THREE REASONS TO START PLANNING YOUR IT INFRASTRUCTURE UPGRADE

THREE REASONS TO START PLANNING YOUR IT INFRASTRUCTURE UPGRADE

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Microsoft will soon be ending its customer support for Windows Server 2008. What does this mean for you and your organization?

Well, the end of one era always means the beginning to another. This could be the perfect opportunity to ramp up your production, security, and improvements throughout. 

As much as we all tend to preach about the importance of staying up to date with the latest and greatest equipment in the IT industry, its easier said than done.

That fact of the matter is that more than half of all servers in operating existence are five to seven years old, and using archaic software like Microsoft Windows Server 2008.

windows server 2008
Image Courtesy of Microsoft

In recent news from the Microsoft Ignite conference, Microsoft will stop support for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 effective January 14, 2020.

They also plan to terminate the support service of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 on July 19, 2019. If your organization is one of the many businesses that still currently uses these systems, you could be directly affected.

The news isn’t all bad though. Microsoft’s end of service could be the inspiration your organization needs in order to implement a full IT renovation, from up-to-date software solutions to the servers that propel them forward.

Need even more motivation for a data center facelift? We’ve put together three reasons to consider, based on challenges that technology experts are facing and the direct benefits they’re receiving from a well-orchestrated server overhaul.

Image Courtesy of Device42

REASON ONE: YOU’LL BE READY FOR MORE DEMANDING WORKLOADS

Recent surveys conducted with IT professionals and industry leaders suggests that analytics and AI strategy are among their top priorities in regards to infrastructure investments. 

Even more so, enterprise IP traffic is projected to triple by 2020. With these developments, it’s no surprise there’s a growing strain within IT that warrants an updated data center to sustain it.

Let’s be real here, there’s no such thing as “business as usual” anymore. Not just in IT, but in any industry for that matter. In order to stay competitive in any market, businesses must welcome change, and embrace adaptability to stay ahead. In terms of IT, modernization is critical.

According to 71% of those surveyed, the biggest road block preventing their IT transformation is an aging infrastructure. Businesses that currently operate with legacy systems find it nearly impossible to compete. 

Their archaic data centers just weren’t built to keep up with the modern demands of a digital world.

data center upgrade
Image Courtesy ComputerWorld.com

Modernization of your organization’s infrastructure is the most efficient strategy to stay competitive for the long haul.

A well-orchestrated renovation also brings opportunities to take full advantage of recent server technologies such as effortlessly handling workloads that would otherwise bog down any legacy systems.

For instance, new equipment running Windows Server 2019 optimized for Intel Xeon Scalable processors delivers a 4X performance increase over similar systems that are five years older.

REASON TWO: YOU’LL BENEFIT FROM INCREASED SECURITY

It’s no secret that the number of security breaches and cyber-attacks on businesses continue to grow astronomically, creating an impact of almost $2.1 trillion by 2019.

An older and weaker operating system leaves you vulnerable to an overabundance of business-critical attacks. The last thing any organization needs is a list of compliance failures that could result in the end of valued relationships. 

Ensuring your system is safeguarded against ransomware and protecting customer’s proprietary information to GDPR and HIPAA standards is vital.

Having an updated IT infrastructure allows you to deploy the latest security measures for data protection and encryption.

To name a few, Windows Defender Advanced Threat Detection and Intel Trusted Execution Technology, servers are furnished with a collection of multi-layered security resources.

Modern security can be instilled deep within an organization’s infrastructure and therefore out of reach of hackers. With features such as next-gen firewalls, security with software-defined networking, and identity and access management; newer systems create a much larger obstacles in the way of attacks.

REASON THREE: YOU’LL BE READY FOR THE FUTURE

Decrease total operating costs– Organizations that modernize experience up to 69 percent less revenue losses. Maintenance expenses used to maintain aging systems, unplanned downtime, and more abundant power usage all add up.

