Stories by Mary Brandel

  • Earth Rangers: Focus on virtualization, geothermal power

    "Bring Back the Wild" -- that's the mission of Earth Rangers, an innovative nonprofit organization that works to educate kids about environmental threats. Its goal is to inspire kids -- the "chief inheritors of environmental destruction," as its Web site says -- to become a powerful part of the solution by working to protect endangered species and their habitats.

  • Smartphones need smart security practices

    As vice president of IT at Windsor Foods in Houston, Stephan Henze has to stay one step ahead of the latest IT trends. That's why he's spending a lot of time thinking about securing and deploying smartphones enterprisewide.

  • Forecast 2010: 6 hottest skills for 2010

    Pent-up demand for new projects. Veteran employees leaving the company. Who could complain about such pressures in the waning months of 2009, when the year was spent under a cloud of economic misery?

  • Cloud computing: Don't get caught without an exit strategy

    When the IT world looks back at 2008, it will certainly remember the global financial crisis. But it will also likely link that time frame with the takeoff of cloud computing, the engine behind more conferences, conversations and marketing collateral than seemingly any other technology in development today.

  • How to avoid 5 common storage mishaps

    Think you can guess the No. 1 threat to the security of your stored data? If you said hackers, or even trouble-making insiders, you'd be wrong. While malicious threats are an ongoing concern, it's your well-meaning employees who are more likely to unknowingly expose your company's stored data through, say, a file-sharing network or a misplaced laptop.

  • Letting Apple into the enterprise isn't easy

    Eighteen months ago, Serena Software began exploring the feasibility of supporting Apple MacBooks as an option for its users, most of whom are developers. It was interested in lowering support costs and increasing satisfaction among employees who used Macs at home, including the CEO.

  • Stormy weather: 7 gotchas in cloud computing

    When the computer industry buys into a buzzword, it's like getting a pop song stuck in your head. It's all you hear. Worse, the same half-dozen questions about the hyped trend are incessantly paraded out, with responses that succeed mainly in revealing how poorly understood the buzzword actually is.

  • When to shred: Purging data saves money, cuts legal risk

    A funny thing happened on East Carolina University's journey to creating a data-retention strategy. As part of a compliance project launched one and a half years ago, Brent Zimmer, systems specialist at the university, was working with attorneys and archivists to determine which data was most important to keep and for how long. But it soon became clear that it was just as important to identify which data should be thrown away.

  • Role management software: Making it work for you

    Role management software enables the creation and lifecycle management of enterprise job roles, according to Forrester Research. It does this by discovering and logically grouping application-level, fine-grained authorizations and entitlements into enterprise job roles, which can then be assigned to people by rule-based provisioning or request-approval workflows.

  • Solid-state disk will go mainstream in 3, 2, 1...

    Solid-state disk, once considered a niche technology for ruggedized, industrial and military applications, is on its way to the mainstream. This is partly because of SSD benefits, which include performance, power efficiency, ruggedness and a lightweight, compact size. But other developments have also come into play, including technology and market developments that have begun to help this technology overcome its pitfalls -- namely capacity, reliability and price.

  • Vendors form 10Gbit/sec Ethernet Storage Alliance

    Aaron Martin likes to plan ahead. One year ago, the IT manager at Loro Piano, an Italian luxury goods manufacturer with US operations in New York, plunked down US$30,000 for a 10Gbit/sec Ethernet storage array from Nimbus Data Systems. At the time, it was one of the only iSCSI-based storage systems available that took advantage of 10G bit/sec Ethernet speeds, with most systems supporting 1Gbit/sec Ethernet.