies logic.
But CIOs on the front lines of virtualisation efforts know the reality of the problem: VMs can be deployed in minutes, which is a big advantage on the tactical side-and a big worry on the management side.
CIOs and IT leaders approaching their next PC technology refresh had better do some serious preparation. Technology refreshes—when enterprises replace one-third to one-quarter of their PC fleets each year on a rolling basis—have become pretty routine in recent years. But several factors are coming together right now to make refresh decisions more complicated and more fraught with risk, says Bruce Michelson, Hewlett-Packard’s national lifecycle manager. “This refresh is kind of a perfect storm,” says Michelson, who travels to HP’s Fortune 500 customers to study and share best practices regarding PC lifecycles.
Think of the factors affecting your next refresh as simultaneous storm fronts bearing names like Consumer IT and Virtualisation. (It almost goes without saying that Microsoft Vista upgrade plans, if you have them, will factor into this refresh cycle.)
Project management programs often sound great in theory, but once IT hands them out to end users, complaints about ease of use and inscrutable interfaces start rolling in. Industrial-strength charting programs like Microsoft Visio please IT veterans, especially those who draw network diagrams for a living, but often prove frustrating for line-of-business execs. Sometimes, as Neal Benz, CTO of Healthwise, learned, you have to think differently to crack your company's project management problem.
And, as Benz learned, you may find that a project management app today can do more for a business than keep projects running smoothly. The program that he chose, Mindjet's MindManager, turned into a product development tool for his company as well.
Email attachments have become a staccato series of shooting pains for many a CIO. Today’s attachments - packed with images, presentations, PDFs, video clips and other space gluttons - keep getting bigger, with no end in sight. They can bloat your servers, clog your systems and slow user mailbox opening to a crawl (prompting help desk calls).
Worse, large attachments can make messages that your users have sent bounce back, when clients set up policies to block messages larger than a certain size, say 10MB. (In other words, a limit low enough to block a crucial marketing presentation.) Also, the bigger your email store gets, the more complicated your backup and restore jobs become. Sure, you can ask people nicely to stop sending large email attachments. But voluntary behaviour change requests usually fall flat, and besides, that solution doesn’t address the client issue, says Fred Danback, CIO of Integro Insurance Brokers. Sooner or later, he says, you realise something’s gotta give.
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