Some businesses and organizations that have already implemented a managed services approach as part of their IT solutions suite may already have heard of "block level storage virtualization," but for others, the term will be a new one.
One of the largest trends in the world of business computing is converged architecture, which is widely seen as one of the best IT solutions for addressing the increasing sprawl of IT resources. As companies have added networking devices, servers, and storage units to their systems over time, they have seen more and more "silos" develop in their infrastructure.
Many organizations use on-site storage for their most sensitive data. This allows them to access the data whenever it is needed and without delay. Additionally, the organization can also protect that data physically using preferred means. But this solution may not work for all organizations. Sometimes storage solutions, especially for companies in the New York area, may be better hosted off-site by a third party vendor. It can allow for greater and more efficient growth of the business, increased performance of employees who are able to attend to their own tasks, as well as greater cost savings. Here is an example of how one law firm benefited greatly by using an outsourced storage solution.
At the time, Blank Rome LLP, one the largest law firms in the United States, was having issues their current storage solution. Firstly, the law firm was running out of physical storage space. Also, because the firm was growing quickly, the amount of data that they produced was steadily growing, data backups were overlapping into other critical windows, which was leading to potential loss of data, time waste, and frustration on the part of the IT staff. Recognizing that their current solution was not working for them anymore, they decided that they needed a new storage solution strategy.
To begin, they required a clear plan of what was wrong with their current model and what was needed in the new one. Also, Blank Rome LLP needed to find a vendor who had both the experience and expertise to provide a solution that could be flexible and scalable to adapt with the law firm’s changing needs.
They were able to partner with a vendor who created a powerful and flexible private cloud for the law firm. They virtualized almost all of their infrastructure, using virtual machines across the world. For disaster recovery, they used a site 300 miles away and allowed for continuous replication of data so that even in the case of critical issues, access to the latest data was always possible. Data backups could be conducted successfully without interfering in regular operations. All this allowed for more streamlined operations, greater access to data, more efficient usage of time, and cost savings ranging in the millions. Finally, physical space was freed up, operations were more efficient, employees were left to focus on their tasks, and the vendor could apply their customized expertise exactly when and where it was needed.
Although these types of storage solutions may not work for every organization, it can certainly work for many. Your current solution may not be the best solution long-term. Understanding the storage needs of an organization and determining if these needs are being met, with room for growth, is the first step to ensuring efficient business operations and the continuous ability for growth. To schedule an assessment of your network's data storage and backup needs, contact an iCorps representative today.
The virtualization leader, VMware, has undergone some significant changes at the top recently. The new CEO is Pat Gelsinger, who was an executive at VMware’s parent company, EMC – though some of you may know him from his lengthy career in senior positions at Intel. His predecessor in the meantime, Paul Maritz, has moved on to become chief strategist at EMC.
Cashed-strapped IT departments are always looking out for ways to increase efficiency while cutting costs simultaneously. Larger organizations with bigger budgets can adopt new IT technologies with higher price tags, however, companies in survival mode often can't. Small companies are often unable to secure financing to invest large sums of cash on high-end IT technology.
The Department of Defense has recently launched their new 4-step cloud computing strategy and appointed the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) as the dedicated broker who will oversee all purchases and ensure that the operation is safe, productive, on track and well maintained. Despite the size of the operation and the huge investments that it will call for, the department is looking to take advantage of the new and cutting edge technology developments that will enable them to enhance their cloud storage capabilities. The Department, through the 25 Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal IT Management, aims to increase their effectiveness, productivity and efficiency and also maintain a workforce of highly skilled IT professionals who will keep the IT cloud storage and other solution up to date.
Public and Private Equanimity
As far back as 2006, IT insiders were predicting that the next wave of IT solutions to sweep the business world would include mechanisms for continuous data protection. This technology, often simply called CDP, is a huge improvement over the traditional paradigm of making regular full backup copies of all data and using incremental backups in between to provide a form of update to the latest full backup performed.
Your SMB faces a number of IT challenges - soaring hardware costs, under-utilization of hardware, over-utilization of employees, security vulnerabilities and decreasing storage space. These are just a few of the issues that virtualization helps reduce or eliminated completely. Let's look deeper into how it can help your SMB become leaner and more efficient with its IT operations.
Object based storage is increasingly being seen as a powerful alternative to the more common suite of IT solutions based around network attached storage. Some of the advantages inherent to an object based approach include a level of scalability that is for all practical purposes unlimited and less need to rely on high-speed infrastructure including ultra-fast processing. In addition, object based storage fits into the new Web 2.0 world because it can easily be accessed using standard internet protocols, which lessens the need to launch traditional commands related to storage inside a web-based world where they may not coordinate well.
The world's leading platform for virtualization is VMware.
