Datto saves the day

I got a call from a customer the other day who lost their Hyper-V host OS.  He was reporting a network outage because his standalone hyper-v host was down and had taken most of his VMs with it.

Fortunately, we managed his company’s backups with a Datto Siris device. This backup appliance takes hourly snapshots of the company servers and keeps them safe and sound on the local Datto server.  If a disaster should strike, we can mount the last backup image of the server as a virtual machine running on the Datto backup device.  The users connect to the restored virtual server just like they would the original, crashed server.

The other great benefit of the Datto backup device is the offsite disaster recovery features.  Not only does the datto take hourly snapshots of a company’s servers, but each night the backup appliance consolidates the daily backups and sends all the changes from the day to Datto’s bi-coastal data centers.  If a major catastrophe such a s a hurricane or tornado were to hit a customer’s office building, we could log in to the Datto website and restore the customer’s latest backups as virtual machines in the cloud.  The customer can then access their mission critical servers over a secure vpn connection.

Okay, done with the Datto info and back to my customer’s story. In this instance, the customer’s offices were fine and so was his Datto appliance. We were able to boot his mission critical servers on the local datto backup appliance and keep his company in business until his warranty parts could arrive.

Once the Hyper-V server was rebuilt, I scheduled some down time and exported the latest backups from the Datto appliance as virtual disk images.  Then I attached those disk images to the Virtual Machines in Hyper-V and booted them up.

You never want to have to use your backup systems, but in this case Datto made it easy.

Datto makes for great server migrations

The other day we had an interesting project come across our helpdesk. A client of ours has an old mail archive application that they need to maintain for history sake, though they aren’t adding new messages to that archive. To complicate things, that app lived on an old out of warranty Dell server. No problem – Dell servers tend to last forever if you give them a little tender love and care every once and a while and we back this server up with a Datto backup appliance.

You can probably guess where this is heading – our team started getting alerts that a hard drive was predicted to fail on this server.

The most obvious option was to recommend that the customer purchase a new hard drive to replace the one that was going to fail. This is a good, low-cost option that would extend the life of the server a bit. However, I never enjoy spending customer’s money if there’s another option.

We had implemented a multi-server virtualization solution with shared storage for this customer’s production environment a while ago and that system still had plenty of capacity to handle one more virtual server. Our engineering design team discussed the various options we could present to the client and determined that turning the old physical server into a virtual server was the most cost effective solution for the client (labor was on us for this one because they are under a managed services contract) and this helps with some of the other goals we have for this client’s network.

We scheduled a maintenance window with the client and took one final backup with the Datto appliance. Then we exported that backup as virtual disk images for each drive on the server and imported them as a new virtual machine. Fast forward an hour and a half including several reboots to install paravirtualization drivers and the legacy archiving application is back in business. An added bonus is that the application runs faster than before because it’s on more robust hardware.

Easiest server migration ever. Thanks Datto!

Not Your Typical IT Company

The Strickland Group learned what differentiates our company from other IT service providers: We like technology, but we’re passionate about making our customers successful.  Some of our customers have been with us since we opened for business in 2001. Many of our employees have been with us since day one.  We have a long history of successful relationships with growing clients.

Bridge to Nowhere?

mfr3l5w_smallDo you have a plan for where your business is headed? How about your technology? Does your current IT Vendor have a plan for how your network is going to keep pace with your business over the next few years?  Do they meet with you regularly to discuss your strategy and what is currently happening with your network?

Let us give you a free network assessment valued at $400!  We will provide you with a go forward strategy and tell you about the health of your network and any current risks.

Call 817-224-2020 to schedule.

5 Things We Do Better!

1. We do not make every customer work the same way.  We customize a solution for you.  Some of our customers want flexible and creative environments; others need a rigid workflow; some are very time sensitive.  No matter what your environment we will work with your leaders to provide the right solution for you.

2. Quick and Efficient Repairs.  Your problems will be addressed in a timely manner.  Your computer network and your time are too important to wait around for computer repair. Our remote network IT support services are the answer.   Our “all inclusive”  includes taking care of problems as they arise and  proactively resolving problems before they escalate to outages.

3.  Straight Talk.  Your computer support and maintenance questions will be answered clearly. You will not be made to feel uncomfortable by our team of IT support experts with unfamiliar technical jargon.

4.  100% Unconditional Satisfaction is Yours – We Guarantee It. Complete satisfaction will be yours with our products, technology services and IT Consulting. With our IT management services, nothing will get in the way to make sure you are a happy client.

5.  A Guaranteed Accurate Invoice. Every invoice from us is spelled out in detail and completely accurate. We guarantee it. There will be no billing surprises since your IT management services bill will be pre-approved by you.

Why I love my Windows Phone 7…

It sounds ridiculous, but seriously, this new phone is great. 
It looks like a pretty standard touch phone but then when you start
to use and experience the phone you then see what the big deal is
about.  All of the information is at your fingertips due to the
Information Tiles. 

Its screen is great, has enough storage for me, has almost
100,000 Apps.

Check out this Video:

And this one too!

 

Cool, Right?!!!

Is your company’s IT budget out of control

This article is specifically tailored to small businesses.
 You’ve poured your money, sweat, blood and tears into making you
business a success, but every time the mail arrives you dread
seeing another bill from the people that provide you IT support on
an hourly basis.  Maybe this month you used 10 hours or maybe 50
hours.  You remember seeing someone at your office working on
things but just can’t recall how much time was spent on the
computers.  After all, you were busy doing your primary job,
running and growing your business.

