Dec 02 2011

Numbers for the Cloud – 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.

The Numbers Speak for the Cloud

There have been plenty of impassioned pleas and opinion pieces written in favor of enterprises moving toward cloud computing. But as the saying goes, men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.

So in the interest of gathering some measurable ROI in favor of cloud computing, Shreekanth Joshi of Persistent Systems pulled together some real-world stats in his guest piece for CloudTweaks.

Here are a few that might help you make the case to your boss:

  • A typical global enterprise spends 67% of its IT budget on labor, including 40% on application development and maintenance.
  • The typical person to server ratio in an enterprise can be improved from 1:5 to 1:10 or even 1:15 as a result.
  • It is possible to generate a ROI of 50% for a Tier 1 workload and a ROI of 70% for a Tier 3 workload.
  • The typical global enterprise spends 8% of its IT budget on hosting, including 4% on application servers, 3% on facilities, and 1% on storage.

Read more about the ROI of cloud computing in Joshi’s post on CloudTweaks.

Don’t Be Blind to Your Virtualized Storage Needs

Sometimes people make the mistake of believing that server virtualization is a one-step, one-stop implementation without taking into consideration the fact that it’s one part of the overall IT infrastructure.

Sean Regan, a senior director at Symantec, warns IT workers to avoid being blind to backup and storage needs that are unique to virtualized environments.

  • Unify Physical and Virtual! A common software platform enables organizations to centrally schedule backup jobs, manage recoveries, monitor the success and failure of backup jobs and provide a common console that backup administrators can use to administer all backup jobs.
  • Leverage the Backup Team to Protect VMs: Help keep the virtualization project humming by engaging the existing storage and backup teams to support your goals. In doing so, the goal of 50 percent or more virtualization can be achieved faster.
  • Implement automated and centralized monitoring and reporting: The creation of a virtual machine can now occur in as quickly as a few minutes by an individual and their creation can be automated through the use of scripting. Often the backup or VM admin may not even know about this, so organizations should have centralized backup software that can monitor and report on the creation of these VMs.

Is your organization cognizant of the background needs of enterprise virtualized environments?

Read more about backup and virtualization in Regan’s post on Data Center Knowledge.

Fujitsu Pulls Back the Curtain on Its Computer Factory in Augsburg, Germany

Ever wonder how your marvelous Fujitsu PCs, notebooks and servers are assembled, tested and packaged before they arrive at your doorstep? Wonder no more.

Fujitsu has put together a high-end glossy video giving an overview of operations at its computer factory in Augsburg, Germany. The 828,821-square-foot facility appears to be a well-oiled machine. It’s fascinating to go behind the scenes and watch how the magic of science and technology comes together to deliver the products that we, as users and IT workers, rely on every day.

Read more information on the Fujitsu factory on the Face2Fujitsu blog.

The iPad 3: A Pixel-Packed Sight for Sore Eyes

No, your eyes do not deceive you: Rumors are beginning to swirl around Apple’s iPad 3. It wasn’t too long ago that Apple rolled out the second version of its wildly successful and groundbreaking tablet computing device, the iPad.

One sore point for iPad enthusiasts was that the second iteration of the tablet didn’t get the bump up to the “retina display” that the iPhone 4 touted. Instead, it stuck with the original iPad’s 1024x768 pixel resolution.

But GottaBeMobile is reporting that the iPad 3, according to an analyst, will significantly bump up the pixel volume and sport a 2048x1536 resolution. That’s a whole lot of pixels to look at. Come 2012, we’ll start to see more tablets pack in more pixels, according to analysts. The trend will be led by Apple’s third-generation iPad tablet, which will help lead the push, though it won’t be alone as top Android tablet-manufacturers will also increase their display resolutions.

NPD DisplaySearch analyst David Hsieh says that 2012 will bring in tablets with 200+ pixels per inch. Today, the average is just around 150 ppi. The iPad 3 is expected to sport a resolution of 2048 X 1536, or double the resolution of the current iPad 2; that tablet has a resolution of 264 ppi.

