6. Cloud Backups
Experienced systems administrators may be leery about outsourcing critical applications, but with backups this can make a lot of sense. Since the backups are a secondary or tertiary copy of your data, cloud backups can more affordably fulfill archiving or disaster recovery than with moving tapes around. Since the cloud services are typically disk-based, recovering is speedier than finding, mounting, and reading tapes, and capacity can grow as needed without new equipment.
Solid State Disks (SSDs) have been around for years but, two things may move SSDs to a more central role in IT. The first is the capability of a number of systems to use SSDs as cache, effectively giving an entire storage system the performance of SSDs while retaining the low cost of hard-disk based storage. The second factor is the destruction of hard-disk manufacturing facilities from flooding in Thailand in 2011. Hard0disk prices will probably remain high throughout 2012. At the same time, SSD prices are dropping and capabilities are improving.
The Internet Protocol version 6 numbering system replaces decades-old IPv4. Address blocks for new domains are no longer available for IPv4. This doesn't mean that you can't get an IPv4 address any longer. However, IPv6 is beginning to be adopted more widely, and it can yield substantial advantages--such as unified communications or remote access using Windows 2008r2, where a user can easily access corporate resources from anywhere in the world.
Linux is nothing new, and has been used for many years in specialized roles such as Web servers and application servers. Now, however, the open source OS is making inroads into production environments, with database servers, file and print servers, and even workstations running on Linux. Its great customizability, capability to run on much less expensive hardware than Windows can, and the availability of mature open-source applications for nearly any enterprise application mean that it can be much less expensive to run than competing operating systems.
10. Cloud Applications
Cloud services have expanded in the last few years from specialized applications, such as payroll or ERP, to general office suites such as Office 365 or Google Apps for Business, to IT fundamentals such as storage or servers. While service outages and loss of data have been widely publicized, they have in reality affected relatively few customers for relatively short periods of time. The real trick is to use the cloud effectively while retaining data security and availability--no easy task.
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