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Friday, November 19, 2010

Campus Spotlight: Rebuilding IT from the Ground Up

* By Bridget McCrea
* 11/04/10

The first thing Bill Seretta did four years ago as American
International College's CIO was rip out all of the old cat-3 and coax
wires on campus and the equipment that relied on those wires. Then, he
replaced the Springfield, MA-based college's entire infrastructure
with state-of-the-art wireless options. After all, he said, if you
don't have a secure, reliable, high-speed core infrastructure, "you
can't do a thing."

"This holds true in corporate America, in education, and everywhere,"
said Seretta. "A lot of organizations forget this fact and wind up
with poor infrastructure, ineffective networking security, and stuff
crashing all around them."

Even worse, some opt to "layer" new equipment and software on top of
antiquated infrastructures. "That's a joke," said Seretta. "You can't
install student information systems, accounting solutions, and
emergency alert systems on top of an old infrastructure. It's a huge
waste of money."

Call him tough, but Seretta is just doing his job. Just over four
years ago he was brought on board to assess American International
College's technology infrastructure. The task wasn't easy, namely
because the school's president--who had recently retired and had
openly disliked the Internet--had been in his position for 35 years. A
new President ushered in change.

During that span, the school's technology infrastructure hadn't
exactly kept up with the times. "The technology here was limited and
archaic compared to where the rest of America's colleges were at the
time," recalled Seretta. "The good news was because it was so bad,
there was nothing to salvage. We had to rip everything out and start
over again."

Having that clean slate in front of him meant Seretta didn't have to
justify trashing the school's old systems in lieu of more modern
options. "A lot of schools get hung up on the fact that they put
$100,000 into equipment last year, and now they have to change to
something new," said Seretta. "They get trapped in these spending
cycles, and feel like they have to stick with their investments for
four or five years before upgrading or changing."

Without those challenges to worry about, Seretta said, he developed a
comprehensive IT plan for the college, which fast-tracked the project
to the point where his team had seven weeks to build a new network.
That network would extend to every building on campus, said Seretta,
so it only made sense that it be wireless.

"We installed 150 access points and brought our Internet access from 2
Mbps to 10 Mbps, which was a big jump for us," said Seretta. The
college shelled out about $1.5 million to purchase the equipment, and
then began taking other steps to bring its IT infrastructure into the
new millennium.

Key changes included server virtualization--a move that allowed it to
build up its core infrastructure "without having to buy a box to
handle every single task, upgraded data center, laptops for all
faculty, VoIP phone system, virtual campus, IP security cameras and
new accounting and student information systems, said Seretta.

With American International College's IT overhaul well underway,
Seretta left after one year in his position as acting CIO, assuming
the next IT director would take the ball and run with it. That didn't
exactly happen. "I was called back one year ago," said Seretta. "The
current CIO was gone, and a lot of the work we had done four years ago
basically was stopped in place."

In 2006, for example, every faculty member was given a laptop, whether
he or she wanted it or not. "There was a lot of grumbling, since
people were still tied to desktops back then," Seretta said. "Now they
want laptops, but the replacement cycles (which were laid out in
Seretta's original recommendations) weren't handled correctly, and a
lot of faculty members have antiquated machines."

This time around, Seretta is determined to see his IT overhaul through
to the finish line. He currently has 48 projects on his agenda, all of
which are at different stages of completion. Over the last 12 months,
he said much of the school's wired infrastructure was replaced with
three fiber rings connecting all buildings, new switches and 10
gigabit uplinks. "We've created a robust infrastructure that's going
to be in place for a while," said Seretta.

Other changes over the last year include the rebuilding of a data
center that now operates on managed power with a backup generator, and
a new collaboration with four other colleges that allows American
International University to purchase Internet access at a bulk
discount rate. The latter allows the school to offer 120 megabit
connection speeds at no additional cost.

Another major change Seretta spearheaded for the school's IT
department involved equipment and desktop leasing. Now, instead of
shelling out over $300,000 a year for replacement equipment for
$300,000 worth of equipment, the school spends less than $100,000 in
lease fees for $300,000 worth of equipment. "I'm building a cycle
where everything will be replaced every three years, with some going
to four or five years," said Seretta. "This will help embed the
three-year purchase cycle, and keep our technology current."

