Discover Card has made a celebrity out of “Peggy,” but despite the credit card provider’s efforts to humorously discredit outsourcing services in former Soviet Bloc countries, Ukraine is seeing steady growth in software outsourcing services, according to our sister publication in the United Kingdom, ComputerWeekly.com.
CW reports that the Ukrainian Hi-Tech Initiative, an outsourcing software development alliance, estimates that the country’s outsourcing industry grew 20% in 2010, and that Ukraine employs more than 18,000 IT specialists, up 2,400 over last year. To CW’s U.K. readers, Ukraine is now a new “nearshoring” hot spot, over countries like India, which is more than 3,000 miles further east.
Closer to home, in-country outsourcing is the preferred resource for insurance provider PURE, which is fueling growth through a “selective outsourcing” strategy that puts its security email delivery services for policy holder communication in the hands of OneShield and Striata, and to M5 Networks for its telecom services.
Whatever the services or wherever they are based, PURE CIO Stuart Tainsky has the right approach: Any IT function or service that has become commoditized should be outsourced; anything strategic or essential to business requirements stays in-house. That’s because “our people will know the business more than our vendor will,” he said.
It seems outsourcing has finally grown up. Gone are the days of wholesale outsourcing and then lamenting the decision. Happy times.
While you were putting out fires in your computer room, we were scouring the Web looking for tasty bits for you to peruse. From ensuring virtual security to the workforce of tomorrow, check out these greatest hits from last week’s IT blogosphere:
- Researchers are modeling security software after ant behavior. Yes, those things you don’t want invited to your summer barbecue are actually brilliant at keeping the colony safe. Do those reluctant virtual security consumers know about this yet?
- With mobility and the 24/7 office, do CIOs ever really take a vacation? Yeah, we didn’t think so, either.
- Have you heard about Duncan Jones and his proposed software “tea party?” Check out Barney Beal’s video blog interview, recorded at the recent Forrester IT Forum in Las Vegas.
- We shook our collective head at Amazon’s Gaga fiasco, but now it turns out that it cost them much more than performance credibility, to the tune of $3.2 million in music licensing. Ouch. Hopefully Cisco doesn’t emulate that as part of their plan to sell hosted managed services like Amazon EC2.
- While you’re thinking about the workforce of tomorrow, maybe you should think about hiring hackers to lock up your virtual security for you.
- This week is World IPv6 Day! Are you prepared? (Hint: You’re probably not.)
The Internet Society has promoted June 8 as World IPv6 Day, a day of a “global-scale test flight of IPv6,” promising that major Web companies will implement a day of free testing. Fellow blogger Melanie Yarbrough writes, “Major organizations such as Cisco, Bing, Rackspace, Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Juniper Networks have signed on to participate in the worldwide test, offering their content over IPv6 for 24 hours.”
The telecom folks have been reminding us of the depleting space in IPv4 for years, but have we listened? Probably not enough, because at just 40 years old, IPv4 is about to max out the number of addresses it can track, and many companies are still working on the transition. Remind anyone of Y2K? It should, because it’s basically the same root cause: We built architecture around a certain format without thinking ahead. It’s a bit easier to understand that when they were experimenting with a 32-bit address back in the ‘70s, no one would ever imagine that the Internet would become what it is today.
According to Forrester senior analyst Andre Kindness, there are three technologies to enable IPv6 transition: Dual-stack, tunneling and translation. From my informal polling at last week’s Forrester IT Forum, it sounds like most CIOs are going with the dual-stack method — allowing IPv4 and IPv6 to coexist on the same devices and networks — as the path of least resistance. But everyone should have a plan at this point.
Consider World IPv6 Day as your call to action. Use this as an opportunity to test your systems on the new world order. You can go to Test-ipv6.com before June 8 and check out how well your systems will do in preparation to sample the IPv6 wares from corporate giants like Google, Cisco, Facebook, VeriSign and Akamai, among others.
Of course, the world’s population is approaching 7 billion people, and IPv4 had space for about 4 billion addresses. IPv6 has space for trillions of addresses. It should be a while before we run out of 128-bit addresses. Knock on wood.
What’s your game plan for World IPv6 Day? The comments are dying to discuss your strategy.
Apple recently announced that it has approved its 500,000th app for the iTunes App Store. IBM Lotus developers say, “Call us when you get to 10 million.”
That’s how many enterprise applications are residing on Domino and Notes servers and desktops around the world. The problem is, many of those Domino applications were written more than a dozen years ago and haven’t been updated since. Why? Well, they still work, for starters.
