Thursday, August 22, 2013

6 Key Reasons You Should Consider Virtualization

Depending on your organization, you may be sprinting along or just learning how to walk when it comes to virtualization. If you are just learning how to walk, some of what has been slowing you down may be the perception of the expense or complexity often associated with virtualization. But in reality, virtualization has gotten a bit of a bad rap. The actual cost and difficult of introducing virtualization into your infrastructure can be greatly reduced with the right hardware vendor and mix of technologies. And in the long run, you will reap the benefits of cost savings, time and management savings, and increase the lifecycle of your hardware.

Due to its many benefits, virtualization is fast-becoming a necessity versus a nice-to-have.  So if you are considering taking your organization’s virtualization up from a crawl to a walk (or even a healthy jog!) here are some tips to help get you on your way:
  • Make sure your physical hardware can handle the strain of your virtual capacity
  • If you are planning a large virtualization deployment, make sure to invest in SAN storage 
  • You don’t have to virtualize everything – make sure the right applications and servers get virtualized
  • Consider the security implications of virtualization and enhance your network security
  • If you want to deploy numerous VMs, save time by creating VM templates
  • Be sure to monitor virtual traffic as diligently as you monitor physical traffic 

Last but not lease, remember that the best rule of thumb for any new initiative is to do your homework and remember to plan, plan, PLAN!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Dell: Going Private or Staying Public?

For those of you who have been closely following the "Dell going private" story, this past week has certainly been an interesting one. Let’s just take a moment to recap on exactly what has been going on at Dell lately.

Earlier this week, Dell board members agreed to a higher offer from founder and CEO Michael Dell and his partner Silver Lake. The offer also included a special dividend for shareholders, including a one-time shareholder payout of $0.13 per share, compared to Michael Dell’s previous offer to buy the company at $13.75 per share.

In response to Michael Dell’s recent bid increase, investor Carl Icahn, Michael Dell’s primary opponent, has also upped the stakes on his side of the fence. Icahn, already an 8.7% owner of the well-known technology company, purchased 4 million additional Dell shares last week Thursday.

So at the moment, Michael Dell and Carl Icahn (and the rest of us as the eager audience) must play the waiting game. The official vote by the Dell board of directors on whether the company will go private or stay public is not scheduled to be held until September 12th.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

HP Partners with NEC to Deliver Next-Gen Technologies

HP and NEC have recently announced that they plan to expand their collaborative efforts targeted at engineering future x86 mission-critical blade servers. NEC, a Japanese-based IT firm, has previously partnered with HP to develop enterprise-class IT systems like HP-UX (with HP’s Unix-based OS), HP Integrity, and NEC NX7700i servers.

The current partnership between HP and NEC is focused on creating next-generation server platforms that deliver increased uptime to users whose demands have become more aggressive.  These new demands stem from the evolution and rise of industry trends such as big data, the cloud, and mobile technologies.

And if the project doesn’t have a lofty enough vision in itself, the given name of the future x86 infrastructure adds further wings to the project – DragonHawk. The future HP DragonHawk x86 infrastructure is designed to be highly scalable and builds off of pre-existing HP Superdome 2 and blade server technology.

In addition to their goal of advancing the performance and reliability of their enterprise x86 systems, HP and NEC are partnering in the research, development and testing of mission-critical, enterprise-class solutions designed for use in both Linux and Windows-based environments.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

CRN's Channel Champion Crown for Servers Goes to IBM

IBM recently took home the 2013 CRN Channel Champion Crown for servers. A prize that is not handed out lightly, the CRN crown is awarded based off of several key factors. Off the heels of an aggressive go-to market strategy, IBM excelled to regain the crown after last year’s defeat, beating out both of their main competitors in the server market - HP (last year’s winner) and Dell. 

Focusing on the x86 server market, IBM was well-positioned this year due to their transition from their M3 server generation to the new and improved M4 server generation. Some of the key new features and technologies offered by the new IBM System x M4 servers include increased memory capacity, IBM Integrated Management Module 2 (IMM2), virtual fabric and low-voltage memory.

