Kixo’s New Cloud Product Range

Cloud, everyone knows the name and everyone wants it even if its a bit tricky to define. We believe Kixo are a very personal company, and we have to walk a thin line in IT of making sure the product fits what people need, while at the same time not overloading clients with the tech but also keeping people informed with what they are paying for and using.

Because technology moves so fast we found clients don’t always want to know if they are using “Terminal Services” or “Citrix”, people just want to know is it good, stable, secure and if so how much?

So instead of talking about forever changing software names, and trying to define cloud and where it starts and stops, we have bundled cloud services and traditional systems into Kixo’s own packages with simple to understand names and prices.

Kixo are proud to introduce the below cloud products.

Cloud Desktop – A virtual desktop that follows you from machines to machine. No waiting for documents to upload and download, being in the cloud makes it accessible from anywhere at any time. Saving you money on software licences, install your program once in the cloud, it then simply works on all machines you log in from. Charged per user. Click here for more details.

Cloud Backup – A backup of your files from your laptop or desktop or server. This puts a copy of your data securely in the cloud, so in the eventuality of accidental deletion, or hardware failure or stolen equipment. You can restore your data from us. Charged per GB of data. Click here for more details.

Cloud Phone – An internet phone, simple to setup, just plug it in. Working from home or abroad? just plugin and your number follows you. For the standard price you can divert to mobiles and have hunt groups to make sure calls are never missed. Charged per user. Click here for more details.

We are already expanding the range due to popularity. These products are to help businesses small and large to keep their IT simple and cost effective.
Please contact us for more details.
Disaster Recovery


A lot of people talk about disaster recovery and not many people get how it fits into the business and how or why it can be important, we thought we would share a recent chain of events that worked so well most of the users in the business didn’t know anything was going on. Sometimes if you do your job well enough no one knows your doing it!

One of our clients is a Tier 1 automotive manufacture supplying  to internationally known Car manufactures.  All companies operate 24/7 so there is a strict zero downtime policy. Every minute of downtime can equal hundreds of thousands of pounds of losses and extra costs for staff to catch up on hours lost in the factories.

We had been planning a virtualisation and disaster recovery project for all the physical servers, so when we discovered we were also moving to a new large factory and office we tied the projects together. We virtualised all physical servers and even some routers. Once virtualised we enabled off site replication to a secure Datacentre, this allowed us to turn off physical hardware and move the office without any of the key ERP software and backbone software like Emails being interrupted, despite the original hardware being in the back of a lorry being moved!

After the original physical servers had arrived at the new location we switched back to the main hardware’s new location. Now the disaster recovery plan had been tested in a controlled manor we felt comfy enough after additional testing that in event of a disaster at the main site the business would be able to ride through large problems which could have crippled the company before.

The disaster recovery plan was tested for real shortly after being at the new factory when the sites power lines failed due to circumstances outside of the clients control, at which point generators kept the factory running, while the company disaster recovery plan kept all key ERP software running and externally all emails and VoIP phone lines stayed up. Externally nobody knew anything and more importantly production was able to keep running.

If the downtime had been for a longer period of time the plan would have allowed all employees to go home and log onto the sessions via remote desktop and carry on working where they left off. Phone extensions could have been diverted to user’s mobiles but luckily for all involved the downtime was not prolonged.

The one thing which a good plan always seems to lack is staff training. Having a plan is great but people need to know it, when it kicks in and what they need to do, so drumming in basics like accessing emails and phones is key.

With ERP software becoming so important to large businesses, having multiple plans to survive basic incidents is a must. SaaS is something we expect to be seeing more of in the future and while some people are sceptical of SaaS, cloud and disaster recovery being buzzwords, they can boil down to some very simple procedures and just using what you may already be using. Businesses are starting to see that disaster recovery systems combined with virtualisation and cloud is a very smart and powerful tool which can be applied to all large and small businesses.

