CBS Tech Talk:
Google's stripped-down laptop, the Samsung Chromebook Series 5, can be purchased from Best Buy and Amazon. Are you planning on buying it? With headlines suggesting that the Chromebook is "tepid" and "works great only if you're online," leaves many on the fence.
The device (which is priced from $430 to $500) - a bargain compared to MacBooks, which start at $999 - is built and optimized for the Web. It promises a faster, simpler way to surf in a more secure experience.
Dissed by New York Times personal technology columnist David Pogue: "Chromebooks assume that you are online anywhere you go. We are not quite there yet. When you're not online, the chromebook is a three-pound 'paperweight,'" he pointed out in yesterday's column entitled "A Laptop, Its Head in the Cloud."
The future sure is off to a bumpy start.
Google has released their first Chromebook into the wild and the reviews aren't so hot. At least, not for their first stab at things. I question the idea of charging upwards of $500 for a laptop that can only use one application - the browser. You can get much more capable "netbooks" at a lower cost. That's just silliness, Google. For a company to make most of its cash via ads, it's odd that they're fine with Samsung and others to charge so high a starting price for such hardware.
Google and Apple have taken very different stances on where they see the future of computing going. Apple thinks that native Cocoa apps are their vision, while Google is perfectly fine with web apps that include their ads inside of them.
Without being locked into Apple's iOS and Mac operating system, the majority of enterprise users could very well fit into Google's vision of computing, but things haven't started off in an ideal manner.
Microsoft spokespeople have been coy about when the Office 365 cloud service will launch, saying only that it will come out later in 2011. But CEO Steve Ballmer has revealed that it will launch in June.
Speaking in Delhi, India, to an industry group last week, Ballmer said, "We're pushing hard in the productivity space. We'll launch our Office 365 cloud service, which gives you Lync and Exchange and SharePoint and Office and more as a subscribable service that comes from the cloud. That launches in the month of June."
The cloud service will replace the current Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), and include access to Exchange, SharePoint, the Lync unified communications suite, and both desktop and Web-based versions of Office tools such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The Office 365 beta has attracted more than 100,000 customers, and was recently expanded to become a public beta available to anyone.
Whoa, now. It seems like Microsoft is finally ready to get the good folks that their Office products to learn how the Cloud can help them. Don't be afraid of the Cloud, gang. We use it every day. I'm using the Cloud to write this post. Ahhh!!
I don't know about you, but I prefer to write documents via web browser, or to a lesser extent, a service that syncs automatically with Dropbox in order to store my files safely. Using Word is great and all, but if that HDD explodes while you're writing the best blog post ever, it's as good as toast. Apps like PlainText and Elements save while you're typing to the Dropbox folder of your choice. Late or not, Microsoft seems to be getting the idea with this instant-save business. The less the user has to worry about backing things up, the better.
- by Chad, "The Dream", Weaver.
Today I want to talk about server storage in a small to midsized company.
I have noticed that the storage space is wildly spread out with some servers utilizing almost all of its available space, and with no drive bays to expand have to be monitored closely to prevent the drives from filling up. While other servers are massively under used, yet have a large storage array or a very large amount of disk space unused. You may even use this device to store network shares and documents from all the different users. It seems like such a shame to have all that space go wasted from where it is truly needed. If you can afford it, SANs are the perfect option to centralize your storage so that the space can be spread out accordingly, and not waste that hard disk space. It used to be Fiber Channel, which came with its own expense, then came iSCSI that use Ethernet to handle the data transfers.
There is a simple option you use to create a simple iSCSI target on your existing underutilized servers to connect via an iSCSI initiator to from a server that needs the space. This tool is actually from Microsoft surprisingly, and can allow you to turn a 2003, 2008 server in to a basic SAN. The software you need to get started is the iSCSI target client software the current version is 3.3 and after a short install of this software you can get started creating your first iSCSI LUN and target in almost no time. I have set this up and I will admit that you do have to have a basic understanding of how all this works. It really does help but, as always, good old Google can help you get through it. I can even write up a walk through in the near future outlining how it is all done. For now we will skip all that and go to what this can do for you. You can now create a virtual drive, in this instance of SAN the disks are created are Microsoft’s .vhd files. Once you have completed that, you assign that drive to a LUN. A server desperately in need of space acts as a local hard drive using Microsoft’s iSCSI initiator software that is installed on Windows 7 and a server 2008 by default and is a quick install on XP and 2003 systems. You can connect to the new target and initialize the new disk space format and name it as you desire and get started using that space.
