Between complex licenses and the cloud, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP have lots of ways to hike up prices. Here's how to fight back
Stories by Robert L. Scheier
Enterprise storage demands are reaching a critical point, and vendors are scrambling to develop new products to deal with the data deluge. We look at how these technologies will help manage the major pain points for storage administrators.
Infrastructure-as-a-service lets users take advantage of the benefits of the cloud without locking down to a particular cloud provider. But becoming 'cloud-agnostic' requires new tools and mindsets. Insider (registration required)
Vendors of storage management tools are moving toward a 'single pane of glass' product that can automatically provision, resize, back up and recover storage across multiple public and private clouds, across systems from different vendors and for virtual machines running hypervisors from multiple vendors.
When IT consultancy OpenCredo set out to launch three new applications within seven months for a major insurance underwriter, it had three goals in mind: Trim development time from the usual years-long pace, allow for frequent changes from the client, and build a system that can handle unpredictable traffic spikes.
The iPad, iPhone, and Android revolution is taking place within the data center, as these popular tools attest
Virtualization cuts hardware, power and real estate costs by combining multiple servers, networks and storage arrays into virtual pools. But for users like Pat O'Day, chief technology officer at hosting and managed services provider BlueLock LLC, managing those resource pools means wrestling with multiple applications.
At Ingram Micro, executive president and CIO Mario Leone doesn't think about how much he will spend on disaster recovery.
Think the mobile revolution is all about word games and social networking apps? Think again. Heavy-duty apps for IT pros have arrived on mobile platforms and they're quickly changing the face of IT systems management.
Companies looking for more agile data centers are increasingly turning to public (external) or private (internal) clouds with virtualized servers, storage and networks. Getting the lowest cost and the best speed and flexibility from those systems requires assessing everything from performance to control and interoperability. And the larger your organization is, the more planning it takes to create an "enterprise grade" cloud that meets your performance, security and compliance needs.
Although companies have been urged to adopt <a href="http://www.infoworld.com/d/adventures-in-it/making-business-case-social-media-548">"Web 2.0" and social technologies for years</a> now, the truth is that relatively few have done so internally in any serious way -- and use inside the business is where the most value can be gained. Instead, the corporate focus on social technologies has been in marketing organizations that use it to monitor what customers are saying about the company and to try to influence customer views -- what's called reputation management -- by adding Twitter, Facebook, and so on to the traditional advertising and marketing channels. (And individual employees use social networking technology to build business relationships for their own benefit, of course.)
Whether you're a small business relying on Google Docs for document sharing or an enterprise moving your global ERP system to the cloud, you should demand that some common security and compliance requirements are met by vendors providing applications and services over the Web. These requirements involve who can access your applications and data, as well as the systems hosting them; where the data is stored; and whether the data is hosted on dedicated, rather than on shared, hardware. They also ensure that you get detailed logs of who has accessed your data and applications so that you meet corporate and regulatory standards, and they verify that data is properly encrypted -- a factor that's more critical outside the corporate firewall.
Planning a purchase from a major IT vendor? In this still-tough economy, negotiating pros recommend being aggressive and creative, as well as analyzing your requirements first so that you don't buy more than you need and know where you can compromise.
With the economy still shaky and the need for storage exploding, almost every storage vendor claims it can reduce the amount of data you must store. Trimming your data footprint not only cuts costs for hardware, software, power and data center space, but also eases the strain on networks and backup windows.
After conquering the search world, Google is now pushing hard to be a major provider of business software, tackling longtime dominator Microsoft over productivity and collaboration apps. But does this company, most famous for free consumer-oriented offerings like search and basic apps, have what it takes to be taken seriously by business? Can you really rely on Google Apps?