Gartner has estimated that the IT industry produces 2 per cent of global CO2 emissions — a per centage almost equal to the aviation industry. Worldwide, the digital warehouses use about 30 billion watts of electricity, roughly equivalent to the output of 30 nuclear power plants, according to the New York Times.
But it’s more than a green issue. Having your infrastructure stored in a data centre that has poor cooling, ventilation or power balance can increase the risk your systems will suffer downtime, poor performance or damage. When looking for a data centre to host your infrastructure, considering the following environmental design elements and monitoring features can ensure your hardware is protected and runs at optimal levels.
Environmental Management Plan
An Environmental Management Plan focuses on sustainability targets and strategies to implement environmentally-conscious design and operational elements in the data centre. When looking for a data centre provider, ensure that their EMP is audited to ISO 14001 standards on an annual basis. The certification is considered the only auditable international standard defining requirements for the creation, implementation and maintenance of EMPs to better represent and manage the long-term commitment to carbon reduction and sustainability.
Heating and cooling
Better energy utilisation can increase the power efficiency for the entire data centre, meaning your systems run better and faster. Over time, this energy efficiency can reduce operations and maintenance costs — savings that can be passed onto to you as the customer. Features such as Cold Air Economisers will reduce energy consumption and can ensure optimum Power Utilisation Efficiency (PUE) in data centres. Other things to look for in your data centre provider are purpose design and layout of cooling and ventilation using proven hot/cold aisle ASHRAE — American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers — design. The ASHRAE standard is focussed on energy efficiency, sustainability and building systems.
Building automation systems
A BAS offers visibility of any inefficiency and environmental issue. These systems will have a strict understanding of all site environmental controls, including temperature, humidity and access alerts, and provide clear mapping of the entire site to allow immediate identification of incidents. Such a system also offers all monitoring and alerting on building items and any trends in performance. The best BAS will also have security alerts or breaches recorded on cameras and escalated to the network operations centre (NOC) and the data centre manager.
A strict maintenance activity regime
Components designed to be energy-efficient still need to be serviced and maintained. Data centre providers with a dedicated maintenance team ensure all equipment is serviced regularly and promptly. This dedication will cut the risk of malfunctioning systems that can eat up energy use and lead to slower-performing systems. It also helps to choose a data centre where facilities are monitored on a 24/7 basis to provide immediate response to any environmental issues.
When looking for a data centre provider, or an advisor to discuss your own Environmental Management Plans, you should enquire about their environmental efforts and EMP. Asking these questions upfront will help you feel more comfortable about the conditions in which you are storing your systems, in addition to your reduced environmental footprint. The data centre teams at Datacom are already having this discussion with our clients about facilities, performance and efficiency in our data centre sites as well as theirs.
Forty per cent of organisations globally are using desktop virtualisation to provide desktops and applications to users, according to a Citrix survey from October 2013. Organisations are leveraging desktop virtualisation for benefits such as better management and secure access to apps.
Still, the only way to truly benefit from all desktop virtualisation has to offer is through careful planning and choosing the best options (hint: there’s more than just VDI) to meet your application and end-user needs. We've designed a 10-point desktop virtualisation checklist to help guide your project. Visit this page to download the checklist and start planning your desktop virtualisation project for the new year.
Imagine what your organisation could do with an annual savings of 30 per cent. Better collaboration, improved resources, maybe even better technology? The options are limitless, and the evidence is clear: organisations that have implemented a managed print program save that much or more, according to research group Photizo.
Over the next few months, Datacom will highlight how organisations across verticals — from education and healthcare to government and manufacturing — can optimise their document output and devices in order to reduce costs, ensure compliance and increase flexibility. First up: Education.
Meet Darren Johnson. Darren is the principal at Flynn Primary School in Sydney. He is now realising how much printing — both necessary and superfluous — is eating up his budget. Rather than invest in repairing or replacing print devices, or purchasing paper and toner, Principal Johnson imagines a school with more money to send students on field trips, plan constructive assemblies and implement an effective 1:1 technology program.
Determining the roadblocks to schools’ print success
For Darren, there are three main setbacks plaguing the school’s print management (or lack thereof):
- Flynn Primary lacks the IT support necessary to properly maintain print systems, leading to administrative staff spending time they don’t have on frequent technical troubleshooting.
