Monday, August 18, 2008

Virtualization is no silver bullet

Beware of the salesman touting the virtual machine as the cure-all for all kinds of data center issues. There are certainly advantages to the technology, especially for managing server proliferation for small-scale solutions. But when it comes to enterprise class applications, virtualization will only bring on a slew of different problems, such as unpredictable performance, capacity ownership and planning, and maintenance planning. For instance, when you have multiple applications sharing the same physical machine, it means that taking one piece of hardware down for maintenance could easily affect multiple customer groups. Again, for small apps, it's probably not a big deal. But the larger solutions carry higher stakes, and it becomes a big deal pretty quickly.

Here is another angle on virtualization, focused on policies and security.
Time To Halt Runaway VM Sprawl

Friday, August 15, 2008

Project success measures

Gartner is starting to advise IT leaders that technology projects need to get smaller and faster. It seems to me to be an extension of the Agile software-development methodology.

According to an article on, a Gartner analyst proposed this line of thinking at a recent conference in Boston. Her analysis implies that PMO's get whacked because of the administrative burden that they put on to the organization. What would create this impression? Most likely, it's the notion that formal Project Management practices are often perceived as bureaucratic over-reaching. Whether they are or not is largely a function of implementation, because everyone agrees that good project management is critical to project success. But after reading the article, I'm not sure how scaling down or speeding up projects is going to change this perception.

But about halfway down the article, the author reveals some excellent insights from analyst. Here are some quotes:

The line people use, including Gartner, 'There are no IT projects, they're all business projects?' Well, forget it, they're all IT projects, because if they fail, you take the hit.
Another fact of project management that sometimes eludes IT is that project success correlates with user adoption
Certainly CRM success is almost entirely dependent upon user adoption. And if users don't adopt it, they will blame IT. And what the analyst seems to be saying is that this same factor applies to ERP systems, HR systems, and payroll systems. But do users have the option to not adopt these kinds of applications? If a payroll clerk doesn't like the new payroll system and decides not to use it, do they get paid?

I have tremendous respect for Gartner. At the same time, it seems that they are not really covering new ground.

The article on can be found here:
Project management needs to think smaller, faster
.... By Linda Tucci

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Getting smaller

Intel is celebrating that their "Atom" chip is exceeding their sales targets for the year so far. They are designed for mobile devices, internet appliances and really small form-factor machines. And they are priced for the current market conditions.

All this suggests that mobility is going to drive more application demand in the next 12-24 months. Application development teams should begin building their skill sets for these kinds of solutions. And IT leaders should anticipate that executives will want to have more and more functionality available regardless of location. Granted, this is only one device in a large marketplace, but I believe that it is a harbinger of the next era in ubiquitous computer use.

Read the article on InformationWeek: Intel reports Atom Chip results

Prepare for a big patch

Microsoft's latest software update includes fixes for 26 known vulnerabilities. This is the largest number of published vulnerabilities for a single release in several years. You'll need to pay attention to this one, as it addresses vulnerabilities in nearly every part of the MS Office suite.

What is your strategy for dealing with OS updates? Do you have staff and other resources to test them in your environment before applying the patches? Can you get the testing done quickly enough to be adequately protected? And do you have a repeatable process for applying them?

Contact us for a review of your strategy.

More Information on this announcement from InformationWeek.

Monday, August 4, 2008

IT spending survives

Gartner published a new study this month that predicts "9.5% growth worldwide in U.S. dollars in 2008." This is a revision from their forecast of 6.8% growth which they published earlier this year. They go on to say that some portion of the change is due to the declining dollar (but they don't really explain the relationship), but that most of the growth is coming because firms realize that delaying technical improvements is not a winning strategy.

The author claims that progress is dependent upon IT, and I cannot agree more. If information is the key to better decision making, then the only way to improve the quality of and access to information is to make the underlying systems better.

I encourage you to check out the article at
Gartner: IT spending remains strong

Friday, August 1, 2008

Dell - on the comeback trail?

In their first fiscal quarter (ended 2 May 2008), Dell reports that their "Consumer business sales for the quarter rose 20 percent and unit growth hit 47 percent, outpacing the rest of the PC industry." After a few years of stagnant performance, it could be that the PC industry's answer to McDonald's is regaining their footing.

I've been a regular Dell customer for about a decade now, and what I like about them is that you pretty much know what you're going to get. They're not the leader in quality, nor are they the cheapest guys in town. But, just like the pickle on a Big Mac is always under the top patty, a Dell machine is going to be reasonably priced and will good for about 2 years of a hard work.

Their latest strategy in the server business is to provide advanced support for cloud computing, putting them in competition for a share of the industrial power user wallet. These are organizations like Facebook, Amazon, eBay, and the financial sector. Dell's chairman predicts that this could be a $1 billion market in just a few years. I believe that's a conservative estimate, especially as organizations focus more and more on creating transactional capabilities for their customer-facing applications. Media companies will also start to explore cloud computing in order deliver more content over the web, bypassing Comcast and DirecTV and gaining more control over distribution and ad revenue.

I read about this on CRM Daily - Michael Dell Promises ...