Monthly Archives: May 2009

Shock! New report says IT Management don’t care about Power Efficiency

Shockingly the latest report from Forrester Research effectively ends up telling us exactly what we all know already; that the majority of CIOs, CTOs, and other IT leadership and operations management, are not interested in power saving.

As reported recently by The Register in the article “Study finds IT heads not interested in power saving” (available here: which confirms what most of us in the IT industry know to be true, in that in the majority of cases because power consumption comes under the remit of Facilities Management in most organisations the IT department is not responsible for paying for Power Consumed (whether that be for compute, storage and network infrastructure itself, or the cooling equipment that is required to maintain that infrastructure either) and so has no reason to be concerned about the size of the companies power bills (or the effect of poor IT power efficiencies on those bills).

Also in almost all companies the Facilities Management department is much larger, and has a much larger budget, than the IT department; easily often in the magnitude of ten times that of the IT department (in some organisations the IT department is part of the Facilities department, and we most often encounter this model when the organisation in question sees IT purely as organisational ‘infrastructure’ and tends not to see IT as a means to deliver competitive advantage).

Encouraging IT management to be concerned about power efficiency is still highly problematic whilst the IT department is not accountable for managing that Cap-Ex spend, although things are getting better, albeit slowly. Day to day I see large numbers of IT departments and management thereof being set targets for power savings, however I infrequently see any genuine penalties or incentives that ensure these targets are even remotely met (in most cases I see IT departments focus being that of maintaining business critical systems, especially during processing runs, whilst still attempting to build out new functionality at the same time, how little things have really changed).

What constantly amazes me are the number of organisations planning, and determined to, build out new data centre facilities, even now during the downturn. Many of these organisations would be much more sensible to look at refreshing there existing infrastructure, reducing server footprint, getting better energy efficiency and performance, as long as the risk impact and analysis of risk is low, and possibly even reducing their data centre footprint, but that would mean shrinking peoples corporate ‘power bases’ and personal ’empires’ and so often receives a lack of genuine support.

Frankly this would become an important topic if those responsible for the facilities budget where also responsible for the IT budget, but this is rarely the case; IT usually reports to Operations (which may also contain facilities), Finance, or occasionally even the the Main Board or Marketing (including Sales), followed rather infrequently by facilities (this becomes more complex when looking at the IT departments remit, and whether they have significant influence, or control, over the application development team and the business analysts from the profit generating business units).

The most obvious answer would be to get IT and Facilities to work much more closely together, and at least be set joint targets, which are ‘SMART’ (stands for “Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-framed”). The other that I’ve heard becoming more popular recently has been to redirect Facilities budgets to IT departments for them to run technology refresh programmes, with a recent example looking at an unprecedented 10% of Facilities budget being transferred to IT, nearly doubling that IT departments budget for the year.

Personally I don’t think this will be addressed well in the short term, but I’m hopeful that using budget earmarked for Facilities for Technology Refresh, and planning facilities reductions becomes a more widely recognised and sensible approach to help drive down the amount of energy consumed by the technology at use within enterprises, because, frankly, something needs to be done to reduce enterprise consumption of power and space resources.

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The End of the World?

In the future, once we’re all ensconced in our virtual reality worlds, is this the way it will all end? On February the 28th, 2009, Tabula Rasa, an MMORPG (like World of Warcraft and RuneScape) was shut down, after failing to attract enough subscribers related to the current economic downturn.

In his article “Analysis: Tabula Rasa’s Final Moments – A Firsthand Account“, Simon Carless evocatively writes:

By the afternoon, the West Coast server Hydra was the last server standing. As more and more of its citizenry logged on for the last hurrah, and foreign players from dead servers poured in to squeeze a few more hours out of the game, it became increasingly congested, buggy, and lag-ridden. The intended scenario was indeed playing out not just in the game and the fiction but as a metagame: the active duty population swelled as humanity prepared to make its final stand.

Simon’s description reminded me a little of the recent Doctor Who episode “Utopia”, where at the end of time humanity are huddling together as heat death consumes the planets they had colonised. The ‘Futurekind’ almost like NPCs, also collecting together, prior to being finally terminated.

