Archive for the ‘Accounting’ Category

Cost of Storage…continued

November 28, 2006

Looks like I skipped 13 and 14 since my last post, and now there are 15-17 up on Dave’s site. Sorry I know I was going to try and comment Dave, but there are so many things to discuss….

Storage System Availability (#13) another one of the soft costs that are hard to deal with (as Dave points out)…how much money is lost if I can’t access the sales data? That is difficult to find….but it is something that needs to be evaluated in your company so that an appropriate value can be placed on the system and an appropriate amount of money and strategy can be invested.

Data Floor Space (14) and the cost of electricity (15) are very real things that companies are concerned about. The storage industry needs to continue to find ways to address this as a problem. Granted if I have a large application or large set of applications that bring in a lot of money, I can affor to buy the power and put up the floor space…that is part of the cost to run the application(s).

Then there are these odd ones #16 – Ad-hoc servers acting as Gateways & #17 – Backup Servers in the Storage Infrastructure, these are fine as costs….but they are not storage costs. They are the cost of whatever service they are providing. They should not be included when purchasing or accounting for storage. There are applications that require the storage and those applications (which should exist based on business requirements), need to justify how much and what type of storage they need. That does lead nicely into the last one…

Storage Network Management – yes this is a cost; however, it can be lowered (iSCSI) and it can be streamlined as Dave points out already. This is not a cost that should be very high at this point in the game and should be on it’s way down. If it is a significant cost in your environment already… NEED to talk to your vendors and your staff.

Google Spreadsheets

November 28, 2006

During the course of one of my classes I ended up working with a student who was unable to use a reliable spreadsheet application at home. This means that their only option to complete any spreadsheet work would be to come into the computer lab and use Microsoft Office on those computers. Of course with the snow and usual pain in the butt that goes along with coming into the computer lab, this is kind of a crappy option. So why doesn’t he have a spreadsheet application?

Well why wouldn’t anyone have a spreadsheet application accessible to them at home in these modern times? To be honest, I didn’t ask, I felt as though I was intruding a little too much with that question. Everyone should have access to these tools. Maybe installing StarOffice is not allowed in the home (I wouldn’t let my kids install it on my personaly computer), maybe Microsoft Office is too expensive even with the student discount… what is a student, or anyone to do in these circumstances? They have somehow made the effort to obtain a computer and it already has a licensed operating system on it (that is the easy part). But what about the basic applications to make these things work?

Well to my suprise the neat thing Google has been talking about was a great fit. A lot of people have been talking about it and to be honest it is better then Microsoft‘s “test drive” (a.k.a Not easy to use and completely FREE). The second half of that statement really gets me pissed off, Microsoft copies a lot of things from Google, but they are able to somehow miss the essence of what is being offered (similar to zune vs. ipod), just easy to use best of breed technology. Yes I would rather use excel online with it’s specialized functions for accounting and other operations, but I may not be able to afford it……is pirating the only option?

So what are some of the cool features that I am talking about for Google Spreadsheets?

Go check it out, go to Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Login or get an account (includes IM, email, calendar, etc), create a spreadsheet and check out these features that make collaboration a reality…..

  • On the left hand side of the screen under the Google logo there is a “file” button, when you click the button you can select the “export” >> then export the single spreadsheet as a .csv or .html, you can also export the entire workbook as a .ods, .pdf, or .xls (.xls is highly compatible with people who may want to edit the file so is a good idea to use for collaboration), .pdf is great for publishing to wide variety of sources.

  • On the right hand side of the screen under the “Sign Out” link and under the “Save & Close” button, there is a tab titled “Collaborate”, this tab allows you to add collaborators (people who can edit the spreadsheet) and viewers (people who can simply view the spreadsheet). In the screen shot below I have myself listed as a collaborator and my wife as a viewer.

  • Once you have collaborators and viewers invited, these people can view and collaborate on spreadsheet numbers, formulas, formatting, etc, etc

If you want to stay up to date, subscribe to the Google Docs & Spreadsheets Blog!!

Cost of Storage…

October 10, 2006

I have been reading David Merrill’s Cost of Storage series. It has been a good read so far.

I do have a few things I would like to point out. Usually I would comment, but it is easier to put them all in one place on my blog vs. different comments on all of the posts over there.

Categories 1 and 2 + Categories 3 and 4 are real dollar costs that will be depreciated over the life of their usefulness. Of course how this is done depends greatly on both the company purchasing the hardware and software as well as the company selling the hardware and software. Most companies are going to purchase multi-year maintenance plans for their software and hardware. However the IT department calculates it the business will take it as a capital expenditure and depreciate it over the life of the maintenance plan. Given this, I disagree of their positioning on the chart.

The next four categories (5 & 6 + 7 & 8) are not grouped very well. The grouping should be Categories 5, 6, & 7….Then Category 8. The first three categories relate to the loss of revenue and should be an operational expenditure. Reducing the potential data loss and service downtime is a very large portion of the overall value.

Category 8 will be in the next review…
Of course all of these can be done differently at different companies; however, no company can ignore basic accounting principles (well, they shouldn’t)

Sarbanes-Oxley is over, you can throw away your data now

July 31, 2006

Well at least it’s getting closer to the time that non-US companies need to be compliant with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. They really have some time and have been aware of it for a while now.

Just in case there are companies who are still working on compliance, here is an interesting read that may just convince you to thow away your pesky data and buy less storage. HDS’s CTO has an interesting perspective on things, my favorite quote is

“I don’t believe in technology for technology’s sake,” he says. “I’m more of an engineer than a scientist looking at technology — you have to understand what the customer is trying to achieve, above all.”

The age old toss up of what makes more sense when trying to innovate, come up with a great idea and build a customer need….. OR …….ask your customer what they want and build to those specifications. Both are valid options, you need the million dollar computer science projects that fail so that you can come up with the single billion dollar project that pays for them.

The relation here, is having gigabytes and terabytes of data sitting around may be for more then a simple technology reason. Yes customers need to demand that storage vendors sell only the right amount of capacity on the correctly priced media. I think Hu Yoshida’s point is that vendors need to be aware of this and for the most part they already are, the ILM strategies are being touted by all the major players. Creative ways to buy what you need and grow it as necessary is something that is happening now.

Boeing, Microsoft, and the SEC?

July 27, 2006

Boeing is still working on beating airbus, they have to keep those pesky legal fees to a minimum so they can keep their net earnings at a reasonable level (hopefully they are still open to hiring the ex-wamu folks)….

Microsoft is of course trying to fill all of it’s new buildings with record hiring. Although I am not sure that hiring 10k people will really transition the behemoth into a high powered Google fighting machine. Having smart people is one thing, being able to innovate and create value for their customers is an entirely different thing….

With the SEC’s new pay rules, Journalists, employees, and investors alike will have better access to the information on the bottom line and the executive level pay in companies. I am really looking forward to seeing the next three highest paid individuals past the CEO & CFO, will it be a C-level manager or a more influential employee without the C- title?

Let’s not forget everyone’s Exchange 2007 content…… You can learn about Powershell the lazy way, or the Vivek Sharma way .