Rethinking your server storage

Between the creation of the earth and 2003, humans produced five extabytes of data, total. By 2013, we were creating five extabytes each day.

Unfortunately, many companies continue to store their data as if it were still being produced at the same rate it was 10 years ago, when it was just a fraction of what it is now. That poses a problem.

At this point, a lot of companies still use three-tier hardware, which separates out the compute, network, and storage so that they can be managed in pieces. This approach is comfortable, and has been the norm for decades. But now there are potentially better storage options available.

As the explosion of data continues, it might be time to shift the focus off of three-tiered hardware, and explore some of the newer options that could better fit your needs. (more…)

3 laptop trends to keep an eye on if you’re planning to buy in 2017

Apple’s newest Macbook Pro made headlines for two major reasons: One, it was the first major Macbook Pro refresh in four years. Second, it stripped away the standard ports (the SD card slot, USB 2.0, HDMI, and the power connection) and replaced them with four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports.

While some have chided Apple for not releasing a complete overhaul reimagining of the laptop, the MacBook Pro points to several important trends in laptops that emerged in 2016 and will carry on through 2017.

Whether you’re anticipating a hardware refresh or simply investigating new functionality to fuel your users’ productivity, here are three laptop trends to keep an eye on. (more…)

How the Microsoft Surface Studio won over this skeptical graphic designer

As a videographer and motion graphic designer for nearly 20 years, I’ve seen my fair share of new design tools –from the clunky Gateway I used when I was first starting out, to Boxx, Alienware, and my current HP Z640.

I’m always willing to try out the latest and greatest tools, but when it comes to my workstation, I am staunchly in favor of desktops over laptops due to their vast superiority in processing power, memory, and storage. Laptops have come a long way, but when you are working with HD video and graphics-intensive files in After Effects, inferior computing power can make a difference in whether you meet your deadline and also whether you meet your vision of how you want your video/design to look. (more…)

Quick cubicle hacks for a healthier, more productive you

They’re not physically demanding, but desk jobs take a toll on your health.

Sitting is the new smoking” is a common refrain of the ergonomic movement. Research shows that sitting all day has adverse health effects. Sitting for extended periods of time or completing repetitive tasks can lead to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), which account for approximately 33 percent of all worker injury and illness cases.

Having a more functional and ergonomic workstation isn’t just beneficial for your back, eyes, and circulation; it also improves your overall productivity. No one wants to dive into a challenging project when their eyes are strained and legs are asleep, right? (more…)

4 situations when leasing IT hardware makes more sense than buying

lease-buyIs it better to buy or lease IT hardware? It can be a dilemma for any company.

Buying gives you more control over your IT assets and can allow faster purchasing and maintenance. Leasing keeps your hardware up to date, creates predictable expenses, and helps you keep pace with competitors.

Over the years, we’ve fielded a number of questions about buying and leasing and have helped organizations work through the pros and cons for their employees and business. In some cases, the path is clear: Leasing can make more sense than buying.

If any of the following situations look familiar, your company should take a closer look at your leasing options – they may be your best bet. (more…)

Why SSDs are taking over in the data center

Intel SSDThe reports of hard disk drives’ (HDDs) death have not been greatly exaggerated. That’s because solid state drives (SSDs) continue their takeover in consumer devices and the data center.

Sure, HDDs and SSDs each have their own advantages, but the latter is the more modern technology that continues advancing. As prices drop, SSDs are proving their advantages to end users and IT managers.

But there’s another huge motivation for large organizations to pick SSDs over HDDs: complex data. I’ll explain. (more…)

The 7 questions you need to ask before starting a 1:1 initiative

one-to-one-initiativeHow can you ace a 1:1 initiative? It starts with doing your homework.

If your school district is planning a 1:1 initiative, you’re probably weighing your options against costs and security – and those are valid considerations (more on them later). But district officials might be failing to think about how devices will be used, the necessary storage, and durability. So what other hardware considerations should IT be thinking about?

For a lot of school districts, two hardware choices make the most practical sense: Chromebooks or Windows machines. Both choices are affordable and offer compelling features. But which one you ultimately choose depends on your students. Let’s study up on the questions you should ask when deciding between a Dell Windows device or Chromebook. (more…)

What ENERGY STAR and other eco-friendly labels actually mean

green ITRoses are red, violets are blue, your device is green – wait, is that true?

The largest hardware providers are building more energy efficient products while revamping manufacturing to generate fewer emissions and hazardous chemicals. But can you tell whether the laptops your organization is about to purchase are completely energy efficient? There’s no lie detector test, but there are eco symbols – and they’re everywhere. These labels offer a simple reference point for a device’s degree of eco-friendliness, from efficiency to manufacturing methods.

How can you determine if your laptop has environmental integrity? Look for one of these seven eco designations – here’s what they mean. (more…)

Here’s what you need to know before your business buys a drone

DRONELike the Pony Express 150 years ago, the Drone Express may change the way you get mail and packages. Of course, the Drone Express is still a few years away, but drones are allowing organizations to think up new ways to conduct business.

Insurance companies, for example, rely on drones to inspect houses for damage; government engineers use them to examine buildings, bridges, and railroads; utility companies check phone lines with drones; and law enforcement and fire departments employ drones to scope dangerous scenes like burning buildings or forest fires.

But as you consider how drones can help your own business, there are a number of issues and regulations around commercial drones to know and address before your first flight. Here are the most important ones to consider to ensure your drone launch lifts off successfully. (more…)

You asked, we answered: Explaining 6 questions about warranties

warrantyWarranties get a bad rap. The common – and often incorrect – refrains we hear are that warranties are too expensive, too weak, and just ineffective. Warranties, relegated to a subsection of a larger contract, are glossed over in many transactions.

But warranties are more than fine print. Organizations buying hardware – everything from laptops to networking components to servers – should pay close attention to standard and expanded warranty options. Are they always necessary? Maybe not. But warranties are akin to hardware insurance, protecting investments for organizations of all sizes.

Still, many IT professionals are unsure of what their warranties entail. We’ve assembled six questions we’re often asked about warranties below to strip the terminology down to the basics so you can easily decide what you need and what you don’t. (more…)