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Tony Lock

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Server financing: CAPEX, OPEX or something else

Workshop 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

Workshop 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

Workshop 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

Provisioning - how do you approach it?

Workshop 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
SGI logo hardware close-up

The desktop demands of board-level managers

Workshop Register readers tell us that supporting employees and their IT equipment is a daily challenge, seemingly designed to expose any weaknesses in the IT team's ability to keep systems available and users working productively. It is interesting to note that it is users of all levels of seniority who provide the test, with executives …
Tony Lock, 13 Apr 2010

Power management and carbon footprints

Workshop April 1, 2010 was a not classic All Fools' day in the UK press, although The Register did pull off a few half-decent pranks itself, including news of an alien invasion through the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. Now that the April Fools' jokes have been exposed it should be safe to confirm something that wasn't one - the " …
Tony Lock, 09 Apr 2010
SGI logo hardware close-up

Asset management And Service Management

Workshop When it comes to providing users with access to the tools and information they require to perform their daily tasks, the notion of service provisioning is usually to be found close to the heart of IT operations. A wide range of new solutions are now available to ‘help’ IT deliver services to users but is the job getting any …
Tony Lock, 07 Apr 2010

Power monitoring across the desktop estate

Workshop Despite the pressure on organisations to operate to more “green” agendas, the reality is that for many the reasons they actually fund anything are related to a desire to save electricity or to meet external requirements, usually legislative. So far the majority of “green” projects have usually been focussed on reducing …
Tony Lock, 25 Mar 2010
The Register breaking news

The art of optimising VM performance

Lab While it is unfair to say (as many vendors do), that server virtualisation will take over the world during the course of the next fifteen minutes, we know from the readers of The Register that ever-expanding numbers of virtual machines (VMs) are being spun up by organisations large and small. A primary driver for early server …
Tony Lock, 22 Mar 2010
SGI logo hardware close-up

Making life easier for the road warrior

Workshop In the past decade we have witnessed the use of laptops in organisations reaching similar levels to those of desktops. All the signs are that the penetration of such machines will soon exceed that of their immobile siblings. Today, they are more than status symbols. They are established as essential business devices, without …
Tony Lock, 18 Mar 2010
The Register breaking news

Virtualisation and the private cloud

Lab IT, like every industry, is from time to time compelled by those with PR budgets to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous marketing. Over the course of the last two years we have witnessed one of the most over-hyped marketing terms being pushed with such vigour that it is today almost impossible to speak with any vendor …
Tony Lock, 09 Mar 2010
The Register breaking news

On enterprise networking and administration

There are some things in life that everyone just expects to function, almost without thought. You switch on the light, there will be electricity available; you turn the tap and water will flow; you pick up the phone, there will be a dial tone. Over the course of the last decade, much to the surprise of many who have long toiled …
Tony Lock, 04 Mar 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 …
The Register breaking news

Licensing in virtual systems still making us ill

Lab We know from extensive research carried out with readers of The Register that in the server arena, virtualisation is moving into the mainstream. We are also beginning to see interest in utilising some form of virtualisation for the delivery of desktop services, although the level of activity is currently far lower than that …
Tony Lock, 11 Feb 2010
The Register breaking news

Server virtualisation beyond the x86 environment

Lab Register readers have told us (pdf) that the virtualisation of significant portions of your x86 server estates are major project areas in which you plan to invest both money and, much more importantly, your time. This is all well and good, but as everyone in IT understands, x86 servers are not the only platforms in town. So …
Tony Lock, 09 Feb 2010
The Register breaking news

Can virtualisation reduce the management overhead?

Lab Server virtualisation is quickly becoming a mainstream route by which IT services are delivered. Already much of the “low hanging fruit” has been identified, with server consolidation projects providing an entry point for virtualisation. But after such implementation projects are completed the challenge will become one of …
Tony Lock, 02 Feb 2010
The Register breaking news

How secure are virtual desktops, really?

Lab As we discussed in an earlier article in this series many “desktop virtualisation” solutions exist today. Each has its own deployment architecture and comes complete with a range of operational benefits and challenges. Some work well in particular scenarios which would not suit others. With interest growing in the potential use …
Tony Lock, 29 Jan 2010
The Register breaking news

Virtualisation in two years’ time

Lab It is always somewhat tricky forecasting the future, never mind doing so in IT. Even in an area like “virtualisation” it is difficult to give a black and white picture of just what your IT will look like as virtualisation moves beyond the pilots, specific workloads and test/dev environments that today form the technologies' …
Tony Lock, 28 Jan 2010
The Register breaking news

Can financing and management models survive IT change?

