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Owning a cloud means learning to love the business

One of the problems with trying to improve things is that not everyone appreciates it. Deploying a private cloud is tantamount to saying that the IT department needs to become a service provider, at least in part. But it also means that the business needs to start acting more like a service consumer. In principle, there is a …
Nathan Coates, 24 Jun 2012
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The secret is in the planning when you migrate to the cloud

So you have decided that private cloud is the way to go. You have calculated the capacity requirements, done the architectural design, decided whether any equipment and software can be repurposed. You have ordered and received the additional kit, built the racks and organised the air conditioning, screwed in the servers, storage …
Nathan Coates, 20 Jun 2012
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Can your cloud balance supply and demand?

Private cloud involves a multi-layered approach to architecting IT systems and delivering services to the business, making the most of virtualisation to provide a separation between the two. There is no clever magic involved, nor does there have to be anything particularly special about the servers, storage and networking …
Nathan Coates, 18 Jun 2012
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ITIL struggles to catch up with private cloud

Data centres run on the back of good operational processes that are repeatable and trusted. IT management best practices have sometimes been criticised as being monolithic and failing to keep up with change. ITIL (the Information Technology Infrastructure Library), for example, was defined in the 1990s as a best-practice …
Nathan Coates, 22 Jun 2011
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El Reg guide to the Private Cloud

Anyone researching private cloud runs up against a wall of definition and counter-definition. “Private cloud isn’t real cloud computing,” according to one vendor, in phrasing redolent of Monty Python’s Life of Brian. This debate will run and run, but much of the discussion about private cloud computing to date concerns the more …
Nathan Coates, 12 Jun 2011
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A cloud hangs over the sysadmin

The IT job sector has been under increasing pressure. A couple of decades ago it was easy to imagine IT as a job for life, but outsourcing, offshoring and the dot-bomb brought wave upon wave of uncertainty to IT professionals. The past couple of years have seen redundancies in all sectors including IT. It is not surprising, …
Nathan Coates, 11 Jun 2011
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Cloud tuning: getting the network up to speed

Many problems in IT can be put down to the simple but flawed assumption that resources are infinite. It is obviously wrong but we repeatedly see examples of where it leads: running out of storage (the technology equivalent of the wardrobe principle that if you have the space, you will fill it), running too many applications at …
Nathan Coates, 09 Jun 2011
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Hybrid vigour boosts Cloud formation

Cloud computing was always going to be about hybrid models, as we have already discussed (Cloud says No). This was brought up some three years ago by our colleagues at Freeform Dynamics. The idea behind hybrid models is to take advantage of the benefits of both on-premise applications and cloud solutions by making them work …
Nathan Coates, 08 Jun 2011
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Server virtualisation is not enough

The server computing architecture that lies at the heart of what we now refer to as private cloud has been considered several times over. The game-changer – the capability that makes private cloud possible today – is virtualisation, which enables logical workloads to be fully abstracted from machines. The famous Moore’s Law has …
Nathan Coates, 25 May 2011
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Life is simpler with fewer business suppliers

In a previous article we looked at how organisations could consolidate data assets to support the business better. Many organisations have to deal with multiple IT suppliers, each delivering only part of the answer. Reducing the number of suppliers makes for a simpler life, but how beneficial is it to IT delivery? Having a …
Nathan Coates, 18 May 2011
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Life after merger: data better together or apart?

As companies expand they restructure, start new initiatives, acquire competitors, and in times of hardship they ditch unprofitable business lines and cut staff. But change is an inevitable part of business, with an equally inevitable impact on IT systems – especially when two departments or organisations join forces. Mergers …
Nathan Coates, 12 May 2011
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Be smart with your smartphones

Workshop Mobile devices are often described as “enabling productivity”. It sounds simple – get business information onto smartphones and they will become able to deliver what the organisation needs. The temptation might be to rush out and buy a trailer load of Android devices to see if they help; but with a bit more thought it is …
Nathan Coates, 04 Apr 2011
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Rikki don't lose (sight of) that number

Workshop The “number” is the most important word in any sales person’s vocabulary. It means the target, the total amount of closed business that needs to be achieved, whether in a month, a quarter or a year. Once that period is ended, the reset button is pressed and the cycle starts again. Anyone who has been at the sharp end of sales …
Nathan Coates, 01 Apr 2011
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Sales, meet Finance (redux)

Workshop Both public and private organisations deploy business applications as a way of providing a more joined-up view of company information across departments. In many cases the aim is to minimise re-keying – two people entering the same data, or worse, one person taking information from one computer system and typing it into another …
Nathan Coates, 28 Mar 2011
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Sales, meet Finance

Workshop Sales and finance are the two parts of business closest to the commercial coal face. One’s about generating money and the other’s about channelling and reporting funds. Both are occupied directly with customers: who they are, what they need, what they have bought, whether they have paid. From the buyer’s perspective, the …
Nathan Coates, 25 Mar 2011
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Cloud says 'no'

Workshop Apart from a few laggard evangelists and smaller vendors with nothing else to sell, most people with an interest in cloud computing have concluded that a wholesale move of everything IT into the cloud won’t happen any time soon. The various reasons boil down to a couple of fundamentals - that some things will always need to …
Nathan Coates, 22 Mar 2011
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At the sharp end

Workshop Deploying a software application can be a balancing act between making the system work for the business and changing the business to fit the system. This was certainly the experience of Cutting Edge Services when it implemented a customer relationship management (CRM) package. With 100 staff, Cutting Edge is a supplier of …
Nathan Coates, 15 Mar 2011
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The public cloud ... why bother?

Given the amount of noise around cloud computing at the moment, the signal can be difficult to discern. One question that tends to be forgotten in the debate is – why should you bother? Is it just about the money, as some pundits would have you believe? Given that the public cloud is not going to be right for everything, when …
Nathan Coates, 09 Mar 2011
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It’s not just the technology

Workshop Anyone who has been around the IT block a few times will have seen application deployments that didn’t quite match up to expectations. But as people frequently point out, it’s not just about the technology. While nobody sets out to deliver an implementation that displays the same discrepancies as the one it replaces, it remains …
Nathan Coates, 25 Feb 2011