Entries tagged with “Computers”.


This is a guest post from Larry Dignan, Editor in Chief of ZDNet, TechRepublic’s sister site. You can follow Larry on his ZDNet blog Between the Lines (or subscribe to the RSS feed).

Cisco’s Unified Computing System is garnering interest, but storage appears to be the focus of CIOs as they ponder the next generation data center and that’s good news for EMC and NetApp, according to a Goldman Sachs survey.

Goldman Sachs surveyed 100 IT executives at Fortune 1000 companies to get a read on their data center plans two to three years from now.

Among the takeaways:

Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS) has found “a surprisingly receptive ear,” according to Goldman Sachs. Indeed, 18 percent are planning to evaluate Cisco’s UCS in the next 12 months, an impressive figure for a product that was announced a few weeks ago. Another two-thirds of IT execs say that they expect Cisco have a larger server presence over the next 2 to 3 years.

Among those surveyed, 18 percent said they will evaluate UCS in the next 12 months, 44 percent said no and 38 percent were unsure.

Cisco, HP and Dell were vendors expected to increase data center share, according to respondents. Sun and IBM are seen decreasing.

These charts tell the tale:

And.

The next gen data center push is benefiting pure storage players. EMC and NetApp are seen gaining share in the next-gen data center. A key point: As tech giants try to further integrate hardware and software independent storage vendors NetApp and EMC are benefiting. Why? These vendors work with any architecture and they’re ahead on storage virtualization.

VMware is seen as the most strategic software vendor, but Microsoft has a better-than-expected finish. Meanwhile, Oracle got a mention as being strategic on the virtualization front.

The standings:

Cisco and Juniper defend switching turf. Goldman Sachs notes:

Despite the heightened activity in data center networking, including the launch of Juniper’s new high-end switching platform as well as HP’s ProCurve partner ecosystem, Cisco is expected to further extend its already sizable lead in the long-term. This is consistent with our IT Survey’s results pointing to share gains in the near term. Juniper also appears to be gaining traction in switching as our survey points to the company increasing its presence in the data center, with nearly 70% of the respondents citing share gains over next 2-3 years.

More reading:

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – The Associated Press is reporting that the nonprofit foundation that runs Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia of user-contributed articles, said Friday it has met its $6 million fundraising goal for fiscal 2008.

With about six months left in this year’s campaign, the Wikimedia Foundation said it has raised $6.2 million. A flood of donations came in after the site’s founder, Jimmy Wales, posted an appeal for support in late December.

The foundation said about 50,000 contributors chipped in a total of $2 million in the space of eight days, bringing the total number of donors to more than 125,000.

The money will go toward improving the software Wikipedia runs on as well as upgrading the servers and Internet bandwidth that accommodate the site’s traffic. Wikipedia consistently ranks among the 10 most visited Web sites in the world.

The foundation operates the site without advertising as a matter of principle, making donations critical.

Since its founding in 2001, Wikipedia’s fundraising prowess has expanded quickly. The foundation hauled in $1.3 million two years ago and $2.2 million last year.

In March 2008, the site received a $3 million gift from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, to be dispensed in $1 million annual installments. Last month the Stanton Foundation gave $890,000 to make Wikipedia’s editing process more user-friendly.

The Wikimedia Foundation hopes the growth in big-name donors will help improve the encyclopedia’s uneven reputation for accuracy, both by showing that civic-minded institutions are willing to make an investment and by funding programs that increase outreach to new contributors.

Wikimedia spokesman Jay Walsh said expanding the foundation’s Wikipedia Academies will be a major goal in the coming year. The program sends Wikimedia staff to institutions around the world for discussions with experts in different fields, partly in hopes of drawing more academics and professionals to the site.

“There’s work to do in getting the word out about how Wikipedia works,” Walsh said.

In a thank-you note posted on the site Friday, Wales told donors, “You have proven that Wikipedia matters to you, and that you support our mission: to bring free knowledge to the planet, free of charge and free of advertising.”

