Shaky disaster recovery plan? There’s no excuse anymore.

Everyone knows that a comprehensive disaster recovery plan stands to pay for itself – should you need to use it. But over the years, we’ve seen many businesses fail to make the necessary investments in time and money to create one. Some were lucky. Many were not.

Of course, critical systems for banks, finance, and healthcare had significant redundancies built into their IT architecture. After all, these organizations could afford complex solutions maintained by some of the most talented IT folks in the industry. But many firms simply could not afford or maintain the necessary skills on staff to support a true disaster recovery solution for key applications and IT systems. Continue reading

Cybersecurity trends underway in 2017

The past year has seen seismic changes in the cybersecurity landscape.

They’re forcing IT professionals to rethink and re-strategize their organization’s security. They’re being tasked with ways to better control access to their network, gain a deeper understanding of how vulnerable their network is to threats, and develop a faster, decisive response plan when a threat occurs.

If any of the above resonates with you, you’re not alone. The cybersecurity market is expected to swell to $100 billion dollars by 2019. And now that we’re a quarter of the way through 2017, there’s good reason to be forward-looking and take proactive steps to ensure that security is in your company’s DNA.

Gone are the days when traditional security management approaches of multiple point products, manual change processes, extensive policies and data silos, did the trick. Given the growing complexities of networks and rapid delivery of services and applications, a deep, up-to-date rebooting of how you approach your network security is not only crucial – it’s necessary. Continue reading

The standard in hyper-converged infrastructure

Dell EMC VxRail appliance

VxRail is the only fully integrated, preconfigured, and tested HCI appliance powered by VMware vSAN, and is the easiest and fastest way to extend a VMware environment. VxRail provides a simple, cost effective hyper-converged solution that solves a wide range of your challenges and supports most applications and workloads. Dell EMC VxRail features purpose-built platforms that deliver data services, resiliency, and QoS, enabling faster, better, and simpler delivery of virtual desktops, business-critical applications, and remote office infrastructure, so IT can focus on more important things: Continue reading

Are you ready for Windows 10?

Ready or not, here’s Windows 10.

Whether Microsoft’s latest operating system is proliferating in the corporate space due to consumer adoption, or through sheer force in partnership with OEMs, we know that businesses are adopting Windows 10 twice as fast as Windows 7. Intel Kaby Lake (7th generation) processors will only support Windows 10. Devices with Windows 7 or 8.1 running on Intel Skylake (6th generation) chips will lose support in July of this year.

IT departments are pressed for time and have limited options. Either upgrade all devices to Windows 10 Enterprise via volume licensing, or manage two operating systems as devices are refreshed. Choosing the former option allows your organization to fully take advantage of Windows 10 Enterprise edition, in particular. Continue reading

VMware Cloud on AWS

logo-vmware-aws-partnership-grey_600x118Radically simplifying hybrid cloud environments

Most enterprises rely on VMware to run applications in their vSphere-based private clouds. Many of these same customers also run applications on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Increasingly, customers have asked both companies to make it easier to run their existing on-premises environments alongside AWS, using the VMware software and tools they’ve come to rely on.

With the recent announcement of VMware Cloud on AWS, the strategic alliance between VMware and AWS formed in response to this obvious demand is beginning to bear fruit.

Currently in Technology Preview, VMware Cloud on AWS is a vSphere-based cloud service that will bring VMware’s enterprise-class Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) software to the AWS cloud. VMware Cloud on AWS will give customers the full SDDC experience from the leader in the private cloud, running on the world’s most popular, trusted, and robust public cloud. Zones will begin offering VMware Cloud on AWS in mid-2017, with pricing available closer to the general availability date. Continue reading

The state and future of hyper-converged infrastructure

Data Center BlogHyper-converged appliances simplify the design, deployment and management of complex infrastructures, easing pressure on IT staff and leadership. With components designed and built from the ground up to function as a pre-validated system, hyper-converged appliances eliminate the risk of incompatibility you run when rolling out a converged infrastructure.

Hyper-convergence delivers three key benefits:

Faster Deployment – You’re acquiring a single appliance from a single vendor. That means no finger-pointing among component manufacturers when you need support.

Simplified Management – A hyper-converged system provides true single-pane-of-glass management for the entire system.

Rapid Scalability – When you need to scale, you simply deploy additional building blocks.

An excellent example of state-of-the-art hyper-converged appliances is Cisco’s HyperFlex System. These appliances evolved to bring new levels of efficiency and adaptability to the data center, allowing IT to deploy in less than an hour, create clones in seconds, and save on data storage day after day, year after year.

What’s next?

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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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Still Running SQL Server 2005?

It’s time to give your data the care it deserves

MicrosoftSQLServerOn April 12 Microsoft ended extended support for SQL Server 2005. That means security updates and hotfixes will no longer be available from Microsoft. And unsupported software means increasing vulnerability to data issues and exposing other devices and associated applications to these same vulnerabilities.

What’s new?

A lot has changed since the launch of SQL Server 2005. Back then, the common practice was to deploy software on-premises on physical hardware. End of story.

Today, you have a number of on-prem and cloud options, including SQL Server 2012, SQL Server 2014, and Azure SQL Database.

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Windows Server 2016 brings significant changes to licensing

WinServer 2012 logoIf Software Assurance (SA) hadn’t already brought customers savings as Microsoft software and technology advanced, the implications on licensing costs coming with the release of Windows Server 2016 will save those with SA quite a bit.

Windows Server 2016 “Technical Preview 5” was released at the end of April, with speculation that the latest version of Windows Server will be available to the general population in the third quarter of the year. However, it is important that IT departments begin planning for Windows Server 2016, regardless of whether or not they plan on upgrading this year. IT departments should start planning now, because the way Windows Server 2016 is licensed is becoming more complex and may increase costs for your organization, depending on whether or not you have SA.

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Enhancing the efficiency, scalability and mobility of cloud computing

Zones Cloud Solutions

Cloud computing is revolutionizing IT service delivery by enabling a more efficient and more flexible way to meet the technology needs of your organization.

The primary reason our clients choose cloud computing is to reduce the cost and complexity of IT. From a financial standpoint, cloud solutions represent an operational expense (OpEx) rather than a capital expense (CapEx), with little to no upfront investment required. Thereafter, you only pay for what you need and use, much like a utility bill. And it gets better: cloud solutions greatly reduce the need to purchase, maintain and refresh expensive hardware, and eliminate the associated staffing costs. That adds up to significant savings – and frees up your IT staff to focus on more strategic projects.

The cloud also delivers tremendous flexibility and scalability – allowing IT to immediately provision resources to meet increasing demands. That means never losing business while you wait for additional resources. And when demand is reduced, you can turn off those resources, avoiding the cost of maintaining excess capacity. Continue reading