- Though student data privacy and records security are a top concern, Flynn Primary School has no current policy in place to protect or secure internal data.
- Lately, print management has fallen to the bottom of the principal’s priorities, as he spends more time on bigger initiative planning, including the gym renovation and proposed tablet program.
Beyond these roadblocks, even the most routine school-year activities highlight prime areas for print improvements at Flynn.
Take, for example, the annual band concert. Hailed as one of the most successful events of the school year, the day is never without a few hiccups. Unfortunately, without a proper document management plan in place, this year’s concert was plagued by chaos, from forgotten instrument rental slips and sheet music to program booklets jamming the school’s central printer and copier — something a managed print services arrangement could have helped with by sending repair technicians to fix the problems that day. From that evening, the sentiment was unanimous — something must be done about Flynn Primary’s printing troubles.
Printing progress 101
Based on Flynn’s current state of affairs, Principal Johnson and his administration isolated three managed print must-haves:
- A solution designed to optimise Flynn Primary School’s unique budget and resource needs. With the inclusion of tablets in the school’s curriculum (not to mention the laptops and mobile devices already creeping into the school), the ability to “airprint” has become an attractive option — but still raises fears about excessive (and unsecure) printing. By introducing a secure airprint strategy and annual free-print quotas, the administration can be certain that mobile printing will be accessible and manageable.
- A document management service that allows for better productivity and compliance, including end-to-end solutions that enable teachers, parents, students, and administration to collaborate more efficiently.
- Though Flynn has the budget to initiate new printing plans, the school is hesitant to introduce a system or new technology that may complicate their environment. The school is looking for a provider that is willing to focus on the transformation of processes, not hardware, in order to holistically improve the school’s printing operations.
Why a managed print solution?
The importance of education is at an all-time high, and schools today are under immense pressure to improve performance while maintaining or even cutting costs. Most administrations look to pink slipping, decreased funding for extracurricular activities or administrative consolidation to balance the two, often overlooking the potential of a smart print strategy that benefits staff, students and parents alike. A managed print solution cuts costs using a multifaceted approach. By reducing the number of physical devices or replacing old, low-performing ones with more efficient hardware, maintenance and energy costs drop substantially. There are additional cost-saving measures that can help, such as colour printing restriction.
Then there are the security and collaboration benefits. Of crucial importance in a school setting, managed print allows schools to tighten security around printing and document management by enacting password requirements to print and getting a better handle on data storage compliance. This tightened security can thwart a potential data breach that could cost schools in both monetary and reputational damage. Optimised document and information workflows let teachers and students collaborate more efficiently, reducing productivity loss.
With education-specific expertise, Datacom is equipped to deliver highly secure, cost-reducing managed print services that meet your school’s security and compliance standards, while centralising print spend to control technology budget. Interested in learning more? Sign up for our no-cost print security assessment.
Cyber security is a crucial component of a school 1:1 or technology program. Yet, many schools aren’t equipped to tackle this area in a way that incorporates the needs and concerns of parents, teachers, kids and other stakeholders. We spoke with Peter Geale, CMO of Netbox Blue, a provider of advanced security protection for schools’ networks and data, on new cyber security threats, cyber bullying and how to continually educate all of your school’s populations on appropriate online use.
Q: Beyond the typical online threats and cyber safety issues affecting schools, such as bullying and inappropriate images and web sites, is there anything new or unique you are seeing?
A: There are, and often they revolve around specific web sites. For instance, there’s Ask.fm, which by its nature is rather insidious in that it encourages anonymous questions. People can post hurtful things: ‘Why are you so ugly?’ ‘Why would anyone ever be your friend?’ In the past, kids would create a fake account and harass people that way. Thankfully, Facebook’s number of phantom Facebook profiles has dropped dramatically over the last few years.
Security experts will tell you that the biggest risks come from people from within — in other words, people you know. Kids won’t often pick on people they don’t know.
Q: In your opinion, do schools perceive that they have a duty of care to protect students from cyber bullying just as they do for in-person bullying?