Read more speculation about Apple’s “pixel-packing” iPad 3 on GottaBeMobile.

Avoid the Plague of Miswanting, Invest in Personal Alignment

Talks about aligning the IT department with business are common. As two distinct entities that frequently have different goals, the organizational focus is often set on making sure these two ships don’t sail too far in opposite directions.

But what gets lost in this discussion of teams and organizations are the individuals who make up those groups. What happens if the individual is misaligned with his job, questions Vince Kellen, a senior consultant for the Cutter Consortium.

It is the responsibility of the individual IT worker to recognize and combat what he calls “miswanting and misalignment”:

For IT people, a common form of miswanting and misalignment is “I want to be a manager,” when their skills are anything but a manager’s at that point in time. Perhaps the second most common phrase I hear is, “I don’t want to be a leader/manager because I want to keep my marketable technical skills,” when this person may actually have very strong leadership potential.

In their zest for advancement, in whatever direction, younger employees tend not to examine deeply where their excellence lies. The more ambitious this drive for miswanting, the less likely the person is to listen to others. Even worse, the more ambitious this person is in this misalignment, the more likely the person is to improve just a few skills in the wanted direction — just enough to get promoted and do more damage but not enough to truly excel. For these people, I can only recommend one thing that will identify not only the source of the problem but also where the solution lies: a mirror. One has little chance of truly excelling unless motivation, skill, and ambitions are all well aligned with a role.

Have you ever found yourself in a misaligned position due to miswanting?

For more on personal alignment for IT workers, read Kellen’s post on the Cutter Consortium.

How to Figure Out User Roles in vSphere

If you’ve ever found yourself stuck when trying to determine which roles and permissions users have in vSphere, Steve Jin of DoubleCloud knows your pain.

Most IT workers understand roles and permissions in the traditional operating system scheme. That means a user is assigned to a group (or multiple groups), which then grants permissions and roles to that user based on his or her association with the group. But in vSphere, a role is just a set of privileges. This might make them seem like a group — but not quite, Jin explains.

He breaks down the steps to figure out a user’s role in more detail through the Managed Object Browser (MOB).

The following screenshot from MOB should explain more. As you can see, a Permission object always has entity while associating user with a role. The propagate field indicates whether the entity’s descendants are covered as well.

With that being clarified, you can check what roles a user has on a managed entity. To get that information, you can call the retrieveEntityPermissions() of the AuthorizationManager managed object type. Note that you need to pass in a managed entity or its ManagedObjectReference as parameter. Optionally, you can use the retrieveAllPermissions() method assuming you want to filter through all the returned Permission objects by yourself.

Now, this is not yet the end of the problem. What if as shown above, the principle is actually a group (indicated by the group field in Permission)? In that case, your ID may not show up in any of the Permission objects. How would you know you are part of one of the groups?

The answer is no if you only look at vSphere itself. You want to look it up from the AD of your domain. It is not that difficult by the way. On your computer running vSphere Client, just type in the following command in a DOS console:

> gpresult /X myGroup.xml

Then you will find your group information in the XML file. It’s too long to be listed here, but you can easily try it out by yourself.

Read more about users and roles in vSphere on Jin’s blog DoubleCloud.

Not the iPad: Other Tablets Your Business Can Use

It’s no secret that Apple’s iPad has managed to successfully capture the attention and imagination of millions of users and businesses. But Apple isn’t the only player on the field.

If you’re an Android OS enthusiast, there are a slew of tablet options out there worth your while.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab family, for starters, is one of the premiere Android tablets and a worthy contender to the iPad in many ways. And, unlike the iPad, Samsung offers different sizes of the Galaxy Tab to suit different users’ needs and preferences.

Read the BizTech roundup of four tablet computers (that aren’t iPads) here.