Riding Out the Recession: Virtualize, Cut Costs

As layoffs slam technology companies, everyone is looking for ways to cut costs. No one needs to read yet another slightly depressing "How you can survive the recession" article. Which is why I chatted with Robert Haaverson, CEO of Imanami, a provider of identity and group management solutions. Haaverson is optimistic, irreverent, and has been through a recession or two himself. In our free-for-all conversation, he sounded hopeful about the ability of IT to deal with the deepening recession--perhaps in part because he created the technology his company provides during a time when he was between jobs. We touched on topics from cost-cutting to virtualization to what's wrong with Microsoft, but each time we circled back to the same refrain many of us are hearing from our CEOs and executives: “We have to work smarter.” But how, exactly, do you do that? I'm still looking for answers, but this is a start.

On How the Recession Affects IT:
• “When things melted down, we tried to delay \[expenditures\] and cut expenses.
• We virtualized our environment, virtualized the servers. We’ve created our own cloud, converted all our machines to VMs except for five.
• You can’t go on upgrading \[software, OS versions\] every two years forever. Everyone spends so much money on software to manage software. For every dollar you spend on software, you spend six to seven dollars to implement it.
• Use software that frees up your resources to do other things. Productivity software helps me get through my email better.
• You need to ask ‘how could my time best be spent to ensure revenue?’ Spending time managing groups adds value to an organization, but does it help you achieve revenue?
• The products we have were written during the time when I was between contracts.
• When things are good, you have software companies coming out of garages; now, you thin out the herd.”

On Moving to Virtualization, Windows 7, and Exchange 2007:
• “Who is going to own the cloud? Microsoft has forced VMware to make free versions of its product. VMware, Citrix, Microsoft—all are fighting to own the cloud.
• VMware does stuff really well and they don’t even own the OS. They have a physical-to-virtual tool that works great. I tried to use Microsoft’s tool—it required all these specific hotfixes and didn’t work.
• I like the fact that they \[Microsoft\] acknowledge the failure of Vista. The granularity was always there, it just wasn’t configurable. We’ve already tested our software on Windows 7.
• Server 2008 is hot. We moved to Server 2008 to get 64-bit virtualization.
• A lot of our customers are moving to Exchange 2007. They were waiting for hotfix-rollup 5, and third-party vendors lifted the roadblocks to migrating.”

Want another company's take on costcutting? See "8 Ways to Recession-Proof Your IT Department."

Considering virtualization? Check out these articles:

"Calculating Server Power Costs" 

"Virtualization Myths and Misconceptions"

"Virtualization Technologies"

"Four for Free: No-Cost Virtualization Tools and Utilities"

For more great links to virtualization resources: "Q. Can a virtual machine running in Hyper-V be a domain controller (DC)?"

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