Simplify your transition to cloud – Studies have shown that by 2020, 90 percent of businesses will have developed a cloud strategy to support mission-critical applications. Updating your IT infrastructure will ensure you don’t get left behind.

Support expanding workloads – Organizations that update their systems have the ability to speed time-to-insight from analytics and AI technologies.
Enjoy the benefits of Windows Server 2019 – the advantages of the server upgrade include improved application platforms, containerization, pervasive encryption, and more

DON’T WAIT TO START PLANNING YOUR INFRASTRUCTURE UPGRADE

Despite the fact that your current legacy system may still be ultra-reliable, you’ll still want to take a proactive approach to planning a server upgrade before Windows Server 2008 support goes away. 

There is still plenty of time to both plan a serviceable upgrade strategy, and to take the steps necessary to complete it.

No matter which modernized options you wish to explore; whether it be hybrid cloud, hyperconverged infrastructures, virtualized networks, or the full capabilities of Windows Server 2019, DTC Computer Supplies can help.

Data Storage Security

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data storage security

As Breaches continue, DATA STORAGE and Fear of Adequate SECURITY are merging in the eyes of IT managers.

Over the years data storage security has become a concept centered around protecting data while warranting its availability to authorized personnel. 

Usually, data storage and data security are treated as individual subjects within the IT world, but that’s beginning to change faster than anyone thought it would.

A major reason for the recent merge in disciplines is the variety severity of security breaches routinely exposed by the media. 

As a result, IT managers in the healthcare, finance, and energy sectors have experienced a growing concern among their own.

A subdivision of the broader IT security field, data storage security specifically focuses on securing storage devices and the systems that operate those devices.

Securing data storage may as well be the last stand against an intrusion. 

However, it’s only an effective line of defense if data storage managers and IT administrators are willing to devote the time and effort needed to execute and initiate the existing storage security controls.

data security

In order to maintain reliable data storage security, IT administrators and mangers must carefully balance three important factors: confidentiality, integrity, and availability. 

This means keeping classified data away from unauthorized users, confirming reliability of the data on hand, and allowing access to accredited users within the organization. 

Administrators also need to be aware of the costs of storage security compared to the actual value of the data being safeguarded. 

It doesn’t make sense to have storage security systems in place that cost more than the data is even worth.

 

On the same note, managers should have storage security systems impenetrable to the point that it would cost potential hackers more money, time, and resources to breach them than the data is worth.

More than just recent data breaches, the array of liabilities administrators are progressively motivated to remove consist of shortage in encrypted systems and incomplete data destruction post deletion.

The setback associated with data destruction after data has been deleted can easily be solved with a SITAD organization.

Secure IT asset disposition firms are gaining popularity as they have gradually proven their effectiveness in helping businesses gain a higher return on their initial investment while keeping data secured during the destruction process.

There are also a number of simple steps that industry experts recommend for organizations that are considering employing storage security practices.

These steps include having specific data storage security policies as well as strong network and endpoint security.

Additionally, any organization that has concerns regarding their data storage security methods should invest in data tape backup.

The benefits of the tried and tested magnetic media storage are crucial when implementing effective storage and adequate backup systems and processes.  

tape seciurity

The Definitive Guide to Choosing the Best Router for Your Needs

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How to Choose the Best Router for Your Needs

 

 

Remember back in the late 1980s and the 1990s when anyone who wanted to access the internet had to play the waiting game while listening to that awful screeching sound of the modem dialing the ISP? Ah, the nostalgia of good old dial-up! Thankfully, companies like Cisco make it so we no longer have to deal with the slow connection and loading speeds.

dial up internet router

 

The speeds and capabilities of the internet have grown exponentially since the development of the wireless internet. All of the hardware involved from modems, routers, and processors have managed to outgrow each other year over year. In fact, in April 2015, Linksys (owned by Cisco) announced that they had achieved over 100 million units in router sales. That’s a lot of routers, but how do you know which one is right or you?

When it comes to choosing a Cisco router, there are many tools available to help you make the best decision. The manner in which you go about choosing switches is very comparable.

