Data

    What is I.T.A.D. ?

    What is ITAD?

    You may have heard some fancy term ITAD or SITAD being thrown around the IT world as of late. What is ITAD exactly? We’ll keep simple, ITAD is an acronym for Information Technology Asset Disposition. Some also refer to it as SITAD (Secure Information Technology Asset Disposition). In a nutshell, IT Asset Disposition is the process of disposing of obsolete, retired, or unwanted equipment in an environmentally friendly and responsible manner. ITAD service partners specialize in the processes related to disposing of and remarketing IT assets. Partnering with an experienced ITAD company can also help organizations focus on alleviating expenses as well as increasing the value of their used IT assets.

    How can ITAD Benefit You?

    IT Asset Disposition service providers can help you get rid of your surplus IT equipment or decommission your current data storage infrastructure. Not only can they dispose of it properly, they will help you get paid for it too! Once they purchase the equipment, they use their own personal end-user network to attempt to recoup as much value from your equipment as possible. There is a still significant life left in some equipment and it could benefit a growing organization that can’t afford to procure new equipment.

    Learn More about Data Center Services Here

    How does the ITAD Market Work?

    The IT asset disposition market is a secondary IT market. It’s used by ITAD companies to remarket the used and retired assets they purchase. Many ITAD companies coordinate with other different ITAD companies to sell the equipment off to the highest bidder. Some ITAD companies rely on a large open network of buyers called broker bin. Others may speak to other ITAD companies directly, although most ITAD companies sell directly to end-users.

    How Do I Choose the ITAD Partner Best for Me?

    With hundreds if not thousands of ITAD companies existing today, it can appear overwhelming to know which one is best for what your company requires.

    Here is a list of things you may want to consider when looking for an ITAD partner:

    1. Does your business have large amounts of inventory and need decommissioning services? You may want to choose a partner who provides:

    2.     Does your business have a small amount of used inventory that you can ship yourself? You may want to consider a partner who offers:

    3.     Does your business have extremely sensitive data on the equipment that needs to be decommissioned? You may want to think about a partner who has:

    You should always be willing to get multiple quotes and get a feel for who works best for you and your organization. No ITAD provider is the same. It is essentially a partnership, should be treated as such.

    If you’re in need of ITAD services for your used IT equipment,

    14 questions to ask before upgrading your servers

    Servers are almost always used with specific objectives in mind. Regardless of whether the server is installed in a small business or large enterprise, the server’s role can change over time and sometimes start fulfilling other services and responsibilities. Therefor, it’s important to reviewing a server’s resource load to help ensure the organization improves performance and avoids downtime. 

    What do you do when your servers are obsolete and ready to be retired? Unfortunately, server upgrades aren’t as easy as just dropping in more RAM, they require extensive planning. 

    The server is essentially the backbone of a businesses’ IT functionality. Acquiring and installing a new server is a large undertaking for any business. Choosing the correct server is important to the value of an organization’s future.

    So, what should you consider when it’s time to upgrade? To make matters a little easier, we’ve put together a list of 14 things to consider when upgrading your servers to ensure your organization’s systems perform at the highest levels.

    Does it fit your needs?

    First, let’s make sure that the new server is able to meet your organization’s IT needs. Determine the necessary requirements, compile this information, and work from there.

    Is integration possible?

    Check if you are able to integrate sections of your existing server into the new server. This could potentially save money on new technology and provide a level of consistency in terms of staff knowledge on the existing technology. Upgrading doesn’t mean that you need to throw your old equipment in the trash.

    What are the costs?

    Once you understand the performance requirements, the next step is to gauge which servers meet this most closely. Technology can be very expensive, so you shouldn’t pay for any technology that won’t be of use to your organization’s output.

    What maintenance is involved?

    Even the most current technology needs to be maintained and any length of downtime could be disastrous for an organization. Ensure that some form of maintenance cover is put in place. Usually, there is a warranty included, but it comes with an expiration date. Make sure you ask about extended warranty options if they’re available.

    What about future upgrades?

    Considering the future is critical when it comes to working with new technology. The fast pace at which technology develops means that you may need to consider growing your server a lot sooner than you expected. 

    Do you have a data backup?

    Never make any changes or upgrades to a server, no matter how minor, without having a data backup. When a server is powered down, there is no guarantee that it will come back online. 

    Should you create an image backup?

    Manufacturers tend to offer disk cloning technologies that streamline recovering servers should a failure occur. Some provide a universal restore option that allows you to recover a failed server. When upgrades don’t go as expected, disk images can help recover not only data but a server’s complex configuration.

    How many changes are you making to your servers?

    Don’t make multiple changes all at once. Adding disks, replacing memory, or installing additional cards should all be performed separately. If things go wrong a day or two after the changes are made, the process of isolating the change responsible for the error is much easier, than doing a myriad of changes all at once. If only a single change is executed, it’s much easier to track the source of the problem.

    Are you monitoring your logs?

