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Tony Lock

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Storage heaven or hell: What’s it like in your world?

Yep, data volumes are growing, and managing security, access, service levels and costs are more of a pain than ever when it comes to storage. But how bad is it for you? If you’re in pain, we’d like to know where it’s hurting. If you are sitting back with your feet up, looking out across a nicely humming storage landscape, we’d …
Tony Lock, 09 Apr 2014
The Register breaking news

Putting the security jigsaw together

Effective IT security is both important and hard to implement, and it isn’t getting any easier. Central systems are becoming more complex, and keeping up with the ever-changing threat landscape is an ongoing challenge. Then there's the fact that end users are more mobile than ever and increasingly reckon they should be able to …
Tony Lock, 06 Sep 2013
management cloud2

Protect your data with a cloudy mixture

Many organisations today are facing the challenge of fast-changing operating conditions. At the same time, they are ever more dependent on the data and information they hold. How can they best store and protect corporate data? Is cloud the right answer or only part of it? Securing and protecting data has been a major issue for …
Tony Lock, 09 Apr 2013

Will we still love the data centre seven years from now?

It seems there has never been a clearer understanding of how rapidly business is changing and IT technologies are evolving. With this in mind, we recently ran an online survey to ask readers of The Register how they thought data centres would develop between now and 2020. This is long enough for significant things to happen, but …
Tony Lock, 20 Dec 2012
The Register breaking news

There’s more to selling email than meets the eye

Cloud is a broad term for several different approaches to delivering IT services. There is currently much discussion about the role of managed service providers (MSPs) in delivering this type of offering to business customers. MSPs could be pivotal to the long-term adoption of such IT solutions since most are acquired from …
Tony Lock, 20 Dec 2012
Suitcase bulging with cash

Data-centre procurement ain't what it used to be

The cost of supplying IT services inside businesses has never been more visible, with much marketing attention focusing on the question “Why aren’t you using cloud-based services instead of running your own systems?” More than ever, IT departments are having to justify their funding and show they are doing a good job. Just how …
Tony Lock, 18 Dec 2012

Email is so last century

Over the course of the past year or two we have started to hear that email is becoming less relevant in this era of social networking. With websites such as Facebook grabbing the world’s attention and organisations encouraged to communicate with all and sundry via sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn, many are seriously …
Tony Lock, 12 Dec 2012
Big Data logo

Big Data and analytics: Reg survey crunches the numbers

Every IT professional understands that relational databases play an important role in most organisations. Indeed, the previous article in this series highlighted that such repositories are used to hold business critical data in many organisations. Such “traditional platforms” are not only widely deployed, they are also well …
Tony Lock, 07 Nov 2012
Big Data logo

The Big Data revolution: Big Bang or loud noise?

Anyone currently employed in any area of the IT business will be aware, however reluctantly, of the considerable amount of effort being put into marketing ‘Big Data’. Well brace yourselves, there's more of this to come. During August and September of 2012 Freeform Dynamics surveyed 502 IT professional readers of The Register to …
Tony Lock, 08 Oct 2012
The Register breaking news

Who cares about Big Data

“Big Data” today clearly rules the web pages as market makers promote the topic at the drop of a hat. But with so much effort, and money, being spent promoting BD, is anyone actually doing anything in everyday businesses to exploit this loosely grouped family of technologies? Most readers of The Register acknowledge there are …
Tony Lock, 13 Sep 2012
The Register breaking news

Beyond the relational database

The ‘Big Data’ Bandwagon is now in full flow and IT professionals are already being swamped with marketing explaining why they cannot afford to leave information unmined. Once again, we are being bombarded with terms and messages that are ambiguous at best, meaningless at worst and simply confusing most of the time. So in true …
Tony Lock, 07 Sep 2012
The Register breaking news

Private Cloud and IT Service Delivery

IT budgets under pressure, ‘doing more for less’ – we’re all familiar with the headlines. And of course vendors are always at the ready with solutions that address those very pain points. ‘Spend to save’ is the accompanying mantra. But what’s actually happening in the real world? Is the IT budget situation as dire as it’s …
Tony Lock, 25 Jun 2012
The Register breaking news

Hybrid Cloud -The Emperor’s new clothes or stylish business wear?