A: There’s no question, they certainly do perceive that they have a duty of care. What happens on Facebook on the weekend comes to school on Monday. Teachers know they are dealing with issues. Teachers recognise the impact this is having on educational outcomes. That’s why they are getting involved, not because they want to spy on or control kids’ lives but because it’s affecting day-to-day life. School laptop or 1:1 programs legally require the school to consider online activity that impacts learning as part of their duty of care.
Q: How do you recommend schools come up with a security strategy around 1:1 device use and behaviour online both inside and outside of school?
A: It’s actually not that difficult. The key thing is they don’t try to do it by themselves. Learn from other schools. Most schools are part of a wider group, such as an independent schools association. Even if they are not, most schools post policies on the Internet that you can refer to. Look around and see what’s available publicly.
Early on, absolutely engage all the stakeholders. Not just the school employees, but parents, kids and the organisation the school belongs to. What’s happened in the past is that the IT manager has put together policies and they are not necessarily the right person as they might look at issues from a purely technical perspective and not the holistic approach necessary for a comprehensive use policy. Once the policy is out there, make sure it’s well-taught and make sure it’s monitored.
Q: How do we make sure children have a broad range of ongoing support, education and encouragement in order to make sound decisions online?
A: Broadly, one of the things schools try to do is create a community full stop. The good news is that some types of activities they are doing include engaging with parents — providing info to parents. These are the trends we see happening. For instance, the school shares a message saying, ‘A recent publication in education shows 75 per cent of all issues in respect to social media are on Facebook. Here are some of the areas we think might cause issues down the track.’ Then schools pass this on to parents. This happens a lot in primary school. It happens less in high schools. It needs to happen more in the high school because kids are getting more access to technology.
Q: Some peers and even adults might not be setting a great example for kids in terms of acceptable online use. How do you talk to kids and parents about this, about where kids can find a role model?
A: Earlier in 2013, Professor Donna Cross from Edith Cowan University came out with a statement that said today schools need to be involved and actually using and modelling good Facebook behaviour — if we’re not doing it, it’s like teaching kids how to swim in the classroom versus in a swimming pool. They are only going to get ordinary learning, they are not going to know how to swim. Parents also need to demonstrate positive use of the technology.
Q: What is your advice for engaging parents on issues of cyber safety?
A: There are lots of good opinions on this. For instance, making sure computers are used in public places, no computers in the bedroom and, if they are, only for a limited period of time. It should be viewed in a similar way that parents set boundaries — the same boundaries that exist offline. Kids are going to places online that parents don’t know about, to online playgrounds you don’t know, and they are going to do this in their room or on their mobile phone. Just as these boundaries exist in the physical world, they should be in the online world.
Schools can make sure parents are reminded about technology on an ongoing basis in a newsletter and online forums. Give the parents more understanding and, if they do know nothing, teach them. Make sure the parents are at least informed and know what the boundaries are and support their boundaries at home.
Additional resources to use include:
The Easy Guide to Socialising Online
Who's chatting to your kids?
Cyber Bullying in Australian Schools: The Question of Negligence and Liability
Transitioning to one cloud service or platform carries plenty of implementation challenges. Can you imagine the complexities that can arise when you decide to leverage several cloud services for a multi-cloud approach?
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t opt for a multi-cloud strategy — it just means you may need some extra help to do it successfully. That’s where a systems integrator can come in handy. A systems integrator can oversee the entire process of procuring, provisioning and then managing your bundle of cloud services. Systems integrators procure and combine technology — usually software and hardware — from a variety of vendors to provide a more seamless, and sometimes more cost-effective, system or service. This focus ensures your multi-cloud services are consistently meeting your budget and business needs, even if that means switching to another cloud services provider to take advantage of lower prices or better application performance.
They have innate technology capabilities that lower risk
Using a systems integrator to architect a multi-cloud approach means your organisation gets to leverage key design and consulting capabilities already present in the provider’s scope. This includes creating your path to the cloud, ensuring all design, build, integration and testing is done correctly. As the systems integrator already possesses its own innate technology capabilities, you’ll lower the risks around multi-cloud implementation, integration and performance issues. If you work with a systems integrator with its own cloud capabilities, you can leverage deeper expertise, in addition to a potential extra cloud service, if you require it now or down the track.
