Business Technology Perspectives Blog

Aug 24, 2011
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Smartphone Preview: iPhone 5, Google Nexus Prime, and Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango"

There’s been some big news hitting the smartphone market recently, including HP's blockbuster announcement earlier this week that it was dumping WebOS hardware like the HP TouchPad, Palm Pre, and Palm Veer. Google gobbled up Motorola Mobility, arguably as a defense against the mobile patent consortium formed by Microsoft, Apple, Sony-Ericsson and others. And a recent smartphone market share report by Comscore verifies what many in the industry have been saying about RIM, which increasingly looks like it is fast becoming a much less important company in the smartphone space than it used to be. There's even more big news on the way, with a number of significant new smartphones hitting the market over the next few months. Here's a quick rundown of what we have to expect in the weeks to come.   Apple iPhone 5 If I could get a dollar for every rumor that has been ever been written about the iPhone, I'd be a wealthy man - like Montgomery Burns from The Simpsons-style wealthy. The latest iPhone to draw this much gossip and speculation is the iPhone 5, which should (according to a preponderance of rumors) be available sometime in early October. The new features in this device are wholly open to speculation and guesstimation at this point, but based on the level of Internet chatter we can probably bet that the iPhone 5 will offer 4G support, a faster dual-core processor, a larger display (possibly an AMOLED), more storage, iOS5, and undoubtedly some other features I haven't listed here. Regardless of what features the iPhone 5 ends up with, it should make the smartphone battle for the next half of the year an interesting one.   Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" Devices The sudden departure of HP WebOS-based phones from the market -- namely the Pre and the Veer -- and the ongoing market share declines of RIM's Blackberry could finally give Windows Phone 7 a place on the smartphone market share podium. Granted, Windows Phone 7 would still have a lo...More
Aug 19, 2011
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Software Licensing and IT Asset Management Explained

One of the constants of managing an IT infrastructure is keeping tabs on software licensing requirements. It's a task that not every IT administrator enjoys, and the often disparate licensing approaches by multiple IT vendors can often leave system administrators, IT management, and the accounting department scratching their heads at best and muttering expletives at worst. Microsoft isn't alone in earning the occasional ire of IT professionals in this respect, as recent licensing changes by VMware for vSphere 5 generated a firestorm of customer criticism. In order to help shed some light on the often confusing world of software licensing, I've decided to launch a multi-part blog series that will examine all aspects of software licensing in general, and Microsoft licensing and software assurance in particular. I'll be talking to Microsoft executives, IT professionals, Microsoft partners, and other Microsoft licensing stakeholders to hopefully explain the intricacies of software licensing, how the advent of virtual machines and cloud computing are complicating (and potentially streamlining) the software licensing discussion, and what the future holds for software licensing. While licensing can be a frustrating topic for many IT professionals, it's important to remember that there are two sides to every issue. I recently spoke with Brad Smith, Microsoft's director of product licensing for Microsoft's Worldwide Licensing & Pricing division, about Microsoft's approach to software licensing. Smith makes a compelling argument about Microsoft's challenges in developing licensing policies for software that is used by millions of companies, organizations, city, state, and federal governments, and in many different countries and languages. Many of these groups have wildly different licensing needs and requirements, and trying to fashion a software licensing policy that fits the needs of so many different customers and use cases can be a daunting task.   Brad Smi...More
Aug 15, 2011
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Samsung Galaxy S II to Arrive Stateside Soon? 1

With the arrival of the iPhone 5 and the first round of new Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" devices just a few months – or even weeks -- away, this fall season will be filled with lots of shiny new phones for gadget lovers to get their hands on. Now Samsung has officially entered the fray, announcing via a recent Tweet that it has a "Big announcement on the 29th," referring to an invite-only press event in New York scheduled for August 29th. The media invite included mention of a "major product announcement" which will more than likely focus on the forthcoming stateside availability of the Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone. (This information jibes with what a Samsung executive told Korea’s Yonhap News Agency a few weeks ago.) Final product names and carriers are expected to be announced at the event, but here's what we know about Samsung's uber-smartphone so far.     Released in Europe and in other parts of the world in May 2011, the Galaxy S II sold more than 5 million units in 85 days, an eye-opening sales statistic that underscores just how popular Samsung's latest smartphone is. The Galaxy S II has benefited from glowing reviews from critics and end users, and is loaded with an impressive list of standard features, namely:   Samsung Galaxy S II technical specifications Dual-core 1.2 GHz processor 8 Megapixel rear-facing camera 2 Megapixel front-facing camera 4.3" 800 x 480 Super AMOLED display Google Android 2.3.3 OS Ultra-thin case design (8.49mm thick) Near Field Communications (NFC) support Boy Genius Report recently blogged that the AT&T variant of the phone will feature a slide-out keyboard, while PC Magazine's Sara Yin posted that the phone will be available on AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon, and may be renamed the Galaxy Attain (AT&T), the Galaxy Within (Sprint), and the Galaxy Stratosphere (Verizon) when released in the US. With Samsung’s official press day for thei...More
Aug 11, 2011
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Six Reasons Why Google+ Will Succeed 2

