Stories by Robert L. Scheier

Foiled! How to beat software vendors' sneaky price increases

Between complex licenses and the cloud, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP have lots of ways to hike up prices. Here's how to fight back

New storage technologies to deal with the data deluge

Enterprise storage demands are reaching a critical point, and vendors are scrambling to develop new products to deal with the data deluge. We look at how these technologies will help manage the major pain points for storage administrators.

Getting the most from IaaS

Infrastructure-as-a-service lets users take advantage of the benefits of the cloud without locking down to a particular cloud provider. But becoming 'cloud-agnostic' requires new tools and mindsets. Insider (registration required)

Creating cohesive storage management

Vendors of storage management tools are moving toward a 'single pane of glass' product that can automatically provision, resize, back up and recover storage across multiple public and private clouds, across systems from different vendors and for virtual machines running hypervisors from multiple vendors.

Open-source cloud frameworks: A work in progress

When IT consultancy OpenCredo set out to launch three new applications within seven months for a major insurance underwriter, it had three goals in mind: Trim development time from the usual years-long pace, allow for frequent changes from the client, and build a system that can handle unpredictable traffic spikes.

In Pictures: Favourite mobile apps for IT pros

The iPad, iPhone, and Android revolution is taking place within the data center, as these popular tools attest

How to wrangle your virtual machines

Virtualization cuts hardware, power and real estate costs by combining multiple servers, networks and storage arrays into virtual pools. But for users like Pat O'Day, chief technology officer at hosting and managed services provider BlueLock LLC, managing those resource pools means wrestling with multiple applications.

Disaster Recovery on Double Duty

At Ingram Micro, executive president and CIO Mario Leone doesn't think about how much he will spend on disaster recovery.

Mobile apps: The IT pro's new power tools

Think the mobile revolution is all about word games and social networking apps? Think again. Heavy-duty apps for IT pros have arrived on mobile platforms and they're quickly changing the face of IT systems management.

The Agile Infrastructure

Companies looking for more agile data centers are increasingly turning to public (external) or private (internal) clouds with virtualized servers, storage and networks. Getting the lowest cost and the best speed and flexibility from those systems requires assessing everything from performance to control and interoperability. And the larger your organization is, the more planning it takes to create an "enterprise grade" cloud that meets your performance, security and compliance needs.

Why social tech's real value is inside the business

Although companies have been urged to adopt "Web 2.0" and social technologies for years now, the truth is that relatively few have done so internally in any serious way -- and use inside the business is where the most value can be gained. Instead, the corporate focus on social technologies has been in marketing organizations that use it to monitor what customers are saying about the company and to try to influence customer views -- what's called reputation management -- by adding Twitter, Facebook, and so on to the traditional advertising and marketing channels. (And individual employees use social networking technology to build business relationships for their own benefit, of course.)

The cloud security checklist

Whether you're a small business relying on Google Docs for document sharing or an enterprise moving your global ERP system to the cloud, you should demand that some common security and compliance requirements are met by vendors providing applications and services over the Web. These requirements involve who can access your applications and data, as well as the systems hosting them; where the data is stored; and whether the data is hosted on dedicated, rather than on shared, hardware. They also ensure that you get detailed logs of who has accessed your data and applications so that you meet corporate and regulatory standards, and they verify that data is properly encrypted -- a factor that's more critical outside the corporate firewall.

How to get tough with your tech vendors

Planning a purchase from a major IT vendor? In this still-tough economy, negotiating pros recommend being aggressive and creative, as well as analyzing your requirements first so that you don't buy more than you need and know where you can compromise.

5 ways to cut your storage footprint

With the economy still shaky and the need for storage exploding, almost every storage vendor claims it can reduce the amount of data you must store. Trimming your data footprint not only cuts costs for hardware, software, power and data center space, but also eases the strain on networks and backup windows.

Can Google really hack it in business?

After conquering the search world, Google is now pushing hard to be a major provider of business software, tackling longtime dominator Microsoft over productivity and collaboration apps. But does this company, most famous for free consumer-oriented offerings like search and basic apps, have what it takes to be taken seriously by business? Can you really rely on Google Apps?

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