New Report: Six Essentials for the Optimized Data Center

Because it’s hard to keep up with the latest best practices, we asked Infotech Indaba to create a report that provides practical advice, broad and balanced insight and an unbiased point of view.To read the full whitepaper, go to Softchoice’s Optimized Datacenter

We wanted to share some of the key trends identified in the report, as we believe that a thorough grasp of these can help organizations  manage and grow amid the many challenges they face today.

Trend #1: Virtualization

Research shows a decrease of as much as 70% in capital expenditures for virtualized environments compared to a non-virtual infrastructure, which likely explains why so many IT decision-makers have already gone down that path. However, many organizations are realizing all of the efficiencies virtualization has promised. Management and an optimized infrastructure are needed.

Your virtualization transformation must be a thoughtful, cost-benefit based, phased process from initial server consolidation to easier server maintenance and workload consolidation to the creation of more flexible, utility-like internal clouds. [Read more…]

Virtualization in Linux environments: The Penguin wants to play.

While it’s true almost everyone is gung-ho about the benefits of virtualization these days, many organizations end up missing the boat on maximizing its greatest benefits – increased server utilization and consolidated workloads, lower energy costs, increased flexibility and easier system management.

 Why? Maybe because they view virtualization as a magic bullet to solving all their hardware and computing problems. It’s not. And it turns out whether you’re virtualizing a Linux environment or any other, there are steps to take, best practices to follow and pitfalls to be wary of to ensure virtualization implementation and ongoing management run smoothly.

 Linux.com’s Joe ‘Zonker’ Brockmeier offers a wealth of common sense suggestions –ones that are often overlooked or taken for granted – here and here to help you virtualize successfully in Linux environments:

 Define your goal, perform and inventory and set up a roadmap: Understand what you want to accomplish, have a well-defined set of goals, identify hardware that will be freed up or phased out, and come up with a detailed requirements document that outlines the hardware you’ll need, as well as storage, management and possible solutions. A lot of this may elicit a ‘duh,’ but issues later can often be traced back to insufficient planning and goal-setting early on.

 Beware of “virtual sprawl”: Just because it seems easy to deploy a virtual machine doesn’t mean you should. “It’s important to manage virtual machines as if they were [Read more…]

Reading the radar: As we get back to business, where’s IT taking us?

We’ve learned a lot in the last 18 months. As cautious optimism surrounds economic recovery, what has changed in how organizations are harnessing technology? We assembled a group of Softchoice’s top technology thought leaders and asked them all one question:

“What’s on your radar as organizations get back to business?”

“In the storage arena it’s still all about efficiencies. Even as we pull out of the recession, storage requirements continue to grow between 20% and 50% annually, while head count stays static. The focus is on de-duplication, thin provisioning and archiving to reduce physical footprint and storage technologies that integrate management and provisioning features to help reduce the management burden.”
– Keith Baskin, Enterprise Storage Architect

“Now more than ever, to achieve competitive advantage you must understand your business and your customers. Technology gives companies an opportunity to know what’s going on in their business at all times in every aspect. It also allows you to plan and model future outcomes before you decide on them, resulting in better decisions and increased profitability. Business Intelligence and performance management software provides these abilities. Diving deep into your business makes you a more competitive organization as we get back to growth.”
– Jody Girard, Enterprise Software Architect

“It looks as though businesses are now taking the IT consolidation strategy into other areas of their IT infrastructure rather than just on the servers. So, IT groups are now being asked to take all of the multiple solutions they have for managing their environments and come up with more consolidated management platforms. Microsoft has really provided their customers with a strong play in this effort with renewed investments under the System Center umbrella. Businesses are able to take advantage of this single pane of glass to deploy, monitor, patch/update, backup/recover, and provide service/ incident management with the System Center suite.”
– Mark Wall, Enterprise Architect-Microsoft Solutions

“Now is one of the best times to get your IT house in order. Many of our customers are pondering the financial advantages of cloud computing while balancing that against the challenges it creates, namely security. Internal Cloud has to provide for ubiquitous access to a multitude of devices which are probably not inside the corporate cloud. Hybrid and public clouds carry the same challenges but “data in motion” and “data ownership” must be top of mind when working with third parties. Bottom line: the Cloud can make a lot of sense. It frees up capital from IT budgets to help with a customer’s core business, but if done wrong it could cost more than it is worth.”
– Frank Ball, Director – Communications Infrastructure Technologies