Friday, March 18, 2016

Dell PowerEdge T630 Unboxing and Review

Just a server right? 

Is a steak just a 'steak'?  I say not!

Now to my little 3 year old girl, when she says 'more steak daddy', does she know if I just grilled up a $30 rib eye or a $5 round.  It's all yummy to her.  But dish out the round when expecting the rib eye and be prepared for some major disappointment.  

So just a server right?  Well just like with a great steak or any other item that comes varying factors of consideration, a server is very much not just a 'server'.

This brief video highlights some of the items to care about and how it impacts your business.  Many IT disappointments can trace back from simply not choosing the right server or even more important not setting up right (but that's another video)






In this video we cover these 11 Key Server Design Considerations:

1.  Visual Check Importance  (0:45)

2.  Tower vs. Rack  (1:35)

3.  Power Supply Selection (2:30)

4.  Hard Drive Choice  (2:55)

5.  RAID Config Plans  (3:30)

6.  Explaining RAID10 Drive Protection and Failure  (3:48)


7.  SD Flash Card for OS Image?  (4:45)

8.  CPU options abound  (5:10)

9.  Multi-CPU vs Multi-CORE  (5:30)

10.  Memory Layout  (6:30)

11.  Dual SD cards for ESXi OS?  (7:30)


Please share any questions or comments. 


Happy Clicking!

Nathan DeSutter
IT Consultant
Compnology.com

Contact:
559-674-1301
nathan(at)compnology.com

Thursday, November 5, 2015

In-House IT or Outsource IT Department?



Amazing how so many people are looking for a job yet finding the right person can be daunting.  Let alone a qualified IT person that you can trust with the life blood of your company, your information systems. 






7 questions to ask yourself when interviewing an IT candidate:

   
1.  Can they solve the problem beyond the fix?  How?

     2.  Will they simplify my IT or complicate it?   How?

     3.  Can they solve the IT Security risks companies of all sizes are faced with today?   How?

     4.  Do I expect the same person who crawls under my desk and who provides the day to day user support to also have the experience, capability and time to successfully guide my business through these tumultuous (yet terrific!!) times in IT? 

5.  Will they make my company IT Dependent or will they allow us to use Technology as a Strategic Advantage?

6.  Will they allow me to rest at ease that your IT Systems are under control, reliable and protected? 

7.  Once I find the right person, how will I retain them?  And what growth opportunities do I offer?


Don’t want a one night stand when it comes to your IT Dept.    Good People want to be held accountable, they want to be a part of something bigger especially in their field of expertise and people want to be part of a team of like-minded individuals than they can thrive from.




3 Key Areas Compnology Differs From In-House IT Position:

1.       Experienced and Talented IT Staff with the know-how to reliably support today's needs and allow your company to transform into your vision for tomorrow.   We are an IT company with 15 years’ experience in hiring, training and leading IT Staff / IT Talent. 

2.       Accountability.   Lead People, manage actions….don’t manage people.  We understand the real components of IT and separate hype from fact.  No pull overs or glossy eyed looks when IT explains what can or cannot be done.  We hold our team accountable for actions so you can hold us accountable for the results.   

3.       Team Environment.  People want to be part of a team.  1 or 2 in house IT staff will always struggle to be a solo hero or even worse if they compete.  Forming a mindset that builds walls not bridges.  The opposite of what you need from anyone, especially those in your IT Department.



“We offer a ‘win-win’ environment where techs can thrive and be constantly challenged and rewarded in meeting our client’s needs.  We believe you’re only as good as those you surround yourself with.”                   
    - Nathan DeSutter

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Do Modern Systems Require Less Support?

Yes and No.

There is a shift of support.



I've always find it weird how much 'less' of a good chair you get now and how much 'more' they costs.


15 years ago most support was centered on HARDWARE. Today (2013) hardware has become significantly better. So hardware related support has gone way down. In this way modern support has definitely been reduced.


However, with the adoption of more technology in everyday lives, more use of software for business process, the use of SOFTWARE has gone up tremendously. With hardware, usually it's either fixed or not, there was not much room for middle ground. With software, you have literally thousands of developers creating software for the needs of their target audience. While many of them pay serious attention to compatibility, there are so many software related:

- bugs
- flaws
- security holes
- crashes
- data to protect
- backup and then update.

Although vendors rave this is ‘automatic’, anyone who tells you it’s ‘set it and forget it’ is either lying to you or ignorant.

Modern systems here require more support for sure.


The more software is used as a strategic advantage, the more complex your IT becomes. This should mean your company is able to do more with existing or even less staff. This also means you need more IT control & management. Rule of thumb, for every 10% more efficiency you get with staff, you will have 20% more IT management.



Simple Example:
Company Revenue: 25 M
Employees: 100
Revenue Per Employee: $250,000
IT Dept: $50,000

Improve IT = +10% company efficiency:
Revenue Per Employee: $275,000
Employees: 100
Company Revenue: $27.5 M
IT Dept: $60,000

Gain: $240,000

The 20% of IT costs should be far outweighed by the 10% increased efficiency and related profit.

