The Network Team partners with Cisco and Microsoft, more than any other two vendors. It is our opinion that the second half of 2016 looks to be a year with several “no brainer” offerings that deserve attention, including Microsoft Windows Server 2016 and Cisco Unified Communications.
Microsoft: Windows Server 2016 goes mainstream
TNT has installed the product and intends to go production with it nearly as soon as it becomes available to us, as partners. We have good reasons to look forward to the product. Here is a breakdown of what is new, written in English (not the language of the Microsoft website).
- Hyper-V is hyped up! The listed of features that are now included very much puts it on par with the needs of literally all Medium Sized businesses and smaller. There were many features on Hyper-V that, once setup, applied to every virtual server on the box. Not so now. There are nano-servers now, that do and sound just like their name specifies….they have a small compute footprint and do very specific things.
- Remote Desktop now offers fail over. For those of you who operate your businesses with a remote desktop connection to a server, you can have a fail over option. Today, that doesn’t exist.
- You can upgrade a cluster without shutting it down and breaking it first. Although we seldom discuss this with people, it is important to know that if you want to get an oil change, you don’t have to take out the motor. Well, with Windows 2012, you have to take apart the motor to change the oil. With Windows Server 2016, you don’t.
- File and Storage Services are upgraded. Features that used to come only with SANs and high end software are now a part of 2016. Replicating data elsewhere now offers more choices, and you can de-duplicate data like the big boy vendors who specialize in storage do.
- The best, if you bought software assurance (and most of you did, if you bought it from us), you can now get this upgrade for free, without the purchase of new hardware. If you have a 2012R2 Server, we can upgrade it to Windows Server 2016, nearly all the time. That is going to save you money. You own the software. You already have the hardware. Your investment now is the time for an engineer to do the upgrade and learn how to use it.
Cisco Unified Communications
TNT has operated on Cisco Unified Call Manager since our inception. The new release, Version 11.5, has upgrades that people have been requesting for a solid 5 years now. Here is what you can look forward to:
- SIP Call Preservation. Too often, when there is an issue with the SIP trunk you are using to make a call, the call is dead, and you need to hang up, redial, and sometimes reboot your phone. Annoying! Now, there is a call preservation management parameter that helps us tell Call Manager to simmer down and not end everything.
- The self-help portal for the users has more up-to-date guides on how to everything.
- Location awareness for phones. When you add a phone today, you have no idea where it physically resides on the network. The location awareness features let you know where the phone is. It even works with wireless phones.
- Multiple device messaging is supported. Got a desktop client and a client on your mobile phone? Now, all messaging is synced and shared.
- Better integration with Skype for Business. Remote call control now lets your SFB client control the Cisco IP Phone. LONG overdue.
- Windows 10 support for administering CUCM. LONG overdue.
- PIN for conferencing. Are you done with having a conference bridge that anyone can dial into? Now, you can have a PIN. There are more PIN related upgrades in CUCM, but this one has our attention the most!
Again, for most TNT clients, you already own the rights to this version of software. All you need to do is schedule time with Vitaliy to get your upgrade scheduled, and he will hold your hand through the requirements, down-time associated with the upgrade, and what to expect.
And, for most of you, there is no new hardware required to perform the upgrade. All you need are up to date Smartnet contracts on your call manager products, and we can begin the process.
Enjoy these services in 2016. You paid for them!
by: Jeff Gaura, President
The Network Team is extremely proud to announce we have achieved the Cisco Advanced Unified Access Specialization. In awarding TNT the specialization, Cisco acknowledged that TNT has the highest level of understanding of networking technology offered by the world’s largest provider in networking.
TNT president Jeff Gaura says of the Specialization, “this proves what TNT and our customers have known for years. Our engineers are experts at the highest level, who continue to challenge and improve their knowledge in order to serve our clients’ unique needs.”
In order to qualify for the specialization, 5 employees of TNT had to fulfill rigorous requirements for certifications. Engineer Justin Peatross passed his test for the certification with a perfect score.
According to the Cisco Channel Specialization Team, “by achieving the Advanced Unified Access Specialization, The Network Team has proven they have the ability to provide sophisticated, value-added Cisco Unified Access solutions through their in-depth sales capabilities, technology skills and service offerings.”
The Network Team has partnered with Cisco since TNT started. We are a premier partner with expertise in routing, switching, wireless, security and voice. The Network Team offers several different managed IT services along with traditional project-based offers. TNT implements solutions that reduce operational costs, boost productivity, and increase revenue. We service public and private sector enterprises, with nearly all of our business originating from companies that have a presence in the Carolinas. We use nearly all the technology that we sell to our customers, removing any ambiguity or false confidence about our services. All employees are certified, and all engineers are multi-vendor certified.
Before I arrived at work today, these were the tasks I had on my schedule for the day:
- writing this blog post
- creating a campaign for an upcoming webinar series
- researching and planning some website overhauls
- a phone meeting with a new partner for TNT
- an in-person meeting with my boss about marketing plans for the next 6 months
- Ordering new company shirts for everyone
- Along with the everyday tasks of responding to emails and answering calls (usually from random vendors trying to sell me lists of ‘spot on Technology Users who use the very product you sell. Honest, these are really the real contacts!’ )
As I was driving into work,
- My boss emailed me about an issue with some marketing funding I requested. (That needed to be rectified ASAP)
- An Account Executive emailed to ask if I could help him tweak and launch his email campaign (He’s new to the company and still learning our CRM system, of which I am the Mistress)
- My Sales Manager asked me to create a report template to track some specific performance metrics in a series of new campaigns
Most days are like this at offices across the world. At The Network Team, I accomplish all these tasks and more utilizing Microsoft Office 365. It’s one of the team’s favorite productivity tools. That’s why we are so passionate about teaching you about it in our Office 365 Hands-on Labs.
It is NOT a generic sales pitch. You are in the driver’s seat as a trained facilitator guides you through scenarios from a common work day like maintain productivity while being mobile, connecting in real time to colleagues and clients, and using social networking to complete tasks.
TNT president Jeff Gaura facilitates the sessions with a laid-back but informative teaching style. Jeff was a teacher in New York City Schools as well as South Carolina for nearly 10 years. He loves sharing knowledge and showing people more effective ways to work. And it comes across in the session.
Noelle DeAtley, of Creative Thinkers attended the Hands-On Lab in Charlotte in February, and had this to say;
“You rock. Your team is super awesome. Your session made 3 hours feel like 5 minutes. You all took a problem and turned it into solutions without blinking an eye. I was thrilled to gain insight and understanding of Microsoft and software. I have new ideas bouncing through my head for my clients and started implementing solutions as soon as I left you yesterday.
I have been teaching for over 30 years and you are at the top of the class. It is rare that I find someone of your technical skills with a talent for teaching and a brilliant business mind.”
Here’s a glimpse at what you can expect:
- The session starts with a discussion of common daily tasks and the pains surrounding them
- The facilitator guides attendees through Office 365 starting with Outlook, focusing in on how fluidly it inner-operates with other Microsoft technologies like Word, Excel, Dynamics CRM and SharePoint.
- Attendees experience the ease of setting up IM’s, calls and meetings with Skype for Business, as well as the collaboration power of sharing desktops, whiteboarding and polls.
- Attendees navigate through SharePoint, learning how easy it is to store, share and manipulate documents and even websites.
- The facilitator shows users the in-depth, easy to use, reporting tools of Power BI.
- The sessions are open to questions, or offshoots if there is a particular tool or topic you would like to learn more about.