Do you know where your VM’s are?

GlobeVirtualization of resources bring some interesting issues to the table. Not the least of which, is where the physical locations of your compute resources are at any given moment of the day.

The point of virtualization is that the systems you use are no longer tied to a specific piece of physical hardware, things can move quickly and without notice. For example, a resource located physically next door to you today could be moved via sVmotion to a server across the country tomorrow. As long as the networking team does all the appropriate routing changes, you’d never know.

There are lots of potential issues to consider, but three are:

1 – If you’re servers are not local to you, then the staff responsible for managing those resources at the current time may also not be local. This means that you’ll have to coordinate across time zones to perform maintenance and other tasks.

2 – Flipping resources to another datacenter may mean you suddenly lose physical access to your systems. The good news is that you can always flip the resources back if something goes physically wrong and you don’t have anyone at the other location at that time to plug the wire back in.

3 – Especially for international companies, technologies that cannot be exported could accidentally end up on virtual systems housed in a non-export country. If you deal with encrypted data-sets, this could become a very serious problem.

When you discuss cloud, the situation gets even more confusing, as you may literally not know what physical location your systems reside in at any given time. SLA’s with the cloud provider become absolutely vital, and must be reviewed regularly.

Separating the compute power from physical hardware is – overall – a good thing, but for as many problems as virtualization solves, we do have to remember that there are new problems to consider. Geography is one of those problems.

Dust off your maps…

Photo Credit: Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the BPL

Why your company needs a clear Social Media Policy for employees

SMPolicyEvery organization is made of people. That’s both good and bad. People make the company what it is, and that’s good. People also have opinions – which is usually good, but can become bad if they’re not representative of your brand and organization.

You can control access to the official corporate Twitter feeds, Facebook pages and LinkedIn accounts, but what happens when employees tag, retweet and link to those pages from their own accounts? That’s where a clear and comprehensive Social Media Policy (SMP) comes into play.

The SMP needs to clearly state what is acceptable and unacceptable for tweets and posts that are linked or tagged to the corporate identities. In other words, you should have language in the policy that clearly states that anything that goes against company policies (like disorderly conduct, HR violations, etc.) should never be linked or tagged to a corporate identity. Ever. For any reason at all.

The policy should also detail what rights and responsibilities an employee has if they choose to affiliate their personal accounts with the company via logos, images, re-tweet streams, etc. If you believe you have control over any account that has your company logo on it – for example – you need to state that very clearly and directly to avoid problems later on.

Of course, if your firm is particularly conservative in these matters, you may simply have a blanket policy that says that only the corporate identities can have anything to do with the company on Social Media. That’s usually a very bad thing to do, as it will severely limit your ability to take advantage of a lot of opportunities that leveraging employees can bring to the table. However, if that is indeed the way you want to operate, every employee needs to know it as soon as possible to avoid confusion, embarrassment and bad blood.

Finally, don’t make the mistake of believing your current employment agreements have you covered. If those agreements haven’t been updated in 3-5 years, you need to revisit them and ensure that the sections on intellectual property and corporate ownership of resources have been updated to operate in the digital age.

Photo Credit: Mr. Norris