They act as your mediator to ensure needs are met
Another key way systems integrators make the multi-cloud transition easier is by liaising with your multiple cloud services providers to negotiate pricing, service levels and security needs. Your systems integrator acts as your facilitator — and a translator of all technical cloud jargon that providers sometimes hurl your way — to ensure the cloud provider can meet your business needs and prevent lock-in. This includes deciphering which cloud might work best for a particular application or workload and helping you balance the changing needs of your business services against the right cloud service.
They manage your cloud services under one umbrella to save hassle
Not only will you save your organisation time in the multi-cloud services procurement step by using a systems integrator, you’ll also reduce billing and management hassles, as all your services will be centralised. This centralised approach to multi-cloud will help your organisation better deal with issues of security and latency between private and public clouds, ensuring the backend technical configurations guarantee performance. No matter how complex your multi-cloud arrangement becomes, your systems integrator will preside over its management so it continues to deliver what your business needs.
Implemented successfully and with a clear strategic vision, 1:1 programs can foster connectedness, continuous communication and authentic experiences that escalate learning. But there are many components that go into getting a 1:1 program right. In addition to surveying all affected school populations to assess their learning and technology needs and concerns, your school must figure out hardware, software, IT support, data storage and other key elements. Another crucial factor not to overlook in the rush to put technology into the hands of students and teachers is a carefully detailed user policy and a means to ensure it is followed.
Such a policy should guide how staff and students can use devices like laptops and iPads both inside and outside of school. Monitoring discussions of your school online is one way to ensure that students and staff are acting in accordance with your policy. A social media monitoring service can help you address sensitive issues around social media use, cyber bullying and inappropriate web content before they’ve escalated.
Gaining visibility over social media
Even if your school doesn’t have a Facebook page, your students and staff likely do. And, more importantly, anyone can create a page that is associated with your school. Unless it’s extremely obscene, chances are slim that Facebook will shut it down for you.
Knowing what’s being communicated on pages created by students can help you identify who exactly might be breaching your user policy and allow you to take appropriate action. As Australian schools have a duty of care to protect students from bullying both in person and online, it’s crucial your school oversees all the places in which students are interacting to prevent potential issues. Not only can this ensure the safety of your students, it can also protect your brand. One bullying case in Australia led to a $1.5 million lawsuit that was paid to the affected student after his school was found in neglect of its duty of care. Cases like this can lead to immeasurable brand damage for a school.
Datacom worked with one secondary school where students created an unofficial page that included unsavoury comments about students and staff. Facebook stated that the page wasn’t inappropriate enough to take down. The school decided to use our social media monitoring service to track posts and comments on the page and address any that were particularly harmful. The school was able to gain visibility over discussions to make sure none intensified, informing their actions offline to address and educate their students and communicate with the wider school community, including ex-students.
Discovering discussions outside of mainstream social media forums
There are a plethora of social media channels, and even more forums and micro-blogging sites. On any of these sites, students and staff could potentially be talking openly about your school. While this doesn’t necessarily mean all discussions are negative, it pays to monitor conversations to ensure nothing demeaning or endangering to the welfare of students is present.
The good news is you can monitor these conversations even if your school is not actively engaging online. By simply listening online, your school can get a real-time snapshot of the types of discussions occurring and where they are happening. Using reporting tools, a social media monitoring service allows your school to search keywords connected to issues such as cyber bullying and potential school violence, regardless of the sites on which these discussions are taking place. Having this type of regular insight allows you to react immediately to a potentially serious comment or post on one of these sites.
You can handle overall technology planning, 1:1 program rollout and social media monitoring with one provider through Datacom. Our education team is led by experienced educators and IT experts schooled in how to implement successful technology programs that drive educational outcomes. Our social media team has worked with a number of schools to track their and other schools’ presence online. To learn if your organisation could benefit from our social media or education services, take our online assessments:
Social media survey
If you’re preparing for Microsoft’s “zero day forever” — the day in April when support for Windows XP ends and that hackers could have a field-day exploiting Windows XP PCs since they will no longer receive security patches —, you might be wondering if making the move to Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 makes the most sense. Obviously, this choice depends on your business needs and how much you can accomplish in the fewer than five months left until Windows XP support ends. But here are a few other things to consider when choosing the best OS to upgrade to for your organisation.
