Three More Reasons Why Manufacturers Should be in Tune with IoT

In last week’s blog, Three Reasons Why Manufacturers Should be in Tune with IoT, we talked about how IoT implementation in the manufacturing world can help businesses by utilizing sensor based monitoring, providing enhanced data, productivity, and safety, and disclosing IoT’s competitive advantages.

This week, we are going to run through a few more reasons why manufacturer’s should take the time to look into how IoT can help their processes and the incredible opportunities that come with taking a leap into the fourth industrial revolution.

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Increased Security

Security is a key component in any business. Luckily, Increased security is one of the most important features that comes with working with an IoT enabled system. Most systems are enabled with strict access controls that allow secure access to certain individuals on a secure network. Having this increased security allows for peace of mind when it comes to a company’s internal data, designs, customer information, finances, etc.

Plant and Warehouse Environment Monitoring
A major distinction between manual warehouses and automatic warehouses is the presence of a “condition based alerts” system. This system measures air quality, health monitoring, and temperature, among other critical measurements to upkeep a swift and efficient production process. It is essential for the environment of the warehouse or plant to be within its limitations to be running with optimal speed and accuracy to achieve optimal success and keep the machines from overworking themselves. Running on an IoT system lets the system monitor the environment in real time to ensure the right conditions.

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Complete Transparency

For those in the company that hold a higher seat and find it difficult to visit the plant or warehouse on a regular basis, IoT offers a solution for you. An automated system that runs on IoT has digital tracking on performance, production, output, and machine information in real time. You will be able to see the ins and outs of the everyday operations within the warehouse at the click of a button. Access to this information streamlines communication throughout the entire company and results in efficiency across the board.

Velocity Tech Solutions is excited to help you on your journey into implementing IoT and helping you towards the fourth industrial revolution. Please call us at (888) 784-2088 or (651) 633-0095 to speak to our solutions specialists about how we can help you automate your manufacturing plant or warehouse.

Buying Refurbished Hardware: The Economical, Reliable, and Overall Smart Choice

As a society, we hold a stigma that new products are substantially better than ones that we have had for just a few years. We see this trend with laptops, phones, cars, etc. But, the reality of the market is, you don’t need the newest of the new, this is just what the large corporations and their advertising teams want you to believe. There are many individuals that have found perfect happiness, and held larger wallets, with used and refurbished products such as furniture, appliances, houses, and cars.

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Why can’t this practice be transferred into the business world, especially with your server and hardware needs. Avoid being the individual that has gotten into the habit of throwing away perfectly good commodities for the newer, shinier, and supposedly better product, when there is a tested and trusted source to purchase a refurbished choice. Not only will you help save the planet and work towards a non-disposable society, but you will also save your company a great deal of money.

Speaking of money: budgeting and financial planning is a large part of any business and the IT budget can only grow so much. Here’s the nitty gritty: we are living in a software driven world. Without proper software, hardware would not be able to communicate and the tasks that we need done would not be completed. Software can range from $50,000 to over a million dollars per business depending on the type of software, amount of licenses, and complexity of the goals. On the other hand, hardware is a commodity, you can find it anywhere and buy it at any time assuming there is room in the budget.

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Logically speaking, it would make more sense to save money on the hardware than to attempt to shrink down the size of the software allowances. The best way to do this is to buy refurbished servers and hardware parts: hard drives, batteries, raid controllers, etc. Refurbished hardware is a fraction of the cost of new hardware and the differences are minimal.

The fact of the matter is: refurbished servers, for example, are just as reliable as new servers. They run just as well, can be just as fast, and are able to have the same maintenance support as a server that is brand new and has never seen the light of day. Not only are servers less expensive in general, but upgrading hardware is cost effective as well. Imagine being able to cut the cost of a memory upgrade in half. Your finance department will praise you!

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But, it is also important to look at the source of the refurbished server and find a trusted company so that you can maximize the benefit of saving money and receiving a reliable product. At Velocity Tech Solutions, our hardware is tested by our in house Dell-certified technicians when it comes into our warehouse and before it gets shipped out to the customer. In addition, we offer a standard one year warranty on all of our products – we trust our technicians and the talent of our team and are ready to stand behind our products 100 percent of the time.  

The next time you are looking to upgrade your hardware, call our trusted solutions specialists at (888) 784-2088 or (651) 633-0095 or visit our website at velocitytechsolutions.com. Let us help you be the hero of your company and get you the reliable parts you need for a fraction of the cost.

How To: Velocity’s Guide to IDRAC Configuration and Usage

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In this installment of the How To series by Velocity Tech Solutions, we take you through the steps to configure your IDRAC information so that it is accessible and then take you through how to access your IDRAC once it can be found in your network.

