What is an MSP?

MSP, managed services providerAn MSP (Managed Services Provider) staffs highly certified and highly trained IT Engineers to remotely monitor and maintain your organization’s network.

 

 

When you bring in an MSP you should expect that the following would be included in any monthly cost:

• Alerts – Storage, Server and Desktop
• Data backup and recovery for different devices (desktops, notebooks, servers, etc.)
• Patch management
• Security

For any small or medium sized business an MSP may act as a Virtual CTO for your company. They can not only take care of the above tasks but they help with an overall IT strategy that will easily be expanded as your company grows.  In larger corporations an MSP may act as an extension of your IT department. The MSP would take the day to day monitoring, patches and updates and free your IT staff to focus on the projects they need to focus on.
In hiring an MSP, you are not losing control of your IT. You decide what you need help with. It is after all, your company.

Like to learn more about the benefits and features of an MSP? Please feel free to visit our Managed Services page or email me directly. Questions or comments are always welcome below.

 

Suzanne

 

 

 

 

Suzanne Chambers
Account Executive
suzanne.chambers@customsystems.com

 

© Copyright Custom Systems Corporation 2016

Server 2012 or 2016: To Upgrade or Wait

To upgrade or wait?

Once again, we are faced with the age-old IT question – should we upgrade or wait? In this case, the question refers to Windows Server — “Should we go to 2012 now or should we wait?”  As in most cases within IT, the answer depends on the situation and is different from environment to environment.  Let’s look at the timeline that bring up this question:

  • Windows Server 2016 is expected to be released  first quarter 2016.
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 released in October 2014.
  • Windows Server 2012 had a general availability release back in September 2012.
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 has a tentative End of Life (EOL) set for 2020.

Currently, Windows 2008 R2 makes up the majority of the server workloads in use today.  Many organizations have barely started working with 2012, if at all.  Most organizations are still operating Active Directory at the 2008 level.  Some are still on Windows Server 2003, even though it has already hit EOL.  The past repeats itself because we have again hit a point where the most utilized version of a Windows software is going to be two or more generations behind the latest release.  Server 2012 adaptation increased when R2 was released and particularly when Server 2003 hit EOL and companies needed to migrate off that platform.  Timing and other factors went into the slow adaptation of Server 2012.  However, Server 2012 suffered from the same issue Windows 8 did – the interface.  Server 2012 is a solid product, but the interface turns off so many IT professionals who have to live in it day-to-day.  The interface is based on the Metro Interface used in Windows 8.  The Metro Interface was designed with touch screens and tablets in mind.  How many IT professionals have touch screens available or use tablets when connecting to their Windows servers?  Yes, you can put a start menu in 2012 with a third-party product.  But how many of us are against the cluttering of our servers with unnecessary software installations?

Given what was just stated, let’s get back to the question at hand.  Should you got to Server 2012 now or wait?  The answer depends on your organization’s needs, plans, and project timeframes.  At this point, the most compelling reasons to install server 2012 right now is if you are installing or upgrading to the latest versions of a particular application, you are still on server 2003, or a company mandate is in place.  Here are some reasons to wait for server 2016:

  • At this point in the year, if you have not budgeted for an upgrade/migration project for this year, then you can put it in the budget for next year.
  • Server 2016 has an interface that is based on Windows 10’s interface. Yes, it has a start menu.
  • Going to server 2012 R2 in the near future will immediately put you one version behind.
  • Along with Server 2016, Exchange, SQL, and SharePoint 2016 will be released as well.
  • The preview builds have had favorable reviews.
  • Needed improvements in Hyper-V.
  • If you migrate now, how long before you will need to migrate again.

Let’s look at the reasons against waiting for Server 2016:

  • Keep in mind that even though the release is expected first quarter, it is not a good thing to have your production environment on the bleeding edge. I usually advise my clients that adapting a new version of a software should be held off for a few months after the release at the least.  The major issues will most likely be found and resolved within the first few months.  I usually advocate waiting until the equivalent of the first service pack comes out.
  • If you are still on a 2003 environment, you are waiting too long and sitting on vulnerabilities that will no longer be remediated.
  • Application compatibility. We are looking at a new operating system.  You know there are going to be applications that are not compatible with it.  Even if a piece of software proves compatible, you may still need to wait until the vendor says it supports the installation.
  • Knowledge and the ability to support the features. This is a new Operating System.  You can relate what you know about previous versions of Windows Server, but there will definitely be new subject matter to learn.  Features like containers will need some research and knowledge.  If you are not comfortable with PowerShell, you better get comfortable.

