Editorial: Enter the Enterprise

Last month, I spoke on breaking with tradition while maintaining traditional values. This is the attitude that drives our industry -- breaking from traditional thinking, while learning from it at the same time. You’ve probably noticed that your job has forced you to take a similar approach to your corporate enterprise.

But, what exactly is an enterprise? This is a proverbial "ask 10 people, and get 10 answers" question. For Enterprise Systems Journal’s readers, an enterprise system is a centrally-based (sometimes re-centralized) computing network that receives input from and interacts with every aspect of a company or institution -- although not always on equal levels. This multi-tier network consists of multi-platform hardware and multi-vendor software that needs to be integrated with departmental level systems, with remote offices and mobile users. Once this integration occurs, you have the enterprise.

Traditionally, the heart of the enterprise was the data center -- a "closed," proprietary system. The data center evolved to an "open" client-server environment where "the network was the computer." This model, however, also opened many holes in security, reliability and availability, and manageability -- crucial issues for the IT manager.

Today, we find that the data center remains the heart, however it is also the veins and arteries that distribute the vital data. And, although the data is accessed and distributed globally, a secure, centralized system remains at the core. And, the IT manager remains responsible for this now open data center.

Enterprise Systems Journal has been side by side with this evolution, matching its progress step for step. Once an IBM mainframe-exclusive magazine (in fact, some thought we were owned by IBM), Enterprise Systems Journal has evolved to meet its moniker: a publication that focuses on Enterprise solutions. And, we are continuing the evolution.

Just last month, we introduced the "Enterprise Storage" column, written by Jon William Toigo, renowned storage authority, author of several books, hundreds of articles, including a Scientific American cover story, and seminar lecturer (including N+I). One of the industry’s least glamorous, yet most critical topics, Enterprise Storage remains a chief concern of today’s multiplatform IT managers. Jon’s column examines the technology and market forces that shape the range of options available to IT professionals -- from the effects of superparamagnetism to the protocol "holy war" that will decide the interconnection of storage devices in a SAN.

As Enterprise Systems Journal’s editorial content and reader demographics reflect the trends in today’s IT environments, we no longer remain rooted as an IBM "big iron" publication. For that reason, we’ve eliminated the "Inside IBM" column, and will be broadening our look at the industry every month.

Although most of our readers continue working with a mainframe, and most research numbers indicate that anywhere from 70 percent to 80 percent of today’s corporate "mission-critical" data still resides on an mainframe, how that data is accessed, distributed and used has changed dramatically from the traditional centrally-controlled IT shop.

So throughout the coming months, we’ll explore Web to Host, B2B Solutions, Middleware and XML, Performance Management, CRM, the Mobile Enterprise, Application Development and Java, High Availability, E-Security, Enterprise Portals, ERP and MRP, Multiplatform Computing, Data Warehousing and Metadata.

Speaking of changes, I’d like to formally introduce Enterprise Systems Journal’s Group Publisher Cliff Mulcahy, who took the helm a few months ago. Also new this month is Associate Editor Jessyca Harrington (jharrington@esj.com), who coordinates our News and New Product sections. We also welcome Assistant Editor Gus Ruckle (gruckle@esj.com), who will be working on our print, as well as online issues.

Finally, thanks to the many readers who wrote concerning the August and September editorials. Contrary to popular opinion, the technologist does have a social conscience, and I’m glad to see that it’s alive in many of our readers. So, sit back, relax (as if you could) and enjoy this issue as we tear through the Enterprise together.