Author: admin

How Multiple Monitors Can Enhance Productivity – Is Having Multiple Monitors Worth It – Benefits of a Multiple Monitor Setup | BVA IT Consulting Blog

Going Green?  Want to save trees and enhance productivity at the same time?  Then adding multiple monitors to your workstation is the way to go.

Computers, and in particular the ability to print multiple documents at the click of a mouse button, is one of the worst things to happen to trees.  Printing documents is easy, too easy maybe, and in many cases now unnecessary for workers to accomplish their jobs.  With the introduction of cost effective flat screen monitors the need for printed documents has been reduced dramatically.

Printed material has historically been needed for office productivity because users require access to multiple sources of information simultaneously.   For instance, a worker might use email, a spreadsheet, a specialized application, and a website to do their job.  With only a single monitor, displaying all of this information at once is awkward and can be counter productive.  That being the case, workers have historically printed some of the information needed.  In this scenario they might print the spreadsheet and information aquired from the specialized application, and then use their computer monitor to view/access email and the website.  With multiple monitors the need for paper is reduced or completely eliminated.  And productivity is actually increased because all information sources are readily visible and current.

Not all work involving computers will see a productivity increase with added displays; however, for those tasks that require access to multiple information sources as in the case illustrated below, multiple monitors are extremely beneficial and productive.

 

[caption id="attachment_108" align="alignnone" width="300"] Serious Production Enhancement for Developers![/caption]

Workspaces equipped with three displays increase productivity by 35.5%, according to research commissioned by Fujitsu Siemens Computers. For a full report on this study refer to the following link:  http://www.computerweekly.com/Articles/2009/02/18/234899/Multiple-monitors-boost-productivity-by-35.5.htm

Add a monitor, increase productivity and save a tree….

Sam…

External Data Storage Archiving Case Study – eSATA Attached Drive Usage Example | BVA IT Consulting Blog

Some months ago BVA was struggling to get more speed out of a client’s tape backup. We attempted updating firmware, drivers, and changing jobs but it did not yield the result we were expecting.  During this time we were also running out of room on the main file share which slowed down the backups even more.  One of our team members suggested to the client an archive process where we would move stale data to an external storage device. The client approved the process and we  suggested that we could use this storage device to do backups to disk instead of tapes.  Long story short, the BVA engineer went looking for a fast interface device with lots of storage that wouldn’t break the bank. An external eSATA device with 4 1TB drives for $600 was found. (http://www.cavalrystorage.com/CADA_SA4.htm)

The box comes with 4 drives, RAID controller, and an eSATA PCI-x card. We had to install the card on the server and just plug it in. The enclosure has its own RAID controller and the manufacturer sends it as RAID 5 so we got 3TB from it. Backups got faster.  When other clients ran into a similar problem – low disk space/low budget/LOTS of Mac projects needing backups, I suggested this drive to them. This time however, the same drive was $450 (even cheaper).

I think the drive is a good external solution for non-critical data or data that doesn’t require the speed of Serial Attached SCSI. If everything runs as it should, the interface transfers data at 3Gbps which the same as an internal SATA drive.

New Cloud VoIP Phone Systems – Cloud Phone System Review – Which Cloud Solution Is Best For Phone Systems | BVA IT Consulting Blog

BVA is reviewing many different options when it comes to Cloud Offerings for phone systems.  There are many out there that promise a lot of things and in our experiences we feel that they over-promise feature sets.  There are some local vendors here in the valley that have some offerings such as Saddleback and Telesphere.  We have heard good and bad things about these services here locally, therefore collectively we thought we would look elsewhere for a viable vendor to provide said services.  We have one service we are reviewing (http://www.ringcentral.com) called Ring Central and it sounds like a good solution to review and try out.

An organization can get a complete cloud-based VoIP business phone system that eliminates expensive on-premise equipment, includes ready-to-use phones, and provides enterprise-class functionality with RingCentral Office. No setup fees, no contracts required, and instant activation is what I like about it looking at it from 10,000 feet.  You can use RingCentral Office as your business phone system and:

  • Set up your phone system to work the way you do.
  • Get the business phone system, voice and fax features you need.
  • Integrate office, mobile, and distributed employees under one phone system.
  • Manage calls, voicemail, and faxes from your mobile phone.
  • Eliminate setup costs and complex installation.
  • Significantly reduce ongoing operating costs.
  • Add users and phones any time on the fly.