Configuration: First, you need to configure your IDRAC IP information in order to make it accessible on  your network by following these steps.

For Generation 11 and earlier servers:

  • To get to the configuration menu in post, hit Ctrl+E when it references the “IDRAC configuration utility”.
  • Once in this utility, you will find a “LAN parameters” option. The first thing that you will want to do is clarify whether you have an enterprise or express IDRAC.
    • If you have enterprise you can use the dedicated IDRAC network port.
    • If you have express, it will share one of the LAN ports on the motherboard. You can decide which port you want to share if that is the case.
  • Farther into the “LAN Parameter” menu, there will be a section where you input your ipv4 and ipv6 information for your network.
    • You can also use the default IP of 192.168.0.120

For Generation 12 and later servers:

  • To get to the IDRAC configuration, use the F2 menu.
  • Once there, after post, select the “IDRAC settings menu” option.
  • Choose the “network settings” option.
    • Within there, it has the selection of dedicated and shared ports along with the IP configuration information.

Usage: Once you have your IP information configured and your IDRAC has a network cable hooked up to the proper NIC; you can then access your IDRAC using the IP information you configured in the earlier steps. Follow these steps to access your IDRAC.

  • Type the IP information into a web browser on a computer that is on the same network as your server. It will bring you to a log in page (it may also give you a certificate error that you can bypass).
    • You will be prompted to type in a username and password, the default login information is:

Username: root

Password: calvin

  • Once you are logged in, you will be directed to a page where you will see tons of information about the server.
    • There will be a column along the left hand side with different sections you may go to for different bits of information about the server.
    • Along the top bar, there will be tabs that change and give you different options depending on what section you are in.
  • If you have an enterprise license on the main page of the IDRAC you will also have remote access option that will allow you complete remote access of the server; even outside of an OS environment.
    • However, this will require a specific version of Java to function properly.

We hope that this How To garnered success on your end! Thank for visiting our blog and our bi-weekly How To!

 

Why You Should Use 3rd Party Maintenance For Your IT Assets

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The short answer: MONEY.

We all want to look like heroes and save our companies thousands of dollars each year but, more often than not, we become the goat, the butt of all jokes, the one who fell for the scam. You find out that in the long run the service is so bad that you end up spending more money per incident because you got what you paid for. However, most buyers who utilize 3rd party maintenance services save up to 50 percent or more over three years, in most cases. In reality though, it isn’t just about the money you could save, excellent service is also an important trait, 3rd party technicians come just as qualified as OEM technicians. 3rd party maintenance requires careful vetting but in the end, it can be more than worth it.

This is where doing your homework and being educated to make a better choice is critical.

Let’s begin at the moment you decide to buy your nice, shiny, and new equipment from your original equipment manufacturer (OEM). The new server and switch smell is hard to beat. Keep in mind, once you take it out of the box you have already lost a third of your equipment’s value. It’s like taking that first right turn after you’ve picked up your brand-new car, it loses $8,000.00 in value. Though, it sure does smell good.  We understand, with new equipment (or cars), you get that sense of security when something goes wrong and you know your OEM will be there to support you.

Now, fast forward three years: here’s the scenario: your equipment is working fine, you’ve made minimal service calls, and then you get the renewal notice for maintenance on your equipment, you gasp and your eyes grow wide!

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The renewal offer is twice as much as it was originally and it now states that your equipment is now at the “end of life” stage. But it works great, now you are confused and dazed.

At this point, the OEM is trying to dictate your business decisions and your budget by scaring the bejeezus out of you and forcing you to believe that you absolutely must find the money to upgrade. This is the part where the OEM’s instill doubt about the equipment that they themselves sold to you. For years the immediate response from most buyers was, “Well, they know best, we should do this or we’ll have problems.” Objectively speaking, this actually means that they have no faith in their equipment after three years.

Truth be told, we are in a software defined world. Software costs, often times, outweigh hardware costs. So, let’s think about the six figures it takes to upgrade your hardware, in addition, for larger companies, it could take an additional seven figures to upgrade your software. Throughout this process there is no doubt that the OEM’s are fat and happy.

But, think about if you were able to extend the life of your hardware without needing to change any software and then spent just a few hundred dollars per year on your support, you would actually get to do the job you were hired to do. 3rd party maintenance services allow you to do just that.

OEM support contractors, often times, are the same folks that the 3rd party maintenance providers use. In a nutshell, this means that you have access to the same talented technicians that the OEM’s use, but at half the cost.

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The next time you find that your OEM contract is up, save yourself the worry and call up Velocity Tech Solutions, they offer 3rd party maintenance, and have a chat with them, get some quotes, and match them up against your OEM’s quote. Velocity’s 3rd party maintenance, Velocity Support +,  is a stress saving, hassle free, and budget friendly solution to prolonging the life of your hardware. The next time your hardware is having a problem: call (888) 784-2088 or (651) 633-0095, let Velocity Support + handle the hardware, and leave yourself free to kick your feet up.

