What’s Next

As we approach the midway point of 2016, have you given thought to what’s next? And I don’t mean in a grand, science fiction, sort of way, I mean what’s next for IT and for technology as it pertains to you and your organization. Not a technical discussion, but a focus on why it’s so important figure out.

We all work to keep our organization’s IT environments not just up and running, but as efficient as possible. It’s this efficiency that gives us a bit of an edge and, if done right, will help to differentiate us out in the market. After all, IT isn’t just a cost center nor liability (though we do see companies still look at it this way), but truly can be a competitive differentiator. A way to help your business “do it better” than the competition. But only if you are willing to embrace it that way. It’s a mindset where IT is considered an investment that needs to be monitored, stoked and fostered so it can flourish and provide value to the organization, as well as providing a return on investment. So when you are writing those (rather large) checks for technology and resources, you understand the value of the investment. We see it time and time again where organizations are looking to get by with IT by “doing it on the cheap”; spend as little as possible, but are looking for rich results. A smart investment (which means spending some money) will provide those results.

Understanding and being prepared for what’s next is how to foster this mindset. To see IT as a value driver that can help the organization be better. By knowing what is to come, you can make whatever adjustments necessary (money, company culture, political, etc.) to what you are doing and what you are buying to head in the right direction. Right direction being defined specifically by your needs. This is true as much for IT as it is for career development and life. Know the future, prepare for the future, change as necessary to get there, but at all times understand and believe in where you’re going. The converse of this can be a bit of an eye opener as well. Not being willing to change, doing exactly the same thing, and being stagnant is not just status quo, but a big step backwards.

In his book The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman talks about this from an organizational and personal perspective. He discusses that since that borders are no longer relevant in the Information Age (and he wrote this back in 2005), skills and opportunity have all been placed on a level playing field globally. That means that an individual or company no longer has an advantage because of where they are located. Competition is truly global and companies and individuals have to adapt to say relevant and competitive so that they won’t be left behind.

And here’s the scary part: If you don’t embrace a willingness to grow and change (again as an individual and an organization) you will be left behind. If you don’t figure out a way to differentiate yourself by changing and embracing “what’s next”, then you are declining. Thomas Friedman calls it reinventing your “special sauce”. That means that what you were great at last year, everyone will be great at this year, so you need to up your game and be better. Because if you say the same, what you were great at last year, you will be just average this year. And average just won’t cut it today. It’s a sobering thought and one we see organizations and individuals not taking seriously enough. If we don’t grow and change, we stagnate and die.

So what is to be done? In the IT world, it’s constantly understanding what’s new on the horizon in terms of technology and approaches to allow you and your organization to be the best you can be. Be as informed as possible on what’s happening within the industry, your colleagues, your customers and your competitors. Talk to people that have been there and get their perspective. One of the things we do with our customers is to get together regularly and brief them on what we see other customers within their industry doing in terms of technology, resources, process, and approaches. We also brief them on what we see as future trends that their industry, other organizations, and people are embracing. That gives us the privilege of helping our customers facilitate change.

When it comes to technology the future is generally around the ones we all know: Cloud, data analytics, big data, machine learning, operations and service management, SDN, and others. But it’s not just the technologies per se, it’s the value they bring. Perhaps in ways that weren’t originally anticipated. That helps to determine what’s next. And as we all know there is risk in embracing technologies that might not be the next thing or are ahead of their time. Look at tablets before the iPad. They’ve been around a long time, but just weren’t ready. Now they are. I am typing the on my iPad Pro while sitting in a coffee shop being just a productive as if I was sitting in my office. A few years ago that was “what’s next”.

Knowing what’s next can help you get ahead, but you have to be open and willing to embrace it and be ready for when it comes, whatever “it” is. That can present challenges as well: knowing what is coming but not being ready to take advantage of it. This is where a good group of partners can help. They can educate you as to what is happening within the IT industry, within similar companies and provide you a perspective to get you thinking. If they are close partners that you have a history with, they will give you an honest and as close to unbiased opinions and perspectives as possible. That’s critical as you are trying figure out what’s next. Figuring out whatever is “what’s next” can help open up doors and move you in the right direction. But remember that the converse is true as well, so figure out what “what’s next” means to you and your organization. Find you “special sauce” and embrace it. You’ll be glad you did.

