Tuesday, May 11, 2010

VMware vCenter Chargeback™

Model, Measure and Assign Costs Associated with Virtual Machines

Get accurate cost measurement, analysis and reporting with VMware vCenter Chargeback, part of the VMware family of management products. Create cost transparency and accountability so business owners and IT can understand the actual cost of the virtual infrastructure required to support business services.

VMware vCenter Chargeback is fully integrated with VMware vCenter Server and gives you the ability to map IT costs to business units, cost centers, or external customers — enabling a better understanding of how much resources cost and what can be done to optimize resource utilization to reduce overall spend on IT infrastructure.

Accurately Measure and Analyze Costs of Virtual Machines
Make better resource utilization and allocation decisions by ensuring accurate measurement of the true costs of virtualized workloads. Identify opportunities to reduce deployment of low-priority or under-utilized workloads that don't justify their costs. Help the business make informed decisions about service levels with better visibility in to their associated costs.

Drive Transparency Between IT and the Business

Allow the business to understand the cost of deploying and maintaining business services.
Eliminate the perception that virtual machines are "free"
Drive better decision making and planning for infrastructure budget requirements

Simplify Cost Accounting for a Shared Virtual Infrastructure

Accurately account for resource ownership across business units
Automatically assign costs for usage of server, storage, and network resources
Schedule and distribute reports on a periodic basis to communicate usage and costs to business owners

Use Comprehensive Datacenter Cost Modeling

Track costs for power, cooling, real estate, software licenses, and maintenance associated with virtual infrastructure deployments
Distribute costs for shared business services across organizational units
Integrate with existing IT Financial Management or Asset Management systems for complete cost visibility across physical and virtual resources

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

AOKNetworking's Newest Team Member

Curtis Hill
Network Engineer

Speciality: SonicWALL, Cisco, Windows System, Linux & Blackberry Enterprise

VMware vCenter AppSpeed

Manage the Performance of Virtualized Multi-Tier Applications

Guarantee performance SLAs to the business and perform "Assured Migrations" as you measure performance both before and after virtualizing an application. VMware vCenter AppSpeed inspects traffic flowing over the vSwitch, discovers and maps the environment, monitors performance against SLAs and enables root cause analysis.

Ensure Performance Levels for Virtualized Multi-Tier Applications
Analyze the performance of applications in your environment and find ways to improve it. AppSpeed measures the latency experienced by the application end users and correlates that latency to the different tiers of the underlying physical and virtual infrastructure. Gain powerful capabilities to discover and map each tier of the infrastructure, identify application performance bottlenecks and enable root cause analysis. Model how applications would perform in virtualized environments and eliminate uncertainty about virtualizing business-critical applications.

Get a Real-Time View of Actual End-User Application Performance
Discover the relationship between VMs and applications shortly after installation. Group VMs into logical units with dependency mapping and gain an end-to-end view of application performance. Out-of-the-box views and dashboards identify the worst performing applications, applications with declining performance and applications experiencing high network error rates.

Identify trends and gain insight into root cause analysis through AppSpeed's timeseries data.
Create performance thresholds based on automatically calculated performance baselines.

Dramatically Reduce Troubleshooting Time and Finger Pointing
Determine whether network, infrastructure or application issues are at the root of performance concerns, then use a comprehensive set of tools for triaging and troubleshooting. View latency from the broad applications level all the way to the finest level of detail (transaction or database query). Break latency issues down to contributing components (infrastructure, network and application). Work with your networking and application owner counterparts to quickly resolve performance issues and eliminate endless triage, blame, and finger pointing.

100% Non-Intrusive Performance Management
Unlike other performance management tools on the market, AppSpeed does not require agents, code insertion into applications or the creation of synthetic transactions. AppSpeed is able to monitor application latency non-intrusively by inspecting packets flowing over a host's vSwitches.

Reduce Barriers to Virtualizing Business-Critical Applications
Eliminate performance concerns about virtualizing enterprise applications and realize dramatic OPEX and CAPEX savings. Show concerned application owners application performance measurements before and after migration to a virtualized environment and easily demonstrate that performance is not negatively impacted by virtualization.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Virtualizing Enterprise Applications

Upgrade to the Best Platform for Business-Critical Applications

Give Your Applications a More Dynamic Infrastructure
Application architectures are rapidly evolving towards highly distributed, loosely coupled applications. Multitier applications, now the norm, will become more even important with the move to SOA, Web 2.0 applications and other emerging application frameworks.

The conventional x86 computing model, with applications tightly coupled to physical servers, is too static and fragmented to efficiently support these complex and dynamic applications. In fact, in these environments more than 70% of IT budgets are used just to manage existing applications and IT services. Less than 30% is allocated to innovation and competitive advantage.

Deliver Applications Dynamically in a Cost-Efficient Private Cloud
As the first cloud operating system, VMware vSphere transforms IT infrastructures into a private cloud delivering IT infrastructure as an easily accessible service. Free existing and future application loads from the constraints of a static, dedicated infrastructure, by utilizing a collection of internal clouds that federate on-demand to external clouds.

Exceed the Performance of Applications on Physical Servers
More than 95% of applications, including large databases, enterprise business suites, and email, will match and even exceed the performance achieved on physical servers when run on VMware vSphere. Each virtual machine can scale to 8 vCPU, 256 GB of memory and support IO intensive applications. Your applications achieve far greater scalability per physical host by scaling out on multiple virtual machines-often the only way to leverage the capacity of the latest multicore servers.

Minimize Infrastructure Costs
Achieve 5X to 10X consolidation ratios for demanding applications such as Exchange and SAP. Eliminate the need to provision dedicated testing, staging, training, and DR servers. In production, give applications exactly the capacity they need, when they need it and eliminate the need to overprovision.

