Aug 25 2011

Of Storage and Deletion – 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.

Does Deleting Files Make for Efficient Storage Management?

Most people are data hoarders by nature. Many users hesitate to delete documents, files and media because in the back of their mind is some “what if?” scenario that justifies holding on to this information indefinitely.

But Hu Yoshida of Hitachi Data Systems challenges the question of data storage and deletion from two angles.

On the one hand, he cites a study by the University of California, Santa Cruz that found that out of a 22-terabyte active storage pool used by 1,500 workers, 95 percent of the files were opened fewer than five times. By that statistic alone, it would seem appropriate to ask users to delete files more conscientiously and more frequently.

Maybe not, Yoshida argues.

It should also be noted that even if the users were conscientious about deleting files, it doesn’t mean that the storage capacity for those files is available for reuse. Deleting files does not recover or recycle space unless the file system does it.

The storage system cannot recover the space for a deleted file unless the file system tells the storage that the extents for that file system are available for reuse, and the storage system has the capability to recover that space through page-level thin provisioning. So, in some cases, the deletion of a file may not make any difference at all.

The ideal solution, Yoshida points out, is a cloud storage solution, such as the Hitachi Content Platform, which automatically deletes files once a threshold is reached and stores them offsite, providing replication and security.

Read more about storage management on Hu Yoshida’s blog.

The 3 Components of Device-Independent Mobility

Mobile computing frees the user in ways that extend beyond the physical. The concept of device-independent mobility advances a theory that computing is computing, no matter what the device. And it’s important that users are supported by their corporate IT infrastructure on a variety of mobile devices.

Ed Jimison, a technology evangelist with Intel, pinpointed three key components of what he believes constitutes the device-independent mobility concept:

The first key piece of the concept is the availability of a wide variety of devices for use. Most of us are pretty familiar with the capabilities of smartphones and tablet devices but it isn’t too far-fetched to envision reading your email on a hotel room television or having your calendar items read to you by your in-vehicle infotainment system as you’re driving down the highway.

The second key piece is the idea of separating the corporate applications and data from the personal applications and data. Even though the line between our corporate and personal stuff is blurring, the company still has to protect sensitive information, especially on devices that aren’t managed or secured by the company.

And thirdly, IT now becomes an enabler of device-independent mobility by providing services that enable the separation of corporate from personal. The IT organizations that lead will be those that re-think what their core competencies are around service delivery to client devices, and develop innovative ways to deliver, secure, and manage corporate information across the broad continuum of computing devices.

Read more about device-independent mobility in Jimison’s post on the Open Port IT community.

The Samsung Galaxy S II Is Coming

The iPhone 5 isn’t the only smartphone that users are eager to get their hands on. The Samsung Galaxy S II is set to drop sometime in the near future, and Samsung has whet appetites by releasing a promotional video showing off the phone as it travels around the world.

Boasting a large, color-rich screen and a dual core processor, the Samsung Galaxy S II seems poised to delight smartphone fans the world over. Samsung will give more specific details in a launch event on August 29 in New York, reports GottaBeMobile.

There’s been no official word on 4G capabilities, but LTE for Verizon, WiMax for Sprint and HSPA+ support for AT&T all seem likely, according to GottaBeMobile.

Learn more about the Samsung Galaxy S II’s impending release on GottaBeMobile.

Why It’s Too Early to Talk About Cloud Bursting for the Enterprise

It’s worthwhile to explore cloud computing initiatives, but not everything about the cloud is right for business.

One cloud computing strategy that might not be ready for prime time? Cloud bursting, or the movement of workloads from cloud to cloud in real time.

Steve Jin, a blogger for DoubleCloud, points out that while the flexibility provided by cloud bursting is great, it’s probably overkill for most businesses.

For a typical enterprise, the types of workloads are mixed and they can offset each other from time to time. You can also schedule these workloads some times. Even [on the occasions] you cannot, the increase will never be as dramatic as several times or hundreds of times as Internet companies.

Jin’s point reinforces why a thorough assessment and audit of a business and its workflows is needed before deploying any cloud solution. It’s not a one-size-fits-all technology.

Read more about cloud bursting on Steve Jin’s blog, DoubleCloud.

Why You Should Know What an Open Relay Means

If your job involves the management and security of your company’s Exchange Server, then you should know a thing or two about open relays.

This has nothing to do with track and field or racing; it has everything to do with leaving the stable door open and letting the horses run wild.

Exchange Server Pro explains in simple terms why open relays aren’t a good thing for Exchange Server professionals:

In short, an open relay is an email server that is configured to accept mail from any sender and deliver it to any recipient. This is an undesirable configuration because it can be exploited very easily by spammers and other malicious users.

To learn more about open relays, read the full story on Exchange Server Pro.

When Someone Leaves the Company, Make Sure They Turn In Their Keys

IT workers know plenty about decommissioning computers that are no longer in service, but sometimes companies make the mistake of not “decommissioning” IT workers who no longer work for the company.

Naked Security recounts the story of Jason Cornish, a former IT worker for the pharmaceutical company Shionogi. Cornish often worked remotely, so he knew his way around the network well — and when he was terminated from the company, he put that knowledge to use.

Cornish logged into Shionogi's network from a McDonald's restaurant free WiFi connection, and used the software he had installed earlier to delete the contents of 15 virtual hosts - the equivalent of 88 different computer servers.

Shionogi's American infrastructure was badly impacted - with its corporate email, BlackBerry servers, order tracking system and financial management software all brought down. The company was left unable to ship products or even send emails for a number of days.

In all, Shionogi estimated the damage done had cost them $800,000.

There is an important lesson to be learned from this for business owners: Don’t let ex-employees walk out with the keys to the network.

Read more about Cornish, ex-employees and IT security on the Naked Security blog.

The First Step to Upgrading Is Measuring

When it comes to upgrading to Windows 7, it’s no longer a question of if, but of when. With Microsoft officially ending support for its Windows XP operating system in 2014, the countdown is on.

IT expert Mitch Garvis elaborates on what he believes is one of the main reasons more companies haven’t made the leap to Windows 7: A lack of scope, scale and measurement.

I used to work for a man named Jacob Haimovici who always said that if you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it. It is absolutely true, especially in the world of IT where so often you cannot touch your assets, and the assets you can touch may contain any number of disparate components (hardware).

The Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit is a free tool from the Microsoft Solution Accelerators team and is your first step to having an easier life as an IT Pro. It is an agentless inventory, assessment, and reporting tool that can securely assess IT environments for various platform migrations—including Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and even virtualization with Hyper-V.

It inventories your environment, including hardware and software, and lets you know what you have. It creates spreadsheets for you of all of your assets, and lets you know what components are ready for Windows 7, which need mitigations, and which will need upgrading or replacing.

Read more about measuring and upgrading on Mitch’s blog.

iPads Are Taking Care of Business

Apple’s tablet computing device, the iPad, is best known by consumers as a mobile device suited for media consumption. But businesses are using them for far more than just play.

Julie Knudson profiles a bank, a research hospital and a property management company that have found innovative ways to put iPads to work in their businesses.

Read more about various use cases for iPads in this article from BizTech.

Find great content from the bloggers listed here and other IT blogs by checking out our 50 Must-Read IT Blogs.