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A Microsoft patent application details a business model whereby the user gets a free or heavily subsidized PC but is charged for usage time, application and performance. Microsoft has applied for a patent on metered, pay-as-you-go computing.

US patent application number 20080319910, published on Christmas Day2008, details Microsoft’s vision of a situation where a “standard model” of PC is given away or heavily subsidized by someone in the supply chain. The end user then pays to use the computer, with charges based on both the length of usage time and the performance levels utilized, along with a “one-time charge”.

Microsoft notes in the application that the end user could end up paying more for the computer, compared with the one-off cost entailed in the existing PC business model, but argues the user would benefit by having a PC with an extended “useful life”.

“A computer with scalable performance level components and selectable software and service options has a user interface that allows individual performance levels to be selected,” reads the patent application’s abstract.

“The scalable performance level components may include a processor, memory, graphics controller, etc. Software and services may include word processing, email, browsing, database access, etc. To support a pay-per-use business model, each selectable item may have a cost associated with it, allowing a user to pay for the services actually selected and that presumably correspond to the task or tasks being performed,” the abstract continues.

Integral to Microsoft’s vision is a security module, embedded in the PC, that would effectively lock the PC to a certain supplier.

“The metering agents and specific elements of the security module… allow an underwriter in the supply chain to confidently supply a computer at little or no upfront cost to a user or business, aware that their investment is protected and that the scalable performance capabilities generate revenue commensurate with actual performance level settings and usage,” the application reads.

‘A more granular approach’
According to the application, the issue with the existing PC business model is that it “requires more or less a one chance at the consumer kind of mentality, where elasticity curves are based on the pressure to maximize profits on a one-time-sale, one-shot-at-the-consumer mentality”.

Microsoft’s proposed model, on the other hand, could “allow a more granular approach to hardware and software sales”, the application states, adding that the user “may be able to select a level of performance related to processor, memory, graphics power, etc that is driven not by a lifetime maximum requirement but rather by the need of the moment”.

“When the need is browsing, a low level of performance may be used and, when network-based interactive gaming is the need of the moment, the highest available performance may be made available to the user,” the document reads. “Because the user only pays for the performance level of the moment, the user may see no reason to not acquire a device with a high degree of functionality, in terms of both hardware and software, and experiment with a usage level that suits different performance requirements.”

By way of example, the application posits a situation involving three “bundles” of applications and performance: office, gaming and browsing.

“The office bundle may include word-processing and spreadsheet applications, medium graphics performance and two of three processor cores,” the document reads. “The gaming bundle may include no productivity applications but may include 3D graphics support and three of three processor cores. The browsing bundle may include no productivity applications, medium graphics performance and high-speed network interface.”

“Charging for the various bundles may be by bundle and by duration. For example, the office bundle may be $1.00 [68 pence] per hour, the gaming bundle may be $1.25 per hour and the browsing bundle may be $0.80 per hour. The usage charges may be abstracted to ‘units/hour’ to make currency conversions simpler. Alternatively, a bundle may incur a one-time charge that is operable until changed or for a fixed-usage period,” the document reads.

Microsoft’s patent application does acknowledge that a per-use model of computing would probably increase the cost of ownership over the PC’s lifetime. The company argues in its application, however, that “the payments can be deferred and the user can extend the useful life of the computer beyond that of the one-time purchase machine”.

The document suggests that “both users and suppliers benefit from this new business model” because “the user is able to migrate the performance level of the computer as needs change over time, while the supplier can develop a revenue stream business that may actually have higher value than the one-time purchase model currently practiced”.

“Rather than suffering through less-than-adequate performance for a significant portion of the life of a computer, a user can increase performance level over time, at a slight premium of payments,” the application reads. “When the performance level finally reaches its maximum and still better performance is required, then the user may upgrade to a new computer, running at a relatively low performance level, probably with little or no change in the cost of use.”

By David Meyer ZDNet.co.uk
Posted on ZDNet News: Dec 29, 2008 6:20:34 AM

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