Accelerate Application Delivery
Create pre-configured vApps that can be provisioned on demand, test multi-tier applications quickly and efficiently and automate release cycles with VMware vCenter Stage Manager. Deploy standard, pre-configured application stacks at the click of a button, ensuring consistency across production applications and minimizing manual configuration overhead and configuration errors.

Guarantee Application Quality of Service
Ensure end-user QoS by automatically providing the right levels of application availability and scalability with the vSphere Application Services. Dynamically dial up or down application availability and scalability levels as business requirements evolve so you can meet QoS requirements in the most cost-effective way.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Business Continuity

Improve Business Continuity with Virtualization

While disasters and unplanned downtime get the big headlines, planned downtime for hardware maintenance and backups is the cause of most service interruptions. VMware's server, desktop and application virtualization products let you eliminate planned downtime, ensure data protection, deliver high availability and be better prepared for disaster recovery. Virtualize your datacenter and make it easier to deploy:

Data protection, including non-disruptive automated backup and restore processes

High availability through reduced planned and unplanned downtime

Protect your Business-Critical IT Infrastructure

Get Full Data Protection for your IT Infrastructure
Simplify backup and recovery of your data and systems with virtualization. Easily recover important data within your recovery time objectives using your existing backup tools and methodologies. Benefit from a simpler data protection plan, encompassing all systems and applications and leveraging the benefits of a virtualized datacenter.

Eliminate Planned and Unplanned Downtime

Make sure your applications have the highest level of availability with built-in service-levels that are easier and more cost effective than traditional solutions. The live migration of virtual machines eliminates the need for planned downtime, allowing IT to perform maintenance on physical servers anytime, without user or service disruption.

Build Reliable and Efficient Disaster Recovery Plans

Eliminate the cost and unpredictability of traditional disaster recovery solutions by taking advantage of the inherent flexibility of a 100% virtualized datacenter. Utilize this foundation to build highly effective disaster recovery plans and test your plan in a non-disruptive manner-eliminating the issue of failure due to hardware differences between the primary and backup datacenters.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Virtualization for Small & Medium Businesses

Enabling Always On IT for SMBs

Small businesses face many of the same IT challenges as larger businesses, trying to accommodate increasing demand for new IT capabilities and services. Small businesses often place even greater emphasis on cost savings and on protecting business critical systems and data, since shrinking IT staff and budgets and a "do more with less" mantra make it extremely difficult to simultaneously maintain day-to-day business operations (keeping the lights on) and invest in new strategic projects that can yield longer-term efficiencies to help the business grow.

VMware vSphere for small business is the most cost effective way to enable Always On IT - the high availability, reliability, and manageability of enterprise-class operations optimized for small and midsized businesses

Always On IT

Virtualization technology simplifies IT so that companies can more effectively utilize their storage, network, and computing resources to control costs and respond faster. The virtual infrastructure approach to IT management creates virtual services out of the physical IT infrastructure, enabling administrators to allocate these resources quickly to the highest priority applications and the business needs that require them the most.

With virtualization, hardware management is completely separated from software management, and hardware equipment can be treated as a single pool of processing, storage, and networking power to be reallocated on the fly to various software services. In a virtual infrastructure, users see resources as if they were dedicated to them - while administrators gain the ability to efficiently manage and optimize resources to serve the needs of the business.

VMware equips SMBs with technology solutions that allow them to cost effectively optimize the use of their existing IT assets and resources as well as protect the systems, data, and applications that run the business, ensuring Always On IT. With analysts predicting the adoption of virtualization among SMBs to double in the next 24 months, these benefits are making this compelling technology a mainstream mandate for SMBs.


Slash capital costs through consolidating servers and containing additional hardware spend. VMware virtualization delivers improved utilization of their servers, resulting in fewer resources to manage, power, store, and buy - enabling SMBs to increase utilization rates for x86 servers from 5-15 percent up to 60-80 percent.

Enhance staff productivity. VMware vSphere solutions are easy to deploy, use, and manage. They provide IT professionals with the freedom to be released from menial tasks, enabling them to take a more strategic role in the enterprise.

Improve business continuity. VMware solutions offer complete data protection, truly continuous application availability and automated disaster recovery across physical sites. VMware virtualization helps SMBs protect critical data and applications that keep the business running with zero-downtime hardware maintenance, eliminating the need for maintenance windows.

Improve business responsiveness through improved efficiency, flexibility, and responsiveness. Managing a virtual infrastructure allows IT professionals to quickly connect and manage resources to meet ever-changing business needs. VMware virtualization can result in faster provisioning of new applications in minutes, not weeks, and can accelerate change request response times from hours or days to just minutes.

Improve application quality and deployment. With VMware virtualization, SMBs can test more applications by optimizing pre-production staging environments, resulting in less downtime for the applications that run and drive the business.

Strengthen security. VMware virtualization enables automated patch management of server hosts and virtual machines and an integrated firewall that maintains security policies across the mobile, flexible environment and decreases operational costs of managing them.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Server Consolidation

Reduce IT Costs While Maintaining Control and Offering Choice

Don't let server sprawl and platform dependencies prevent your organization from achieving its goals. Cut capital and operating costs while increasing IT service delivery without being locked into limited choices of operating systems, applications, and hardware.

