"A tech-support call starts it all," says industry observer John Brandon, who certainly sounds like he knows what he's dealt with a few of these perennial questions: "Why is my application running slow? What happened to my spreadsheet data? Is HQ using a 56K modem to handle traffic for my branch office -- again?"
And then, as he says, "the number of calls suddenly increases, and network analysis reveals unforeseen usage spikes at a new marketing location. The dream of data-center consolidation turns into a nightmare."
So what to do? Brandon discusses WAN optimization as a way to address "slow application performance over sagging, slow and overused networks." The problem, he notes, comes in when companies are so distributed, "implementing a comprehensive strategy to resolve network congestion issues isn't easy. In addition, upgrading switches and carrier lines can be prohibitively expensive."
A virtual private server or virtual dedicated server is a popular Web hosting option for customers. What it does, according to Hosting News, is take one big server and partition it off into several small servers. This creates a virtual server which runs inside an actual hardware server by means of a specially designed partition:
"Each virtual server can run its own operating system, and each server can be independently rebooted. It cannot be accessed or interrupted by its neighbors."
You can see the advantages.
A virtual private server, Hosting News says, "is usually a stepping stone between shared hosting accounts and dedicated hosting accounts. You now will have all the benefits of a dedicated machine, but there will still be limitations as to what you can do with it."
Putting it in terms this reporter can understand, Hosting News compare shared hosting to "a small one bedroom bungalow, and think of dedicated hosting as a McMansion. In between the two, a virtual private server is a comfortable three bedroom home in a nice suburb."
Industry observer Jonathan Strickland has written a good introduction for how the magic of cloud communications work for those of us who are, shall we say, not quite so geeky:
"Let's say you're an executive at a large corporation," Strickland says. In which case you'd be able to hire somebody to worry about all this for you, but let's stay with him.
Your particular responsibilities include making sure that all of your employees have the right hardware and software they need to do their jobs, he posits: "Buying computers for everyone isn't enough -- you also have to purchase software or software licenses to give employees the tools they require. Whenever you have a new hire, you have to buy more software or make sure your current software license allows another user. It's so stressful that you find it difficult to go to sleep on your huge pile of money every night."
Hey, we are so there.
Jawbone and Cisco officials have announced "close collaboration" to allow employees to move from device to device throughout their day.
"We live in an increasingly connected world where the lines between work and play are blurring fast, if not completely gone. People want integrated solutions that are valuable to them all the time regardless of where they are or what they are doing -- these need to be lifestyle solutions with the best functionality in a form that is appealing," said Hosain Rahman, CEO of Jawbone.
Jawbone ICON for Cisco Bluetooth Headset will bridge mobile phones and Internet Protocol phones "in a way that is transparent to users," Cisco officials say, "and extends unified communications beyond the walls of the workplace."
Users will be able to connect to their Cisco Unified IP phones and mobile phones simultaneously, creating what Jawbone officials call "a truly unified, wireless, and hands-free communications experience as they move from in-the-office to on-the-go. While on the same headset, employees can take a call from their desk phone and the next from their cell phone as calls can be handled from both sources at the same time on the same headset."