Archive for April, 2011

IT News and Views – the (it’s nearly but not quite) Friday Collection

Researchers claim that Apple products track location details
Law firm’s blog about Apple’s ability to track users’ movements. Potentially useful information for jealous spouses and the forgetful. Read about it here.

Apple ‘not tracking’ iPhone users
Apple refute the above story, saying it’s all a big mistake. It’s a bug, apparently… Make your mind up, here.

Two-thirds of ICT workers like the idea of a four-day week
Report finds that people would prefer to work fewer hours in the week and are prepared to forego some salary to achieve this. Whether this would cash out in the same way if their employers chose to liberate them from the tyranny of the fifth day of a working week is another matter. Read the stats here.

Millions apply for Olympic tickets despite site crash
Online sales of tickets for the London 2012 Olympics suffer a glitch but it all works out in the end. IT provider didn’t factor in last-minute panic to secure tickets to the Games. Read story and wonder if ordering online could make it into the Olympics one day.

    And finally…

Scientologist overlord declares victory over Anonymous Alert: Fruitcake cultist dubs hacktivistas ‘cartoon characters’
Head of the Scientologists crows about the arrest of hackers for an attack on his organisation. I don’t want to wade into this one but isn’t this just going to annoy the hackers? Decide for yourself, here.

Categories: News, News digest

IT News and Views – the (Good) Friday Collection

Need to Save Money on Productivity Software? Use Lotus Symphony for Free
Article about our business partner, IBM Lotus’, alternative to Microsoft Office suite. It has comparable functionality and can be used if you decide to float off into the cloud. Most importantly, however: it’s free. Read about it and watch a video, here.

Pragmatic Development
Article discussing the need to not dogmatically stick to one method of software delivery. An integrated approach secures benefits from the best bits of all the approaches and doesn’t stymie you if the main advocate gets hit by the proverbial bus. The advice that you should not put all your development eggs in one basket is particularly sage at Easter time. Read article here.

Office 365 beta ready for business
Microsoft announce the launch of the beta of their cloud offering. In an increasingly crowded marketplace, it will be interesting to see how this fares. Read a brief precis here.

Cloud computing is NOT a product, discuss
Blog from Computer Weekly’s Adrian Bridgwater about some of the outlandish claims made of the potential revenues from cloud-based offerings. A sensible antidote to some of the more optimistic claims that abound. Think of a number and double it, here.

    And finally…

UK is fifth free-est nation on the internet
Report finds that the UK lags behind only 4 countries in terms of internet freedom. Mercifully the UK is streets ahead of Iran and Saudi Arabia according to this scale. Read about Estonia being top of the tree, here.

Categories: News, News digest

IT News and Views – the Friday Collection

IBM Survey Reveals that 21% of email users would happily consider applications to complement email

Study reveals that a fifth of those asked would welcome the uptake of social collaboration tools to enhance working practices. The promotion of these tools is a part of what IBM is doing at the moment. Read the blog from Lotus’ Ed Brill.

Firms criticise SharePoint’s usability
More than 50% of those questioned are dissatisfied with the high level of customisation required for SharePoint, Microsoft’s collaboration tool. This is especially significant as 87% of businesses have it deployed. Read the story.

Security and lock-in still holds back the cloud
Study finds businesses have serious reservations about floating up into the cloud. Interestingly, these concerns are shared by those who have made the leap and those who haven’t. Find something else to worry about here.

Flaws in NASA network put operations and personnel at risk, report reveals
Report reveals that there is some pretty ropey security at NASA. And you would imagine that a relatively minor issue would explode into something pretty catastrophic. If you are an astronaut I suggest you don’t click here.

    And finally…

PC refresh cycles given the axe. Literally
Be wary of disgruntled employees with elderly hardware and the hump. Unless you flog hardware, of course. Read about an aggressive recycling practice.

Categories: News, News digest

UK Government: Saving Money & Getting Value?

Gartner blogger, Andrea Di Maio, provides a very comprehensive overview to the recent refocusing of the UK Government’s IT strategy. In his entry, UK IT Strategy Sets the Pace for All European Governments, But Can They Deliver?, he summarises the headline announcements for making savings:

reusing more;
breaking down large projects into smaller chunks;
opening procurement to smaller vendors; and,
pushing on open source adoption.

In addition to the above, he reports that there is a focus on centralisation with the G-Cloud strategy led by a CIO Delivery Board and new applications built by third parties on the Directgov framework.

Karl Flinders from Computer Weekly in his article, Will government IT be better without an oligopoly?, focuses upon the opening up of opportunities to smaller companies. He argues that procurement has in the past been rather lazy and tended to focus on the larger vendors, which have presided over some cataclysmic project failures. The Coalition are, apparently, keen to open up IT procurement to smaller companies although there is scepticism about whether this is genuine and if this will create a management headache.

Across many sources that Flinders quotes there is little concensus as to whether using smaller suppliers is desirable or, indeed, possible. Smaller companies seem to think this is a good idea and larger ones quibble about ability to deliver and economies of scale. No surprises there, then.

To open up the market to a bit of real competition seems to make a great deal of sense but Flinders cautions:

But whether the opening up of contracts to more suppliers improves government IT and makes financial sense is less certain.

