Concorde IT Group partners with CTERA to deliver OnCloud-VAULT: a fully managed backup solution.

Concorde’s OnCloud-VAULT is a fully managed backup, business continuity and disaster recovery solution that combines the storage and collaboration services your business needs to secure data. With the addition of CTERAOnCloud-VAULT uses their agents and appliances to upload and store secure, de-duped backup files within FLEXCloud, Concorde’s multi-site UK data centre platform powered by NetAppCisco and VMware.

The Group’s Head of Cloud and Managed Services, Asif Malik commented; “We are delighted at the partnership with CTERA. We believe their backup and sync products are the best in the industry, giving us the edge over our competitors. CTERA now completes our portfolio of backup, replication and file, sync and share; whatever data the customer needs to protect, we have the solution.

David Darmon, VP Sales Europe at CTERA added; “We’re pleased to partner with Concorde to provide a unified solution for integrating and managing remote storage, file access, and data protection that enables a holistic approach to secure, private enterprise file services.”

To learn more about Concorde’s managed cloud services, or to find out more about how Concorde can help you get the most from your IT, please email us on enquiries@concordeitgroup.com or contact us on 08432 480000 and we will happily assist you.

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The experts have spoken: What to look out for in IT in 2016

By Concorde Blogger @condordeitgroup

Concorde’s Technology Day was held on Wednesday February 24th, and with it, a lot of hints towards what themes to look out for in 2016.

We had expert presentations from major vendors on topics such as Microsoft Server 2016, Zerto Disaster Recovery and NetApp’s predictions for the year ahead. Here is what they told us to look out for this year:

Cisco will be concentrating on ICF, allowing VMs to be migrated to any cloud platform and converted to the destination format. Watch out in the next couple of weeks for announcements on cloud and hyper converged architecture.

Microsoft’s Server 2016 is mooted to be released in June 2016. It is already live in certain areas such as Azure and Office 365 so you may be using it without knowing it! They will be looking to virtualise as many programs as possible, with a great focus on security.

NetApp’s focus will be on simplicity. Products such as Data Fabric which will sit across all cloud storage helping to secure your files, and software disassociation from the hardware that it is set on will begin to simplify systems. Watch out for data management innovation as it is predicted to overcome cloud security and sovereignty concerns, paving the way for storage admins to evolve into data managers.

Veeam detailed Veeam Cloud Connect, available in v8. The best strategy is to follow the 3-2-1 approach, 3 copies, 2 different media and 1 offsite copy. Cloud connect enables easy integration with cloud providers to offsite their Veeam backups.

Sophos called for a security revolution, explaining the need for synchronised security. With comprehensive protection provided by endpoint security to prevent threats, encrypt data and detect machines that are already compromised to remediate threats, Sophos state that this is the way to better decisions and integration, faster to reduce threat impact.

Zerto offered the worrying statistic that 1 in 3 companies have declared a disaster in the past 5 years. With this in mind and the expense of any downtime, Zerto suggest that much simpler, hybrid solutions will become more prevalent, offering recovery in just minutes.

 There you have it, whatever area of IT you are interested in there will be a trend above that applies to you. Is there anything that you think we should be looking out for this year?

Click here to see photos from the event.

If you would like to find out more about the above predictions or simply need professional advice on the latest IT solutions, please email us on enquiries@concordeitgroup.com or contact us on 08432 480000 and we will happily assist you.

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Microsoft Targets Small Business and Home Users with its Recommended Windows 10 Upgrade

By Tom Garfath @condordeitgroup

Is Windows 10 sneaking itself onto your computer?

Windows 10 has been out for around 6 months so why are we blogging about it now?

On Monday 1st February the upgrade to Windows 10 was changed from Optional to Recommended.  This may not sound momentous but as the default setting on a new PC is to install Recommended updates automatically, you could find yourself upgrading without realising it.

There will be a prompt before the upgrade but this will only be displayed after the upgrade files have been downloaded to your PC.  As the download is over 3GB this could cause problems if you have a number of PCs in your office and the bandwidth on your internet connection is capped.  10 years of supporting PCs has taught me that a large number of people will click OK without reading the content of pop up messages so some people will be in for a shock.

Who will this affect?

This has been targeted at home and small business users so Enterprise and Embedded versions of windows are excluded.  If you are currently running Windows 7 or 8 Home or Pro Editions and have the default Windows Update settings expect to see this soon.

Should I Upgrade?

