Feeling The Pressure Of Big Data?

Feeling the pressure?

Over the years, data centers became fragmented, with numerous types of proprietary software living in silos inside specialized hardware components – making them complex and frustrating to manage. Today, virtualization helps absorb and minimize this challenge, but creates another: Server and application sprawl from explosive data growth.

Server and application sprawl will cost you

A sprawl of uncontrolled and poorly managed application deployments leads to ‘application unavailability’ that endangers an organization’s profitability. Numerous examples of this continue to sprout up all around us. For example, do you remember the Amazon datacenter failure? I always like to remember an article I read that states:

“As business becomes increasingly dependent on technology and information, availability is a universal concern for every business, in every industry…And  globalization means there are no more periods of  ‘acceptable’ downtime. At any time of the day or night, somewhere in the world, customers and vendors need access to your corporate information. If they can’t get it, they’ll go elsewhere – creating an opportunity for your  competition.”

David M. Fishman, Sun MicroSystems, Application Availability: An Approach to Measurement

I was young, and I have to admit that it touched me and created a sense of urgency. Maybe this is why I am so passionate about what I do today. Considering the problem of server and application sprawl, automation and ease of management are no longer a ‘nice to have’ they are a MUST. With this in mind, where do you start?

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Silo Wars: The Reality of the Modern Data Center

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” – Sun Tzu

Users rarely consider enabling technologies until something goes wrong. Well-engineered technology, whether a bridge over the Potomac or a cluster of dynamically-provisioned servers, should be invisible when performing optimally. Put another way, for those it supports, your infrastructure should neither be seen nor heard. This creates a fundamental disconnect between the tacticians focused on maintaining the specific technologies they find themselves responsible for, and the strategists responsible for the performance of the infrastructure as a whole, and the mission-critical services such as CRM, ERP, and email that they underlie.

While those who find themselves elbow-deep in the datacenter may know their racks down to the cable, at the C-level and the user level, what matters is how well the service they’re providing performs. This disconnect between the real-world realities of a chassis in a rack, the SAN it’s wired into, the network delivering it up – and the abstraction of the one or many services it provides sometimes creates conflict both within the data center and all the way up to the corner office.  It’s a challenge many technical managers are familiar with – the need for an approach to real-world problems that blends the tactical realities of a humming data center with the strategy required to innovate.

So how can a savvy technical manager reconcile these two worlds? [Read more…]

Professional Services in the New Desktop Era

As organizations adapt to an evolving desktop environment, Professional Services will play a key role in guiding this transformation. The arrival of next-generation technology is one thing, but navigating through hundreds of options and actually deploying them are the most crucial components of IT success. Our Softchoice Advisor recently team met with John Kauffman, our Director of Professional Services to discuss Professional Services’ role in delivering the new desktop era.

Advisor: John, can you define Professional Services for us? [Read more…]