Ain't Nuthin' But a G-Drive
According to a tantalizing story in the Wall Street Journal
Google is reportedly preparing
that will allow users to store all of their PC-based files --
including documents, music and even video -- on its servers. The upcoming Internet-based
service would allow users to get at their information not just from desktop
systems but through a range of different mobile devices. Not only will users
be able to access their files remotely, but they'll also be able to share them
more easily with business associates or friends online.
Given Google's growing influence and position in the market, if this service
proves successful, it could prove to be the watershed moment that triggers a
broad-based shift to Web-based computing.
According to the Journal, Google will offer users some free storage
along with additional storage they'll have to pay for. While the company hasn't
confirmed when it would formally introduce the service, the article said it
could be released "as early as a few months from now."
Google, of course, will have plenty of competition in this space as more and
more businesses and consumers become increasingly interested in accessing their
applications and files over the Web. Competitors such as Microsoft and Salesforce.com
have established large data centers dedicated to storing massive amounts of
business and consumer data.
Perhaps tellingly, Microsoft isn't mentioned much in the Journal story,
even though Windows Live has a product in this space, namely
SkyDrive, now in beta. The product will offer up to 1GB of free storage.
Redmond's also cooking up another product, called Office
Live WorkSpaces, which offers online storage and access to documents via
its Office suite of desktop applications. It'll be interesting to see over the
next few months if Microsoft starts to pump up its marketing machine for these
products and services as Google gets closer to launch with its upcoming service.
The Once and Future Champ: Windows XP
Well, here's yet another reason not to be excited by Windows Vista. According
to benchmark testing conducted by researchers at the Florida-based Devil Mountain
Software, Windows XP with beta service pack 3 has twice
the performance of Vista, even with its long-awaited service pack 1. Yikes.
One of the bennies of Vista's SP1, due in next
year's first quarter, was to improve the speed and performance of Vista.
Tested both with and without SP1, Vista was considerably slower than XP with
SP3, taking a little over 80 seconds to complete the test (compared to 35 seconds
for XP/SP3). According to company officials, Vista's performance with SP1 improved
less than 2 percent, compared to its performance without SP1. XP's performance
with SP3 increased 10 percent. The test was conducted using a Dell XPS M1710
test bed with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo processor and 1GB of memory, and put Office
2007 through a series of productivity tasks including the creation of a compound
If SP1 fails to stimulate more interest in Vista among corporate users than
what Microsoft has been able to muster so far, it could prove to be a significant
setback for the product. Typically, corporate users wait for the first service
pack of a Microsoft operating system to arrive before getting serious about
evaluating it for deployment. XP has proved to be so in-demand that Microsoft
has already extended the deadline for PC makers to make XP available on new
systems from Jan. 31 to June 30. And, with talk swirling that Microsoft will
sun set support for XP some time in early 2009, many IT shops are soon going
to face a tough decision about whether to stay with XP or migrate to an operating
system that will cost them more money and that they have little enthusiasm for.
IT Pros Ask Santa for More People, Money
In CDW Corp.'s 2007 Holiday IT Wish List, a survey conducted among 626 IT professionals,
some 59 percent of respondents said they believed their organization is somewhat
likely or extremely likely to increase its investment in information technology
in 2008. Asked where their respective organizations would place their technology
bets for 2008, 52 percent said their companies are somewhat or extremely likely
to increase investments in virtualization, with knowledge management coming
in second at 40 percent.
When asked what gift they'd most like to find under their IT tree, 27 percent
said they'd like to have more IT staff, while 16 percent said they'd like to
have a larger IT budget. But their preference for more people or more cash had
largely to do with the size of their organization: There were more respondents
from small companies wishing for more budget to work with (about 21 percent)
than people (about 15 percent). On the other hand, 31 percent from large companies
asked Santa for more IT staffing, while only 14 percent wanted more dollars.
Other IT pros' wishes ranged from options to telework, more technology upgrades,
more time to get their work done, and -- an annual favorite -- more time off.
In the Techno-Sugarplum Index, the personal wish lists of IT pros, the preference
was for entertainment products. High-definition TVs topped the list at 24 percent,
followed by the Nintendo Wii (10 percent), digital SLR cameras (9 percent),
iPods (8 percent), and home theater systems (8 percent). Write-in candidates
included laptops, desktops and a range of peripherals.
To obtain a copy of the complete 2007 CDW Holiday IT Wish List Survey Report,
Ed Scannell is the editor of Redmond magazine.