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Reducing Data Center Risks...

By Mark Hall
January 23, 2006 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld -

Mike Harding, vice president of customer network services at Sun Microsystems Inc.
Mike Harding, vice president of customer network services at Sun Microsystems Inc.
...can reap rewards for IT. Given that market research firm IDC estimates that you spend 80% of your IT budget managing day-to-day operations, reducing the risk of common operational errors just might free up some of those dollars so you can divert them to more interesting technology investments. That's the proposition behind Sun Microsystems Inc.'s fancy new metric, the Operational Risk Index (ORI). Mike Harding, Sun's vice president of customer network services, claims that one in every 200 "admin touches" to systems results in an error condition of some sort that needs to be fixed. "You have a one-half-percent probability of having a problem just by going to work," he laments. But Sun can help you determine the likelihood and potential severity of server crashes and other risks inside your data center. Harding says Sun has done numerous studies of mixed IT environments at customer sites so it can look at yours and determine your ORI. For example, if your administrators have had Sun-certified training, the chances of them making a boo-boo on its systems are 59% lower, he says. In addition to user training, Sun analyzes system configurations, patch levels, security conditions and your specific IT operations processes. The better your ORI score, the bigger your discount on Sun's maintenance contracts, Harding says, adding that ORIs can be determined for both Sun and non-Sun gear.
Systems management gets a new host...
...for your Windows PCs.
On Feb. 1, WebEx Communications Inc. will make a hosted set of desktop systems management services available. Gary Griffiths, vice president of products at the Santa Clara, Calif.-based vendor, says the WebEx Systems Management Services offering will provide a variety of capabilities often handled by on-premises software, including discovery and management of IT assets, software distribution, patch management, virus protection and online data backup. Backups are done over the wire with 128-bit encryption, Griffiths says. He adds that although IT admins will connect to the service via the Internet, it runs over WebEx's proprietary Media-Tone global network, which has 39 distributed clusters of switches and routers to ensure a higher degree of reliability than the public network. The Windows-only service starts at $5 per seat on a monthly basis and is being offered in English, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and Korean versions.
Intel chips boost the Mac's fortunes...
...inside big companies.
That's because the Macintosh has now "crossed two of the three barriers to enterprise computing," says Scott Parkin, a product manager at LANDesk Group Ltd. in South

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