While IBM excelled in several categories, the ones in which they took a distinctive lead over HP and Dell were: brand pull and customer marketing, channel marketing and pre-sales support, and training and certification. Some of the additional criteria that CRN used to determine the server champion included post-sales support, price performance, and product availability.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Advantages of Third-Party Networking Optics

Did you know that we offer third party networking optics covered by a lifetime warranty? Guaranteed to work as good as the manufacturer’s brand, our third-party optics seamlessly deliver Gb and 10Gb fiber connections to your datacenter switches – regardless of the brand of switch you own.

Let me explain the advantage of having a lifetime warranty on your networking optics.  If your optics are damaged at any time (without any extraordinary circumstances – basically don’t go throwing it off the roof top of your building) – you’re covered!

And if the complete peace of mind that this lifetime warranty offers doesn’t quite convince you that our third-party optics are the way to go, then it could come down to the big question – what’s it going to cost me? Our third-party optics are a very affordable option designed to fit well within constrained IT budgets.

So just remember, our third party optics are guaranteed to work as well as the OEM, offer a lifetime warranty, and will do their part in alleviating any stress caused by your IT budget.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dell's Take on the Q2 2013 Server Market

Q1 2013 data shows that server market revenue has declined in a year-over-year comparison to 2012. As many expected, the UNIX-based servers are responsible for the majority of the revenue decline, with a much smaller decline shown in Linux-based servers.

While our last post discussed the server market from HP's point-of-view, we're now going to take a look from Dell's perspective. Recently released data shows that Dell is performing better than the majority of their major competitors in the server market. In fact, analysts at the Goldman Sachs Group have observed that out of industry giants Dell, HP and IBM, Dell was the only one to gain server revenue as well as server shipments year-on-year.

What has lead Dell to see success in the server market where others haven’t? One factor has been Dell’s aggressive response to price competition not only through itself, but through its channel partners. Dell has also made many hardware improvements to its server offerings with the most recent 12th generation PowerEdge product line.

Overall, HP maintains the largest server market share when it comes to worldwide server shipments, with IBM in 3rd place. However, Dell is coming up fast from 2nd place.  It will be interesting to see what an analysis of Q2 2013 server market data will shows us. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Q2 2013 - A Turning Point for HP

While Q1 did not look promising for HP, Q2 has proven to be a turning point. Recently reporting its Q2 results, HP has posted a 55.59% year to date total return. That number may inspire a little more confidence than is due, given the exceedingly low value at the beginning of the year.

However, HP’s year to date total return percentage should still provide some confidence. And it already has amongst their investors, causing the shares to rise 13% in a market that is otherwise in a state of general decline.

Other financial figures that should inspire confidence in not only HP’s investors, but the technology marketplace as a whole, include an operating profit of $0.87. While it may not seem spectacular, this is actually encouraging in the fact that Wall Street’s consensus estimate is $0.81

There are many factors that can be attributed to HP’s now promising trajectory in the marketplace; one of which that’s being touted by several sources is the leadership of Meg Whitman. Is this the case? I think we’ll wait for Q3 and Q4 numbers before we can say with any real certainty.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

How IBM is Driving Smarter Banking in Nigeria

Did you know? According to a recent statement made by IBM, 77% of their enterprise-class servers are being used to power mission-critical banking applications in Nigeria (the legit ones, not the ones run by that Nigerian prince who keeps emailing you).

So what is it about IBM enterprise servers that make them so popular in this particular industry and country? Well, for starters, the powerful cooling capabilities developed by IBM are both energy-efficient and cost-saving. By relying on water instead of electricity to cool their servers, IBM has provided customers with a more robust and efficient water-cooling technology. 

(We can only imagine that this would be an influential factor when it comes to choosing a server manufacturer in a country with an average temperature of 80 degrees.)

Another key feature of IBM enterprise servers is the emphasis on managing big data with ease and without a lot of expense. IBM has developed two technologies specifically for big data: an analysis accelerator that will speed up data analytics reports, and a Big Data appliance. Not yet released, IBM’s Big Data appliance will feature a combination of hardware and software that will enable organizations to ask questions and receive automated answers from their own data.

And in an industry like banking with continual transactions, real-time market feeds, customer-service records, correspondence and even social media posts, it’s evident that how the manufacturer handles big data is a critical factor in selecting a server. Through their focus on big data, IBM allows these banks to minimize risk, streamline operations and place more emphasis on the customer and their experience.

