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Windows Server 2003 retirement details and some server migration tips!

Microsoft has officially announced on July 14th, 2015, that its extended support for Windows Server 2003 has ended and all those computing platforms working on the said OS should go for a migration to the next version of the company’s Operating System. If not, the server and the clients connecting to Windows server 2003 will be vulnerable to cyber criminal activities.

In order to make the migration from Windows server 2003 to Windows Server 2008/2012 simple, here are some tips to help-

Consider Windows Server 2012 R2- Microsoft has confirmed that its support for Windows Server 2012 R2 will be till 2020. The “Mainstream Support” for the older Windows Server 2008 version has already ended and customers are now getting “Extended Support” by Microsoft for the said version. This means it is just a matter of time until the migration from the 2008 to a newer version is necessary. Therefore, it makes true sense, to go for a Server 2012 upgrade, instead of a Server 2008 OS version.

Make a list of applications and workloads- Before the migration, always make sure that you have the complete list of applications and workloads which need to be supported by the new server OS. Also ensure that you compile the list of all software components that may/can get affected by the migration to a newer windows server version, including drivers. Especially, the Windows admin need to check if the new OS provides later versions for the server hardware, or used peripheral devices. Also keep a tab on whether your on-premises peripherals such as printers, all-in-one devices or scanners will support the new server OS or a new one has to be purchased.

Develop migration scenarios for different server types- For active directory and exchanger server IT, admin needs to take special measures especially in terms of the sequence of the system migration.

What about hardware- It is a known fact that Windows server 2003 will run on a 32 bit processor. But for Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows server 2016, a 64 bit CPU will be needed. So, admins need to consider exchanging server platforms that are older than three years. New systems will also support more recent hardware components such as SSDs and provide enough performance resources for upcoming Windows Server generations and virtualization projects. Also, cut down in power consumption and heat generation can be observed, by deploying newer components.

Backup of Windows server 2003 will be essential- This offers a track back opportunity, if in case any issues with the migration occurs. Therefore, admins can restore data, operating system, applications and hidden partitions if the migration fails, even on new server hardware. Convert backups into virtual machines- By converting backups into virtual machines, they are two advantages. Firstly, the virtual windows server can be used as a reference point for reinstallation. This can prove highly indispensable as Windows Server 2008 and 2012 R2 will include new features as dynamic access control which can cause issues with older applications. The other point is that the VM provides the possibility for a temporary roll back to the older server version and that can prove useful, if some kind of major technical issue surfaces in the migration process. As the IT department can witness business continuity and can spend the time focusing on error analysis and solutions.

Accelerate the migration with a master image- By the presence of a master image, a new OS, basic applications and settings can be deployed simultaneously to multiple server systems.

Carefully plan the data migration- The deployment of an image back-up ensures that all data for the migration are secured. Occasionally it happens with Exchange 2003, for example, that SSL certificates are forgotten and are not part of the back-up.

Finally, Windows Server 2003 which has been here for around 12 years is now outdated. So, in order to keep up pace with the latest technology, a migration to a newer version is essential, as it helps in keeping your server environment safe and secure.

If, in case, your IT team needs support in Server migration like selecting the best server OS as per your current IT needs, migration of applications, data, software and an hardware upgrade if needed, then do approach DNF Professional Services.

DNF Professional services, a business unit of mighty IT firm Dynamic Network Factory will give your office needs a complete makeover to your server environment. A team of experts will review your current server environment, assess what you have and what is missing and then start the process of technology selection. The selection will be done by keeping factors such as data migration, server virtualization, performance assessment & optimization, server consolidation, storage consolidation, data security, disaster recovery, business continuity and remote management in mind.

The total upgrade and migration pains are taken by DNF Professional, a subsidiary of Dynamic Network Factory in order to ensure its customer a smooth and hassle-free transition.

The service doesn’t end with the server migration process. If the customer likes and feels to have the service extended, DNF Corp can also maintain and support the services in full stream.

So, feel free to call 510.265.1122 or click on DNF Professional Services

Pueblo Police Department Security Surveillance related Video storage gets full!

Pueblo Police Department is facing a storage crunch, as its video storage related to video surveillance is almost full. Currently, as per our sources, the video storage is occupying around 43,000 videos and some 43GB of other data related to department.

Deputy Chief Troy Davenport said each video stays at least 90 days in the system before it gets deleted automatically. But some videos that are non-emergency could have a lesser time span in order to make space in the system. Despite, these practices well in place, the Pueblo Police Department is housing the above said (43K) capacity of video evidence, which are termed as essential for their records.

