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1 Apr 2021
Unleash Your Potential for Business Growth
What is AppSmart Unleash? Why Should You Register? And, What About a Drone? I had the opportunity to dive into these topics and more with Brian Leonard, VP of Marketing at AppSmart.[Kyle] Tell me a bit of the thinking that went into creating this event. What was the driving force?Technology Advisors are 100% the driving force for AppSmart Unleash. This digital event is the premier gathering of Technology Advisors and business experts united by one mission: Growth. These Technology Advisors include technology consultants, trusted advisors, telecom agents, MSPs, VARs, integrators and IT solution providers of every kind. These individuals are highly skilled at working with companies to understand their goals and IT challenges and helping them find, buy and manage some or all of their business technology services.AppSmart Unleash is simply the best place to hear exactly whats working when selling in this post-pandemic world. Just as importantly, theyll learn whats NOT working so they dont waste their time and money. AppSmart Unleash, scheduled for April 20 -21, is all about empowering Technology Advisors to sell more, earn more and scale their businesses through industry best practices.[Kyle] Can you elaborate a little on the role of Technology Advisors?Sure. As business technology buyers embrace digital transformation, they really want and need guidance from technology experts who have their best interests in mind. Their only other alternative is to rely on the sales team from the provider, and we all know that while they may be talented, theyre biased towards their own company and solution.Customers want help around how to find, buy and manage hundreds of technology solutions including their data centers, connectivity, mobility, software, infrastructure, managed services, devices, and energy services. Thats where AppSmart excels and where our top Technology Advisors are thriving. We want them to continue doing so while also achieving next-level business growth.[Kyle] So what can attendees expect at AppSmart Unleash? Technology Advisors can expect to hear anything and everything about business technology services, including top technology trends, proven sales strategies, and hyper-growth tools - all shared from top-performing Technology Advisors. Theyll also learn the latest approaches to lead generation, solution selling, cross-selling, customer retention, project management and business negotiations.[Kyle] You mention customer engagement, which is key in the sales cycle. How does this event differ from other events?The best Technology Advisors build trust with clients and provide value to the customers after the sale. But this is really hard to do as you grow, and many Technology Advisors see churn as a result. On top of sales strategies, at AppSmart Unleash, advisors will also learn what all the chatter is about surrounding the AppSmart WorkSpace and how it drives customer engagement. Theyll see a demo on the AppSmart platform functionality and learn how to leverage them both to engage customers. Theyll learn how the platform drives efficiencies to promote customer engagement and, in turn, drive growth. Its time well spent for Technology Advisors that want to grow in 2021.[Kyle] Who are some of the speakers that attendees can expect to hear from at the event?There are so many valuable sessions at AppSmart Unleash. One panel provides a step-by-step guide to nurturing current customer accounts to maximize cross-selling opportunities. Theres also a business growth panel where industry trailblazers reveal lessons learned. You can check out the full speaker Unleash lineup here.Unleash also features keynotes from industry masterminds, such as Chris Voss, Founder and CEO The Black Swan Group Ltd. Chris is a former lead international hostage negotiator for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Talk about learning negotiation skills from the best of the best!Also speaking at Unleash is an industry- powerhouse Aaron Ross, a former sales superstar at Salesforce who helped grow Salesforce from $5 million to $US 100 million.Aaron also co-wrote a book with Jason Lemkin, diving into the idea ofcreating predictable revenue and driving long-term value with customers. The bookcovers a lot, but it centers around 7 Ingredients of Hypergrowth.[Kyle] What made you decide to partner with datacenters.com to promote this event?We think the team at Datacenters.com is putting these innovative selling and customer success strategies into practice every day - and with great success. Since 2011, their audience and target market has remained clear - organizations that need access to a highly accurate and reliable data center directory, all delivered from providers and Technology Advisors they can trust. We like their business model and how theyve targeted a niche, and how theyre executing.[Kyle] Is there anything else you want to mention? Whats on your mind?At AppSmart, we see a tremendous opportunity out there for Technology Advisors looking to digitally transform and to help their customers digitally transform. Those advisors who drive efficiencies through digital platforms and deliver tailored customer interactions are in the best position for growth.Thats why were so thrilled about the AppSmart Unleash event! Its a one-of-a-kind lineup of top-performing Technology Advisors who are sharing their strategies for achieving next-level growth. Not to mention some of the cool tech we will be giving away, like the DJI Mavic Air 2 drone.Attendees will have a chance to win the sleek and powerful Mavic Air 2 drone that captures HDR video for next-level content. All they have to do is register now and attend the event. Cant wait to see you there, friends!Review the full speaker Appsmart Unleash lineup and register today!
