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Virtualization_Jan30_BTechnology advances so quickly that systems bought five years ago are now pretty much obsolete. If you want to upgrade these older systems you will likely have to upgrade everything. This can be expensive, so many businesses turn to virtualization for cost savings and to extend the lives of their systems. One of the popular forms of virtualization is servers. However, while many companies find this a viable option with many benefits, they often stumble in the execution.

Here’s five tips on better server virtualization for small to medium businesses.

1. Reality is key – It’s easy, when reading about tech, to get caught up in all the new devices, ideas, etc. and maybe begin to lose site of your situation. It’s not uncommon to have a small business owner want to virtualize all servers at once. This is often not feasible – budget and technology wise.

Instead, you should take the time to assess your servers and identify which servers are best suited to virtualization. For example, if the server that handles your email is starting to show its age, this may be a prime candidate. After identifying potential servers to virtualize, you can begin to develop a better plan.

2. Check compatibility – After you have picked servers for virtualization, you should look at the software the servers handle, to see if they are compatible with the virtualization software you plan to use. Should the software not be compatible you will either have to look for another solution, or upgrade the software. Fail to do this and you could face setbacks and compatibility issues which will likely cause a drop in efficiency, or even negate the savings arising from virtualization.

It is also a good idea to look at whether the server itself is capable of supporting virtualization. Each virtualization solution has different requirements and this is a good thing to keep in mind. Virtualization solutions are always advancing, so the server that can just about handle a solution now may not be able to handle it in a year or two.

3. Don’t forget about your data backup solutions – Interestingly, many virtualization providers also provide data backup solutions. It may be a good idea to look at your existing backup and if it is compatible with the systems you plan to use. If not, this could prove costly for your business if something should happen where you need this.

4. R.S.S. – Reduce. Sell. Save. Server virtualization allows for many servers to be run on one physical unit. This means you will be able to reduce the number of servers, sell them, and finally reap bigger savings through decreased maintenance and operational costs.

5. Work with and IT expert – The above steps can be daunting, even to those in the IT field. There’s just so much to focus on that business owners and managers often don’t have this kind of time. That’s why we highly recommend that in order to get the most out of virtualization, you work with a virtualization expert who can focus on helping you stay realistic, ensure the compatibility of your systems and orient your backup systems.

Looking for an IT expert to help you virtualize your systems? Why not contact us? We may have a solution to help you get even more out of your systems.

OSX_Oct28_CApples OS X has become one of the most popular Operating Systems (OS). One reason for this is the near yearly updates to the system, introducing new features which make the OS even better. On October 22, Apple introduced their latest version, OS X Mavericks. If you have a Mac, are you aware of the new features this update will introduce?

What exactly is OS X Mavericks?
Officially labeled as OS X 10.9 and given the code-name ‘Mavericks’, after the popular surfing spot in California, this new version of OS X has just been released. It is best to think of this as an incremental update – it’s not a completely new OS but introduces some new features and small changes to the layout of the overall system instead.

It is available for free from the App Store on your computer. You just have to download and install it. Of course, if you use your computer for work, you may want to check with your IT department or IT partner to ensure the update can be installed without any trouble.

What’s new in Mavericks?
While this isn’t the biggest OS X update to date, Mavericks does introduce some interesting new features. Here are five:

  1. Maps – While the maps themselves are the same, there is a new feature that is helpful for those who are on the road frequently: You can now plot your own route on the desktop and then send it to your iPhone when you leave the office. You will receive a message on your phone which will open Maps and offer turn-by-turn directions.
  2. The Finder – There are two new useful features for the Finder. The first is tabbed viewing. You can open one file in a window, then open another in a tab in the same window, much like the tabs in many Internet browsers. The other is the ability to apply labels to your files and folders. Click on a label and you will see other files and folders with the same label. This makes finding files in different folders far easier.
  3. Notification Center – The new version of the Notification Center allows users to carry out tasks for certain apps directly from the notification. For example, if you have an iMessage, you can reply directly from the notification that pops-up. Other apps, like Mail for example, allow you to open, or delete an email from the notification. The Center will also be available from the Lock Screen of your computer, allowing you to see notifications that have come in while you were away.
  4. Multi-monitor support – In previous versions of OS X, using multi-monitors can be a bit tough, especially if you work in full screen mode. The new update now treats multi-monitors as essentially individual systems. Each monitor has a menu bar and can handle individual apps. Of course, if you like the older layout then you can revert to it from System Preferences.
  5. iCloud Keychain – Because many people are using so many more systems, they have started to turn to password managers to help remember all their different passwords. Mavericks offers iCloud Keychain, which saves passwords and credit card info in iCloud.

Upgrading to Mavericks
OS X 10.9 is now available for free from the App Store on your machine. If you open the application, you should see a Mavericks splash screen at the top of the window. Clicking on Free Upgrade will begin the process.

As we stated above, if you are using your Mac at the office, it is a good idea to check with your IT partner or department to ensure that the update is compatible with other systems. Also, you might want to check if your machine can support the update. Here is the list of all Macs that can support the update.

  • MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or early 2009 or newer)
  • iMac (mid 2007 or newer)
  • Mac Mini (Early 2009 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
  • Xserve (early 2009)
  • MacBook Pro (mid/late 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (late 2008 or newer)

If you would like to learn more about Mavericks, please contact us today to see how we can help.

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