by Mike Masnick
Tue, May 25th 2010 12:16pm
Wed, Dec 4th 2013 8:50am
Closes: 24 Dec 2013, 11:59PM PT
We've all seen the digital panic that ensues when a massive service like Gmail or Facebook goes down for even a small portion of users. Smaller versions of the same thing take place every day with services that are less widely adopted but just as important to the people who rely on them. It doesn't even take an outage to cause problems — frequent slowdowns and interruptions can quickly cause a massive productivity traffic jam. With the degree to which we live our lives and do our work online, service problems are much more than a minor inconvenience, and at the wrong moment can be a disaster.
So we want to know: how does this impact the way you use the web? Are you prepared for interruptions in the online apps and services you use most? Have you ever abandoned an app for spotty performance, or adopted one specifically for its reliability? We're looking for everything in the way of insights, anecdotes and ideas about performance issues online.
You can share your responses on the Insight Community. Remember, if you have a Techdirt account, then you're already a member and can head on over to the case page to submit your insights.
One best response chosen by New Relic and the Techdirt editorial team will receive a free one-year Watercooler subscription on Techdirt (regular price $50). The subscription includes access to the Crystal Ball and the Insider Chat, plus five monthly First Word/Last Word credits, and can be applied to your own Techdirt account or gifted to someone else.
The case will be open for four weeks, with the best response announced shortly afterwards. We look forward to your insights!
Thu, May 20th 2010 4:09pm
Closed: 30 May 2010, 11:59PM PT
Earn up to $200 for Insights on this case.
As you know, we've been running the ITInnovation.com tab within Techdirt since last year, sponsored by Sun (now Oracle) and Intel. We've had a series of fascinating discussions within blog posts and webinars during that time. We've also continued to regularly refresh the IT Innovation Resource Center, which includes a rotating list of useful tools and white papers provided either by us or the sponsors of IT Innovation.
We'd like to get some feedback and insight into the quality of these resources and how they might be improved upon. Listed below are six currently available white papers in the Resource Center. If you are familiar with these topics (i.e., you work in IT), please review the white papers and write up your insights and comments on the whitepapers: what's good about them, what could be improved, what would make them more useful, etc. You are free to provide insights on as many of the white papers as you would like, but we ask that you submit insights on each white paper as a separate insight, rather than combining them into a single response.
- Best Practices for Managing Datacenter Costs via Application and Server Consolidation
Server sprawl, software licensing fees, and facilities costs are sending datacenter operational expenses through the roof at a time when every penny is being scrutinized. As a result, low utilization rates and wasted power/cooling resources are no longer acceptable, and smart companies are looking to consolidation and virtualization to trim expenses and increase operating efficiency.
- Why Solid-State Drives Usage Scenarios Are Expanding for the Datacenter
To accomplish the objectives of making more-efficient use of IT resources, lowering power consumption, and reducing operating expenses, many companies are turning to server consolidation and virtualization efforts—endeavors that increase server CPU utilization and reduce the number of discrete servers in a datacenter.
- The New Economics of Midsize Enterprise Computing: Oracle’s Sun Systems Based on the Intel® Xeon® Processor 5500 Series
Midsize companies often face the same competitive pressures as large-scale enterprises. However, they may not possess the resources and staff to invest heavily in complex computing systems. Yet it’s critical for IT organizations within these companies to ensure that they have the strongest, most expandable systems in place, so that their companies have the requisite flexibility to adapt quickly to changing market conditions, roll out new products and services in shorter cycles, and become more effective competitors.
- New Blades and Networking Solutions Ensure Solid Return on Investment
Traditionally, when companies need more computing power to deal with expanding amounts of data, they increase the number of servers, the number of compute cores per server, and the memory capacity of each server. Today’s high-powered blade servers save space and help enable significant gains in computing performance, especially when workloads are consolidated efficiently and datacenter resources are utilized most effectively. To accommodate this increase in capacity, however, the network infrastructure carrying the data must also be upgraded.
- Reassessing Server Costs for Midsize Companies
Most companies keep their servers for three to five years—a time frame that seems reasonable given current economic conditions. Despite the savings this would seem to imply, however, extending server life in the datacenter in this way may not be the best strategy, even in the toughest economic times.