Cloud computing is one of the most exciting tech breakthroughs to come along in quite some time. Unlike some leaps forward that are really only of benefit to firms with revenues in the hundreds of millions of dollars, cloud computing seems almost tailor-made to provide the SMB with advantages that were never before possible, like economies of scale, which until now were more or less ruled out for small businesses. There is only really one hitch for the small business owner or manager: being hooked into a cloud computing system.
Hyper-V version 3.0 is the virtualization platform that will ship along with the newest version of Windows Server, expected to become available to small and medium-sized business customers later this year. Windows Server 2012 will change the requirements the platform has regarding the need for shared storage. Previous versions of Hyper-V did not officially require shared storage, but some of its most useful features were only available when such storage was available.
Small and medium-sized businesses looking for IT solutions that will cut costs without sacrificing productivity or efficiency may wish to consider "storage sprawl". The need to store additional data as it proliferates is one of the largest line items in the IT budgets of many organizations. The advent of the internet has meant an incredible explosion of data, primarily because the online world enables magnitudes more transactions to take place each day.
Virtualization is a powerful technology that allows businesses a simple and streamlined way to view all of the resources controlled by the hypervisor. These include not just memory and networked resources but also the CPU itself. In addition, a virtual application can be manipulated in highly efficient ways without any need for a physical copy of the application to be involved. In this way, applications can be rapidly reconfigured and redeployed as needed to speed workflow and serve the needs of the employees processing that workflow. A final advantage of virtualization is the way in which it allows for both servers and desktops to be consolidated and available on demand.
When managers of businesses or other organizations hear the term ‘cloud storage’, they may immediately reject the notion because of concerns about data privacy, confidentiality, and security. For some owners and managers, it is simply unacceptable to consider the idea of letting their customer's information or their own proprietary data such as intellectual property reside on a server not entirely under their control.
One of the keys to long-term success is to focus on business continuity planning and crisis management processes today. No one knows what tomorrow will bring, but there are steps you can take to ensure that you’re ready for anything. First, ask yourself:
With so many technological developments happening at lightning speed nowadays, it's understandable that many people often confuse specific terminology used. Among the most common terminology confusions is the difference between cloud and virtualization.
If you run a small or medium-sized business, you may well have heard about the cloud and may have dismissed it.
Wireless connections to the internet are becoming increasingly popular among businesses and other organizations, in part because they allow a company to offer internet access to visitors on the premises. This can help increase sales in many types of businesses because it gives consumers an additional reason to visit the premises. Wireless access, however, is not always the best solution for internal employees who make frequent and extensive use of online resources. These individuals may be much better served by an Ethernet connection, which offers faster data access speeds than those typical of wireless environments.
According to recent research, the total volume of business data is doubling in only 1.2 years. While some businesses see more of this increase than others do, the average company sees a data increase of more than 40 percent over the course of a single year. The increase in data flow is due in part to new forms of data that companies now need to track, analyze, and store; these include video content and data that derives from a business presence on social media networking sites. The need for real-time access to much of this data only makes it even more challenging to meet these growing storage needs.
Cloud-based storage provides important convenience features that can make employees far more productive. Workers can begin to create or edit a document at work, save the work in progress to the cloud, and continue editing the file on their smartphone during their commute home. Once home, they can continue again on their home computers if they wish.
For decades, it has been traditional in both business and computing circles to evaluate IT solutions for storage based solely on the amount of storage being discussed. First, the megabyte was the new kid on the block, generating excitement, only to give way to the gigabyte and now the terabyte, with no end in sight. Many businesses now, however, are beginning to realize that a proper analysis of their storage needs and solutions is actually a multi-dimensional issue that needs to incorporate considerations other than size.
IT consultants can provide invaluable assistance to business organizations on a highly diverse number of topics. Among these is the improvement of storage systems for essential company and customer data. An IT consulting firm can not only advise businesses as to the various options when it comes to the storage of vital data, but such an IT company can also point out the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.
One of the most powerful ways to leverage your relationship with an IT consulting firm is to discuss your ‘IT wish list’ in detail. When it comes to technology, sometimes the only limit is your own imagination. You may not know all of the correct terminology to use, but if you can describe the outcome you are trying to reach, an IT consultant may be able to suggest combinations of hardware, software, and cloud-computing resources that can help you achieve your goals.
When it comes to intensive computer applications, two concerns generally become paramount: computing power itself, used to generate usable data; and storage space so that data can be maintained for as long as needed. These two concerns are often interrelated, with advanced programs needing vast amounts of disk space in order to do their work; such space is needed to swap data sets in and out of ongoing calculations.
