Wednesday, February 25, 2009

InfoStrat Featured on Channel 10

Larry Larsen interviews Josh Wall of InfoStrat on Microsoft Surface applications for military applications such as mission planning. There's lots of content here, including the Magnifier application, map pushpins, integration of imagery and more.

Monday, February 23, 2009

IT Solutions for Government Transparency

The current U.S. economic crisis and resulting huge government bailout programs provide an unprecedented opportunity to test information technology solutions for government transparency.

Government officials at federal, state and local levels will suddenly find their programs funded beyond their normal run rates, and will face pressure to spend money quickly to achieve policy goals.

Information technology can help the bailouts succeed in several ways:

1. Federal, state, and local governments need to bridge their information systems so the flow of funding and its ultimate disposition can be tracked.
2. Business intelligence capability is essential to track the metrics of success and show how the results justify the outlays.
3. Portals are needed for government to communicate with constituents, not just for sharing information but for two-way collaboration. Already Virginia is asking businesses and individuals to propose plans online.
4. Integration with mapping software can provide powerful visualization capabilities to help people assimilate the vast data inherent in these programs.

Most of the products and technologies are already in place. The key challenge is to mobilize the people who can quickly implement solutions to make the urgency of the economic problem and the aspirations of the new administration to deliver a quick fix.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Smaller is More Beautiful -- Virtualization in Government Data Centers

Government information technology managers are warming to server virtualization as a means to save money, reduce energy consumption, and simplify management of servers. New products and technologies are bringing virtualization to large and small data centers.

Prior to virtualization, servers were dedicated to particular tasks. Every new application would require the acquisition of one or more new servers. In a large data center, this would ultimately lead to proliferation of servers, and the models and configurations of the hardware would change over time. There was no easy way to scale up applications which needed more hardware horsepower, short of migrating to a new server, and, more commonly, no easy way to take advantage of unused horsepower for servers that largely sit idle.

Every new server demands more resources to keep it alive, including power, connectivity, backup, and management. As the number of servers grow, so does the need for more racks, more floor space and more air conditioning in the server room.

Virtualization means the end of one-to-one mapping of servers and services. A server can hold multiple operating systems on the same hardware, and multiple instances of applications to facilitate management.

The collapse rate is the ratio of servers before and after virtualization. Government Computer News claims a ratio of 20:1, that is the retirement of 19 out of 20 servers when virtualization is implemented. Your mileage may vary, but the ongoing operations savings could be significant.

Virtualization also offers more portability. Once you are operating in a virtual server environment, your applications are less tightly bound to your particular physical servers and easier to move to a new server or even a new hosting facility.

Microsoft has launched new virtualization products, including Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V.

Here is a video introduction of the product.