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Martin Atherton

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The double-edged sword of virtualisation security

Lab A quick search will provide ample warnings of the risks of adding virtualisation technology to the business IT mix without due care and consideration to security. Whether such risks are inherent in the use of virtualisation technology itself, or arise when standard security practices are not extended to include virtual …
Martin Atherton, 17 Dec 2009
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Never mind virtual desktops - what about the apps?

Lab Conventional wisdom says that when planning an IT project, the things to get right before you start are less about ‘the thing’, and more about what the thing has to fit into, who's going to use it and who needs convincing of its value in the first place. Somewhere along the line ‘the thing’ gets some attention, but when it comes …
Martin Atherton, 04 Dec 2009
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Is server virtualization ready for production?

Lab The adoption of server virtualization technology follows several trajectories. We could consider the breadth of its penetration in terms of the number of organisations using it today, or we could consider the depth of its use in individual organisations, in terms of what they actually do with it. The latter is of more relevance …
Martin Atherton, 24 Nov 2009
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We're going for optimised workload delivery...

Workshop Who wouldn’t want IT to be delivered in a more dynamic, flexible, agile, [insert your least detested buzzword here] way? Optimal configurations for server and desktop workload delivery have been discussed, and indeed, attempted, for many years. So how close are we to really nailing this? The answer to this question may depend on …
Martin Atherton, 23 Nov 2009
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Software apps and the server room

Workshop As mentioned in last week's Reg reader server management poll results, one of the curses of the IT industry is the ease with which we can remove the working context between things and talk about them, as though they exist in isolation. Pundits, analysts and anyone with a point product to sell do this with ease. But it doesn’t …
Martin Atherton, 16 Nov 2009
arrow pointing up

Reg readers on: Stuff you run vs stuff you run it on

Workshop Thanks to everyone who took part in our latest mini-poll, which teased out some insights on how you balance the requirements of the teams that build and operate the resources and capabilities running in the server room. On the face of it, the overall relationship between software developers / procurement and those tasked with …
Martin Atherton, 13 Nov 2009
SGI logo hardware close-up

Remote IT support 'is harder'

Poll Results Perish the thought that we at Freeform Towers should try to over-simplify things, but from the whopping 465 of you who responded to this week's Reg survey, it is clear that there is more to 'remote support' than meets the eye. In analysing the responses we agreed with comments from Reg regular Trevor Pott, that "a true 'remote …
Martin Atherton, 23 Oct 2009

Securing the remote estate

Workshop One of the challenges of managing a remote desktop estate is security. It’s not a new problem, but it has been raised higher in the collective consciousness in the last few years, thanks to the proliferation of smaller, cheaper and more portable devices. Its not enough to blame human nature - although sitting here as I type I …
Martin Atherton, 21 Oct 2009

What is it about supporting remote workers?

Mini Poll Thanks for your feedback on this week's workshop topic, which could loosely be defined as 'remote desktop support' but actually translates more into 'trying to explain how to put out a fire using a periscope, tin can and string'. As usual we're interested in bottoming out your views, particularly to gauge whether providing IT …
Martin Atherton, 20 Oct 2009

When PCs went mobile

Workshop Do you remember the first time you saw a laptop? Shiny bright LED screen, pixels individually visible, about the size of a breeze block. Portability probably didn’t concern the IT department because nobody in their right mind would try to carry one out of the office. But they did. Quite quickly, laptops became smaller and …
Martin Atherton, 19 Oct 2009
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Try these beans: Business Service Management

Workshop In recent weeks we’ve received plenty of meaty responses in roughly equal measures (positive and negative) to the questions posed in this workshop. For many, service management is seen as simply doing the job properly, regardless of the tools / politics / obtrusive management and so on. Others do what they do but really don’t …
Martin Atherton, 14 Oct 2009
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Who does the helpdesk really help?

Workshop Who does the helpdesk help - IT or the business? Many people (users) think the helpdesk is ‘what IT is for” where as in fact it may be the very thing stopping IT from being a more valuable partner to the business. Is this status quo simply the way things are destined to stay or is there more we can do with this frontline service …
Martin Atherton, 07 Oct 2009
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Service management strategies

Workshop One of the most universal findings we encounter on our research travels is that, contrary to what we may hear from elsewhere (IT vendors, subject evangelists), IT professionals generally want to deal with fewer processes, not more. Or to be precise, they want ‘just enough’ process. This idea is firmly rooted in practicality and …
Martin Atherton, 02 Oct 2009
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The tools of the trade: Cutting edge or a bit embarrassing?