    After a server upgrade is completed, never presume all is well just because the server booted back up without displaying errors. Monitor log files, error reports, backup operations, and other critical events. Leverage Windows’ internal performance reports to ensure all is performing as intended whenever changes or upgrades are completed.

    Did you confirm the OS you are running?

    It’s easy to forget the operating system a server is running. By performing a quick audit of the system to be upgraded, you can confirm the OS is compatible and will be able to use the additional resources being installed.

    Does the chassis support the upgrade?

    Server hardware can be notoriously inconsistent. Manufacturers often change model numbers and product designs. Whenever installing additional resources, you should read the manufacturer’s technical specifications before purchasing the upgrades.

    Did you double check that it will work?

    Whenever upgrading new server hardware, don’t automatically think the new hardware will plug-and-play well with the server’s operating system. Since the upgrade is being completed on a server, confirm the component is listed on the OS vendor’s hardware compatibility list. It doesn’t hurt to check the server manufacturer’s forums either.

    Does the software need an update?

    Make sure to keep up on any upgrades requiring software adjustments. You must also update a server’s virtual memory settings following a memory upgrade. 

    Did you get the most value for your money?

    Sure, less expensive disks, RAM, power supplies, and other resources are readily available. But when it comes to servers only high-quality components should be installed. While these items may cost a bit more than others, the performance and uptime benefits more than compensate for any additional expense.

    Using IT to Help First Responders Save Lives

    Using IT to Help First Responders Save Lives

    Imagine sitting in rush hour traffic on Friday afternoon and you see an ambulance approaching in your rear-view mirror with it’s lights flashing. Surely you assume there must be an accident ahead, but what if it were a relative on their way to the hospital?

    The question you ask yourself is, “how is there not a better way?” With all of the emerging technology these days, there certainly has to be something to help those who need it most.

    Low and behold smart cities. Smart cities are the trend of the future, and the technologies that empower them are likely to become a $135 billion market by 2021.

    For first responders, the likelihood of smart traffic lights is a pleasant change. By operating with GPS technology in emergency response vehicles, smart traffic lights can help first responders avoid traffic jams and significantly reduce response times.

    Even better is the sensors that can check the structural integrity of buildings, bridges, and roads can increase safety by identifying problems before they cause an accident. Such preventative maintenance can help cities avoid the costs associated with minor injuries to major and fatal accidents.

    What could go wrong?

    Strategically placed sensors have the potential to improve safety in a multitude of ways. However, city officials are justly concerned that the massive amounts of data collected might not be useful as well as overburdening current systems to their limit.

    There are two main obstacles standing between city officials and smart city adoption. The first problem is the issue of integrating new technologies within existing systems, and the second problem is figuring out how to ensure the implemented sensors collect beneficial data.

    The Apple Watch is terrific example of how technology can be both helpful and harmful. The ability of the Apple Watch to distinguish between a “fall” and a “drop” could be more than the health-care system bargained for. One could say that the technology has the potential to save lives, especially the elderly.

    On the other hand, in the chance of a malfunction, the sensors could create an excessive number of 911 calls when they aren’t actually needed. With possibly millions of the devices in a densely populated city, it’s easy to see how the issue could escalate consume emergency call centers with false alarms.

    IoT advantages

    In spite of the complexities with integration, the cities that do transition to smart cities stand to benefit greatly. A network of connected sensors and devices can reduce the severity of accidents or eliminate them entirely. For instance, Tesla has installed sensors that intelligently avoid impacting other cars.

    Recently the city of Corona, CA migrated to a smart city. They’ve implemented sensors can also provide an incredibly rich picture of what’s happening. Many of the most revolutionary technologies have yet to be invented, but the data gathered by these tools is already helping city officials use their resources more effectively.

    For example, officers can distribute Amber Alert information to an entire population, and apps like Waze show transportation officials valuable traffic data so they can reduce bottlenecks. A smart watch might be able to give paramedics vitals of their patients before they even arrive on the scene. No matter the city, smart tech has the potential to improve safety, efficiency and quality of life for residents.

    Features of LTO Technology over the Years

    Linear Tape Open or better known as (LTO) Ultrium is a high-capacity, single-reel tape storage created and frequently improved by HPE, IBM and Quantum. LTO tape is a powerful yet scalable tape format that helps address the growing demands of data protection.

    PROVIDING GROWTH FOR GENERATIONS.

    Originally introduced at the turn of the new millennium, LTO technology is currently in its 8th generation out of a proposed twelve generations. LTO-8 supports storage capacity of up to 30 TB compressed, twice that of the previous generation LTO-7, and data transfer rates of up to 750MB/second. New generations of LTO storage have been launched consistently with higher capacity and transfer rates along with new features to further protect enterprise data. Furthermore, LTO storage is designed for backward compatibility meaning it can write back one generation and read back two generations of tape. Currently, LTO-8 Ultrium drives are able to read and write LTO -7 and LTO-8 media, ensuring the data storage investment.

