Enterprise IT Consultant Views on Technologies and Trends

July 28, 2010  1:54 AM

There is no such thing as free lunch – Internet based services

Posted by: Sasirekha R
Ads, free lunch, Opinion polling, payment, paywall, reCAPTCHA, surveys

There is no such thing as free lunch – Internet based services


As customers we are getting used to getting all kinds of Internet net based services – emails, instant messaging, news, search engines, translators, dictionary, encyclopedia, videos, music, booking tickets, sharing photos, greeting cards, technical contents, software products – accessible free. Of course, we do pay the broadband service providers. The variety and quality of things we can get free in Internet seem to defy the adage that “there is no such thing as free lunch”. But this may become thing of a past, unless organizations come up with some innovative options to be able to continue providing such services free.

That raises the question then how do these websites afford to provide such services free. Advertisements were the answer – by which these websites that provide freebies where making money – if not profit but at least enough to break even. While increased traffic to the site, increases the publicity and hence the number of ads, it equally increases the demand on the site’s infrastructure to provide quality service. Continued »

July 26, 2010  9:47 AM

IT Appliances in Enterprises

Posted by: Sasirekha R
Appliance, Cast Iron, CISCO, Enterprise, Greenplum, IBM, IT Appliances, IT Landscape, virtual, Virtual appliances
IT Appliances in Enterprises

The term appliances bring to mind the electrical / mechanical appliances like Washing Machine and toaster we use at homes. The key characteristics of these appliances are that they are simple to use, reliable and are typically not serviceable by the owner. The same concept of these house-hold Appliances when applied to enterprise level, led to IT appliances. Compared to General purpose machines, the appliances are highly specialized and optimized devices designed to handle specific tasks efficiently and effectively.

The term “Information Appliance” is coined as early as 1979 by Jef Raskin who left Apple to form his own company Information Appliance Inc.

Though people do not tend to think explicitly of appliances in an Enterprise context, appliances have been in the Enterprise for quite a long time. Continued »

July 25, 2010  2:36 AM

reCAPTCHA – the power of channelizing human efforts

Posted by: Sasirekha R
anti-spam, Architecture of Participation, CAPTCHA, Digitizing, Google, Human effort, Image, Mailhide, reCAPTCHA, Spam

reCAPTCHA – the power of channelizing human efforts

With the advent of Web 2.0, “Architecture of Participation”, “The Network Effect (social network)”, “Harnessing the collective intelligence” became the buzz words and numerous examples are quoted to show their success.

Wikipedia is based on the notion that an entry can be added by any web user, and edited by any other, is a radical experiment in trust – applying Eric Raymond’s dictum “with enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow,” to content creation. It has become quite natural to many of us to refer to Wikipedia as the first source of information. But this is just the tip of an iceberg as the percentage of users who contribute to Wikipedia is very small.

reCAPTCHA is a sample of how powerful the usage could be if most of the Internet users contribute. The term CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart. According to Wikipedia, the process usually involves one computer asking a user to complete a simple test which the computer is able to generate and grade. Because other computers are unable to solve the CAPTCHA, any user entering a correct solution is presumed to be human.

reCAPTCHA is currently digitizing the archives of the The New York Times and twenty years of The New York Times have already been digitized and it is believed that another 110 years would be done by the end of 2010.  Continued »

July 23, 2010  3:18 AM

IBM Hybrid Mainframe unveiled – Giant leap for Mainframes

Posted by: Sasirekha R
consolidation, data center consolidation, Hybrid Mainframe, IBM, Mainframe, Virtualized Server, zEnterprise

 IBM Hybrid Mainframe unveiled – Giant leap for Mainframes

IBM has unveiled the Hybrid Mainframe – the zEnterprise mainframe server and a new systems design – that allows workloads on mainframe, POWER7 and System x servers to share resources and be managed as a single, virtualized system. The new mainframe is also the most powerful and energy-efficient mainframe ever.

The new systems design combines IBM’s new zEnterprise mainframe server with new technology–the IBM zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension. The IBM zEnterprise Unified Resource Manager- another first of its kind – enables it to manage workloads running across System z, and select POWER7 and System x servers.  

The zEnterprise System is the most powerful IBM system ever. The core server in the zEnterprise System–called zEnterprise 196–contains 96 microprocessors running at 5.2Ghz, capable of executing more than 50 billion instructions per second.  

What this new mainframe brings Continued »

July 23, 2010  2:26 AM

Tweak Answers to Security Questions for improved security

Posted by: Sasirekha R
Intranet, Security Answer, Security Question, Tweak, Tweaking

Tweak Answers to Security Questions for improved security

We are all used to answering Security questions for proving our identity for various purposes like Internet Banking, phone banking, accessing Organization Intranet etc. Internet Security also depends on the combination of passwords and security questions. Typically these security questions are used for resetting passwords, though it tries to offer another level of protection by sending the new password to your email.

Most of these so-called security questions are based on widely known facts or at least facts that can be gathered easily. Continued »

July 22, 2010  12:12 AM

IBM Mainframe– Saving costs using Specialty Processors

Posted by: Sasirekha R
Capacity on Demand, capacity setting, CoD, cost savings, IFL, ISV licensing, kneecapping, Mainframe, mainframe costs, provisioning, zAAP, zIIP

IBM Mainframe- Saving costs using Specialty Processors

Mainframes, in spite of various predictions, still form the backbone of many large organizations.  But it is also true that IBM is facing stiff competition especially with modern workloads involving Linux, XML and Java. Cost factor is a serious concern when it comes to usage of mainframe – as in other factors including security, reliability and availability, Mainframe still rules the roost. While mainframe hardware costs per se are very high, ISV licensing costs form a huge chunk of expenditure.

MIPS optimization is an ongoing activity in most mainframe shops. But this doesn’t save any of the ISV software licensing costs as they are linked to the overall capacity of the machine – and not the actual workload.

The solution is to turn the focus to exploit the specialty processors – IFL, zAAP, zIIP – offered by IBM. These processors cost significantly less – almost one-fifth – compared to the General purpose processors. These specialty engines “do not count” in software pricing calculations and ISV licensing costs is where the bulk of the savings come from.  Upgrade and maintenance cost of ISV software also reduces proportionately. It is important to note that unless used effectively these processors may end up under-utilized or even unutilized – as they are configured as to process only a specific type of workload. Continued »

July 22, 2010  12:09 AM

Using Search Engines Effectively

Posted by: Sasirekha R
24 Hours, Calculator, double quotes, Google, Search Engines, search features, search options, Translate, Wildcard

Last month when I started the Browser – where the default is Google, I suddenly got a “Captcha” from Google asking me to prove that “I am human”. Thankfully I could do so, after typing the letters that appeared in the image and able to enter Google.  Just when trying to figure out what this is all about, located technorati.com/blogging/article/dear-google-i-am-human/ which has interesting points including the possibility of payment for search coming into place – probably for business use only.


Leaving that payment part alone, it was suggested that the people who use sophisticated search commands are the ones that are most suspected to be robots, I thought it is worth looking at what those sophisticated search commands are and also if it is applicable for all search engines (as Google payment point make it a safer way to become familiar and comfortable with other search engines).


By the way, Google states that even the most advanced searchers use these additional search features only 5% of the time and the basic search meets the demand for most users. When looked further realized that these are actually simple features and yet can prove effective. Continued »

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