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  • Shadow technology: Four ways to reduce its use, minimize its impact

    IT transformation expert Derek Lonsdale says there are four main things centralized IT must do to reduce the use of and minimize the impact of shadow IT. Continue Reading

  • Understanding data storage requirements in a virtual environment

    Even though virtualization has become commonplace in today's data centers, provisioning storage for applications on virtual machines (VMs) often remains a pain point for IT professionals. Random I/O processes unique to virtual environments often put a strain on storage hardware and it's common for one, or even several, VMs to eat up bandwidth, leaving others without the power they need. In addition, configuring logical unit numbers and volumes when provisioning storage for virtual environments can be extremely complicated.

    Today, vendors of emerging storage technologies are attempting to pave a smoother path toward better performance and capacity in virtual environments. Technologies such as hyper-converged storage aim to create a simpler configuration by shipping the hypervisor and storage in one box. Other products, deemed "software-defined storage," often pool storage to better utilize capacity and performance. But that doesn't mean managers don't still need to understand the unique set of challenges VMs place on storage. In this e-book, readers will learn how to cope with these challenges by understanding how virtualization changes the way storage should be provisioned and monitored. They will also learn how new technologies in the storage for virtual environment space can help and what types of applications they are most beneficial for, and how once murky technologies such as software-defined storage have grown to be more clearly defined as viable options for storing VMs.

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  • A glimpse into the future reveals business apps in the cloud

    Not too long ago, few organizations considered putting all their business apps in the cloud. Moving applications off-premises was an innovative tech experiment only the most adventurous undertook. Today it's a different story. Cloud computing is practically a mainstream option, with more and more organizations placing more and more of their business apps in the cloud.

    What they're not doing is doing it wholesale. They're moving applications bit by bit, and these gradual rollouts often turn into enterprisewide cloud deployments. "They are picking where they start, and they're figuring out what's an area of low risk or saying, 'I've got to automate this process that we've done on spreadsheets, ' " said Christine Dover, an IDC analyst, in the cover story of this issue of Business Information.

    Tony Kontzer's story explores cloud projects at chain restaurant operator Ovation Brand and One Call Now, a provider of mass-messaging services. Ovation turned to software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps to replace its aging Oracle system, putting business apps in the cloud one by one. One Call Now started using SaaS applications after outgrowing on-premises software.

    Such is the state of business applications today -- and tomorrow. Another story looks at another side of that future: organizations juggling lots and lots of apps. James Denman talks to folks at Arizona State University and Canadian phone directory publisher Yellow Pages about their project portfolio management (PPM) initiatives. One is far ahead in the practice, which centralizes the handling of processes and technologies; the other has work to do.

    Also in the issue, columnist Mary Driscoll looks to surveys to figure out who is likely to put financial software in the cloud, Jan Stafford tells why many developers won't be sheepish about Amazon's AWS Lambda and Ed Burns closes with a word of warning: Use security analytics to protect your sensitive data -- or else. Continue Reading

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