Let’s start with the latest OS first. A good reason to upgrade to Windows 8.1 straight from XP is if you have a growing number of very mobile workers who could benefit from the touch component of the year-old OS. There are added mobility and security features with Windows 8.1, including the new Workplace Join that lets you access corporate data from a server that then gets automatically deleted when someone leaves the company. This component basically dismisses the need for a remote device wipe, something many employees have an issue with as it also might remove their personal apps and data. So, if you have plans to ramp up mobility in your organisation in the coming years, considering how Windows 8.1 could fit into your strategy is worthwhile. There are also other new features such as the return of the Start bar to make it easier to perform tasks, better application management across devices through Assigned Access and more options for mobile device management.
If you’re running XP, you cannot upgrade straight to 8.1. You’ll have to upgrade to Windows 8 first and then 8.1, as Microsoft specifies that Windows 8.1 was not designed for installation on devices running Windows XP or Windows Vista. If you do decide to go this two-step route straight from XP, you’ll not only need new hardware but also a whole new crop of applications as well, as many that run on an old Microsoft OS won’t be compatible with Windows 8.1. Datacom has tools that can assist in the assessment of which apps will comply or can be remediated.
Moving to Windows 8 is also a consideration for organisations increasing the scale of mobility in the workforce. Other than mobility, your considerations for upgrading to Windows 8 should be whether you have the budget to purchase Windows 8-compatible desktops for your entire workforce and if you have the time — fewer than five months — to teach them how to use the new touch OS. If you are focussed on Windows 8, factor in support resources to help answer the onslaught of questions and troubleshooting needs your users are likely to have as they get used to an OS like none they’ve ever used before. But on that last note, remember that Windows 8 also has a desktop mode that looks and acts almost exactly like Windows 7. You can also forgo the Modern start screen and boot straight to the desktop. So, don’t let the touch component necessarily be a reason to avoid migrating to the OS.
More than 90 per cent of large businesses will move from Windows XP to Windows 7, according to Gartner. Microsoft itself has urged organisations to continue planned Windows 7 migrations and only deploy Windows 8 to user groups that need it most, such as mobile workers. However, the company has also encouraged businesses to start investing in Windows 8-compatible devices so that if and when they want to upgrade to Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, they don’t have to heavily invest in more hardware. The hardware component is what makes going from Windows XP to Windows 7 most reasonable for many businesses — it does not necessitate a hardware upgrade, meaning organisations can hold onto their PCs for longer.
Regardless of the next Microsoft OS you choose, enlisting the help of an IT provider to design, implement and offer post-support for your migration, in addition to procure any new hardware and software licenses that might be needed, will lower risks and ensure a more seamless transition.
Australian principals, pay attention: More than half of teachers wanted more professional development than they’d received in the last 18 months, according to Creating Effective Teaching and Learning Environments: First Results from TALIS. Whilst this is no surprise, it is interesting to note teachers in Australia especially suffered, falling below the global average for professional development days each year — the majority took fewer than six.
It is well-known that having enough of and the right type of professional learning is crucial to ensure educators are equipped with the right knowledge and tools to drive effective educational outcomes. When it comes to new technology programs such as 1:1 rollouts, it’s especially vital that teachers feel ready to use these new tools and devices to foster individual learning for students. Here are some of the hallmarks of effective professional learning that can help set up your technology program for success.
Tip 1: Ensure professional learning opportunities meet the needs and goals of the teacher
Differentiation is not just for students. Tailoring professional learning to individual teachers leverages their own learning and instruction style to impart techniques they can apply in the classroom. When it comes to technology, your teaching staff will have different skill levels. Being able to identify strengths and weaknesses in technology gives each teacher their own individual path to growth. Elements such as small group professional learning, teacher mentoring, lesson modelling and online progress tracking help ensure the individual teacher doesn’t get lost in a world of new technology — or in a sea of other educators.