Go with Your Gut

When you think of Cisco routers, what is the first thing that comes to mind? It might be Cisco’s 2600 and 3600 series lines. For years, these lines of routers served as the ideal model for midsize business’ networks. Even though Cisco discontinued both lines, some organizations still use them today.

Going with your gut is just one way to choose a router for a current network. However, this method does have a major downside. Choosing a discontinued product could mean that your business misses out on a lot of the features in newer models.

Do Some Research

Most of us were forced to do homework for almost 20 years of our lives. So, what’s a little more? When choosing a router for a new network, the same old routers can’t always be counted on. Do your homework and evaluate different criteria and features that are offered in different models. The shortlist below can help you with the right questions.

Performance

Try looking at how many packets per second the router can forward. For instance, a Cisco 2610 or 2612 series router can forward an approximate 15,000 packets per second. Cisco 7500 series routers can forward an approximate 2 million packets per second. However, those numbers have a tendency to be altered once features such as firewalls and VoIP are added.

Growth

Growth implies the number of interfaces that can be supported by the router. Routers typically have a preset number of interfaces (WAN or LAN). Some routers, like the 3600 series, for instance, have no interfaces. So, take note of the number of interfaces that can be added to the default.

Software

Depending on your current set up, the router you chose might need to support a certain interface or a VoIP feature.

Services

Services refer to the integrated services supported by the router. Today’s routers support features that once needed separate boxes to function. A great example is a 32-port switching module that cancels out the need for an Ethernet switch. Also having a firewall, VPN server, and an IDS/IPS built into the router can cancel the need to have each individual feature as a separate box.

Redundancy

Does the router offer the necessary redundancy for working at a critical point in the network? Some redundancy examples include hot-swappable power supplies or high-availability routing protocols such as HSRP or VRRP.

Support

Cisco routers have a reputation for being very reliable products. Furthermore, Cisco systems usually provide exceptional levels of customer support. When buying the router, many levels of support should be available. Be sure to choose the best level for you and your business.

Ask the Pros

When it comes to choosing a router, Cisco offers a Product Advisor, which virtually makes the router decision for you. As a bonus, you don’t need to be a registered Cisco user to access this amazingly helpful tool.

The Cisco Product Advisor is a simple, time-saving tool that assists in choosing the right Cisco router for your network. It asks the questions and suggests a product based on your answers. So you can sit back, relax, and continue to surf… the internet that is.

 

WBU ciisco logo

Data Protection and Information Security – Together at Last.

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Any IT professional that spent time around a corporate data center for several years has more than likely adapted to the separation of data protection and data security fields. The division in specialties has long historical roots, but does it really make sense anymore?

data protection

Data protection is a major component of any corporate disaster recovery plan. A disaster recovery plan is a set of strategies and processes put in place to prevent, avoid, and minimize the impact of a data loss in the event of a catastrophe. Data protection is essential to a disaster recovery plan as business-critical data cannot be substituted.

The only way to protect data is to make a copy of the original and store the copy adequately secluded from the primary. That way in the event of an unfortunate incident, the same disaster cannot destroy both copies.

In fact, a sufficient disaster recovery plan should also include requirements for application, network, and user data retrievals, as well as procedures for testing and training management.

Disaster recovery planning can be compared to information security planning in many ways. They both intend to protect business-critical practices and data assets. However, InfoSec uses various intertwining tactics that are exclusive to security.

infosec

Information Security

Infosec has established its own terminology and set of strategies for securing vital data assets. These policies are then enhanced by methods of constant monitoring and seasonal analysis to ensure that security precautions are keeping data confidential.

Until recently there have been few exchanges between data protection and information security fields. However, when someone in the data protection field is worried about retrieving data that is encrypted, communication with the InfoSec team is mandatory.

On the other hand, the InfoSec team might only collaborate with the data protection team to confirm that continuous data protection resources are being implemented and used. This would allow speedy restoration in the wake of a cyber-attack by basically reversing data to a point prior to the attack.

