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Commentary & Analysis

Servers Managed From Afar

March 10,

By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: March 10, 2005

March 10, 2005 -- There was a clinical chill in the clean, environmentally-controlled classroom at one of the many Intel campuses in Oregon. (You know you’re working with a world-class company when you need GPS in your rental car to find your way to class.) Our engineering team was attending an Intel ‘boot camp’ that promised real-time exposure to and ‘hands-on’ experience with new and forthcoming technologies from the planet’s leading developer of computer chip technology. This was not one of those trade shows where Concept Cars are promoted by Spandex-clad citizens of some not-too-likely Future World. This was a lab dance for engineers wherein each attendee was expected to gain academic and experiential knowledge of the latest in Intel server technology. While I am restrained by Non-Disclosure Agreements from sharing the most mind-blowing secrets secured deep in the vaults of the Intel Corporation, I am at liberty to share my enthusiasm for the technologies that will most certainly prove meaningful to my peers and partners in the printing and publishing business. “IT” might as well mean “Isolated Technologies” in printing. Let’s start with some justification as to why you should read any further. As we move forward into the world of Digital Printing, we begin to understand that the basic building block in Computer Integrated Manufacturing [CIM] is the server. This important machine is called a ‘server’ because it serves (files and/or applications to) the users of company data. Servers are nodes on a network; objects on a workflow diagram where instructions are executed and a specific task is performed with great speed and accuracy. The good news is that the servers we are purchasing today have enough horsepower to run a small country; the bad news is that we are not -- as an industry -- using the horsepower effectively. “IT” might as well mean “Isolated Technologies” in printing. What can you afford to lose? Is your company using a common e-mail system, or are the departments in your organization running in different domains? Is the Information System (or systems) automatically updated with the latest virus protection? Is your e-mail server separate from the FTP server (where customers drop file and viruses, too) and isolated from your file server (the computer where all your production data lives)? Are these files safe from attack? If stricken by a malicious virus, how much data are you willing to sacrifice to get to a “clean backup”? What can you afford to lose? Given market conditions, how many printing companies employ a CIO (Chief Information Officer), a CTO (Chief Technology Officer), or a single employee dedicated to managing IT (Information Technology)? Realistically, how many companies can afford one? Your inevitable reliance on a network of task-specific machines begs the question: who will actually manage the technology you are going to need to compete in this digital world? Is all this ‘geek-speak’ giving you a heavy head? Good. Wake-up calls are supposed to be attention-grabbing and somewhat irritating. Who will actually manage the technology you are going to need to compete in this digital world? The real message in this article is that Intel has developed Advanced Server Management systems that allow certified integrators to build a digital infrastructure for you and manage it from afar. You need not burden yourself or your company’s budget with the costs normally associated with an IT staff; most of your preventative maintenance and system diagnostics can now be performed from a remote location dedicated to supporting companies like yours. Servers are no more than nodes on a network and, using Intel’s Advanced Server Management technology, certified integrators can manage the network nodes for you. It means a new driver can be shipped to you before the old one fails. Network bottlenecks can be identified and traffic rerouted accordingly. We can verify backups, de-fragment disks, and update firmware and virus descriptions from a secure facility dedicated to the unique needs of our customers. We have hot-swap power supplies and disk drives today; hot-swappable computers are being tested in our lab. Imagine a Network Operations Center for printing & publishing companies, and get a glimpse into the future of our industry.

 

 

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