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.

How To: Run Onboard Diagnostics for the Dell Generation 11 and Up Servers

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Built into the lifecycle controller; the Dell, generation 11 and up, servers come with onboard diagnostics that can be used to test almost all of the hardware within the system.

  1. The first thing you need to do in order to reach the onboard diagnostics is to boot into the lifecycle controller; to do this press f10 while the system is going through its POST process. It will start by saying, “press f10 to enter system services” on the top right hand corner of the screen. When pressed it will change the message to inform you that it will attempt to boot into the lifecycle controller at the end of POST.
  2. After it’s booted into the lifecycle controller, which can take several minutes depending on the model, you will be brought to a UEFI menu with full mouse and keyboard support. Look for “hardware diagnostics” on the left hand column of options.
  3. Once the “hardware diagnostics” option is selected there will be a link on the right that you can click into.
  4. On Generation 11 servers you will be brought into a two-option menu after entering the hardware diagnostics; one of the options is “MPmemory” and the other option is “diagnostics”. The “MPmemory” option will allow you to run tests on all of the system memory within the system. There is also an express option that will run a set number of tests and a custom option that will allow you to select a number of more time consuming options. The other menu, “diagnostics,” will have a number of different types of tests you can run. You can either select “express” or “full tests,” which will run the system through a set number of tests or you can use custom tests which will bring you to a menu were you can manually select and deselect different devices to test.
  5. On Generation 12 servers you will be brought into one single diagnostic menu which will test everything from within one test area.
  6. After all tests are completed there should be an error readout area that will list any devices that failed. It should also give some information on what failed on each device, if any.

This finalizes the steps to take in order to run onboard diagnostics for Dell, Generation 11 and up, servers. We hope these steps aided in your success and we thank  you for visiting our blog and our bi-weekly How To!

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.

Are you ready for Industry 4.0?

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For us Gen Xers and Baby Boomers The Jetsons was a far-fetched idea that could never ever come to fruition. How wrong were we?

The original Jetsons ran from 1962 to 1963. If you think about the change in the world, 55 or so years isn’t very long. Something as simple as a call where you can see someone, today we call that a video call or video conferencing, that we never in a million years thought would ever happen. How could it?

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The idea was pretty cool in 1962 when, often times, people’s telephone lines were what they called “party lines.” For you youngsters that have never heard the term: party lines is where more than one house shared a phone line. For example, you would pick up the phone and Gladys was sharing cookie recipes with Hilda.

 

Moving ahead 55 years, here we are at Industry 4.0: The 4th Industrial Revolution

This, clearly, is not the cotton gin or the steam engines. This is IOT (The Internet of Things), IIOT (The Industrial Internet of Things), AI (Artificial Intelligence), and Automation (robotics and computers performing more efficient processes).

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A little history, please?

The first industrial revolution paved the way for the factory systems with new iron production processes and the transition from hand production methods to machine production methods.

The second industrial revolution began globalization. People and ideas were moving via the telegraph and railroad across the globe enhancing communication, ideation, and innovation.

The third industrial revolution pushed into the digital age with robotics, automation, and computing.

Now, we have arrived at the fourth industrial revolution. Industry 4.0 is about interconnecting everything: sensors, software, and data analytics. Decisions are now based on live data from the entire factory network. This is where IOT, which is a network of physical objects that features an IP address for internet connectivity and communication happens between all of those internet enabled objects, and IIOT come together. 

Most importantly, IIOT in manufacturing specifically, holds great potential for quality control, sustainable and green practices, supply chain trace-ability, and overall supply chain efficiency.

 

How Industry 4.0 can change the face of the manufacturing industry

From a social perspective, we talk about being “connected” through our email, Facebook, Twitter, News broadcasts, GOOGLE, etc. There is no doubt that there is a connection overdose, but we will save that for another day.

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It goes to show that Industry 4.0 is all about connectivity – but it’s been a slow transformation for the manufacturing industry. From the network connection to connecting devices to data management to storing data.

 

What Industry 4.0 level connection means for a factory 

Industry 4.0 allows for operations to see all their pertinent information in real time. Manufacturers updated with Industry 4.0 standards are more intuitive, which will drive every day operations to be more efficient as well as safe. Tools and equipment are now able to validate and measure each step of your operation. In addition, in the event of a malfunction, operations will stop until the exact result is achieved.

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In a nutshell, what can Industry 4.0 do for the average manufacturing factory? 

Industry 4.0 will finally give the employee’s power – right at the center of progress. It will allow for more collaboration between the workers in the shop and the CEO in the top seat. This with help spark more intelligent decisions with more intelligent data along with the ability to measure success in real time. 

If this is the first you are hearing about Industry 4.0 and how it can revolutionize your manufacturing business, please call us at (888) 784-2088 or (651) 633-0095 for more information on how we can help! 