Reduce hardware and operating costs by as much as 50% and energy costs by 80%, saving more than $3,000 per year for every server workload virtualized
Reduce the time it takes to provision new servers by up to 70%
Decrease downtime and improve reliability with business continuity and built-in data disaster recovery

Deliver IT services on-demand now and in the future, independent of hardware, OS, application or infrastructure providers

Reduce Costs by Consolidating Hardware & Increasing Server Utilization
By consolidating your server hardware, your organization can:

Increase utilization of existing hardware from 5-15% up to 80%
Reduce hardware requirements by a 10:1 ratio or better
Our Professional Services team can help you assess your IT environment to identify consolidation candidates and to calculate the potential savings from using virtualization.

Manage Your Virtual Infrastructure from a Single Point of Control
While most vendors offer only single-point solutions for server virtualization, VMware gives you the power to manage an entire virtual infrastructure from a single point of control. Using the production-proven VMware vSphere, your organization can:

Accelerate provisioning time by 50-70%
Manage virtual machines from a central location
Monitor the performance of virtual machines and their hosts
These and other benefits have enabled more than 85% of our customers to use VMware virtual machines in production environments for a wide range of applications.

Automate your Virtual Infrastructure for Peak Performance
Deliver levels of performance, scalability and availability that are not possible with a physical infrastructure. Using VMware vCenter Server in combination with our VMware VMotion and VMware DRS (Distributed Resource Scheduler) products, your organization will be able to:

Avoid planned downtime with live migration of virtual machines
Enable dynamic policy-based allocation of IT resources with automated load balancing
Eliminate many repetitive configuration and maintenance tasks
VMware Professional Services and our partners can help your organization leverage these unique capabilities as part of an ongoing strategy.

Did you Know?

Beyond our Proactive Care & Virtualization Services, AOKNetowrking provides:

Strategic Planning
AOK is well aware of the scalability of the systems and we can work with you to make the most or enhance your current operations.

Server Setup & Maintenance
One, two, twenty? AOK has the capacity and expertise to construct and support even the most complicated network environments.

Continuous Data Storage
No one can afford to lose valuable data and it's our job to keep your assets completely secure with off-site backup.

Hardware & Software
We stand behind the products we recommend and provide valuable savings with our high-volume buying power.

Remote Access
We can create a virtual connection so you can work from anywhere on almost anything

We test your system both internally and externally to identify and repair vulnerabilities.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

VMware Disaster Recovery

Build a Rapid, Reliable & Cost-Effective Disaster Recovery Solution

Traditional disaster recovery solutions are often costly and complex-and can't meet your recovery objectives even after doubling hardware (and cost) for protected applications. Testing them can be a nightmare because the steps are tedious and the documentation is hard to keep up to date. Likewise, keeping two sets of hardware in sync is nearly impossible. VMware vSphere lets you recover to any machine, not just specific duplicate hardware, reducing hardware costs and maintenance budget and lowering the complexity of maintaining a backup site. Even if you haven't virtualized all production servers, virtualize target servers for your data recovery to allow greater simplicity, reliability, and cost savings.

Recover from disasters rapidly
Ensure reliable disaster recovery
Reduce the cost of disaster recovery
Automate disaster recovery

Recover Rapidly from Disasters
Traditional disaster recovery plans require many manual, complex steps to allocate recovery resources, perform bare metal recovery, recover data and validate that systems are ready for use. How optimized is your disaster recovery plan? Answer 40 simple questions about your backup and recovery, high availability and disaster recovery setup and plans and our DR Assessment will suggest ways to improve backup, recovery and availability of your business critical applications. You'll get a personalized assessment, peer-to-peer comparisons and an optimization roadmap. After getting your assessment, you can download our white paper on Building a Comprehensive Disaster Recovery Plan.

Then see how VMware virtualization simplifies IT environments. -hHardware configuration, firmware, operating system install, application install- all become data stored in just a few files on disk. Protect these files using your backup or replication software and you've protected the entire system. These files can then be recovered to any hardware without requiring any changes because virtual machines are hardware-independent.

Ensure Reliable Recovery
Traditional recovery plans are often difficult to test, difficult to keep up to date, and depend on exact execution of complex, manual processes. In a virtualized environment, testing is simpler because you can execute non-disruptive tests using existing resources. Hardware independence eliminates the complexity of maintaining the recovery site by eliminating failures due to hardware differences.

Reduce the Cost of Disaster Recovery
Reliable disaster recovery solutions traditionally require duplicating your entire production infrastructure-and with it your costs. With VMware vSphere, you can provide rapid and reliable recovery without requiring identical hardware. With hardware independence, you can repurpose existing servers for disaster recovery rather than needing to buy duplicate servers for rapid recovery. Server consolidation also lets you slash the cost of server infrastructure needed both for production and disaster recovery.

Automate Disaster Recovery
Eliminate the need to perform numerous manual steps, difficult or impossible to automate and prone to human error. Virtualization opens the door to disaster recovery automation by turning physical servers into data and recovery procedures into software. Automate your disaster recovery process with VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager and ensure rapid and cost-effective execution of disaster recovery plans. Easily test your disaster recovery plan to ensure the highest levels of reliability and availability of your entire IT infrastructure.

VMware vSphere

VMware vSphere is the next evolutionary step in IT computing; enabling customers to bring the power of cloud computing to their IT infrastructures.

Building on the power of VMware Infrastructure, VMware vSphere dramatically reduces capital and operating costs, and increases control over IT infrastructures while preserving the flexibility to choose any OS, application and hardware.

Maximize application throughput and operational efficiency
Increase control through service level automation
Empower IT departments with choice

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Two-monitor virtualisation better than one.

Pano Logic has followed last year's UK launch of its tiny 'zero' virtualisation cube device with a new dongle to enable it to display output from two monitors at once.

