A rising number of data flubs has caused some to question whether the benefits of cloud computing truly outweigh the risks, but is that really a fair assessment? The eggheads at Kroll Ontrack don't think so, who point out that the recent spike in data losses with corporate enterprises is simply the result of human error.
"While advanced storage options such as virtualization and cloud computing offer corporations storage optimization, human processes are still at the root of these solutions, instructing the technology as to how to perform," said Phil Bridge, managing director at Kroll Ontrack UK. "The complextity of these systems often requires a steep learning curve. With reported IT spending at a low, human error is increasingly common."
According to Kroll Ontrack, some of the biggest mistakes attributed to the human element include pulling the wrong drive while trying to pull a failed disk in a RAID array, accidentally deleting a business-critical database and restoring it with a corrupt or incomplete backup, attempting to force failed drives back online when rebuilding a bad array, accidentally deleting files, volumes, virtual machines, or a SAN LUN with no backup in place, and reformatting the wrong SAN LUN during a server migration.
Netbooks have been selling exceptionally well without much support in the enterprise sector, but they won't stay relegated to the consumer side forever, and that's something IT managers should be preparing for, some observers say.
Maulik Pandya, Dell's senior planning manager for commercial notebooks, says netbooks could conceivably ease into 5 percent of enterprise sales, but there's potential for much more. Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst for the Enderle Group, says that if end-users had any say in the matter, netbooks would blaze past the 5 percent mark.
"Small portable computers for less than $400 is where the market should be," Enderle said. "Portability and the price point really tear up the laptop. Many vendors don't wan to build a strong corporate netbook model because they don't want to pirate their laptop lines."
The obvious downside for enterprise applications is the lack of power inherent in most netbooks. However, this might not be as big an issue as some believe. According to Allen Gwinn, senior director and chief technologist for the Edwin L. Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, there are workarounds. He cites an example of one faculty member who works with demanding SAS models.
"We couldn't find a laptop powerful enough for him to do his work at home," said Gwinn. "So we gave him a netbook. He uses the remote desktop feature to connect to his desktop machine in the office."
Scenarios like this are what IT professionals would be wise to prepare for.
While Oracle's been busy trying to win the blessing of the European Union in its attempted takeover deal with Sun Microsystems, Sun has been focusing on upping its storage ante, The company on Tuesday announced upgrades to its Sun Storage 7000 family of disk arrays that purports to double both the performance and capacity from a maximum of 288TB to 576TB in a 4U space.
Sun said it outfitted its Sun Storage 7410 Unified Storage System with four six-core AMD Opteron processors, double the amount of DRAM cache as before (up to 512GB), and new 2TB capacity drives. The end result is significantly improved performance, the company claims.
"Sun server, storage, and networking contniue to fuel world record HPC performance and provide the building blocks for dozens of new Sun Constellation System deployments around the globe," said John Fowler, executive vice president, System Group, Sun. "Corporations and scientists alike are using Sun server and storage innovation to gain competitive advantage and tackle the world's most complex problems."
In addition to storage upgrades, Sun also announced a pair of InfiniBand switches, the Datacenter InfiniBand Switch 72 and Switch 36.
IBM is taking virtualization security to the next level with a new product designed to safeguard enterprise virtual server infrastructures, the company said.
The product -- IBM Virtual Server Security for VMware vSphere -- purports to help growing companies stay protected as they consolidate their data centers. IBM said it has been working with clients to simplify and optimize their virtual infrastructures, and that this product allows those same businesses to put up a shield against next-gen security threats.
"Clients are asking for solutions to secure their data centers as they move from a traditional environment to virtual deployments. To that end, IBM has built this solution based on feedback of hundreds of customers looking to answer this urgent need," said Brian Truskowski, general manager, IBM Internet Security Systems (ISS).
Some of the automatic protection features of IBM's Virtual Server Security for VMware vSphere include Virtual Network Access Control (CNAC) to limit network access from a virtual server until security posture can be confirmed, rootkit detection, virtual infrastructure monitoring, and more.
The new product will be available in December 2009.
Pharmaceuticals aren't the only ones benefiting from the H1N1 virus. According to Computerworld, vendors of remote access technologies are reporting increased demand for their products in the past several months as companies try to enable more employees to work from home and other remote locations in an emergency.
"What companies are really looking for is the ability to provide secure, remote access to more of their employees," said Micheal Oldham, CEO of Portcullis Systems, a Malborough, Mass-based vendor of secure access appliances. "Most companies already have mobile workforces. What they are doing is planning for scale."