How To: Upgrade Firmware on Generation 11 and Up Servers Using the Lifecycle Controller

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Listed below are some simple steps to follow in order to upgrade the firmware on servers that are classified as generation 11 and up. This method of upgrading uses the lifecycle controller.

  1. Boot the server and press F10 during post. You will notice it will reference “entering system services” or “lifecycle controller,” this  will depend on the model of the server.
  2. Once it has booted into the lifecycle controller you will see, on the left hand column, a “firmware update” or a “platform update,” depending on what generation server you’re on. Click this option and it will give you several links within the right side of the screen. Then click “Launch firmware update” as the top option.
  3. Once there, you will have three options to select, “FTP server” being the top option, select this option.
  4. If you have never configured a NIC within the lifecycle controller it will give you a message saying “Network is not configured” and ask if you would like to configure it now. Accept to go into the NIC configuration.
  5. Once in there, it will give you a list of available NIC ports to configure. Select one that has a cable plugged into it and it will give you an option of “static” or “DHCP” configuration. Select whichever will be applicable for your network. Once selected, click “finish” on the bottom right corner.
  6. Once you have the NIC port set up and it successfully configures, it will send you back to the initial selection of “FTP server”, Local Drive, and Network Share. Select “FTP Server” again.
  7. Now that the NIC is configured it should send you to a page with several fields. The top field should be filled in already with “ftp.dell.com.” You may leave the rest of the options blank. Now, click “next” on the bottom right corner.
  8. It will now start connecting to the FTP server and will likely take several minutes to go through and detect all of the potential updates for the system.
  9. After it has found all the potential updates it will bring you to a list where you may select which devices to update. Once you’ve selected your devices and clicked “accept” it will start downloading all of the updates that were selected and automatically run the updates. The system will likely reboot several times during the update process. The number of reboots will depend on how many updates are selected.
  10. You will know it’s complete when it sends you back into the lifecycle controller a final time and does not go back into the “firmware” updater window.

This finalizes the steps to take in order to upgrade the firmware on your generation 11 and up server. We hope these steps were easy to follow and guided you to success on your firmware upgrade. Thank you for visiting our blog and this How To!

Benefits of Velocity Tech Solutions

After 11 years in business we want to reintroduce ourselves.

We were founded by a Network Engineer that understands the importance of your time, the quality of the product, and the accuracy of your order.

Anyone can send you a widget! The benefit of using Velocity Tech Solutions as a resource is that we are committed to developing a long-term relationship with you and gaining your trust. Our passion is to be creative in helping you resolve the issue/project at hand.

Our principles soon became our core values:

  • We give the “WOW EXPERIENCE” (not just a sale, an “EXPERIENCE”)
  • We do the “RIGHT THING” for you
  • We are Diverse
  • We are Passionate & Tenacious

We invite you to experience our extraordinary service .
Now that you’ve learned a little about us we want to learn more about you!
Please visit us at our website or lease contact one of our highly skilled
Solutions Consultants

888-784-2088 Toll-Free
651-633-0095 Main

Servers starting at $199

20,000 square feet of climate controlled Dell Servers and Parts

We are a Traction® Company

 Velocity Tech Solutions

How Velocity Tech Solutions Saved Spring Break

Spring Break is upon us. Each year around this time, I think about one of my favorite Velocity Tech Solutions “saving asses among the masses” stories.

This is Minnesota and spring break can feel more like winter solstice, so when families can actually get a room at the Water Park of America they feel like a Florida vacation without being in Florida. That is a BIG Deal!

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I was the lucky one to carry the emergency phone that night. I happened to be at a social event with our President, Kay Winchell, which was a bonus for the customer since she is a network engineer in disguise.

I answered the phone at 10pm and I heard panic. A server was down and so was the Water Park of America! Kids were crying, parents were screaming, parents were weeping. It was pandemonium! The tech from Water Park of America was beside himself. He had spent the entire day dealing with another vendor and paid for parts to be couriered across the Twin Cities multiple times and the server was still not repaired. That vendor had not asked questions and just kept throwing parts at him without helping troubleshoot the issue.

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We met him at the office and he was so exhausted he couldn’t remember the model of the server . We walked around our warehouse for an hour (It’s a big warehouse!) and he finally saw the server that was the same model.

Kay grabbed the server, I grabbed the parts and we went through creating his error. Within minutes we discovered the issue.

The tech rushed back with the cache module that was needed and within an hour the Water Park of America  was up and running and our customer was ecstatic! (And so were the parents that promised the kids the water slide that was as dry as a bone all day long!) We helped the tech become the Hero instead of the Villain. The only thing that could have gone better was if he had found us much earlier!

That night, it was decided, we don’t just sell servers, we provide the “WOW” experience and it became our #1 core value.

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