The 2 most important considerations in server migration

Win2k3Workloads are your company’s lifeblood. Physical servers, virtual machines (VMs), or a combination of both are running Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, and various other applications. Inevitably the time will come to migrate these workloads to different hardware or VMs.

For organizations running Microsoft Windows 2003, that time is coming soon. These companies will need to migrate those servers to a new operating system before Microsoft ends support in July of this year. Migrating workloads from one server to another can be difficult, whether from one version of an operating system on a physical server to a newer version on a physical server, from a physical server to a virtual server, or from one hypervisor platform to another.  Application and version compatibility issues, network connectivity, and authentication and security problems can present challenges during a migration. Many organizations conducting a migration experience one of these situations; a recent survey conducted by IDC found 48 percent of companies run both physical and virtualized servers, and 54 percent of companies run more than one hypervisor in their environment.

This is especially true when moving a production workload to a new OS environment when it is intimately linked to the current environment. The two most critical steps in every migration are effectively backing up a full log of the data, and using the right tools to conduct the actual migration. Full image backups ensure all data – content and application settings, for example – can safely be migrated, and universal migration tools can simplify the actual process so it’s as easy as it is effective.

If done incorrectly, organizations can lose data, extend downtime, miss revenue opportunities, and adversely affect customer service perceptions – not to mention the long, hectic extra hours it takes to fix the problem. Continue Reading…

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A new way to get the most out of Microsoft Azure

cloud dataMicrosoft Azure is one of the fastest growing cloud services providers for enterprise businesses. A recent survey showed that about one fifth (19 percent) of enterprise businesses with more than 1,000 employees reported using Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and 15 percent used Azure’s Platform as a Service (PaaS). That’s an increase from a year ago of 11 percent and 12 percent, respectively, outpacing the growth of cloud competitors.

But many organizations that have purchased Azure through their Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) still haven’t capitalized on its full capabilities. In many instances, organizations commit a set dollar figure to Azure, but fail to fully utilize it. It’s why Microsoft, SHI, and CommVault have partnered to help organizations migrate a range of services and applications into Azure, and utilize long-term data backup and storage.

Through this partnership, organizations with Azure agreements can easily move data or migrate fully into Azure. Continue Reading…

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4 insights on data backups from our beta test of the new Arcserve appliance

backup restore

Organizations sit on mountains of data, and losing that content because of faulty or inadequate backup solutions can be catastrophic. No matter the size of your business, data backup is often necessary to protecting your bottom line. But not all solutions or methods will achieve this objective – at least not easily.

Technology firms like Arcserve, CommVault, Symantec, and others are working to fix that. They manufacture purpose-built backup appliances (PBBAs) that solely conduct data backups and restorations. And as more organizations demand the retention and protection of data, PBBAs are adding processing power and storage capabilities, and continue to leverage the cloud for backup storage.

We recently participated in the beta testing of the Arcserve UDP 7000 Series appliance, one of the newest available. What we experienced reaffirmed our beliefs about the PBBA space – it has solutions for organizations of all sizes, no matter what field.

Here are four takeaways about PBBAs from our beta test, and why these solutions might be right for your organization. Continue Reading…

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The biggest security mistake you can make (and how to avoid it)

biggest security mistakeNo organization is immune to security risks. Between malware, viruses, network attacks, and data breaches, organizations must keep a watchful eye on the health of their IT environment.

But often the biggest security risk is the one you’re not paying attention to. It’s not forgetting to patch security vulnerabilities, or not running antivirus, or relying on outdated software. Those are bad ideas, for sure, but there is one idea that’s worse than all of those combined: Not conducting regular data backups.

Organizations that don’t follow through with regular data backups aren’t alone, and a proper system backup solution doesn’t have to be a budget-busting endeavor. IT can easily fill this security gap with the right support. Continue Reading…

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IT time wasters: Why you should take a second look at your email archiving

clock in trashNo matter how hard you try, it’s seemingly impossible to solve the problem of an overloaded inbox. Organizing the endless onslaught of emails is a daunting task, and just isn’t a high priority for most users.

IT, of course, sees it all a little differently. It’s not just a matter of storage and security, but compliance as well. If your company is audited, or your lawyers need specific emails because of a pending legal case, how will they access those important documents?