Around 70% of videos are termed to be ‘Hot data’ while the remaining 23% is said to be ‘Cold data’. The other 7% is meant for administrative purposes and is also essential for record purpose.

From the past few months, the Police department of Pueblo has started the practice of deploying body worn cameras on each and every police official, who is attending the field work.

Troy said that these body worn cameras are proving priceless to them, as they have changed the behavior of the public towards the cops in a drastic way. The chief of the department added that citizens are acting in a wise way while interacting with his department people and so the officers are delivering better services than previously.

However, these body worn cameras have also brought a new headache to the Pueblo Police department and that is to buy a new video storage for their surveillance applications.

But Davenport said that will cost more money and the department already pays more than $130,000 a year for these services.

So, the issue now is to witness an increase in the grant, so that the department can spend the amount on the scalable video storage appliances which can store their valuable data.

 

Get ready for Microsoft Windows 10 Operating System!

Microsoft will unveil its new Windows 10 operating system on a commercial note to the world tomorrow and that really sound’s exciting. Though, there was a probability of proponing the release date to July 21st,2015 , things did not fall in place and so the release date is said to be tomorrow afternoon.

All those users who are using Genuine Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 operating system will be eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10 platform, provided they opt for the upgrade within May 2016. Those who are using Windows 8 OS will have to first upgrade to Windows 8.1 OS to enjoy the Windows 10 upgrade.

Those using Windows XP and Vista versions will not get the upgrade for free. If their PC hardware supports, then they can go for a Windows 10 upgrade by paying $120 and that too after August 21st,2015, as the OS will be available on a commercial note worldwide.

 

 

StoneFly IP SAN makes business continuity and customer compliance simple for Nancy Specialty Foods!

Nancy Specialty Foods which produces around 35 tons of high end, fine foods daily from California to throughout North America is using StoneFly IP SAN to makes its business continuity and customer compliance needs simple. The IP SAN of StoneFly is making Nancy Specialty Food’s IT department ensure high-availability of mission-critical data ranging from email and business intelligence tools to vital Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) applications that support the said company’s supply-chain management strategies.

The technology foundation at Nancy’s is reinforced by state-of-the-art solutions from Cisco, Intel and Microsoft. More than 100 end users connect to crucial data, which is stored on 25 servers running Linux as well as Windows 2000 and 2003. While the primary data center is located at the 86,000 square-foot headquarters’ facility, the team also is responsible for managing a secondary onsite facility as part of a rapidly expanding disaster recovery initiative.

Traditionally, the company’s IT team implemented Direct attached storage devices along with hot spare disk systems on each server, totaling 50 storage devices and nearly one terabyte of data that required over the night backups and admin support.

However, as the company’s IT operations expanded, the Nancy Specialty Foods was in the process of strengthening its business continuity plans while preparing to embark on a large customer compliance project.

With that in mind, the proactive IT team started exploring ways to streamline storage provisioning as well as bolster backup and recovery needs for important company and customer data.

The biggest challenge faced by Nancy was its inefficient storage utilization with its Direct attached storage approach. And from Disaster Recovery standpoint, they wanted to separate the company’s storage from its servers while managing and provisioning it centrally. Even they wanted to get rid of the practice of having 10 hours of nightly backups which spread across networked servers and then the practice of offloading the data to a centralized tape library.

While exploring alternatives, Fiber Channel based SAN Technology came in their way. But the expense part of deploying it, made the IT department keep it as a last option. They came across, iSCSI, which was perhaps an Internet Protocol-based SAN which was proving as a more cost-effective solution. So, they opted for an IP SAN (iSCSI storage) and started to search for companies offering it.

Nancy’s IT department evaluated different IP SAN offering vendors while also working with Microsoft on a rapid deployment of Windows Server 2008 and Active Directory. To that end, they initiated a hands-on evaluation of leading IP SAN solutions from StoneFly, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dynamic Network Factory.

StoneFly IP SAN was chosen because of its flexible, modular architecture. Moreover, it also separated the provisioning and management software from the actual disks. Similar to a software defined storage support.

Before deploying the StoneFly IP SAN, however, Nancy’s technology team put the product through its paces during a month-long, proof-of-concept stress test. Using a Microsoft utility to simulate a 100-user, clustered Exchange environment, they reviewed traffic flow, response time, ease of use and reliability. As expected it passed out with flying colors as it met all the evaluation criterion of Nancy Specialty Foods without a hiccup.

