Stories by Tom Kaneshige

IT learns to do less with less, Gartner survey says

Forget "doing more with less" -- that's the IT mantra of yesteryear. Now IT departments are making better use of their resources, and though they're not necessarily doing more things, they are going about their tasks differently, according to findings from a Gartner survey released today. "They're working smarter, not harder," says analyst Mark McDonald.

The tricky math of server virtualization ROI

Server virtualization is supposed to save buckets of cash, largely from server reduction. After all, consolidating some 20 physical servers to three host servers means less hardware, power and cooling, and management overhead.

Hot tech certifications in a cool job market

If the doomsayers prove right, throngs of laid-off tech workers will soon be competing for only a handful of available jobs. Technical certifications, once thought to be the ticket to higher pay and more prestige, may be needed to simply avoid the unemployment line. The trick is to get the ones that will really help keep or land that job, since it turns out many certifications won't be all that useful.

A future without programming

A few years ago, self-proclaimed non-developer Kevin Smith worked for a software company that tried to build a project tracking tool using Microsoft .Net. Some 15 developers spent a year with little success. "After burning though a million dollars and still without a product, the company called it quits," says Smith, now managing partner of NextWave Performance, a consultancy in Denver, Colo.

Tech workers: Ready to be a free agent?

In these uncertain times, who isn't worried about job security? There are ominous signs aplenty: tech projects put on the chopping block, layoffs looming, and spotty full-time hiring opportunities on job boards. It's good to have a backup plan in case you're let go, and one plan is to prepare yourself to be a free agent.

So, CTO, who's your Sarah Palin or Joe Biden?

Even in the nuts-and-bolts world of tech execs, choosing a right-hand man (or woman, of course) can be as politically challenging as anything going on in the halls of Washington, D.C.

Will your IT job survive the financial meltdown?

Fearful tech workers tiptoeing along the shaky alleys of Wall Street -- and fretting about losing their jobs -- should take a deep breath. Of the more than 100,000 job losses expected as a direct result of the financial crisis, only a tiny slice will likely be from the tech ranks, figures Sean O'Dowd, an analyst at market researcher Financial Insights.

The devilish details of desktop virtualization

Faced with a massive PC refresh at a price tag of US$1.8 million, Jack Wilson instead rolled the dice on virtual desktops three years ago. The enterprise architect at Amerisure Insurance didn't just dabble in the nascent technology, he enacted a sweeping change, replacing all 800 PCs with Wyse thin clients and a server infrastructure that hosts 800 Windows workspaces -- a feat that took eight months and, critically, struck at the heart of worker productivity in a services-dependent industry.

Beware open-source violations lurking in your code

IT organizations that feel safe from open source licensing violations might be wise to check their code, as open source components are rapidly seeping into applications by way of offshore and in-house developers taking open source shortcuts, as well as a growing population of open source-savvy grads entering the workforce.

Social networking hype 2.0

Clever social networking-related startups with obscure taglines -- including Causecast ("Change your world, and the world will change"), Qik ("See what happens"), and Joongel ("Internet the easy way -- we have chocolate") -- line the showroom of TechCrunch50 in San Francisco. If you want to find out what these companies do, you'll have to ask the one of the beautiful people manning the tables.

Securing the enterprise beyond the perimeter

Trying to secure laptops, cell phones, PDAs, and other mobile devices today is "terrifying," says Christopher Paidhrin, IT security and HIPAA compliance officer at Southwest Washington Medical Center. "End-point security is scarily immature."

Open source: What you should learn from the French

A decade ago, European countries leapt out of the gate to take the lead in the radical open source movement -- none more so than France -- and left US developers in the proverbial dust. Through policies and high-profile projects, the French Republic for years has been advocating for all open source all the time, in government and education.

IT workers pushed to the limits

Tempers flared inside a San Francisco datacenter on Friday, June 20, igniting the greatest public spectacle pitting a lone tech worker against management, media, and the law. Tension between network admin Terry Childs and his managers had been simmering for years and reached a boiling point on one of the hottest days of the summer.

Taking advantage of multicore PCs

Call it the great multicore discord: a parade of major hardware and software vendors promising desktop applications powered by multicore chips yet all marching out of step, leaving confused software developers in the dust -- but times are changing.

Microsoft vs. VMware: Rumble in the virtual world

Two weeks ago, VMware found itself squarely in Microsoft's crosshairs -- and chaos followed. VMware lowered its revenue expectations for the year earlier this week. Its stock took a nosedive, which likely led to President and Chief Executive Diane Greene's sudden resignation yesterday.

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