Andy Jonak
ajonak@vicomnet.com

To read more of Andy’s Blogs click here : http://psblog.vicomnet.com/

What’s Next

As we approach the midway point of 2016, have you given thought to what’s next? And I don’t mean in a grand, science fiction, sort of way, I mean what’s next for IT and for technology as it pertains to you and your organization. Not a technical discussion, but a focus on why it’s so important figure out.

We all work to keep our organization’s IT environments not just up and running, but as efficient as possible. It’s this efficiency that gives us a bit of an edge and, if done right, will help to differentiate us out in the market. After all, IT isn’t just a cost center nor liability (though we do see companies still look at it this way), but truly can be a competitive differentiator. A way to help your business “do it better” than the competition. But only if you are willing to embrace it that way. It’s a mindset where IT is considered an investment that needs to be monitored, stoked and fostered so it can flourish and provide value to the organization, as well as providing a return on investment. So when you are writing those (rather large) checks for technology and resources, you understand the value of the investment. We see it time and time again where organizations are looking to get by with IT by “doing it on the cheap”; spend as little as possible, but are looking for rich results. A smart investment (which means spending some money) will provide those results.

Understanding and being prepared for what’s next is how to foster this mindset. To see IT as a value driver that can help the organization be better. By knowing what is to come, you can make whatever adjustments necessary (money, company culture, political, etc.) to what you are doing and what you are buying to head in the right direction. Right direction being defined specifically by your needs. This is true as much for IT as it is for career development and life. Know the future, prepare for the future, change as necessary to get there, but at all times understand and believe in where you’re going. The converse of this can be a bit of an eye opener as well. Not being willing to change, doing exactly the same thing, and being stagnant is not just status quo, but a big step backwards.

In his book The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman talks about this from an organizational and personal perspective. He discusses that since that borders are no longer relevant in the Information Age (and he wrote this back in 2005), skills and opportunity have all been placed on a level playing field globally. That means that an individual or company no longer has an advantage because of where they are located. Competition is truly global and companies and individuals have to adapt to say relevant and competitive so that they won’t be left behind.

And here’s the scary part: If you don’t embrace a willingness to grow and change (again as an individual and an organization) you will be left behind. If you don’t figure out a way to differentiate yourself by changing and embracing “what’s next”, then you are declining. Thomas Friedman calls it reinventing your “special sauce”. That means that what you were great at last year, everyone will be great at this year, so you need to up your game and be better. Because if you say the same, what you were great at last year, you will be just average this year. And average just won’t cut it today. It’s a sobering thought and one we see organizations and individuals not taking seriously enough. If we don’t grow and change, we stagnate and die.

So what is to be done? In the IT world, it’s constantly understanding what’s new on the horizon in terms of technology and approaches to allow you and your organization to be the best you can be. Be as informed as possible on what’s happening within the industry, your colleagues, your customers and your competitors. Talk to people that have been there and get their perspective. One of the things we do with our customers is to get together regularly and brief them on what we see other customers within their industry doing in terms of technology, resources, process, and approaches. We also brief them on what we see as future trends that their industry, other organizations, and people are embracing. That gives us the privilege of helping our customers facilitate change.

When it comes to technology the future is generally around the ones we all know: Cloud, data analytics, big data, machine learning, operations and service management, SDN, and others. But it’s not just the technologies per se, it’s the value they bring. Perhaps in ways that weren’t originally anticipated. That helps to determine what’s next. And as we all know there is risk in embracing technologies that might not be the next thing or are ahead of their time. Look at tablets before the iPad. They’ve been around a long time, but just weren’t ready. Now they are. I am typing the on my iPad Pro while sitting in a coffee shop being just a productive as if I was sitting in my office. A few years ago that was “what’s next”.

