Understanding the software-defined data center

Virtualize the infrastructure to transform your business

0116-securityUntil about the year 2000, each server in a data center ran a single application. While this approach ensured application performance, as processing capability increased, it often left a lot of a server’s processing power sitting idle much of the time. This one application per server approach also uses up a lot of real estate in the data center, not to mention the attendant power and cooling costs.

Taking advantage of available excess capacity, software engineers adapted a concept from the world of supercomputers that provides a layer of abstraction between the hardware and the applications running on it. This allows for a single physical server to be divided into multiple “virtual” servers or virtual machines. This virtualization allows administrators to run multiple applications on a single physical server, recapturing underutilized processing capacity and reducing the data center footprint. It also allowed multiple virtual servers across multiple physical servers to be viewed, managed, and utilized as pooled resources.

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UC systems are connecting the increasingly disconnected workforce

8-12-16_UC-Blog-graphic_800pxFor more than a decade, unified communications (UC) technologies from industry leaders like Cisco and Avaya have been helping businesses collaborate remotely while reducing telecom and infrastructure costs by merging voice and data into a single network.

Today’s on-premises and cloud-based UC platforms take savings and efficiency to a higher level, going beyond voice, email, web chat and instant messaging to include multimedia collaboration capabilities as well. Best of all, the cost of endpoint technology is coming down, enabling small and medium size businesses to deploy sophisticated UC systems more affordably than ever. Continue reading

Explore the benefits of Software Defined Networking

7-18-16-DataCtr-Blog-graphic-742x388Like server and storage virtualization, network virtualization abstracts existing resources and allows them be viewed and managed from a single pane of glass, using open protocols such as OpenFlow.

This allows for on-demand provisioning of resources without the need to physically configure cabling and switches with every network change. Software Defined Networking (SDN) takes things a step further, entirely separating the control plane from the data plane, and enabling administrators to spin up virtual components, virtually at will.

Zones teams with industry leaders like Cisco and Avaya, to bring the speed, flexibility and scalability of software defined networking to all kinds of organizations.

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Be the disruptor, not the disrupted.

It’s well-documented that companies like Uber, Airbnb, and Facebook have reaped huge rewards by tapping into massive markets made possible by emerging new business models. They were adept at quickly modernizing their networks to connect with their customers where their customer wanted to be, and with it came big benefits: engaged customers, innovative experiences, and new revenue streams.

To get ahead – and stay ahead – companies must realize it’s a whole new game now, and you don’t want to be left behind while all this digital disruption is taking place. Digitization requires IT functions to be thoroughly transformed, including sophisticated scaling to meet new demand fluctuation; increasing reliability; speeding time to market; and quickly getting digital innovations to consumers. Continue reading

Up your mobile game

Perform a comprehensive operating system assessment

Mobility With every business becoming a mobile business, it’s important to guarantee that everyone – and every device – can connect and work as expected, wherever your team members need to do business.

Whether your business relies Windows or OS X, Windows 10 Mobile or iOS, or any combination of these operating systems, our mobility assessments provide deep visibility into your existing environment, and set you up for long-term success.

Zones can help you evaluate your infrastructure and design a robust single or multi-platform environment that ensures seamless notebook, tablet, and smartphone connectivity across offices, oceans, and operating systems.

Contact your Zones account executive or call 800.408.ZONES to request a comprehensive and affordable mobile infrastructure assessment today.

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Transforming the network from security liability to security asset

security engineer photoTurn your network into security sensor

For years, IT leaders have been doing everything possible to guard the network from security threats. And with good reason. Once infiltrated, the network can be used to propagate threats across everything connected to it.

The industry’s response – in the form of endpoint protection, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and intrusion prevention systems – banked on the idea that preventing infiltration would keep the network secure.

While protective and preventive measures remain important first lines of defense, the increasing number and variety of zero-day and social engineering threats mean that even the best protection at the edge risks being rendered temporarily ineffective by a skilled intruder, putting the network at risk. Continue reading

Detect, deter, and analyze security events

Layered-Security-Blog-Graphic_648x432Making true end-to-end security a reality

Private businesses and public entities are responding to rising concerns about theft, fraud, and terrorism by extending infrastructure security to include a focus on physical security and surveillance systems.

In addition to deploying advanced data, network, application, server, and endpoint security solutions, the Zones Advanced Solutions Group team work alongside an organization’s security personnel to develop plans, train staff, and implement systems such as surveillance cameras, access controls, and paging and radio systems. This approach helps protect against threats from man-made and natural disasters. What’s more, systems can be far more effective and can cost less to manage when tied together over an existing IP network. Continue reading

How do you see UC?

Leveraging Unified Communications to streamline collaboration and workflows

Unified Communications & CollaborationWhat is Unified Communications?

When asked that simple question, many people will respond that UC is workplace instant messaging, an IP phone system, or visual voicemail. While these are all common features, they are by no means the whole answer.

Zones defines Unified Communications as a networked communications platform that seamlessly integrates voice, data and applications to enable workers and customers to interact in the most efficient way possible.

Today’s UC systems extend beyond voice, email, web chat and instant messaging to include multimedia collaboration capabilities as well. Using a variety of technologies from top-tier manufacturers such as Cisco, Avaya, Microsoft and Polycom, Zones deploys UC solutions that scale from network-based PBX systems to integrated voice/messaging/video collaboration suites to those including multi-site telepresence systems. Continue reading

Comprehensive workplace mobility solutions empower workers and protect organizations

Mobility-Hero-Master-742x388Keeping people productive – wherever they work – is key to succeeding in today’s business climate.

A decade ago, road warriors were well equipped with a laptop and a BlackBerry. Their counterparts today expect worldwide connectivity to the Internet for their personal inventories of notebooks, tablets, and smartphones. Even at the office, workers expect seamless transitions between wired and wireless networks as they move about the office with their devices.

The good news is that it’s getting easier to meet those expectations. The bad news is that easy solutions are not always the best solutions. Continue reading

Transform new and existing buildings into intelligent facilities

Today’s buildings require an array of complex systems to support the diverse populations and purposes they serve. But until recently, conventional wisdom held that each system required separate networks and controls, creating an environment that was difficult and expensive to operate and maintain. Pennzoil-Social-Master_742x388_Lower-Text

Advances in networking, automation and Internet of Things (IoT) technology has changed that, transforming the way we design, construct, and upgrade buildings; how we operate and maintain them; and how their occupants experience and use them.

Now, building services can be delivered over a single centralized IP-based network that dramatically reduces cost and improves efficiency. Such converged networks enable a new building paradigm that provides better monitoring, analysis, automation and control between all of a building’s complex systems, and lays a future-proof foundation for growth. Continue reading