This is a completely free upgrade and the offer is available until July 29, 2016.  Windows 10 is a new operating system with many improvements made to the flexibility and productivity features and not simply an update like Windows 8.1.

By upgrading you are ensuring that you continue to receive the latest security and feature updates from Microsoft.  Windows 7 reached the end of Mainstream Support in January 2015!

I have been using Windows 10 since the middle of 2015 and we rolled it out to all of our Service Desk PCs here a few months ago.  We love some of the improved new features such as snap assist which makes it really easy to arrange multiple windows on your screen.  If you are lucky enough to be using a Touch Enabled device such as the Microsoft Surface the interface will automatically change to be optimised for Touch when it detects it has been removed from the Keyboard or Docking Station.

We have not experienced any compatibility issues with any of the applications we use but if you do rely on any specific products you would be best to check with the vendor to make sure Windows 10 will work for you.  They may have specific updates for Windows 10.

What if I don’t like it?

There is a 30 day period during which you will be able to roll back to your previous version of Windows in Settings > Update & security > Recovery.

If you would like to find out more about Windows 10 or simply need professional advice on the latest Microsoft products and solutions, please email us on enquiries@concordeitgroup.com or contact us on 08432 480000 and we will happily assist you.

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About the author

Tom has been working in IT for over 10 years, he joined Concorde in May 2014 and took up the role of Service Desk Team Leader in May 2015.  His team are the first port of call for all support requests.

Introducing Nano Server: Born-in-the-cloud Operating System

By Asif Malik @condordeitgroup

 

What is Nano Server?

Nano Server is a change to the traditional types of servers we are familiar with when installing and configuring windows servers. The analogy Microsoft give for this new breed is that today we treat our servers as kittens; when they get poorly, we spend huge amounts of time trying to troubleshoot and diagnose the issue. Instead, Microsoft say we should treat servers like a cattle; if one of the herd is ill, slaughter it, and get a new one.

 Easy to say, but how do we implement this?

Imagine a configuration file that can be applied to a server, which takes on the settings from the file of that server e.g. an Internet Information Service. If the server becomes unresponsive or you need more of the same server: copy and clone this file and deploy a new server from it. This is what Microsoft called Desired State Configuration.

As a headless version of Window Server (NOT CORE!), Nano Server will run with a very small services, memory and disk footprint (currently will only run a few apps). There is no MSI support, so it cannot run many of the applications that you currently use. For example, you cannot use Nano Server as a Remote Desktop Services Session Host (RDSH) server due to its lack of desktop.

The local Graphical User Interface (GUI) will not have a local login: it is designed to be managed remotely.

Currently Nano Server is 64 bit only; Microsoft have stripped out its 32 bit compatibility to reduce the amount of service and memory requirements.

 What can I use it for?

Microsoft puts forwards a few scenarios for Nano Server.

  • Physical machines (see Nano Server with Hyper-V running 3400 virtual machines on one server)
  • Virtual machines
  • Hyper-V Containers
  • Windows Server Containers
  • Scale-Out File Servers (SOFSs)
  • Born-in-the-cloud applications that are running in virtual machines

Nano Server currently supports a number of different runtimes including C#, Java, Node.js, and Python. Nano Server is API-compatible with Windows Server within the subset of components that Nano provides. An API server list can be found here:

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt588480%28v=vs.85%29.aspx 

Nano Server is currently in beta, and available in Windows Server 2016 Tech Release 4.

If you would like to find out more about Nano Server or simply need professional advice on the latest server or virtualisation solutions, please email us on enquiries@concordeitgroup.com or contact us on 08432 480000 and we will happily assist you.

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 About the author

Asif Malik is the Head of Cloud Services at Concorde IT Group, responsible for managing the cloud platform. Asif has worked in the IT industry since 1995 and has been with Concorde since 2014. 

 

SERVERS: PHYSICAL VS VIRTUAL

Though virtualisation has become the new standard for organisations of all sizes, physical server infrastructures are still quite widespread. Today we’re looking at a few key points that will help you to decide what solution will be best for your growing business.

Download PDF here.

Established in 1985, Concorde IT Group is one of the UK’s leading IT support and services providers, delivering cost effective and innovative IT solutions to businesses across the country.

Struggling for space, want to cut costs or are just looking to be prepared for when the worst happens? If you need professional advice on the latest server or virtualisation solutions and would like to call on our expertise and knowledge please email enquiries@concordeitgroup.com or contact us on 08432 480000 and we will happily assist you.

Want to keep up with Concorde's posts on LinkedIn? Follow us here  or tweet us via our Twitter page.