Knowing what’s next can help you get ahead, but you have to be open and willing to embrace it and be ready for when it comes, whatever “it” is. That can present challenges as well: knowing what is coming but not being ready to take advantage of it. This is where a good group of partners can help. They can educate you as to what is happening within the IT industry, within similar companies and provide you a perspective to get you thinking. If they are close partners that you have a history with, they will give you an honest and as close to unbiased opinions and perspectives as possible. That’s critical as you are trying figure out what’s next. Figuring out whatever is “what’s next” can help open up doors and move you in the right direction. But remember that the converse is true as well, so figure out what “what’s next” means to you and your organization. Find you “special sauce” and embrace it. You’ll be glad you did.

Andy Jonak
ajonak@vicomnet.com

To read more of Andy’s Blogs click here : http://psblog.vicomnet.com/

2016 Trends for the Changing Storage Landscape

The year 2016 is still young, so it’s not too late to catch up with the latest trends in storage. Many of the trends being predicted for this year involve software-defined storage or flash storage specifically. Not only that, but the capacity and performance levels of flash storage put you in a position to take advantage of other top technology trends.

As the year progresses, you don’t want to fall behind and miss out on cutting edge storage opportunities, so here they are:

The Top 5 Storage Trends Forecasted by Technology Experts:

1) Flash storage prices are coming down.
TechRepublic reports that, in the second half of 2015, flash prices have reduced by 75% over the past 18 months. In the past, prices per gigabyte ranging from $1 to 3 made flash storage a hard sell. The combination of lower prices and a more attractive total cost of ownership from higher capacity and performance will encourage more companies to move to flash.

eweek states IBM we’ll see further acceleration of the $35 billion external storage market, the move of two-dimensional memory cells in storage technology into the third dimension, the rise of cold storage, the realization of hyper-convergence and how storage will change with hordes of data

2) Performance requirements are rising to the levels provided by solid state drives.
In Network Computing, Chris Evans calls flash storage the “hard disk drive killer.” With greater demands on businesses to store more data every year, hard disk drives are having a difficult time keeping up.

And capacity isn’t the only issue. Speedier processors and memory have increased I/O requirements to the point where HDDs can no longer keep up with applications. IT leaders will need to up the ante as far as capacity and performance go by adopting flash storage.

3) Storage will increasingly integrate with network and compute functions.
Companies moving to a converged infrastructure can benefit from incorporating flash into their new architecture. Creating an impetus for moving to a converged infrastructure in which storage, networking, and compute are included in one chassis.

Converged infrastructure and all-flash arrays work together in a mutually beneficial way. The compactness of flash storage works well in the building block structure of converged systems. The high density improves performance. The same software that manages the stack can manage flash storage.

4) As personalizing customer engagement drives profitability, storage will have to meet the requirements of mobile application development.
The key to individualizing customer service is using analytic applications to learn about consumer preferences from mobile applications.
The IDC reports that currently 1% of all applications use cognitive services for analytics. They also forecast that by 2018, 50% will be embedding analytics in applications. The performance demands of these applications will require the low latency and rapid IOPS. Flash storage not only supplies these optimum response times, but also meets the challenge of high capacity storage required to analyze large data sets.

Prepare for the Rise of Flash
As these top 5 trends show, flash storage is becoming a more accessible and popular storage technology. Flash’s ability to optimize capacity and performance make it a superior alternative to traditional hard drives. Its capabilities also make other trends in technology attainable, like converged infrastructure and big data analytics.
Be prepared, because the trend towards flash storage will affect other parts of your infrastructure. The speed of flash may require that you boost your network bandwidth. As you enter the era of flash storage, ensure that your infrastructure matches your company’s performance demands now and into the future.

Get up to speed with these technology trends by scheduling a free consultation with Vicom.

For more information please contact us.

Vicom Computer Services, Inc. Named to CRN’s 2016 Solution Provider 500 List

Vicom Computer Services, Inc. Named to CRN’s 2016 Solution Provider 500 List

Farmingdale, NY, June 15, 2016 – Vicom Computer Services, Inc., announced today that CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has named Vicom to its 2016 Solution Provider 500 list. The SP500 list is CRN’s annual ranking of the largest technology integrators, solution providers and IT consultants in North America by revenue.

The SP500 is CRN’s predominant channel partner award list, serving as the industry standard for recognition of the most successful solution provider companies in the channel since 1995.

