dave562 writes: I could use some advice from the community. I have almost 20 years of IT experience, 5 of it with the company I am currently working for. In my current position, the infrastructure and applications that I am responsible for account for nearly 80% of the entire IT infrastructure of the company. In broad strokes our footprint is roughly 60 physical hosts that run close to 1500 VMs and a SAN that hosts almost 4PB of data. The organization is a moderate sized (~3000 employees), publicly traded company with a nearly $1 billion market value (recent fluctuations not withstanding).
I have been involved in a constant struggle with the core IT group over how to best run the operations. They are a traditional, internal facing IT shop. They have stumbled through a private cloud initiative that is only about 30% realized. I have had to drag them kicking and screaming into the world of automated provisioning, IaaS, application performance monitoring, and all of the other IT "must haves" that a reasonable person would expect from a company of our size. All the while, I have never had full access to the infrastructure. I do not have access to the storage. I do not have access to the virtualization layer. I do not have Domain Admin rights. I cannot see the network.
The entire organization has been ham strung by an "enterprise architect" who relies on consultants to get the job done, but does not have the capability to properly scope the projects. This has resulted in failure after failure and a broken trail of partially implemented projects. (VMware without SRM enabled. EMC storage hardware without automated tiering enabled. Numerous proof of concept systems that never make it into production because they were not scoped properly.)
After 5 years of succeeding in the face of all of these challenges, the organization has offered me the Enterprise Architect position. However they do not think that the position should have full access to the environment. It is an "architecture" position and not a "sysadmin" position is how they explained it to me. That seems insane. It is like asking someone to draw a map, without being able to actually visit the place that needs to be mapped.
For those of you in the community who have similar positions, what is your experience? Do you have unfettered access to the environment? Are purely architectural / advisory roles the norm at this level?
dave562 writes: As astute Slashdot commentators frequently mention when renewable energy is discussed, the biggest challenge faced by renewable energy is its inability to provide stable baseline power. Progress is being made to address those concerns, and companies who can deliver successful are trying to tap into a market that has been valued at $10.5 billion dollars.
From the article,
"The problem for a lot of renewable power sources — wind and solar farms, run-of-river hydro — is that they often pump out the most power when utilities don’t need it, but dim down when they really want it.
For electric utilities, balancing those peaks and valleys from intermittent energy sources is a major challenge to integrating them into the grid, which is why some B.C.-based firms are hoping to cash in on the development of energy-storage technologies.
ZincNyx’s technology, the so-called flow battery, is a regenerative fuel-cell system that takes in electricity when the power isn’t needed and uses it to create fuel out of zinc-oxide that is stored in a tank, and which is then run through a fuel cell that converts it back into electricity when it is needed."
Is this the answer to the challenge faced by renewable power? What other hurdles still remain?
dave562 writes: Editors, this is for ask Slashdot.
Given the need to provide a remote desktop to clients who want speedy access to an in house, Windows based (yeah, yeah, I know, I know...) SaaS application, which vendor has the best offering, Citrix or VMware? If it matters, I am looking at a user base of 500-5000 users in the next two to three years. I come here to ask this question because I figure if anyone has really used this technology, in the wild, and lived through the boot storms, I/O challenges and other technical and administrative challenges with this technology, they are probably a/. reader.
I am currently leaning towards Citrix. Their web gateway simplifies the external access component. It also supports two-factor auth and federation. Their client is also very stable at this point and works on all devices, from desktops to laptops to tablets and smartphones. The technology is fairly secure, enough so that we can leverage it to prevent the average user from mapping drives, or printers, or otherwise exfiltrating data from the environment. While on the other side of the coin, universal driver support makes it easy to enable those features when necessary.
I am only really considering VMware because we already have the licenses for their VDI product. Based on some cursory research, it would require more investment on our time to properly configure external access for clients. They do seem to be making some strides on the resource utilization front though. Specifically I'm talking about the full and linked clones.
I am sure that there are a dozen other nuances of the two products that I have not even begun to scratch the surface of. The main driver of desktop virtualization in this case is application performance. We have hundreds of users who are using a web based app to review large documents (10-50MB each). The bandwidth costs and performance challenges of clients having disparate levels of connectivity are both alleviated by using a remote connectivity solution like Citrix / RDP.
dave562 writes: The more things change, the more they stay the same. In 1999, Microsoft had a run up to what proved to be the company's highest market capitalization ever. Now in 2013, Apple reached similar highs. The jury is still out as to whether or not AAPL has peaked, but this article from ZeroHedge provides an overlay of the market caps of these two tech titans, and makes some suggestions about where AAPL is heading.
So Slashdot, is Apple really that different? Or does the market have a limited pool of capital to allocate to technology companies, no matter how sought after their products are?
dave562 writes: Smart grid industrial control systems (ICS) remain in a state of flux. Security is still viewed as a cost-limitation exercise by many utilities, and advances toward meaningful regulations remain halting. But the utility industry as a whole appears better informed of cyber risks to grids and substations, likely portending more cyber security deployments in the next one to two years. According to a new report from Pike Research, a part of Navigant's Energy Practice, the market for smart grid ICS cyber security will reach $369 million in 2012 and grow to $608 million by 2020.
Technological innovation in this market is stagnant, according to the report, and security vendors do not share a consistent view of this market. While many general-purpose security vendors have not yet seen the growth they had expected, vendors that specialize in control systems security are receiving more requests for proposals than ever. Vendor approaches to the market also vary: some strategically propose a full cyber security solution for an entire control network, while others take a more tactical approach and propose only solving specific problems. Whether taking a strategic or a tactical approach, vendors must orient their discussions with utilities around solving operational and business problems, not technical concepts.
