Stuff about Software Engineering

Month: January 2007

Windows Home Server – what you always needed at home, but can’t install on an existing computer

Although Windows Vista was just launched it’s not everyday that Microsoft reveals new operating systems. So I was really exited to hear about Windows Home Server (WHS). Here’s the lowdown from Engadget:

  • Units are headless and embedded only — you cannot buy WHS and put it on an old PC — yikes 🙁
  • There is no common web interface. Interaction is entirely client software based, or done over SMB — make sure to turn off the “there’s no external monitor error beep in the bios”.
  • It cannot directly stream media to Media Center Extenders, but it can stream media directly to Windows Media Connect-enabled devices — Why?!
  • It does not use RAID, but instead uses a RAID-like drive pooling system with built-in redundancy. Expanding capacity is as simple as adding additional drives internally or externally via USB — Hmm, will have to wait and see..
  • The client software, which is installable only on Windows PCs (duh) monitors PC health, manages backups, and supports full disk images and versions. If your computer crashes hard you can pop in an restore CD and it’ll pull the disk image over the network – OK, great.
  • Your WHS device gets registered with your Windows Live account and is made easily-findable by authorized parties (i.e. you and anyone you designate) while on the go. You can even connect to it via Live and pipe a Remote Desktop connection to a PC on your home network through this Home-finding Live feature — cool and not so cool. Although I’m sure that Microsoft will go to every extent to make sure that this is secure and “hacker proof” this sounds like a prime target for hacking.

Needled to say, I’m going to try and install one as soon as I can get my hands on the software.

The great divide…

From a IT point of view I think there are basically two categories of companies in the world:

  1. Those who think that IT is a cost and it should be kept as low as possible.
  2. Those who think that IT can be used to drive the business.

Let me explain a bit more. In my work as a consultant I’ve consulted with many different types of companies both private and public and in all the different sectors; Life Science, Manufactoring, Financial and so on. It seems to me that all of these companies organize their IT deparment in one of two ways; either their CIO reports to the CFO or their CIO reports to the CEO. In the first case the company is a category (1) and in the latter case the company is a category (2).

Category (1) companies are typically from the Life Science and Manufactoring sectors. Category (2) companies are typically from the Financial and Manufactoring sectors. So there’s a continuum here probably with Life Science going to Manufactoring going to Financial.

So how does this apply to IT?

Category (1) companies are clueless about Enterprise Architecture and Category (2) companies are leaders in Enterprise Architecture.

I’ve worked for some of the largest Life Science companies in Denmark, and they all have fierce measurement programs in place for all their IT projects. Nothing gets started without a business plan that details costs and tangible benefits. All IT projects are benchmarked against eachother and progress, costs, time registrations and so on are compared and analyzed. Enterprise Architecture in these companies have a really hard time, as even Gartner have yet to quantify the tangible benefits of Enterprise Architecture.

I’ve also worked for some large Manufactoring and Financial companies in Denmark – and these companies use IT as a business driver. Can you imagine a bank without IT? IT is the business – and any intiative that can make IT more effective and cost efficient is exploited. So in these companies Enterprise Architecture is very effective and after a while most companies find tangible benefits that they didn’t expect to find (or even was looking for…).

So if you’re looking for a job, consulting with a company or even in the very company you work for – if the CIO reports to the CFO then from a Enterprise Architecture perspective you’re probably screwed.

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