With such a gain - now you need smarter decisions being made in IT - better protection and prevention methods. How do you think the big players above drive so much revenue per employee?

Post 2010 - this is industry agnostic.  Software solutions are out there for every type of company.

Do Modern systems require less support? No. Expect to pay more in IT as your company gains many fold back on the bottom line.


Happy Clicking!

Nathan DeSutter
IT Consultant
Compnology.com

Contact me:
559-674-1301
nathan(at)compnology.com

Friday, April 6, 2012

Attacked by Email

  We are seeing a massive swarm attack of imitation emails.   They look legit, but when you click on them WHAM, your computer is infected, crashed, or worse you become a casualty of identity theft.  

We are getting calls daily from people falling victim to these attacks.  Common imitation emails are:

-          FedEx Shipment (or other)
-          IRS Tax Issue
-          Verizon / ATT Bill
-          Bank Statements
-          PayPal Activation
-          BBB Claims
-          Flight Confirmation
-          Many more…

You can protect yourself Watch This Video:




FAQ:

1.       How do you know if an email is safe to click?

Watch the video for techniques to identify bad emails.

Reminders:
- Visual Check
- Mouse over the links.
- Are links all to different places?
- Did you expect an email from the sender?
- If in doubt - DON'T CLICK THE LINK


2.       What are these emails?

Well first they are spam emails. Second they are usually phishing emails or they have a virus attached. 

3.       But I have Anti-Virus?

Most of the FedEx type fake emails have an attachment; once you click it your computer becomes infected. Most good anti-virus software will catch this, but not always. Just like in medicine, sometimes there has to be a sickness before there can be a vaccine.

Many times it takes hundreds or thousands of computer infections before anti-virus vendors have created a 'cure' and enabled your computer to be protected.





4.       What's a Phishing Email?

The phishing emails send you to a cloned 'authentic-looking' website asking you to provide private information. Once submitted the criminals now have your information and will use it to gain access to your real banking sites, email (to re-send more spam), company network, and any other way they can steel more personal info in a greedy effort to use identity theft to make a buck.



5.       Why am I getting these emails?

Why do you get junk mail in your home or business snail-mailbox?   Your physical address is public record.  If someone has your email in their contact list, and they get infected, everyone in the contact list (that including you) now gets spam from that computer. This spreads like wild fire across the internet. Infecting computer after computer.

Every time you sign up for something online or 'create an account' (coupons, tickets, auction sites, games, etc.) you are usually asking for spam. Some websites say they won't spam you, but when times get tough, they sell off their email lists to marketing companies. (Email lists is big money)




6.       What should I do?

Good Anti-Spam will block much of this. But not all


Good Anti-Virus will protect against most of this. But not all

Make sure you have a trusted IT Professional monitoring your network.   Make sure your computer / server / network security systems are in place, updated and maintained. 



And above all, help everyone to develop safe internet / email habits. DON'T click a link you don't absolutely trust. Treat every link / website / email like a person at your front door at 11:00pm at night, would you let them in? 


 


Happy Clicking!

Nathan DeSutter
IT Consultant


Contact me:
559-674-1301



Sunday, February 26, 2012

Internet File Sharing for Quickbooks?

There are many 'file sharing' programs available:
  • Dropbox
  • Skydrive
  • Google Docs
  • icloud
  • SugarSync
  • JungleDisk

All these services are part of the 'Cloud Computing'. That is the ability to have your files stored on the internet to be accessible from anywhere.

While these services are great for documents, spreadsheets, pictures and the like, they are NOT designed for database applications. (MS Access, QuickBooks, SQL, etc.)

Why?
Because they are very different types of files:

1st are: Small, Simple, Self-contained Files.

2nd are: Larger, Application Dependent Files.

Word Docs, Excel, Spreadsheets, PDF, Pictures....all these files can be opened by all kinds of programs. They are generally small, and you can open them directly from a browser.  Generally edits are quick and then file is closed.  Since they are small, they can open quickly over the intenet.


MS Access, QuickBooks, SQL type of files are almost always much larger in size. When opening over the internet, then entire file / database has to download in order to be opened. If you have an actual 'live' connection to the internet hosted file and your internet connection glitches for a second, that could damage the database file. When you select a record or entry, the local computer has to download all related files down and then up to the internet EVERY time you make a selection, view or save. This is VERY time consuming, making cloud based access NOT attractive.

MS Access, QuickBooks, SQL are proprietary files. Which means you can't just open these files on with any vendor’s software or in a web browser. You have to have the manufacturer’s software installed on your local computer in order to open the files. Many times there are versions of the program, and your locally installed program versions much match the database version. If you did attempt to share the file, all persons would have to have the 'like kind' version of the program installed locally.

