Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Corporate Social Networking With Socialcast

Socialcast is a powerful activity stream engine for the enterprise. It brings social networking capabilities to corporate environments by enabling socialization, collaboration, and sharing of common business ideas to IT departments. Social networking can be an effective way of sharing relevant news in the IT industry, asking for advice when working on an issue for a business partner or customer, and staying connected with your colleagues that are dispersed around the country in today’s global workforce.

Socialcast was founded in 2005 by Timothy Young, and was recently purchased by VMware last year. It provides a free and a premium social networking portal that is very functional and simple to setup. Here are some of the product highlights.

The first thing you need to do is sign-up for the service with a valid business e-mail address. It needs to be a business e-mail address (Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo e-mail addresses won’t work). My wife is part of a local mom’s club, I thought the tool would be fantastic for collaboration of activities and sharing ideas for their club, unfortunately they are not a valid business and couldn’t register for Socialcast.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Virtualization and Green IT = Real Corporate Savings

If you do the math, it is staggering the amount of money saved in the datacenter through server-hosted virtualization. Virtualization not only provides improved business continuity, scalablity, and agility; it also provides considerable power savings for large corporations.

In general, most traditional physical servers are 80 to 90% under-utilized. That is in large part due to the increased capacity we have seen through core architecture as illustrated in the diagram below.

VMware estimates that half of application workloads will be running on virtualized infrastructure in 2012. I think that is great progress, but think of the revenue lost because most large corporation have not fully embraced server-hosted virtualization.

Here are some numbers that demonstrate the tangible savings through physical server consolidation to a virtualized infrastructure.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Competing against Amazon EC2

Internal clouds were pioneered because of the emergence of public IaaS offerings from companies like Amazon EC2. This is placing pressure on corporate IT organizations to demonstrate that they can be as agile and cost effective as an external hosting provider. Indeed, if we break down the raw expenses for the underlying infrastructure, most companies can make a compelling case that hosting their servers internally is competitive or cheaper then migrating their virtual servers externally.
ESX Small Virtual Machine Instance (1 CPU) - 4 YR
Physical Server Cost (IBM xSeries 3850X5):
Server Tax (8%)
Vmware Enterprise Pro License ($2260.00 per CPU):
NetIQ License for 70 VMs ($750 per VM):
Norton Anti-Virus License for 70 VMs ($7.30 per VM):
Total Capital Server Costs:
Cluster HA Charge (10%)
Virtual Machine Cost per Host (70 VM density ratio):
Annual Expense Virtual Machine Impact Expense:
Annual Maintenance on Software (20%):
Annual Windows Datacenter License ($1553.28 per CPU):
Annual 160 GB of Tier 2 Storage Cost ($5.20 GB)
Total Annual Virtual Machine Expense:

Amazon EC2 Small Instance – 3 YR
Cost for Amazon Small Instance over 3 years
0.05 per hour for 3 years
Windows Standard License
NetIQ License
Norton Anti-Virus
Total Annual Cost
Amazon Small Instance Specification
1.7 GB memory
1 EC2 Compute Unit (1 virtual core with 1 EC2 Compute Unit)
160 GB instance storage (150 GB plus 10 GB root partition)
32-bit platform
I/O Performance: Moderate

Friday, February 17, 2012

I am going to do a piece on setting up your own internal PaaS site using Cloud Foundry and Wavemaker in the next few days!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

Numerous business and technical drivers are compelling IT organization to consider server-hosted desktop virtualization (SHVD). Globalization and mobilization are leading companies to explore a steady transition to a dynamic service-oriented desktop virtualization ecosystem.

Corporate Objectives

  • The ability to support increased numbers of contractors, outsources, and external business partner desktops
  • Improved desktop and data security
  • Enhanced workforce mobility
  • More-efficient disaster recovery
Infrastructure Objectives

  • Lower overall server footprint by achieving higher virtual density
  • Lower server capital expenditure compared to the current offering (software and hardware)
  • Defined backend infrastructure support levels based on desktop role (production, development, kiosk, training)
  • The ability to ensure isolated environments between the server virtual instances and desktop virtual instances

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Business Market Place

One of the key contributors to the growth in virtualization has been the CPU core architecture. CPU transactions per minute have increased by x16 times over the past 4 years. The previous 10 years of x86 architecture was relatively flat-lined until the introduction of the first multi-core processor by AMD in April of 2005. This is definitely shaping our datacenters so that we can have dramatic consolidation ratios through server virtualization. IT organizations are at the forefront of a new datacenter model. The current model provides us with hardware independence, is highly virtualized, enables scalability and flexibility, and demonstrates strong business continuity through virtual technologies like VMware High Availability (HA) and VMware Fault Tolerance (FT).  
These changes are going to compliment corporate globalization efforts and help define service offerings for their business partners. Infrastructure and operations focus now moves from data center consolidation to offering dynamic infrastructure as a commodity to ensure innovation helps meet business goals. Basically – IT consumerization. IT as an industry must begin clearly defining the services it provides to the business, rather than the activities it executes to provide those services.  Defining and valuing the services it provides within infrastructure and operation services will help provide IT leaders with a realistic cost of operating the Wintel environment.
Compute clouds like Amazon EC2 are essentially consolidated virtualized compute infrastructure where access to capacity is rented out to third parties. It is important that corporate IT departments adopt this model and show they are competitive from a cost standpoint with their internal infrastructure (compute, memory, storage, networking, and infrastructure OPEX). Moving in this direction will help their enterprise become more agile, service oriented, and cost effective.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Get your head in the cloud!

IT organization must continue to drive forward with their internal compute cloud. Working with a traditional silo mentality that was developed when we only had physical servers isn’t the best solution for today’s highly virtualized world. With traditional server architecture that had a single Windows server OS on a physical piece of hardware and local storage there were very few service options we could provide. Isolation in the contemporary model of production, acceptance, and development worked because they were all on a single physical piece of equipment. However, in the past few years IT has learned through the birth of the cloud, which is nothing more than a highly virtualized compute cluster, that we are capable of becoming much more service oriented and we can offer a broad portfolio of infrastructure service options that our IT business partners are demanding. These solutions can include availability, DR RTO, restore RPO, capacity, performance, and security.

In adopting this model it will help IT organizations show they are competitive from a cost standpoint with their internal infrastructure (compute, memory, storage, networking, and infrastructure OPEX), and it moves them in the direction of helping their enterprise become more agile, service oriented, and cost effective.

Recently I had a conversation with a business partner in my organization with our SalesForce initiative. She was telling me that the primary mission for the SalesForce solution is to support business strategies and speed up delivery in the application development world. IT organizations need to focus on delivering a dynamic datacenter that can help their business partners get products to market faster.

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