A cynic may point out that after haemorrhaging money from a number of projects conducted by large providers, it can’t get much worse. Surely?

Domain has worked with government departments and the horrors predicted by purveyors of doom are certainly not our experience. Perhaps we are just not big enough to waste money on such a scale?

Gartner’s Di Maio concludes by noting that the next phase is about increasing harmonisation and centralisation in:

how infrastructure is procured and utilized;
how projects are architected;
how IT services are sourced; and,
how technical standards are selected and enforced.

I think it is crucial that a proper strategy is implemented with a focus on delivering value to the taxpayer and rewarding those who have successfully delivered in government and not rewarding others for their failure(s). Smaller companies like Domain are agile enough to offer good value for money and, frankly, failure for them could mean financial ruin so there is incentive in bucket-loads.

Categories: News

IT News and Views – the Friday Collection

IBM unveils new cloud strategy and services
IBM have announced its cloud offering: SmartCloud. It will be rolled out in 2 parts: Enterprise is ready to go now and the imaginatively entitled Enterprise+ will come onstream later this year. Read about it here.

It’s Not Funny When Security Becomes a Joke
Mystifyingly there is now a TV sitcom about penetration testing. This blog argues the case that the plethora of recent security breaches are not taken as seriously as they should. Read the grumble here.

5 Ways You Waste Money on Virtualization
CIO Magazine article about the missed opportunity when virtualising. Several missed opportunities, as it happens. Don’t miss the advice here.

Classic Commodore 64 lives again
When you get to a certain age, you start becoming a bit misty eyed about this sort of story. You will be relieved that it has been upgraded just a little from the original. Confirm that nostalgia isn’t like it was in your day here.

    And finally…

Georgian granny disconnects Armenian internet: Beware copper-scavenging septuagenarians
Sage advice to be on the look out for copper- hungry Georgian pensioners. This sort of story is all too common… Read about it here.

Categories: News, News digest

Improper data management is a whisky business

Computer Weekly article, Chivas Brothers use CommVault data deduplication to maximise disc back-up, reports that Chivas Brothers had a major issue with data volumes and, consequently, backups were taking a long time. Storage had reached 90 Tbytes, which was spread across applications including an Oracle-based ERP system and MS Exchange. Clearly: Houston we have a problem.

Chivas surveyed the market and decided to implement the Simpana solution from Domain Technologies’ partner, CommVault. The results, documented in this case study, were impressive.

It was identified that backing up 90Tbytes of data to tape was an arduous and time consuming task so a disc-based solution was the obvious replacement. However, backing up duplicate data onto a disc is a waste of time and expense. This was where the CommVault deduplication stepped up to the plate. And the results were impressive.

Across their network there were reductions of up to 90% of data backed up: this as a result of the deduplication achieved by the CommVault solution. Given this significant reduction, Chivas Brothers now retain 3 months of data on disc. This means that restores now take minutes; a stark contrast to the situation before this where tape-restores could take up to 48 hours.

Nowhere is the CommVault advantage illustrated better than in the messaging arena. Simpana not only takes the strain off mail servers through deduplication, but the granularity of mail restoration means that recovery can happen at the level of Exchange, mailbox; even individual emails!

The replacement of several legacy data management solutions with the one, Simpana, has resulted in reduction in the need for administration. Chivas estimate that this has reduced the admin overhead by 70%: one dedicated person dealing with this rather than several.

Les Gilfillan, Chivas’ network manager, is clearly impressed. He is quoted: CommVault’s deduplication has exceeded our expectations. The savings are remarkable – we didn’t expect it to be this good!”

Chivas provides a good illustration of the benefits that enterprises can achieve from a proper data management strategy with deduplication of data at its core. Leaving the company to concentrate on its core business. Chin chin!

IT News and Views – the Friday Collection

UK IT Strategy Sets the Pace for All European Governments, But Can They Deliver?
This is a Gartner blog about the UK government’s new IT strategy. This focuses upon recycling, using shorter project cycles with smaller providers and using ‘free’ stuff (open source). It ends by pondering whether other EU countries will follow suit. Join the pondering.

SMB IT spending seeing significant growth
A survey of 3000 companies conducted by Spiceworks reports that spending and recruitment is up in the IT realm. The focus of these new staff, and their counterparts, is on virtualisation and migration to the cloud. Find out more.

IBM says inefficient IT hardware wastes a third of all a business’s electricity
An IBM white paper highlights the energy efficiency of IT equipment across an organisation. Smarter usage can help to reduce this, conferring benefits on both private and public sector organisations; possibly making a contribution to the public sector ‘squeeze’. Go to story.

Cyber criminals charge users to return stolen data
Criminals are using encryption to extort money out of people. This is how it works: an iffy website installs malware which encrypts all the data on your hard disk and you are informed that you have to pay 78 quid to see all your files again. Read about how technology is being used to further the human condition.

    And finally…

Need a Facebook girlfriend? There’s an app for that too
Pay for someone to pose as your long lost girlfriend. A vital service for those too lazy to set up their own fake account. See more proof that technology is impeding evolution.

Categories: News, News digest
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