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Update from the Virtualisation & Infrastructure Team

In terms of IT infrastructure and services; 2011 has seen cloud offerings provide a serious alternative to the traditional “in-house” approach. Take up has been greater in some areas than others, with cloud backup becoming one of the most popular as companies “dip their toe” into cloud technology.

However with vendors increasingly investing in what has become a very competitive market, we only see its impact growing in 2012 as confidence increases in this form of IT delivery and prices are driven down.

At EACS our own cloud backup system undoubtedly has a future in this market and compliments other EACS services to provide a complete IT package for our customers.

Server virtualisation has continued to dominate infrastructure upgrades; there are very few companies who are not adopting, or planning to adopt, this form of delivery when it comes to upgrading their infrastructure.

VMware maintained its dominant position in this market, but perhaps not as much as they would have liked. Version 5 of vSphere was released in the latter half of 2011 with new features and increased performance in a number of areas. However their new licensing model, which aimed to align costs with the benefits of virtualisation rather than with the physical attributes of individual servers, generated much debate.

As Microsoft’s Hyper-V hypervisor matures; 2012 could be a challenging year for both VMware vSphere and Citrix XenServer. The case for Microsoft is further strengthened when Hyper-V is considered alongside their System Center suite of products. This means a single vendor can provide a fully integrated and managed environment.

With regard to storage, our NetApp partnership continued to grow stronger in 2011. We achieved NetApp Platinum partner and ASP status, which means NetApp has recognised EACS as having superior sales and technical expertise in their full product line.

In addition, EACS is now an EMC Affiliate Partner for their VNXe range of storage systems, which offer an affordable unified storage platform for smaller businesses and has proved popular in the market place.

In terms of general storage, technologies like VDI and Virtualisation have placed far more pressure on storage to deliver data at greater speeds. SSD and Cache help in this area but the thirst for I/O is driving new specialist products and it’s an area EACS will look closely at in 2012.

Another vendor worth mentioning is Veeam, who have continued last year’s success with many more awards, including the Gold Award for New Technology at VMworld 2011. It’s our product of choice for backing up and replicating virtual environments outside of using built in storage based functionality. Previously limited to VMware only, Veeam announced in November that version 6 of their Backup and Replication product supports Hyper-V.

A further growth area for 2012 will be Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery. As IT becomes ever more critical, businesses need to examine the health of their IT estate, be proactive in providing enough capacity, but also be able to recover quickly in the event of a disaster. Our Cloud Backup, virtualisation, storage and monitoring solutions provide many technologies to simplify this and even automate the process.

Virtualisation also provides the opportunity for customers to upgrade their environment in terms of operating systems and applications. However this means there are new technologies to learn and support. All this change must be completed with minimal disruption to the company, its employees and its customers.

EACS is sympathetic to this and we continue to work very closely with our customers to provide confidence in their new environment, both during and after deployment, through support and management.

2012 will see the team continue to deliver projects to a high level, while leading with the technical innovations that continue at a pace in this industry.

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In terms of IT infrastructure and services; 2011 has seen cloud offerings provide a serious alternative to the traditional “in-house” approach. Take up has been greater in some areas than others, with cloud backup becoming one of the most popular as companies “dip their toe” into cloud technology. However with vendors increasingly investing in what […] ...read the full article

The Great Email Migration

Microsoft Exchange 2010 is here, Exchange 2013 is likely to follow soon and Exchange 2003 is out of mainstream support, so it’s fair to say The Great Email Migration has begun.

We are always talking to CIOs and IT Managers about ways in which we can make their email management easier, and the conversation more often than not involves plans for migration.

Our partner Mimecast commissioned Loudhouse, an independent research consultancy, to conduct a survey into email system upgrade plans and it returned some very interesting results…

The rush to upgrade

With so many new features and enhancements being added to each new version of Microsoft Exchange, it’s no surprise that three quarters of respondents told us they were planning to upgrade in the next two years; 57% even said within the next 12 months. Most are migrating to Exchange 2010 on premise, but 21% are headed for the hosted option and 13% for Microsoft’s cloud-based Office 365.

The benefits are clear

It’s great to see that IT departments are seriously thinking about Exchange 2010 and the new features and capabilities it brings, with 77% of those asked saying they were upgrading to keep pace with the advances Microsoft has made. Most of you are expecting to recoup the costs of the upgrade too, with 42% expecting that to happen as quickly as six months.

So the benefits are clear; new tech and features, improved security, improved OWA and pretty quick ROI, to name a few.

But there are concerns

You told us you were worried about impacting the performance of email, and rightly so. Email is one of the most important services in your business, as is the availability of your email data. There is a real fear that moving to a new mail platform could cause your email to be unavailable for an unplanned amount of time, your data leak prevention and email policies may not be enforced, and that your data may become corrupted in transition.

So spending time moving data and potentially losing some of it is a real concern and it should be addressed before the migration starts.

Helpful additions to the plan

Dealing with the big data problem is an issue that is easily solved before the migration; consider moving that data to the cloud, reducing the old historic email in users’ inboxes and keep them running with much more recent data. Old data can be accessed online directly from the cloud, but seamlessly within Outlook from the users’ perspective, rather than from Exchange stores locally. By doing this, when you come to migrate mailboxes from an old Exchange server to the new one, you will be moving much less data. This will also mean the big data can be moved out to the cloud separately to the main migration project, so it won’t extend your timelines. The 52% of you worried about losing data can then be satisfied that a cloud solution that continues to capture email in real- time means you’ll always have a copy if something does go missing.

If you’re worried about system downtime – and we know 44% of you are – then the cloud is an ideal addition to your Exchange environment as it will provide continuity for your users before, during and after your migration. Deploying that cloud-based continuity solution before the migration means you will be protected from any sort of planned or even unplanned outage during the process, and if you need to roll back at any point, even that scenario will be a breeze.

Migration season is here!

Big data, continuity, complexity and spiralling costs shouldn’t be part of your migration plan this time round. So, why not consider letting the cloud augment your Exchange environment and offload some of those complex migration worries onto a vendor who really is an email expert?

Working with Mimecast and EACS before, during and after your migration can help to simplify the migration process and ensure a trouble-free, seamless transition – guaranteeing 100% email uptime throughout. You’ll also have the peace of mind that the future management of your email archiving, continuity and security services is in safe hands.

To download the Loudhouse report click HERE.

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Microsoft Exchange 2010 is here, Exchange 2013 is likely to follow soon and Exchange 2003 is out of mainstream support, so it’s fair to say The Great Email Migration has begun. We are always talking to CIOs and IT Managers about ways in which we can make their email management easier, and the conversation more […] ...read the full article