Cloud-Minded. Business Grounded.

The forecast calls for 80 percent of IT to be in the cloud by 2020.

The cloud is going mainstream and delivering on its promises. Companies moving workloads are seeing the cloud as a catalyst for business growth. These companies are innovating freely, reaching out to new markets, and disrupting the status quo.

But with cloud technologies being developed at staggering rates, it’s hard to predict which direction they’re moving. More important for you is planning a cloud strategy that goes along with your business forecast. Continue reading

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

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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Planning a streamlined move to cloud storage

Zones Cloud Solutions and our Advanced Solutions Group make it easy

Cloud-Storage-Blog-graphic-742x388By turning to the cloud for backup and storage, organizations gain rapid and massive scalability at a reduced cost, versus expanding on-premises data center capacity. Cloud storage also offers the advantage of strong protection for data backup, archival and disaster recovery applications.

With your data stored in the cloud, many data center activities are reduced or eliminated. Without the need for manual backups and the associated hardware maintenance and management tasks, your IT staff is free to focus on business-critical tasks, increasing data center efficiency and productivity. And should disaster strike, cloud storage allows IT to restore affected data quickly, enabling your business return to normal operations. Continue reading

APC’s products, solutions, and partnerships are redefining the data center

apcAPC has a long reputation for excellence, from its early years as a manufacturer of Uninterrupted Power Supplies to its modern incarnation as a division of global energy heavyweight Schneider Electric. Its industry-leading cooling solutions, power supplies, backup appliances, modular InfraStruxure server architecture and more have made it the go-to brand in data centers around the world.

Bridging the gap between enterprise and building management

APC’s premier Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software suite, StruxureWare, is a comprehensive solution for monitoring and optimizing the data center’s assets, resource use and operation status. Rated as a leader in Gartner’s 2015 Magic Quadrant for DCIM software, StruxureWare bridges the gap between the IT department and management of the hardware operation and environment – enabling maximum efficiency and operational performance throughout the data center.

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Grow as your business requires, without fear of technology limitations

Dell StorageDell Compellent Storage

For years, storage architectures have coupled data to hardware in complex and costly arrangements. These legacy systems required overprovisioning of capacity to meet future storage needs, straining budgets and offering limited ability to fully address modern virtualization needs.

Given this, it’s no surprise that today’s storage hurdles demand a new approach.

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Hyperconverged Architecture

Simplicity at it’s best

Solutions by Zones - Winter 2015

This post is excerpted from an article in the winter edition of Solutions by Zones. You can read more about this and other data center topics by clicking on the image.

Hyperconvergence represents the latest step in the evolution of data center architecture. But what differentiates it from convergence, its successor? More importantly, what can hyperconvergence do for your business?

The concept of convergence is straightforward: combine distributed hardware components – servers, storage, and networking – into a single system. Examples include Cisco UCS®, IBM® PureSystems, and VCE Vblock® solutions.

Hyperconvergence takes things one step further.

With hyperconvergence, everything to run applications – servers, storage, virtualization software, networking, and management – is fully integrated and packaged together into a single, yet highly available, system. As a result, there are benefits you don’t necessarily get with a converged infrastructure.

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Simplifying business continuity

BCBusiness continuity refers to an organization’s ability to continue operating despite serious incidents or disasters that might otherwise have interrupted them, or to recover to an operational state within a reasonably short period of time.

Disaster recovery (DR) and backup are components of business continuity, but do not constitute a complete business continuity plan. Disaster recovery, as the name implies, is the ability to recover from a disaster or an interruption in service, while backup is the process of copying and archiving computer data so it may be used to restore the original after a data loss.

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Simplify every aspect of data center management

Converged infrastructure solutions

Converged Infrastructure (CI) platforms greatly simplify deployment, significantly reduce time to value, and deliver a solid return on investment.

These systems – for which certain manufacturers favor the terms unified computing (Cisco) or integrated systems (IBM) – deliver complete pre-certified and integrated compute, storage, and networking; all managed via a single pane of glass. In pooling these resources, they become virtualized; applications, data, and networking are separated from the underlying hardware, so resources can be quickly reallocated to meet the demands of individual applications.

Choosing a converged infrastructure solution means your data center becomes more responsive, more nimble – and far more efficient. Converged infrastructures deliver short- and long-term benefits that include increased availability, improved serviceability, and an easier transition to a hybrid cloud environment. Space and energy costs can be significantly lower, as well. Continue reading