In a doubly ironic twist of fate, ‘Tabula Rasa’ is Latin for ‘blank slate’, or rather ‘slate wiped clean’, popularised by John Locke as a rather now out of fashion philosophical thesis that individuals are born without any built-in mental content and that their knowledge comes from experience and perception alone (the whole ‘nature’ versus ‘nurture’ debate is more balanced now). It also resembles the off state of the server infrastructure that would have supported the game that presumably had it’s ‘memory’ wiped clean, prior to being redeployed to support other functionality.

Thanks to Mick Farren’s blog for bringing this to my attention.

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‘Exploration of Cloud Computing’ at the Birmingham BCS Branch AGM this coming Monday; looking for new Committee members

Interested in Computing in Birmingham and the West Midlands? Then come along and join us at the BCS Birmingham Branch Annual General Meeting (AGM) this coming Monday, where we are looking for members to come forward to join the Branch Committee.

After the AGM itself I’ll be doing a presentation called “An Exploration of Cloud Computing” with the following synopsis:

An exploration of Cloud Computing looking at an overview of the subject of and some of the current common definitions available. Looking at the current state of the Cloud Computing market place and Cloud Vendors, what is actually being sold to people. Will also look at the different types of clouds, the differing approaches to engaging with cloud providers, the business models, impact on Business, and how Businesses can exploit the ‘Cloud’.

Answers to key Cloud Computing questions I hope to address include:

  • What’s Cloud Computing?
  • What’s different to what we’ve seen before?
  • What’s driving Cloud Computing adoption?
  • What types of Cloud are there?
  • How can I engage with them and use in my Business?
  • What’s the overview of the Cloud Computing marketplace now?
  • How is Cloud Computing likely to change?

A number of the members of the Birmingham Committee will be standing down at the AGM so we are looking for volunteers to join the Committee to take part in planning our activities for the 2009-10 session. If you are interested in joining the Committee please contact John Chinn, Branch Secretary, at or you can come forward at the AGM itself.

Details for the event are:

  • Date: Monday the 18th of May, 2009
  • Time: AGM at 6pm for 6.30pm, Presentation at 7pm
  • Location: Trophy Suite, Tally Ho Sports & Conference Centre, Pershore Road, Birmingham B5 7RN
  • Cost: Free, Presentation open to all (including non-members of BCS), no registration required although we would prefer that you contact the Branch Secretary, John Chinn, at or 0161 306 3733, so that we can advise the caterers of the correct numbers for the buffet.

Official BCS Birmingham Branch AGM and “An Exploration of Cloud Computing” page:

Very much hope that we will see you at the Branch AGM, and even better if your interested in being involved with the Committee.

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links for 2009-05-15

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Come and discuss Data Center Efficiency with The Green Grid at Sun’s London Offices on the afternoon of Tuesday the 9th of June, 2009

We are delighted to invite you to join The Green Grid (TGG) for an EMEA Members Seminar on the afternoon of Tuesday, June 9, 2009 in London at Sun’s City Offices. Please note that this is a member-only event and pre-registration is required. During the workshop, attendees will learn about TGG’s objectives to improve energy efficiency in data centers, along with TGG’s collaboration with industry and government bodies. Participants will also discuss TGG’s latest research, including:

Places are limited and the event is almost full but if you or any of your colleagues are interested in attending, please email:

Feel free to contact TGG Administration at the above email address if you have any questions.

The core details for the event are:

  • Date: 9th June 2009
  • Time: 14:00 to 17:30
  • Location: Sun Microsystems Customer Briefing Center (CBC), 45 King William Street, London EC4R 9AN (near to Monument Tube station, map here)
  • Cost: Free, open to TGG members only and pre-registration is required from:

Sun’s liason with TGG is Mark Monroe, and you’ll notice many of the white papers and guidelines available from TGG have Mark as an author, joint author or contributor; Mark is our Director for Sustainable Computing and a member of the Eco-Responsibility Group team working out of SunLabs, our R&D; hot house.

Hopefully I should be around, although I’m currently triple booked for the day and am desperately juggling my diary; however there will be Sun staff members to help and answer any questions you may have, as required.

