Linux on Power—Poised for Greatness

By Steve Brasen on Apr 22, 2016 11:12:45 AM

For two decades, IBM’s Power Systems family of high-performance servers has been considered the premier alternative to x86-based systems. Combining fast processing, high availability, and rapid scalability, Power Systems are optimized to support big data and cloud architectures. Popularly deployed to run IBM’s AIX and IBM i operating systems, the platform has seen stiff competition in recent years from x86-based Linux systems. In 2013, IBM responded to this challenge by investing a billion dollars into the development of enhancements to the Power line that would support Linux operating systems and open source technologies. This bold move was hailed as a strategy that would greatly improve the attractiveness of the platform and drive broader adoption.

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Rewarding Impatience with User Self-Service

By Steve Brasen on Apr 27, 2015 7:34:39 AM

There seems to be a direct correlation between how successful business professionals are and their level of impatience. While I am not familiar with any studies on this particular subject, it is simple logic that the most productive employees are those who most frequently demand rapid response to service requests. From my past experience managing and providing IT administrative support, I can attest that these individuals are usually the most irritating—constantly requesting access to new applications, data, and other business resources with expectations of an immediate response. Begrudgingly, I must acknowledge that these are the folks who are also most likely to close deals, beat deadlines, increase revenues, and win awards. In the modern world of highly competitive markets and increased organizational requirements, impatience may actually be a virtue.

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Avoiding Enterprise Mobile Management: A Futile Exercise in Procrastination

By Steve Brasen on Mar 30, 2015 9:38:31 AM

IT operations managers are cringing all around the world – desperately trying to avoid those inevitable words from their executive management: “You need to support enterprise mobility.” Their concerns are understandable. After all, IT administrators are already overtaxed with supporting desktop, server, application, and infrastructure management requirements. Asking them to layer a whole new management discipline on top of that can be a daunting prospect. IT managers who find themselves in this predicament often recognize it as an opportunity to practice the fine art of procrastination. Particularly skilled procrastinators will employ one or more of the following excuses:

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Review of the Microsoft SURFACE RT – A Story of What Could Have Been

By Torsten Volk on Jul 18, 2013 7:22:11 PM

Now that I have spent a month with my latest gadget, a Microsoft Surface RT, I want to share some thoughts on the device, as well as on Windows 8. I have been a happy iPad user for the previous 2 years, but have sorely missed MS Office on this excellent device. As much as I like -if not love- the iPad, there was this key moment on a flight to Boston that made me wonder if there’s not a better tablet out there for doing my work. The casualty was a 28 page research report, with plenty of charts and tables. I used QuickOffice, a highly rated productivity suite for iPad, to complete a final edit of my document. To make it short, after 3 hours of editing, the document was damaged beyond repair, even by the EMA production team, and I ended up with the infuriating manual task of having to open up a previous version of my doc on one and the entirely garbled version on another screen and manually restore my edits. Not fun.

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Review of the Microsoft SURFACE RT – A Story of What Could Have Been

By Torsten Volk on Jul 18, 2013 9:56:41 AM

Now that I have spent a month with my latest gadget, a Microsoft Surface RT, I want to share some thoughts on the device, as well as on Windows 8. I have been a happy iPad user for the previous 2 years, but have sorely missed MS Office on this excellent device. As much as I like -if not love- the iPad, there was this key moment on a flight to Boston that made me wonder if there’s not a better tablet out there for doing my work. The casualty was a 28 page research report, with plenty of charts and tables. I used QuickOffice, a highly rated productivity suite for iPad, to complete a final edit of my document. To make it short, after 3 hours of editing, the document was damaged beyond repair, even by the EMA production team, and I ended up with the infuriating manual task of having to open up a previous version of my doc on one and the entirely garbled version on another screen and manually restore my edits. Not fun.

This unfortunate event made me curious to take a look at alternatives that may allow running MS Office natively. XenDesktop was an option, however, the excellent Citrix mobile workplace solution would also not have helped me on the plane, as there are no offline capabilities for iPad. That’s when I thought about getting a Microsoft SURFACE. However, spending $699, only to be able to work on the plane a few times a month for a few hours seemed overkill, even for me. So instead, I ended up using my 8 pound brick, also known as HP Elite Book. It wasn’t cool or friendly for my back, but it was productive.

Then came TechEd and the economics behind the SURFACE changed. In return for 1.5 hours of standing in line and $99, I obtained the 64GB SURFACE RT, including the touch keyboard. It feels wrong to criticize a device that cost me $99, but here’s my review aimed at an audience considering to splurge the full $699.

Pros:

  1. MS Office: The SURFACE has MS OFFICE loaded by default, offering Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote (Outlook is coming soon) in an incredibly small form factor. It works great and doesn’t seem to cause any incompatibility issues with my documents that were created in Office 2010 on the desktop. As I run my entire professional life through MS OneNote, this is a huge advantage for me.
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The Software Defined Datacenter: Part 4 of 4 – Where We Are Today

By Torsten Volk on Mar 25, 2013 9:34:24 AM

Almost one year into the discussion about the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), it is time to take inventory of the state of the discipline. As a reminder, the ultimate goal of the SDDC is to abstract and centralize the
management of compute, network, storage, operating systems, middleware and applications in order to dynamically place workloads where they can run in the most cost efficient, secure and compliant manner.

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Windows 8: The Mobile Dark Horse

By Steve Brasen on Apr 26, 2012 5:28:55 PM

I know what you’re thinking – you just read the title and thought, “Microsoft as a serious player in the mobile space … suuuuure!”  Bear with me, though – this really does make sense.

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From File Share to ownCloud, Dropbox and RES HyperDrive

By Torsten Volk on Apr 11, 2012 2:37:43 PM

I was sitting in a plane recently, pulling out my iPad to enjoy one of my colleague’s excellent publications. After clicking the Dropbox icon, I noticed that I forgot to bookmark the actual document, so it did not replicate to the iPad. This rather annoying experience made me think about how far we have come regarding replicated and shared storage. It made me also think about where we may go from here.

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From File Share to ownCloud, Dropbox and RES HyperDrive

By Torsten Volk on Apr 11, 2012 10:20:20 AM

I was sitting in a plane recently, pulling out my iPad to enjoy one of my colleague's excellent publications. After clicking the Dropbox icon, I noticed that I forgot to bookmark the actual document, so it did not replicate to the iPad. This rather annoying experience made me think about how far we have come regarding replicated and shared storage. It made me also think about where we may go from here.

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The Myth of the Single Vendor Unified Management Platform

By Steve Brasen on Jan 9, 2012 11:17:51 AM

For the past two decades or so, several leading IT management vendors have tried to convince us that organizations should invest in a single unified management platform for supporting all of IT management needs.  Setting aside for the moment the fact that such an animal does not and cannot possibly exist (no vendor has the capital to develop every possible IT management product– I don’t care who they are), the value proposition of a single vendor uber-solution is flawed.  Sure, it sounds great to have one centralized console for accessing all automated support functions, and being able to deal with one vendor and one product set may seem like it will simplify management processes, but in reality this is not likely to be the case.   Primary deterrents to all-in-one solutions include:

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