Tip: 2 Keep professional learning a continual process that occurs informally as well as formally
Whilst having dedicated, formal professional learning sessions is customary, working out a way to extend these teachings into a continual process of optimisation is where teachers — and your entire school — will see real benefits. An article in Australia’s Capital Magazine pointed out that about 70 per cent of all learning activity happens informally. Having regular discussions about development and offering access to online learning materials are ways to foster this ongoing process. These tools also help teachers address their own unexpected learning needs, which are bound to come up when it comes to navigating new technology programs and devices. The goal of professional learning should not just be to inspire but also to implement change. Teachers should have the opportunity to learn with and from each other as well as their students, particularly in the realm of technology.
Tip 3: Build in accountability to every professional learning opportunity
To demonstrate success, you must track progress. Using a performance management system to give reviews on a term, semester or annual basis is one formal way to hold teachers accountable for transforming their professional learning takeaways into actions that use technology to positively affect student learning. Informal discussions can also help by allowing you to check in with teachers on a more regular basis to see if they have questions, concerns or challenges related to their professional learning action items. Consider utilising an external professional learning facilitator to plan a term-, semester- or year-long professional learning technology strategy for your school that includes built-in progress tracking.
Tip 4: Use professional learning to create a school culture of learning and extend learning to everyone including parents and the wider community
Professional learning for teachers should not occur in a vacuum. Collaboration amongst all the school stakeholder populations will put everyone on the same page to achieve a common vision to which everyone is committed when it comes to your technology implementation. This type of collaboration includes sharing successes and mistakes about lessons, curriculum and procedures, an agreement on broad educational values and allowing teachers to act as independent leaders to choose and adapt specific pedagogical strategies that spur educational outcomes. Professional Learning at Datacom is built on these good learning principles, and our MySchoolDay application unites the learning being done by both teachers and students and makes sure there is a steady communication stream between these two populations and parents.
Make sure to join our webinar on Nov. 27 from 4 to 5 EDST with Anita and two representatives from Mount Sinai College to learn how to use planned professional learning and ICT support for a successful 1:1 rollout.
Establishing the national Professional Learning Services team at XciteLogic in 2009, Anita brings over 20 years teaching experience to Datacom's Education services. She has taught most age groups — from kindergarten through to university lecturing — and has also assumed specialist teaching roles. Her previous teaching and consultancy roles, and current role with Datacom, has seen her work throughout Australia and internationally, teaching students, educating teachers and working at systems levels to help implement learning initiatives where teachers learn alongside their students in a technology-rich environment.
Standardisation is no longer the name of the game when it comes to enterprise desktop upgrades. Today’s workforce is more dynamic, working in individualistic ways and often away from the office. A standard PC configuration will no longer cut it for a diverse mix of mobile, remote and desktop-bound workers. Nor will it work for your IT department, which will be inundated with requests for productivity apps, personal device connectivity or access to cloud-based tools. Whereas these areas used to sit in disparate places in the business, they are now integrated under the umbrella of “enterprise desktop”.
Your next desktop upgrade will take a deeper, more holistic strategy that accounts for the varied and complex needs of your workforce whilst ensuring the IT department can do its job effectively. Consider these tips for plotting your enterprise desktop upgrade and preparing your organisation for a more evolved, interconnected future.
1. Consider new tools and technologies
Different devices are no longer roadblocks to delivering applications through IT. Application virtualisation and virtual desktop infrastructure mean software can now be separated from the device hardware and operating system, which reduces compatibility issues. Gartner expects cloud computing, hosted desktops and application virtualisation to become more common and offer organisations more choice when it comes to enterprise desktop computing.
2. Think about the user
And, for the record, you have more than one type. Identifying user personas is crucial for taking a more holistic approach to enterprise desktop strategy. You can get there with some basic questions around usage patterns. How many of your workers are in the office most days of the week vs. which ones are on the road, for instance? What types of content do different departments create or consume? Perhaps the sales team gets the tablets whilst the knowledge workers stick with laptops, desktops or thin clients. Whatever your workforce split, there’s a technology — or technologies you can combine — to align with these disparate user types.
3. Investigate your hardware and software assets
If you already have a solid asset tracking program in place, this part won’t be as cumbersome. If you don’t, this exercise will make you strongly consider one. Before you get started on your enterprise desktop upgrade, you must know which applications and hardware you have. This will help you not only discover software that’s not being used — a potential cost savings —, but should also provide you with tools to better distribute current resources, identify areas for new investment and give you an understanding of where new applications and computing devices would benefit your organisation.
