Tag Archives: information technology

data.center

CGI expands in Phoenix and Tempe, bringing new IT jobs

CGI Group Inc., a leading provider of information technology and business process services, today announced the opening of its newest Global Infrastructure Services support facility at Tempe Crossroads in Tempe.

Planned hiring in Tempe, and at CGI’s Phoenix-based U.S. Data Center, will grow CGI’s employee base in the region by more than 30 percent. Its new 11,000 square foot Tempe offices at 309 West Elliot Road will house more than 150 employees, bringing CGI’s total headcount in Arizona to more than 550.

CGI’s Phoenix area operations offer highly skilled, in-demand career opportunities in cloud computing, virtualization, cyber security, data center operations, client application hosting and infrastructure management. Aligned with the company’s veterans initiative, military veterans are among those encouraged to apply for entry-level to highly experienced technical positions.

Arizona ranks fifth in Fortune’s list of Fastest Growing Tech Markets, and CGI is growing its presence in the state to support federal, state and local governments and Fortune 100 companies with high-quality technology infrastructure services. CGI also supports federal clients from its offices in Sierra Vista and Tucson.

A leader in cloud computing, CGI’s U.S. data center operations were granted provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO) by the Joint Authorization Board (JAB) of the Federal Risk Management Authorization Program (FedRAMPSM). Frost & Sullivan recognized has CGI with its North American Company of the Year Award in Government Cloud Solutions.

“CGI recognizes the quality of Arizona’s workforce and is pleased to expand our operations in the Phoenix technology corridor. This is a great opportunity to draw on a strong talent pool while offering outstanding career opportunities locally,” said Douglas Crane, Vice President of Global Infrastructure Services at CGI. “We are committed to delivering an outstanding work experience and being active members of the community.”

Interested candidates should visit www.cgi.com/careers to view open positions in Phoenix.

networking

Survey: Quality Trumps Quantity When Networking

The more business acquaintances you have, the merrier you might be. But the quality of those contacts has a bigger impact on your career success, a new Robert Half Technology survey of information technology (IT) professionals suggests. Sixty-three percent of IT workers polled recently rated the quality of their professional network as “very important” to their overall career success, compared to 46 percent who felt the same way about the size of their network. When it comes to making new connections, (44 percent) of IT professionals surveyed prefer to network online and 22 percent favor doing it in person.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of information technology (IT) professionals on a project and full-time basis. The responses are from over 7,500 IT workers to a Web survey conducted by Robert Half Technology in February 2013.
IT professionals were asked, “How important is the quality of your professional network to your overall career success?” Their responses:

Very important: 63%
Somewhat important: 33%
Not important: 4%

IT professionals also were asked, “How important is the size of your professional network to your overall career success?” Their responses:

Very important: 46%
Somewhat important: 47%
Not important: 7%

“Knowing someone professionally and being willing to go to bat for that person are two different things,” said John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology. “You may have hundreds of LinkedIn connections, but if the relationships are superficial, your contacts may not be very helpful when you’re seeking professional advice or assistance with a job search.”

Reed added, “Quality connections take time to establish, but they are a valuable career safety net, whether someone is just starting out or has many years of experience.”

Robert Half Technology provides five pitfalls to avoid when networking:

1. Losing touch. Keep the lines of communication open by offering a note of congratulations to a contact who was recently promoted or asking to meet for lunch. Set aside time each week for these types of networking activities.

2. Exhausting your resources. Most people are happy to help on occasion, but avoid overburdening one contact with repeated requests. Broaden your efforts and tap others in your network if you have trouble overcoming a particular career challenge.

3. Forgetting your p’s and q’s. A little gratitude can go a long way toward maintaining positive relationships. Always show appreciation to those who act on your behalf, even if their efforts don’t result in the desired outcome.

4. Taking a generalist approach. Instead of sending a mass email to everyone in your network asking for assistance, try customized, targeted messages to specific contacts.