Oldham added that most of the demand is coming from government agencies and larger enterprises, both of which seem to be more aware of the need for planning.
By investing in secure access technologies like the ones offered by Portcullis, IT administrators can ensure that any devices connected to a corporate network from a remote location won't become a security concern. It also buys enterprises a bit of insurance in the event of a pandemic so that business can go on as usual.
There are a lot of winners in the $1.25 billion settlement between Intel and AMD. The most obvious one is AMD, who can use the money to pay off debt and put this longstanding legal dispute behind them. As part of the settlement, AMD also benefits from a new five-year cross licensing agreement.
In some respects, Intel can also be considered a winner, in that the chip maker could have ended up paying much more than $1.25 billion had this lawsuit gone the distance. And like AMD, Intel can put this episode behind them. And with both Intel and AMD no longer distracted by a costly court case, the two chip makers can put their full attention towards R&D.
"It's really good for the industry in general," said Roger Kay, an analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates. "Both companies had devoted a lot of top management to the fight. It's pretty distracting. You really want top executives concentrating on the business at hand."
OEMs like HP and Dell also come out ahead by being able to choose whichever processors and platforms they want, rather than which ones they're being told to use. And that's good for consumers, too.
It's not often that a bitter legal dispute ends up having so many winners, but that's certainly the case here.
Wyse on Tuesday announced its new thin clients and new zero client will support VMware View 4 and its PC-over-IP (PCoIP) display protocol. Both of these devices are expected to be listed on the VMware Hardware Compatibility List (HCL), Wyse said.
"We have been relentlessly addressing the needs of end users for many years now, and with the introduction of the Wyse P class we have successfully addressed many of the challenges in rolling out a client virtualization model to high-end specialty workers," said Curt Schwebke, CTO at Wyse. "Designers, scientists, architects, engineers, and artists will be able to run their most sophisticated applications on a virtual client that uses as much energy as a small light bulb."
The company's existing devices will support PCoIP when View 4 is released later this month. Wyse also said it will offer support of View 4 in its Wyse PocketCloud software enabling users of Apple iPhones to access a View 4 environment from their smartphone.
According to market research firm Gartner, worldwide software as a service (SaaS) revenue is on pace to reach $7.5 billion in 2009. That's a big turnaround from 2008 -- 17.7 percent, to be exact -- when revenue fell flat at $6.4 billion.
"The adoption of SaaS continues to grow and evolve within the enterprise application markets," said Sharon Mertz, research director at Gartner. "The composition of the worldwide SaaS landscape is evolving as vendors continue to extend regionally, increase penetration within existing accounts and ‘greenfield’ opportunities, and offer more-vertical-specific solutions as part of their service portfolio or through partners."
But that's not the only good news. Gartner says the market will show consistent growth at least through 2013, by which time SaaS revenue is expected to exceed $14 billion in the enterprise sector.
During the Enterprise 2.0 conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, Novell unvieled its Novell Pulse, a real-time social and document collaboration platform for enterprises. And the kicker? It works seamlessly with Google Wave, Novell said.
"We designed Google Wave and its open federation protocol to help people collaborate and communicate more efficiently," said Lars Rasmussen, software engineering manager for Google Wave. "We are very excited to see Novell supporting the Google Wave Federation Protocol in their innovative Novell Pulse product."
Novell Pulse gives administrators to ability to provision sign-on and permissions to both keep data secure and make it possible for workers to collaborate on documents online in real-time. Perhaps more importantly, Novell Pulse is one of the first major Wave providers.
Novell said its Pulse platform will be available in the first half of 2010, with a beta scheduled for earlier in the year.
The enterprise market is made up of big business, which places heavy, mission critical demands on their hard drives. You need some serious hard drive storage if you plan to offer email, web applications, or cloud-computing services. Drives that can handle the stress long-term, with little chance of failure are favored in this market, currently dominated by Seagate and Hitachi Global Storage Technologies.
Western Digital’s first offering is the WD S25, available in 147 Gb and 300 Gb capacities. The drive, which has a 2.5-inch form factor, spins at 10,000 RPMs. It also includes the technologically necessary Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) interface, either SAS 3 Gb/s or SAS 6 Gb/s. While similar in appearance to Western Digital’s VelociRaptor, it has faster read and write seek times, and a higher MTBF rating of 1.6 million hours.