With the IP SAN deployment, Nancy’s was able to reduce its administrative overhead while enabling its constrained IT team to meet increasing storage requirements without adding more staff. The company also is planning to deploy disk-to-disk (D2D) backups to enhance overall business continuity further. With Nancy’s primary and secondary mirrors, reflection readily protects the company’s data in case they experience an outage at either data center.

To provide an extra measure of protection against data corruption, however, the team plans to implement a third SAN for handling D2D backups while eliminating backup window restrictions completely. It can also go for a StoneFly DR365 in this approach.

To know more details about StoneFly IP SAN call 510.265.1616 or click on StoneFly IP SAN web page

Fujitsu unveils liquid cooled servers which cut down 50% of data center cooling costs

Fujitsu has introduced a liquid cooled server solution and claims that this solution will reduce cooling costs by 50% and increase data center density by up to 5 times for scale-out environments such as high performance computing.

Fujitsu Primerygy CX400 M1 and its cluster node are the company’s Cool- Central Liquid Cooling, which were developed in conjunction with Asetek, a company based in demand that makes liquid cooling technologies for data centers, servers and PCs.

Typically, data centers spend 20% of their annual budget on cooling solutions. But with the installation of Fujitsu Primerygy CX400 M1 and its cluster nodes, the company claims that an expense reduction of 50% can be observed in their data center environments. Therefore, this technology will enable users to hit a power usage effectiveness (PUE) as low as 1.06 and offers them a way of recycling the heat waste so it can be used somewhere else.

PUE measures data center energy efficiency, with a 1.0 being the optimal score.

Already, some big players such as IBM are offering servers which run with liquid cooling ability. Hewlett-Packard last year unveiled its Apollo line of supercomputers for HPC, including the 8000, which offers liquid-cooling capabilities. At the time, HP officials noted that liquid is 1,000 times more efficient at cooling than air, but that design challenges and concerns about water getting close to electronics have held back wider adoption of liquid-cooling technologies.

The Cool-Central Liquid Cooling Solutions are not the first time Fujitsu has offered such technologies. In 2013, the company introduced what officials called Liquid Loop Cooling, which uses both air and liquid to cool systems. Now Fujitsu is teaming with Asetek, becoming an OEM for its Rack CDU D2C liquid-cooling technology.

Through the partnership, Fujitsu is offering hot-water, director-to-chip technology that takes heat away from such server components as CPUs, GPUs and memory modules and sending the heat into outdoor air, according to officials.

Getting deep into specifications of Fujitsu Primerygy CX400 M1 and its cluster nodes, these appliances use up to 160 Xenon Chips from Intel and 1,280 memory modules per standard rack. Each rack consumes around 30 watts of power, so liquid cooling is help in keeping temperature in the data center down by 50%.

The liquid cooling saves on other costs beyond cooling, power and space. Without the extensive air-cooling equipment, the costs for building new data centers go down. Additionally, the hot water used to carry the heat away from the servers can be used to heat or cool such facilities as offices or homes.

Fujitsu new servers working on liquid cooling are available in three variants and they are

  1. Fujitsu Primergy CX400 M1 Server
  2. Fujitsu Primergy CX2550 M1 Server
  3. Fujitsu Primergy CX2570 M1 server cluster nodes

All these three server variants will be available from September this year and the price varies as per the project.

New IP Video Surveillance Systems offer litheness!

Video Surveillance is becoming a key component of security systems in long-term care facilities. In this security systems segment, surveillance cameras are placed in

  • Parking lots, as defense against theft and vandalism of vehicles
  • Public areas such as TV rooms, hallways, dining halls where residents and staff gather up
  • entryways and at reception areas, to provide images of those coming and going out
  • Stockrooms and supply closets, to monitor the thefts

At the same time, a new practice of installing video cameras in resident’s living quarters is also receiving positive reviews. This is because, security cameras installed in these places, will give a way to monitor their loved one’s condition 24/7 and keep an eye on the quality of their care. Two-way video systems with audio are also often used to facilitate interactions between residents and their families, more often than visiting schedules would permit.

And here’s where an upgrade is needed

  • As useful as they have proven to be, CCTV have some drawbacks as well. First and foremost is that they require hard wiring and installation by licensed professionals. That can prove hard on the budget and so can limit the cameras to be installed.
  • The other drawback of a typical CCTV system installation is –images- must be stored on tape, which is proving expensive in terms of management and monitoring time, as well as space. Though, new analog systems are coming with DVR compatibility, where disc space is available for recording, old CCTV systems already installed in premises from the past few years do not support recording to DVR. So, an upgrade is surely needed in this instance.
  • The third drawback of CCTV is that systems can be monitored in real-time only from locations that are wired to the cameras.