- Oracle Solaris Operating System — Optimized for the Intel® Xeon® Processor 5600 and 7500 series
This document is intended as a technical guide for developers and system administrators that want to understand the precise details of how Oracle® Solaris and the Intel® Xeon® processor 5600 and 7500 series can improve your application solution environment.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, May 18th 2010 12:34pm
from the putting-on-that-legal-hat dept
Given the immense interest we received in this particular topic, we've decided that it will be the topic of our next webinar in our IT Innovation series: What IT needs to know about the law to be held next Wednesday, May 26th at 9am PT/noon ET. We're thrilled that Dave Navetta, who wrote the article that sparked the original discussion, will be participating and discussing this "era of legal defensibility" that IT people need to understand. Dave has built a career around bridging that gap between IT folks and legal folks, and is obviously perfect to be part of this discussion. With him will be Larry Downes, most recently the author of The Laws of Disruption, which is all about how the legal realm is hugely important to understanding business and technology in the world today, and how anyone looking to succeed in the internet age needs to understand some of these key legal principles. Larry's a well-known writer, speaker, pundit and consultant on this important intersection of the law and the technology world, and between David and Larry, the discussion should be quite a lot of fun. Once again, I'll be moderating.
I'm really excited about this particular topic and the two speakers. We've been preparing for the webinar over the past few days, and there are a ton of interesting topics to discuss, concerning how the law is impacting security, privacy and the wider IT world. Depending on timing, we may dip into some other areas, including intellectual property law, Section 230 and the like. Given the discussions we regularly have on this site, and how important legal issues have become in the IT world over the past few years, this is going to be a can't miss discussion, so sign up now. As with previous webinars, the discussion is designed to be interactive, and we can take questions from the audience via the web interface during the event, so please come ready with questions.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, May 7th 2010 5:09pm
from the welcome-to-the-modern-world dept
The era of legal defensibility is upon us. The legal risk associated with information security is significant and will only increase over time. Security professionals will have to defend their security decisions in a foreign realm: the legal world. This article discusses implementing security that is both secure and legally defensible, which is key for managing information security legal risk.It certainly takes things pretty far outside the world where information security folks are used to living. And while there may be a sense of being able to defend the technological decisions should there be a security breach, reaching the level of "legal defensibility" involves a whole different set of issues.
The blog post linked above notes that we're still early in realizing this overlapping arena of security and law, and it's important to have folks from all of these disciplines work together:
Now is the time for legal, privacy and security professionals to break down arbitrary and antiquated walls that separate their professions. The distinctions between security, privacy and compliance are becoming so blurred as to ultimately be meaningless. Like it or not, it all must be dealt with holistically, at the same time, and with expertise from multiple fronts. In this regard we must all develop thick skins and be not afraid to stop zealously guarding turf. The reality is, the legal and security worlds have collided, and most lawyers don't know enough about security, and most security professionals don't know enough about the law. Let's change that.Indeed. In fact, this is part of the reason that I made sure there was at least some legal discussion in our upcoming webinar on security in the cloud -- because it's an important aspect of security these days, and the cloud raises some serious legal questions (if you haven't registered yet, please do!). But making sure that legal and security/IT people are talking about this regularly is important. Otherwise, you can bet that the legal folks are going to make decisions that are going to come back to haunt those in the IT and security worlds...
from the they're-not-real-thrilled-about-them dept
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jan 22nd 2010 4:47pm
from the seems-like-a-problem dept
The bigger question is what impact this will have. Chronic understaffing in a data center could lead to serious security issues, increased downtime (decreased reliability) and certainly decreased responsiveness to problems. With many of the survey respondents also claiming they're hoping to decrease headcount even further, this could become a bigger issue going forward.
