The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

HP servers are powering the labs at Microsoft Tech Ed 2011

I used to go to Microsoft Tech Ed every year (I even spoke at it twice) and found it to be a great way to see what was going across Microsoft, as well as what Microsoft’s customers had done. The following video shows some highlights of this year, but inside of the video (about 1 minute and 20 seconds in, running for about a minute) is the discussion of the HP servers that run the lab area:

 

 

The lab area has always been one of my favorite places to learn, since it allows you to run through hands-on sessions as well as play around with the latest software technology. There are usually a few glitches, and figure out how to overcome them may be the most educational part.

 

There are literally hundreds of people experimenting in the labs during peak times of the day. The infrastructure to support this in the past filled a pretty good sized room, now it is in a single HP C7000 BladeSystem rack – providing better performance than ever before. It doesn’t even fill the rack.

 

For those who wonder about how a virtualized desktop environment can be brought on-line, this may be a good example of the current state. It had to be brought up quickly and will be torn down at the end of the week.

Many of the sessions from Tech Ed are available on line. It looks like you can even access some of the labs remotely as well. I started the Introducing the Visual Studio 2010 Parallel Debugger lab. It took a couple of minutes to get started but that is much less than setting up my own environment. I wonder how long they will keep the environment operational.

Thoughts on Application Evaluation

Quadrant.pngMany organizations are realizing their application portfolio isn’t living up to their current/future requirements and need to determine how to approach the problem of separating with wheat from the chaff.

 

A technique we’ve used for years to focus our efforts is using the consultant’s favorite tool – a quadrant chart. Each application is assessed using a few dimensions. Two of the most prominent ones are looking at the application’s technical quality and its impact on business value.

 

Measuring technical quality can be tough. A mixture of qualitative and quantitative measure of the architectural alignment to the future direction (in this case the cloud could be one way) should be possible. Is it service oriented? Can it run on a cloud environment? Is it multi-threaded? What’s the on-going bug count like?

 

Measuring the business value has its own set of issues. You need to be able to consistently measure the application’s positive impact on revenue or its reduction to risks and expenses for the organization. This is one of the areas the Green IT crowd seems to overlook with their focus on hardware.

 

The on-going maintenance costs take away from the business value too -- if it’s inflexible or requires a high cost support environment those are real costs. Some people view that maintenance cost as a measure of technical quality. It could be, but it also takes away from the business value.

 

Now there are numerous books, articles and approaches to tackling the problem, so at least you don’t need to start with a blank sheet of paper. Looking at the applications portfolio is a foundational element to any IT transformation, since the applications are what facilitate the generation of business value. HP is definitely placing focus with helping organizations assess their applications as well.

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About the Author(s)
  • Steve Simske is an HP Fellow and Director in the Printing and Content Delivery Lab in Hewlett-Packard Labs, and is the Director and Chief Technologist for the HP Labs Security Printing and Imaging program.
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