In the end, it’s clear to see why IBM is making such an impression with the Nigerian banking industry – through a unique combination of cooling and big data technologies that align with their needs.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Cisco 3750 vs Cisco 3560 - It's All in the Stacking

When considering a Cisco Catalyst 3750 switch, an often missed fact is that the Cisco Catalyst 3560 switch is a less expensive option, and it offers the same performance and features – minus the stacking capabilities.

Yes, it’s true! For those who may not need stacking capabilities, you don’t need to spend the extra money on a Cisco 3750 switch for its Cisco StackWise technology. Both Cisco 3560s and 3750s are enterprise class switches that include 10/100 and 10/100/1000 access and aggregation, as well as Cisco pre-standard Power over Ethernet (PoE) functionality in Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) configurations. Both the switches offer newer E and X variants that support 10GbE functionality.

Both Cisco Catalyst switches also include advanced features such as IP telephony, wireless access, advanced quality of service (QoS), rate limiting, access control lists (ACLs), multicast management, and high-performance IP routing.

One additional feature that the Cisco 3560 offers is a “cluster” feature, which allows the network administrator to control multiple switches from a single switch. This feature is not at all a replacement for the stacking capabilities, but a nice feature to have nonetheless.

So the next time you are on the market for some enterprise-class switches, be sure to remember that you may not need to spend quite as much as you thought. In fact, you might just be overpaying for a feature that you may never actually use.

P.S. A MUCH more effective way for someone to stack multiple switches versus the StackWise technology would be to go with a chassis-based solution.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

How Dell Fits an Entire Datacenter in a Blade Chassis

Since we’ve harped on it before, WE know that YOU know that Dell is more than just laptops and desktops. But while you know that Dell can outfit your datacenter with everything that you need, did you know that Dell has magic powers (okay, more like some pretty genius techies) and can actually provide you with an entire datacenter in a single blade chassis?

Thanks to the ingenuity at Dell, a pre-configured datacenter is something that we can provide you both easily and less expensively than you might expect. Due to the space-efficiency of many Dell products, we can outfit a M1000e blade chassis with servers, storage and networking – all of the major computing systems that you would need for your datacenter.

While the M1000e blade chassis is a required element of the pre-configured datacenter solution, the blade chassis can be outfitted with any combination of blades that you desire, whether it’s a M815 or a M600 blade – the choice is yours. You also have a multitude of networking options, which will depend on your requirements; whether you need data center bridging (DCB), Fibre Channel (FC) or Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), etc.

Another necessary component of the pre-configured datacenter solution is the storage piece. The Dell EqualLogic PS-M4110 is the only storage blade array that can complete the solution and turn this fully configured chassis into a fully functioning datacenter. Quite frankly, if chassis could talk the M1000e would be saying to the PS-M4110, you complete me.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Motivation Behind HP's Project Moonshot

While HP has several known competitors, IBM and Dell being in the top tier, HP continues to persevere and gobble up market share – especially in the server market.  Not that HP is content to just sit back and ride the wave; they have several ongoing initiatives geared towards increasing that market share. One such initiative is Project Moonshot.

HP’s Project Moonshot is targeted towards the hyperscale segment of the server market. This is a strategic move for HP because according to Gartner, the hyperscale segment accounted for roughly 11% of total server shipments in 2010 and jumped to nearly 17% in 2011, and the trend just continues to grow.

The main goal behind Project Moonshot is to develop low-power servers based on an alternative processing technology. This will allow organizations supporting hyperscale workloads to maximize operational efficiencies and achieve space, cost and power savings. This is intended to be an extension of HP's existing x86 server lines – not a replacement.

There are many attractions of Project Moonshot, but the primary advantages lies in the cost savings.  HP projects Project Moonshot servers to provide reduced energy consumption (up to 89%), reduced TCO (up to 63%), and even reduced complexity and a smaller footprint.

HP’s largest competitor in the hyperscale market is Dell. So while Project Moonshot has been a multi-year project, HP may be moving a little quicker on this project in order to capitalize on any confusion the press has caused regarding Dell’s current move to go private.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

IBM System Storage DS3500 - CFW 7.84 Release

Great news for IBM System Storage DS3500 customers – there’s a new Controller Firmware (CFW) in town. The Controller Firmware (CFW) 7.84 release brings even more powerful features to the table with even easier premium feature ordering.

