Archive for Tom Fedro

Weighing the Costs of Backup and Recovery

Weighing the costs of backup and recoveryWith technology critical to all organizations no matter their size, both profit and non-profit leaders are betting their company’s life on having the right systems in place at the right time. Some leaders look at technology as a mere accounting expense. Although one does not need to be a CPA to manage an organization’s finances, a basic understanding of the concepts is required to make sound financial decisions for the business. When it comes to technology the same applies in order to make informed decisions on the IT budget. For example, a basic understanding of data storage is important when projecting costs related to backup and recovery in case of a disaster.

As would be expected, storage requirements and protection of the data can range widely in price depending on the vertical market of the company (see Gartner IT spending forecast for 2013 below*). For instance, data storage needs differ greatly between a bank and a non-profit. In the former, high-availability storage is needed for fast access to critical data so speed and performance with absolutely no down time is imperative (requiring a higher investment); in the latter, stored data may be less critical and thus can be backed up on less expensive media with longer intervals between full backups.

Knowing the risk of data loss and weighing that against the investment in appropriate computer hardware and software is also critical. One just needs to look at the damage inflicted upon the telecommunications industry following Hurricane Sandy in 2012**. A lack of investment in infrastructure was to blame for widespread outages. The damage hammered the credibilty and was a financial blow to telecom providers; even spuring an FCC inquiry***.  Despite this, and other natural as well as man-made disasters, many businesses are still not implementing disaster recovery plans to ensure business continuity.

One way to get on track is to do disaster recovery and business continuity prepartion audit.  Many of my company’s partners can provide this service and I am happy to refer you – please email me here at tom@tomfedro.com if I can be of assistance.

Sources:

* IT Spending To See Modest Growth In 2013, Informationweek, January 04, 2013.

**Looking beyond Hurricane Sandy, CounterPunch.org, November 15, 2012.

*** FCC holds Hurricane Sandy hearings into telecom failures, fixes, NJ.com, February 05, 2013.

 

Relationship Management

By Tom Fedro

I don’t understand why, but far too many businesses fail to take into account the importance of relationships. Relationships with employees, vendors, customers, and others determine the success or failure of an organization. It’s amazing to me that many tech companies in particular fail to adequately consider the impacts of their relationships and the value that is earned or lost by them.

Your primary job is not to write code or data sheets. Your primary job is not to create products or presentations. Your primary job in management is developing and maintaining relationships with everyone along your production and delivery system. You can’t let these items go. A great many brilliant technological advancements never see a market because an understanding of the importance of human relationships was missing. Take the time to recognize what your distributors and your clients hold most dear. Don’t try to convince them of your product’s value without first understanding what it is that is most important to them. Work at this, and you’ll find that your sales and production efforts will begin to streamline.

I’ve often had friends ask me “How can you get employees to believe they have a say?” I always give the obvious answer, “Give them a say” and mean it by taking concrete action. Determining how to value relationships in your business is the same. Recognize that the relationships are more than just valuable – THEY ARE your business. Once this is clear you’ll ultimately find your policies, goals, and activities aligning themselves according to that principle. Above all, never forget that business is ultimately about people, even when you spend your day working on software and hardware. The human element is the element that pays for the company’s existence, and you forget about it at your peril and at the peril of your company.

How are you doing? How are the relationships in your business? What are you going to change?

Funds for 130 Wheelchairs Raised at “Run for Mobility 2013″

Tom Fedro runs for Wheelchair MissionBy Tom Fedro

Last month I was fortunate enough to run the “Surf City” half marathon in Huntington Beach California. The goal, beyond reaching the finish line in one piece, was to raise money and awareness for the Irvine-based Free Wheelchair Mission charity.

Developing nations with poverty and economic isolation have an estimated 100 million people who need wheelchairs…yet cannot afford one. Unfortunately, these people are suffering from not only the inconvenience and pain associated with their disability, but exclusion and indignity of complete imobility, relying on others for most of their needs. As stated on the Free Wheelchair Mission’s Web site, “Some are forced to crawl on the ground or wait to be carried by loved ones to reach their most basic of needs. They are subjected to danger and disease. Many succumb to hopelessness. Safety nets are few, and available social services are scarce. Families strain to care for their disabled loved one within an already overburdened existence.”

A wheel chair quite simply changes a life forever.  And not just the life of the user as its estimated that 10 other people, family members, care givers etc.. are positively impacted when a chair is delivered.

Thanks to many wonderful folks in our circle of friends and family we were able to raise enough money to buy 130 chairs this year, impacting up to 1300 people in a tangible, life changing way a half a world a way.

I hope you can come run with us next year in beautiful Surf City USA!  Would love to see you here.

To learn more about the Free Wheelchair Mission, check out this video: Run for Mobility. To learn more or donate, visit the Free Wheelchair Mission Web site.

 

Software Defined Storage is Disruptive

Paragon Software Disruptive Technology storage hypervisorEarlier this month, EMC’s Chuck Hollis discussed two trends he noticed progressing in the storage technology space that he predicted would result in disruptive technology: the increasing presence of a software-defined data center, due to the fact that virtualization is a cost-effective method for expanding your resources without adding additional proprietary hardware, and the ever-increasing demand for storage.

I have to agree with Chuck. For some time now I have noticed the emergence of this market as well and believe there a great opportunity for a disruptive technology to make its move: a storage hypervisor that is hardware agnostic.

The savings virtualization creates is based upon the fact that all of the traditionally siloed functions of the data center, all on their own physical servers, can now be performed via layered software. To quote Hollis,

“It’s a simple proposition: the IT infrastructure components we typically think of as physical (storage, network, security, etc.) will soon be expressed as layered software, running in virtual machines, presumably on pools of industry-standard servers. Cost savings result from the use of standard servers. Resource efficiency results through the ability to pool resources. Operational efficiency results through managing integrated software entities vs. isolated physical ones. And agility results from being able to react quickly to new requirements. It’s a win-win-win-win. We’ve all seen how powerful this is with server virtualization, now we’re just expanding the concept to other forms of infrastructure to create the virtual data center.”

What it boils down to is that the storage industry is trending towards cost savings and efficiency through the use of software on industry-standard servers and commodity hard drives, reducing, or eventually eliminating, the current need for expensive, proprietary hardware and software solutions from folks like IBM, Dell, Hitachi and EMC (sorry Chuck). This is disruptive.

Fortunately, our company, Paragon Software Group is poised to take advantage of this industry dynamic with our partner Starwind Software Inc. we are offering a new solution – Paragon Starwind iSCSI SAN & NAS. Simply stated, iSCSI SAN & NAS is a storage hypervisor that turns any industry-standard Windows server into a reliable, fault-tolerant, and unified SAN and NAS, while taking advantage of “off the shelf” or existing storage devices and network infrastructure.

Its an exciting time in the storage space!