Comment Whether or not you believe that IT is about to experience a revolution, it is clear that a number of the fundamentals of how the IT infrastructure is built are changing. Many technological and operational developments are changing the way applications are developed and deployed. Everything from innovations in how applications …
Tony Lock, 18 Jan 2010

Who actually needs virtualisation and collaboration tools

Lab Email is now routinely referenced as a mission critical system. The importance of tools that help and encourage greater collaboration amongst staff, partners and even customers is also on the rise as organisations seek to raise productivity and performance. Is it possible for collaboration tools and e-mail systems to be utilised …
Tony Lock, 15 Jan 2010
The Register breaking news

Embedded developments

Is anyone still developing software anymore, particularly in smaller-scale, “embedded” systems running on platform-specific operating systems? Despite the best efforts of packaged software vendors, software development never went away – indeed, the annual barometer studies that Freeform Dynamics undertakes with readers of The …
Tony Lock, 11 Jan 2010
The Register breaking news

The case for storage virtualisation

Lab ‘Virtualisation’ is acknowledged by IT professionals as being a pretty good thing. But when we dig a bit deeper into the results of our surveys, it very quickly becomes clear that much of the recognition is centred on x86 server virtualisation technologies and solutions. Other areas, notably desktop and storage virtualisation, …
Tony Lock, 05 Jan 2010
The Register breaking news

The Economics of Virtualisation

Lab Virtualisation is clearly one of IT’s great fashions, and as such continues to attract huge amounts of interest. Unlike many technology-based fashions - and we can all remember quite a few - virtualisation solutions are being deployed in anger in many areas, especially in the world of x86 servers. As is well appreciated, getting …
Tony Lock, 08 Dec 2009
The Register breaking news

The Options for Virtual Desktops

Lab Fashions come and go, in IT as well as ‘real life’, and those charged with managing desktops and laptops have been bombarded over much of the last year with information concerning ‘virtual desktop solutions’. As we know, an apparently ever-growing range of options are now becoming available to service desktop delivery, with a …
Tony Lock, 01 Dec 2009

Unified networking: Reality or a marketing myth?

We all know that the IT Infrastructure has a life of its own. In the vast majority of organisations the infrastructure evolves over time rather than being designed as a whole. This applie s to all of the underlying components: the servers, the storage and -an area very easy to overlook - the network or networks that tie …
Tony Lock, 25 Nov 2009
The Register breaking news

Virtualisation in the smaller business

Lab Many of your comments on some of the virtualisation articles we have written to date have suggested that smaller organisations have different challenges and priorities when it comes to virtualisation. Here we report back on what we have been told so far and ask you for your insights. The majority of vendors assume that small …
Tony Lock, 23 Nov 2009
The Register breaking news

Server upgrade and disposal plans

Poll Results This week we asked you a number of questions around whether you have any immediate plans to change your server estates, who influences any such changes and how you dispose of your old kit. Your answers reveal a wide range of options are under consideration. Most popular response to the question “what are you planning to do with …
Tony Lock, 20 Nov 2009
The Register breaking news

Are your Server Estate Policies Fully Mature?

Workshop You know what happens: everyone in marketing focuses on the processor speeds, the cache size, the go faster stripes and the other fancy new features of the server and its component parts. You also know that the real challenges of any system only start with the business case and getting it installed. IT Governance is an area that …
Tony Lock, 18 Nov 2009
The Register breaking news

Drivers for server change

Workshop Over the last few weeks we have looked at many facets of the server environment. A major question faced in every organisation concerns compelling events that necessitate changes. What is driving “change” and do you consider the changes you make to be strategic or tactical? As input to the report we’ll produce at the end of this …
Tony Lock, 10 Nov 2009
The Register breaking news

The decentralisation effect

Workshop This week’s poll spawned some very interesting responses. We asked you where you keep your servers, and how these relate to the kinds of issues you face. Looking at locations first of all, you told us that in the majority of your organisations the machines that form the backbone of IT operations now reside in one or a small …
Tony Lock, 06 Nov 2009
The Register breaking news

Who does what in the server room?

Workshop The “architectures” deployed in server rooms are beginning to change dramatically. Organisations are seeking to increase service delivery to their customers while keeping a strong hold on costs, both in terms of acquisition and, increasingly, operation. This trend in turn is shaping the skills required to run the datacentre and …
Tony Lock, 03 Nov 2009
Broken CD with wrench

PC Refresh Equals PC Disposal

Workshop Earlier this week we asked what drives you to refresh or replace your PC and laptop estates and whether your projects involve simply the replacement of existing machines with new hardware and software or if you might be looking at implementing some form of desktop virtualisation. Now in all such refresh projects it is quite …
Tony Lock, 28 Oct 2009

What are you doing about refreshing the PC estate?

Workshop We know from readers of the Register that the age of desktop estates vary greatly, not just between different organisations, but in many cases also inside them. We have also uncovered evidence (in our soon-to-be-published desktop report), that there is a firm link between user satisfaction and perception of good IT service with …
Tony Lock, 26 Oct 2009
DVD it in many colours

Today's users don't expect things to fail

Desktop poll results This week's mini-poll reveals, as perhaps expected, that the primary source of information used to measure desktop support issues are the number of support calls hitting the help desk and number of calls successfully resolved. For over three quarters of organisations, these two rather primitive measurements form the foundation …
Tony Lock, 16 Oct 2009
The Register breaking news

Everything as a service

Workshop The influence of IT in everyday business operations continues to increase. Until a few years ago business operations could be conveniently split between those that involved computer systems somewhere in the business process and those that had no dependence on them at all. Sure there was overlap in, for example, manufacturing …
Tony Lock, 16 Oct 2009

Do users care about desktop support?