Some of the new, free-of-charge features included in the 7.84 release include full disk encryption, up to 128 partitions, up to 32 enhanced FlashCopies, and up to 256 VolumeCopies. And what’s even more awesome - if you have a current support contract, you are entitled to a FREE UPGRADE to the latest firmware.

And that’s not even the half of it. Additional (and not to mention GRATIS) features offered through CFW version 7.84 include IP Mirroring and Super Key. These features provide DS3500 storage systems with the functionality for performance read cache, disaster recovery options, and backup and restore options. Plus, all of the previous options (such as Turbo Performance Option or 96 to 192 Drive Enclosure Expansion keys) will remain available and functional.

Last but not least, other CFW version 7.84 features include optional AIX/VIOS Host Kits, HP-UX Host Kits, Linux on Power Host Kits, and Mac OS Host Kits. You now have the option of a Solaris Host Kit.  This new kit will provide entitlement and support for servers that host a Solaris OS and are used with IBM DS3500s.

So, the question remains. Are you going to take a closer look at the DS3500?


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Dell is More Than Just Desktops and Laptops

For those of you whose image of Dell was defined by the campaign, “Dude, you’re getting a Dell,” we’re here to tell you - Dell is a lot more than just desktops and laptops. Over the last few years, Dell has been strategically shifting its image from a PC business to an enterprise business; and through their acquisitions, they have built an impressive enterprise portfolio.

Here at Vista Computer Group, we understand dealing with an alternative association. I mean, we are named VISTA computer (think slight correlation to a certain Windows OS). But just for the record, we had that name first! So we understand what Dell is going through, and even more so because we sell the Dell enterprise products.

We focus on Dell PowerEdge servers and Dell PowerVault and Dell EqualLogic storage.  Dell PowerEdge servers encompass tower, rack and blade server form factors with Intel or AMD processor options and impressive technology features. The Dell PowerVault and EqualLogic storage lines provide disk storage for SMBs to the enterprise.

Targeted towards the SMB, the Dell PowerVault storage line includes Direct-Attached Storage (DAS), Network-Attached Storage (NAS) and even Shared Storage Area Networks (SANs) at cost-effective, entry-level prices. Targeted more towards the enterprise, the Dell EqualLogic storage line provides an iSCSI SAN solution with scale-out, virtualized storage technologies.

So the next time you’re thinking about making an enterprise technology purchase, remember that Dell is more than just laptops and desktops, it’s a strong technology option for your business needs whether you are an SMB or large enterprise. And not just Dell, but Vista (AHEM, the original Vista that is) is an experienced technology partner that can help you with Dell enterprise products.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Cisco Catalyst 4500-e Switch Review

While we've done product reviews in the past, we have yet to focus on a networking product. So since networking was feeling neglected, we’re going to take a look at the Cisco Catalyst 4500-E switch, the newest addition to  the Cisco Catalyst 4500 family of modular access switches.

The Cisco Catalyst 4500-E is a current generation, chassis-based switch. All models offer 10GbE capabilities, and full level redundancy is available in the 4507R-E and 4510R-E models, but not the 4506-E. Not to blow your mind or anything, there are actually 6 models of Cisco Catalyst 4500-E switches.

The 6 different models include Cisco 4510R+E, Cisco 4507R+E. Cisco 4510R+E, Cisco 4507R-E, Cisco 4506-E and Cisco 4503-E. Due to their modularity, all 4500-E switches can scale to fit your exact needs. However, each model does have unique characteristics, especially when it comes to the number of total slots and the line card slot speed.

Let’s break it down for you:

  • Cisco 4503-E – Offers the lowest amount of total slots (3) with options for line card speeds of 6 Gbps, 24 Gbps, and 48 Gbps. 
  • Cisco 4506-E – Offers the second lowest amount of total slots (6) with options for line card speeds of 6 Gbps, 24 Gbps, and 48 Gbps.
  • Cisco 4507R-E – Offers the second highest amount of total slots (7) with options for line card speeds limited to 6 Gbps and 24 Gbps.
  • Cisco 4507R+E – Offers the second highest amount of total slots (7) with options for line card speeds of 6 Gbps, 24 Gbps, and 48 Gbps.
  • Cisco 4510R+E – Offers the highest amount of total slots (10) with options for line card speeds limited to 6 Gbps and 24 Gbps.
  • Cisco 4510R+E – Offers the highest amount of total slots (10) with options for line card speeds of 6 Gbps, 24 Gbps and 48 Gbps.