CRN has also released its 2016 SP500 Newcomers list, recognizing 47 companies making their debut in the SP500 ranking this year.

“As a technology solution provider, in an extremely competitive market, Vicom has demonstrated a commitment to excellence and is proud of our consistent growth and growing solution offerings. We are very excited to receive such an accolade.” said Robert Verola, CEO

“The 2016 Solution Provider 500 represent a total, combined revenue of over $334 billion—a testament to their success in keeping pace with the rapidly changing demands of today’s IT market,” said Robert Faletra, CEO, The Channel Company. “This prestigious list recognizes those companies with the highest revenue and serves as a valuable industry resource for vendors seeking out top solution providers to partner with. We congratulate each of the Solution Provider 500 companies and look forward to their continued success.”

A sampling from the 2016 Solution Provider 500 list will be featured in the June issue of CRN Magazine and at www.CRN.com/sp500.

Follow The Channel Company: Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook

About Vicom Computer Services, Inc.
Vicom Computer Services, Inc. is a leading information technology consulting firm servicing Fortune 1000, state and local government and emerging mid-size organizations. Our services and solutions enable our customers to operate more efficiently and effectively in today’s ultra-competitive environment. Vicom’s partnerships both with manufacturers and clients have allowed the development of solutions for tomorrow’s challenges today. To find out more about Vicom visit :www.vicomnet.com

Karen DiMora
Vicom Computer Services, Inc.
631.694.3900 ext. 347
kdimora@vicomnet.com

About the Channel Company
The Channel Company enables breakthrough IT channel performance with our dominant media, engaging events, expert consulting and education, and innovative marketing services and platforms. As the channel catalyst, we connect and empower technology suppliers, solution providers and end users. Backed by more than 30 years of unequaled channel experience, we draw from our deep knowledge to envision innovative new solutions for ever-evolving challenges in the technology marketplace. www.thechannelco.com

Melanie Turpin
The Channel Company
(508) 416-1195
mturpin@thechannelco.com

3 Things You Should Know When Moving Linux to Power

If you are still running Linux on x86 servers, it might be time to consider a move to Power. Some IT leaders hesitate to make the move because they are under the impression that Power is more expensive than x86 servers. Others are concerned about having to retrain staff and recode applications.

Not only is the cost of Power comparable to x86, but the boost in performance guarantees a greater return on investment. According to an IDC study, moving to Linux on Power shows a 14% increase in user productivity combined with a 60% decrease in infrastructure costs.

The increased computing performance of Power makes it ideal for big data workloads. Compared to x86, Power has 4 times the threads per processor cycle, so it can keep up with the demands of analyzing huge volumes of unstructured data.

While migrating to a new technology is always a big step to take, moving Linux from x86 to Power can be a smooth transition if you remember a few key points.

The top 3 things you should know when moving to Linux on Power are:

1) Time your Linux on Power migration wisely.
Instead of putting off a move until your workload demands outpace your capacity, plan ahead. If you move before you’re required to—or before you are forced to migrate due to failing systems—you have more time to develop a sound migration strategy.

Developing a plan allows you to anticipate the resources you will need to make the move, like budget, staff, and equipment. With advanced notice, you don’t have to make due. Now you have the time to requisition more resources if needed.

Planning ahead also reduces risk. To avoid taking chances, you can assess all your software and tools for compatibility. If most of your applications can be ported with little or no code changes, a move to Power may be the right choice for you.

2) Porting applications can be accomplished with little risk.
Transferring all your applications to a new system may seem overwhelming, but with POWER8, compatibility issues are reduced to a minimum. In fact, most x86 applications port to Power with no source code changes.

After a decade of working with Linux, Power has evolved to provide support for little endian modes.
Any application written in a scripting language like Ruby, PHP, Java, and Python will be compatible. The IBM Software Development Kit allows you to run 95% of compiled applications, such as C/C++, with a simple recompile.

To prepare for your migration, list all the software you want to include in the migration. Note the type of software, whether big or little endian, in-house or 3rd party. Then check to see if a Power technology-certified version is available. The remaining applications can be recompiled on the Power server for testing.

Working with an IBM Client Center can help you develop a risk management plan for your applications.

