Category Archives for "IT Solutions"

IoT, AI, Blockchain, 5G., etc. What does it all Mean?

It’s difficult to keep up with all of the developments in information technology over the past couple of years.  More and more acronyms and buzz words have popped up and it isn’t always clear what they mean. 

Here’s a quick cheat sheet for your reference:

 

  • IoT – Internet of Things
    • The internet of things, or IoT, is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a data network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.  Organizations in a variety of industries are using IoT to operate more efficiently, better understand customers to deliver enhanced customer service, improve decision-making and increase the value of the business.  For example, an IoT system that monitors pressure and flow of natural gas lines and transfers that data via a wireless network to a centralized database for analysis by the natural gas company to check for anomalies and issues. 
  • AI – Artificial Intelligence
    •  Artificial intelligence (AI), sometimes called machine intelligence, is ”intelligence” demonstrated by machines.  A true artificially-intelligent system is one that can learn on its own.  Artificial intelligence is a theory and development of computer systems that can perform tasks that normally require human intelligenceSpeech recognitiondecision-makingvisual perception, are features of human intelligence that artificial intelligence may possess. A good example of AI is voice-powered personal assistants like Siri and Alexa.  Another example is autonomously-powered self-driving vehicles boasting powerful predictive capabilities.
  •  Blockchain
    • A blockchain is a growing list of records called “blocks” that are linked using cryptography (secure communication) methods.  By design, a blockchain is resistant to modification of the data. It’s “an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way”.  Blockchain was invented in 2008 to serve as the public transaction ledge of cryptocurrency Bitcoin.  Blockchain is a distributed database existing on multiple computers at the same time. It is constantly growing as new sets of recordings, or ‘blocks’, are added to it. Each block contains a timestamp and a link to the previous block, so they actually form a chain.
  • Hyperconverged Data Center Infrastructure
    • Hyperconverged platforms include a hypervisor for virtualized computing, software-defined storage, and virtualized networking, and they typically run on standard, off-the-shelf servers. Multiple nodes can be clustered together to create pools of shared compute and storage resources, designed for convenient consumption.  The value of these platforms is that stand alone servers, storage arrays, networking and virtualization technologies are no longer necessary.  There is a single point of management and adding more capacity is typically far simpler than with traditional IT systems.  For IT leaders who are embarking on data center modernization projects, hyperconvergence can provide the agility of public cloud infrastructure without relinquishing control of hardware on their own premises.  There are several OEMs that manufacture hyperconverged platforms.
  • 5G Cellular – 5th Generation Cellular Network
    • Currently, our mobile phone network is in its fourth generation or 4G.  The fifth generation or 5G is up and coming and has been rolled out in some areas of the world including certain cities in the U.S.  5G will not only make our mobile devices better, smarter and faster, 5G will also affect many other kinds of devices, including industrial robots, security cameras, drones and cars that send traffic data to one another.  5G offers mobile internet speeds that will let people download entire movies within seconds and most likely bring big changes to video games, sports and shopping.  By 2024 there will be over 1.5 billion of us connected to 5G, according to Ericsson, a company that makes some of the infrastructure and systems that makes 5G possible.

That’s a lot of information.  Is your organization in the process of deploying these initiatives?  How can you find additional funding for these initiatives?  Consider partnering with a Third Party Maintenance (TPM) company.  TPMs provide support and maintenance for data center infrastructure including servers, storage and networking systems at a FRACTION of the cost of OEM support and maintenance.  Use the savings to invest towards your new IT initiatives for 2019, 2020 and beyond.

Partner with Sherlock Services, Inc., a global TPM Company.

When it comes to supporting IT, we’re at your service. 

IT Acronyms! Are they driving you crazy? EOL and EOSL – what exactly do they mean?

When Dell EMC, NetApp, HPE, IBM, Cisco, Brocade, or other OEMs announce that a system will reach End of Life (EOL) or End of Service Life (EOSL), it can be difficult to understand what these terms mean for your data center infrastructure. Not only do you have to understand what each term means, but you also have to determine the next steps for your EOL hardware. What is the difference between End of Life and End of Service Life?