Overall, the Cisco Catalyst 4500-E is a good purchase if you are looking for a high performance switch that will allow you to build a secure, reliable campus network while at the same time lowering your total cost of ownership (TCO). To be honest, it’s not really ever a bad purchase. Unless you were asked to purchase an entirely different product, like a game console…and then there will be tears my friend.


Friday, March 8, 2013

It's Official: The HP ProLiant BL460c G7 Is EOL

Well, the HP community has been talking about it for months, but as of last week, it’s actually happened. As of February 28th, The HP ProLiant BL460c G7 blade server has OFFICIALLY gone end of life.  And we mean retired, off the market, sayonara baby.  So what does this mean for you?

It depends on how you typically source these server blades. If you are used to purchasing these blades from HP or through their distribution channel, you will probably experience a tightening of inventory until, sooner rather than later, you will no longer be able to purchase these servers new. This may cause you to pursue an alternative source for the BL460c G7.

One alternative source to consider (since you've visited our blog and all) is Vista Computer Group. We are an alternative source to HP and their distribution channels, as we will maintain an inventory of HP ProLiant BL460c G7 server blades for the foreseeable future.

For those of you who are standardized on the BL460c G7 server, don’t want to invest the time to learn new features, or simply don’t have the budget for Gen8 blades, as always, we've got your back.

- KH

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Smörgåsbord of Shipping Solutions

Vista Computer Group offers many different shipping options to make sure you receive your order exactly when you need it.  Whether it’s LTL Freight, Saturday AM Delivery, or even Ground, there’s an option that’s right for you and your company.

Ground – While Ground shipping is obviously the most economic way to ship from A to B, some people don’t realize that it can also be the fastest.  Shipping from West Michigan, FedEx Ground reaches over half of the lower 48 states within two business days.  Not to mention it’s free with every applicable web order.

Express – So maybe you don’t have the luxury of time, and your order just can’t wait for a cross-country road trip.  We offer many Express options ranging from Standard Overnight right down to Saturday AM Delivery, for that emergency situation that won’t wait until Monday.  Give us a call and we can weigh the cost to delivery speed ratio and figure out what’s best for you.

Freight – Our shipping options aren’t just limited to the “big box” providers; we’ve allied ourselves with the best freight providers in the US.  For example, some of our freight partners offer a White Glove service.  This means your order gets picked up from our dock and delivered directly to yours with no layovers, sorting machines, or forklifts involved.  Whether or not the delivery drivers actually wear white gloves, has not been determined at the time of this post.

Local Pickup – Some of our customers are within driving distance of our offices, so they choose to save a few bucks and pick up the order themselves.  This is great because it gives us a chance to meet face to face and offer a handshake, a cup of coffee, and maybe a trip to the loo before the long trip back! 

Whether the priority is best for cost savings or speed (or anything in between), Vista Computer Group has the best shipping option for you and your order.  Our priority is to save you money and make sure your experience leaves you wanting to work with us again.

- CD

Thursday, February 21, 2013

What Server Form Factor is Right for You?

There are three different form factors for servers that an organization can choose from to run their applications. Which type of server the organization uses depends on the requirements of their environment as well as the application. Since not everyone is familiar with the many ways that the server form factors vary, we thought we would help clarify which form factor is right for you.

Tower Servers – Tower servers are typically the most affordable option when it comes to the initial purchase. However, tower servers take up a lot of space, they generate more heat, and they cost more to power. The “get your feet wet” kind of server, tower servers are best-suited for small organizations or the remote offices of medium to large organizations.

Rack Servers – Rack servers are designed to fit into a datacenter rack enclosure, which is typically 10U high. Rack servers vary in form factor, ranging from 1U to 4U servers so that the datacenter rack enclosure can be filled with up to 42 rack severs. So as you can see, you can easily accommodate spacing concern with these servers. Rack servers also are self-contained, and have their own power supplies, fans and NIC’s.  Rack servers are a good fit for many different environments.

Blade Servers – Blade servers (or server blades) also fit within a datacenter rack enclosure; however, they must first be housed within a blade enclosure that supplies their power, cooling and connectivity. Blade servers come in half or full-height form factors and up to 16 servers can be housed within a blade enclosure. Since 4 blade enclosures can be housed in a datacenter rack enclosure, up to 64 blade servers can fit in a datacenter rack enclosure. This makes blade servers the clear winner when it comes to density, so they are a great fit in environments with space concerns.

