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The latest in video collaboration

As business owners and managers we are regularly promised new technology to simplify our work day, increase our staff productivity or enhance our working relationships. Good news! We have finally found technology that may truly deliver on these three promises.

If you have ever travelled hours to join a staff meeting or dialled in to a phone conference only to miss most of what was said, then you will understand the value of video collaboration. Video is a great way to improve relationships with your customers and staff because you can read body language and fully engage from the comfort of your desk or home office.

Costs and complexity have slowed take-up

Video conferencing has been available for a while but until recently the cost of buying and implementing technology has been prohibitive for some businesses. Although much cheaper than funding staff travel it may be difficult for managers to build a business case to upgrade from the traditional desk phone.

Previous collaboration solutions have been disjointed at best. For example, you use your work phone for calls, your personal phone for chatting and your PC for screen-sharing and video conferences. This siloed approach makes it difficult to use and tricky to scale across a medium-large organisations.

Now you can keep it simple, and fully integrated

IT vendors, such as Cisco, now offer you a solution negating overly expensive, complex and disparate collaboration technology. The solution comes in the form of a single, integrated device that looks like a modern version of the space-age communication devices we once saw in Star Trek and The Jetsons.

This single “end point” touchscreen device can manage your voice phone calls, video calls, messaging and conferences (e.g. Webex) without the need to juggle multiple devices and interfaces.

Want to initiate a video call? Simply touch the screen. Need to run a video conference? Simply touch the screen to launch Cisco webex and host a face to face conference. Want to send a message to staff? Start typing away on the keyboard on the touch screen.

What to look for

If a single, desktop-based collaboration device interests you then here are some things to expect from the product:

1. It should be easy to unpack and set-up the device in a matter of minutes (there is no complex installation)
2. Touch-screen navigation with conferencing, video calls and messaging all available on an easy-to-use interface
3. Access to open-standard platforms (e.g. Google Android) so you can take advantage of new apps as they are developed

Want to know more?

There is a lot more to discuss with you before we can recommend the best collaboration solution for your business. Please feel free to contact us anytime to discuss more or enquire about any other business IT solutions that you may need.

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Simplifying the Private Cloud

Simplifying the Private Cloud

Not all businesses are ready for public cloud solutions due to security concerns, legacy applications that don’t integrate, lack of cost benefits or other concerns.

In medium and large organisations there is a strong need to build solid virtualisation solutions for both servers and desktops. Today more than ever selection of the right technology platforms to support environments across virtualisation environments is a time consuming proposition. Many organisations are looking to build a private cloud environment to host the company applications or desktops with Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).

When selecting a vendor for your platform it is important to consider the sophistication the vendor brings to the solution including the ability to manage the storage directly from the OS, thin provisioning and compression capabilities, speed of backup and how well deduplication is handled to reduce backup capacity required whilst improving backup speeds.

Whether you are looking for a domain controller, an email server, a SQL platform, a SharePoint farm or a VDI platform these tools need to be able to be deployed quickly using plugins and APIs to streamline operations. The systems must scale efficiently and deliver when required. It is now essential to have systems that take a building block approach and allow you to scale up or down easily.

The real test of your private cloud is in the hands of the end users of the platforms. If their applications or desktops have been centralised and they can work effectively on all their applications from wherever they are then you have gone a long way to meeting the business objectives.

When you embark on selecting technology for your private cloud, consider two important factors:

1. Cost of solution

Finding an efficient way to build a private cloud is essential. If you select the wrong technology partner then it will be overly expensive to scale your solution as it grows in popularity across your enterprise.

CPU performance is outstripping memory performance and memory bottlenecks are a common problem. Many businesses today deploy either four-socket servers or multiple two-socket servers to address this problem. These solutions result in more expensive servers, increased power costs, and higher licensing costs.

Some vendors offer innovative solutions to this problem. For example, Cisco addresses this with technology such as UCS Extended Memory Technology which expands the capability of a two-socket server to support up to 48 DIMM slots or 384 GB of memory, using standard memory DIMMs and operating systems and hypervisors. This way, memory-intensive VDI environments can run two-socket x86 servers, with lower capital expenditures (CapEx) as well as lower operating expenses (OpEx) over time.

2. Availability of local support

Local hardware support is essential for attending to urgent technical issues (e.g. a part failure). Consider the availability of trained specialists who can speed up deployment and troubleshooting when you need to change something quickly down the track. Your IT department may not be big enough have all the internal support for the platform so knowing where to find good partners can be essential.

In summary, if you are looking for a private cloud server virtualisation environment then you will do well to select a solution that is simple, efficient, flexible, well supported and powerful. Please let us know how we can help.

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