There are a couple limiting factors here as this is a software iSCSI SAN solution and isn’t as full featured as some hardware solutions. It also helps to have a faster than 100 base-t Ethernet connected to your server. But if you have Gigabit Ethernet on your servers and an appropriate switch performance it’s actually pretty decent. Over all I would say this is a great way to utilize the wasted hard disk space on your servers and or expand a server’s storage capacity with what you already have without spending a single dime. Especially if you are just looking for storage capacity, I wouldn’t host critical databases on it, but it is amazing what you can do when you are no longer limited to the storage directly attached to your servers anymore. Also, in a pinch, it can also be used in Hyper-V implementations; you can attach the drive to the host system and attach that to the guest, or boot the guest from the host system and then attach the target to the guest system directly ignoring the host operating system that way. From here the sky is the limit think about it.
(this article originally appeared on Technorati)
If you're in IT or following technology trends, you probably have heard about Google's Chromebooks.
If you haven't, Google made an operating system that is lean, small, and boots right into a browser only. Holy smokes, the future!
This OS will only ship on laptops, for now, and during the recent I/O conference Google holds for developers Google really hit home on the fact that these should really be great for the enterprise field.
Can you imagine? Never having to install an app with a CD, or worrying about the fact that the user is still running IE 6 or Office 2003? Smells like heaven if you ask me. What a fantastical dreamworld we'd all be living in. Not to mention the fact that you'd be using Google's services via the web anyhow, so all the updates to those apps would be taken care of by Google.
Though, the downside to that is of course, Google could update all of your apps without you even knowing it. Such is the life of living on the web, friends. What becomes of your friendly neighborhood engineers, you ask?
Well, an engineer with skills is knitting would be a good idea as a job backup plan. But, Google has an intensive Administrator panel planned for the Enterprise versions of the OS. Plus, who will reset your password when you forget every Monday morning?
This article originally appeared on Technorati.
It's finally here - Google Music Beta is official.
Amazon and Google have gone forward without the A-OK of the music labels and are allowing you to upload your music to their "cloud" for streaming. Excellent! I'm glad both companies will stick it to the labels. It seems like Google Music Beta won’t be letting in many users, though, so we’ll have to wait to be able to upload 20K songs into the cloud. Is that a good or bad thing?
What’s the difference between those and Apple's possible streaming service, though? Label support.
Apple is said to be in talks with labels about their own version of iTunes streaming and may even have their full support. What does that mean for you? For starters, it may mean you won’t have to wait a day and half uploading all of your music. Presumably, label support will mean that Apple’s servers can read over your library, and if it’s for sale in the iTunes store, that track will become instantly available to you for streaming - no upload necessary, your songs are tracked via your Apple ID, too.)
I’m willing to bet a large majority of the folks reading this don’t pay for their music, or have ripped a ton of CDs to their HDD. If Apple has indeed gotten labels on their side, you won’t have to worry about uploading a single track to their servers. They already have just about every song out there available for purchase inside of iTunes for sale.
Why bother having the user upload anything when they already have the track on hand? My bet is this will be the differentiator among the services. Your Apple ID will now know what files you have inside of iTunes and that info will then follow you around on all of your iOS devices and most likely a new web version of iTunes.
Can you imagine Steve Jobs uploading his iTunes collection to a server? Not me sir, not me.
It is up to each individual organization to choose where to start and how to grow cloud services. Your approach will vary based on your business needs. For instance, a few years back we right-sized and optimized our companywide lab environment because capacity was growing rapidly, server utilization was decreasing and support costs were rising. We deployed a private cloud environment, and Microsoft IT was able to reduce support costs by 35 percent, enhance the SLAs with the product teams and improve customer satisfaction.
Microsoft uses a decision framework, taking into account questions that every organization should ask:
a. What are the capabilities in our offerings? What’s our roadmap?
b. Which of our applications can be moved most easily? Which are already state-separated? Which can be virtualized? Which are not worth moving to the cloud?
c. What’s the business impact of moving each application to the cloud?
Who better to get thoughts on moving your client to the cloud than Microsofts own Chief Information Officer? Well, me. Let's be honest here.
But seriously, folks, it's worth checking out the entire article over on Microsofts blog. Moving services to a non-local server, or "the cloud" is a huge decision for any company. What is the long-term impact of moving your services off-site? I hope you have faith in that service, too. You don't want to be signing up with some mish-mash PSN service and lose all your information. Or worse, have you information in the hands of hackers spending all of your monies willy nilly.
When considering future structural moves, one should consider the history you've had with your IT support team. Trigon always makes pains to ensure that these moves would be in the best interest of the client. If it doesn't work for you, it won't work for us.
- by David, "Q-Tips", Quiram
Here are some non-technical common sense things to avoid doing during a full blown disaster recovery, with or without an established plan. Ten things to not do that aren't always covered in plans or even discussions of disaster recovery.
- Panic. No really, don't panic. Things will work out or not. Panicking will just get the client nervous, your staff nervous, and you unfocused.
- In the words of Colin Powel - "Get mad, and then get over it." Don't get angry or if you are, vent and get over it. The emotions will limit your outlook and lead you to bad choices.