Geek Speak

Geek Speak

Everyone knows in the Nerd world we love to shorten everything

Below are the “human” translations!

 

Hosted Email – Traditionally a business had to have a server in their office which provided emails, now you can rent email boxes, so instead of a flat bill of £1000 per year you can now pay less than £10 per user per month, obviously maths says this is good for small business, bad for big users, however a lot of larger companies like hosted because of the simple scalability and lack of CapEX (see below).

Servers -powered by the combined will of the business to “go faster”.

Desktops – the box under your desk you keep stubbing your toe on.

Laptops – The computer you loose in the car and never seem to find the charger for.

Mobiles / Mobile Devices– the device your other half accuses you of having an affair with.

Virus & Spam Protection – stopping bad things getting to you and occasionally saying “don’t click on that”.

Pro-Actively – yes its a buzz word but we believe in it, we go out looking for things to fix BEFORE they break, controlled repairs preventing downtime.

Monitor – in our sense we have a constant connection to devices “saying are you ok” if the device doesn’t answer or answers saying its anything other than optimum, we get an alert and log on to fix it!

Marvin – We have a monitoring system we lovingly call Marvin, he also handles emails see him here

Wireless /WiFi – this can be various ways of connecting networks and soon powering devices without cables.

Printers – the thing that runs out of ink faster than you can buy it!

SLA (Service Level Agreement) – how long it takes to call you back and get things fixed!

CAPEX (Capital Expenditure) – in its simplest term paying money in one lump up front. Full Description

OPEX (Operation Expenditure) – in its simplest term paying money in byte size monthly. Full Description

There has been a large shift in business and IT from CAPEX to OPEX, less large blocks of money upfront for servers vs small monthly costs per user per month. Better for cash flow, only real difference is you will not own a server, but rent instead. Over a period of 3-5 years it works out on average the same outlay *this is a guide.

SEO/ SERP – Search Engine Optimisation & Search Engine Result Positioning, simply how well you rank in google and other search engines

VOIP / SIP – Phone calls over the internet.
SQL – A type of database, most large businesses use multiple databases, SQL is the platform it can run on.

ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning, normally the software that runs all aspects of large businesses. Examples are Dynamics, SAPS, Epicore

Virtualization – turning physical hardware into a software version, this means better flexibility, and potentially better usage of hardware so cheaper

Flash Virtualization

Virtualization has changed the way modern datacenters operate, but I/O bottlenecks still hamper storage systems and application performance. Flash hypervisors could be the answer.

In today’s enterprise, IT managers need a way to efficiently scale storage performance using virtualization, much in the same way they scale server compute and memory. This has given rise to a new technology, called the flash hypervisor, which is paving the way to true software-defined datacenters. By aggregating available flash storage into clusters that accelerate the performance of reads and writes, flash hypervisors are changing the way that IT owns and operates datacenters.

Overcoming storage bottlenecks
I/O bottlenecks in primary storage can add significant latency to virtual applications, resulting in slow or unusable applications. This frustrates end users and creates numerous problems for IT, including unpredictable expenses and costs.

To date, the only option when faced with the above challenge is to throw storage hardware at the problem. For example, storage administrators can improve the capabilities of a storage area network (SAN) by upgrading interconnect speeds or deploying faster disks and processors. Unfortunately, these are all very expensive and disruptive solutions, and don’t even guarantee an improvement in application performance.

Many companies are keen for a change. They want a solution whereby storage performance is decoupled from storage capacity, eliminating the need for unnecessary storage hardware upgrades. This has created an enormous market demand for server-side flash, which in turn has created a need for flash hypervisor software.

Why flash virtualization?
A flash hypervisor virtualizes all server-side flash into a clustered acceleration tier that enables IT to scale out storage performance quickly, easily, and cost-effectively, independently of storage capacity. Just like traditional hypervisors abstract physical CPU and RAM into a logical pool of resources, a flash hypervisor does the same for all server flash devices across a datacenter.

