Marc Makarem

Marc Makarem

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ITs time to move out of your parents house

A few years back you had an idea for a business so you made a website that had a shopping cart with a few mailboxes… all was good.
Fast forward to present day —

  • Your website has tons of extra space added onto it to support the files needed to run the site.
  • Your mailbox is continually reaching the upper echelons of storage capacities and frequently needs space upgrades.
  • At least one of your thirty plus domains are always up for renewal.

Your bill is starting to resemble a waistline during the holiday season, growing exponentially. There has to be another option, a more cost effective option. (more…)

Virtual Solutions to Physical Limitations

A few months ago, a company that works with demand planning software approached me looking for a solution that would allow them to fluidly scale their platform.

Their current setup had been limited by the physical hardware the application was running on.

They are currently working on updating their software and felt it was time to look into solutions that will allow for the power and scalability they need. The solution needed to be diverse with the option growing both vertically and horizontally when the time comes.

The solution detailed below is the one proposed by ipHouse for them – a solution utilizing our VMware vSphere based server cluster.


File Hoarding

A few weeks ago I attended the first annual Minnesota GeekFest.

Throughout the day there were discussion panels and product presentations for products emerging in the tech  industry. Somewhere in the day the topic of storage was brought up.  The topic was based around what we can do to continually have enough space to back up our important files.

With hard drives now allowing for more storage, we have opportunities to save more files. This topic got me thinking. Every body  that I know saves files.  A lot of them. Whether it is photos, word docs, or spreadsheets, we are constantly saving files. The problem is that we very seldom delete them… if ever.

If we saved items in our homes the way we save files on our computers we would be considered hoarders… Maybe someday TLC will come out with the show “Electronic Hoarders”. Those of us that are really bad with our files (uhm, me) could be featured.


Privacy in Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality seems to be one of the most widely discussed topics right now; with the main issues and arguments surrounding it changing daily.  The reasoning – how do you start to put restrictions on something that has never had restrictions?  Who do you delegate power to? Who do you hold responsible to enforce these?  Who do you put in power to create/make these rules?

Two points surrounding this discussion, ACTA and ISPs monitoring customers, concern me greatly.

Currently the government wants to pass an international agreement that goes by the name of Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement, or the ACTA.  What does this name mean?  In short, anything and everything you want it to.  It is kind of like one of those pop drinks “swamp water” that you used to (or still do) make from fountain soda… the one where all the pop from every spout gets mixed together to make a super pop.  No, seriously… the main goal of the ACTA is to combat international counterfeiting and piracy.  As anyone who has visited street markets around the world knows, international piracy and counterfeiting is a huge problem.  It hurts legitimate businesses and can contribute to organized crime and unsafe products.  The problem is that the ACTA is vague which leaves a lot of opportunities to work in special components.   For instance – the ACTA is trying to make ISPs responsible for what their home and business users are downloading.  This is where problems start to form.  The way things have worked in the past is that if illegal activity is suspected, then an official court-ordered subpoena, limited to the specific user and activity at issue, is provided to the user’s ISP.  The ISP can then help the enforcement agency “get the bad guys” without compromising the integrity of their network or the security and privacy of the accounts for their other users.  The legal subpoena process protects everyone’s privacy while allowing the enforcement agency access to the possible illegal files.

If ISPs become responsible for what their users are transmitting we can say goodbye to any and all user privacy including the very legitimate privacy needs of companies who now depend on the Internet for their day-to-day business activities.

The amount of information transmitted over the Internet daily is mind boggling.   To do the types of things suggested as part of the ACTA will require substantial amounts of new gear, space, power, bandwidth and engineering time to monitor users.

Having ISPs monitor their users would be like cell phone companies actively monitoring all their customers calls for any hint of illegal activity. The moment the phone company detected anything remotely illegal, it would have to take action against the user just to avoid any possibility of being held legally responsible for what their customer said or did or planned.

It seems like as we try and make forward progress towards regulations like ACTA we are actually moving away from the potential the Internet has to connect us and be the invisible catalyst for bringing people together.  We are also handicapping its use as an effective tool for businesses. Unless we stand up for our own freedoms online, we can rest assured that they will slowly become more restricted.  We all in some way, shape or form interact with the Internet.  We all in some way, shape or form should care about our privacy…

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