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.

Three Reasons Why Manufacturers Should be in Tune with IoT

Moving into a space where your company is in tune with IoT advances your push into the fourth industrial revolution, also known as, Industry 4.0. Utilizing this technology helps data collection, production, and advancement in the competitive market.

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Sensor Based Monitoring

One of the most common benefits of implementing IoT in your manufacturing warehouse is the sensor based monitoring. Sensor based monitoring allows for real time updates from the production machines, online ordering systems, and quality control systems. This style of monitoring automates the process and detects malfunctions as soon as they occur and have the ability to safely shut down the entire system until the error is fixed. This saves time, money, and production materials because they are not being wasted when there is a malfunction. In addition, products that do not meet quality standards will be caught immediately which prevents other products from not passing quality tests, again saving time and production materials.

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Enhanced Data, Productivity, and Safety

Implementing IoT also increases the efficiency of gathering consumer data and the effectiveness in using the gathered data. Automatic data collection and compiling allows data to be used quickly and with a set goal in mind to improve products and processes. IoT can also improve production because it increases the speed at which products are created and frees up employees to handle other tasks that the system cannot complete. It creates a timely and consistent production facility where products and employees can be better tracked to achieve ultimate efficiency. Most importantly, IoT increases safety for industrial employees that work with critical and more dangerous materials such as: chemicals, oils, gases, radioactive materials, etc. It moves the materials away from employees and towards the machines, lowering the risk of injury or casualty.

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Competitive Advantages

There are countless competitive advantages to jumping on the Industry 4.0 wagon and working towards automating your manufacturing process. First off, your company will be known for staying relevant and keeping up with the technological times, which can bring in new customers and increase your revenue in time with them. In addition, you gain the ability to produce more products in a shorter time frame with automatic building, moving, and packaging possibilities. It is no secret that businesses and consumers nowadays want their products well made and delivered quickly. Moving towards IoT helps achieve all of these qualities that buyers are looking for.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog post on three MORE reasons why manufacturer’s should be in tune with IoT. Here’s a hint: increased security!
For more information on Industry 4.0, automation, and smart factories call us at (888) 784-2088 or (651) 633-0095 and view our blog, Are You Ready for Industry 4.0?

Hardware Leasing vs. Hardware Buying: The Choice Between CAPEX and OPEX

It is no secret that hardware and IT costs are a large part of a company’s budget. Hardware purchases are well thought out and researched before any action is taken and here at Velocity Tech Solutions we want to ensure that our customers have the information and means to get the products that they want and the products that best fit their technical and financial needs.

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Buying Your Hardware: A Capital Expense

One option that your company has is to fully purchase your hardware and hold it as a fixed asset for the upcoming years. Purchasing your hardware flat out is considered a capital expense, an expense that is used over multiple years and depreciates in value over the course of time. When hardware is purchased it is possible to resell it or trade it in at a much lower value.

Buying hardware is a good option for companies that are not looking to update their infrastructure at a rapid pace and typically hold their hardware for more than a few years before upgrading.

Now, buying your hardware does not have to be an astronomical expense, especially when you are looking at refurbished options, if you are unfamiliar with the benefits of refurbished, please read, Buying Refurbished Hardware: The Economical, Reliable, and Overall Smart Choice.

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Leasing Your Hardware: An Operational Expense

The other option for obtaining your companies hardware needs is to lease it. Leasing is considered an operational expense, an expense that helps run the company on a day to day basis. In addition, operational expenditures are tax-deductible in the year that they are made. The beauty of leasing is that it allows your company to get the server that they need for a set amount of time at a set expense rate with the option to upgrade the hardware after the term is over.

Many companies, like Velocity Tech Solutions, offer flexible terms to customers that opt to lease. This option lets you craft your solution with the next few years in mind and then re-evaluate in order to keep up with your current industry trends, needs, and technologies.

This is beneficial in industries that require frequent updates, upgrades, and changes in technological need.

Velocity Tech Solutions can help you buy your hardware at a reasonable cost with the help of our solutions specialists as well as offer maintenance support or we can help you set up flexible leasing terms for your current needs. Whichever choice is best for your company, call Velocity Tech Solutions at (888) 784-2088 or (651) 633-0095, we are here to help every step of the way.

How To: Replacing A Failed PERC Card in a Dell Poweredge System

This blog will bring you through the process of replacing a failed PERC card in a Dell Poweredge system. This process is identical for the PERC5 and older, however, PERC4 and earlier controllers will use a different configuration utility.

  • First, remove the failed card from the system and put the replacement card in.
  • Power on the system. There are several different ways that a new card can behave when it’s first powered on.
    • It may automatically import the array off of your hard drives, if this is the case you will see a message while it’s going through post that references the number of virtual drives handled by the controller. If you see this (image below) you will not need to do anything further and the server should boot through the OS:

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  • The other potential behavior is a message saying, “foreign configuration(s) found on adapter” as shown here:

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  • If you get the message about foreign configurations on the adapter, press “c” or “Ctrl+R” to enter the raid controller utility menu. On the upper right hand corner a message about foreign configurations will be present as shown here:

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  • Highlight the top option on the main screen and press “f2”. This action will bring up a sub-menu and “foreign config” will be one of the options on the sub-menu. Press “enter” or the right arrow on “foreign config” and it will bring up another sub-menu with “import” and “clear” being the options, click on “import”, as shown.

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  • Then, it will take a few minutes to process and, assuming everything else is fully functional. the configuration utility should update and show a list of all of the virtual drives that were configured on the system. This will look like this:

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This concludes the process for replacing a failed PERC card in a Dell Poweredge system. We hope you were successful in your process. Questions and comments are welcome below if you appreciate our technical support blogs or if you have additional questions!

 

 

 

 

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!

 

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!