Mini-Poll This week we are looking at the problems of managing the desktop infrastructure and especially the question of its cost. Tightly coupled with the whole topic of managing PC users is the effect that desktop support has on the whole perception of IT service delivery. We all know that if we ask a user what they think of IT there …
Tony Lock, 14 Oct 2009
The Register breaking news

Does the Help Desk have a future?

Workshop With the rapid development of service desk ‘self help’ tools and the even faster adoption of ‘community’ web sites by many users to help them work things out is the help desk on the slippery slope to becoming a thing of the past? If desktop virtualisation takes off does that mean the end of the help desk as we know it? Or are …
Tony Lock, 09 Oct 2009

How's your desktop support service desk looking?

Workshop As everyone working in IT support knows, the job would be so easy if it wasn’t for hardware and software problems getting in the way. Oh, and of course the users. Every help desk call has at least one irate and annoying user attached to it. Without users getting on the phone and sending emails complaining about life, the …
Tony Lock, 08 Oct 2009
homeless man with sign

Application recovery: Whose job is it anyway?

When it comes to supporting business activities, the primary role of IT is to ensure that the applications on which the organisation depends are available and operating at an acceptable level of service. Beyond this there is the unsung, but absolutely essential, matter of protecting both the application and the data it collects …
Tony Lock, 07 Oct 2009
The Register breaking news

Helpdesk Heroes or unappreciated geeks?

Workshop The helpdesk has always been the most visible part of the IT support operation. It is here that the “my password isn’t working anymore” and the “computer says no” calls are taken by valiant members of the IT team. As we move into an era when the help desk may become more of a ‘service centre’ and less of fault reporting point, …
Tony Lock, 05 Oct 2009

Desktop Management – Where are you now?

Since desktop PCs first entered the world of business, IT managers and help desk staff have struggled for years to keep the machines running. And as anyone involved in IT support will tell you, the majority of the struggles have not been with the PC hardware or software but with the users attached to them. As we kick off this …
Tony Lock, 05 Oct 2009
The Register breaking news

Keeping track of stuff: the secret of service management

Workshop IT gets asked to look after a lot of stuff which it may not have had a hand in procuring or specifying. Most organisations have IT procurement policies in place but it doesn’t mean they are followed by everyone. Compound by lots of years and add a bit of M&A here and there, and we can see how easy it might be to arrive at a …
Tony Lock, 28 Sep 2009
The Register breaking news

Desktop virtualization: More than a little interest

Poll Results ‘Desktop virtualization’ has been an oft-heard phrase over recent years, but talk does not automatically translate into action. So what is the state of play regarding deployments of the many desktop virtualization alternatives that exist? Earlier this week we requested your input, and here’s what we have found out so far. It is …
Tony Lock, 02 Sep 2009

Application management – how many apps do you have?

A curious fact of IT management is that, quite often, those looking after the administration of the infrastructure lose sight of why all those bits of tin have to be managed at all. In essence it boils down to delivering service to consumers; and for most users ’service‘ really amounts to ’applications’. As everyone knows, the …
Tony Lock, 25 Aug 2009
The Register breaking news

Desktop virtualization stirs interest

This week we have taken a look at how desktop virtualization solutions are being used and their potential for future deployments. Your comments on the topic are extensive, full of practical experience and, on the whole, fairly positive. But before rushing in to consider the feedback in depth, Camilla Smythe did make a fair point …
Tony Lock, 21 Aug 2009
The Register breaking news

Getting down and dirty with desktop virtualization

Reader Workshop As discussed earlier this week there is growing interest in desktop virtualization, despite many IT professionals having limited detailed knowledge of the technologies in this area. The chart below, for example, taken from a Reg Tech Panel survey, indicates a good awareness of the potential benefits across all sizes of …
Tony Lock, 20 Aug 2009
The Register breaking news

What’s the point of desktop virtualization?

Reader Workshop Over the past few weeks we have considered many facets of virtualization and now we take a look at an area that has the potential to subtly alter the way in which the majority of users interact with IT services, namely the desktop. Research carried out by Freeform Dynamics last year with the help of readers of The Register …
Tony Lock, 19 Aug 2009

Application QoS – where's the measuring tape?

IT has undergone a major development in the last few years, namely the acknowledgment that end users have little or no interest in how the application or service is delivered to them - so long as it is delivered and meets their own service level criteria. The background mechanics of the delivery should be of no concern to the …
Tony Lock, 30 Jul 2009

Storage systems: Reg readers speak

Tech Panel During October- November 2008, Freeform Dynamics ran a survey in association with The Register. Some 1,125 people, from organisations large and small based in the UK, United States and a wide range of other countries took the time to let us know how IT systems are being used in their businesses. This article gives a brief …
Tony Lock, 29 Apr 2009

Server platforms and operating systems: Reg readers speak

Reg Barometer This is one of a series of articles which draws on online research conducted in partnership with The Register in October 2008. Some 1,125 people, from organisations large and small based in the UK, United States and many other countries took the time to let us know how IT systems are being used in their businesses. Thanks to all …
Tony Lock, 22 Apr 2009