Enterprise IT Watch Blog

July 19, 2011  1:01 PM

Employee-as-a-Service: The benefits and dangers of an “It’s complicated” business relationship

Michael Morisy Michael Morisy Profile: Michael Morisy

Michael Ryan over at IBM Systems Magazine has an interesting piece up, provocatively titled Should You Rent or Own Your Employees? Rented employees, as it were, include independent contractors and consultants, with “owned” employees being traditional, W-2’d salaried workers for the company in question.

There’s a lot of benefits from jumping from salaried IT to being independent: Robin Miller interviewed Frank Sfalanga Jr. about how he got up and running in the field. Ryan takes a look at the issue from the other side: Should IT managers hire full-time or temporary staff? “Renting” employees, he wrote, are ideal in situations where specialized expertise is needed, for example, or if there was a one-time task at hand.

Reading through his piece, the pros and cons seemed to line up with another hot phenomenon: Cloud Computing. Just as with hiring full-time versus contracted work, it generally makes sense to keep your company’s core competency in-house, while strategically outsourcing non-business drivers, like which e-mail you use or your CRM software.

The risks are also paralleled: With full-time employees, you risk incurring large, long-term expenses that don’t necessarily scale up or down with the business. With contractors, you raise a host of new security concerns.

So where do you see your departments looking at the latest wave of employee-as-a-service? And where is important to keep the skills in house? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Michael Morisy is the editorial director for ITKnowledgeExchange. He can be followed on Twitter or you can reach him at Michael@ITKnowledgeExchange.com.

July 19, 2011  8:06 AM

Is cloud storage actually on the rise?

Melanie Yarbrough Profile: MelanieYarbrough

It seems the only people that are one hundred percent for the cloud are cloud vendors: storage, services, security, you name it. But the people who actually have to sign off their data to the cloud? Well, some of them are still pretty skeptical.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some IT professionals who can see the pros in services such as cloud storage. BigKat’s Internet service provider (ISP) offers a cloud-based backup for his personal computers. The service includes encryption and supports sending very large files via email.

ErroneousGiant doesn’t trust the ISP’s encryption offering, and suggests encrypting the data yourself then allowing the ISP to encrypt your encrypted data. He suggests Sophos for business and home encryption. He uses a cloud system for car insurance documents and encrypts them before uploading them to the cloud. Between that and his cloud photo storage for his Windows Phone 7, ErroneousGiant is all set with cloud storage services.

One step up from personal cloud storage use? Small- and medium-sized businesses in the cloud. And according to a recent report from AMI Partners entitled “US SMB Playbook,” hosted storage is on the rise with about an 11 percent increase expected annually until 2015.

What are your expectations for cloud storage in your neck of the enterprise in the coming four years? Do you think reports such as this reflect a majority or a skewed vision of the cloud’s capabilities in business?

We’d love to hear from you in the comments section or directly at Melanie@ITKnowledgeExchange.com.

Melanie Yarbrough is the assistant community editor at ITKnowledgeExchange.com. Follow her on Twitter or send her an email at Melanie@ITKnowledgeExchange.com.

July 14, 2011  3:07 PM

Some thoughts on the Cisco Cius

Michael Morisy Michael Morisy Profile: Michael Morisy

To be clear, this is not a formal review of the Cisco Cius. Cisco’s very hesitant to hand out review units, I’ve been told, since the experience is so tied into the company’s rather nice (and rather nicely upgraded) communications software and hardware. Fortunately, I’ve had three chances to get some hands-on time with the Cius while here at Cisco Live! and previously at Interop. I had a few observations I thought might be helpful.
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July 13, 2011  5:03 PM

Cisco Catalyst 6500: Comfort food for uncomfortable times

Michael Morisy Michael Morisy Profile: Michael Morisy

IT departments are, for many intents and purposes, a fairly conservative group. Yes, they love their gadgets, pushing hardware to the limit and playing around on the bleeding edge – but not when it comes to anything that actually matters for their job. And for good reason: I’ve seen too many user-generated train wrecks in almost every facet of IT when eager young guns or generally savvy amateurs try to do it themselves.

white trash repairs - The Norse Server RAIDs Again

So the big news of Cisco’s upgraded Catalyst 6500 should not have been that big a surprise, but it sure felt like a letdown. Last year, we got Cisco announcing they were blazing tracks into a brand new area for them – the tablet! – and this year, all we get it a refresh to a 12-year-old product. So can the humble tech press, myself included, be forgiven for highlighting “new” features like “IPv4 and IPv6 support” support, even those Catalyst 6500 has supported that for years? I hope so, because it’s an important and impressive product with an interesting strategy (“most” of the new features and capabilities being offered do not even require a full upgrade). And more importantly, it highlights Cisco’s new-found strategy: Retreat to move forward. Continued »

July 13, 2011  1:35 PM

Video walk-through of CSC’s Unified Communications as a Service (Sponsored)

Guest Author Profile: Guest Author

CSC Solutions Architect John Howell walks viewers through CSC’s UCaaS offering, which allows IT departments to quickly get up and running with the latest in collaboration technology without heavy infrastructure upgrades.

