Links List 7.24.09

July 27th, 2009 by

An interesting InfoWorld article talks about: Outsourcing, virtualization, utility computing, automation, hosted applications, the current recession and now cloud computing – a long list of threats to your IT job. Cloud computing is here to stay; we’re just seeing the beginning of adoption and uses for the cloud for enterprise and government computing. So instead of arguing about a definitive industry-wide definition, IT folk need to understand where the opportunities (and the downsides) are when it comes to the cloud. The good news: “Any large-scale shift to cloud computing is a decade or more away” – according to Gartner analyst Ben Pring. So don’t panic. Today, SaaS and cloud computing are an extension of the company’s network and not a replacement. In the longer term, however, some percentage of the jobs around infrastructure services, monitoring, and datacenter operations will shift to cloud service providers and telcos. And the IT jobs most at risk: those focused on configuring and maintaining infrastructure. According to the article, the key is to start building the skills – vendor contract management, integration with the cloud, analytics, rich lightweight Internet workforce applications, mobile applications – that are going to be needed for the next decade. “Embrace the cloud, don’t fight it.”

Anyone who was at the Interop Vegas keynote knows there’s a war going on: Cisco is horning in on the server hardware space and positioning itself to compete with long-time/some-time partners IBM and HP. At the recent Cisco Partner Summit in Boston, a Cisco senior VP allegedly told VARs they must “Refuse to Lose” when competing with HP. And HP kicked off Interop with apparently long-time partner Microsoft talking about the major investment they were making to dominate the UC market, an “in-your-face” counter directed at Cisco. But the real battleground, as always, is the customer. This post on the Wall Street Journal blog has Cisco edging out HP when it comes to telepresence at least. Marriott, a former HP videoconferencing customer, just selected Cisco which came in with a lower-priced offer than HP’s $120K per hotel plus $9,900 per location monthly service fee. If you ask Cisco, they’ve won about every HP reference account. If you ask HP, they are winning against Cisco. If you ask the analysts, Cisco wins with 67% of the 520 telepresence units sold worldwide versus HP’s 10% share.

Public and well-documented: the latest chapter on the lack of cloud computing security. TechCrunch, in a very (even for them) controversial move, published some documents that a hacker known as Hacker Croll had stolen from Twitter and Twitter employees who were using cloud applications like Gmail, Hotmail and Google Apps. Information taken included things like financial projections and executive meeting notes that contained highly confidential information. In fact, Twitter appears to be a company where almost all of their business exists online – from sharing data via applications or simply through email. The weak point in the security chain that Hacker Croll broke was the forgot/reset password feature at the front end of almost every online app. Check out the TechCrunch article for the entire anatomy of the attack.

Who doesn’t know about Recovery.gov? The much-lauded and much-vilified website at the center of communicating all about ARRA activities. Over the next 5 years, the GSA will spend $18 million beefing it up – your tax dollars at work. In light of the increasingly important role that government websites play today, GCN announces its second list of 10 Great Government Web sites. On the list:

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