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Jon Collins

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Assessing your server virtualisation needs

Lab One of the appealing things about server virtualisation is that the “table stakes” are quite low. To virtualise a server, it really is just a case of configure the server, install the appropriate software, log in and off you go – or at least, it was last time I tried. From there it is possible to create VMs with relative ease, …
Jon Collins, 23 Feb 2010
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Desktop evolution offers alternative admin options

Lab Love them or loathe them, desktops are integral to IT service delivery. They are the most common point of access for users, and their performance has a disproportionately high bearing on user satisfaction and the perception of IT generally. Beyond this, we know from research that allowing the desktop environment to drift and …
Jon Collins, 19 Feb 2010
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Virtualisation and packaged applications

Lab To the outsider, suggesting that such workloads as SAP, Siebel and so on should be candidates for virtualisation feels like a bit of an anathema. Such packaged apps have a reputation for being monolithic and siloed, and perhaps inappropriate for running on a VM. Or indeed, if these are the flagship applications on which an …
Jon Collins, 16 Feb 2010
SGI logo hardware close-up

High performance for the masses

Reg reader survey High-Performance Computing (HPC) has traditionally been seen as the domain of the über-specialist. It’s as close as the IT industry will ever get to “2 Fast, 2 Furious” – gangs of highly technical experts pushing their custom-built computers to the limit with an aim to win that ultimate prize, a place in the world …
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The long and winding road to server virtualisation

Reader feedback "Move along, nothing to see here," said Reg reader Joshua 1, a self-confessed "old timer on the virtualisation front," in response to the question of whether server virtualisation was ready for prime time. Indeed it is difficult to read anything about virtualisation without getting the impression that it is inevitable. But …
Jon Collins, 04 Feb 2010

Show me the money!

Workshop IT costs money, and the job of any CIO, IT director or manager will include some element of balancing the books. In their simplest form, budgets split across money for new acquisitions and one-off purchases, and money to be spent keeping things going, covering everything from contract renewals and staffing, to spare parts and …
Jon Collins, 29 Jan 2010

Storage is boring, right?

Workshop In the spirit of calling a spade a spade, it is fair to say that computer storage is generally perceived to be quite dull – in Douglas Adams terms it would qualify as ‘mostly harmless’. While this is a bit of a shame for people who look after storage, backups and so on (let’s face it, the job description is never going to break …
Jon Collins, 22 Jan 2010
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Data protection and virtualised machines

Lab Let’s face it, we’re not very good at backups. It’s nothing to be ashamed about. Few organisations could one hundred percent put their hands on their hearts and say, “Yup, we’ve got it covered!” And as my esteemed colleague Tony Lock likes to point out, even places that think they have backups taped (if you’ll excuse the pun …
Jon Collins, 21 Jan 2010
Broken CD with wrench

Post-Copenhagen, does green IT matter?

Workshop It's difficult to talk about “green IT” without coming across as a techno-apologist. However much suppliers lay claim to having the most tree-huggingly planet friendly technologies available, the indisputable, unavoidable, insurmountable truth is that IT is largely about wiring up and plugging in sometimes large pieces of …
Jon Collins, 20 Jan 2010
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Why an embedded OS is like a mammal

Embedded software applications are like the mammals of the software industry – while the monolithic dinosaur applications slug it out up in broad daylight, the embedded apps scurry about in the undergrowth doing what they do best, hidden from all but the most observant. While this isn’t an analogy you’d want to push too far, …
Jon Collins, 17 Jan 2010

Is dynamic IT management necessary for mid-sized firms?

Workshop It’s a fair assumption that the operational management of IT follows some kind of maturity model. Many organizations are, in theory, chaotic; a logical next step is to implement a layer of control, and from there one might say one could start building a managed environment. After that – hurrah! – it is reputedly an easy hop, …
Jon Collins, 15 Jan 2010

Understanding service requirements: How true are the truisms?