4. Know how these assets are being used
After you know what you have, you can start seeing exactly how it’s being used. For instance, you’ll be able to learn connectivity patterns — has VPN become more popular, for instance? —, how devices map to computing usage and which devices should be added (thin clients, for example) or retired in the future and whether virtual desktop infrastructure might be a wise investment.
5. Create an integrated management toolset
Varied devices, applications and user needs can quickly make IT management chaotic. Centralising management, security and application delivery across both physical and virtual end user devices can help simplify the IT environment. This centralised management approach will also help IT quickly provision desktop services, no matter the device, that map to the user need and profile. On the software front, having an app store or catalogue can help ease the delivery of applications in new desktop environments.
Gartner has said that organisations will increasingly be bound less and less by hardware and operating systems and eventually be able to cost-effectively deliver applications to any device. They recommend a 10-year enterprise desktop strategy so that organisations can poise themselves to take advantage of future technology developments that can add more business value. As organisations get more enterprise desktop choice, it makes sense to talk out your strategy with an IT provider that can help source, integrate and implement tools and services that will maximise your desktop computing environment now and down the road.
Peter Stein is General Manager of Licensing for Datacom, a role in which he is focussed on nationalising and growing the licensing practice. He is an experienced IT channel professional with leadership experience in sales, marketing and product management. He has managed diverse teams and contributed to the growth of the companies with which he has worked.
Cloud offers your organisation a lot of different hosting options and methods of delivery. Yet for years, many businesses have felt as if they are pigeon-holed into just one choice — one that can prevent your organisation from fully leveraging cloud to automate and optimise key business processes that can drive performance, productivity and innovation. Using multiple cloud services or providers could be the better option for your organisation, as it allows you to use different cloud services to map to specific budget, security and systems needs amongst your workloads. Consider if your organisation might be primed for multi-cloud by looking at these three key areas.
- You have varying types of workloads with different requirements
As cloud computing has evolved, organisations have gotten hip to the idea of best-placed workloads: that is, the cloud that is most suitable for the applications you are running. This concept accounts for changing workload needs or fluctuating levels of cloud performance, infrastructure and price. The portability of multi-cloud presents the option to benchmark applications and workloads across different clouds to see where they perform at their best. So if you have a mix of workloads that have low or partial utilisation levels, such as batch processing, and workloads subject to wild spikes in traffic such as public-facing apps, the ability to leverage and shift amongst different cloud platforms reduces the risk of downtime and helps control costs.
- You anticipate needing to bring a cloud-based project back in-house
A misconception with cloud computing is that once you migrate a service or application to a cloud platform, it should stay there forever. Cloud is meant to provide agility, and there’s no reason to believe you won’t have to shift one of your services to another cloud platform or provider or migrate it back on premise in the future. IDG Enterprise’s Cloud Computing: Key Trends and Future Effects Report found that 42% of cloud-based projects are ultimately taken back in-house. The reasons for this shift include security (65%), technical/oversight problems (64%) and the need for standardisation, or one platform, (48%).
A multi-cloud strategy — especially one overseen by an IT systems integrator — can help your organisation transition systems back on-premise as soon as you need them there. This multi-cloud approach will cut out the complexity of migration issues, service contracts and potential data loss as you already have a multi-pronged arrangement with multiple platforms and providers that understand your need to stay nimble.
- You want to avoid commitment to one cloud services provider
Organisations today are outsourcing to multiple providers for a range of business needs. There is no reason why this trend can’t extend to cloud. According to ZDNet, 39 per cent of IT decision-makers feel locked in with their current suppliers. With multi-cloud, you get more freedom of choice, allowing you to easily switch providers if their SLAs, costs or privacy guidelines change. In fact, the University of Sydney’s School of Information Technologies’ Centre says a hybrid or multi-cloud approach is the most cost-effective, efficient way to manage various cloud computing resources.
A multi-cloud strategy can work for a range of business types, whether you’re a local or multi-national organisation, an SME or large corporation, or one that is already using cloud computing or that is still ironing out a path to cloud. Remember to consider using an IT systems integrator to help make your multi-cloud implementation less complex and ensure cloud computing success.