Workshop Do the phrases ‘cutting edge’ and ‘your IT shop’ constitute a contradiction in terms, or do you work in a sleek and streamlined vision of sci-fi IT? When we asked you about this last year we got the impression that for most organisations it was more the former than the latter. That’s not to say you told us things were falling …
Martin Atherton, 30 Sep 2009
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Automated out of existence?

Workshop If your job involves managing IT, IT services or business services it’s probably not escaped your attention that for better or worse, your job entails working with other people. Whether strong demarcations between “IT” and “The Business” exist, or whether your firm takes a more ‘progressive’ approach, there are numerous …
Martin Atherton, 25 Sep 2009
globalisation

What’s important in service management?

Workshop In its broadest sense, service management goes beyond IT service management and looks to influence many of the processes which underpin the activities a business engages in. Previously, we asked how you thought service management had changed in your organisation in recent years. Let’s dig around a bit further. One of the major …
Martin Atherton, 23 Sep 2009
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Service management: A million jobs or a job with a million parts?

Workshop Not so long ago there was the stuff that IT folk did, and there was stuff that non-IT folk did. The business was run by business people, and the IT department was run by IT people. Of course it made sense for the two sides to interact. To the outsider, it may have looked like the IT folk needed some business sense to help them …
Martin Atherton, 21 Sep 2009
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The application platform’s in play. But where’s it going?

Reg Tech Panel This application platform thing looks like it has legs. A few weeks ago we asked the Reg audience at large if they ‘got’ the idea of the application platform, and, practicalities aside, most said ‘we do’. Around a quarter said they had already adopted one. Digging a bit further, we see that of those that are ‘somewhere’ with …
Martin Atherton, 22 Dec 2008
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Supporting the application platform

As our discussion around the role of the application platform continues, a quick look back shows us that the Reg reader jury is still out when it comes to deciding on the capabilities which deserve or need to be included in one. The other side of the coin to ‘what’, is perhaps unsurprisingly, ‘how’. If you are going to develop …
Martin Atherton, 18 Dec 2008
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The role of the application platform

The application platform (as described here) has become a reality for a decent proportion of the El Reg audience, but what is not so clear yet is where it’s all going, or if it’s going anywhere at all. Simply having an application platform in place is an achievement; even more so given the concept isn’t solidly ‘baked’ yet, so …
Martin Atherton, 15 Dec 2008
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Application platforms: different stuff, same story?

When it comes to IT, the build versus buy argument is part and parcel of the industry. We know from the last Barometer study that custom application software development is just as important for many of you as packaged application software. The notion of an application platform (aka ‘the bits between the app and the server’) …
Martin Atherton, 12 Dec 2008
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A last hurrah: Matching info challenges with functional capabilities

Over the last few articles, we’ve talked about the pain of getting information to the people that need it, and discovered that most of you don’t consider information or data management/delivery capabilities as a high priority when thinking about components to include in an application platform. Many of the comments to the …
Martin Atherton, 04 Dec 2008
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An information delivery pipedream

According to the findings from our recent Platform and Operations monster survey, most organisations told us they ‘get’ the notion of an application platform. Around a quarter of respondents told us they have formally adopted one, and over a third said that they had adopted one in the sense of having a natural tendency to re-use …
Martin Atherton, 02 Dec 2008
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Who's kicking whose ass when it comes to information delivery?

Mini Poll When it comes to systems and processes for handling data and information, we've all heard about 'BI', data warehousing, content management, work flow and so on. However, if the challenge of 'exploiting information' were so easily dealt with, we'd presumably not be talking about such things so much. Except we are, and all the …
Martin Atherton, 01 Dec 2008
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Why is information delivery so bloody hard?

Are you frustrated with how difficult it can be to find information? What makes this more irksome is that the vendor community seems to have just woken up to the fact that there's a lot of information 'out there' to manage. Translated, this means that some of the larger vendors have recently got their act together with …
Martin Atherton, 28 Nov 2008