Google+ has been available for several months now, and I've spent some time playing around with the service. I've read more than a few articles about why you should and should not adopt Google+. After fiddling with my own circles, sparks, and huddles for a while, I've come down on the side of those that think Google+ is here to stay, and that it brings some new and innovative features to the table. Yet while Google+ competes with existing social media platforms on some level, I'd argue that Google's ambitions for Google+ go far beyond simply competing with Facebook. Read on for the six reasons I believe Google+ will eventually join the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as a leading social media platform. 1. It's Not Facebook Some bloggers and pundits have already dismissed Google+ as a poor clone of Facebook, and point to recent Google failures like Buzz and Wave. Google has lots of company in the tech failure hall of fame: Apple's MobileMe, Apple TV, and Newton eMate 300 are surely present, as are Microsoft Bob, Windows Vista, and Microsoft Zune. (Beads of flop sweat are beginning to form on Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 efforts, but it's still too early to dismiss this very promising--albeit beleaguered--mobile OS from a seat at the tech fail table yet.) While Google+ does have some features that are comparable to Facebook, it isn’t fair (or accurate) to dismiss it as a feature-for-feature clone. Granted, Google+ can't match Facebook's impressive 750 million user base, and I doubt it will ever usurp Facebook as the social media platform of choice for posting photos of Hummel figurine collections, reports of embarrassing office parties, or serving as the online soapbox of choice we all use to tell our own airbrushed versions of reality. (Those of you that have never used Facebook to post pictures of your kids, brag about a recent vacation, or subtly tried to let everyone know how great of a person you are can be excused. Still here? I thought so....More
Aug 8, 2011
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Twitter #Hashtags for the System Administrator and IT Manager

Like many Windows IT Pro and Business Technology readers, my relationship with Twitter began with a fair amount of trepidation. I already devoted enough time to Facebook and LinkedIn, I thought. So why should I spend the extra time to learn yet another new social media platform? Almost three years after creating my Twitter account, I’ve learned that this popular microblogging service can be an invaluable tool for just about anyone. As a journalist and blogger, I use Twitter to interact with readers, follow industry trends, and share my latest blog posts and articles. For the IT professional or IT executive there are perhaps even more good reasons to use Twitter, since the Twittersphere has emerged as an excellent resource to get help with technical problems, collect advice from your peers, and meet like-minded IT professionals.   IT Hashtag Guide One of the most effective ways to use Twitter is to leverage hashtags, which are Twitter keywords – preceded with a hash symbol – that help group relevant topics and discussions together. For example, if you’d like to post something on Twitter about problems you’re having with Microsoft Office, adding the hashtag #msoffice will likely give your tweet more visibility to people that might be able to help you with your problem. Hashtags make it much easier to search for and find Tweets about a specific topic. For example, I frequently search for the Twitter hashtag #sysadmin using Twitter search, which makes it easy to see what the IT community is talking about on Twitter at any given moment. (See example #sysadmin search results below.)     In order to help you get the most out of using Twitter as a platform for IT pros and executives, I’ve compiled a list of some of the most commonly used IT-related hashtags. Using a Twitter hashtag that I don’t have on the list? Add a comment to this blog post and I’ll add it.   #cfo – Chief Financial Officer #cio – Chief Information Officer #cybersecurity...More
Jul 19, 2011
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Apple Reports Record Quarter…Again

