Friday, 26 November 2010

The Ideal IT Team Organisation for Virtualization

This week, John Dix of Network World looked at the reorganisation of IT that is required to enable effective cloud computing.

He explains: "Companies tend to hit a wall when they get 20% to 40% of their environment virtualized because they don't have the management structure and expertise to deal with key questions such as backup/restore and compliance requirements.

"That stuff is hard enough on a good day, but is different altogether when unified compute/storage/network virtual assets move around freely."

The issue is that there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer to this. At Cisco, John Manville - Vice President of IT Network and Data Services - initially continued to manage his team of 450 in traditional departments: platform team, storage team, network team etc.

He said this led to "sub-optimal system level designs." Instead, he moved to "an architecture team, a design team, an implementation team and, effectively, an operations team."

To support this, he created a horizontal virtual service teams. He explains that it took a year to get right, and "it wasn't easy because various teams were worried their role was going to get taken over by other people."

Manville concludes that the system now works: "I think most people have realized their role becomes richer and they can have more direct impact on running this organization."

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Cisco Co-founder Gobbles Up Turkey Sales

Michael Cooney of Network World reports that Sandy Lerner - the co-founder of Cisco - can now be found running an organic turkey farm in Virginia.

The 3,000-acre plot is the first Virginia farm to be certified both organic and humane, and also the first farm in America to generate certified humane veal calves. However, this isn't just about being humane and sustainable - it has become a $7m-a-year business.

Lerner's entrepreneurial skills were realised at a young age, when she sold her herd of cattle in order to pay her tuition fees at California State University. This enabled her to study Comparative Communist Theory with a minor in Marxist Economics.

She then founded Cisco with her husband, Len Bosack, in 1984. The simple beginnings of the technology giant were developed when Bosack and Lerner wanted to e-mail each other from their respective offices. They were restricted by technology - even though they both worked at Stanford University. The technology that they developed resulted in the multi-protocol router.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Top 10 Tips for Passing the Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Exams

Joel Jeffery of JFDI Phoenix, an instructor at Firebrand Training, gives the rundown of his top ten tips for passing the Microsoft SharePoint 2010 exams. These will prove invaluable whether you are a SharePoint Administrator (exams 70-667 and 70-668), or a SharePoint Developer (exams 70-573 and 70-576).

The exam syllabus states that three months of product experience is required before sitting the MCTS exams, and up to two years for the MCITP and MCPD exams. You can complement this experience with my top ten tips:

1. Pace yourself. You have a limited amount of time and a lot of questions to answer. Give yourself a time limit per question – and stick to it. Keep track of the time remaining, which is displayed on-screen.

2. Read the question. It sounds obvious, but read the question thoroughly. Watch out if you like taking notes: don’t use all your exam time writing them down!

3. Do you know the answer? Another one that may sound obvious. If you have checked the whole question, and you are certain that you know the answer - select the answer and move on.

4. Leave no question unanswered. There is no “negative” marking in Microsoft exams. You only accumulate points for correct answers; no additional marks are deducted for incorrect choices.

5. Don’t change your mind. If you choose to review your choices at the end (and this is generally a good idea) do not be tempted to change your answer unless you are sure you got it wrong.

6. Look out for clues in later questions. Your exam can be like a logic puzzle. Sometimes you can find two or three questions spread over the course of an exam that, when read together, can only have one logical combination of correct answers.

7. Eliminate the stupid choices. The quality of Microsoft exams has improved much over the last few years. These days, all choices you will be presented with must be viable areas of SharePoint 2010’s object model or platform. However, there are usually still one or two obviously incorrect choices that you can eliminate with ease.

8. Look out for trick questions. Sometimes Microsoft puts in choices that are more applicable to a previous version of a product or technology, but which would not work on the new platform.

9. Avoid overly complex answers. Try and ask yourself “If I were to design an API or command line interface, how should I do it?” Often the most cumbersome-looking choices are incorrect. Beware though. Sometimes things are just difficult to do.

10. Don’t forget everything you already know about IT! You walk in to the exam room with potentially many years’ experience as a developer or IT Professional. Keep calm and use your real-world skills.