David Hill

Network Computing Blogger

Upcoming Events

Where the Cloud Touches Down: Simplifying Data Center Infrastructure Management

Thursday, July 25, 2013
10:00 AM PT/1:00 PM ET

In most data centers, DCIM rests on a shaky foundation of manual record keeping and scattered documentation. OpManager replaces data center documentation with a single repository for data, QRCodes for asset tracking, accurate 3D mapping of asset locations, and a configuration management database (CMDB). In this webcast, sponsored by ManageEngine, you will see how a real-world datacenter mapping stored in racktables gets imported into OpManager, which then provides a 3D visualization of where assets actually are. You'll also see how the QR Code generator helps you make the link between real assets and the monitoring world, and how the layered CMDB provides a single point of view for all your configuration data.

Register Now!

A Network Computing Webinar:
SDN First Steps

Thursday, August 8, 2013
11:00 AM PT / 2:00 PM ET

This webinar will help attendees understand the overall concept of SDN and its benefits, describe the different conceptual approaches to SDN, and examine the various technologies, both proprietary and open source, that are emerging. It will also help users decide whether SDN makes sense in their environment, and outline the first steps IT can take for testing SDN technologies.

Register Now!

More Events »

Subscribe to Newsletter

  • Keep up with all of the latest news and analysis on the fast-moving IT industry with Network Computing newsletters.
Sign Up

See more from this blogger

Predictive Analytics and the Fiscal Cliff

The U.S. economy is in poor shape, with higher-than-desirable unemployment rates and lower-than-desired GDP growth rates. Meanwhile, federal expenses continue to exceed revenues (primarily taxes). While the size of the national debt may be worrisome, it is currently not a major crisis. Historically low interest rates have mitigated the interest rate burden, but an unpredictable (and entirely possible) event could lead to a sudden interest-rate spike that would create another economic crisis.

On Jan. 1, 2013, the Bush era tax cuts are scheduled to end, and tax rates will return to what they were before those cuts were put in place. Moreover, mandated cuts in federal spending would go into effect. While the combination of higher revenues and lower government expenses would effectively raise revenues and reduce the growth rate of the national debt, the worry is that higher tax rates would encourage businesses to shed workers, raising the unemployment rate and pushing the U.S. economy back into recession. Despite the political jockeying for position currently going on in Washington, virtually no one wants to go over the fiscal cliff. Predictive analytics may help.

More Insights


More >>

White Papers

More >>


More >>

Using Predictive Analysis in Economic Modeling

Predictive analysis is a hot topic in advanced analytics technologies, especially with the rise of interest in big data. Predicting the future is useful, as it can be an aid (but only an aid) to decision making. Now, predictive analysis may be used to analyze actual data (such as in a trend analysis comparing a current situation to historical data) or to investigate proposed policy actions (such as an increase in tax revenues) to predict what impacts they might have.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has long used two economic models to analyze the medium- and long-term impacts of federal tax-and-spend policies. The Solow-type growth model estimates the impact of proposed policy changes, such as the example given on tax increases and labor supply changes at a given point in time. In contrast, the life-cycle model estimates the impact on the supply of labor that depends on people's expectations on how they expect their after-tax compensation to change over time.

Despite the promotion of analytics as a useful tool, all models have their limits.

• Models are only as good as their assumptions. That may seem trite, but economies (like businesses) are not static, and the value of some parameters may change or may have more significance than anticipated. Virtual reality is not physical reality, so surprises are not only possible but likely, especially over long time frames.

• Models can only deal with endogenous conditions, which means those that they presume respond to the changes made; they cannot respond to exogenous conditions, which arise outside the ability of the model to predict but can nevertheless affect the model's results. One example would be the spillover effects of, say, a European recession on U.S. economic output.

Why Use Models?

While models have limitations, a well-crafted economic model is much better than a manual analysis, which cannot consider the impact of many variables and is often the product of wishful thinking rather than objective analysis. For example, a simpler (although still quite complex) business model that I built for a division of a Fortune 500 company many years ago enabled senior management to make decisions over a period of years that increased revenues, changed pricing policies, cut costs and increased the return on capital investments. The model sometimes provided results that seemed at first to be counter-intuitive, but that improved overall understanding of what could and could not be done.

The output of economic models is not as easy to accept as business models, which may give results (such as increased revenues) that everyone finds acceptable. Instead, the outputs from every policy action may have some positive benefit, but also have an unpalatable side effect. Those tradeoffs are likely to be painful to someone. However, the models can serve as a common point of reference and discussion.

Now, there may not be better economic models than those used by the CBO, but the CBO has the imprimatur of the Congress itself and is a non-partisan organization. The CBO is generally considered to be well-run and independent, although in a political domain, there will always be critics.

Next page: How Can Models Help?

Page:  1 | 2  | Next Page »

Related Reading

Network Computing encourages readers to engage in spirited, healthy debate, including taking us to task. However, Network Computing moderates all comments posted to our site, and reserves the right to modify or remove any content that it determines to be derogatory, offensive, inflammatory, vulgar, irrelevant/off-topic, racist or obvious marketing/SPAM. Network Computing further reserves the right to disable the profile of any commenter participating in said activities.

Disqus Tips To upload an avatar photo, first complete your Disqus profile. | Please read our commenting policy.
Vendor Comparisons
Network Computing’s Vendor Comparisons provide extensive details on products and services, including downloadable feature matrices. Our categories include:

Research and Reports

Network Computing: April 2013

TechWeb Careers