ITworld: Your Strategic Guide to VDI

If you have not looked at VDI technology in a while, you will find that its changed. Faster, cheaper technology has made it an interesting option for some companies seeking a way to support flexible, work-from-anywhere environments. In fact, some CIOs say BYOD is driving new interest given that virtualized desktops can help keep corporate data on corporate servers, not on client devices.

In this PDF download (registration required) for ITworld, I wrote several of the articles talking about how to become more effective with deploying virtual desktops.

Time to join the DevOps Movement

CA Technologies says, “For DevOps to work correctly, it must be treated as a movement, not a market for a specific vendor’s products.”

As Arlo Guthrie once sang, with three people it is an organization. But if we can find 50 people who can sing the praises of DevOps, it can become a movement! Trouble is, many software developers are stuck in the past. In a 2012 service virtualization survey of IT executives and managers by analyst firm voke, only 6% of the group responded they were completely confident that new IT applications would be delivered to market on time.

But maybe its high time DevOps becomes a movement. You can read more about this idea in my post last week on CA’s blog here.

ITworld: Optimize your cloud apps: How to create a great user experience

In a perfect world you would design your apps from the very beginning to operate in the cloud to offer the best experience possible. Unfortunately, not every company has that luxury, and many often deal with an “accidental cloud”. But there’s a lot riding on getting it right: 61% of IT leaders said their companies have at least one application, or a portion of their computing infrastructure in the cloud, and the average investment in cloud-based services during the next 12 months will be $1.5 million. Are your users happy with the cloud experience you currently offer? In this Owner’s Manual white paper, IT pros share hard-earned insights from their own cloud deployments, and provide tips on how to improve the overall experience.

ITworld_HP Owners Manual Link

Modern Infrastructure: Hyperscale data center means different hardware needs

Remember when data centers had separate racks, staffs and management tools for servers, storage, routers and other networking infrastructure? Those days seem like a fond memory in today’s hyperscale data center. That setup worked well when applications were relatively separate or they made use of local server resources such as RAM and disk and had few reasons to connect to the Internet.

I describe the new needs of the modern hyperscale data center in an article for Modern Infrastructure Magazine here.

ArsTechnica: What lies ahead in the world of networking

Tomorrow’s data center is going to look very different from today’s. Processors, systems, and storage are getting better integrated, more virtualized, and more capable at making use of greater networking and Internet bandwidth. At the heart of these changes are major advances in networking. In my story for ArsTechnica, I examine six specific trends driving the evolution of the next-generation data center and discuss what both IT insiders and end-user departments outside of IT need to do to prepare for these changes.

My fears about my own cloud migration

I try to eat my own dog food, as the saying goes. Nonetheless, I found myself going through all the various steps in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs when my mailing list hosting provider sent me an email last week telling me that they were moving my server to the cloud.

Funny, isn’t it, when it happens to you? Exactly my thoughts. For the past several years I have been using the North Carolina-based ISP EMWD.com and their very reasonably priced Mailman list services to distribute this newsletter. I am very happy with EMWD: they are very service-oriented, the fee is low, and as I am very familiar with Mailman, there is nothing for me to learn. And over the last several years, I have given them referrals from people who have wanted to start their own mailing lists, and these friends are happy as well with their service.

Mailman isn’t as pretty as Constant Contact or Mailchimp or other Web-based emailers: it is just for sending out text-based emails to a bunch of people. If you want HTML hotlinks or embedded graphics, these two are probably better services for running your list.

So anyway, last week I got an email saying my provider is going to the cloud. My first thought was unprintable. My next thought was what was I going to do? Was it going to be secure? Would I have to spend a lot of time debugging things? What did this really mean for me?

Then it hit me: I was acting like a customer who had never used the cloud before. Stop it! After all, what difference did it really make to me whether my server was sitting in EMWD’s data center or somewhere else? All that mattered was an IP address, that the server was running, and that it worked the same. Calm down, Strom.

But that is exactly the issue for many of your own customers, who may not have as much knowledge or understanding of what is involved. And these days it is getting harder to tell what is in the cloud and what isn’t, as new products blur the line even more so.

My hosting company was moving to the cloud for all the usual reasons: quicker provisioning, lower costs, more flexibility and scalability. Now, I am not a very demanding customer of theirs: all I use is their Mailman hosting, and that wasn’t changing.

So the migration day is today. I put a new IP address in my DNS, and a few hours later, all is well. At least I hope so. Everything looks the same from my end. And so much for my cloud migration story. But perhaps you can learn from this too, and understand that sometimes change isn’t all that big of a deal.

CloudSigma and its Flexible, Elastic and Transparent Public Cloud IaaS

Choosing from one of more than a dozen different Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud providers (IaaS) can be tiresome. Pricing comparisons are difficult, figuring out features isn’t always obvious, and understanding their limitations can be vexing and require a great deal of time and research. But if you are looking for a capable cloud provider that lets you have a lot of flexibility, is transparent when it comes to cost calculations, and comes with ability to support many different virtual machine (VM) configurations, then you should consider CloudSigma’s solution.

I take a closer look at what CloudSigma offers in this white paper that is published here.

Modern Infrastructure: The promise of SDN

Software defined networks are seemingly everywhere these days, offering the promise of having a virtual network infrastructure that can be provisioned as easily as spinning up a new virtual server or storage network. But SDNs are also hard to find outside of a few marquee customers who have dedicated lots of operational resources to set them up and manage them.

In my story for Techtarget’s Modern Infrastructure ezine, I look at the history of SDN, where things stand today, some of the bigger obstacles and how you can begin to plan for them in your own data center.

GigaOm: A progress report on OpenStack

The OpenStack project has over the past few months consolidated its lead and is headed in a positive direction. Mid-October saw the OpenStack Summit conference in San Diego, and there have been a series of big customer wins and deployments. Indeed, the fall season has been like a coming-out party for the open-source cloud-management solution, with more maturing services announced from partners. To be sure, anyone contemplating a move to it should carefully consider some of the alternatives, too. But with so much news around the project, it’s worth noting which areas are currently looking up for OpenStack and what to consider when using it.

You can read my report (with a subscription) on GigaOmPro here.