3) IBM has your back.
The IBM Client Center is just one example of the many resources available to companies planning a migration to Linux on Power. Ever since IBM invested $1 billion dollars in Linux, they have worked to develop a robust support network for the system.

The IBM Migration Factory is their world-class migration service offering. Working with thousands of customers, IBM has designed a time-tested methodology for reducing the cost and risk of moving to Linux on Power.

IBM also provides tools that make migration and implementation a snap. The IBM Installation Wizard offers both a text-based and graphic user interface-based environment so you can choose the easiest option for your staff.

Better yet, many of these resources—ranging from application toolkits to migration kits and services—are free. IBM also provides pre and post-migration funding.

Move On Up to Linux on Power

With support from IBM and a little pre-planning, your move to Linux on Power can be a breeze. Moving Linux to Power doesn’t require that you rework all your processes.

Most applications can be ported with little or no recoding. Not only are you able to use most of your applications, but the tools you need are still available, like Linux distributions, NoSQL and open source databases, and developer tools.

You are not alone as you embark on your migration journey. IBM provides ample support to ensure that you have the right resources and expertise for a risk-free migration.

A CFO’s Wish List for Modern Applications Architecture

As a CFO, you need to be able to manage risk by processing financial data streaming in from all parts of the business. The volume of data inundating your business can be too much for a person to handle, particularly at the speed that is required to make practical use of insights.

The Power of Real-time Insights

If one of your business processes has become so costly that it is eating into your profits, you may be unaware of the problem until your receive a monthly report from IT. In the time between when the problem developed and when you learned of it, your business has lost thousands of dollars.

If you are able to receive real-time information instead, you can be alerted about the problem as soon as it develops. The faster you can find a way to fix the problem, the sooner you can put your company back in the black. Today’s analytic applications leverage data to gain the insights needed to make these timely and profitable decisions.

Upping the Ante on Application Performance

Business intelligence tools, automation technologies, and other large applications are becoming more sophisticated, taxing the capabilities of the data center infrastructure.

Traditionally, business analytics applications have been able to draw information from a variety of sources inside and outside of the business, which has helped with strategic planning. Today, business intelligence applications have cognitive abilities that create greater performance demands as they expand capabilities. These applications utilize advances in natural language processing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence for faster and more highly developed insights.

Armed with these additional reasoning powers, CFOs can have analytics at their fingertips. Graphic user interfaces make data easy to visualize and understand for a simplified and streamlined analytics process.

For its initiatives to be effective, your business needs the power to use applications that analyze data immediately for real-time insights.

Meeting the Challenges of Data Analytic Applications

Accessing the right applications isn’t enough to make analytics work for you. Before you can begin taking advantage of applications, you need to have a powerful infrastructure to support them.

In the past, companies have responded to the increased storage and performance needs of applications by provisioning more servers. Server sprawl, symptomatic of an ineffective infrastructure management plan, devours energy and rack space. Companies remained faithful to these legacy servers because they were reliable at the time of implementation.

No matter how many servers you add, the low thread count in x86 servers adds up to low processing power that can’t handle the demands of modern applications.

Relying on legacy servers to power your applications keeps your business from being competitive. The effort of managing and maintaining legacy servers stretches your resources. Older servers are inefficient, costing more money for poorer performance. Lag time hurts productivity and loses clients who are frustrated with response times.

Doing More with Less

If you are currently working with x86 servers, but need to accommodate your applications’ increased performance needs, you should consider newer servers that monitor the integrity of data, increase processing and memory, and accelerate input/output rates.

Our eBook, Add Power to Your Applications, gives an in-depth look at how IBM POWER8 provides a superior alternative to the legacy servers that are keeping your business from reaching its full potential. With IBM POWER8, you can break the endless cycle of provisioning lower performing servers and take advantage of the real-time and actionable insights produced by business intelligence applications.

IBM POWER8 provides an answer to the deficiencies of legacy servers by offering:

• Lower energy consumption
• More efficient maintenance
• Improved bandwidth
• Increased performance with fewer servers

Faster transactional speeds translate into improved business processes, not only from increased production, but from the insights gained through advanced business intelligence applications.