In the world of virtualised devices it's much harder to get two video steams to one monitor than it sounds, more so in Pano's case because it has no processor, memory or software at all. The Pano Device gets its 'zero' client status from this utter simplicity. It is no more than a connectivity box for a keyboard, a monitor and sound.

The new Pano Dual Monitor comes in the form of a USB dongle which plugs into the back of the Pano Device, and which allows the two screens to be displayed correctly without the need for any additional software.

The only other requirement to get such a setup working is for customers to upgrade to a new version of Pano's server software, System 2.8, which does the heavy graphics lifting to divide the data streams into two.

"There was a fair amount of work on the back end," admits Pano's president and CEO, John Kish. "The part nobody thought we could do is to keep the processing away from the endpoint." The demand for dual video came from healthcare, education and government, he said.

Kish criticised thin virtualisation clients from rivals such as Wyse (which Kish once headed) and HP, saying they still had too much hardware in the client. The point of virtualisation was to remove every piece of processing from the client to fully remove management completely to the data centre.

Existing customers would get the server upgrade automatically, he said.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Best of Tests

(Network World) We tested more than 100 products in 2009 in a wide variety of categories, but 15 of those products were head and shoulders above the rest and earn our Best of the Tests Award. Here are the categories and winners:

1. Operating Systems
Vendor: MicrosoftProduct: Windows Server 2008 R2
We tested a raft of operating systems in 2009, including SUSE Linux, Ubuntu, and Apple Snow Leopard. But the operating system that stood out was Microsoft's Windows Server 2008 R2. This product delivers advancements in speed, security and management. Windows Server 2008 R2 boasts new server administrative roles for better security, an improved Server Manager program, revamped Internet Information Server (IIS) Web management functionality, better Active Directory controls, and redesigned Windows Terminal Services. Also, Windows Server 2008 is also significantly faster than Windows Server 2003. And while Windows Server 2008 R2 certainly stands on its own, the fact that it's integrated so nicely with Windows 7 is an additional bonus for IT execs.

2. Management software
Vendor: Research in Motion
Product: BlackBerry Server 5.0
There's no keeping end users from their BlackBerries, but there is a way for IT to manage those devices -- Research in Motion's BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0. We found BES to be an easy-to-use, Web-based tool that provides centralized administration, high availability and the ability to set rules and policies on a granular level. With BlackBerry Enterprise Server, an administrator can publish and push updates and applications to one user or groups of users. The administrator can also identify unauthorized applications and prevent users from downloading, using or updating prohibited programs or applications. When a BlackBerry device is activated, the new security policy supersedes any previously installed programs or policies. Can your iPhone do that?

3. Server Hardware
Vendor: IBM
Product: BladeCenter Server HS22
Two eight-core Intel 5570 Nehalem processors, two 10Gigabit Ethernet network interface cards, 50GB SSD drives, 150GB 15k hard drives and 48GB of RAM. Not to mention energy efficiency and strong management features. And all for around $10,000. What's not to like? In our tests, the Nehalem-based blade delivered a 10x increase in performance when compared with Intel's Core-based Xeon processor. In terms of total overall power consumption, the Nehalem processors consumed 17% more power than the Xeon-based system, which is a pretty good bargain when you're gaining a 10x boost in performance. Bottom line: The combination of Nehalem processors, 10G Ethernet, and lots of RAM make the HS22 a great choice for data center virtualization.
IBM BladeCenter delivers speeds, power savings

4. Security
Vendor: McAfee
Product: Web Gateway
McAfee's Web Gateway bested the competition in every one of our performance tests. We attacked each vendor's product with 100 malware instances. Web Gateway turned aside 99. We fed each gateway 1,000 e-mails - 500 phish and 500 non-phish. Web Gateway came in first with a 90% success rate. And in our latency tests, Web Gateway exhibited the lowest latency - 28 ms. Web Gateway sports an easy-to-use, intuitive browser-based interface that's especially responsive. Reports are quick and informative, and the Web Gateway dashboard is completely customizable. And the McAfee Web Gateway installation was the slickest. A USB memory stick containing a configuration program accompanies the device. Insert the memory stick in a Windows machine, run the program, save your configuration, move the memory stick to the Web Gateway before boot time and - voila! - the Web Gateway uses the IP address and other configuration data you've specified. This is the second time around for McAfee's Web Gateway. The product was a Best of the Tests winner back in 2006 as well

Runnerup: Vendor: Trend Micro
Product: Interscan Web Security
Trend Micro's combination of Interscan Web Security Virtual Appliance 5.0 and Interscan Messaging Security Virtual Appliance 7.0 is our runnerup. The Trend Micro software delivered a 96% success rate in blocking malware and an 84% success rate in blocking phishes. Trend Micro's tool gave us consolidated threat reporting and corporate policy management across our network. We easily varied security policies by network segment, company division and company department, at our option. We particularly liked Trend Micro's unified view of network security across an entire enterprise.
Also, you install the software on your own computers, thus giving you fine control over the speed and capacity of your gateway. Installation is a snap.

5. Server Virtualization:
Vendor: VMware
Product: VMware vSphere 4.0
VMware created the market for x86 server virtualization in 2001 and has been the leader ever since, although Microsoft's Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer are strong competitors. In 2009, VMware raised the bar with the introduction of vSphere, a cloud-focused product that is faster than its predecessor, ESX 3.51, easier to manage, and designed for provisioning fleets of virtual machine farms. The basic components of what VMware calls the vSphere 'cloud operating system' are an improved hypervisor and VMware's VirtualCenter management application, along with options like vMotion (live VM inter-server migration), vSphere Zones (network security aggregation), distributed resource allocation, and even a distributed network switch. These improvements allow vSphere 4.0 to manage and automate provisioning of internally-controlled VM farms and infrastructure with hosting platforms located outside an organizations traditional computing 'perimeter'.

