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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Multi-purpose vs purpose-built computing

Multi-purpose shelf is not as optimised as wardrobe for storing clothes. Photo by omegafotos

We can’t help but see purpose-built computing slowly being replaced by multi-purpose computer hardware and Operating System, namely the Personal Computer (PC) architecture. We will see some examples described in more details below, but before that, let’s take a look of why this can take place. On the face of it, it seems like multi-purpose things will always be less optimised compared to purpose-built things. After all, generic storage shelf will never be as optimised as wardrobe for storing clothes, bookshelf for storing books, or refrigerator for storing food. However, few important trends converged to make multi-purpose computing a better platform nowadays than purpose-built computing:

Anatomy of VOIP call centre


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


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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The fascinating world of technology business

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