End of Life (EOL)

EOL means that the OEM has decided that a specific system has reached the end of its “useful lifespan”. This is when the OEM recommends doing a hardware refresh to the latest generation of their hardware. This is also when the OEM will no longer be selling the hardware in question. Most manufacturers discontinue the production of hardware as a way to create demand for their latest product offerings, not necessarily because the earlier generation is no longer useful. There are still extended OEM hardware maintenance options at this point in your equipment’s lifecycle, but this stage is a good time to evaluate your support needs.

End of Service Life (EOSL)

EOSL indicates that all support, including both primary and extended, will no longer be offered by the OEM. There are certain instances when you may still be able to obtain maintenance from them, but this will come at a premium cost. Now that your equipment is EOSL, if you want to keep the system you will need to consider a third party vendor for your maintenance needs.  Choosing a third-party provider for your maintenance services saves your business money and provides the same benefits like prompt support, expert advice, and the ability to extend the life of your IT systems.

Extend the Life of Your EOL and EOSL Hardware

End users have several options when it comes to extending the life of an EOL system. Just because the OEM still offers support doesn’t mean it’s right for your IT budget and environment.  Using Third Party Maintenance (TPM) may be more ideal. This is largely thanks to the ability to receive the same or better support services at a fraction of OEM maintenance prices. If your system is at the EOSL stage, you still have options for high quality support when you partner with a TPM company.  TPM providers have access to high-quality OEM parts from trusted channels to maintain full functionality of your EOL and EOSL equipment. TPMs also can provide proactive system monitoring solutions and service ticketing systems.  When using TPM services, organizations  can also get access to customizable SLAs, coterminous contacts, and on-site spare parts.

Partner with Sherlock Services for your data center infrastructure support needs.

Sherlock Services:  When it comes to supporting IT, we’re at your service.

Stethoscope on Keyboard EOSL image

Data Center Relocation: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

A Stinging Reminder to Take Nothing for Granted When Migrating Your Physical Data Center to a New Location

Stingray City

Data Center Relocation is Risky | Cayman TroughHave you ever visited Stingray City[1] in the beautiful Caribbean waters near Grand Cayman Island? It’s a rare destination spot for tourists to interact with Southern Stingrays in their native habitat. It’s here where charmed thrill-seekers stand in three feet of water and hand-feed these generally docile creatures with little concern for the dangers lurking near.

You see, although Stingray City resides on a sandbar mere feet from the ocean’s surface, it sits precariously close to the Cayman Trough[2]. At its deepest location, this underwater trench plunges

25, 217 feet to the ocean floor and is home to sharks and other predatory creatures of the deep.

These waters are no place to let down your guard or to get mentally sloppy with your calculations when transporting trusting tourists back and forth on adventure tours. You must always be alert and vigilant to the potential challenges that lie around you.

The same can be said when you physically relocate your data center to a new location. There are myriads of situations which could potentially derail your efforts, or worse, drown your IT infrastructure altogether. These threats can cause an untold loss in revenue for your company.

To lessen potential loss, consider the following steps to safeguard and streamline your data center move.

12 Steps To Consider For Data Center Relocation

  1. Think critically about your physical data center relocation strategy.
  2. Document your thoughts and consult with others to ensure your plan is a good one.
  3. Solicit the help of qualified individuals to assist you in the physical and technical tasks required to complete this move.
  4. Study and map your current data center configuration so you will know how to reassemble it at your new location.
  5. Take time to determine which legacy system(s) you should maintain and which legacy system(s) you should render obsolete.
  6. Dispose of all obsolete IT legacy equipment in a safe and proper manner.
  7. Confirm your new data center location is fully equipped to handle your existing data center infrastructure.
  8. Safely transport your data center to your new location.
  9. Reassemble your data center at your new location.
  10. Test, test and test your newly installed IT data center before bringing it back online and green lighting its use for everyday operation.
  11. Fix and repair any troublesome issues that arise.
  12. Monitor your newly relocated data center for ongoing efficiency and equipment performance.