6. Desktop virtualization
Vendor: Parallels
Product: Parallels Desktop for the Mac
Want to run Windows on your Mac? Check out Parallels Desktop for the Mac. In our testing, Parallels was strong in features and usability, and its 64-bit guest virtual machine support provides flexibility for developers. We could run Mac OS X Leopard client or server as a guest. We were able to import VMware or Virtual Box files (guest VM snapshots, or rapidly mountable VM guest operating systems) easily. Parallels Transporter let us convert other formats of VMs into the Parallels format. Windows XP (this test took place before Windows 7 was released) installed easily for us, with no interaction except for entering the username and product key. Parallels has preformatted settings for XP. Another useful Parallels feature was the ability to mount a Windows VM guest's NTFS file system into the Apple MacOS 10.5 Finder application. We could access all the files directly like an external hard disk. We could easily drag and drop files and folders between Mac and XP VMs. It's even possible to have the Apple Spotlight application index the VM Windows guest drive, a feature that wasn't available in the other hypervisor products we tested.

Runnerup: Pano Logic
Product: Pano Cube
Pano Logic's Pano Cube is a very small 'designer'-looking cube containing three USB jacks, VGA and audio/mic jacks. It has no CPU or memory/storage inside, permitting it to be used strictly as a KVM+ access device. The Pano Manager provisions desktops through ESX/vCenter and also enables policy controls about what IO can go through the Pano Cube. It's possible to restrict printers, and so on for any particular session. The Pano Gateway in turn, sets up connection brokerage relationships for VPN and proxy access from branch to 'home'. Pano Device setup was very simple. Pano Manager allows for persistent and non-persistent VMs to be used. VMs can be organized into collections, which can host a number of VMs in which the Pano Cubes connect as a single logical unit The Cube Clients, we found, are extremely fast. They logon in just seconds, and were able to reproduce multimedia very well - even when we loaded the hosted VMware server down (a local host with 8GB of RAM) with all 10 Cubes sent to us. The Pano Manager and Cube require VMware, but it's a decent investment. And Pano Cube's simplicity is bliss.

7. Category: software
Vendor: Microsoft
Product: SharePoint Server 2010
Our policy is to not test beta versions of products. There are lots of reasons for this, but mostly it comes down to the notion that we're trying to give readers information to help them make buying decisions. And that means we test the actual product that customers would buy. But there's an exception to every policy - and it's SharePoint Server 2010, which we tested in beta, and which came out on top in this year's software category. Interest in this product was so high that we felt we had to write a review as soon as we could get our hands on the product. And we weren't disappointed. We tested beta versions of SharePoint Server, and two related apps, Visual Studio and Office 2010, in a virtualized environment and found that SharePoint Server 2010 is faster and more intuitive than the previous version. SharePoint 2010 allows IT departments to run applications such as enterprise search, content management, collaboration and business intelligence on a single platform. Together with improved Internet site capabilities, SharePoint 2010 means companies can avoid the licensing and training costs associated with separate apps. SharePoint 2010 also offers improved developer and administration capabilities, which will likely speed application creation while easing server management.

8. E-mail
Company: Microsoft
Product: Exchange
Yes, 2009 was quite a year for Microsoft, with major releases of Windows, Windows Server and Exchange, Microsoft's e-mail platform. So, is Exchange 2010 an overgrown, bloated hog of an undocumented application, requiring enormous resources and costing a fortune? Or has Microsoft finally gotten it right, building the speed and reliability we need into a mailbox server that goes beyond simple e-mail and raises the bar for collaboration tools? The answer to both question is "yes." It all depends on how you use it. The core of Exchange is finally where we want it: reliable, fast, and resource-stingy. Exchange 2010 is also heavily Web-focused, supporting the inevitable march towards a clientless e-mail, calendar and address book experience. Of course, Exchange 2010 also has the expected bloat. Obscure inter-server communications pathways, connections to VoIP PBXs, obscure digital rights management, and an edge server that is best described as "not entirely useless," all are part of the Exchange experience, too. Still, Exchange is here to stay and if 2010 is the direction we're going, then the good far outweighs the bad. Two steps forward and one step back still adds up to one step forward!

Runnerup Zimbra
Product: Collaboration Suite
Want the benefits of Exchange, without actually running Exchange? We tested six alternatives, most of which closed in pretty well on the essence of what a collaboration server should be. We preferred Zimbra for its broad cross-platform support and powerful mail server. Sure, inside, it's a complicated maze of interlocking scripts held together by strings of commands that only a few select people truly understand. But when it works, which it did very well in our testing, Zimbra does what you want on the platform of your choice, and the price is slightly less than Microsoft Exchange. Plus, VMware seems to believe in it, since they announced they're buying Zimbra from Yahoo.

9. Storage
Vendor: Compellent
Product: Storage Center 4.0
The best of our SAN systems test was the Compellent Storage Center 4.0. The product offers a compelling mix of high performance, great ease of use and wide feature set, at a price that isn't over the top. It has all the features you'd expect in a SAN system, such as synchronous and asynchronous replication, snapshots and thin provisioning, as well as some features that other systems don't have - particularly the data progression feature, which automatically migrates the most-used data on the system to the fastest storage. This feature makes the best use of the fastest storage on the system, whether 15k drives or SSDs, with little or no effort on the part of the administrator. Mature, easy to use and operating at the block level, it is more usable than the recently released and widely publicized LUN-level automated storage tiering from one of the big names in SAN technology. The biggest differentiator for Compellent may be its ease of use. While most SAN systems offer similar functionalities, a system that can set up remote replication over the Internet to another SAN in six mouse clicks is noteworthy. Add to that a good value and high performance, with support for SSDs, 8Gbps Fibre Channel and 10Gbps iSCSI and you have a winner.

