Archive for the ‘Cloud’ Category

5 Things to Consider Before Moving Servers to the Cloud

Posted on: March 16th, 2017 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

There are several things to consider before moving your servers to the cloud.  Without question, you have used servers in the cloud.  Remember online banking that you started using a decade ago?  Those were servers, made available to you “in the cloud.”  Sure, those who made that service available to you had no idea how prolific that technology would become.

Now, you have some server(s) that you think might be best managed and maintained by having them be cloud based. Here are a list of 5 things that you need to take into consideration before you pull the trigger.

Considerations when Moving Servers to the Cloud

  1. There are one-time setup fees and monthly recurring charges for moving servers to the cloud. Get a handle on the difference.  Some companies charge no fee to migrate, but they get that money back on hidden/back end fees based on your usage.  Some charge a setup fee, but they give you very predictable recurring fees that you can count as accurate. Keep in mind that you are buying this service from a business that makes money. One way or another, they will get back their costs from you.  Otherwise, they will go out of business, and so will access to your server.
  2. Take a tour! If you can’t go to the facility, get them to give you a test account, so you can see what the experience is like.  Not all servers or services are created equal.
  3. Ask about backup. Nearly every vendor out there gives you a monologue about their uptime.  They spout off facts and figures that sound like this…. "Our servers are up 99.999% of the time, or your money back.”  That said, events happen, and your servers’ data gets corrupted/deleted/hacked, etc.  What does your vendor do if you discover that everything got hacked on Friday night and you didn’t find out until Monday morning?  You need to know what they are going to do for you to get you access to the server that was running on Friday at lunch, before it went down.  FYI-most providers don’t include backup until you get to a premium level service
  4. Ask what support looks like. Having a phone number and an email address is better than having only an email address.  Ask where support is!  Many folks struggle to be understood when support is on the other side of the world with a non-English native speaker.  The importance of communication only increases as the urgency increases.
  5. If you are seeking assistance in the move (which you should do, since your experience is limited, at best), ask for a plan. Find out which servers and services were selected to be moved first, and learn why they were picked.

Moving to the cloud shall happen, whether it be on your watch or your successor's.  Be a part of the change, but be smart about it.

If you are interested in learning more about moving servers to the cloud, especially the point about backup,



 

 

2017 Technology Trends

Posted on: January 19th, 2017 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

As president, I am often indirectly asked to talk about the direction of IT/2017 technology trends….like I have insight into something that you don’t.

Sometimes, I do have insight, not because of my title, but we because and I read and talk to leaders in the IT leadership community.  Some trends that will continue to grow are:

  • Security will remain the pink elephant of 2017 technology trends. Many people will conclude that there is no problem for their business, because they have no evidence to prove them wrong.  When these people are proven wrong, it is often too late for them and often a long overdue indicator that leadership is out of touch.  Security requires more budget than ever to stay on top of.  Ransomware in 2017 should invoke a Tora, Tora, Tora response in all of our hearts and checkbooks.
  • Virtualization is still in the stone age. We have servers and desktop running virtual software.  We don’t have mobile phone and tablet OS running in VM, yet.  With most of the world using mobile devices to access the internet more than with wired devices, we have a lot of room for many vendors to come up with the “final answer” for virtualization.
  • Screens will be more and more important. We stare at 27” monitors for 9 to 10 hours a day, and watch TV on a 55” TV for an hour or two.  That shall continue to evolve with screen size tilting towards bigger work screens.
  • Online everything will continue to grow. A few years ago, swipe right meant nothing to anyone.  Ask a single person what swipe right means, and you will get a chuckle.  Ask a single person in your office now, if you don’t believe me.
  • The Internet of things will continue to impress. IP enabled Clothing will expand.  Safety issues will generate wide scale acceptance of IoT devices.
  • IT will move to the cloud at a faster and faster rate. Fear of “what if” will lose the battle to “its not my problem” thinking.  The hardware business for individual IT folks will contract.

There are many more 2017 technology trends that I could express and expand on.  That said, this list is already too long for anyone intelligent to address. Perhaps you can do a good job on one or two of these issues, but not all of them.

You need help addressing this stuff.  We can help you with this.  And it costs less than you think…so I think!

by: Jeff Gaura, President

Slow Internet Issues: A Quicker Way to Find the Real Culprit

Posted on: August 17th, 2016 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

Have you ever been in an office/house/space, and the Internet is horribly slow?  You ask someone “WTF with the slow Internet?” They tell you that it isn’t normally this way.