- Don't deviate from the plan. Stick to the plan. If you don't have a plan, make one up before you start doing anything. Know the next step you’re taking before you finish the step you’re at.
- Do not wing it….this leads to the bad place. Document your steps you have taken and notes on what you plan to do next. You WILL be interrupted and your train of thought will be broken and you WILL lose that one thought that takes you to the next step. Notes will give you the tool to get focused on the process you were working on.
- Do not work all night. Having you or your staff exhausted will only hinder the process. Take breaks, and space out staffing. Don’t get wrapped up in the drama of the moment. Remember, you are the calm one steering the company through the storm.
- Don't go quiet. Communicate to the stakeholders involved. They want to know what is going on. Control the communication flow so you can control the interruptions to you and your staff. Communicate to your staff. This will calm nerves and focus the process.
- Don't consume beverages with high amounts of caffeine and sugar, the so called energy drinks. As much the iconic IT staffer is tied with Redbull, Monster, and Mountain Dew, this will just hinder the process. These will burn you out quicker and break your focus.
- Don't consume alcohol. This should be a no brainer.
- Don't do it all yourself. Delegate to your staff. If you are stuck reach out to others for assistance. There are support contracts in place just for this, use them. You have associates in the IT field you can tap for a sounding board, use them!
- Don't forget to follow up after the recovery is done. The recovery process will have shown shortfalls in the plan, if there was one. It is essential to have a de-brief of the event to understand what happened, how it can be prevented, and how to make the process better. You just went through all that pain, learn from it.
Welcome to Part 2 of our intensive study regarding EWeeks Top 10 list on Chrome OS. Go ahead and read Part 1 and then let's dig in!
Are consumers ready?
As mentioned, consumers need to decide if using Chrome OS is really necessary. But Google must also consider if the consumer market is ready for its platform. It’s a question that Google must answer before it sees its Web-based operating system fail.
I’m going to make a scandalous statement right now. Consumers are not ready for Chrome OS. It’s too mind-blowing. Even though we nerds may not consider it to be mind-blowing, this is a big deal to the general public. You’re essentially buying a computer that just has a browser and no other apps. “How do I send emails”?! “How do I look at pictures”?! Shudder.
When Chrome OS launches, Google is assured that users will be able to access many of the programs they desire from the company’s online Chrome app store. Simply put, when it comes to software compatibility, Chrome OS will fall short.
This is where I think it really shows where Chrome OS is ahead of its time. We’re not really at the point on the web where we can do everything we want to do via web apps. I can’t wait for that day to happen, but it’s just not here yet. Those apps have to be somewhere. What would Andrew Levin do without OneNote access?!
If there is trouble on the software side with Chrome OS, the issue must also span the hardware market. Windows and Mac OS X users want to be able to connect their USB devices, FireWire-connected products, and other hardware to Chrome OS devices and get them to work.
Oh, good point. What happens when Grandma wants to upload pictures of her new crumb cake to her family? Luckily, Chrome OS will allow to store photos locally, but not a whole lot. Grandma is saved for now, but what about VIDEOS of her crumb cake?
Android, the competitor
Chrome OS is designed to be a lightweight operating system at launch, potentially making it effective for customers using netbooks or even tablets. The only issue for Google is that its other operating system, Android, is also capable of running quite well on those devices. Google has said that it doesn’t view its two platforms as competitors. But will consumers?
This is a huge negative among the tech reviewing community. It seems like Google has two competing projects that don’t talk to each other at all. You have a great, lightweight mobile operating system with Android, and what Google thinks is a great mobile operating system. If Google doesn't know what they are selling, how will Grandma?
Data plan considerations
As a Web-based operating system, Chrome OS requires an always-connected experience for users. Simply put, Chrome OS requires a monthly fee to work properly that many customers might take issue with.
This one seems kind of weak. If you’re getting a laptop, chances are you have Wi-Fi, and if you don’t, let’s stop speaking to each other right now. But, the 3G considerations are something. In fact, I think most power travelers would love a built-in 3G plan.
So what’s the final word on Chrome OS? People hate change, especially Grandmas. Many consider web apps the future but, to me, it still seems like a great ways off. Years, in fact. It certainly doesn’t help matters that Google is pushing two competing mobile operating systems, does it?
The folks at EWeek has put together 10 reasons why Chrome OS faces some hurdles. Fatal hurdles, at that. But, since we at Trigon are the smartest and most humble folks you’ll ever meet, we’ve decided to break down these points. Put down that pork roll and pay attention, friend.
It comes down to capability.
When it’s all said and done, customers will judge Google’s Chrome OS platform by what they can do with it. But further inspection reveals that they won’t be able to do as much as they can on, say, Windows or Mac OS X.
