From M&A to R&D, Cloud is Driving IT Activity

Still wondering if cloud computing is the real deal, if it will find its way to a data center near you? Whether they’re buying, building or buddying up, vendors are surrounding their core competencies with everything they’ll need to compete in an increasingly integrated IT market.

How Red Hat Routed the Recession

While the recession has battered many U.S. software companies, Red Hat–which has staked its future on open-source Linux software, virtualization and cloud computing — has flourished. The company has a number of secrets behind its success, some of them unique.

Open-Source Business Models Aren’t Dead-End Streets

This year, open-source platforms and applications have shown how disruptive they can be. The companies that have built successful businesses based on open source have done so by being shrewd, and understanding that their models have to be different from firms that simply sell software.

11 Top Open-source Resources for Cloud Computing

[digg=] Open-source software has been on the rise at many businesses during the extended economic downturn, and one of the areas where it is starting to offer companies a lot of flexibility and cost savings is in cloud computing. Cloud deployments can save money, free businesses from vendor lock-ins that could really sting over time, and offer flexible ways to combine public and private applications. The following are 11 top open-source cloud applications, services, educational resources, support options, general items of interest, and more. Read More about 11 Top Open-source Resources for Cloud Computing

5 Legal Tips To Save Startups Money & Headaches

Being smart about legal matters can make a huge difference in the value of your company. Each legal decision you make — each strategic partnership, each trademark or patent filing — can add or subtract from it.

During the ’90s, my law firm worked with an internet software company whose proposed $400 million sale was stopped dead because of an ill-considered distribution deal it had signed for an Asian market. To the would-be acquirer, the deal was a fundamental obstacle to its own use of the startup’s technology. We eventually fixed the distribution deal, but not in time to save the $400 million deal. It took another 10 years to sell the startup at a favorable price.

Entrepreneurs aren’t typically well-versed in legal issues, and few have deep enough pockets to have lawyers evaluate the implications of every decision they make. That’s why I wrote a book that tells entrepreneurs what they need to know about technology law. As an example, here are five vital legal strategies every digital entrepreneur should know: Read More about 5 Legal Tips To Save Startups Money & Headaches

Linux is Greener, But Making Servers Sip Power Sucks

Chalk up another one for Linux. The open-source software was just deemed by Network World as greener than Windows Server 2008 when running as the operating system for servers. The computing magazine found that servers using Red Hat Enterprise Linux ran 12 percent more efficiently than those running Windows Server 2008.

But while that’s the headline conclusion (which, it should be noted, included many caveats), the real conclusion of the study is that it’s take meticulous attention and is difficult to get servers to run green. Primary power savings for the test came from the operating system asking the server CPU to dial back its performance. However, only chips made in the last three years even have the ability to “relax” when not being asked to perform computations. To add to the complexity, the software governing the hardware and chips themselves needs to be updated to allow for and manage a chip dialing back its cycles.

So beneath the OS, both the chip itself and the firmware need to have the most energy-efficient technology on board in order to achieve the maximum power savings with Linux. The power management features in the OS must also be turned on regardless of whether you’re using Linux or Windows. That needs to happen across all the servers in a data center to maximize power savings. And it’s possible that on some types of hardware Windows might perform a little better than Linux. One way or another, optimizing your server infrastructure for power conservation is as painstaking as building a house of cards.

4 Upgrades for Your Personal Workspace

Work-at-home web workers seem to divide into two categories: those who make do with just a laptop computer balanced on whatever flat surface has just enough space to hold it, and those who try to establish a personal workspace that makes it easy and pleasant to work. If you’re in the former group, more power to you. But if you’re not, this might be the perfect time to think about upgrading your immediate surroundings.

Why now? By the end of May, you should have some sense of whether you’re having a good year (or not). In the US, tax time is safely past, and there are even those “economic stimulus” checks coming to encourage us all to pump up the consumer economy a bit. Personally, I’ve never been shy about spending money to make my immediate surroundings a bit nicer. I spend long hours at this desk working on the web; if it’s a nice place to work, I mind those hours less and can bill correspondingly more. If you’re of the same mind, here are four things to think about. Read More about 4 Upgrades for Your Personal Workspace

Acquia Dresses Up Drupal for Corporate Users

Acquia, a North Andover, Mass.-based startup, is announcing a supported product using Drupal, the open-source content managment system that underlies many of the community aspects on the web, from sites such as Fast Company to The Onion. It’s a rite of passage for an open-source project to get its very own shepherd that provides a measure of support beyond the forums and masses of independent programmers who churn out the code. For Drupal, the move is akin to Red Hat offering support for Linux and Sun taking MySQL under its wing for $1 billion.

Acquia has hired Dries Buytaert, the founder of Drupal, as its CTO; it scored $7 million back in December to build its 12-person team to this point. Jeff Whatcott, the VP of marketing for Acquia, says the company wants to continue to contribute to the Drupal code base and has no plans to create a proprietary form of code for enterprise use.

Acquia has readied some modules targeted at specific enterprise markets and will sell subscriptions to Acquia’s Drupal add-ons as well as services that support new and existing Drupal deployments. The Acquia-supported Drupal product is called Carbon, and will be ready in the second half of this year. An automatic update service for Carbon called Spokes will be available then as well.