22 Mar 2021
The Importance of Proper Data Center Cabling Management
Computercable managementis an important task but often gets neglected or overlooked. From your very own office desk to the tens or hundreds of servers in a data center, disorganized cabling can eventually lead to a spaghetti mess - a phenomenon not only hurtful to the eyes but one that can lead to a wealth of serious problems. Thus, it is salient to get cable management right.What is Data Center Cabling?Data centers usually use three main kinds of network cabling: AC/DC power, ground, copper, and fiber optic. To determine which type of cabling should get equipped, you may refer to the interface available on the equipment used in the data center. Additionally, you may also determine specific network data cabling needs based on the data center equipments bandwidth requirements.Data Center cabling may fall under either of two categories: structured or unstructured. When predefined standards based on design, with preset connection points and pathways, are employed, it follows a structured cabling design. Specifically, structured cabling enforces a cabling design based on the bandwidth requirements of the system. After testing to ensure good performance, the cables will then get organized and labeled. While a structured cabling system may take longer to install and may initially pose a higher cost, in the long run, the operational costs will significantly be lower, and the systems lifespan will remarkably be longer than that of an unstructured approach.Contrarily, cabling systems that do not utilize predefined standards, connection points, or pathways are known as Unstructured cabling, also called Point to Point cabling systems. Because of airflow restrictions, this cabling system might lead to cooling issues and higher energy costs. Given that unstructured cabling does not use preset plans or designs, managing system growth will be more challenging since there is no guide to guide changes in cable locations or run new cabling. Although it may take less time to install and pose fewer initial costs, ultimately, unstructured cabling will end in higher operational costs and a shorter system lifespan.Why is it Important?The connectivity provided by cabling infrastructure is the foundation of every data center enabling the transactions that help businesses make mission-critical decisions every day. All data centers have various cabling types, ranging from all-copper installation to all-fiber installation and everything in between (depending on your equipment and requirements). Whether the cables in question are for power or data, failure to properly manage this critical part of data center infrastructure can cause serious issues, from increased operating costs to more expensive outages. Cable management cannot be an afterthought.The network and connectivity brought forth by cabling systems are the core of every data center. Cabling infrastructures enable transactions that make it possible for businesses to make crucial decisions daily. Data centers enforce various cabling, varying from all-copper installation to all-fiber installation and everything in between, depending on the equipment and its requirements. Whatever the cables under consideration are for, overlooking and neglecting this critical part of data center infrastructure can cause serious problems, from higher operating costs to more costly outages. Cable management must be handled by foresight or run the risks of a series of issues on hindsight.To get data center cabling right, like many other life practices, thorough team planning and thinking through the installation in advance is always best. Simultaneously designing a cabling infrastructure and the data center, using system requirements and physical layout to ascertain the types and quantities of cables needed might be the optimum solution to data center cabling. The time spent planning the infrastructure will save time. When you plan the infrastructure out, you dont have to waste time identifying which equipment is connected to which cable for troubleshooting, repair, or replacement in the future.Best Practices: Data Center Cable ManagementAside from the aesthetic satisfaction from looking at an organized data center cabling system, planning out cabling infrastructures saves peoples time, money, and many other resources. Disorganized cabling installations only result in unnecessary headaches for data center owners and operators for using up time and resources to mitigate problems that never would have happened had they given enough attention to cabling management.Proper cable management is not an option. It is a must. It is mission-critical. To ensure that cabling infrastructure meet your data center needs, follow these best practices:ANSI/TIA-942-B-2017 Telecommunications Infrastructure Standard for Data CentersBICSI 002-2019 Data Center Design Implementation Best PracticesInstallation Best PracticesTesting and Certification: To ensure that the infrastructure is working and will support your bandwidth and system needs.Documentation: To record the types of cables used and the locations and connections of each cable to ease future troubleshooting or maintenance.Measure: To ensure that the cables are of proper length. This measurement prevents unforeseen downtime to critical IT equipment caused by loose wires getting tangled or disconnected.Growth plan: Make sure your system is appropriate for the foreseeable future. Ensure that racks and cable trays get ergonomically designed to accommodate anticipated growth.Organization Best PracticesRun cables to the sides of server racks to ease adding or removing servers from the shelf.Bundle cables together to conveniently connect the next piece of hardware down to the floor in data centers with elevated floors or up to the ceiling in data centers with wires that run through the ceiling.Plan in advance for installing additional hardware. Disorganized cabling can interfere with air circulation and cooling patterns. Planning prevents damages due to quickly rising temperatures caused by restricted air movement.Label cables securely on each end. This labeling process enables you to conveniently locate cables for testing or repair, install new equipment, or remove extra cables after equipment has been moved or upgraded, which saves time and money.Color code cables for quick identification. Choose a color scheme that works for you and your team. It may be wise to put up a legend signifying the meaning of the colors of each cable. You may also color-code the cables destination, especially for larger installations across floors or offices.