What if you could get 30 years of combined expertise in running
company’s IT departments at a stable monthly rate?  You outsource
your entire IT needs, and pay only a fraction of the costs of
hiring a full time employee.  Each month, your bill is exactly the
same as the last.  

I feel the stress rolling off your shoulders.  You have reached
a state of knowing no matter how messed up your software and
network get, you will pay the same money each month to get it
fixed.  If this is something you really want, call Strickland
Networks today.  (817) 224-2020

XenServer Hardware Updates? Here’s Your Answer!


NOTICE:
 
IF THESE STEPS ARE PERFORMED INCORRECTLY OR WITHOUT TESTING
IT IS POSSIBLE FOR YOU TO WIPE OUT YOUR XENSERVER DATA LOSING ALL
STORAGE REPOSITORIES.  TAKE GREAT CARE WHEN FOLLOWING THESE
INSTRCUTIONS. Strickland Networks is not responsible for someone
erasing their virtual disks by mistake.

Now that that is over, let the fun begin!

I was updating a 6 server XenServer Farm yesterday and came
across a memory error.   It started out as a hardware (HW) error
and then turned into a BIOS problem.  The Dell Engineer then began
to search for the updates that I would need for my Server.  The
Dell representative was very helpful and began putting together a
list of updates that I would need…  I began to ponder the
multitude of different servers that I had to update after I
finished with these six.  I also know that I have a Windows update
DVD that will update all the Dell hardware on my Windows Server
plus the drivers. 

I asked the question to the Dell Tech and he replied that yes
there was a solution.  You need these two DVDs:

DVD 1 (System Management Tools and Build – DVD):



ftp://ftp.dell.com/secure/sysman/OM_6.3.0_SMTD_A00.iso.001

ftp://ftp.dell.com/secure/sysman/OM_6.3.0_SMTD_A00.iso.002

DVD 2 (BIOS and Firmware Images – Dual Layer DVD)



ftp://ftp.us.dell.com/sysman/om631_suu_a00.iso.001

ftp://ftp.us.dell.com/sysman/om631_suu_a00.iso.002

ftp://ftp.us.dell.com/sysman/om631_suu_a00.iso.003

ftp://ftp.us.dell.com/sysman/om631_suu_a00.iso.004

 

This tool can join the files for you:





http://www.treepad.net/download/hjsplit.zip

 


Proceed down to see the process.

It should be noted that this same process can be run on any
Linux Server.  It is not recommended on Windows Servers due to
possible driver incompatibilities.


 

Moving to the cloud? How to ensure that information is reachable.

Biggest problem with the great cloud migration: getting
there.  

I am a HUGE fan of moving what makes sense for your business to
the cloud and letting others worry about the maintenance and upkeep
of equipment and software.  But here’s the catch, what happens to
the average company when their Internet goes down?  You email, you
backups, your accounting software, and everything else that you
have trusted to be moved to the cloud is now inaccessible.  Do you
send all your employees home and have them work there?  Can you
trust your employees to not just goof of the rest of the day?  

How to minimize your risks:

Get redundant Internet!  Don’t be lazy about it and buy two T1
lines from the same vendor, because those will most likely both go
down at the same time.  Buy a backup DSL or cable line into your
office.  It will be worth the minimal monthly investment.  

Buy a router / firewall that can handle it.  We love SonicWALL
products at Strickland Networks.  Most of the models automatically
handle dual Internet connections.  Meaning if the primary is
unavailable, outbound traffic is automatically sent through the
second connection.  But it gets better, many models you can add a
high availability unit as well.  This gives you 2 SonicWALL
firewalls working in tandem to prevent downtime in the event of a
hardware failure as well.  Now you could lose 1 firewall and 1
internet connection before becoming unproductive.    

Need some more help:


Email
 or call us today.  817.224.2020

Why are you still using tape to handle backups, disaster recovery, and business continuity?

Quick poll, how many of you still own a VCR and still use it
regular?  Most of you are using DVD / Blu-Ray or streaming it over
the Internet.  So why do you hold your data backups in the prisons
of tape?

There are a great deal of solutions out there that are disk
based and store your data in a secure spot in the “cloud.”  But why
settle for just backup when anyone can provide that?  How much
better would a total solution that covered recent backups, disaster
recovery and business continuity be for your company?  Our solution
at Strickland Networks is called TotalProtect because it keeps you
protected in all of these three categories.

Backups

An initial backup is done and then
continuous incrementals follow behind.  The first destination of
backups is to local storage at your site.  That can be a Strickland
Networks recommended NAS device or your own storage.  The next
destination for your data is off to our data center.   There, the
base image plus 1 month of your most recent data is kept.

Disaster Recovery

Let’s assume worse case scenario,
your entire office is destroyed by an act of nature.  Strickland
Networks can virtualize your most recent backup sent to our data
center and help you make changes to allow you and your company to
keep working remotely until a new physical location can be found
for your office and new equipment purchased.  Then we’ll help
transition back to the new hardware – all with minimal
downtime.

Business Continuity

We’ve all heard the horror stories. 
Or maybe you’ve experienced it first hand.  Your Server RAID has
failed beyond repair, memory fails and the parts are out of stock,
CPU’s over heating … whatever the issue, with TotalProtect you
have the ability to turn your backups into a running virtual server
or do a bare metal restore to new, dissimilar hardware.  Your down
time is now hours, not days.

Read more here.  http://bit.ly/SN-TotalProtect,
or call (817.224.2020) / 
email
today for more information.