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Technology management

Secure large home network


Let’s face it: many home networks are set up haphazardly. The birth of internet, the availability of broad-band internet connection at residential areas, and the proliferation of Wi-Fi encouraged the set up of Local Area Network (LAN) at homes. To spread it even wider, consumer-grade networking equipments are making it easier to set up such home network, by merging functions that usually belong to separate devices in corporate-grade equipments. In the following sections, we’ll look into each functionalities that have been squeezed into single device, and how to set it up properly in large home networks

Large home network

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Anatomy of VOIP call centre


Introduction

Call centre

Photo by Carlos Chavez

Businesses need to make multiple contacts with their potential and existing customers everyday, not always by physical meetings. Where the contacts are done via telephone, usually these activities are centralised in call centres.

  • Inbound call centre is a call centre which receives inbound calls from existing, and occasionally potential, customers. The topics of the calls are usually questions or complaints about products or services, with occasional requests to buy
  • Outbound call centre is a call centre which makes outbound calls to potential, and occasionally existing, customers. The topic of the calls is usually offer to sell products or services

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You can’t escape enterprise software maintenance cost


One of the dreaded thing people often talk about when buying enterprise software (instead of building it) is the maintenance cost in form of annual fee. The reality is that whether a company buy or build an enterprise software, there will always be substantial and on-going and even growing maintenance cost.  Now let’s talk about the cost components which are incurred, regardless of whether the software was bought or built.

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IT Balanced Score Card


Balanced Score Card pillar Area Metric
Financial IT return of investment Actual IT expenses vs outside consulting cost for same projects
Actual vs budgeted IT expenses
Percentage of IT expenses from top line
Revenue directly generated by IT by services to outside parties
Number of external IT suppliers
Alignment Number of steering committee meetings per yr
Risks Number of outstanding external IT auditor findings
Percentage of vendors used still operating
Customer Service quality Percentage of closed hardware issues
Percentage of closed network issues
Percentage of closed software issues
Number of issues handled per hardware help desk personnel
Number of issues handled per network help desk personnel
Number of issues handled per software help desk personnel
Average closure time for hardware issues
Average closure time for network issues
Average closure time for software issues
Number of incidents per employee
Internal business process Unfified platform Number of hardware vendors
Number of hardware platform
Number of workstation OS
Number of server OS
Number of general productivity software
Number of departmental software
Project delivery efficiency Percentage of bugs solved
Average bug solution time
Actual vs budgeted project time line
Learning & growth Trainings Number of training per employee
Learning gap
Retention Turn-over
Percentage of involuntary termination
Utilization of new technologies Percentage of workstation OS upgraded to latest edition
Percentage of general productivity software upgraded to latest edition
Introduction of new software modules

Anatomy of private cloud


Cloud?

Cloud
Photo by Makio Kusahara

Good capacity planning of computing resources (server hardware, software, and network) almost always entails providing enough capacity to handle peak demand. Since peak demand only occurs regularly for short time, providing enough capacity for peak time automatically means over-capacity during non-peak times. How to better utilise the extra capacity during non-peak time? How about selling them?

Before a company can sell its extra computing capacity during non-peak times, it has to have a way of providing computing resources to users, internal or external, on demand. This means that capacity (number of processors, memory and storage size) assigned to users should be able to be easily adjusted according to demand. But how do you do that with physical servers? It’s impractical to add or remove processors, memory modules, or hard discs in servers as needs fluctuate. This is where cloud computing comes into play. It does this by enabling capacity adjustment not on physical server bank, but on virtual server bank.

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Mobile BI is not only for large enterprises


Pentaho on iPad

Wouldn’t it be nice if management team can quickly assess the health of the company’s operation wherever they are? Yes, but that technology sounds expensive. Well, not anymore. Open source Business Intelligence (BI) has come a long way, and by now it can even supply this capability to smaller companies with very little (or no) investment.

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Systems management is not only for large enterprises either


Let’s kick start the new year with the 3rd instalment of the “great technologies are not only for large enterprises” series. This time we’ll look into systems management, which helps IT department centrally monitor the numerous servers, switches, routers, etc in the company. In this field, the group so-called Little 4 (OpenNMS, Zenoss, Hyperic, GroundWork) has made great advances in providing solid but free tools. Why are they called Little 4? Because they are the 4 best open source systems managements, in contrast to the 4 most well-known proprietary systems managements called Big 4 (HP, IBM, BMC, and CA)

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Intra-/inter-company integration with RESTful web service


What is web service?