5. Failing to return the favor. Networking is a two-way street: Look for opportunities to help your contacts whenever possible, and you’ll find that others are happy to do the same for you.

data centers

Data Centers Flock To Metro Phoenix

More developers of data centers where companies store equipment for online communications are choosing Phoenix for their real-world destination.

The Arizona Republic reports analysts say geographic and economic factors are making metropolitan Phoenix a top-10 market for data centers.

Analysts speaking at a seminar in Chandler on Friday say the area offers low taxes, cheap energy and is close to West Coast markets. They also say Phoenix is considered a city that has low risk of natural disasters.

Cincinnati Bell Inc. began construction in May on what is slated to be the largest data center in metro Phoenix. The 1-million-square-foot facility in Chandler will provide information-technology needs to large companies in the West.

Analysts say there are 32 major data centers in total in Phoenix.

avnet - cio 100 award honoree

Avnet Selected By CIO Magazine As A CIO 100 Award Honoree

Global technology distributor Avnet, Inc. announced that it was named to the 2012 CIO 100, which is developed by IDG’s CIO magazine. The 25th annual award program recognizes organizations around the world that exemplify the highest level of operational and strategic excellence in information technology (IT). CIO selected Avnet as one of the recipients for this award based on the company’s development of a data storage management system, which significantly enhanced Avnet’s business continuity capabilities for its main North American data center.

“Like most large companies, the amount of data that Avnet needs to store is growing at a tremendous rate,” said Steve Phillips, senior vice president and CIO, Avnet, Inc. “Our IT team focused on developing a technology-based solution to meet our current data storage needs while allowing for future growth, which will only accelerate as we look to offer more ‘bring your own device’ options for employees. I commend the team on their ability to develop an innovative system that effectively addresses both our short- and long-term business needs.”

The data stored in Avnet’s data center more than quadrupled in the last two years. To manage this growth, Avnet’s IT team completely redesigned its North American data storage backup systems and processes to optimize operational performance. The new data storage management system leveraged a variety of technologies, including state-of-the-art robotics, virtual tape and de-duplication. As a result, Avnet significantly enhanced its business continuity capabilities; decreased the time to recovery in the event of a system failure; positioned itself to manage the rapid, long-term growth of business critical data; reduced the power consumption in its data center; and improved the productivity of its data center team.

“For 25 years now, the CIO 100 awards have honored the innovative use of technology to deliver genuine business value,” said Maryfran Johnson, editor-in-chief of CIO magazine & events. “Our 2012 winners are an outstanding example of the transformative power of IT to drive everything from revenue growth to competitive advantage.”

Executives from the winning companies will be recognized at the CIO 100 Symposium & Awards Ceremony, to be held Tuesday evening, August 21, 2012, at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. Complete coverage of the 2012 CIO 100 awards will be online at www.cio.com on August 1, 2012, and in the August 1, 2012, issue of CIO magazine.

For more information on Avnet and the CIO 100 Awards, visit Avnet’s website at avnet.com and CIO’s website at cio.com.

selfservicemakingyourbusinessbetter

Are Self-Service Technologies Making Your Business Better?

Self-service technologies, which automate routine interactions between companies and customers, are a source of convenience and efficiency to both parties — until something goes wrong and the customer cannot make the system work. Many companies should be focusing more closely on the overall customer experience, says Michael Goul, a professor of information systems and a researcher at the Center for Advancing Business Through Information Technology. Curiously, here’s a case where businesses could learn something from government! (12:32)

Green News Roundup- Biogas Powered Data Centers

Green News Roundup – Greenhouse Gases, Biogas-Powered Data Centers & More

Welcome to our weekly green news roundup. This week we’ve gathered stories about greenhouse gases, biogas-powered data centers and more. Feel free to send along any stories you’d like to see in the roundup by e-mailing me at kasia@azbigmedia.com. Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state.

One Moos and One Hums, but They Could Help Power Google
“Information technology and manure have a symbiotic relationship,” said Chandrakant D. Patel, director of H.P.’s sustainable information technology laboratory. If these words are come as a surprise to you, you’re not the only one! According to this New York Times piece “with the right skills, a dairy farmer can rent out land and power to technology companies and recoup an investment in the waste-to-fuels systems within two years.”
It seems to be the perfect solution for all parties involved, companies need places to build and power their large computing center and “dairy farmers have increasingly been looking to deal with their vast collections of smelly cow waste by turning it into something called biogas.”

