How SHI helped coordinate telephony upgrades for 500 branches

Sometimes, you’re just due for an upgrade. That sounds like a routine process, but when you’re a huge supply company spanning the country, things can get extremely complicated.

In one particular case, a customer wanted to update its telephony infrastructure—about 500 branches of work over a relatively short period of time. Having been a customer of SHI for over a decade, the company came to us for help. Even with our extensive knowledge of the client and their equipment, it was true that this was going to be a challenge.

Despite these doubts, the initial complications of pilot testing and rollout, and the overall complexity of the project, SHI managed to find the perfect set of resources and people to get the project done right. Here’s how we did it. (more…)

4 times you’ll be glad you have Cisco SMARTnet

Many IT departments think of warranties and extra support as costly add-ons, a waste of money preparing for disasters that probably won’t happen.

Every once in a while, that might be the case. For the vast majority however, these programs are a smart insurance policy for the day when hardware or software issues crash your system—sometimes permanently. That kind of disruption can have a huge impact on your bottom line, waste tons of time, and leave customers confused or headed to your competitors. Even a single incident can make a warranty or support team worth every penny. (more…)

The top 5 IT mistakes you’re probably making

Everyone makes mistakes. Not everyone knows when they’re making them.

This is especially true in the world of IT, where teams are often swamped just keeping their environment up and running. In that rush, details sometimes go overlooked, and opportunities sometimes get ignored. The consequences are everything from wasted money to lost time to a system outage.

Fortunately, the fixes are often easy and can save you a lot of trouble down the road. You just have to know where to look. Here are five mistakes you may not know you’re making, and the simple fixes you could consider. (more…)

Server memory FAQ: What to know before you upgrade

Upgrading server memory is a balancing act. Between what you need now and what you’ll need in a year. Between the need for speed and the cost of those extra GBs. Get too much memory and you can, paradoxically, pay for it in cost and performance. Get too little and your users are slogging through gummy applications.

We’ve helped many organizations figure out what worked best for their server architecture, workload, and apps. During those conversations, we hear a lot of the same questions. Here are five of the big ones organizations ask when considering a server memory upgrade. (more…)

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…)