As tougher competition forces companies in a supply chain to work closer together, there is need to connect software in one company to another software in different company. Multiple methods have been devised to achieve this:

  • Photo by Flavio Takemoto

    the oldest method was passing data file in standardised format over proprietary or ad-hoc connection. One of the earliest effort to standardise format of data in the file used by different companies was EDI (Electronic Data Interchange)

  • as IP-based network proliferate, data file was sent over this standardised network instead, e.g. via e-mail, FTP, etc
  • as World Wide Web (WWW) gained popularity, companies realised that it could be used not only to display information in uniform manner regardless of computer platform, but it can also be used to process information uniformly across platforms. Thus born web service, which enables software to communicate among each other in real-time. In web service, the end points are called:
    • producer, for the side that provides the services, i.e. the server
    • consumer, for the side that uses the services, i.e. the client

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Sending & receiving e-mails without e-mail software


Photo by Nick Bradsworth

This article is about an almost lost art. Most people know they need e-mail software to send or receive e-mail. But do they? Turns out that the bare minimum people need for sending or receiving e-mails are internet connection and telnet client, which is built into most Operating Systems.

Sending e-mails

Sending e-mails is accomplished using Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). The SMTP server software uses Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) port number 25, so we use the telnet client to connect to the server at that port. As a note, to prevent the SMTP servers from being abused for sending junk e-mails (i.e. spamming), SMTP servers usually limit who can use them, for example only to those addressing someone within the same domain name as the SMTP server (for example, on the final leg of e-mail delivery hand over, a procedure called SMTP relay) or only to those coming from certain Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. Here’s an example on how to send an e-mail:

[someone@ws123 ~]# telnet mail.telkomsel.com 25
220 ESMTP mail.telkomsel.com
HELO fgh.com
250 mailpapp1.telkomsel.co.id
MAIL FROM: someone@fgh.com
250 2.1.0 Ok
RCPT TO: somebody@xyz.com
250 2.1.5 Ok
DATA
354 end data with <CR><LF>.<CR><LF>
Subject: Test command line SMTP
Bla bla bla
.
250 2.0.0 Ok: queued as 9C31B21C2D5
QUIT
221 2.0.0 Bye
Connection closed by foreign host.
[someone@ws123 ~]#

Receiving e-mails

Receiving e-mails is accomplished using Post Office Protocol (POP), among others. The POP server software uses TCP port number 110, so we use the telnet client to connect to the server at that port. Here’s an example on how to receive an e-mail:

[somebody@ws789 ~]# telnet mail.xyz.com 110
+OK <24266.1291373141@mail.xyz.com>
USER somebody
+OK
PASS EveryoneKnowsThisPasswordExceptIlliteratePeople
+OK
LIST
+OK
1 954
.
RETR 1
+OK
Return-Path: <someone@fgh.com>
Delivered-To: somebody@xyz.com
Received: (qmail 23240 invoked by uid 89); 3 Dec 2010 10:42:55 -0000
Received: by simscan 1.4.0 ppid: 23235, pid: 23237, t: 0.0613s
scanners: attach: 1.4.0 clamav: 0.96/m:52/d:8023
Received: from unknown (HELO mailpapp1.telkomsel.co.id) (202.3.219.8)
by mail with SMTP; 3 Dec 2010 10:42:55 -0000
Received-SPF: neutral (mail: 202.3.219.8 is neither permitted nor denied by SPF record at _spf.fgh.com)
Received: from fgh.com (dynamic-pool-telkomsel-114-124-115-28.telkomsel.net.id [114.124.115.28])
by mailpapp1.telkomsel.co.id (Postfix) with SMTP id 2A38D21C31A
for <somebody@xyz.com>; Fri,  3 Dec 2010 17:11:33 +0700 (WIT)
Subject: Test command line SMTP
Message-Id: <20101203101207.2A38D21C31A@mailpapp1.telkomsel.co.id>
Date: Fri,  3 Dec 2010 17:11:33 +0700 (WIT)
From: someone@fgh.com
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Bla bla bla

.

QUIT
Connection closed by foreign host.
[somebody@ws789 ~]#

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