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July 13, 2011  1:34 PM

Video walk-through of CSC’s Mobile Video Conferencing (Sponsored)

Guest Author Profile: Guest Author

CSC Solutions Architect John Howell walks viewers through CSC’s mobile videoconferencing tools, which allow users to quickly and securely share desktops, fire up a video chat and more regardless of where they are or what device they are using.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/WU_zxRNHPFM" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

July 12, 2011  3:38 PM

Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior addresses reported layoffs: We don’t comment on speculation

Michael Morisy Michael Morisy Profile: Michael Morisy

Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior addressed a reporter’s question about reported coming layoffs of approximately 14% of the networking giant’s workforce. She stated that while Cisco does not address speculation, but stated that the next earnings call would address reductions more fully.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/MFG3EHifLX8" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Michael Morisy is the editorial director for ITKnowledgeExchange. He can be followed on Twitter or you can reach him at Michael@ITKnowledgeExchange.com. Check out our complete Cisco Live! Coverage guidefor more breaking news.

July 12, 2011  11:59 AM

As Cisco preps for comeback kickoff, reported layoffs steal the show

Michael Morisy Michael Morisy Profile: Michael Morisy

Cisco’s juiced up Catalyst 6500 was supposed to be the cornerstone of Cisco Live! 2011 comeback kickoff. Instead, the return-to-roots messaging has been dampened by news of more rounds of coming layoffs, first reported at 5,000, according to one analyst, and then later doubled to 10,000 according to two sources Bloomberg interviewed.

The reductions were not completely unexpected, given the renewed focus on Cisco core businesses, but they are deep: About 14 percent of Cisco’s total workforce. Cisco has not confirmed the reports, but a spokesperson told Bloomberg it “will provide additional detail on the cost reductions” on its next quarterly earnings call.

Michael Morisy is the editorial director for ITKnowledgeExchange. He can be followed on Twitter or you can reach him at Michael@ITKnowledgeExchange.com. Check out our complete Cisco Live! Coverage guide for more breaking news.

July 12, 2011  10:37 AM

Exclusive first look at new Cisco Catalyst 6500’s overhaul

Michael Morisy Michael Morisy Profile: Michael Morisy

The press briefing for Cisco’s latest edition of the Catalyst 6500 is just about to start, but Cisco already dropped some more details after yesterday’s maddeningly vague leak. From the release:

“With more than 500 patents, the Catalyst 6500 scales the network infrastructure scales the network infrastructure with next-generation innovations like IPv6 support, virtualization, 40G-readiness, Netflow, security, and mobility all with operational continuity. The new Catalyst 6500 builds on Cisco’s switching heritage in four key areas: Continued »

July 12, 2011  8:35 AM

For Cisco, TelePresence business is bigger than China

Michael Morisy Michael Morisy Profile: Michael Morisy

I’ve always assumed Cisco’s TelePresence, its pricey, life-like videoconferencing tool, was something of a loss leader for the company, a way to tout the benefits of video, which helps sell its core networking products. That made running into Thomas Wyatt, vice president of Cisco TelePresence Infrastructure, a bit awkward. It was more awkward when he helped break down the numbers:

  • TelePresence was a $1.7 billion dollar business for Cisco in 2010 Fiscal Year.
  • It’s seeing about 30 percent growth year-over-year, which Wyatt said he expects to continue.
  • Bank of America, the largest single TelePresence buyer, has deployed about 700 systems.
  • Cisco has deployed about 1,000.

I had just been told that the Chinese market currently makes up just 3 percent of Cisco’s total sales, and so I couldn’t resist running the math: With “over” $40 billion in sales total in Fiscal Year 2010, Cisco’s TelePresence business makes up 4.25 percent of the company’s sales, or a fair chunk of change more than China. Wyatt said he’d never thought of it that way but seemed fairly pleased with the news nonetheless.

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