With more time to get American International College's IT
infrastructure into shape than he had four years ago, Seretta said the
department's five divisions (infrastructure/security, help desk,
administration, academic and telecom) are going to play an integral
role in the college's future growth. "IT touches every aspect of this
campus on a 24/7 basis," said Seretta. "Without the right
infrastructure, this place can't operate."

About the Author

Bridget McCrea is a business and technology writer in Clearwater, FL.
She can be reached at

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

NAVICAT - Beta Release Navicat Premium 9.1

We are glad to announce about the release of beta version of Navicat
Premium 9.1.

** NOTE ** : If you have bought a license of Navicat 9.0, license keys of
Navicat 9.1 will be available to you for FREE on Nov 25. You can login to
customer center to retrieve the license key on that day.

Major new features:
- Support of Microsoft SQL Server (2000 to 2008R2)
- Cross data transfer between SQL Server and other database servers
- Support of PostgreSQL Server 9.0
- Support of MySQL Server 5.5
- Enhanced user and role management
- New Privilege Manager
- Improved data synchronization performance with a new engine

Contact us for detail

Fanky Christian
Business Development Director
IBEC Building 2nd Fl
Jl. KH Wahid Hasyim No.84-86
Jakarta Pusat, 10340, Indonesia
SMS: 62-21-98054359
Telp: 62-21-3924716
Fax: 62-21-3903432
mobile: 62-812-1057533

Online Store:


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Sunday, November 14, 2010

TechRepublic: Four types of clients to avoid

Posted in:

When you meet with a potential client, you should think about more than just how to meet their project needs; you should also listen and watch for cues that will help you determine if you actually want to work for that client. So how can you spot a problem client? Let's face it - no client is going to tell you upfront that she has a hidden agenda or reveal that every consultant who worked for their company quits mid-project. I look for telltale signs from the four types of problem clients that I've encountered. Here are more details about those client types and the red flags to look for early on in negotiations.

The bargain hunter

You don't want to do business with the client who is constantly trying to get free work. You can sometimes identify these clients in the sales process when they repeatedly try to get you to do significant amounts of work for free, or if they show irritation when you say that you charge for all but the first meeting with a client. Experienced consultants warn you to be wary of clients who are overly creative with payment methods; in particular, clients who tempt you into working for royalties on the software you develop for them instead of offering cash for your development work. Never fall for the statement, "The market is huge for a system like this - you'll be able to make a fortune when this thing is done!" All that client wants is free software development and a share of your future profits for "making you rich."

The power trip client

The power trip client tries to turn every situation into one with a winner and a loser. The tip-off that you've encountered this type of client may come during contract negotiations when the client shows inflexibility about modifying even the smallest of terms he's suggesting. If he insults you, becomes aggressive, or attacks your qualifications, those are all flashing red lights signaling you to run from this situation.

The know-it-all client

The know-it-all client shoots down your initial attempts at solving his problem and then tries to blow you away with tech buzzwords that he obviously learned by searching online. This type of client is likely to try to get a detailed proposal out of you only to turn it down and take that information somewhere else and try to get it done at a lower price.

The rush, rush client

Be wary of the client who seems like he is in such a rush that he wants you to get started immediately without a signed contract, spec, or any "trivial" paperwork relating to the engagement that might keep him from meeting his deadline. When you encounter a "drop everything and do my work" type of client, you know right away that you're likely dealing with a selfish, demanding, and likely very disorganized client who can't manage his way out of a paper bag. Even worse, this client will likely also turn out to be a rate chiseler, who will express shock when presented with your bill. Never, ever proceed without the engagement properly documented; otherwise, you'll probably get stiffed by this type of client. Run away fast.

Share your thoughts on difficult clients

What telltale signs do you look for to try to determine if a client is likely to cause you headaches? What types of problem clients would you add to this list? Post your comments in the discussion.

posted by Brad Egeland
November 12, 2010 @ 11:48 pm
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