    WORM

    LTO technology highlights a write-once, read-many (WORM) ability to make certain that your data isn’t overwritten and supports compliance regulations. The LTO WORM operation is designed to give users a very cost-effective means of storing data in a non-rewriteable format. With the increasing importance of regulatory compliance — including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), and SEC Rule 17-a-4(f) — there is a need for a cost-effective storage solution that can ensure security of corporate data in an permanent format. LTO WORM contains algorithms using the Cartridge Memory (CM), in combination with low level encoding that is mastered on the tape media to prevent tampering.

     

    Encryption

    LTO technology features robust encryption capabilities to heighten security and privacy during storage and transport of tape cartridges. Sadly, it seems like a common occurrence now when a company suffers a breach in security and endangers confidential or private information. Fortunately, recent generation LTO tape drives include one of the strongest encryption capabilities available in the industry to help safeguard the most vulnerable data stored on tape cartridges. LTO tape encryption is specific to all LTO generations since generation 4 (LTO-4). It features a 256-symmetric key AES-GCM algorithm that is implemented at the drive level. This facilitates compression before encryption to maximize tape capacities and deliver high performance during backup. With a rising number of laws and regulations and financial penalties, a security breach can be damaging for corporations. Data managers are called upon to develop effective security for sensitive data and are turning to tape encryption.

     

    Partitioning

    More modern generations of LTO technology include a partitioning feature, which help to enhance file control and space management with the Linear Tape File System (LTFS).

    Beginning with the 5th generation (LTO-5), LTO technology specifications consist of a partitioning feature that allows for a new standard in ease-of-use and portability.

    Partitioning allows for a section of the tape to be set aside for indexing, which tells the drive exactly where in the tape a file is stored.  The second partition holds the actual file.  With LTFS, the indexing information is first read by the drive and presented in a simple, easy-to-use format that allows for “drag and drop” capabilities, similar to a thumb drive.

    Why Your Data Storage Strategy Should Include Tape

    As most businesses utilize the latest in flash and cloud storage technologies to keep up with extensive data growth, tape technology continues to thrive. The decades-old storage platform has continued to be remarkably dependable throughout the multiple innovations in storage equipment. In fact, tape still offers numerous benefits when it comes to backup, archival and other mass storage of data.

     

    Tape’s Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

     

    The cost per gigabyte of tape storage is less than a penny compared to about three cents for hard disk storage, according to Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). In the long run, tape is also less expensive than cloud storage. The hardware, software, and operational costs are all more costly with other forms of data storage technologies. Additionally, tape has a smaller footprint and uses considerably less power than disk. ESG found that in a 10-year total cost of ownership (TCO) study, an LTO tape solution cost just 14% as much as an all-disk infrastructure, and 17% as much as a hybrid disk/cloud storage solution.

     

    The Density of LTO Tape Technology

     

    One of tape’s key value propositions is its density. The most recent release of Linear Tape Open (LTO) Ultrium 8 technology provides capacity of up to 30TB of compressed storage.

     

    The Lifespan of Data Stored on Tape

     

    Yet another major benefit of tape is its longevity of data storage. LTO tape media has a lifespan of 30 years or more, with the average tape drive lasting nearly 10 years. In contrast, the average disk storage lasts roughly four years. ESG conducted a lab audit of LTO-8 drives and found them to be more reliable than disk.

     

    The Ever-Increasing Speed of LTO Tape

     

    There are still several people that hold to the belief that tape is much too slow to be useful in today’s rapidly evolving IT environment. However, the increases in storage speeds over the 8 generations of LTO tape hasn’t been seen by any other storage solutions. For instance, LTO-7 provides compressed data transfer rates of up to 750MB per second, that’s more than 2.7TB per hour, compared to the 80MB per second of LTO-3 which was released only ten years prior.

     

    Data Tape Software

     

    Not only had tape increased in density and speed over the years, tape has also gotten smarter. Linear Tape File System (LTFS) allows tape data to be read as just another drive on a network. Users can drag and drop files to tape and can see a list of saved files using an operating system directory. LTFS is an open standard supported by LTO drives from any manufacturer. By making it possible to maneuver files on tape just as you would with disk, LTFS allows organizations to use tape for more than backup and archival. Tape becomes part of an “active” archival infrastructure in which data can be moved to the most cost-effective storage tier at any time. As a result, tape is increasingly used for audio/video and surveillance data, and in big data and regulatory compliance use cases.

     

    The Future of LTO

     

    LTO technology continues to improve. The LTO Consortium recently finalized the LTO-9 specification and announced plans for the development through 12 generations of the storage technology. LTO-9 is slated for release in Fall 2020. IBM introduced a tape drive based upon the most advanced LTO-8, which offers compressed capacity of up to 30TB (12TB native) and compressed data transfer rates of up to 900MB per second (360MB per second native). The drive comes with AME and AES-256 encryption and write-one-read-many (WORM) capabilities for data protection and is compatible with LTO-7 media.

     

    Tape as a lower cost, portable, and simple to use storage solution has always made it a fantastic choice for long-term archival backup. LTO innovations over the past decade have produced unparalleled increases in capacity and greatly superior economics compared to other storage technologies on the market.

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