  It was Apple’s turn to report third-fiscal quarter earnings today, and the results didn’t disappoint: A whopping $28.57 billion in revenue (up 82% from the previous year) and a surge in net profit ($7.31 billion, up from $3.25 billion in Q3 2010). All of this news pushed Apple stock briefly above the $400 mark, according to CBS Marketwatch.   “We’re thrilled to deliver our best quarter ever, with revenue up 82 percent and profits up 125 percent,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs in a prepared statement accompanying the earnings report. “Right now, we’re very focused and excited about bringing iOS 5 and iCloud to our users this fall.”   The follows on the heels of positive Q3 financial results from IBM, and expected good financial news from Microsoft later this week. According to Apple, the bulk of their revenue came from burgeoning iPhone sales: More than 20 million (20.34 million, to be precise) were sold in the quarter, indicating unit sales growth of more than 140 percent compared to the same quarter last year. Here are some additional stats about the quarter from Apple: 9.25 million iPads were sold during the quarter, a 183 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter 3.95 million Macs were sold during the quarter, a 14 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter 7.54 million iPods were sold during the quarter, a 20 percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter One interesting tidbit: Apple chief operating officer Tim Cook mentioned that Mac sales were possibly impacted by sales cannibalization from the iPad.   While the economy at large seems stuck in perpetual gloom, IBM, Microsoft, and Apple seem to be weathering the economic storm better than some of their less fortunate competitors and corporations in other industries.   Surprised by Apple’s fiscal performance? Let me know what you think by commenting on this blog post or following the discussion on Twitter. Follow Jeff James on Twitter at @jeffjames3...More
Jul 19, 2011
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Announcing the System Administrator of the Year Contest

While you’re reading this article, hundreds of thousands of IT professionals around the world are configuring servers, fighting spam, answering help desk calls, and helping keep websites like this one running. They often work long hours, come to work when everyone else is sleeping, and sometimes sacrifice time with family and loved ones over holidays and weekends to make sure that an essential IT service is maintained or stays accessible.   IT professionals have also endured one of the most stressful periods for the IT field in recent memory, with budget cuts on one side and threats from outsourcing and and cloud computing on the other. Every IT pro I know has stories like these to tell.   That’s why we’re happy to announce our first ever System Administrator of the Year contest. Do you know an IT professional that everyone turns to for advice or calls when nobody else can resolve a problem? If you know a system administrator that fits that description, please nominate them (or yourself) by following the link below to our online entry form. > Enter the System Administrator of the Year Contest <   The grand prize winner will receive an Apple iPad 2, an Xbox 360 with Kinect, and a host of other prizes from sponsors TrainSignal, Specops Software and Scriptlogic. Visit the System Administrator of the Year contest page for more details.   We’d also like to thank our media sponsors (Windows IT Pro, Cloud IT Pro, SharePoint Pro and Business Technology) and our community sponsors (GITCA and System Admin Appreciation Day founder Ted Kekatos) for their help in spreading the world about the contest.   Know any IT pros that deserve to be called System Administrator of the Year? Let me know what you think by commenting on this blog post or following me on Twitter. Follow Jeff James on Twitter at @jeffjames3 Follow Business Technology on Twitter at @BizTechMag Related Content: Icebergs and iSCSI: Building the Next-Gener...More
Jul 14, 2011
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Dell KACE Launches M300 Appliance for SMBs 1

Not much more than a year after acquiring enterprise appliance vendor KACE Systems, Dell has launched the M300, a new device aimed at small business IT managers. We've written a bit about KACE Systems in the past, and the new Dell KACE division seems determined to make the most of the KACE acquisition. The M300 is a small hardware appliance -- not much bigger than the Apple TV device -- that is aimed squarely at the needs of IT managers at small businesses, specifically those that manage less than 200 seats. According to Dell KACE, the M300 will help IT pros track and manage software licenses, software and hardware inventory, and help keep tabs on other IT assets. Dell KACE bills the M300 as a plug and play appliance which can be installed and configured in less than 15 minutes.   I spoke with Dell's Ken Drachnik (Director of Product Marketing) and Sendhil Jayachandran (Senior Product Manager) about the M300 announcement, and both stressed that the Dell KACE division was focused on alleviating the pain points of IT pros at SMBs. "We targeted the primary paint points, the core DNA of the target segment," Jayachandran said. "Many of those guys are still using manual tools -- like Excel spreadsheets -- to keep track of hardware and software assets or to manage licenses. We wanted to alleviate the pain of working on all of those redundant tasks repeatedly." Jayachandran and Drachnik described their target market as sitting between IT departments large enough to afford large system management applications like Microsoft System Center on the upper end, and smaller IT shops on the lower end that rely on manual tools (like Excel and Word) or free network management products like Spiceworks on the other. Spiceworks has earned a loyal following of millions of IT professionals, but Drachnik and Jayachandran claimed that their own research showed that some system administrators weren't entirely happy with free solutions like Spiceworks, and wan...More
Jul 1, 2011
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Gartner: 77% of CFOs Say IT Service Levels Not Meeting Business Expectations

