Archive for the ‘Cloud’ Category

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.

Cloud Computing Considerations for Small Businesses

Posted on: May 18th, 2016 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

Cloud computing is hailed as the great cost saving, security ensuring, magic bullet to take your business to the next level.

Even here at TNT, we often hear from our vendors urging us to bring more customers further into the cloud.  They share promises like, ‘going to the cloud saves you money,’  and ‘the cloud is more secure than your IT department.’  While there are some obvious benefits to cloud computing, going ‘all in with the cloud is not the right option for everyone.  In fact, many small businesses could find moving fully to the cloud to be damaging to their business.

The Network Team is hosting the informal, educational event Tech Brews: Finding Your Best Route to the Cloud to help small business owners think through their best approach.

Let’s start with a dispute of one of the greatest promises: Going cloud will save you money.  The truth is, going cloud could save you money. But in many cases, for small businesses, cloud computing can actually cost more, month to month.  Also, with moving to the cloud, there are upfront costs many of those promises don’t mention.

So although it could cost more, the value you get more than makes up for it.  Moving some apps, systems, or data to the cloud eases many hassles and headaches for your IT department.  Think of it as hiring cleaners for your house. Yes, it costs you more than cleaning the house yourself, but you don’t have to be the one scrubbing up all the casualties of missed targets in the bathroom.


Hybrid Cloud

Most companies who decide to move to the cloud do so with the hybrid model.  The Hybrid model is where you keep some data, apps and processes local, while sending others to the cloud.  This approach is best for companies who have portions of their business that are near and dear to their heart… or proprietary apps and processes.

Local vs. Cloud

Many business owners still have trust issues with the cloud.  They are unsure of the security (which we will address later), or they don’t want to lose control of certain aspects of their business.  That’s where the hybrid model comes in.

Systems where you have dynamically changing information, like email or your file systems, make sense to move to the cloud.  However, those proprietary systems are most likely better served by staying on your local servers.  Other systems you can keep local are those where moving to the cloud would serve no benefit.  For example, a manufacturing firm makes cabinet doors using technology associated with their assembly line.  They don’t need the internet for the assembly line, and therefore it would not make as much sense to move that system to the cloud.

Full Cloud

For whom does it make sense to move fully to the cloud?  That approach would be best for businesses that don’t have proprietary systems…or perhaps franchises who don’t really have a lot of unique processes in their business.  Going full cloud also makes sense for small businesses who don’t have IT resources, or staff that is not well trained in IT.

The Trump Card

Whether you go hybrid or full cloud, security is the trump card.

Here is where TNT agrees with the hype: the cloud is more secure than you are.  It is more up to date with security than your systems will ever be.  The network is more monitored than yours will ever be.  Think about the following information related to cloud providers:

1. Their firewalls are more up to date than yours
2. Their servers are more monitored than yours
3. Their endpoints have more protection than yours do
4. It’s more difficult to get into the rooms that house their servers than it is to get into most small business server rooms.

Learn more about what you need to consider in regards to moving your business to the cloud, network with others who have similar questions, and enjoy drinks and appetizers on us by registering for Tech Brews: Finding Your Best Route to the Cloud.  Seating is limited, learn more and register today.