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Alan Mather’s 2003 ‘Enterprise Architecture in Government’ white paper available online

Alan Mather has just released his excellent “Enterprise Architecture in Government” white paper from 2003. This white paper has mythic status in UK Government IT circles because of it’s visionary roadmap of an implementation for Enterprise Architecture (EA) for the UK. Pre-dating the “Cross Government Enterprise Architecture” (XGEA) work of the CTO Council (who hadn’t even been formed at the time, but nor had the CIO Council who commissioned them either) this is the earliest attempt at applying an EA vision to the co-ordination of the UK’s IT and IS portfolio.

Alan surely requires little introduction, and is a singularly authoritative voice, having been the been the Chief Exec. of the Office of the e-Envoy’s (OeE, then e-Government Unit, or eGU, and finally the CIO Council) e-Design Team (eDT, currently led admirably by it’s new Director, Chris Haynes, although the eDT itself is now part of DWP having moved there at the same time as the eGU transformed into the CIO Council). Alan spent a number of years at the heart of the Cabinet Offices push for ‘Shared Services’ and Government services online programmes, helping to instigate and then deliver the largest UK “Government to Government” (G2G) system, by volume and scale, the Government Gateway.

Writing in his blog article also entitled “Enterprise Architecture in Government” (available from he says:

More than a few people are starting to get active again around shared services, enterprise architectures, shared data centres (and all of the SaaS, HaaS and maybe just plain old aaS that could bring). A while ago I wrote a document that I hoped would lead to a debate on delivering some or all of those things into UK government. The document largely languished on my hard drive gathering virtual dust like so many reports about what government should do to make things better. It never quite got finished although, looking through it now some 6 years after it was written, it still seems to hang together pretty well.

Alan’s being rather reserved here because I know it was released to a few, select, senior people across Government, and I genuinely credit this to having furthered, if not initiated, the conversation in Government about planning out it’s overall EA (both “as is”, “to be”, and strategy) in a much more pro-active manner. I’m glad to say I was one of the people Alan chose to review the document back in 2003, but frankly I thought it was excellent at the time and still do.

For the life of me I can’t understand why Alan isn’t at the epicentre of Government as an integral part of the UK Government EA programme, then again he is running a major programme at the moment, another large-scale system key to the future of the UK, so I imagine know he is kept pretty busy by that delivery.

Anyone and everyone interested in UK Government IT should read this document, I’m sure many of you would be shocked at how visionary the paper is, and how relevant it still is after six years. Alan Mather’s “Enterprise Architecture in Government” document is available from (which opens in a new window):

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Enterprise Architecture Case Studies presentation on Friday the 8th of May in Aberystwyth

This Friday I’ll be presenting on the topic of ‘Enterprise Architecture Case Studies’ in Aberystwyth, in an event organised and hosted by the South Wales branch of the BCS.

For more information the event is advertised here with the BCS. The core details are:

  • Date: 8 May 2009
  • Time: 17:00 Refreshments / 18:00 Start
  • Location: The finger buffet is in the foyer of the Computer Science Building and the talk itself will be in Lecture Theatre `A’ in the Physical Sciences Building, both on the Penglais Campus, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth.
  • Cost: Free, open to all (including non-members of the BCS or IET), no registration required.

Here’s what I generally say as an overview of this talk:

The case studies presented explore my experiences with Enterprise Architecture in three major customer engagements. They include an Enterprise Architecture team which led its company into a £70+ million ‘pitfall’; the use of Enterprise Architecture to define a Service Oriented Architecture; and an example of how much Enterprise Architecture is about achieving the proper governance model.

Key takeaways:

  • Enterprise Architecture best practices drawn from multiple engagements.
  • How to use good governance to avoid and limit the ‘Ivory Tower’ syndrome.
  • How to combine Enterprise Architecture and Service Oriented Architecture to deliver sustainable Transformation.

Given the current downturn I’ll also go into some of the issues facing EA programmes due to the credit crunch and what can be done to ensure that they continue to receive executive sponsorship and funding.

Happy to answer any and all questions; please consider that I’ll be attempting to condense three major and very large scale Enterprise Architecture case studies into a talk lasting an hour and a half or so, therefore I will definitely be around to speak with afterwards. ¨C13C

‘Many Thanks’ to Fred Long (of Aberystwyth University) for organising and co-ordinating this event and for Clive King (of Sun) for initially brokering the relationship.