10. Wireless
Vendor: CACE Technologies
Product: AirPcap Ex
Our extensive WLAN testing in 2009 results in several products which received a perfect score of 5.0. But the best of the best is the AirPcap Ex tool from CACE Technologies. This comprehensive yet simple packet-capture tool is perfect for those all-too-common situations faced by practitioners and operations professionals alike when it's necessary to dig into the dialog between client and access point to really understand why performance is so unexpected, why security is now so tight that no one can in fact connect, or why erratic client behavior is just that. It's based on the very popular WireShark tool, and integration is seamless. It's available at a bargain price, and developer tools are available.

11. Networking
Vendor: Cisco
Product: ASR router
With enterprises looking to consolidate data centers and devices, Cisco's new ASR 1000 series router offers a compelling message: Do more with less.
In our exclusive test, the ASR not only moved traffic at 20Gbps but also did so while running QoS, security and monitoring functions on 120 million flows from hundreds of concurrent routing sessions. The ASR also proved a capable performer when handling multicast and IPSec VPN traffic. And with a 40-core processor, the ASR has enough headroom to run firewalls, load balancers and other services without requiring additional hardware. That's not to say the ASR isn't still a work in progress. Its data-plane capacity still needs to grow, and Cisco hasn't yet rolled out all the services that ASRs eventually will support. But this is a strong effort, well worth considering for the many enterprises looking to replace tiers of aging Cisco 7200 routers with a single more powerful system.

Runnerup: 3Com
Product: H3C switch
3Com says it has an alternative for network managers considering high-end switches from Cisco and others. And our exclusive test of this core switch backs up 3Com's claim. The chassis-based, 288-port device delivered line-rate throughput in all performance tests, supported more Open Shortest Path First routing sessions than we've ever set up and consumed remarkably little power all the while. While the device doesn't have all the features of some competitors (for example, the switch doesn't yet support hitless upgrades), its strong performance and low power consumption make it a viable option for large and midsized organizations in the market for core and aggregation switches.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pano Remote

Provide simple secure remote access

· Save on laptop purchases
· Save on duplicate software packages

Make it easy for employees to be more productive!

Calling Pano Logic's Pano Remote product "simple" would be an understatement. Pano Remote lets you access your virtual desktop from any internet connected PC, by just plugging in the Remote USB key. Pano Remote was developed as an add-on product to the Pano System. This ingenious tool allows end- users to access their virtual machine from just about anywhere - anywhere an internet connection can be found. No more lugging your laptop home every night. Or if you are away from home, find the closest Internet connected PC, plug in your Pano Remote USB key and voila! - you are securely connected to your office virtual machine, with everything open and ready to use, just as you left it.

Because Pano Remote only uses the client as an access vehicle, should the client vehicle be infected there is no risk of cross contamination. Pano Remote uses RDP and a secure SSL tunnel, maintaining a secure environment while eliminating the need for VPN, another reason this product goes beyond simple. See the architectural diagram below.
External Network Internal Network Feedback for Pano Remote has been overwhelmingly positive. Institutions have been impressed with how quickly end-users have integrated Pano Remote into their daily routine, and the resulting productivity.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Zero or Not?

The term zero client is often misapplied to thin client endpoints in vendor marketing ploys. True zero client endpoints have no local processing, software, storage, or even any configurations or settings. They are completely stateless and management-free.

Zero clients mean zero endpoint management - absolutely zero.

Some thin client vendors have even tried to make their end points look "zero" by keeping the client operating system image on the hard disk of a separate "streaming" appliance, requiring that users wait while it is downloaded to the endpoint's hard disk o rflash storage before use. Unfortunately, this only makes the entire VDI architecture from these vendors even more complex and fragile.

To see if vendor claims of "zero-ness" are valid, apply these tests:

1. Does the endpoint include a CPU of any kind? Any RAM? Any storage devices or moving parts at all?

2. Are you forced to configure the endpoint in any way before use?

3. Do you need to reconfigure the endpoints before you are able to swap them between users?

4. Does the endpoint need to download an operating system image or any software before you can
use it?

5. Are you not able to use the native Windows drivers that XP or the manufacturer supply to connect to a new peripheral?

6. Does the endpoint require you to learn and adopt any embedded management interface or tools?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then despite the vendor's claims,
the client isn't a true zero client.

AOKNetworking's Newest Team Member

Ashley Riedel
Account Executive

Sales, Marketing, Client Relations

Little Known Fact:
Ashley is a soon to be UCF Alumni with a business degree in marketing. She enjoys attending sporting events, golfing, meeting new people and enjoying life.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Microsoft CEO unveils Windows Phone 7 Series Software

IDG News Service - Microsoft unveiled the next version of its operating system for mobile phones, Windows Phone 7 Series, featuring a move away from applications and towards functions. "It's all about the phone and how consumers react to the device," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, opening a news conference held outside the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday.

Windows Phone 7 Series also marks a move by Microsoft to take greater control of the user interface of its phone software.
"We wanted to take greater accountability for the end user experience," Ballmer said. "We want more consistency in the hardware platform and in the user experience," he said, while nevertheless saying Microsoft wanted to leave room for hardware partners to innovate.

Microsoft also wanted the software to differentiate future phones from its past offerings, both phone and PC.

"Phones looked like PCs, but a phone is not a PC, it's smaller, more personal," said Joe Belfiore, vice president for Windows Phone.

