Services Spotlight: Professional Services Industry Podcast

Over the years, we’ve worked very closely with a variety of market segments, to help them adapt, grow and thrive in spite of economic change and technology evolutions. With all that experience and knowledge behind us, we thought it would be interesting to hear from our Softchoice team directly, to share their insights and perspectives on how technology change is affecting different industries.

Professional Services Industry Spotlight: Podcast with Jane Bioletti

Jane Bioletti is Manager of Professional Services at Softchoice and has extensive experience working with a wide variety of consulting, legal and accounting firms. In this podcast, she shares her assessment  of how technology trends are impacting the consulting sector.

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Here’s a summary of Jane’s discussion:

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When Your Desktops Go Virtual, Don’t Forget About Security

The right VDI security achieves the costs and efficiencies your enterprise is looking for.

As server virtualization continues to go mainstream, achieving significant savings by optimizing resource utilization, many organizations are taking the lessons learned and benefits achieved and setting their sights on an even bigger challenge and opportunity: the desktop.

Desktop virtualization – or VDI for short – combines the robust virtualization technology from server virtualization with advanced session management and innovative network protocols to provide a user experience very similar to working on a dedicated desktop PC. But, with server hardware shared by multiple desktops (all completely isolated from each other), overall resource utilization is much more efficient – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

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Storage Virtualization: An attempt at making the complex simple.

Want to extend the life of your IT assets? SAN virtualization might be for you.  

 The explosion of data growth over the last decade put a lot of demands on IT in an era when budgets, particularly IT budgets, were under great strain.  While it was good news for all of us that most of the predictions of the Y2K era did not come true, IT suffered a setback in many organizations when it came to their ability to make sweeping changes in infrastructure. 

 While data continued its rapid growth, many IT departments suffered staff reductions.  With organizations operating at minimal staffing, the question of the day moved from, “How do I do more with less?” to, “How do I do more with the same?”  This still holds true today.

 Because most organizations in the early 2000’s were not looking at making big technology investments IT departments dealt with their growth in storage by implementing storage tiers and integrating additional discreet storage arrays.  Each array became a new point of management adding increased management complexity. 

All of the incremental complexity added up and the idea of storage virtualization was born.

 With storage virtualization you put an appliance with a layer of abstraction in front of the various discreet storage arrays in the environment.  The benefits, when done right, are tremendous.  Some of the benefits provided by storage virtualization include:

  •  Simplifying storage management by providing a single storage interface for all storage devices
  • Adding new software functionality (replication, cloning, snapshots, etc.) that adds to or improves on a storage asset’s capabilities.
  • Extending the life of older assets by allowing capacity to be redeployed.
  • Reducing the overall storage spend.

 You may ask, if it is so great, then why isn’t it everywhere.  I’m glad you asked.  Some of the earliest products in this space had [Read more…]

Dealing with the complexity that virtualization brings

Bringing it together with Unified Network Management.

There have been a ton of changes recently in network security on the consolidation and virtualization front, changes that have brought with them a slew of benefits from admin and cost points of view but changes that have also increased complexity – and with it, decreased the ability for organizations to fully innovate and collaborate. And so one of the things to look for when it comes to security management is whether you can maintain consistency around the things you do while still eliminating some of the devices within your environment to achieve the innovation and collaboration you want.

Maybe, for instance, you can have virtual firewalls supporting multiple different domains but still running discreetly on the same physical box. Part of the challenge here, from a security standpoint, is to give you the capability to keep the bad stuff out and good stuff in but also to keep information from crisscrossing when it shouldn’t. Can you, if you will, create that firewall, maintain data integrity and separate, manage and secure very different domains even though they’re running on the same physical equipment? [Read more…]

Why buying servers for each application won’t cut it.

Still buying servers for each application? It’s time to get on board with virtualization.  

Inertia can be a powerful force. Whether it’s the inertia that comes from a lack of understanding and fear of the unknown or the kind that comes from believing something ought to be done a certain way because, heck, it’s always been done that way, so why change? Either way, inertia on the IT front is a recipe for watching your business fall behind.

The reality is, at least when it comes to virtualization, if your organization is not on board in a very real way, and you or your organization still believe that it makes sense to buy a server for every application you’re using, someone’s missing some of the most basic efficiencies that virtualization offers – for instance, needlessly increasing electrical consumption disproportionate to the value of the application and needlessly increasing administrative burden on IT staff. What that means is you can be seriously overspending and under-delivering for your organization. That’s the bottom line – literally and figuratively.

But, you might be thinking or dealing with people in your organization who resist, telling you: “I heard that not all applications can be virtualized, so why bother? It’s just too risky.” That may be one of the most common misconceptions of virtualization and it happens to mostly be wrong. The truth is, if diligence is done to properly design an environment for an application, there are very few that cannot be virtualized. And even if there is some risk [Read more…]

Times are a-changin’ in the network

Networking is a word that for many causes trepidation and excitement at the same time, and I’m not necessarily talking only about networking equipment in IT, I’m also talking about human networking. We all know how nerve racking it can be to step into a room full of strangers with the goal of branching out to meet new people.

As society has become more digitally focused with the way we interact, human networking has become a lot less scary for many. (while more scary for others!) Today, through tools like Facebook and Linkedin people can learn about each others most intimate details, interact in both a personal and professional capacity, and in many cases become closer to that person with far less effort or time than in the past.

Many people may be wondering what the above has to do with IT, and may be thinking that I’m just off on another one of my tangents and have no real direction with this blog post… Well here comes the meat and potatoes… [Read more…]