Stories by Kevin Tolly

  • Opinion: What will rate in 2008?

    It's time to look into the crystal ball to see what exciting products will be coming your way next year. In my case, I can skip the crystal ball and just look at the testing projects at The Tolly Group that are wending their way to you. Breakthroughs in performance and functions abound.

  • Soft hardware: the joys of virtual appliances

    For all of my 25+ years in IT, the "software vs. hardware" debate has raged on. During that time, their benefits were mutually exclusive. In many instances, software gave us total flexibility, but hardware gave us reliability and performance. As with most things in life, there were tradeoffs. Now, though, it appears that virtualization is coming to the rescue -- again -- with the concept of virtual appliances. Perhaps you can have it all, after all.

  • Unified communications - battle royal

    For me the recent VoiceCon show in San Francisco gave new meaning to the words "unified messaging." As I made my rounds to close to two dozen analyst meetings, almost every executive was focused on laying out their company's "Unified Communications" strategy and/or its upper-stack cousin, "Communications-enabled Business Processes." UC and CEBP were certainly the stars of the show but how we'll get there is not at all clear and a big battle is brewing.

  • Big Iron is back

    After some two decades of having its market share eroded by migration to server-based applications, "big iron" is back. And, irony of ironies, the catalyst for the comeback is the need to deal with server farms that have grown out of control.

  • Rethinking wireless LAN packet loss

    We all know that there are trade-offs when using wireless communications. We would never tolerate the quality of our cell phones on land lines and we know that our wired Ethernet connections have better raw throughput than wireless.

  • App Accel and Microsoft's stack attack

    "Niche killer" has been an oft-encountered modus operandi of Microsoft over the years. Whether it is disk defragmentation, disk compression, firewall or antispyware, Microsoft has eventually decided to play the game and, in the process, change the game. While in the past these forays were limited, Microsoft is now poised to potentially shake up a much bigger space -- the world of application acceleration.

  • Lo-Fi Wi-Fi: Taking it to the streets

    Strange times in Portland, Oregon: The Unwired Portland project is aimed at delivering Wi-Fi access to every part of the city, but some people just don't get it -- the signal, that is.

  • Will Cisco suffer IBM's fate?

    A mere decade ago, IBM was king of the corporate networks. That was no surprise, given that IBM essentially invented the mainstream corporate network. The surprise was that before 1999 was out, IBM was out, too -- out of the network business. The company had been dethroned and exiled, finally selling what was left of its network business to Cisco.

  • Vista -- The calm in the eye of the PC storm

    For all the attention the introduction of Vista has received in recent weeks, it has ironically been one of the calmest areas in the world of personal computing -- the eye of a storm engulfing many of Microsoft's partners.

  • A lot of fuss for a backward step

    "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." -- Winston Churchill, November 1942. OK, I'll grant that I'm probably overreacting, but this quote came to mind as I witnessed the excessive (even for a Mac fan) media coverage that followed the recent announcement of Apple's Boot Camp.

  • Cisco 'pals' offer new strategy

    <b>Whatever one might think of the technology that Cisco sells, few would argue against the company's success</b> as a marketing machine. For its competitors, making progress against Cisco has often been as productive as trench warfare in World War I. But that might be changing.

  • Closing the door on Windows

    A month or so back, I wrote a piece -- "Does the OS matter anymore" -- positing in essence that the generic nature of key applications is such that the underlying OS matters less and less all the time.

  • Cisco's AON: Vendor lockout or something more?

    Not satisfied with being the pre-eminent network hardware vendor on the planet, Cisco leaps to the top of the stack with its new Application-Oriented Networking strategy. If the network giant succeeds, competitors might view AON to mean "All Over Now" as Cisco's lock on most corporate networks could turn into a stranglehold.

  • MY SAY: Does the OS matter anymore?

    With desktop market share still ranging from miniscule to small, relatively speaking, there's an enormous interest in Microsoft alternatives such as Linux and Mac OS X.

  • MY SAY: Circumventing Microsoft

    Notwithstanding the fact it will be many years before very many corporate users might be able to work in a "Microsoft-free" environment, there appears to be significant effort being put forth to make it a reality. From the geekiest tech publications, such as the Java Developer's Journal, to august ones such as The Wall Street Journal, circumventing Microsoft is a hot topic.