To make the interface more personal, Microsoft is counting on a checkerboard of customizable "live tiles" that can update automatically with information from the phone or the Internet.

Some of the tiles will update automatically to show frequent contacts or local information, while others can be customized manually. The tiles will be grouped into themed "hubs," for example a page of contacts called "people" or a page of photos called "pictures".

Other hubs include "office," which features functions for note-taking and synchronizing documents with a PC; "games," which integrates with the company's Xbox live online community for its game consoles; and "music+video," which synchronizes songs and videos with its desktop Zune jukebox and music store software.

There won't be too much personalization though: some aspects of every Windows Phone will be the same.

Every Windows Phone 7 Series device will have three buttons on the front: 'Start,' which gives you quick access to those tiles, 'Search,' because that's how you are going to find phone numbers and restaurants, and 'Back,'" said Belfiore. Belfiore showed how the software will recognize addresses in incoming e-mails or calendar entries, converting them into hotlinks to Microsoft's Bing Maps property.

The interface has an on-screen QWERTY keyboard and will support four-point multitouch interfaces in the same way as Windows 7 for PCs. Another feature borrowed from PCs is the Web browser: it's based on the same code as the desktop version of Internet Explorer, Belfiore said.
The graphics Belfiore showed are spacious, using a thin typeface with big one-word titles for the themes of each screen -- day, local, music and so on. The text is displayed using a more precise version of Cleartype that Belfiore called sub-pixel positioning.

Some of the page transitions in the user interface slide like the cards in Palm's Web OS.
The first version of Windows Phone 7 Series will not include Adobe Flash -- although Ballmer said he had "no objection" to Flash support. That marks the software apart from Apple's iPhone, which does not -- and will not -- support Flash.

Developers will have to wait until Microsoft's Mix conference in Las Vegas next month to learn whether Windows Phone 7 Series will support Microsoft's Silverlight in place of the missing Flash, said Microsoft spokesman Casey McGee after the launch presentation.

Some of the page transitions in the user interface slide like the cards in Palm's Web OS.
The first version of Windows Phone 7 Series will not include Adobe Flash -- although Ballmer said he had "no objection" to Flash support. That marks the software apart from Apple's iPhone, which does not -- and will not -- support Flash.

Developers will have to wait until Microsoft's Mix conference in Las Vegas next month to learn whether Windows Phone 7 Series will support Microsoft's Silverlight in place of the missing Flash, said Microsoft spokesman Casey McGee after the launch presentation.

Microsoft plans to release a software development kit (SDK) to enable network operators and third parties to add new services and applications to the phones. AT&T, in the U.S., and Orange, in France, will be among the first operator partners to develop services specially for the phone.

Microsoft plans to release a software development kit (SDK) to enable network operators and third parties to add new services and applications to the phones. AT&T, in the U.S., and Orange, in France, will be among the first operator partners to develop services specially for the phone.
Although the new software emphasizes functions rather than applications, and Microsoft intends to keep tight control of the user interface, it will be possible to download third-party applications and games certified by Microsoft through a "marketplace" hub. "There will be opportunities for partners to add value and build in functionality," said McGee.

Developers will have to wait to learn whether the applications they created for the previous version of Microsoft's mobile operating system, Windows Mobile 6.5, can be ported to the new platform, McGee said.

Microsoft's own mobile software developers are focusing very much on the new platform. "Windows Phone 7 Series is the priority for Microsoft's communications business," McGee said. Nevertheless, he said, the company will continue to deliver support for Windows Mobile 6.5 for three to five years from its October 2009 launch. He expects vendors to continue to launch devices based on Windows Mobile 6.5 for some time to come.
Microsoft expects the first phones running the software to be available by the end of the year, and says that network operators including Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Verizon and Vodafone, and vendors including Samsung, LG, Sony-Ericsson and long-time partner HTC have committed to offering devices running Windows Phone 7 Series.

Microsoft expects the first phones running the software to be available by the end of the year, and says that network operators including Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Verizon and Vodafone, and vendors including Samsung, LG, Sony-Ericsson and long-time partner HTC have committed to offering devices running Windows Phone 7 Series.

ref: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9156938/Update_Microsoft_CEO_unveils_Windows_Phone_7_Series_software?taxonomyId=89&pageNumber=2

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Did you know that AOK's Proactive Care Solution includes AVG protection for all of your machines?

Aren't we all looking for a worry free internet experience. Allow me to highlight some of the great features that come with your AVG protection.

Identity Protection - up-to-the-minute banking and shopping protection
AVG Identity Protection enhances your current anti-virus software by shielding your passwords, credit card numbers, and all other private information from prying eyes.

Webshield - safe social networking, chatting and downloading
Webshield allows you to download and exchange files without risk of virus infection, including files downloaded using ICQ, MSN and Yahoo! instant messengers.

Anti-Spam - safe, uncluttered e-mail
Our AVG Anti-Spam feature adopts a regularly updated database for detecting all forms of spam.

Anti-Virus & Anti-Spyware - safe computer
Our Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware technology protects you from falling victim to or unwittingly spreading a virus, worm, or Trojan horse. It also prevents the unauthorized access of information from both spyware and adware.

Enhanced Firewall - block hackers
Our Enhanced Firewall ensures you against unwanted visitors trying to access your computer.


AOK's Newest VTSPs
George Kostopoulos & Nelson Rodriguez

Ever wonder about the certifications of your IT company?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Check out AOK Man on our website!