Now, if your database file is small, and you’re the only person using it, then you CAN upload it to some of these services listed above, then download it again on another computer (after installing the database program), and then use the database.  This is more of an accessibility or backup purpose. It’s NOT a sharing feature.  You are basically MOVING the file, NOT sharing it.  If you copy it, you now have different versions of the file. Each person who opens it has their OWN copy of the database, and any changes they make are stand alone, NOT synced.

Bottom line: you cannot simultaneously share a QuickBooks / SQL database just by placing the file at an online file sharing service and expect others to be able to open in a web browser. Doesn’t work that way.

If you want to share / remotely access QuickBooks read this blog:

If you want to share MS Access or SQL, you need to create a web based front end and tie it to an internet accessible database using web services.  I suggest using HTML or PHP hosted on IIS or Apache. Connect the page to the database directly or using ODBC connection. The web files can be publicly accessible and the database itself will remain on an internet accessible computer as the host. 

You can get further help here:




Happy Clicking!

Nathan DeSutter
IT Consultant


Contact me:
559-674-1301



Monday, December 12, 2011

We Know First

Being the first to know means we can prevent more problems.

8:00am Monday morning, computers not working. People go around checking with others, trying different things. ....... By the time you find out its companywide, get a call into IT Support, have someone working the issue, an hour or more could have gone by.  I've actually received calls in the afternoon from companies that their system was down all day, just no one got a hold of the right person to get it fixed. Wow.

So I say your IT Support Provider should be the 'First to Know'.

By having proper server / network monitoring, we are able to detect many issues before they become an actual problem. Usually we are able to remediate the issue BEFORE it causes issues server / network wide.

But if there is an actual major failure, WE should be the first to know. Our monitoring system alerts us and we investigate. Typically we are able to diagnose the issue and already have a plan of remediation in place before anyone is even aware the issue is wide spread.  We are onsite with you at 8:00am to work the problem, hours ahead of an unmonitored environment.

This is one more way DataCare delivers Downtime Prevention and drives $$$ to your bottom line.



Happy Clicking!

Nathan DeSutter
IT Consultant


Contact me:
559-674-1301

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Internet is Out - Now What!


We live in a connected world, and wow when the internet goes out, it can have a huge impact to your business. Now What?
Most Small Business Internet Providers are under NO obligation to you for actual service uptime. They don't really have an SLA (Service Level Agreement). Oh well they say they do, but they call it 'Best Effort'. It could be a 5 min outage or 5 day outage, they are under no obligation to you, and your repair time has no guarantee. You might think this is hard to believe, and you're right. But it's the sad fact. Around the Central Valley these are the common business providers:

Small Business Internet Services:
  • ATT Business DSL
  • Comcast Business
  • Wireless Broadband
  • Avg Cost: $60-$120 month
For the most part, these are fine services at a reasonable price. But when an outage happens, now what?
Well at the time of outage you will be subject to the torment of calling tech support and getting the runaround of issues. Usually Tier 1 tech support having to walk you through an endless list of things to try. Not to mention, if you're calling ATT, you get to have fun trying to understand what tech support is saying.

For our clients on DataCare IT Support, we handle all the Vendor Management, including working with the Internet Provider to remediate the issue. And trust me; I'm not Mr. Nice guy. Having worked with many providers, I am aware of the 'tricks' to get to the right person and get the repair expedited. Yes there are ways.

If the outage is going to be extended, we can setup a temporary wireless connection and feed your network.

Depending on the risk posed to your business and the impact from the outage, an even better question is:

How do I mitigate the risk before it happens?

2 Options:
  1. Get a more reliable Internet Service
  2. Redundant Connection
1. A more reliable connection would be an Enterprise Level Internet connection.  

With an Enterprise Internet Connection, you will truly have an SLA. Service Providers give priority service above all others. Depending on your area they give an SLA in a matter of short hours.

They also monitor your line 24/7 for any issues and make contact (usually to me the IT Admin) to pre-resolve issues.

 Enterprise Internet Connections:
  • T1, T3
  • ATT or Comcast Fiber line (10Mb and up)

These types of connections usually run on a totally separate pipe and path out to your place of business. Thus you are less susceptible to outages. With the priority response, things are up and going usually before they are an issue.  This non-comparable level of service comes with a price. Avg costs here are $400 - $2,500 month.  But if you have remote users or remote offices, you can't have an outage, so this is a 'must have' service.

2. Another protection business would get is a 2nd (redundant) internet connection. Usually they already have an Enterprise Service, then add a Small Business service as the backup / fail over.  But we have several customers who have 2x Small Business Internet Connections (one with ATT and one with Comcast). The chance of both failing is very rare. This can be done for about $250 or so a month. (although there are some cons here depending on your business needs)

If this is a serious concern for you, contact me. I can help pick a solution that’s right for your business.
Happy Clicking!

Nathan DeSutter
IT Consultant


Contact me:
559-674-1301