26 Feb 2021
"Remote Hands" vs "Smart Hands" Services: What's the Difference?
The COVID-19 pandemic forcing alternative remote work arrangements made companies realize the importance of reliable data center infrastructure. Most of this infrastructure is managed in colocation facilities, many of which are either not allowing customers or vendors in outside of emergencies or severely restricting access to prevent having the virus brought inside their facilities. However, data center providers have long since offered services for clients who may not be close to their physical infrastructure.What are Remote Hands Services?Remote hands servicesinclude tasks such as securing cabling, checking port numbers, observing or reporting indicators on equipment, rudimentary observation of the environment, and server reboots. These tasks are accomplished remotely without the client having to be present at the colocation facility. These services are usually offered as part of the agreement with the chosen colocation facility.Why are Remote Hands Services Vital?IT managers usually consider remote hands services when they are leasing space from far away from their physical location. This allows them to manage their data center without having to send technical staff to the colocation facility.Remote hands services also allow you to handle IT operations that go down in the middle of the night or during holidays. Support issues tend to happen when we least expect them. Remote Hands services can be deployed round the clock, even when no one from your IT department is available.Remote Hands ServicesTypically, Remote Hands services differ for every colocation facility. To give you an idea, here are some of the tasks that remote hands services traditionally cover:Moving or securing network cablesNetwork router and switch configurationServer refreshes and rebootsHardware and software replacement or installationPower cyclingInventory management and labelingHandling shipping and receiving requestsReporting on equipment performanceAuditsWhat are Smart Hands Services?Smart Hands services include more complex tasks that need someone physically present in the colocation facility to deal with it. Some examples include setting up a firewall, managing data center equipment, media and supply management, complex cable configurations, equipment testing, and general troubleshooting.Due to the additional expertise required, smart services typically arent included in the colocation providers fees. Instead, Smart Hands services get billed by the hour. It is essential that organizations coordinate with colocation providers to clarify the services that are not covered.Why are Smart Hands Services Vital?There will always come a time when there are too many things on your IT departments plate. Its not ideal for any growing company to have an IT team that manually handles all operations within the datacenter. That would require maintaining a larger IT staff as well as providing comprehensive training, two things that significantly reduce your profit margin.Freeing your IT department from having to deal with infrastructure issues allows them to focus more on value-adding projects. Smart Hands Services strengthen the data infrastructure of companies without compromising their productivity. They offer immediate responses to various data center problems to reduce liability issues and potential data breaches.Smart Hands ServicesTypically, Smart Hands services differ for every colocation facility. To give you an idea, here are some of the tasks that smart hands services usually cover:Configuration of the firewallComplex cable configurationsPlacement device managementTest devices and fix errorsRack and stacking servicesShipping and receivingAutomated maintenanceSetting up and Maintaining BackupsPack and unpackInventoryDetect and respond to threatsMoving equipmentOperating system and server installationPower cycleOn-site and off-site technical support and troubleshootingRemote server restartsCloud cross-connectRemote Hands VS. Smart HandsAs previously mentioned, different colocation facilities offer different services. They may offer most, if not all, of the data center support services mentioned above. In terms of services, remote hands and smart hands differ significantly from one another.Remote Hands services often include initial support services of colocation providers. These involve remote IT support usually kept at a minimum. Simple tasks like cycling a servers power, checking the status of an indicator light, and reporting the status back to the customer are performed depending on the organizations needs.In contrast, smart hands services offer IT services beyond what is initially provided by colocation facilities. Smart Hands service covers complex tasks like receiving hardware shipments or performing hardware deployment at an added cost. Organizations can also deploy a technician to the data center to repair equipment such as hard drives and power supply units.