Together at Last

Believe it or not, both data protection and InfoSec fields have a lot to learn from each other. Data protection has already dipped into quantitative techniques for matching protection services to detailed data provided the threats to the organization.  These quantitative methods, Single Loss Expectancy (SLE) and Annual Loss Expectancy (ALE), were trivial at face value and abandoned by disaster recovery experts.

InfoSec is moving down a similar path.  Attack surface reduction modeling techniques are akin to the pseudo-scientific numerical looking practices as ALE and SLE. Certain experts see these methods as an upgrade over the threat modeling that was applied by many InfoSec specialists in the 90s.  Before the turn of the century, it was widely thought that the cost to protect data should not be much higher than the cost to hackers to sidestep the security. In spite of this, the correlation was lopsided as hackers suffered little to no expense in testing the protection of their targets or to rout the actions that were taken to keep them out.

Selecting the Best Server for Your Data Center

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Server Selection

In order to improve bottom line performance in the workplace, IT professionals should assess top priorities to establish protocol on how to choose a server while constructing the most efficient workloads.

Some may say that servers are the heart and lungs of the modern internet, but the deliberation on how to select a server can every so often create a confusing range of hardware choices. Even though it’s possible to pack a data center with matching, virtualized and bundled systems that have the ability to handle any job, the cloud is forever altering how businesses run applications. As more organizations move workloads in the public cloud, local data centers need less resources to host the workloads that remain on site. This is encouraging IT administrators and business professionals to pursue more value and performance from the dwindling server fleet.

These days, the infinity of computer hardware systems is being tested by a new trend in customization with server attributes. Some businesses are encountering the idea that one size may in fact fit all in regards to servers. However, you can opt for and even design server cluster hardware to accommodate specific usage categories.

server selection

Figure from: http://searchdatacenter.techtarget.com/tip/How-to-choose-a-server-based-on-your-data-centers-needs

VM Merger and Network I/O

An advantage of server virtualization is the capacity to host several virtual machines on the same physical server in order to use more of a server’s existing resources. VMs largely depend on RAM and processor cores. It’s impractical to decide exactly how many VMs can exist on any given server because you can arrange them in a way that they can use an extensive range of memory space and processor cores. However, selecting a server with more memory and processor cores will usually permit more VMs to exist on the same server, improving consolidation.

For instance, a Dell EMC PowerEdge R940 rack server can host up to 28 processor cores and offers 48 DDR4 DIMM slots that support up to 6 TB of memory. Some system administrators may choose to pass on individual rack servers with a preference of blade servers for another form factor or as part of hyper-converged infrastructure. Servers meant for high levels of VM merger should also contain resiliency server features.

Another thing to consider when choosing a server for consolidation reasons is the extra attention to network I/O. Enterprise workloads regularly exchange data, access centralized storage resources, and interface with users across the LAN or WAN. Server merging can take advantage of a fast network interface, such as a 10 Gigabit Ethernet port.

Visualization and Scientific Computing

Graphics processing units (GPUs) are surfacing at the server level more and more to help with statistically intensive tasks from big data processing and scientific computing to modeling and visualization. GPUs also allow IT to retain and procedure sensitive, valuable data sets in a more secure data center rather than let that data flow to business endpoints.

GPUs need more than an extra GPU card in the server since there is a slight effect on the server’s traditional processor, memory, I/O, storage, networking or other hardware. The GPU adapters contained in enterprise-class servers are usually far more advanced than the GPU adapters offered for desktops. Graphics processing units are progressively more available as highly specific modules for blade systems.

Take HPE’s ProLiant Graphics Server Blade for instance. The graphics system flaunts support for up to 48 GPUs through the use of multiple graphics server blades. The huge volume of supported GPU hardware gives several users and workloads the ability to share the graphics subsystem.

Info from: http://searchdatacenter.techtarget.com/tip/How-to-choose-a-server-based-on-your-data-centers-needs