‘Cloud Computing’ has been on the lips of every IT vendor marketing manager for the past two or three years and Reg readers have always been forthright in telling us what is happening in their organisation compared to the hype. While some vendors think ‘Private Cloud’ to be a contradiction in terms, Reg readers disagree, with …
Tony Lock, 22 Jun 2012
The Register breaking news

Cure IT ills with a holistic approach to management

When systems are implemented and managed in isolation, it can be difficult to get an end-to-end view of how they interact. That in turn makes it difficult to troubleshoot problems when they arise and to understand the impact potential changes are likely to have. We know from research conducted over several years that few …
Tony Lock, 27 Apr 2012
The Register breaking news

Simple ways to tune your private cloud infrastructure

“Dynamic workload management” and “private cloud” are just two of the terms currently in vogue to describe new approaches to the management of IT systems. Dynamic IT is likely to be marketed as a fully automated environment where everything is controlled in an orchestrated manner. We know from a recent survey that a growing …
Tony Lock, 26 Apr 2012
The Register breaking news

Limber up for a more dynamic approach to managing change

For most of the past 20 years, the provisioning and daily operations of IT systems has been mainly concerned with specifying the physical components – servers, storage and networking – required to deliver the expected service levels. Because many workloads have little hard data upon which to base usage calculations, most …
Tony Lock, 02 Apr 2012
The Register breaking news

Keeping score in the public sector

A recent Reg Reader survey looked at how public sector organisations are managing to address the complex challenges of information management in an age when everyone expects to have instant access to information while simultaneously insisting on stringent security being enforced. The results are unlikely to be much of a …
Tony Lock, 05 Mar 2012
The Register breaking news

The Modern Data Centre

Managing the systems running in data centres and computer rooms is hard work, and that’s before the conflicting demands of users, managers, regulators and health and safety inspectors are factored into account. Are you caught in the trap of trying to balance conflicting demands on your time or are you leading the way to dynamic …
Tony Lock, 02 Mar 2012
SGI logo hardware close-up

The trials and tribulations of data centre networking

For much of the last decade data centre networking, along with networking in general, has become accepted as part of the glue that is invisible to business users. End users now take for granted that networking ‘works’, but with new services placing greater stress on data centre networks, what do organisations think about the …
Tony Lock, 03 Nov 2011
The Register breaking news

Data centre networking - the view from your seat

Data centre networks provide the infrastructure that allows business services to function. They let users get on with their jobs while allowing systems to be protected according to need. But are the networks in your data centre appreciated or have they become invisible as the organisation demands more from them? Are your …
Tony Lock, 18 Aug 2011
The Register breaking news

Software licensing, virtualisation and the cloud

If you've got a few minutes to spare, let us know your thoughts on the software licensing models you use today and whether you believe they restrict your ability to serve your users. You can get started by clicking here. This is the rationale for our study, which we will publish in The Register in a few weeks. For most …
Tony Lock, 25 May 2011

The mainframe comes of age ... again?

Economic pressure has led to more finance directors and CFOs scrutinising expenditure to a painstaking level of detail. The aim is to ensure that IT can deliver what the business needs at the lowest cost while still meeting the never-diminishing expectations of the board and shareholders. As a result, in-depth examinations into …
Tony Lock, 31 Mar 2011

Exploiting the mainframe for new workload requirements

IT architects and CIOs have a number of factors to take into consideration when it comes to selecting where to run workloads and how to design systems for efficient operations over extended periods of time. Chief amongst these are the nature of the workloads themselves, the operating systems on which they are supported and the …
Tony Lock, 29 Mar 2011

Have you thought about using a mainframe for that?

Data centre managers and IT operations staff in large enterprises are now faced with a bewildering array of demands from their users, who take for granted that systems will work without any form of service interruption, planned or otherwise. At the same time the business expectations are for new services to be delivered rapidly …
Tony Lock, 28 Mar 2011
The Register breaking news

Who say Management and SaaS don't mix?