If You Build It…
In this piece in the New York Times Green Blog, it’s revealed that actor Kevin Costner “has been overseeing the construction of oil separation machines to prepare for the possibility of another disaster of the magnitude of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill.”
Costner is most famous for his acting roles, but he is also an environmental activist and fisherman. He purchased the nascent technology from the government in 1995 and even put $24 million of his own money to develop the technology for the private sector. This week it was revealed that BP’s chief operating officer, Dough Suttles, stated that the company had approved six of Ocean Therapy’s machines for testing. The centrifuge processing technology essentially acts like a giant vacuum, that sucks oil from water, separates it and sends it back into the water 99.9 percent purified.

National Academy of Sciences urges strong action to cut greenhouse gases
This week, the National Academy of Sciences called for big changes in the actions to cut greenhouse gases. They called for “taxes on carbon emissions, a cap-and-trade program for such emissions or some other strong action to curb runaway global warming.”

These actions would increase the cost of using coal and petroleum, but the Academy argues that this is necessary as we continue to battle the negative impacts from climate change. The three reports, totaling more than 860 pages provide some broad outlines for the U.S. to respond to this ever-increasing threat.

EPA: BP Must Use Less Toxic Dispersant
The latest updates on the BP Oil Spill are available on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website. On Thursday, May 20th, the EPA issued a directive requring BP to “identify and use a less toxic and more effective dispersant from the list of EPA authorized dispersants.” Dispersants are a chemical that is used to break up the oil so that the oil beads are more easily degraded.

Social media

Social Networks On Internet Pose Challenges And Opportunities For Businesses

Instinct: Nearly every decision a person makes in his or her lifetime can in some way be tied to an instinctual reaction. One of the most primal of instincts is survival and the key to our evolutionary climb has been the instinct to live in groups or the herd mentality. The instinct is simple — survival in numbers is far easier than going it alone.

The herd is now electronic and in the form of social networking on the Internet. No matter what your interests, you can find a social networking site that will allow you to communicate with like-minded individuals anywhere in the world, at any time. Technology, specifically the Internet, has removed traditional boundaries (distance, time zones, etc.) that previously limited “global gathering,” and this medium has literally exploded. Now more than any other time in our history people are gathering together. While virtual through the Internet, individuals continue to benefit from the comfort, safety and strength that are found in the herd.

Industries and businesses have increasingly been trying to figure out how to leverage the massive amount of information and consumers that are available on these social networking sites. Perhaps the two most prominent and recognizable social networking sites are Facebook and MySpace. Each has a demographic that is very appealing to businesses of all types. However, the primary obstacle to further leveraging these sites’ business appeal to date is resistance from the users to advertising or any other type of interference in their “personal space.”

For many social networking site users, the site represents a place of control and solitude from their everyday lives. Social networking site participants literally go there to get away and spend time in an environment that is entirely in their control. Now business is trying to integrate into a domain that many view as private.

While there may be a belief that these individual pages in MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc., are personal and private, the reality is they are not. Multibillion-dollar entities such as Microsoft and News Corp. would not have taken positions in them if they did not see the potential for a substantial return on their investments. The question is not if business is going to try to leverage these sites — the question is how. Advertising has always been the most obvious and first application of business on social networking sites, but how to advertise has been a trial-and-error process. Pushing advertising on users has proved problematic for both MySpace and Facebook.

The next avenue that business pursued was market research. In November 2007, Facebook encountered outrage from its users after it published users’ purchases for friends to see. While there was an “opt out” option, most users did not see it until after the fact. This tactic represented a huge PR issue for Facebook. However, this marketing tactic is another, and perhaps the most viable, business option for organizations to leverage through the social networking sites. The amount of data that the sites capture can be gold. But the site owners have to be extremely careful with how and what information they are sharing outside of the site. First there are privacy concerns, but second, a site that does not listen to the concerns and needs of its user base is destined for failure. With the rate at which new sites are popping up, the landscape to attract users is dramatically more competitive than it was even two years ago.