Workshop How easy it is to say that ‘IT service delivery should start with the business’? It’s one of those statements like ‘the customer is king’ or ‘always clean up as you go along’, that may indeed save time in the long run but which can be a lot harder in practice than some theorists would like. Like many a true word, just because …
Jon Collins, 14 Jan 2010
SGI logo hardware close-up

Demystifying architecture for non-enterprise organizations

Workshop Architecture, schmarchitecture... words like “architecture” get banded around in IT like they have a specific meaning, when in reality you’d get ten different definitions from ten different people if you asked. But few would agree that IT should do without some degree of ‘structure’, be it mere forethought or understanding about …
Jon Collins, 13 Jan 2010
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Delivering and deploying software for virtualisation

Lab To date, much of the outside attention on virtualisation has fallen on the infrastructure side of the equation – that is, what’s the impact of adding such a software layer to physical machines etc. etc. But, as we discussed in our recent webcast, as the thinking moves beyond the pilot phase for virtualisation, then the spotlight …
Jon Collins, 12 Jan 2010
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What to do about virtual server security?

Lab Security’s important, right? Well, so it may be – but when it comes to virtualisation, it’s not hard to get the impression that it isn’t being treated as seriously as it should be. I don’t know about you, but when I read about the take-up of virtualisation, the feeling of foreboding is not unlike seeing a five-year-old play with …
Jon Collins, 15 Dec 2009
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Where is virtualisation taking you?

Lab Anyone who’s been in this industry for longer than a decade will know that some of what IT vendors say needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Virtualisation holds great promise, so we are told – but yet so did blade servers, grid architectures, enterprise management solutions, application service providers... the list goes on. …
Jon Collins, 14 Dec 2009
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Juggling server virtualisation and database workloads

Lab As the conversation moves from generic virtualisation of ‘quick win’ workloads such as web servers and print servers, development and test environments, one-off applications and so on, the question arises – where does server virtualisation go next? One potential area is to see virtual machines as a target for database …
Jon Collins, 27 Nov 2009
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Where is server virtualisation taking us?

Lab No, no, not the v word...! There are few topics that have garnered as much interest recently as virtualisation. And that’s not just coming from us – the level of feedback we get on this is head and shoulders above many other areas. But let’s be realistic. As the Reg Tech Panel has informed us, the majority of workloads that …
Jon Collins, 20 Nov 2009

Infrastructure convergence - The two sides of the coin

Comment Let’s be fair – IT isn’t the only industry fraught with jargon, but it can certainly hold its head up high among the leaders in the field of gobbledygook. The minefield of acronyms we all have to suffer is worsened by the astonishingly bad practice of overloading individual, sometimes quite innocuous words and combining them …
Jon Collins, 19 Nov 2009

Are you mulling new ways of refreshing desktop and laptop estates?

Workshop In this week’s poll we asked if people were rethinking their desktop strategies, and what options they were considering. So what is really happening – is anyone actually considering refreshing their desktop and laptop estates? Well when we asked you “Have you been given pause for thought about your own desktop strategy for any …
Jon Collins, 30 Oct 2009

How much does desktop PC support actually cost?

Workshop Here’s a direct question on this (hopefully sunny) day. Do you, or does anyone in your organisation, know precisely how much money you spend on PC support? In principle, this sounds straightforward enough to answer – after all, isn’t it just about the desktops and laptops, and the software they run? But in our travels we have …
Jon Collins, 15 Oct 2009
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Remind me what we're doing again?

Workshop Over the past few weeks that we’ve been writing about service management, it’s become very clear just how hard it is to hold the fort. Indeed, we wouldn’t be at all surprised if some of you don’t wonder – at least to yourselves – why bother? This is actually a very good question, and one which deserves just a little scrutiny. …
Jon Collins, 12 Oct 2009
DVD it in many colours

The great productivity myth: Are we slaves to the machine?

Workshop Desktop computers crash - that’s life. We know from numerous research studies that, while there are indeed ‘bad guys out there’, in most instances the causes of downtime are far more mundane – application failure, connectivity problems and the infamous ‘blue screen of death’. We can’t blame Microsoft for everything (as I …
Jon Collins, 12 Oct 2009

Desktop minipoll results – user ignorance is bliss?

Workshop The results are in from yesterday’s mini-poll, and they are pretty conclusive – even if we take into account that removing users altogether is not an option. The top two types of call may be quite easily balanced – as you can see from the chart, between ‘don’t know how to do something’ and ‘application not responding’. When …
Jon Collins, 09 Oct 2009

The state of desktop support

Mini-Poll This week we've been looking at desktop management from the point of view of supporting users. It can be a jungle out there, as one reader illustrated: Somehow, people still sneak through with all kinds of configurations and it's killing us - so many deskside visits it's unbelievable. But is that the norm, or are some of you …
Jon Collins, 07 Oct 2009

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