More specifically, the flash hypervisor provides a resource management scheme that multiplexes multiple VMs to a set of flash devices according to user-specified policies. The result is dramatically faster and truly scale-out read and write performance for all virtual machines, without the need to change existing storage infrastructure.

A flash hypervisor virtualizes server-side flash into a clustered acceleration tier that delivers scale-out storage performance independent of storage capacity.

 

Flash hypervisors fundamentally change datacenter design. Gone are the days when storage was designed with performance and capacity in one tier. For the first time ever, storage performance can cost effectively scale out according to demand.

For example, a traditional midrange SAN costs about $100,000, and delivers around 50,000 I/O operations per second (IOPS). To double this performance, one must buy a new SAN, which doubles the total price to $200,000. In contrast, a flash hypervisor can deliver around 100,000 IOPS on a single flash device, which is twice the performance at less than one tenth the cost of the SAN (less than $10,000).

[For more background on how the software-defined trend affects storage, read: Software-Defined Storage: A Buzzword Worth Examining.]

To double the amount of IOPS, one must simply add another inexpensive flash device to the flash hypervisor cluster. The result is substantially higher storage performance at a fraction of the cost of a SAN alone.

What makes a flash hypervisor different from traditional server-side flash caching solutions? Below are the key criteria that make this technology unique, and that IT departments should evaluate in the context of their own environments:

  • Seamlessly works with all VMs, hosts, and storage
  • Supports heterogeneous flash devices (PCIE and SSD)
  • Cluster technology transparently supports all virtual machine operations, such as vMotion, DRS (Distributed Resource Scheduler) and HA (High Availability). This ensures virtual machines can move around freely between hosts without impacting application performance.
  • Supports read and write acceleration (with replication between flash devices for fault tolerance). This ensures that all read- and write-intensive applications will benefit.

Storage has long been a war-of-the-boxes, with marginal innovation. Flash hypervisor technology signifies a giant leap from the storage status quo. It brings a scale-out microsecond-level storage acceleration tier to every workload, in every virtualized datacenter. Its enterprise-class features and unparalleled benefits make it a strategic infrastructure investment that will fundamentally change datacenter storage design.

Jeff Aaron is vice president of marketing at PernixData, and has almost two decades of experience working in high-tech software, networking, and telecommunications companies.

Source Informationweek

Cloud – fastest growth in 2014

Cloud will be the strongest technology sector in 2014 with software-as-a-service [SaaS], business intelligence [BI], and analytics set to be the top performers in the coming 12 months.

Analysts at Forrester expect the three segments to achieve double digit growth over the coming 12 months with SaaS in particular seeing the highest level of growth at over 20 per cent in 2014.

“The combination of strong growth in new software categories and restored growth in older categories will help make software the leading tech category. That also helps the US tech market, because the US has an almost 60 per cent share of SaaS and analytics spending,” said Andrew Bartels, VP and principal analyst serving CIOs at Forrester.

Bartels also expects the continuing adoption of SaaS to adversely affect IT services revenue growth in 2015 and in the year following that. Even with this being the case, Bartels fully expects the entire world economy to start moving in the right direction in the next 24 months and the technology sector to benefit.

“Beyond 2014, we are expecting a strengthening global economy in 2015 will propel global tech market growth higher across the board, but with software growing at double-digit growth rates for the first time in many years,” Bartels said.

The growth of cloud software isn’t all bad news for the traditional on-premises software categories, which has suffered in slow-growth markets during 2012 and 2013. Bartels expects the sector to “revive” in 2014 with Europe, Asia and emerging markets seeing particularly sustained growth.

Forrester’s projections are just the latest in a series of heady predictions relating to the cloud’s influence on the IT industry as whole in 2014. IDC figures show that cloud adoption and big data are set to push global IT expenditure past $2 trillion [£1.2 trillion] in 2014 as even more firms jump on the cloud services bandwagon.

Source IT Portal

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