Summary

It’s a perilous journey to navigate the deep dark waters of an IT data center move. But this is the mission for many brave IT professionals. They put their reputations and livelihoods on the line while crossing this seemingly wide expanse.

But there’s “a method to the madness,” as explained in 12 easy steps, to safeguard and streamline your next data center relocation project.

Plus, you can always contact Sherlock Services for personalized guidance and hands-on care.

Contact Sherlock Services

We are a leading third-party maintenance provider with years of experience in IT storage, server and network support. We are also able to assist you in long-term monitoring support as well as providing an upgrade path for your current IT infrastructure.

Should you have the need, we also offer data center relocation and IT asset disposition services.

Don’t wait for your manufacturer’s warranty to run out. Allow Sherlock Services to demonstrate our value to your business.

Contact us to schedule a FREE no-obligation needs assessment with our knowledgeable Account Executive now. Sherlock Services, when it comes to supporting IT, we’re at your service.

A Stinging Reminder

Oh, and one more thing…. Never underestimate the power of a stingray.

Remember Steve Irwin[3], the beloved animal expert and conservationist. He was “pierced in the heart by a stingray barb while filming an underwater documentary film titled Ocean’s Deadliest.”[4]  Sometimes, the most routine and seemingly ordinary tasks are the ones that can lash out and sting you.

 

[1]     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stingray_City,_Grand_Cayman

[2]     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cayman_Trough

[3]     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Irwin

[4]     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Irwin

 

Hurricane Preparation Procedures

  1. Ensure You Have a Backup

Don’t wait until the day before a hurricane to back up your files! It’s a good practice to frequently back up your data files to an external drive or memory key to prevent loss of data, as well as to store it in a secure, safe place. Print a copy of your important/emergency contacts and take them with you in the event that you do not have access to them from your phone or computer, you’ll have them available to use via a landline.

  • If you hold the physical installation media to non-enterprise wide software purchased through your department, consider making a copy of it, if you are licensed to do so. Sherlock Services does not keep copies of unique software.
  1. Secure Your Equipment
  • Computers/Storage Systems:
    • Shutdown the operating system.
    • If connected to a surge protector or UPS – unplug the surge protector or UPS from the wall outlet (or unplug power cables from the surge protector or UPS if wall outlet not accessible).
    • If no surge protector – unplug the power cables from the wall outlet (or back of the equipment if the wall outlet is not accessible).
    • Unplug Ethernet cable from the back of the equipment.
  • Printers:
    • Power off the printer.
    • If connected to a surge protector – unplug the surge protector from the wall outlet (or unplug the power cable from the surge protector if wall outlet not accessible).
    • If no surge protector – unplug the power cable from the wall outlet (or back of the printer if the wall outlet is not accessible).
    • Unplug the Ethernet cable from the back of the printer.
    • Unplug phone cable from the back of the printer (if fax line connected).
  1. Network Services

Sherlock Services will keep all mission-critical systems in service as long as possible. However, certain services might need to be brought off-line and/or shut down before the storm hits. This is necessary to ensure that equipment and services are safe from the effects of the storm.

After The Storm

Sherlock Services will work as quickly as the circumstances permit to restore network connectivity and services throughout the environment. As you reconnect your office equipment make sure to reconnect them to your surge protector or UPS as they were before. Expect power surges, brownouts, and fluctuations for at least several days or longer after power has been restored. All the effort you went through in preparation may be lost if you take a hit after the storm.

For additional assistance, please contact Sherlock Services at 866-827-6804

Data Center Relocation Service

Recently, one of our partners contacted us regarding one of their clients. The company was a Southeast-based identity verification company wanting to move their data center from Florida to Georgia. The move was planned and organized for months. The week of the move, Sherlock sent two engineers to Florida to map out all the cabling, equipment locations and to prepare the move. On Friday, the systems were brought down and by 2 pm, the customers’ data racks and equipment were loaded up and headed North by Sherlock’s certified carrier. At 8 am Saturday, the equipment was unloaded into the new data center in Georgia. All of the equipment was relocated into new data racks, the rewiring completed and the customer was back online that evening.  Another successful data center relocation; just one example how Sherlock Services supports your Enterprise IT needs.