So as you can see, there are many differences between the three form factors. The key is which one is the right fit for your environment and requirements. If cost is your main concern, consider a tower server, or a refurbished rack or blade server option. If performance and space are concerns, turn to rack or blade servers over tower servers. And if flexibility, performance AND long-term cost containment are concerns, turn to blade servers over both rack and tower servers.

- KH

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Why the HP D2700 is the Perfect Valentine

When it comes to the HP D2000 disk enclosure family, the HP StorageWorks D2700 is the little sibling. Not that it’s a bad thing - its SFF can be just as much of an advantage to certain enterprise IT environments as its big sibling’s LFF. It just depends on what form factor the situation calls for, and both are popular options. But because we've got a soft spot for the little guy, we’re taking this week to review the HP D2700 disk enclosure.

Featuring 25 2.5 inch drive bays, the HP StorageWorks D2700 can scale to support up to 100 disk drives with your choice of drive types: SAS, SSDs, or SATA.  However, the advantages of the HP D2700 disk enclosure (alias part number AJ941A) extend way beyond the type and number of disk drives that it supports – in other words, there’s a lot more to the D2700 than meets the eye.

And just in case you were wondering, this isn’t like a blind date, where great-sounding descriptors like “full of personality” and “beautiful smile” get you all excited… and then you meet and you’re wondering if it was opposite day and no one told you.  When we say the D2700 offers high performance and fast bandwidth, it really does.

Assuming the blind date goes well, the best thing about the HP D2700 disk enclosure is that it offers an easy, commitment-free relationship. While the full move to a SAN or a NAS solution would require the rough equivalent of getting hitched, the HP D2700 is an on-again, off-again relationship that allows you to buy the storage capacity that you need when you need it.

This allows you to buy additional storage capacity only as it’s required in the future – requiring no commitment on your end for a future investment. And the only thing that an HP D2700 disk enclosure asks in return is that it gets used within an HP ProLiant server, HP Integrity server, or an HP Modular Smart Array (MSA) environment for their storage expansion needs.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

End of Life: Cisco 3750G, 3750E, 3560E & 3560E Switches

For those of you who haven’t heard, Cisco Catalyst 3750G, 3560G, 3750-E and 3560-E switches are going end-of-life.  As of January 30th, you can no longer find these switches in new condition on the market.   

While this may be alarming news for those currently running these switches in their datacenters - don’t panic yet. While you might not be able to get new product anymore, Vista offers an alternative option through refurbished Cisco 3750, 3560, 3750-E and 3560-E switches.

Don’t let the refurbished condition concern you.  Refurbished product is used gear that we have taken in and put through a rigorous process returning it close to its original state of awesomeness.  And with our exclusive 3 year warranty, if you’re an end user located within the United States or Canada, you get a 120 Days of Advanced Replacement Warranty, followed by Depot Repair for the remainder of 3 Years.

- KH

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Need New? Legacy? A Little Bit of Both? We’ve Got You Covered

We like to think we’re unique for many reasons (our inexplicable love of cows, the speed with which we beat Alduin in Skyrim, and our ninja-like reflexes), but one thing that truly sets Vista Computer Group apart from the competition is our ability to provide you with the entire spectrum of products; from old, discontinued legacy equipment to current-generation, hot-off-the-production-line equipment.

For starters, if you need legacy systems that run Unix-based operating systems such as HP-UX, AIX, and Oracle Solaris, we’ve got you covered from HP Alpha and IBM System P to Sun SPARC and HP Integrity. We’ve even got you covered for legacy chassis and standalone switches. Whether you are standardized on this discontinued equipment or have custom applications that can only be run on this equipment, you no longer have to worry about sourcing it – we’ve got your back.

If you’re on the other end of the spectrum, we also carry the latest and greatest from manufacturers such as Cisco, Dell, HP, Sun, and IBM. Whether you are looking for the latest in storage like the HP MSA P2000 G3, servers like the Dell PowerEdge R720xd or IBM System x3650 M4, or networking gear such as the Cisco Catalyst 6500-E, we’ve got options for you in both Vista certified refurbished and new product condition.