Links to the BCS page for the event: ¨C14C

¨C15C ¨C16C¨C17C

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EURIM 2009 Annual General Meeting at the House of Lords

Yesterday I was at the Palace of Westminster, or rather the House of Lords, for the 2009 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of EURIM, the European Information Society Group, which “brings together politicians, officials and industry to help improve the quality of policy formation, consultation, scrutiny, implementation and monitoring in support of the creation of a globally competitive, socially inclusive and democratically accountable information society”.

I brought up three points with the EURIM Board, firstly the disparity of R&D; spending by Industry sector (and the fact that in the UK 75% of all business R&D; is done in the manufacturing industry alone, an industry provides just 13% of the GDP of the UK), secondly I asked what EURIM’s position was in response to EU Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding’s call for the US to hand over control of ICANN so it can be overseen by an independent international tribunal, and thirdly in regards to the UK stimulation package and it’s support, or rather lack of, the UK’s ‘Digital Infrastructure’ (more on this topic in a separate article as I’d planned for it to be one of my pieces on the economic recovery of the UK).

All three were well received, and I especially enjoyed a discussion that arose around the ‘Professionalism in IT’ agenda, and it’s likely resurgence as a topic of interest across the major stakeholders in the UK after a relatively quiet period of activity.

After the meeting I continued the conversation about IT Professionalism with Michael Gough, Head of Government Affairs at EDS and ex-Chief Executive of the National Computing Centre (NCC) where he spent eight highly productive years (Steve Markwell has taken over the reins of CEO). Of course during his tenure the NCC was one quarter of the “Prof IT Alliance“, an alliance of interested parties looking at supporting the IT Professionalism agenda (along with Intellect, the BCS, and the e-Skills Council UK, the sector skills license holder for IT and Telecoms skills).

I also spoke with industry friends and peers (including those from IBM, Microsoft, Atkins, and others), as well The Lord Renwick, EURIM President, and Dr David Wright, EURIM Deputy Secretary General.

Almost everyone asked about the Oracle acquisition of Sun, and I had to say that due to SEC rulings we wouldn’t be seeing any integration until the deal was sanctioned by the US Government. This sort of thing is the norm in large scale mergers and acquisitions born out of the US and everyone who asked were understanding of this.

The next EURIM event I’m due at is with the Conservative Technology Forum entitled “The Future of the NHS IT Program” event, where we are due to partake in a forum hosted Guy Hains, EMEA CSC Alliance, Pearse Butler, Dir UK Healthcare CSC, Dr Glyn Hayes, President of the Primary Health Care Specialist Group of the BCS, and Stephen O’Brien MP, the Shadow Minister for Health. More on the CSC Alliance here:

I took a few photographs yesterday whilst around and about Westminster and from within the Main Hall (the only place guests are allowed to take photos whilst in the Houses of Parliament), and thought that I’d share them with you too.

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Industry contributions to the UK economy and investment in R&D; by industry

My biggest concern about the UK economy is in two very related areas, firstly the imbalance of industry contributions to UK GDP, and secondly the imbalance of investment in innovation in those industries.

When I speak about the imbalance of industry contributions to UK GDP I’m actually talking about which industry sectors are contributing to the UK GDP.

Over the last few years the GDP of the UK has been around £1.2 to £1.3 Trillion (where 1 Trillion equates to 1,000 Billion); this is traditionally circa $2.35 Trillion for those of you who prefer dollar notation.

If we break down GDP contributions as percentages the most obvious point to be made is that Services makes up the majority at over 75% of the GDP contribution to the UK economy (and up until the credit crunch circa 40% of GDP contribution were from Financial Services alone). Manufacturing as an industry sector currently supports just 13% of the UK GDP (as a comparison the USA is circa 19% and Germany is circa 23%) and the actual amount is around £150 Billion. The rest is made up of Agriculture (hovering at 1% and just below) and ‘other’ Industry.

It occurs to me that frankly this isn’t a particularly balanced model; especially when it comes to global recessions such as the one we find our selves in now which, because of our dependence on single industry sectors, affects us so adversely. And nor is it particularly self sustaining.