And they are liars.

OK, maybe they aren’t liars, but you sense without any words that their network stinks.

The truth is that the network is probably OK, but there is some device on the network that is hogging up the bandwidth.

Recently, at TNT, we experienced a slow Internet issue.  Yan just came back to the office after a 3-month hiatus, and he went to work on his computer.  Within an hour or two, both Jessica (the marketing director) and I experienced a train wreck called, “no Internet.”

I checked all the equipment to confirm that there were no equipment failures or configuration changes on the router, switch or firewall, and all seemed OK. The only “thing” that was different was that Yan had come back to work.

Back to work means that he plugged in his IP phone, cell phone and PC.  After a bit of troubleshooting, we found that when he disabled his PC, everything went back to “fast” on our network.  When he plugged it back in, everything slowed down.

Yan, being the professional that he is, denied all of it.  He even did a system restore to try to show us that it wasn’t his PC that was the problem.  Nope.

The real question came up: what is it that Yan’s PC is doing that is killing the bandwidth.  Running a couple of tools on his PC showed the processes that were using the bandwidth, but the built-in tools didn’t show what apps or what websites he was hitting.  For the techies reading this, his scvhost.exe was using up all the bandwidth.  Since that program controls how DLL are used, there is no way to sort out quickly what the culprit is.

My Plan B gave us an answer in literally 30 seconds.  I used Meraki’s free Dashboard to run a tool to view client bandwidth usage.  Meraki’s portal produced this info in a matter of seconds.

The culprit of the slow Internet?  Windows updates and One Drive syncing.  Yan hadn’t turned on this PC in 2 ½ months, and Windows didn’t like that.  It decided to run Windows updates and synchronize all of his files.  Within 2 hours, he had consumed 2 GB of bandwidth, and we were all unable to do anything other than type.

Had I not had the Meraki tool, I would have had to resort to some advanced Windows tools or download a 3rd party tool, learn it, and try to run it to sort out what is going on, all from Yan’s computer.  Problematic at best, since the act of turning his computer on the network was slowing everything to a halt.

Cloud-based networking made this possible.

Looking for a reason to go cloud?  Here you go.

by: Jeff Gaura, President

Windows Server 2016 – Free Labor and Training from TNT

Posted on: July 28th, 2016 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

Microsoft is set to release Windows Server 2016 to the public during its Ignite Conference September 26-30th.  Windows Server 2016 is billed as 'cloud-ready' and has perhaps more new features for overall performance increases than any other version ever released.  It promises new levels of security and increased flexibility as your company grows.  The Network Team wants all of our customers to experience the product as soon as is possible.

We have created a limited time special offer to help you kick the tires of Windows 2016 before you dive all the way in.  Here’s how it works:

  1. Purchase one instance of Server 2016 on your network
  2. Commit to a date to install the instance on your network before October 29, 2016. (You do not need to have it installed before October 29th. You just need to commit to a date before then.)
  3. TNT will provide you the labor and training for that instance at no cost.

There are some caveats1.

Windows Server 2016 has several flavors and colors to choose from.  TNT will continue to do what we do best:  help you pick the version that is right for you and create a plan to migrate to this version.  Our certified engineers and even our president are taking ownership of migrating our internal network to Windows Server 2016, so we can share with you not only other customers’ experiences but our internal use stories as well.

The release of a new version of Windows Server is a good reminder that many older versions are either no longer supported by Microsoft, or soon won’t be.  TNT recommends that by the end of the year, all users be on supported versions of the Windows Server, and make sure that all hardware and software utilized by users day in and day out be covered by our managed services and manufacturer’s warranty.

1TNT will install exactly one instance of Windows Server 2016 as a virtual machine.  TNT will install it on a new machine if and only if there are no other operating systems on that machine.  The follow technologies will be demoed:

  • a Nano server (which is a new feature in Windows Server 2016 that, among other things, improves efficiency), running either locally or remotely
  • a single containerized application
  • management interfaces

TNT will join this server to the domain and create shares and remote access to it for administrators to “play” with.  It is not intended to be used as a production device but as a learning tool.

Don’t miss out on this offer of free labor and training.  Contact TNT today to register for the deal before it’s too late.