Management in IT is a challenge for many organisations. Integrated management is a tough nut to crack and many companies struggle with fragmented management environments just to keep their systems operational. Without integrated tools and processes, organisations face considerable security challenges, specifically difficulties …
Tony Lock, 02 Feb 2011
The Register breaking news

Putting the SaaS into security management

In all areas of business, security and privacy are built on good policy, properly applied. If you think moving to hosted services or software as a service (SaaS) changes this, then think again. While some aspects of security may be simplified, the cloud raises challenges in other areas. From the perspective of systems …
Tony Lock, 22 Dec 2010
cable

The alternatives to password protection

In a world where it is possible to create credential-stealing malware and where users are supposed happy to trade passwords for a bar of chocolate in a railway station survey, we ask the question: is the era of password authentication coming to a close? From the first time systems administrators looked to restrict access to …
Tony Lock, 23 Nov 2010

Disaster recovery blurs into high availability (or other way round?)

IT managers use two terms when talking about systems availability. These are: High Availability or “HA”, for keeping systems running without any form of unplanned down time; and Disaster Recovery or “DR”, for ensuring that systems are rapidly returned to operation if they fail. Some confusion has developed between these terms …
Tony Lock, 09 Nov 2010

Just how special are Power Users?

Power users are often at the cutting edge of an organisation’s revenue generation, product development, operational excellence or strategic core, and as such they require excellent IT systems to support their role. In years gone by, the needs of these specialist workers often necessitated that their PCs be customised and …
Tony Lock, 22 Oct 2010
SGI logo hardware close-up

The True Cost of Desktop Support

Desktop support is something every organisation does using a variety of tools, people and processes, using both trained and qualified staff through to the unsanctioned, and often badly informed “I know someone who can help” approach. In many organisations, it is noticeable how many end users base their entire perception of IT …
Tony Lock, 20 Oct 2010

Want to do a desktop refresh? How would you like to pay?

Developments in both the worlds of PC technology and the global economic climate have conspired to slow down much of the “routine” desktop upgrade cycle that takes place periodically in most organisations. The combination of Windows Vista and the financial meltdown combined to push many refresh projects onto the back burner, …
Tony Lock, 14 Oct 2010

The changing face of branch offices

It is not only data centres and computer rooms that have started down the path of the “strategic consolidation” of resources. Whilst organisations rightly rate their people as amongst their most valuable assets, many have also begun to optimise the accommodation that they make available to their workers. The shift to “hot …
Tony Lock, 11 Oct 2010

Field Service Engineers and their needs

It is clear that keeping remote workers operating effectively is usually a completely different challenge to those of office based workers. One particular sub-group amongst such remote workers is that of “field service engineers”, a category with very specific requirements of their IT equipment, tools and support needs. As …
Tony Lock, 06 Oct 2010
Cat 5 cable

Is your server estate becoming too complex to manage?

In earlier articles in this workshop we reported on research carried out by Freeform Dynamics that organisations are not entirely happy with the systems management tools available to them to help administer the IT infrastructure in day-to-day service delivery. At the same time, we know that operations staff are working under …
Tony Lock, 28 Sep 2010
server room

Automation - one step closer to lights out?

In an earlier article in this workshop we considered the challenges associated with procuring system management technologies. We know from our research amongst IT administrators that making a business case for systems management tools is rarely straightforward, even when major changes in the infrastructure or the way services …
Tony Lock, 23 Sep 2010

Are you delivering IT and creating wiggle room?

According to Freeform Dynamics research, many IT departments are seeking to become better aligned with business needs and are looking to ensure that systems and IT resources are being deployed more dynamically to support fluctuating business goals. One of the critical success factors will be investing in up–to-date, and …
Tony Lock, 23 Sep 2010
SGI logo hardware close-up

Systems monitoring: what’s possible, and what really happens

IT increasingly plays a pivotal role in business processes. The importance of systems to the efficiency of business operations makes maintaining the quality of service delivered by IT platforms a matter of mounting attention and concern. How can systems managers ensure this quality, especially with the expanding use of …
Tony Lock, 27 Aug 2010
The Register breaking news