Storage virtualization is an important component in many approaches to IT solutions that depend on a managed services model, but the term itself may be unfamiliar to some. After all, data must eventually be stored on some physical medium, whether that consists of tape drives, traditional hard drives, or solid state drives. How then can the storage of such data possibly be virtualized?
Data storage is one of the most important infrastructure needs in today’s highly computerized business environment. One effective way to address this need is through the Dell Terascala HPC storage system. The Terascala HPC is both cost effective and highly scalable, making it an ideal match for companies engaged in work that produces copious amounts of data. This description, of course, would fit many businesses. From customer information to financial records to research and development, data is the lifeblood of the typical American business.
Although network attached storage (NAS) is fast becoming a popular way to deal with file storage needs, small and medium sized businesses have other options that in some cases may suit its needs better. One of the newer IT solutions to emerge for storage technologies in recent years is the object-based storage system.
The buzz over virtualization is well deserved, as this is one of the most exciting leaps forward in business technology to emerge in quite some time. However, a move toward virtualization with a skilled IT company providing remote services does not eliminate the need for a sound storage approach for the information used in virtual data centers. Thin provisioning is an approach to storage needs that helps businesses to maximize its use of resources and lower their costs.
VMware's vCenter Server 5 Essentials Pack has an optional software plug-in or add-on known as VSA (vSphere Storage Appliance). The main function performed by the VSA add-on is to create a shared storage pool and replicate data between internal components of the pool as needed to create high data availability. The concept used by the VSA system is well understood in the industry, and has been embodied in non-VMware products such as LeftHand (produced by HP).
As businesses expand virtualization strategies in partnership with managed services providers, many of them are beginning to see how an iSCSI storage system can help them maintain a more robust host cluster.
Sometimes, the need to change can pose a hurdle in business organizations – a hurdle that can be difficult to surmount. This facet of business life is so widespread, in fact, that a few years ago, it was the subject of the best-selling book, Who Moved My Cheese? Because managers and staff are comfortable with the current way of doing things, they may not realize that the tech world offers wonderful new tools that can provide powerful IT solutions.
Many small and medium-sized businesses prioritize ease of use and simplicity over other considerations when it comes to the provision of IT services. This is easy to understand, since both these considerations naturally tend to create systems that carry with them a lower cost burden, which in turn increases return on investment and helps the bottom line. Many such SMBs do not possess native IT staff of their own and rely on managed programs assistance from highly qualified guest personnel they contract with through an IT consulting firm. Removable disk storage is one IT solution that can fit well into this model.
Most business enterprises are more than familiar with the concept of hard disk storage, both of the internal and external varieties. Much less familiar is the term NAS, which refers to network attached storage. This structure also uses a hard drive, but in the case of NAS the drive is configured to interface with more than a single computer.
Whether a business is running a physical server or virtual server environment, a program or plug-in to analyze how efficiently storage is performing is one of the most important monitoring tools needed. IT services administrators use such tools to recognize when additional storage capacity is needed and to improve the utilization of existing storage. The need for storage performance analysis is sometimes overlooked in business organizations because in most cases, systems and networks will run out of memory resources before they use up all allocated storage.
One of the hallmark advantages of a cloud storage IT environment is "scalability" - but what does that term actually mean, and how does it provide a benefit to small and medium-sized businesses?
Acronyms are a part of life in the world of information technology. Two current ones that relate to data storage choices are SAN and NAS.
iSCSI is a new storage protocol that offers lowered costs along with a simple interface. This type of storage does not require switches, a hardware technology that is a common feature of storage solutions that use FC (fiber) technology. Instead, iSCSI storage requires the use of an iSCSI initiator, which is often provided for free. This initiator serves to connect the server via Ethernet technology to an iSCSI array. Such connections are inexpensive and easy to both install and maintain.
The advantages of working in a virtualized environment are many and varied, but along with this shift in an enterprise's basic approach to data come some challenges. No matter how well designed a storage solution for a virtualized environment is, it will sometimes still present challenges to be resolved. One excellent way of administering solutions is to implement a managed programs approach to your IT services structure. This will ensure that experts are regularly assessing the system and making adjustments to storage systems, which will in turn minimize disruptions to the regular daily work carried out by enterprise employees.
Solid-state storage is fast becoming a popular option for small and medium-sized businesses because it offers significant advantages over traditional hard drives. Traditional drives use electromechanical processes to read and write data and include moving parts such as read/write heads and disks that spin at high speeds. This makes them more susceptible to breakdown than solid-state disks, which feature no moving parts and use microchips to retain data.
Most small and medium-sized businesses are well aware of the crucial importance of controlling costs across the entire spectrum of their organizations, including costs associated with their computing environments. Yet to cut costs in this area can often result in repercussions across a wide range of departments, since in the current business world, most enterprises rely heavily on IT solutions to help them carry out their core competencies.