Stories by Johna Till Johnson

Building a new data center? Think WAN

Practically every company I talk with is consolidating data centers, constructing new ones, or both. These aren't the old "glass house" models of the 1980s and 1990s: They're next-generation designs with racks of blade servers, virtualized clusters and storage-area networks.

Don't be pooh-poohing social networking

A while back, I wrote about the concept of social networking. The upshot: Although the wisdom of crowds may be overhyped, the phenomenon of social networking isn't.

Going green, virtually speaking

Broadly speaking, there are two main reasons for companies to go green. The first is to reduce energy costs, thereby saving the company money. As one IT executive put it to me recently, "Green computing is all about saving greenbacks."

Navigating the wild world of wireless

Verizon's proposed US$28 billion acquisition of privately held Alltel signals the start of hurricane season for wireless providers. And this season might just include the perfect storm: Technology shifts, consolidation and business-model changes are combining to reconfigure the world of wireless.

The waning of the WAN? Not so fast

Many of my clients are getting serious about the Internet. Let me explain: No, they're not Rip Van Winkles who've slept through the technology innovations of the past 20 years. But they are thinking about how they can use Internet services to augment -- or even replace -- their WANs.

A virtual workplace poses new IT challenges

One of the interesting things that's been happening over the past few years is that just as workforces have become less centralized, IT departments have gotten more so. The vast majority of companies I work with consider themselves virtual, meaning that employees work together on teams from widely distributed geographies. Yet fewer IT teams are virtual in the same sense -- in many cases IT teams are increasingly consolidated into a few central sites.

It's not your father's wireless anymore

Back in the day, wireless data was a neatly self-contained niche technology used by folks such as field force workers and logistics companies, but virtually ignored by everyone else.

Bandwidth costs, real and virtual

Being a pundit, like being in love, means never having to say you're sorry, right? Wrong. Besides, that's got to be one of the dumbest lines in history -- from what I can tell, loving someone means acknowledging your mistakes early and often, and making reparations as best you can.

The business case for mobile collaboration

You hear a lot these days about two topics: mobility and collaboration. Unified communication and collaboration (UCC) is getting promoted by vendors ranging from Microsoft and IBM to Cisco, Avaya and Nortel.

YouTube's woes? You could be next

Elections aren't the only things in chaos in Pakistan these days. The country recently decided to censor YouTube. Unfortunately, Pakistan botched the technology: It issued BGP routes that leaked, causing a worldwide reroute of all YouTube requests to a black hole in Pakistan -- taking YouTube off the global Internet for a couple of hours.

What those oceanic cable cuts mean to you

Forget the Super Bowl. Ignore the presidential primaries. For network geeks, the really big news recently was the cable outages in the Mediterranean, which disrupted Internet connections to Europe and the Middle East. The outages have raised a host of questions about the vulnerability of the Internet and the action plans enterprises should have in place to protect themselves from the consequences. Here are some frequently asked questions -- and the answers.

Dilbert, the DMCA and the Internet bubble video

Radiohead recently rocked the music industry by making its latest album downloadable for free, or more accurately, for "whatever fans wanted to pay." The band was lauded for ushering in a new business model that disintermediated record companies and created a closer, more authentic bond between artists and fans.

Wireless open access: happening or not?

Seems like carriers and content providers alike have been bitten by the open access bug. Big news recently was Verizon's announcement that it plans to open up its wireless network to any device or application. And Google upped the ante by announcing its intention to bid on the available 700-MHz spectrum in upcoming auctions, a portion of which, thanks to Google's lobbying efforts, is required to be open access as well.

Traffic growth could choke 'Net by 2010

One of the great things about technology is that it's surprisingly easy to underestimate how strong the demand for it can become. Remember IBM CEO Thomas Watson's purported 1943 remark, "There's a world market for maybe 5 computers," and Bill Gates' supposed 1980 comment, "640 kbytes of RAM ought to be enough for anyone"?