24 Feb 2021
Getting to Know: Volico Data Centers
I had the pleasure of Interviewing Gadi Hus, DOO at Volico, about the company and its history, product offerings, and future industry trends.[Bart] Tell me a little bit about yourself, your background, and how you got started in the industry?As Director of Operations (DOO), Im responsible for leading the development and execution of the Companys long-term, short-term strategies, and plans. My leadership role also entails being ultimately responsible for all day-to-day management decisions executed by the senior-level teams across all facets of the organization. These management decisions facilitate direct communication with Structural, Electrical, Mechanical, Physical Security Engineers and Contractors regarding all aspects of the Data Center Infrastructure, Preventative Maintenance, and ongoing improvement projects.My background is forged from an entirely different industry. My educational background stems from a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology program from the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine. Precursory to the University of Miami, I conducted research on subterranean termites through the University of Florida and USDA (United States Department of Agriculture.) With that said, I have enjoyed working with computers intrinsically from the young age of 6-7 years old. Starting with a Commodore 64 and Assembling my first 80286 SX PC shortly after, I grew more fascinated with the industry. The world of connecting and ultimately hosting a 6-Line BBS system at home forever forged my passion for the internet to come. In high school, I found myself working graveyard shifts at an up and coming datacenter facility. With high ambitions, Two close friends and I decided that we will start a Shared Web-hosting Company as a hobby. We wanted to offer superior website design and SEO along the way. VOLICO was born. With the clientele growing, my ability to juggle time and space between Medical School and this hobby, a decision was made to pursue the VOLICO route full-time and see where it takes me. 20+ years later, VOLICO is still strong and kicking. We plan on making 2021 the best year yet, with some amazing announcements coming soon.[Bart] What is the back story behind Volico? How did it get started?Formed by a group of experienced senior network engineers in 2000, Volico has grown to become one of the most reliable colocation hosting providers nationwide. Built from the ground up, Volico has earned a reputation for attention to detail with a commitment to the latest data center technologies and innovations.With a vision of delivering a fully integrated trusted hosting environment, Volicos certified staff and high-profile product partners can provide enterprises with cost-effective and dependable hosting services. Whether as a primary service provider or business continuity/disaster recovery partner, discover how Volico can help you support your business today for tomorrow.The Volico Network Operations Center is manned 24/7/365 with knowledgeable, certified, and experienced network technicians that actively monitor infrastructure, connectivity, and application layer responsiveness. Any event immediately triggers a response from the on-duty personnel in accordance with Volicos SLA. Lastly. We also provide technical support and engineering offloading for customers that need to concentrate on their day to day instead of worrying about their infrastructure.[Bart] You provide colocation services but its not traditional colo ping, power, pipe. How is your colocation offering different than the competition?While there are many differentiators that set Volico aside, thinking outside the box has to be the zenith of them all. Working one on one with clients to understand their business model, pains, gains, and deficiencies allow Volico to offer custom-tailored support services beyond the traditional Rack and Stack. We can support clients from an IAAS basis, application-level, and even down to the KERNEL level execution layer. Volico offers IAAS via dedicated bare-metal services allowing us to stock server hardware in case clients need an emergency hard disk replacement, memory upgrade, or an entire cluster of servers. Most data centers today will only flip a switch for a reboot and do not have the level of support we provide that makes all the difference in the world to businesses.[Bart] We were talking before the interview about managed services. I thought it was really interesting. Can you elaborate? Hard drive swap, private cloud, dedicated serversMany data center providers offer managed services, but these services are often outsourced to third parties. Volico is different because we hire and train our own staff for customer support and managed services. Clients are able to pick up the phone; call in; and speak directly to their support team that is intimately familiar with their infrastructure.Volico sets itself apart from traditional colocation and cloud facilities, by offering suites of Data Center Managed Services to help customers to manage their equipment and applications. Whether you need Smart Hands to troubleshoot a failed disk array remotely or need advanced services such as Active Directory, VPNs, Managed Backup Solutions, or just need to speak to one of our engineers, we have your business covered.By choosing our Managed Services, youll be taking advantage of our years of experience in the field, complete with a 24x7x365 on-site personalized support that will always be available to assist you.