In a sobering report put together by IT research firm Gartner and the Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF), a majority of the 344 CFOs interviewed for the study felt that internal IT organizations weren't being managed properly, lacked organizational and technical flexibility, and weren't delivering the technology innovations needed by their respective businesses.   The Gartner/FERF study – called “The CFO’s Impact on Technology Investment Decisions” (download PDF) -- also high...More
May 24, 2011
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Microsoft, GITCA Partner for "24 Hours in the Cloud" Global Event

The Global IT Community Association (GITCA) has partnered with Microsoft to produce a free, 24-hour virtual event (slated for June 1st, 2011) that will provide information on many aspects of cloud computing....More
May 15, 2011
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TechEd 2011: Reviewer's Workshop Recap

The 2011 TechEd Reviewer's Workshop has drawn to a close, and we've written updates and provided some new information on a variety of Microsoft products....More
May 15, 2011
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TechEd 2011: Windows Azure Connect, Free Azure Trial

Here at the Microsoft TechEd Reviewer's Workshop at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Microsoft Developer and Platform Evangelist James Conard provided an update on the status of Windows Azure, Microsoft's cloud services operating system and developer platform....More
May 13, 2011
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iPhone, iPad, and Android Make Enterprise Gains

We've already blogged about the iPhone and Android making inroads into the enterprise, but some recent data published by Microsoft Exchange hosting provider Intermedia indicates those devices -- and now the iPad -- are having even more success getting into the hands of business users....More
May 10, 2011
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Is the Microsoft-Skype Deal Really Worth $8.5 Billion?

There's been a ton of news, discussion, and analysis of Microsoft's $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype, the free Internet telephone service. Opinion of the deal has varied from overly negative to blushingly positive, but the truth will probably fall somewhere in between. Yet the ginormous, $8.5 billion pound elephant in the room is whether Microsoft will ever recoup that investment on a service primarily known for providing free internet telephony and video services to consumers....More
May 6, 2011
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BDNA Works to Address IT Product Sprawl

There's a darker side to a chaotic sprawl of outdated, unmonitored, and neglected programs in a business setting. How do you know how many applications you have for licensing purposes? And how many of those applications are missing required patches, or are afflicted with a security vulnerability? Solving just that sort of problem has become the mission of BDNA, a company that specializes in helping companies get a handle on out of control IT file and application sprawl....More
Mar 25, 2011
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MMS2011: A Good Week for Microsoft 2

I spent most of this week at the Microsoft Management Summit 2011 (MMS2011), arguably the best MMS event in recent memory. The show sold out a few weeks before it started, with a healthy 4000+ attendees heading to Las Vegas to learn about the latest products, updates, and news from the System Center product team. Nearly all the attendees I spoke with were happy with the show and impressed by Microsoft's ambitious vision for the System Center family....More
Mar 23, 2011
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MMS2011: Windows InTune, Bitlocker Admin and Monitoring Beta (MBAM) Now Available

Today's keynote at the Microsoft Management Summit 2011 (MMS2011) focused on cloud computing and consumerization. Microsoft Vice President Brad Anderson took the stage to announce a number of new and updated products and developments in the System Center product family....More
Mar 22, 2011
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MMS2011: Microsoft Unveils System Center 2012, Project Concero

Earlier today at the Microsoft Management Summit 2011 (MMS2011) here in Las Vegas, Microsoft Vice President Brad Anderson announced a variety of new products and features in the System Center product family, including Microsoft System Center 2012, the beta availability of Virtual Machine Manager 2012, and codename "Concero," a new System Center feature that allows the product to manage public and private clouds. ...More
Mar 21, 2011
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What to Expect at MMS 2011 This Week

The Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) 2011 is being held in Las Vegas this week, and Microsoft is expected to use the event to put the spotlight on some of the upgrades (and new additions) to its Microsoft System Center family of products....More
Mar 18, 2011
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New Processor Design Approach Trims Chips, Boosts Speed

The basic idea behind the study was to reduce chip power consumption by allowing a higher percentage of calculation errors, then develop smart chip management functions that mitigate the impact of those errors....More
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