But IBM has — ignored may be too strong a word — overlooked the modern world creeping in on Domino applications for many years. And as the number of Domino applications mounted, customers put off the daunting task of moving them to new platforms. Now, IBM and users can no longer avoid the need to access those apps outside the Notes client, like the browser and mobile devices.
What is encouraging for Domino and Notes users is the commitment behind the transformation effort. GBS Chief Technology Officer Jennifer Meade pointed this out at the launch event last week at the MIT Museum.
“IBM has been incredibly supportive of our activities,” she said. “We needed some stuff delivered from IBM in order to make this happen, and they made it happen tout de suite. They actually open-sourced some stuff so we didn’t have to wait for releases to come out. We open-sourced projects together.”
This isn’t just good news for Domino users, it’s great news. And about time.
We’ve scoured the Web and compiled a crib sheet for the best and most interesting tidbits from around the IT blogosphere last week, including thoughts on the release date of Windows 8, the risks to info security when companies lost IT talent and how to make sure that you stay connected when the power goes out. Here’s what you might have missed:
- SearchCIO-Midmarket.com Editorial Director Scot Petersen wonders if we should care about the impending release date of Windows 8.
- A whopping 40% of IT security workers have admitted that they could hold their employers hostage even after they’d left for other employment, according to a recent survey conducted by Infosecurity Europe 2011.
- Twitter is losing CTO Greg Pass, according to a recent tweet from Twitter co-founder Biz Stone. Meanwhile, in other social media news, Mark Zuckerburg plans to only eat what he kills. Let’s hope this trend doesn’t go viral.
- With the recent news-breaking storms hitting the country, Cisco voice instructor and blogger Dave Bateman suggests that you do a personal inventory of how well you can manage without electricity.
- Amazon would have done well to test its load sharing before the public failure of a huge cloud services promotion last week. CIOs can avoid Sony’s bad example by taking a page from Netflix’s “Chaos Monkey” and randomly hiring outsiders to hack into your systems, suggests Infoboom blogger Bob Warfield.
- Along with the release date of Windows 8, CIOs also need to consider virtualization licensing risks when thinking about cloud security, warns TotalCIO blogger Christina Torode.
It was customary during the Bill Gates era at Microsoft to surreptitiously dis the previous version of Windows when the next generation came out. “It’s the best Windows operating system we’ve ever developed,” he would always say of the new version.
Usually, best meant biggest or most complex, as more features were added. Thankfully, Windows 7 took a step back along those lines and in doing so, Microsoft took a step forward.
Now we can look forward to the Windows 8 operating system, according to CEO Steve Ballmer, CNET reports. But really, do we need another version of Windows? Windows 7 should be the foundation on which modular upgrades can advance the platform for a long time to come. A whole new version seems like overkill at this point.
Windows 7, which is just starting to be deployed in earnest in enterprises now that the first service pack has been shipped, should be considered the “last” PC operating system. With mobile phones and tablets fast becoming the preferred computing interface, why should Microsoft, developers, PC and component makers — and, most of all, users — waste the time and money embracing another generation?
Ballmer went on to say that Windows 8 will run on “slates, tablets, PCs, a variety of different form factors.” OK, but this will not be as easy as it sounds. Unlike the desktop market, Microsoft does not own the mobile operating system market: Apple and Google do. And they will continue to do so because they have the one thing that Microsoft always had in their pocket for Windows: developers, developers, developers, developers.
Did I mention that Ballmer said Windows 8 will debut in 2012? Gulp.
It’s one of those things that looks fantastic on paper: Introduce your cloud service to the consumer market by packaging it with a super-cheap, eagerly anticipated superstar’s new album. Amazon did just that by bundling Lady Gaga’s new album with an upgrade to 20 GB of free storage on Amazon cloud storage, which allows users to stream their music on any internet connection or smartphone. It’s a win-win scenario, right?
Wrong. As the consumers logged on and purchased en masse, Amazon’s servers were slammed, causing download delays and eventual download failures. Amazon issued apologies over its Twitter feed but as of bedtime last night, my MP3 files still hadn’t started downloading. This morning, I woke to only half the transfer completed and had to open a customer service help ticket to have the other half pushed again. The album itself received dozens of poor reviews on its Amazon page, primarily based on the technical failures in delivering the files rather than the artistic merit of the music (Amazon has since redacted those reviews, rightfully so). Similarly, users who were banking on Amazon cloud storage are reporting that the link-up doesn’t even work and are warning other users not to even try it.
Obviously, lesson No. 1 here is, “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.” Did Amazon triple check to make sure that its infrastructure could withstand the worst-case scenario in traffic spikes — and then some? Every one of us could be (and has been) caught off guard, but with the embarrassing Amazon Web Services outage not even a month ago, Amazon is killing the credibility in its technical services with this very public fiasco. What could have been a public relations coup for Amazon ended up being a public relations nightmare. Some analysts are predicting that consumers will move elsewhere for their music, reducing Amazon’s already tiny percentage of digital music purchases.