The report also claims that the survey's creators were "surprised" to find out that mid-market companies were more likely to experiment with new technologies, as compared to the big companies, but I don't find that surprising at all. Big companies are pretty resistant to change (especially if they have some big IT project that is "working.") Still, if those companies are finding their data centers regularly understaffed, it could create more difficulty in getting getting new projects successfully off the ground. So I'm curious how companies are dealing with these issues and trying to avoid problems with understaffed data centers, while still being able to try out new technologies and services.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jan 21st 2010 5:30pm
from the yes-and-no dept
The argument made in the article, and it makes sense, is that IT really needs to be much more tightly integrated with the overall business, to really understand how to help. When it's viewed as a separate silo or even "business," then the solutions that come out of IT really aren't as helpful as can be. Separately, it also increases the likelihood of outsourcing the IT function, since it can be easily "separated." But by more closely integrating the IT function into actual business processes, not only does IT make itself more indispensable, it can focus on creating actual process improvements and solutions, rather than just taking a list from someone of what they think they need (perhaps without understanding what the technology enables) and delivering it to spec.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jan 20th 2010 6:46pm
from the they-might-have-to dept
And that, of course, raises the inevitable question of whether or not the IT department should support those technologies. The easy answer (which I'm sure we'll hear many times over in the comments) is "of course not." But it might not be that simple any more. Ignoring or holding back those technologies entirely may actually harm overall productivity in some cases, and limit what employees can and should be doing. Now, obviously, I recognize the argument that a large part of IT's job is to keep things running and protect the overall setup from problems -- and letting in any technology and supporting it can make that very, very difficult. But it ignores the flipside of IT's role: enabling companies and their employees to be more productive through the use of technology. And, even if IT officially decides to not allow things like the iPhone, as the article above points out, it might not matter much:
Likely scenario: An employee is denied an iPhone (or possibly any company-provided smartphone) and decides to get his own personal iPhone for use at work. This surreptitious infiltration is actually a bigger concern than a handful of managers; at least with them you still get to control the configuration and deployment process. If you don't know that workers are using iPhones in your company, you can't secure them at all. You can't even be certain what data might be stored on them.So, a flat-out ban isn't going to do the trick, but actively supporting any technology people bring into the workplace is too much to handle and causes too many problems. So where is the middle ground?
And since the iPhone is fairly easy for even novice users to set up -- they can sign onto wireless networks, access intranets, and even gain access to an e-mail server -- it's no stretch to imagine that a lone, unauthorized iPhone could seriously compromise confidential data, as well as access to your network and the services running in it.
from the um,-no dept
While the debate rages on over how to properly count the "cost" of such failures, I'm beginning to wonder how useful such a number is. Isn't a more useful discussion on how to prevent or minimize the impact of any such failures? The aggregate number may look good in being able to see some big number, but aggregate numbers can hide important details inside. For example, back in the early (and even late) 90s there were lots of reports about how computerizing your business was not shown to have added any productivity. A poor conclusion from this was that computering your business was not a smart idea. But the problem was that this was aggregate data. It failed to realize that many, many businesses had boosted productivity through the use of computers, and many of the large failures that wiped out the aggregate "gains" were from a few big businesses that did a really poor implementation. It didn't mean that computerizing was necessarily a bad idea, but that some of the biggest early players just did a bad job of it.
So, if we're going to be discussing IT failures, why not step away from that aggregate info and try to focus in on ways to actually minimize the impact of whatever IT failures might occur?
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Dec 7th 2009 12:56pm
from the welcome-to-the-modern-world-of-ownership dept
// This code was writtend by [the guy]The Stack Overflow community basically suggested that the best course of action is to rewrite the query (even potentially asking the Stack Overflow community via a separate entry, with the details of what the query needs to do), but it does raise some basic questions about whether or not an SQL query can be covered by copyright. The answer, tragically, might be more complicated than it needs to be, but assuming that the query wasn't anything really out of the ordinary, it's difficult to see how a single SQL query, by itself, would be considered unique enough to be covered by copyright. However, I'm sure there will be differences of opinion here, so let's see if any of our copyright lawyer readership would like to weigh in on this one... As for the IT folks, it would be interesting to see what people think of the idea of copyrighting a single SQL query for something like this.
// and is the property of [his company]...Copyright 2005,2006,2008,2009
// This code MAY NOT BE USED without the expressed written consent of
// [his company].