Desktop virtualisation: The control-plus-flexibility problem

Desktop virtualisation is attracting serious attention as organisations consider the future potential directions for delivering IT applications and services. The successful deployment of desktop virtualisation is ultimately dependent on both IT and end users getting something tangible from the new systems. Many of the advantages …
Tony Lock, 13 Aug 2010
The Register breaking news

Your desktop virtualisation reality check

Migrating desktops is never easy. The promise of better management and security that is offered by desktop virtualisation is adding a new twist to the many desktop migration projects that are beginning to show themselves. In this article we look at what, if anything, that we have done in the past can be applied in a " …
Tony Lock, 11 Aug 2010
The Register breaking news

Managing a virtual desktop environment

In a previous article in this series we highlighted growing interest in deploying virtual desktop solutions of a variety of flavours. Interest is fine, but any organisation looking to utilise such systems to a significant degree knows that it requires good management tools and, more importantly, excellent management processes …
Tony Lock, 10 Aug 2010
The Register breaking news

Desktop virtualisation: why, how, and how much?

As anyone who has started down the path will confirm, desktop virtualisation is not a single thing - rather it offers a number of ways of modernising the management of the desktop environment, either in its entirety, or for specific user types. It’s not just about giving everyone dumb(ish) terminals and stuffing everything else …
Tony Lock, 09 Aug 2010
The Register breaking news

The cloud's impact on security?

We tried to get through this workshop without using the five letter C-word, but we could not quite make it to the end. There are good reasons for considering whether cloud will have an impact on security - not least because it is being discussed so much that you need to know if there is any substance behind the hype. What's the …
Tony Lock, 01 Jul 2010

When desktop security is a remote possibility

You, the readers of The Register, have told us that supporting users is fraught with problems. And when it comes to looking after remote users things get even more difficult. It is clear that running all remote users in thin client mode is a prospect that, while attractive, still does not fit well with a broad set of business …
Tony Lock, 17 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

Is it possible to measure IT Security?

It is a commonly held principle in many areas of business that if you can’t measure something “quantitatively”, it will be difficult to raise the quality objectively. The applicability of this statement to the world of IT security is clear. Without having some form of metrics in place, it is tough, if not impossible, to judge …
Tony Lock, 28 May 2010

The joy of software licensing on the desktop

One of the joys of working as a manager of desktop and laptop systems is to be found in the weird and sometimes surreal world of software licenses. Not really, of course. In fact, trying to ensure that the organisation is buying only the licenses it requires at the best price, while making sure that no unlicensed applications …
Tony Lock, 18 May 2010
The Register breaking news

Using systems management tools in IT security

Every IT professional recognises the importance of securing the IT systems that are now at the heart of many business processes. This recognition goes beyond simple deployment of security technologies. As Register readers have told us, drivers such as compliance with regulatory pressures, minimising financial risks, securing …
Tony Lock, 11 May 2010
server room

Server financing: CAPEX, OPEX or something else

In the current economic climate access to spending money is tight across all businesses. In truth, the spotlight has been thrown ever more closely onto IT spend over the course of the last decade, not just the past two years. This focus on IT spend has brought forward the question of the best way to budget for IT systems and …
Tony Lock, 04 May 2010
The Register breaking news

Rethinking security

Ask any IT manager, business leader or regulator and they will tell you that IT security is important - that much goes without saying. As the chart below shows, for many professionals the role of security in IT is now seen to be a fundamental part of delivering day to day IT service to users, wherever they are, whenever they …
Tony Lock, 26 Apr 2010

Workload selection on mixed server estates

Over the last year or so Freeform Dynamics has asked Reg readers if the new flexibility in deploying workloads in virtualised server infrastructures makes it possible to manage application delivery effectively while minimising the costs associated with delivering services. We have also considered the challenges around …
Tony Lock, 26 Apr 2010
cable

Provisioning - how do you approach it?

Buying new physical servers has always taken time and effort. Unfortunately virtualisation has managed to create the perception that the provisioning of virtual machines is quick, easy and - very unfairly - free of charge. How has this expectation changed the necessary processes when new physical servers have to be acquired? Ask …
Tony Lock, 21 Apr 2010