Of course, if someone would have told me 10 years ago that we’d trust a bookstore to run our servers, I would have laughed and laughed, but Amazon was able to get past that mental leap and become a viable name in cloud services. Hopefully, they’ll be able to come out swinging in the next few months and figure out how to really shine as I don’t think consumer confidence in Amazon’s cloud storage techfu will stand another one of these truly embarrassing blunders.
We’ve scoured the Web and compiled a crib sheet for the best and most interesting tidbits from around the IT blogosphere last week, including must-know information on Dropbox security, Android’s encryption woes and executive strategies being compromised by fear-based decisions. Here’s what you might have missed:
- Your gut instinct in business might be misleading, suggests Tony Schwartz, CEO of The Energy Project. He suggests that our inherent flight-or-fight response is causing us to make poor decisions, similar to those that led to the recession. Entirely interesting points to consider the next time your CFO asks you to justify a huge purchase.
- Your data center is cold enough to keep ice cream from melting, but data center airflow issues can mean the premature death of your pricey racks and lead to wasted energy, Rajesh Nair, CTO of Degree Controls, writes.
- Your employees like to take matters into their own hands, so a breach in Dropbox security can mean disaster on your network. A new suit to the FTC alleges that Dropbox security might not be all that is promised. Ouch.
- Speaking of data security, it turns out that 99% of Android phones have a huge data vulnerability that can give hackers access to your passwords but never fear! Google was extremely quick to issue a credentials patch, and here’s how to encrypt your Android data with just a rooted Android phone, an SSH server and an SSH tunnel. We promise that it’s not as difficult as it sounds.
- A recent study found that when an Apple devotee is shown the Apple logo, the same part of the brain lights up as when religious people are shown religious imagery. Every CIO admits that Steve Jobs is something of a mastermind, and his recent advice to Nike CEO Mike Parker is brilliant in its simplicity. The key to Apple’s success, according to Jobs, is “get rid of the crappy stuff.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
Cloud. It’s everywhere. You can’t ignore cloud computing in IT, but the word itself starts losing meaning after you hear it too many times. Cloud cloud cloud. There were entire sections of the conference hall at Interop last week devoted to cloud computing, and those companies that did not offer true cloud were even saying they were “cloud like.” Attendees were so sick of hearing the word cloud that one of the most coveted swag T-shirts said simply “Blah blah cloud” on the front — with a popular cloud provider’s logo on the back, of course.
It’s not the only overused term on the IT landscape. I am absolutely certain that vendors can come up with something more colorful to describe the special something inside your new gadget than secret sauce. First of all, everyone knows what’s in the secret sauce at most restaurants, right? It’s a mixture of mayonnaise, ketchup and pickle relish: three of the most banal food condiments in existence. Do you really want your super-cool, exciting new technology compared with something that drips on your shirt and leaves a stain that the dry cleaner can’t get out? Put a fork in it, it’s done! I’m calling it: Secret sauce is officially an endangered IT phrase. Similarly, how can there still be all that low-hanging fruit on the proverbial tree?
Let’s agree to put the term cloud on the endangered clichés list too, along with next generation, bleeding edge and paradigm shift. If I have to be convinced that something is a win-win scenario, is it really? How many more times can we hit the ground running? It’s time to smash that single pane of glass. Build a bridge over the value stream and throw away the key for the turnkey solutions. Silence the bells and whistles. How can we still be closing the loop after so many years?
What phrases are you sick of hearing and reading? Are you looking for the one throat to choke? What should be banned from the product releases, marketing spiels and our own SearchCIO-Midmarket.com headlines?
The comments are waiting for your perfect storm of pet peeves.
I attended the “last” Comdex show — the last great one, that is — in the year 2000, right before 9/11 and the dot-com bust turned it into a shell of its former self, along with a lot of other technology conferences.
At the time, many people thought virtual conferences would replace the in-person conference. Virtual has done well — SearchCompliance.com will offer three virtual seminars this year — but it has not taken over. And, we’ll always have Vegas.
Tech shows are definitely slowing down. The resident giant, CES, saw two years of dwindling attendance before going back up this year. But traveling these days, you’d never know that there is still high unemployment and pockets of a sluggish economy all around the country. And there are still plenty of technology conferences out there for IT professionals to find out more about the latest products and get training and certifications.
So check out the new list of technology conferences on SearchCIO-Midmarket.com. Site Editor Wendy Schuchart will provide updates as new ones get scheduled. We hope you find it useful.