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Topic Title: It's not about cost - it's about control
Topic Summary: Users don't want centralized control, even if IT manaers do
Created On: 23 January 2013 03:18 PM
Status: Read Only
Related E&T article: Whatever happened to thin clients?
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 23 January 2013 03:18 PM
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pwmchapman

Posts: 7
Joined: 09 February 2003

There is an old adage that says "Thsoe who fail to heed the lessons of history are destined to repeat them".The lesson here is that, with the advnet of the personal computer, users of main frame computing services could not wait to free themselves of the shackles of the IT manager, then called something like a "data centre" manager. Why? Certainly not to save money, because the personal computer was then, and still is, far more expensive than a shared centralized service. The reason it happened was to be in control of your own destiny. A data centre or IT manager can freeze a business with policies and procedures to keep data safe or controlled, when functional managers need to get their job done. By forcing cloud or centralized services you are in conflict with human nature and it will not be the ubiquitous change that many have predicted.
 24 January 2013 12:14 PM
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ectophile

Posts: 526
Joined: 17 September 2001

Unfortunately for the end-users, de-centralised storage is often not in the best interests of the business as a whole.

Here's an example:
A company agrees a contract to supply a system to a customer, along with support for 10 years.
The person who negotiated the deal retires after 5 years. His PC is collected by the IT department and sent for recycling.
The next year, the system breaks down and the customer asks for support.
At this point, the company realises that nobody knows what the company agreed to. The PC where the documents were held has been scrapped, and nobody knows if the contracts manager ever took backups.
The company is now looking very stupid, and could be facing a lawsuit for breach of contract.

Companies want to centralise their storage for a very good reason - it must be secure, backed up, and in a place where it can be found for many years to come.

-------------------------
S P Barker BSc PhD MIET
 13 February 2013 02:12 PM
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pwmchapman

Posts: 7
Joined: 09 February 2003

I think what you are describing here is the failure to adequately document. Failure to document is a particularly widespread problem relating to software.

The primary risk with third party cloud based services is the cloud provider either getting acquired, possibly by a competitor or a foreign owner, or even more seriously, being subject to receivership or protection from creditors under bankruptcy or similar law. In the latter case there is no contractual protection. People believe that because they have a contract they are safe, when this is simply not so. Do not put your eggs in someone else's basket.
 25 February 2013 04:45 PM
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belngo

Posts: 3
Joined: 11 May 2012

Centralised or distributed storage are just organisational arrangements of a certain strategy in a given context, there isn't a 'one solution fits all' - in storage as well as in digital preservation. Some of the best preserved sources we inherited from the past were the less protected in their time and sometimes it is only because of the stubborn obsession to centralise control that we have evidences of sources for intellectual properties cases.

Brunella Longo
Information Management Adviser
 29 April 2013 04:19 AM
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richwin

Posts: 96
Joined: 25 July 2008

I was in IT when the IBM PC arrived on (manager's) desks. Most managers could not use a PC but insisted on having one as a staus symbol.

Eventually the mere mortals got one as well. As you said they enjoyed the independence. They developed programs and reports to impress their bosses. All was well until the boss said that he wanted a copy of that report every Monday morning. Could his first line reportees also get a copy?

Instead of having fun playing with a PC we now have a logistical problem to make many copies of some processed data on to floppy disks and walk them round the office. The mainframe had already solved this problem.

Would it be possible for the data recipients to correct or amend the data and have the corrections in everyone's hands by Tuesday morning at the latest? Well, yes, but that will mean collecting up the corrected floppies, entering the corrections into a central database and telephone calls if people change the same data. Then more copying. The mainframe had solved this as well.

Could everyone have a new version of the editing program ...? What happens if they don't all update it at the same time?

When individual systems were put on their own servers with connected PCs all was well until people realised that they were not getting the best use out of the servers. Some rationalisation was required because some were under-utilised and some were sometimes over capacity. Server rationalisation is not required on a mainframe.

So while most data processing departments were a pain in the posterior, the technology had a lot going for it and the PC solution has been playing catch-up in some respects ever since.

The Cloud is only the most recent attempt.

The latest talk is to allow people to use their own device to do their work. Ignoring the security problems, imagine the support problems with different devices and operating systems with disparate apps, versions, languages, countries, time zones etc. Not all software works nicely together anyway. Imagine a company with tens of thousands of computer users. How could you check that every device will play nicely with every other?

In summary, centralised control can be seen as a nuisance but every time you let someone do their own thing on a corporate system the cost increases. Time for a new roll-out increases, testing time increases, support costs increase, upgrade costs increase, security costs increase, documentation time increases, training requirements increase.

-------------------------
Richard Winstone MIET

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
Edmund Burke
Irish orator, philosopher, & politician (1729 - 1797)
 16 May 2013 07:28 AM
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StefyDilon

Posts: 2
Joined: 15 May 2013

Remarkable explanation on the certain matter, people really desperate to use their own devices. So this will be a good revolution.
 25 August 2013 07:27 PM
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lucymavish

Posts: 2
Joined: 25 August 2013

A lot of these points are valid. It's definitely important to balance both cost and control. If anybody is looking for a reliable IT solution, I found these guys very helpful: TechFarmer. They do a fantastic job of balancing both cost and control.
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