Jun 16 2011

HPC Goes Mainstream, Rightsizing VDI – BizTech Quick Take

BizTech Quick Take is our weekly digital tour of the web, serving up news and notes on IT and business that you need to know — and some things you’ll simply be glad to know. This week: HPC and VDI.

When High-Performance Computing Goes Mainstream

Technology has become such an ingrained part of people’s lives that many don’t realize that the technologies they interact with on a daily basis — wireless Internet, iPads and business intelligence, for example — were once considered high-performance computing (HPC).

HPC has become commoditized and accessible on a much larger scale in recent years, but is that a good or bad thing?

Jeff Squyres, MPI architect for Cisco Systems, reflects on what the distribution of HPC technologies means for the field in a blog post titled, “The commoditization of high-performance computing.” Squyres writes, in part:

…the science of parallel computing is being commoditized. It’s become commonplace enough that it has become useful to a (much) larger segment of the population than it was before. High-performance computing is no longer the exclusive domain of scientists and engineers.

Now the weatherman is using HPC to show you Doppler radar fly-throughs. Financial advisors use HPC to forecast your retirement plans. Interior designers use HPC to render what that new couch will look like in your family room.

Heck, even your cell phone has two processor cores these days.

This is a very good thing.

Read the full post on Cisco’s High Performance Computing Network blog.

Finding the Right Size for Client Virtualization

Going from a thick client to a thin client can be a challenging transition for some users. And sometimes, when expectations don’t match the outcome, disappointment sets in.

Brian Gammage, VMware’s recently appointed chief market technologist for end-user computing, has a few words of advice for enterprises thinking of turning to client virtualization or a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). In a June 13 blog post, he wrote:

The key to success with [VDI] is “rightsizing” the deployment objective for current technology capabilities. When used to support the right group of users, it will deliver all the efficiencies and benefits of centralization as expected, but if you stretch it too far and too quickly you risk running into issues — and as ever with desktops, remediating those issues will bring new costs and complexities.

For more on VDI, check out Brian’s post on the VMware blog.

Using HIPAA as a Blueprint

The healthcare industry was forced to get serious about security, identity and patient information when Congress enacted the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in 1996. Why not use the identity management protections it established in other industries?

Gartner research director Ian Glazer was pitched this idea at a recent National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) workshop, and he thought it was a great one. So he reworked a portion of HIPAA to come up with the Identity Portability and Accountability Act of 2011.

Read the full story in Glazer’s June 13 post on the Gartner blog.

Cloud Will Reduce Acquisition Costs

Storage acquisition and refresh cycles can sometimes make purchasing and maintaining storage systems costly, in terms of both time and money.

But Hubert Yoshida, vice president and chief technology officer of Hitachi Data Systems, sees a silver lining in the cloud. As he noted on June 8:

Cloud promises to eliminate this waste through the use of on-demand, pay-as-you-go provisioning. Clouds can eliminate the silos of allocation and reduce the cost of acquisition by spreading it across many users.

Read Yoshida’s full post at Hitachi’s blog.

Apple Packs Storage Features into Lion OS X 10.7

Much of the attention and press surrounding the next version of Apple’s successful operating system, Mac OS X Lion, has focused on its enhancements with the iCloud. But the forthcoming release also has some goodies for folks who are into storage.

IT consultant Stephen Foskett highlights the key new storage features baked into Lion in a post titled “Key Storage Features in Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.”

Read the full story on his blog.

USB Autorun Malware Is Losing Ground

Windows users can breathe a little easier now when using removable storage technologies such as USB flash drives. That’s because Microsoft’s security update, released in February, seems to be doing what was intended: cutting down on autorun malware.

Sophos’ Naked Security blog has the details:

According to research done by Microsoft, by May 2011 the number of infections found on scanned computers had reduced by 59 percent on XP and by 74 percent on Vista in comparison to 2010.

Of course, disabling Autorun doesn't mean the 100 percent eradication of all Autorun malware —as some examples use a variety of alternative techniques to spread beyond using the Autorun functionality.

Read senior technology consultant Graham Cluley’s full post on Sophos’ Naked Security blog.

Business Experts Lending U.S. Government a Hand in Crafting Cloud Policy

The U.S. government has made it clear that it’s interested in learning more about how cloud computing can be put to work in federal agencies. So the government is now soliciting the advice of cloud experts and other thought leaders in the private sector through the TechAmerica Foundation’s Commission on the Leadership Opportunity in U.S. Deployment of the Cloud (CLOUD²).

Commission member Dave Stevens, chief technology officer and vice president for corporate development for Brocade, wrote about the important work that he and other business leaders are doing for the CLOUD² in a June 14 blog post:

This is not the first time business, academia and government have come together to figure out how to move forward with a fast-growing, dynamic technology that will change the way we share information and communicate.

Similar to the technical and social phenomenon of the Internet, these three entities are coming together again to shape the direction of this country’s strategy on all things cloud. But unlike the then-slow adoption of the Internet on a wide scale, all of these parties understand the speed at which we need to move to remain relevant in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.

The TechAmerica Cloud² Commission is planning on presenting recommendations on the deployment and policies surrounding cloud computing — both in the private and public sectors. Stay tuned for more information after our July 7 meeting, and I will help shed some light on how the U.S. government plans to deploy cloud technologies.

Read the full story on the company’s Brocade Communities blog.

Wiping the Slate Clean When Decommissioning PCs

Getting rid of outdated technology is usually a good thing. But if the data stored on those PCs isn’t wiped properly, it could come back to haunt you.

Mitch Tulloch explains how businesses can ensure their data is eradicated from decommissioned PCs so that secure and confidential information doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.

Learn more about PC data protection in this story from BizTech.

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