Are any Slashdotters working in this field? What sort of approaches are you taking? Tactical fixes, or strategic solutions?
dave562 writes: The U.S. Justice Department's antitrust arm said it was looking into potentially unfair pricing practices by electronic booksellers, joining European regulators and state attorneys general in a widening probe of large U.S. and international e-book publishers.
A Justice Department spokeswoman confirmed that the probe involved the possibility of "anticompetitive practices involving e-book sales."
Attorneys general in Connecticut and, reportedly, Texas, have also begun inquiries into the way electronic booksellers price their wares, and whether companies such as Apple and Amazon have set up pricing practices that are ultimately harmful to consumers.
dave562 writes: Reggie Middleton at BoomBustBlog offers some insightful analysis about how Android is impacting Apple's market share.
The maddening pace of Android technology development is simply too much for Apple to keep pace, or at least keep pace with while maintaining those fat margins. So what do they do? they release a marginally improved product that has yet to match the 6 month old Android flagship tech that is about to be refreshed/replaced/updated in exactly ONE WEEK!
He goes on to point out how Google has backed Apple into a corner, and they will have no choice but to cut into their fat profit margins in order to stay competitive.
Lower prices and/or higher technological bars will lead to lower margins. For those that are paying attention, it is evident that it is already happening. The
disappointment felt throughout the web at the release of the iPhone 4GS was not due to Apple releasing a subpar product. It was due to Android raising the bar so high that Apple simply could not match it without busting its extremely fat (72%) margins.
What does this mean for Apple's share prices? I think the answer is obvious.
dave562 writes: Today the FCC released the results of their study that was focused on measuring real world broadband performance for residential customers across the United States.
The study examined service offerings from 13 of the largest wireline broadband providers using automated, direct measurements of broadband performance delivered to the homes of thousands of volunteers during March 2011.
Myself and many other Slashdot readers participated in the study.
dave562 writes: In an analysis of the effectiveness of the the 2009 stimulus program (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 or ARRA), one of the programs that was investigated was the project to bring broadband access to rural America. Some real interesting numbers popped out.
Quoting the article, "Eisenach and Caves looked at three areas that received stimulus funds, in the form of loans and direct grants, to expand broadband access in Southwestern Montana, Northwestern Kansas, and Northeastern Minnesota. The median household income in these areas is between $40,100 and $50,900. The median home prices are between $94,400 and $189,000.
So how much did it cost per unserved household to get them broadband access? A whopping $349,234, or many multiples of household income, and significantly more than the cost of a home itself."
dave562 writes: The always insightful and forward looking guys at Zero Hedge bring the latest details in RIMs stock valuation. Layoffs are on the horizon as RIM misses their earning targets and continues to lose ground to Apple and Android. Is RIM on the way to becoming the MySpace of the smartphone market?
dave562 writes: Sprint Nextel, joined by an army of thousands of consumers, have filed requests for the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to block AT&T's proposed acquisition of rival mobile carrier T-Mobile USA.
AT&T has argued that it needs T-Mobile's spectrum to keep up with growing demand for mobile broadband service. Sprint disputed that argument, saying AT&T already controls the most spectrum of any U.S. mobile carrier. AT&T is the "industry laggard" in deploying next-generation mobile broadband, a source close to Sprint said Tuesday.
dave562 writes: An analysis of federal broadband stimulus projects awarded by the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) finds the program’s funding of duplicative broadband networks has resulted in an extremely high cost to reach a small number of unserved households.
The study shows that the RUS’ current program is not a cost-effective means of achieving universal broadband availability.
RUS’ prior broadband subsidy programs have not been cost effective, in part because they have provided duplicative service to areas that were already served by existing providers,
dave562 writes: Stratfor provides good analysis and insight into the realities of using Social Media like Facebook and Twitter as revolutionary tools.
" The role of social media in protests and revolutions has garnered considerable media attention in recent years. Current conventional wisdom has it that social networks have made regime change easier to organize and execute. An underlying assumption is that social media is making it more difficult to sustain an authoritarian regime — even for hardened autocracies like Iran and Myanmar — which could usher in a new wave of democratization around the globe. In a Jan. 27 YouTube interview, U.S. President Barack Obama went as far as to compare social networking to universal liberties such as freedom of speech.
Social media alone, however, do not instigate revolutions. They are no more responsible for the recent unrest in Tunisia and Egypt than cassette-tape recordings of Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini speeches were responsible for the 1979 revolution in Iran. Social media are tools that allow revolutionary groups to lower the costs of participation, organization, recruitment and training. But like any tool, social media have inherent weaknesses and strengths, and their effectiveness depends on how effectively leaders use them and how accessible they are to people who know how to use them."
dave562 writes: Stratfor analyst Sean Noonan shares his commentary on the capabilities of China's cyberwarfare capabilities, and the challenges and threats that those same capabilities bring to maintaining social order within the country.
A recent batch of WikiLeaks cables led Der Spiegel and The New York Times to print front-page stories on China’s cyber-espionage capabilities Dec. 4 and 5. While China’s offensive capabilities on the Internet are widely recognized, the country is discovering the other edge of the sword.
China is no doubt facing a paradox as it tries to manipulate and confront the growing capabilities of Internet users. Recent arrests of Chinese hackers and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) pronouncements suggest that China fears that its own computer experts, nationalist hackers and social media could turn against the government.
dave562 writes: Goldman Sachs' lawyers have asked the Federal judge to seal the court room during the trial of Sergey Aleynikov. Aleynikov was one of the programmers who developed Goldman's High Frequency Trading (HFT) programs. What does this say about the state of the financial indudstry? Given the problems HFT seems to have caused over the last few years, shouldn't more light be shone into the dark corners of how it works?