A president next door

first_imgAt L. Rafael Reif’s inauguration as 17th president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on Friday, dignitaries from dozens of universities, academic societies, and government agencies were on hand. But only one was there to give remarks on behalf of the academy — and she had traveled a mere 1,797 Smoots from “that red brick school up the street.”“We are close neighbors, sometimes rivals, often collaborators, always friends,” Harvard President Drew Faust told Reif and the hundreds gathered beneath a sprawling white tent in Killian Court on the sunny afternoon.Faust came not only to praise Reif — a longtime engineering faculty member at the institute and an important collaborator on Harvard and MIT’s new online education platform, edX — but also to tease him.“We at Harvard owe it to MIT never to let us take ourselves too seriously,” she said. To make good on her word, and in recognition of MIT’s long-standing tradition of hacks on the Harvard campus, she presented Reif with “a symbol of our lasting friendship”: a framed portrait of the John Harvard Statue dressed in MIT gear.The gift provided a moment of levity on a momentous day for MIT and for its neighbor along the Charles. The schools have had a long working relationship, a commitment reinvigorated in recent years by the launch of ventures such as edX and the Broad Institute for research in the biological sciences, Faust said.“A well-respected and highly successful provost, Rafael Reif is well known to us at Harvard for his insight and his judgment,” Faust said. “He is a generous and genuine convener who listens as much as he speaks — identifying common ground, defining shared purposes, and driving progress.”In his inaugural address, Reif outlined a vision for MIT’s future that suggested he intends to live up to Faust’s characterization.As the world faces pressing problems, from poverty and disease to energy and climate crises, “society needs the creative force of its universities more than ever,” Reif said. “In deciding how to respond, universities stand at a crossroads of risk and opportunity.”That crossroads is marked not just by technological innovations in online learning, but by the growing, likely unsustainable costs of higher education — both for the families of students and for the universities educating them.“The landscape is suddenly alive with credible, low-cost alternatives,” Reif said of online education. “This represents a great step forward for humanity, a step that we should all celebrate. And I’m really proud that MIT and its edX partners, Harvard and UC Berkeley, are helping to lead this revolution.”But universities should also be concerned about the effects of technological change on the residential education model, he said.“The research university is not an ornament or a luxury that society can choose to go without,” he said. “Society continues to need what a residential research university does better than any other institution: incubate young talent who create the new knowledge and innovation that fuel our society.”If the risks of embracing online learning are formidable, he said, the opportunities are even greater, namely, “the opportunity to better serve society by reinventing what we do and how we do it,” by making higher education more affordable, accessible, and effective.MIT is known for creating its own solutions and for exporting them to the world. “The MIT I know loves challenges,” he said. “The MIT I know and love does not stand on the sidelines.”If the universities’ collaboration on edX is any indication, Harvard has already joined MIT in the game. And judging by the crowd’s reaction to Faust’s peace offering, MIT’s hackers may be ready to call a truce.“I think you have many newfound friends in the audience,” John S. Reed, chairman of the MIT Corporation and master of the day’s ceremonies, told Faust.last_img read more

The 6 Myths About Servers That Almost Everyone Believes

first_img“How long do we use our servers?”“Until they die.”That was a real conversation I had with another system admin during my first week at a new job in 1998. Google “how long should you go before refreshing servers” and you will find that the topic is still debated. But, why?When you buy something that isn’t disposable, you own it for its useful life. Your goal is to get the most out of it before you have to replace it. A car is a great example. You buy it and plan to drive it for as long as possible. It costs a lot upfront and you need to recoup that cost, right? But, how long before an old car becomes too expensive to maintain compared to buying a new one? Repair cost is the key variable for most people to consider. But, if you commute an hour each way to work, you might factor in the increased fuel efficiency of a new car. But if you don’t drive much, a couple of extra miles per gallon is pretty meaningless. On the other hand, to the owner of a taxi company in New York City, a few extra miles per gallon could save millions.Twenty years ago, most companies thought about technology as a cost to minimize and tried to squeeze every last ounce out of it. Today, organizations of all shapes, sizes, and organizational structures are transforming and rely heavily on technology. For a business to transform, they must embrace doing things differently. An easy place to start is by evaluating your company’s server refresh guidelines. Some companies have learned to maximize their server investment and opt for faster refreshes. But, as the IDC report Accelerate Business Agility with Faster Server Refresh Cycles shows, for many companies, old habits are hard to break. Let’s take a look at the myths leading to an average server refresh cycle of 5.8 years when it’s clearly beneficial to refresh more often.Myth 1: To Get the Most Value From a Server, Use It as Long as PossibleNot true. It actually costs a company more to keep existing servers instead of refreshing them. A lot more. Companies who refresh servers every 3 years have operating costs 59% lower than companies who refresh their servers every 6 years.Myth 2: The Cost to Acquire and Deploy a New Server Is More Than Just Keeping the Old OneWrong. The cost of operating a server in years 4-6 increases to 10 times the initial server acquisition cost. The reason is because the increasing costs are not linear and jump significantly as a server ages past 3 years. In fact, by year 6, a server requires 181% more staff time and exerts a productivity cost of 447% more than in year 1.Myth 3: Upgrading Servers Is a Cash-Flow DrainIt’s actually the opposite. Even when you factor in the cost of acquisition and the cost of deploying new servers, a company that refreshes twice every 6 years instead of just once will have a 33% lower net cash flow. And if servers are a significant investment for your business (e.g. 300 servers), that could translate to a savings up to $14.6 million. Efficiencies of new servers and the benefits of consolidation (e.g. replacing 300 servers with 247 servers) make this savings possible.Myth 4: It Takes Too Long to Realize the Benefits of Refreshed ServersIncorrect. Remember, the cost of a server starts to increase rapidly in year 4. But, if you replaced it instead, you would not incur those costs. The cumulative benefits of user productivity time savings, IT staff time savings, and IT infrastructure cost savings pays for that new server in less than a year. To be more precise, it occurs in about 9 months.Myth 5: Newer Servers Have No Impact on Increasing RevenueFalse. But, this concept can be a little difficult to understand without hearing from the companies who increased their revenue. IDC highlights two different companies in their report: a logistics company and an educational services company. In both cases, the greater agility, capacity, and shorter time to delivery with the new servers helped them win additional business. IDC calculated the additional revenue per server at $123,438.Myth 6: Buying Servers Is a Capital ExpenseNot anymore. There are traditional leasing options as well as new innovative payment options such as Pay As You Grow and Provision and Pay from Dell Financial Services.Don’t let these myths continue to keep your business from moving forward. The new generation of PowerEdge Servers are more scalable and agile, perform better, are more power efficient, and can help you consolidate more than the previous generation of servers released about 3 years ago. And if you embrace a 3 year server refresh cycle instead of every 6 years, you can take advantage of these innovations and say goodbye to higher costs.last_img read more

Raiders bound for exhibition game against Packers in Canada

first_imgAfter a protracted false start it was announced Wednesday that the Raiders will host the Green Bay Packers in a Week 3 exhibition game in Winnipeg, Manitoba on Thursday, Aug. 22.It will be the Raiders’ first-ever game in Canada. The 7 p.m. contest will be televised to the Bay Area on KTVU/FOX-2, and to Las Vegas on KVVU/FOX-5.Reports of a Raiders game in Canada spread during the NFL owners meetings in March. The venue then was said to be in Saskatchewan. But a radio journalist in Canada said …last_img read more