Stories by John Webster

In Pictures: Essential Mac management tools

Managing a fleet of Macs in a predominately Windows-centric enterprise requires third-party tools that can deliver a variety of features, such as the ability to run Windows apps on Mac hardware, synch with Active Directory and Microsoft System Center, deliver software updates and generally give IT the same degree of visibility and control over Macs that they’re accustomed to in the Windows world.

yARN: Big Data deserves IT's attention

Big data promises of a style of computing that more closely mimics the functioning of the human mind. For IT, that means moving from provisioning of services to making a big impact on business results.

Did VMware sell out to EMC too soon?

Did VMware sell out to EMC too soon? I try not to mix personalities with analysis because when I do, I sometimes get into trouble. But as I try to rationalize Diane Greene's abrupt departure from VMware, and EMC CEO Joe's Tucci's role in her demise, personalities keep getting in the way. While I've met both these powerful players, I can't say that I know them. All I really have to go on is my sense of their public personas. Diane has built a huge following, is perceptive -- even visionary -- and opinionated. Joe has taken control of a franchise that was head-strong to begin with and transformed it. In my view he's even handed, but a man who is very capable of pushing back when pushed. And no doubt about it, with VMware he acquired an equally head-strong organization.

Even storage that isn't clustered wants to be

Soon it will seem like every storage vendor with a name will have a clustered storage box. Why? In a word: Web 2.0. It would appear that your father's RAID array just doesn't cut it anymore with the purveyors of Facebooks, YouTubes, and SmugMugs. Your father's RAID can't scale, it's too slow, and it's decidedly not sexy anymore, even after a vial of Viagra and a trip to The Hair Club for Men.

FCoE's 10Gbit/sec should be in your future

It's highly likely that, if you follow the comings and goings of storage networking technology, then by now you've at least heard of the emerging Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) standard working its way through the INCITS process. To level-set, FCoE is a method of encapsulating the packets that would normally flow across a Fibre Channel storage network (SAN) for transmission over Ethernet link. Think 10 Gbps Ethernet for practical purposes. However, unlike other FC-to-Ethernet encapsulation methods like FCIP and iFCP, FCoE lives within the same OSI layer as IP, enabling enhanced performance, lossless frame transmission, and some other goodies.

IGF - IBM's unseen competitive weapon

I started life in IT decades ago as a sales guy for a mainframe leasing firm attached to Greyhound --yes, the bus company. Greyhound Leasing and Financial actually wrote the first lease on an IBM mainframe, thereby creating a niche industry that included the lease and resale of new and used IBM mainframe hardware.

How Dell got to write a check for US$1.4B

My office is in downtown Nashua, N.H. To my west is the Nashua River, and beyond that most of the rest of Nashua and a company called EqualLogic. I came to work Tuesday morning thinking I could hear the sound of a party coming from somewhere on the west side of the river. It was 8:30 a.m., and I dismissed the thought. Then I read the news: Dell buys EqualLogic for $1.4B. I had to read the note more than twice. One point four billion dollars. One billion, four hundred million dollars. I let the number sink in, and then went outside to see if the party was still going on. It was.

Study: Users want self-healing, 50-year storage

The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) Data Management Forum has just reported-out the results of a landmark study that looked at the current state of long-term storage -- that is, data stored for more than 10 years. Some disturbing results jump out of this study. They suggest that we live in a digital version of the Dark Ages.

Sun's Schwartz facing Carly Fiorina's fate?

I've had an opportunity recently to witness two tech CEOs perform for a gathering of financial analysts: Mark Hurd of HP and Jonathan Schwartz of Sun. The contrast in management styles and vision couldn't be more striking -- a contrast made more poignant when one considers that both companies slug it out daily on the floor tiles of practically every data center in the U.S.

The Internet could eliminate local backup

I try hard not to describe the introduction of a new technology as disruptive, particularly in a public forum. If I'm wrong, the misguided pronouncement sticks to my public resume. So when I say that has the potential to become a hugely disruptive force in storage, that statement means I'm willing to take a big public risk.

Storage vendors, users forced to be energy-conscious

News item in local paper: Big New England electric utility seeks rate increase of 13.1 percent. The reasons, unfortunately, are many, according to the report. They include rate increases from outside suppliers, wholesale price increases for natural gas and federal government policy that somehow encourages investment in new power plants.

VLANs maximize VOIP investments

Although there may be no such thing as a dumb question, there is a persistently misguided one involving VOIP deployments: Should VOIP be installed on a dedicated network separate from the data network?

Lessons from real-world VOIP

Will 2006 be the year that voice and data convergence really takes off? Looking back, VOIP was one of the hottest and most hyped technologies of 2005. Yet despite all the attention, only about a third of IT departments have rolled out full-fledged deployments, according to a recent survey by Forrester Research.

Global safety zone

If it seems that the world has become a more dangerous place for sensitive organizational data over the past five years, that's probably because it has. As natural disasters, terrorism, disease and social unrest have threatened to affect staffing in various parts of the globe, the business continuity plans of many organizations have had to become heavy on the disaster recovery side.

Risk reducer

Risk is a fact of life these days. Financial services organizations have always grappled with credit- and market-related risk as an integral part of doing business. But today, the far-reaching threat of operational risks arising from potential breakdowns in internal controls and corporate governance -- breakdowns that could compromise business -- span vertical industries and business functions, including IT.