Good on you, EWeek. This will be the biggest hurdle of them all. Can you truly run your business in the cloud? Or at the very least, have your employees run their programs via Citrix on their Chrome OS laptops from a main Application Server? Could you run Terminal Server for most or all of your tasks? Time will tell. Cloud is the future, but ChromeOS could be ahead of its time.
Beating Windows is a tall order.
Microsoft’s Windows operating system has a dominant share over the operating system market around the world. Until Google can convince those key parties to switch, it could have a hard time making Chrome OS a success.
Converting a person, let alone a company, to a cloud based OS from their blankee, Microsoft, is no easy task. Impossible, almost. Just ask our resident MS Fanboy, Andrew Levin. He just switched to WP7 from an iPhone and will waste no time in telling you have “awesome” OneNote mobile is. Or how ”ballin’” Windows Live email is. There are many folks out there just like him. The thought of changing from Microsoft is enough to make them flip over your dinner plate. Then stomp on the food.
The enterprise consideration.
Speaking of the enterprise, it seems like one key area where Google’s operating system will fall short. If Google can’t attract the corporate world at all, it could have some trouble making Chrome OS a long-term success.
It’s like EWeek is ready my mind! At Trigon, we tend to know your enterprise needs out of the park. With that said, is your small to mid-sized business ready for a completely cloud OS? That completely depends on your situation. If most of your work can be done in a word processor, email, and some light application work, Chrome OS could be perfect for you. But what if ChromeOS doesn’t stick around for long and is deemed a failure? Danger, Danger!
The important question: Is it necessary?
When consumers finally decide if they want a product or not, they need to figure out if it’s necessary. Chrome OS is likely an unacceptable option for those searching for a single efficient device to spend their hard-earned cash compared to an operating system they know and (mostly) trust.
Very true, indeed. Chrome OS is still very much in the experimental phase. In fact, many of the new products that Google announces and promotes are those that their own engineers create in their approved downtime. Google thinks their invention is good enough for the bigtime, and allow it to become a full-time project. This provides great innovation in the field, but some never turn out as intended, i.e., Buzz, Wave, etc.
Vendor support is critical
Chrome OS could be derailed quite quickly without the proper support from vendors. The sooner it can attract consumer attention to the software platform, the sooner it can limit its chances of seeing Chrome OS become a failure.
This is where I’ll disagree slightly with EWeek. While vendor support is critical, I don’t believe it will lead to success. You can have vendors singing praises to ChromeOS, but without customer adoption, the OS will flounder.
Tune in tomorrow when Trigon gets to the nitty gritty of Chrome OS for YOU with for 6-10!
- by David, "The Conscience", Quiram.
So the buzz word these days is cloud computing, you can use it to free your staff from their desks, you can use it to access applications data anywhere for a reasonable cost, you can use it to save your company. All these are true according to ads and blogs (including one of my own). But can it really. What do we know about the cloud industry? Is the cloud ready for true disaster recovery?
The cloud has been around since the internet, as it is the internet. It’s like the way we name oceans, they are all one big ocean connected, but we segment them for our own understanding. So it isn't some new technology from on high. It is just a new way of using what is there.
While there are opportunities to improve your processes, budgets, and disaster recovery using this technology, the truth of it is that you are just trading the risks you had onsite to the risks inherent in the cloud computing and resources. There are risks that most people don't understand or are even aware of.
No one really questions if the internet could ever fail as a whole, if it did, where would the cloud computing be then? Where is the disaster recovery you were depending on? Where is that spreadsheet you needed for the meeting? You don't know. I don't mean to sound like an alarmist, I like the resources and opportunities of cloud computing, but I am also very aware of its vulnerabilities and the risks I will take using it.
The companies that offer cloud based resources are all working in the wild west. There isn't' much regulation to maintain the integrity of the industry, there are major players but they are feeling out the business as much as the smaller companies, they just have the advantage of being able to make more mistakes due to their budget. The technology is constantly improving and changing, the needs of the users are still being discovered. There are niches to be filled and plenty of opportunities to grow and create great offers and services. But the business practices are still immature and there really isn’t a standard to dictate best practices. It is the Precambrian explosion for cloud computing, anything goes, and what does not work will die out.
The cloud options are attractive, but it definitely is ‘buyers beware’ market. Unless you stipulate in a contract, you will not control where your data rests. There will be third party employees who will have access to the data. Again, contracts are what are going to limit that liability. But what if the company goes under or is bought out; you are at risk of data loss when there wasn't even a site loss.
Like all decisions that involve the disaster recovery of your company's data and assets, you need to weigh the risks, all of them. Do the research; look for the words behind the ads and buzz speak. You are the first step to a successful disaster recovery and you choose the tools you use….choose wisely.
Don't get caught making hasty decisions. If you need some help, be sure to let us know and we can help you along your cloud computing route. Jenkintown or Doylestown; we can help!