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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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 It’s not forgetting to patch security vulnerabilities, or not running antivirus, or relying on outdated software.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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What is flash storage, and why do I need it?

storageIf you’ve been in this business long enough, you know the Solid State Drive (SSD) has been around since the late 70s/early 80s. Fast and unbelievably reliable compared to spinning disk drives, SSDs for many years were a favorite only at financial institutions, investment houses, and stock markets – some of the few companies that could afford them and needed the speed and reliability of a non-stop system.

Today, organizations of all shapes and sizes can benefit from the ultra-high speeds and friendly price tag of SSDs. But it’s crucial to understand the uses of flash storage in a data center environment and how it relates to your organization’s business needs. That way you can make the right decisions about solid state drives and related storage units. Continue Reading…

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How to find the perfect storage array

server rackIf your organization is like most, your storage array is one of your most valuable assets and also one of your biggest headaches to manage. But it doesn’t have to be this way. In a perfect world, there would be an ideal storage array, one that not only solves the most common problems in maintaining storage but also makes it easy and simple to get the best performance out of the system.

Here are five of the most common issues that limit how quickly and how effectively organizations can use their arrays, and how the perfect array might solve them: 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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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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The problems with PST files

Most companies cannot give users unlimited email storage on their Exchange server (although many users will attempt to test this reality). To control the amount of data begin stored, administrators implement quotas on mailboxes. When users reach their quota, they have two options: They can delete some email (yeah, right), or move it off the Exchange server.

Outlook uses PST files to store email outside of an Exchange system. The program prompts users to auto-archive old email to PST files by default, but users can also manually create them. While this sounds like a simple fix, most IT support will tell you that PST files are a pain in the neck to manage and in some cases create more problems than they solve.

To make matters worse, desktops and laptops are not always protected by a backup process. For this reason, users are taught to put documents and files they want backed up in their “home” folder on a network file server, which, in theory, is backed up regularly. As a result, users often put their PST files in their home folder and open them in Outlook to use.

Server administrators (or backup administrators) are responsible for backing up these file servers. There are two types of backups: full backups, during which all files are backed up, and incremental backups for files that have changed since the last full backup. Continue Reading…

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Email archiving: Solving the problem of digital data hoarders

Email-archivingWe all know how important email is to business. But I sometimes wonder if we’re becoming too obsessed with our email, to the point where we can’t let go of a single message for fear of losing a file or piece of correspondence. Unfortunately, all that worrying is having a negative effect on business — forcing organizations to invest in unnecessary amounts of storage and backup space.

Consider this real-world scenario. In my past life as an Exchange administrator, I found that my organization’s Exchange server was running low on disk space. After running some reports, I made a surprising discovery: 65 percent of all the email in our system was in the deleted items folders of user mailboxes! In addition, most of that email was more than a year old.

Excited that I was able to solve a problem without needing funding to purchase new storage for our Exchange server, I shared the good news with my boss. I told him we didn’t need to spend the $6,000 on new storage. I could simply create a policy to purge the email in the deleted items folder that was more than a year old. With that, I sat back in anticipation of the kudos that was certainly on the way.

Much to my surprise, he answered, “What if people need that email later on? I go back and get stuff out of the deleted items folder all the time.” So the decision was made to keep the old email and add new storage to the Exchange server.

However, this eventually led to another problem: The size of our email data had grown so large that it was taking too long to finish our daily backups. We couldn’t get them done in the off-hours. But the problems didn’t end there; our Exchange admins were facing a number of issues: Continue Reading…

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