Our Favorite Storage Area Network: Net App FAS3140 – Which Storage Area Network Is Best | BVA IT Consulting Blog

BVA’s new favorite SAN is the FAS3100 series which is pretty cool in terms of price points versus features offered.  Its scalable, easy to deploy, and price aggressive.  It has the following attributes that are in line of why we have this viewpoint:

  • Low overhead Double Parity RAID-DP offers better data protection and capacity utilization than RAID 5 and RAID 1+0.
  • Snapshot feature helps reduce backup time to minutes.
  • SnapRestore feature recovers point-in-time data, also in minutes.
  • SnapManager feature quickly returns applications to the same point in time as recovered data.

NetApp has a innovative thin provisioning that eliminates stranded storage. And you can make data-in-place upgrades to more powerful FAS systems.  This could be your primary and secondary storage unit.  It’s extremely easy to install, provision, manage, and upgrade so you can quickly adapt your storage infrastructure to meet changing business and technical needs.  The FAS3100 SAN systems enable you to connect your heterogeneous server environment (including Windows, UNIX, and Linux servers) and clients to one storage system by using standard storage protocols and interfaces.

In terms of cost they roughly are between $35,000 to $60,000 depending on Disk Total, single or dual controller, SATA versus SAS, and NIC speed connections.

PCI Compliance Software Examples – Expert Analysis of PCI Compliance Software | BVA IT Consulting Blog

I have had a few clients in the past few months look at software to manage their credit card transactions so that they could follow PCI Compliancy.  It has never been more important to have a cost effective advanced IT solutions in place to watch over the biggest threats to corporate data security and compliance. One solution that surfaced from a client here in the valley was from Quest Software called In Trust.

InTrust securely collects, stores, reports and alerts on event data from Windows, Unix & Linux systems, helping you comply with external regulations, internal policies, and security best practices.  InTrust helps organizations achieve regulatory compliance by auditing access to critical systems and detecting inappropriate or suspicious access-related events. With this specialty tool, you can collect, analyze, report, and generate automated real-time alerts for all relevant access-related events across your heterogeneous network.

Using this single solution to monitor access to critical systems on multiple platforms reduces the complexity of event log management, saves expensive storage administration costs, improves information assurance, mitigates risk, and helps to reduce cost and improve efficiency of security, operational and compliance reporting.  Another solution that was offered by another client was a software product from GFI called EventsManager or LANguard.  They have free trials for all of this products mentioned which is huge for tailored solutions.

Core Exchange Online Features – Comprehensive Messaging Solution From Microsoft – What Features Does Microsoft Core Exchange Include | BVA IT Consulting Blog

Microsoft offers a comprehensive messaging solution with a simple per-user monthly fee. Major features include:

  • Standard 5-gigabyte (GB) mailbox and optional 25-GB mailbox to fit your organization profile.
  • Deskless Worker seat with 500-megabyte (MB) mailbox for workers who require fewer messaging features.
  • Built-in premium service continuity management capabilities.
  • Multilevel message hygiene capability, including antispam and antivirus features.
  • Directory trust with your Active Directory, which provides single sign-on capability.
  • Secure access to mail from within your corporate network or from the Internet, anywhere in the world, through a variety of devices and software.
  • Mailbox management tools that enable your support personnel to handle common tasks.
  • Exchange Online service center, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for escalations.
  • Sarbanes-Oxley and SAS 70 Type II self-assessment and audit support.
  • Latest Exchange Server features available now to your company.
  • Archiving service: Support to help satisfy regulatory retention requirements and personal mail management.
  • BlackBerry service: BlackBerry Enterprise Server hosting available to synchronize e-mail, calendar, contacts, and tasks with BlackBerry devices.
  • Data migration service: Automated transfer of your existing mail data to the Exchange Online environment.

Exchange 2010 Email Archiving – Does Microsoft Exchange Archiving Help Control Data Flow | BVA IT Consulting Blog

Exchange 2010 Email Archiving appears to be Microsoft’s answer to third-party products like Symantec Enterprise Vault and Iron Mountain-Mimosa Systems.  Based upon what I see, it’ll be a nice advanced IT solution for clients that use their mail system like a filing cabinet.  This is a great way of managing data and controlling data flow within an organization.  It requires Exchange Enterprise CALs and is not quite ready for prime time in my humble view (some of the admin functions won’t be added to the Management Console until SP1 for Exchange 2010).  But overall it looks great and I suspect we’ll consider it for a lot of clients in the future.  Email items from your primary mailbox can be automatically offloaded to a personal  Archive through established retention polices, and administrators can also import historical email data from .PST files directly into Exchange.  Pretty slick and convenient.

Here is a great link regarding the matter.