What You Can’t Find on Amazon

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It is no secret that, in this day and age, online shopping is the first option for many individuals when they are in need of any product at any time. Shopping online can be the quickest and most convenient option when we take into consideration the busy day-to-day lives of consumers across the globe. What is easier than spending a few minutes browsing for the product you need and purchasing it for two-day delivery with the touch of a button?

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The first place that many people look to when in need of any product is Amazon.com. Amazon was developed in 1994 by Jeff Bezos and is headquartered in Seattle, Washington. Initially, the company’s niche was as an online bookseller that found success because of it’s extensive online inventory of literature. Over the past three decades it has grown into the largest Internet company in the world in terms of revenue and into the second largest employer in the United States, behind Walmart. Amazon now sells: clothing, electronics, jewelry, hardware, furniture, home essentials, groceries, toys, video games, media, and countless other products.

Sure, it is safe to say that you can get almost anything from Amazon.com, including servers, hard drives, and software. They have a plethora of different products and options readily available for purchase. But, with a company as large as them, there are multiple qualities that you wish they had.

Examples of wishful qualities may include:

  • a guarantee that the product is tested for accuracy and usability and will ensure that your needs are met with the correct product before shipment.
  •  a standard, guaranteed warranty with each and every single product.
  •  long-lasting support and a real relationship with the company for future reference and solutions help.
  • guiding questions that are readily asked or quickly answered.

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Fortunately for consumers everywhere, these wishes can be granted. All of these qualities come standard with a purchase from Velocity Tech Solutions.

Velocity Tech Solutions was founded in 2007 out of Minneapolis, MN with a network engineer mindset.  Over the past decade they have propelled forward as a supplier of refurbished and tested Dell servers, Equallogic hard drives, Precision work stations, and Dell parts. The service that Velocity Tech Solutions offers is second to none in terms of their customer care, careful analysis, accurate fixes, and speedy delivery.

We ask relevant questions in order to make sure that the product you are ordering is the correct one for your intended fix. Every single one of our products is tested by Dell Certified Technicians on the way into our warehouse, as well as on the way out when you order for delivery. In addition, every product we sell comes standard with an honorable one year warranty through our company.

However, the most important perk of allowing Velocity Tech Solutions to be there for your server, hardware, and software needs is the genuine care that you receive before, during, and after your purchase. Our solutions specialists and technicians are available to assist you in any step of the process whenever called upon, in every hour of the day. Our passion is to be your one stop shop in terms of being a solutions resource.

Now, don’t get us wrong, we love Amazon just as much as the next person when it comes to getting what we know we need quickly and efficiently. But, we also understand that some purchases take time, thought, and the need for a solutions specialist to be there for you every part of the way. Confidently receiving the correct product and the warranty are just a bonus.

Hey You Get Outta that Cloud- or at least ask some questions before you get hung up there

For those of you that went to the cloud, or are thinking of moving to the cloud, can you answer with certainty who owns your data? This isn’t a new question or new controversy, as big data gets bigger, as more data is stored in the cloud, as  more devices hit the market and as more hackers are getting into our banks and government servers  do you own your data and if not who does and where is it?

Over the past few years there has been controversy over the “Cloud” and who owns what data where.   For those willing to play “who’s data is it anyway”, the legal issues aren’t getting any clearer.

As a consumer user of the cloud -posting my so important pictures of my yellow lab Riley on Facebook

rileyhead Riley, the best dog ever!

or using my Gmail account or the obsessive habit of using my Amazon prime account so I can feel like a kid at Christmas every day seeing a box on my doorstep, I fail to realize the pain of this issue: probably because it’s so convenient. I then suggested the cloud as a solution for one of my customers.  That’s when it hit me.

As someone working in technology (ok I’m a sales geek) I need to really think about how real and complicated this issue is to better serve my customers by educating them in the pros and cons of using the cloud

For those thinking of going to the cloud, it seems like such and easy thing. So you call Mr. Cloud company and say “Mr. Cloud company, I want to put my data way up in the cloud so no one can get it.” Mr. Cloud says ok “we’ll store your data and all will be safe in the world forever and ever amen.” You sign the contract there, you’re in the cloud. You’re happy your data is safe, no one will ever get your data, you will have access to it at all times and you don’t have to hire and pay someone to support it.

What you don’t ask Mr.  Cloud company is “what is the trail of your cloud”? Why would you ask that? What is the “trail of the cloud” Clouds don’t trail! Have you ever looked up and seen those long skinny clouds? Yeah, they trail.