In short, if you are not on server 2012 at the moment, are off of Server 2003, and you can wait about eight months, then consider waiting for Server 2016 to do your migration.  The nice thing I have seen so far, is that you can treat 2016 like another version of Windows Server with improvements for what you know and use now.  However, it is the new features and concepts that will make it worth the wait.  I will be posting a blog or two (or three) concerning the release of Windows 2016 in the next few months.  I usually write blogs like this one for a wide range of readers involved in IT from the technical to the not-as-technical.  The future blogs on Windows 2016 will be more technical.

Feel free to post any questions or comments below or reach me directly by email.

 

AZS-3

 

 

Craig R. Kalty (CCIA, CCEE, CCA, MCITP:EA, MCITP:SA, VCP)| Sr. Network Consultant craig.kalty@customsystems.com

 

 

©2015 Custom Systems Corporation

Father’s Day Reflections

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The dads at Custom Systems are all pretty remarkable guys. We have new dads and a new grandfather. Milestones? You could say that. Their kids range from teething to teens, college to new careers. This Father’s Day, we asked them to share some parenting insight. Here are a few of their responses.  Happy Father’s Day!

 

Advice For My Newborn Son:

Learn to drive a stick-shift.
Appreciate every day.
Love your Mother.
Stand during the Pledge Allegiance.
If it’s a fair fight, you don’t want to be in it.
If you are getting flack, it’s because you are over the target.
Safety is third.  If it were first, you wouldn’t go.
Be the master of your own emotions.
Carry two handkerchiefs: One is for you, the other is for her.
The Warrior is more comfortable facing his enemy, facing danger – than not.
Try not to make mistakes, but if you do: learn something from them.
Learn a foreign language.  Preferably math.

Advice For My Teenage Daughter:

I’ve already taught you everything I know.  Just keep being you, and you will be great!

Chase


‘Dad, Can You Fix This?’ or “You Want Me to Do What?”

If you are a techie, then you can relate to this. In my immediate and extended family, I am the Tech Guy. That means that if a family member has a question about a piece of technology, then I must be the one with the answer. Being a tech geek, I have supplied my household with PCs, laptops, smart phones, tablets, all-in-one printers, games systems, streaming media devices, and more. Along with this comes the responsibility of being the support person.

I am the go-to guy for tech answers, even when I have no idea what they are talking about. My oldest daughter will come to me and ask me how to accomplish something I have never heard of. I of course go to work to find her an answer because that is what Dad does. I now know how to modify posts on Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and other sites. The funny thing is that I had never been on those sites until my daughter needed help. My son loves his Minecraft. I now know how to create a Minecraft server with updates and mods. I still have never played the game. I am a Warcraft person. The best was when my youngest daughter wanted me to fix an issue with a school web site. I am sorry to say that I was not able to accomplish what she wanted. Mostly because of the morality involved in hacking a public school’s web site, not to mention the laws.

I am happy to say that my wife has not asked me to get the mixer on-line. It was hard enough when I had to do it for the toaster.

Craig


On becoming a father

When I was younger I was afraid to become a father. I used to wonder if I could handle it and if I would be able to provide for my child or children. As I got older and got married, I became excited to have children but was still afraid. I now have one son who is about 20 months old. All I can say is having him was the greatest moment of my life. There are days I want to pull my hair out, but every second of it is worth it. I would like to have more children now that I have him. Watching him grow is nothing short of amazing.

He is so funny to watch. I will be in my office working at my desk and he will come running in, grab my personal laptop that I leave on the ground for him, and just starting typing away. Even at 20 months he knows how to open the laptop, turn it on, and even plug the charger cord in. He wants to plug it into the wall to, but not until he is older. It is just so funny to watch the things he does as he learns new things. He wants to mimic everything he sees and be like everyone else.

Becoming a father is such an amazing gift. It is something that I hope all men someday have the chance to experience. It is one of the most trying things you will probably ever do but at the same time one of the most rewarding. I look forward to watching him grow up and become a young man, I just hope it does not happen too quickly. I want to enjoy every moment, for as long as I can.

Ryan


 

 

Raising a grandson

The real challenge in raising a grandchild after you’ve raised your own children is that sometimes you just want to scream, I have already done this once! But that doesn’t help the child.  So you wait for those moments when he surprises you with something that makes you proud. Like when he got the Assistant Principal’s Award for the student that showed the most growth socially and academically over his high school years. He was as surprised as we were. He wasn’t expecting any awards, other than an acknowledgement of his work in teen counsel.  He’s graduating from high school this month and plans to enlist in a branch of the service in September.  And that’s when you say to yourself, maybe he will make it after all.

Dale