[Bart] Where are you seeing the most demand right now in terms of data center markets and your facilities specifically?This is a really open-ended question today. Due to COVID-19, we are seeing a trend of more data, faster data, and more security. We have seen Law firms increase bandwidth commits. We have seen enterprise clients migrate more infrastructure from their offices to facilitate work from home. We have seen clients looking to save money by migrating away from public cloud environments that nickel and dime the clients at every possible way. Managed Backups has seen a wide growth lately with the rise of crypto-lock attacks. The list goes on.[Bart] What are you seeing in terms of demand for services? Is it more colocation or private cloud, dedicated servers, bare metal?This is also a really open ended question. The demand for services are directly proportional to the clients level of application complexity. Some clients are good with a bare metal server running a Linux, Unix, or Windows OS. Some clients have recently been interested with Apples new M1 ARM based CPU chips. One of the main things we elaborate to clients about the differences with colocation, dedicated servers, private clouds, and public clouds is the directly proportional cost increase due to the complexity of the services and the inverse relationship of offsetting delegation and accountability.[Bart] Tell me a little more about your colocation facilities? What sets them apart? Is it location, connectivity, tier rating?Volico opened its first owned data center facility in 2006 out of a simple necessity. While we understand that Murphys law is inevitable, we also understand that one can make great efforts to minimize any and all risk factors. Volico prides itself on engineering a facility that minimizes risks without compromise. We can talk about how our Electrical, Cooling, and Network services are all built around a 2N+X. We can talk about our unique AI-based optimized network architecture that spans the entire South Florida market, Atlanta, and Chicago. We can talk about our Tier4 rating. At the end of the day, what sets us apart is simple. Humans. The Volico Team is what sets us apart.[Bart] What are your customers collocating these days? What is the main driver for purchasing colocation space? Disaster recovery, private cloud, complianceClients are colocating servers, storage, hyperconverged, firewalls, switches, routers, etc. You name it, we have most probably seen it. Different clients have different driving factors as to why they are using data center services. We enjoy working with the full spectrum of clients and their hosting needs. Big or small.[Bart] Whats in store for the future of Volico? New product launches, data center expansion, new facilities?Volico is currently in expansion mode. We have completed a new white space corridor at our flagship location in Fort Lauderdale. Furthermore, we are working with engineers of all the gametes to continue and increase our resiliency via new technologies and automation. We are also in the midst of launching our new API based public cloud platform allowing for clients to directly integrate their CI (continuous integration) platform to command and control every aspect of their IAAS with Volico ranging from Colocation, Cloud, or a hybrid of the two.[Bart] Where do you see the data center industry going in the future? Where will demand come from? Is it future tech like Ai/ML, IoT and streaming? Would love to get your thoughts on it allThe future is now. While a cliche, Volico prides itself on innovation in the marketplace. We also pride ourselves in continuously updating and upgrading our infrastructure allowing us to provide clients with cutting-edge services. We have custom engineered and built embedded IOT devices throughout the facility allowing for granular prediction based tracking and alerting. If you would like to know more; schedule a tour, and you can see where your infrastructure is now compared to where it could be in the future with us.[Bart] Is there anything else you want to mention? Whats on your mind?We are trying to raise awareness with our partners about complacency. Meaning, many MSPs and IT departments become complacent with their day to day routines never thinking once that it can ALL be turned upside down in a split moment due to an oversight. With this in mind, we work hard to partner with our clients to allow them to concentrate on their Day to Day so things do not fall through the cracks. We also understand that when these scenarios happen; the client immediately goes into panic mode. This has been a forefront for some of our recent migratory clients that were hosted in the Hyper-Scale Public cloud datacenters. Unfortunately, while they present instant point and click deployments, they are expensive, quirky, and have little to no one to talk to when it comes to support.