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In some cloud companies you give your data to a cloud provider who then outsources its work to another storage or process provider, who’s responsible if your information is lost or damaged? What if that outsourcing happens in another country? So if data is created in one country, but then stored in another the legal rules that apply become blurred. YIKES!!

Now you worry about your data. You call an attorney. What area of law is this? Cloud law isn’t a thing……yet. There are 3 main areas of law (and maybe more) that cover this: Copyright, Confidentiality and Contract. So do you need 3 attorneys? Also if your data is stored or outsourced in another country do their rules apply?

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In speaking with a customer of mine from a University, he mentioned real concern about security in regard to the cloud. He mentioned his concern regarding student personal information as well as student loan information. Once student loan information is breached now we have a tax payer issue, and as he put it, “now we have a federal issue”.

There are guidelines from PTAC – the US Department of Education’s Privacy technical assistance center. But it gets a little “cloudy” regarding the cloud.

What it boils down to is Data Mining or Big Data.  In the education world to use as an example; this is a huge no no as it violates the “no commercial use of student data” policy.  According to Education Weekly when the litigation started in 2014, consent was not given to scan or index emails under the Google for education platform.

This issue isn’t any clearer in 2016 as UC Berkeley has this lawsuit pending for the same thing, called. “UC Berkeley students sue Google Alleging their emails were illegally scanned”.

I have only discussed a bit of the issue, but how about your industry? How about your data? Think about what you personally put out there? Your buying habits, your search habits. What about when you are in crisis? Is that something we want out in the “cloud”?

Should you decide to go to the cloud, read your contracts, ask some questions. Make sure the provider can specify who will be responsible for the data should it be lost or stolen. There should also be a provision in that contract as to who is responsible if the cloud company goes bankrupt, or is purchased by another cloud company.

If you need some help to get started in this process, help is here just give us a call.

www.velocitytechsolutions.com

 

It’s the end of the road for Equallogic. Now what?

Dell and EMC are getting married again. In this being their second marriage, they are taking Compellant and Powervault, but leaving Equallogic as the possession sold in the Saturday morning garage sale.

What does this mean for the current Equallogic users? The support is ending, to extend support if even possible, is really expensive. So you, the IT person says, “well I’ll limp along until my budget allows me new storage”. Oh wait, no support contract, no firmware upgrades you think to yourself. “Will my critical data be unstable with no firmware updates?” I’ll be able to get hardware for a while should something fail, but… that …software……sigh.

You don’t have to be held hostage by the hardware OEM’s for your storage. The 3 to 5 year rip and replace cycle of pain, agony and expense doesn’t have to continue to be part of your daily pain and suffering. The difficult marriage to your storage can be repaired with a little information,  some trust and your current hardware. Yes your CURRENT hardware if you desire to keep it. Or, get a little crazy and mix your hardware up. Live dangerously, but keep your data safe.

What makes storage smart isn’t the hardware, it’s the software.  So why not get the smartest software out there that can run on ANY OEM and out perform everyone else and why not get the best least expensive hardware to run it on. www.velocitytechsolutions.com

One word…… DATACORE. Datacore San Symphony V Software defind storage  is hardware agnostic. It will run on any OEM hardware. If your need is for speed check out the SP1 RECORD BREAKING SPEED:  https://www.datacore.com/best-price-performance-fastest-response-time. If your need is high availability or business continuity, there are real cases of years of zero downtime. Is managing data in one pane of glass a dream for you? They have that covered too.  Latency is minimal with Datacore as their parallel i/o keeps those multi cores working as they can simultaneously handle compute, networking and i/o loads with minimal hardware.

Let’s talk dollars and “sense”. At $ .08 /SPC-1 IOPS Datacore blows away the $.41/SPC-1 IOPS of and EMC VNX8000 storage array. In real dollars we can say as an example an  EMC VNX8000 will run about $177,000 for a mid range storage. Datacore $38K. And oh by the way, get ready to spend more than $177,000 in 3 to 5 years when support ends and you get ready for a rip and replace that EMC array. If you want to change your hardware with Datacore in 3 to 5 years aside from the hardware you want to purchase your cost:  $0.00. You don’t have to EVER buy a new license. What makes sense to you?

Datacore really does what Nutanix does for Dell, what ScaleIO does for EMC , and  what On Command does for Net Apps array. The difference is you no longer have to be bullied by the OEMS to spend excessive amounts of money just for it to do the same thing Datacore can do on a JBOD, or a DAS. So keep your old hardware, buy some new less expensive hardware, or go for recertified. Keep that return on investment to invest in your organization.

The partnership of Velocity Tech Solutions and Datacore Software gives you the best of all things storage. Low cost, high availability, speed and ease of use. Check us out, ask some questions, and don’t hesitate to ask for a demo.