For some organizations, emails can only be retrieved with a great deal of effort and no small amount of detective work among stacks of tape backups. Others stick to external hard drives and other manual backup practices, carrying out archiving so ineffectively that it could take hours — maybe even days — to access the emails needed.

How can organizations take a smart and effective approach to email archiving? How can they pull up important old emails no problem while minimizing the time they spend backing up everyone’s correspondence? By reviewing your backup procedures and enacting a few new practices, you can put this classic IT time waster to bed once and for all. Continue Reading…

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What’s new in Backup Exec 2014

Symantec released Backup Exec 2014 last month, building on Backup Exec 2012’s advances in backup technology. But in a nod to users, the newest version also reinstated some key, long-standing features that were absent, and sorely missed, from Backup Exec 2012. The changes come on the heels of an extensive beta test conducted earlier this year, and demonstrate that Symantec takes customer feedback to heart. As a former backup administrator, I can tell you that backup admins are creatures of habit, and the last thing they want to do when things are working well is to change something. To that end, the removal of Job Monitor from Backup Exec 2012 and the version’s move from policy-focused backups to server-focused backups left some long-time Backup Exec administrators unhappy.

Symantec Backup Exec 2014But now Job Monitor is back in Backup Exec 2014, as is the ability to create multi-server backup policies. The look and feel of Backup Exec 2014 is similar to 2012, but the inclusion of this functionality cannot be understated. Administrators can once again see the status of all backup jobs from a single, convenient dashboard and can create policies containing multiple servers, which simplifies management. Upgrading from previous versions of Backup Exec is also easier than ever, with settings and policies from versions 12.5 and above maintained in Backup Exec 2014. Continue Reading…

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You’re overdue for a data protection checkup

Stethoscope-on-KeyboardData is among the most valuable assets for any organization. And collecting, storing, and securing internal and external information only grows more important as the amount of data flooding in continues to rise.

Securing that data from hardware failure, natural disaster, malicious activity, or erroneous deletion can be challenging, especially if your data protection systems and processes aren’t functioning at their highest level. Given the speed with which data stores grow every day, it’s important to periodically audit and reassess your current data protection systems and determine whether an upgrade, refresh, or consolidation could better assist your organization in guarding your content.

Here are the four areas to review when evaluating your data protection solution. Continue Reading…

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iomartcloud adds cloud backup and disaster recovery to SHI BaaS

Yesterday we unveiled the new SHI Backup as a Service (BaaS) offering and today, at EMC World, we introduced one of the partners that is helping to power that solution. SHI BaaS uses iomartcloud‘s enterprise cloud platform for its scalable, secure, and easy-to-manage enterprise-grade data backup and recovery capabilities as well as its user-friendly interface.

The press release we issued this afternoon has all of the details. Click below to read the announcement in its entirety.

SHI Backup as a Service

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SHI launches Backup as a Service to help customers manage Big Data

Big Data can offer organizations a true competitive advantage, creating new ways to enhance their dialogue with customers and partners, evaluate and improve marketing and pricing strategies, and identify new revenue opportunities. But it also creates challenges for the IT folks tasked with storing, backing up, and protecting the massive amounts of digital information.

As the amount of data grows, and organizations also deal with accelerated virtualization, regulatory compliance, strict SLAs, and shrinking backup windows, IT departments will be forced to rethink their data backup and recovery strategies.

To better help our customers navigate this environment, SHI has partnered with EMC to create a Backup as a Service (BaaS) solution. SHI Backup as a Service is an end-to-end software and hardware backup and recovery solution that’s delivered as a self or managed service.

It combines SHI’s Management and Support Services with EMC Avamar and Data Domain to provide high-speed data deduplication, predictable performance, and simple scalability. With BaaS, organizations can cut down network bandwidth issues, reduce backup time, and keep data safe at minimal cost, without upfront expenditure.

SHI BaaS provides fast, daily full backups of physical and virtual servers, desktops, laptops, enterprise applications, and network-attached storage (NAS) servers. It easily integrates with many existing environments — Oracle, NetBackup, Microsoft, and VMware, to name a few — so organizations don’t have to worry about a major process or infrastructure change.

SHI BaaS is available in several deployment models to meet the needs of every IT department: Continue Reading…

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