I’m not alone in thinking this, Warren Buffet warned long ago that the UK’s over reliance on it’s service sector exposed the economy to a higher risk of recession, and George Soros has recently been quoted in the UK press that his concern about the recovery of the UK economy is it’s dependence on the financial services industry.

Sir John Rose, Chief Executive of Rolls-Royce, and one of the UK’s most inspiring business leaders, is vocal about the UK’s need to balance it’s industries contribution to it’s GDP, he has this to say on the subject:

“This country needs a broad portfolio of assets.” adding “There is an over dependence on financial services. If you are a one-trick pony, you have to hope that people continue to like your trick. If they stop liking it, you become pet food.” and “…the credit crisis gives a unique opportunity to start answering questions about how this country should be earning its living in the 21st century.”

You may agree or disagree, or perhaps you’d be interested in what the spread and distribution of UK GDP contributions from differing Industries should or could be, something I believe needs a certain amount of consideration and planning, something you’d imagine would be in the UK’s “Industrial Strategy”, which according to key experts, sadly, does not exist as a coherent and authoritative source. What is key to me is that we collectively recognise the imbalance and look at what it means and what our options might be, including attempting to encourage or stimulate other areas of the economy where appropriate.

All of this brings me to the second, related area, and probably the one that I find more worrying as I increasingly think about the future of the UK economy; that is the imbalance of investment in innovation across the industry sectors in the UK.

Circa 75% of all UK business Research and Development is in Manufacturing alone. Let me restate that another way to bring the point clearer. 75% of all investment in R&D;, innovation and future offerings is done in a single industry sector which contributes just 13% of the economy. Genuinely this worries me a great deal, because therefore, 87% of the economy (which is not manufacturing, and is predominantly services) is contributing just 25% of the entire amount being invested in the future. Yes that’s right, nearly 90% of the UK economy will be dependant on a quarter of the total investment in innovation. This does not look like a good investment on the future state of the economy to me. Nor does it give me a warm and fuzzy feeling when it comes to the future of non-manufacturing businesses either, and lets be clear here, the future of the service industry.

These two points could be playing off against each other of course, in that industry contributions to the economy need to be rebalanced, possibly with a larger (or even, much larger) contribution from manufacturing. And that subsequently the imbalance in terms of investment in R&D; across industry could possibly be less of a worry than I currently imagine.

However I really don’t expect for manufacturing to make up 75% of the GDP contribution anywhere in the future, and I’m still very concerned about the lack of investment in R&D; in the Services industry of the UK. I’d really like better awareness of the issue as a whole, and perhaps go so far to look for more focused stimulation from Government to encourage investment in R&D; in the Services sector.

Recently the CBI’s Innovation, Science and Technology (IST) committee have been working on a number of upcoming white papers, and I have been vocal in having the above issues brought to light in those. Thankfully I got a great of support from the other members of the IST, especially those who are working in the Services sector. I’ll let you know when the white papers I’ve mentioned are available from the CBI web site.

So in a nutshell what am I saying? Firstly let’s investigate and hopefully work towards a more balanced, recession proof economy, with a bigger contribution from high value and “just in time” manufacturing, if it is viable, and secondly let’s see more investment in R&D;, innovation and the future from the Services industry. To achieve any of this we’ll need significant support from Government departments like DBERR and DIUS, followed by the Treasury, to act as sponsors, and finally some Government assistance, whether that be legislation, stimulation, or something softer (the current favourite doing the rounds across the political parties is that of the ‘nudge’ as exemplified by Richard Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, in their book “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness”).

Please Note: All data in this piece comes from these sources, in this order, the Economist ‘Pocket World in Figures (2009 Edition)’, the Economist magazine, the CBI, the IoD, and the BBC. Furthermore, despite manufacturing making up 13% of the UK economy, the UK is still the sixth largest manufacturer in the World (although there are some very big gaps between the economic output of the top five and the UK, and so I may very well touch on the state of the UK manufacturing industry in the future).

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DBERR’s views on the future growth of the UK economy ‘New Industry, New Jobs’

Are you concerned about the state of the UK economy in the future, because I know I am, so I’ll be exploring some of the issues being faced by the UK economy, especially when it comes to science, technology, engineering and industry contributions to the UK’s GDP in my next few articles. …..

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