Network Security

Endpoint Immunity

* Zero software (applications, O/S, data) at the endpoint
* USB access at the endpoint can be controlled/access denied
* Keyboard and mouse input are encrypted
* Secure remote access to virtual machines. with output options controlled

One of the primary goals is to move all software off the desktop and to the server. In accomplishing this goal, the ultimate secure endpoint was created, impervious to all malware and viruses. While this does not change the vulnerability of the software and data in the data center, at least it is in place where IT has more control. And in the event a virtual desktop machine is corrupted, IT can simply discard it and provision a new one, in just minutes.

The Pano System is compatible with the most USB devices, however the IT Staff can prevent the use of an external device at the endpoint, further protecting access to centrally located applications and data. Meanwhile all keyboard and mouse input from the user session, are protected with the industry standard AES128 encryption.

For remote access, a companion product to the Pano System has been developed called Pan Remote. Pano Remote can be used by employees at any PC anywhere on the Internet. It is a convenient tool that end-users quickly integrate into their daily routine. Since it is only using the client as an access vehicle and uses SSL tunnel to gain entry to the virtual machines back in the Company's server room, it is completely secure. If the vehicle being used should be infected - there is no risk of cross contamination.

Pano Green

Uses only 3% of the energy of a PC

* Same as a traditional PC turned off
* 80% savings over a traditional PC
* Less heat created means lower A/C costs
* Zero clients -> no moving parts -> longer upgrade cycle -> less waste
* RoHs compliant

Whether driven by the need to help the environment or reduce company costs (or both), you may be surprised at the impact of the Pano System on the energy bill. The Pano System will provide more than an 80% energy savings over a traditional PC, even when including the additional energy used by the server.

Another energy related factor is whether to tell employees to turn off their PC's at night, or leave them on. A recent article (USA Today, 03/25/09) stated that $2.8 billion was spent by companies on electricity for PCs left on overnight - $2.8 billion down the drain with no value in return. However, if employees shut down their PCs at night, their data may not be available for scheduled back-ups, which is not conducive for business continuity. Second, they can spend 10-20 minutes per day shutting down and starting back up the following day, conservatively costing a full work week per year.

The Pano System is always on and always available. No energy wasted and no time lost shutting down or booting up.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tips & Tricks

Want to know a few tips & tricks for using your computer? Well I have gathered a few handy tricks with the Mouse & Keyboard. Enjoy!

The Mouse

* Most people have 3-4 browser tabs open at one time. If you want to close a tab you have to click on it, then click the little x that appears on the tab. That is two clicks total and you also have to view the tab that is about to be closed.

All you need to do is middle click any tab in Firefox or Internet Explorer and it closes. No need to see the tab or click the x. Try it sometime.

* Say you have a link that you would like to open. Traditionally you would either double click the link, or right click and select an option to open.

When you middle click the link it opens immediately in a new tab.

* What if you have a folder in Internet Explorer or Firefox that has a collection of links you use all of the time. Do you open these links one by one?

Instantly open every link in a folder, each in its own tab, by middle-clicking that folder. It doesn't matter where the folder is located bookmarks, or a pull down menu.

* Want a faster way to scroll through a document or web page?

Click and hold the middle mouse button. This will activate a handy page scroll option.

What About the Keyboard?

* Would you like a quick way to switch between open program?

ALT+TAB Switch between the open items

* How about a fast way to minimize all of your current open windows?

Windows Logo+M Minimize all of the windows

* When in a window and you would like to move through cells or options rapidly you can..

TAB Move forward through the options

* Conversly if you would like to move backward through cells or options you can...

SHIFT+TAB Move backward through the options

* Want a new tab in a browser

CTRL + T will open a new tab in Firefox & Internet Explorer

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Desktop Virtualization

Traditional Desktop Management Challenge

Management is time consuming and inefficient

· Different Systems, users, images, applications
· Distributed PC Management
· Provisioning large numbers of users

Security & Compliance Risks
· Difficult to maintain regulatory compliance
· Low Control on data saved on PCs
· Unpredictable user activity

High Operating Costs
· High Support, Administration Costs
· 90% of Cost is Operational Management
· PCs are more than 80% under-utilized and waste power

Poor User Experience
· Inflexible access
· User is tied to physical hardware, and risk of downtime or loss
· No continuous availability of personalized desktop

What is Desktop Virtualization

What is the Value
Save Money and Reduce Costs
· Virtualization is a strategy to drive IT efficiency
·· Allocate resources per user only as needed
·· Save green by going green

·Centralized Management
·· Faster provisioning of services and infrastructure
·· Eliminate break/fix at the endpoint
·· Dynamically scale respond rapidly to changing business needs
Safer and More Secure
·· No IP or virus threat at the endpoint
·· Keep data in controlled data center environment

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

With talks of Microsoft ending support for Windows XP now seems like a great time to get to know the newest platform, Windows 7, and what it has to offer.

I would like to start with what is new in Windows 7.

Size and arrange windows by simply dragging their borders to the edges of your screen. Instantly expand to full screen and back, or arrange two windows side by side.

Look right through open windows to see the icons, gadgets, and anything else on your desktop, all with a simple move of your cursor.


Want to focus on one window? Shake it, and all the other open windows on your desktop will be hidden. Shake again, and they're all back.


Pin programs to the taskbar. Pin files to Jump Lists. Just like tacking notes on a bulletin board, you can use pin to keep the things you need close at hand.

Jump Lists

Got a file, photo, or website you use a lot? Open it in two clicks. Jump Lists keep the most recent things you've used handy for faster access than ever.

Windows Taskbar

Open files and get around your PC faster. You can even pin programs you use often to the taskbar so you can launch them in just one click.

Windows Search

Instantly locate and open any file on your PC, from documents to e-mail messages to songs, right from the start menu just by typing a word or two.