So the question still remains — will social networking sites become a tool for business to increaseproductivity, start small businesses, and develop larger organizations through market research? Maybe, but probably not.

To quote Tom Davenport, who holds the President’s Chair in Information Technology and Management at Babson College in Massachusetts, and formerly lectured at Harvard University: “I see no evidence that students andyoung adults — the audience for which these tools were originally intended — want to use the tools to do their business.”

The fact that many users go to these sites for relaxation and enjoyment leads me and others to believe that the use of social networking sites for business, other than advertising and marketing, is severely limited and not likely to take off anytime soon.

Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing: Better, Faster, Cheaper?

Cloud computing is the latest buzzword in information technology (IT), and depending on who you talk to, you will get a different answer as to what exactly cloud computing really means.

Some refer to cloud computing as SaaS (Software as a Service), utility computing, managed services, Web services, outsourcing, etc. The term is so hot as a marketing tool that every business wants to somehow be associated with it, making it that much harder to define. While a popular buzzword, cloud computing also has very real and beneficial practical applications.

Cloud computing is not the first and it will not be the last buzzword used in IT. The one constant in IT is change and it occurs at a rate much faster than in most other industries. Ultimately, the drive behind the spread of cloud computing as both a marketing term and practical business application is the bottom line. Better, faster, cheaper is always something that technology providers and consumers want.

Efficiency and performance are touted with cloud computing because they are two of the key metrics in every business decision. They are critical measurements of success in any process/technology improvement or investment. No organization should invest in a project if it does not measurably improve the status quo, and efficiency and performance are two quantifiable ways to track this. In IT, servers, disk (storage), memory, space and power consumption are all easily quantified, and gains or declines in efficiency and performance can be measured down to the second.

Historically, many organizations have failed to look at these IT components individually or even at an aggregate level to measure the true cost of their IT infrastructure. Now, organizations large and small are determining that building, owning and operating their IT infrastructure is one of the most significant operating expenses they have. A principal reason for this is that most organizations operate their IT infrastructure very inefficiently, as IT is not their core competency. This inefficiency can be tracked from their internal data center (typically a small space in their office) through their individual servers. The data center is the heart of an IT infrastructure providing power, conditioned air, and telco connectivity, all to support the server and associated infrastructure. Independent studies have shown that the average server utilization is less than 20 percent. Even if the server is only using 20 percent of the resources, it is using 100 percent of the power. This type of inefficiency is very common.

Directly associated with cloud computing and its expanding recognition is virtualization. Virtualization, like cloud computing, has many definitions depending on who you are talking to, but the simplest explanation is that virtualization allows the resources of various types of hardware to be shared.

Virtualization has exploded in no small part due to VMware’s ESX software. ESX is software that allows organizations to run multiple different operating systems on the same computer. These operating systems run separately and securely from the others, but allow for utilization of the same memory, processor, storage and power, based on the individual operating system needs. This is an example of how increased efficiencies and performance can be gained with virtualization and, by proxy, cloud computing. No longer is there a one-to-one relationship between an operating system and a server. Individual servers running on a server with virtualization software can run optimally, utilizing resources from the pool as needed and giving them back when they are not.

So what is cloud computing, and is it truly better, cheaper and faster than a traditional architecture? Cloud computing is so nebulous at this time there is no clear answer.

The answer to the second part of the question is a little more straightforward, and that answer is yes — but a qualified yes. Consumers need to be aware of the “pretenders” that are offering cloud computing services and also be aware of the level of service they can expect. Whether they are working with a large provider that is trying to sell subscriptions to their unused space or a small cloud computing provider that is pushing very poorinfrastructure, they need to understand exactly what they are getting. Consumers need to know that they are receiving better efficiency and performance per dollar spent. It is beneficial to work with providers that are exclusively operating in this segment who do one thing extremely well.