By offering inventory on both ends of the spectrum, we can make IT easier for you. If you, like many others, have a mixed datacenter, you don’t have to go to two different suppliers to fit your varying needs – we cover both! And just like consolidation in your datacenter results in reduced costs and complexity, supplier consolidation accomplishes the same end goal.

- KH

Thursday, January 24, 2013

IBM Can Help You Go Green (And Save Green Too)

Recognized by Newsweek in October 2012 as the Greenest Company in the US for the second consecutive year, IBM is at the forefront when it comes to environmentally-friendly technologies. They even have an entire lab devoted to this kind of research, known as IBM’s Energy Efficiency Lab. And not only is IBM concerned about their energy-consciousness, but they care about the environmental-friendliness of your company as well. Here are some of the technologies that IBM has recently developed to help your company go green.

During a two-year project, IBM worked with the U.S. Department of Energy to cool their hot-running datacenter servers using energy-efficient methods. With this goal in mind, IBM was able to develop a method of keeping servers cool in a similar fashion to how a radiator keeps your car cool. The cooling system that IBM developed places cool water in piping near the server’s semiconductor microchips, allowing the water to transfer its cooler temperature and dissipate heat that was generated by the microchips.

By relying on water instead of electricity to cool servers, IBM has provided customers with a more efficient and cost-effective cooling technology. And since, on average, approximately 25% of their energy bills are devoted to cooling alone, this will not only allow companies to ramp up their environmental-friendliness, but also to decrease their operating expenses. This is perfectly aligned with IBM’s primary goal; to enable their customers to go green without having to invest any green in the effort.

- KH

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Why Disaster Recovery Will Save Your Job (And Company)

Are you one of the lucky few that have never experienced an unplanned outage in your datacenter? Have you recently encountered a genie that granted your datacenter immunity to natural disasters, computer viruses, and software corruption? If you’ve answered yes to either of these questions, you have my blessing to stop reading this post. If you answered no to one (or both), then you might want to continue reading.

The days of disaster recovery plans being a luxury item intended for large enterprises versus a necessary good for companies of all sizes are long over (if they ever truly existed). Disaster recovery plans are an essential part of ensuring the continuance of your business. Did you know that the chances of a business recovering from an outage of approximately ten days have about a 7% chance of staying in business?

It’s important to remember that backup storage does not equal having a disaster recovery plan. A true disaster recovery plan must incorporate a secondary site. This way, both the primary and secondary site would need to simultaneously fail in order for your datacenter to experience an outage. This is because if the primary site fails, the secondary site would be able to automatically take over so that your employees and customers still have access to the data. And if the secondary site failed, it would have no affect on the primary site. 

Another element that can enhance your disaster recovery plan is the integration of data protection software. Dell’s AppAssure, for instance, is a unified data protection software solution with global data deduplication capabilities. Through the help of software such as AppAssure, you can significantly reduce the amount of time lost in the event of a disaster, and also reduce the total cost of your full DR solution.

It is estimated that 30-40% of companies worldwide do not have disaster recovery in place. That means that approximately 1 person out of 3 reading this blog post doesn’t have a secure datacenter and is at risk of losing their business’s data and files for good. While some may say, in this economy we can’t afford a DR plan…in actuality, in this economy, how can you afford not to?

- KH

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A New Level of Automation: HP ProLiant BL460c Gen8

Continuing with our new blade fascination, we decided to spend this week reviewing the HP ProLiant BL460c Gen8 server blade. When compared to the previous generation, the HP ProLiant BL460 G7 server blade, it’s clear that HP put some serious time and energy into overhauling their blade server design for the Gen8 portfolio.

The most dramatic changes in the HP BL460c Gen8 blade server design are evident through the performance and physical capacity increases.  For example, the BL460c Gen8 features a 33% DIMM slot increase, catapulting it to 16 DIMM slots and 512GB of maximum memory capacity. However, the real wow factor for the BL460c Gen8 comes from a 400% increase of bandwidth per I/O slots.

With a goal of creating the most self-sufficient servers on the planet, HP endowed the ProLiant BL460c Gen8 with an impressive array of the latest and greatest technologies. This decreased administrator time on tasks, and reduces the overall TCO for many datacenter. Some of its many automation features include HP Intelligent Provisioning, and agentless hardware monitoring partnered with HP SmartDrive carriers and HP Smart Socket Guide technologies.