What’s the solution?

Here’s where IP Video Surveillance cameras offer a newer and better alternative to CCTV. Technically speaking, IP stands for Internet protocol and since surveillance is being carried out over IP, it means IP video surveillance. Wireless IP cameras greatly simplify installation, even when a system consists of many cameras. Wireless IP systems will work wherever there’s access to Wi-Fi or a network router. Video data can be stored on a hard disk or in the cloud and can be accessed from virtually any location on a PC, tablet or smart phone. But like said, every technology has its own pros and cons; wireless surveillance do have their own set of troubles.

Centralized vs. Decentralized systems

When considering an upgrade from a CCTV/Analog system to IP surveillance systems, the first thing to consider will be to determine whether a centralized or decentralized system of IP cameras will better meet your needs?

In a Centralized IP system arrangement, all you have to need are cameras, recording software, a dedicated PC/server, attached storage (can be a NAS/IP SAN), housings to protect the cameras and a network—wired/wireless.

The above set of hardware centralized IP surveillance can be carried out in the following way. Cameras perform function such as video recording, basic analytics and event triggering. Alarm management, storage management and video processing are handled by a central PC that runs on licensed software. Recorded video is processed and sent to the attached storage device.

Although, centralized systems may seem to make sense for video security in an institutional setting, they have some real disadvantages, including:

  1. All video is processed through a video server and if it goes down, the whole objective can fall into jeopardy. However, in today’s world, techniques such as redundancy, failover can solve this issue.
  1. Licensing fees for software are usually charged on a per-camera basis, in addition to charges for the server management software license (usually along with an annual maintenance fee).

 

  1. Even though cameras for centralized systems cost less than decentralized systems, the additional costs for software licensing, a central server and maintenance bring the costs higher than those for decentralized systems.

In decentralized security systems- all you need to have are cameras, lenses, video storage, and a network. Here, in this arrangement the cameras will have the whole processing and analyzing intelligence installed in them, along with software recording capability. Some also have video storage capacity which can server for temporary purposes. Many have VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) functionality that enables the camera to send and receive calls from any kind of phone. Although IP cameras for decentralized systems are a far more expensive than those used in centralized systems, they offer all the functionality needed without as many peripherals and licensing fees, so they can prove more economical in the long run.

The advantages of decentralized IP surveillance systems include:

 

  1. Each camera operates independently, so there is no central point of failure. But when the camera fails, the surveillance system concept can take a bad hitting.
  2. Each camera can record to its own integral storage device at the camera — SD card or external hard disk — or to a central storage unit.
  3. If a camera loses connectivity or there is a storage device failure, it will continue to buffer data until the issue is corrected.
  4. Other cameras in the system can be alerted to a failure and programmed to notify you via email, text or phone call with a prerecorded message.
  5. No video management software licensing costs as the software is in the camera, and upgrades are usually free.

What to look for in IP surveillance systems-

Security surveillance cameras come in different sizes and shapes, and different models offer varied resolution and functionality. As you look at the field, try to determine which type best fits the needs of your facility and its residents.

  • Some cameras offer pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) functionality, which can enable greater coverage in indoor and outdoor areas.
  • Megapixel IP cameras (H.264 compression) offer much better image resolution than VGA cameras.
  • Wireless IP cameras are much easier and economical to install than hardwired systems, but the installation site must be within Wi-Fi range of a router or hub. Signal availability and bounce may make you paranoid.
  • For hard-wired installations, consider PoE (Power over Ethernet) IP cameras — to which power can be supplied via Ethernet cables — to reduce the number of power sources. This makes sense for fresh cable installations.
  • Consider cameras with built-in microphones and speakers for two-way communication, where needed.
  • Motion detection/event-triggering functionality can reduce the bandwidth and storage requirements for recorded video.
  • Alarm functionality can alert security when a camera records unusual activity.

Video storage influence on IP Video Surveillance

With a demand for high resolution images increasing, people who are shifting from analog to IP or normal CCTV to IP are showing more interested in going for the best. That is why the demand for cameras offering detailed video evidence is increasing. Moreover, as per the legal rules prevailing in most parts of America, video evidence with much more clarity is attaining more importance, than the one which lacks it. Hence, cameras which offer high clarity images are generating lots of data. Therefore, to store all that generated data for future use, an efficient video storage with capabilities such as RAID and fault tolerance is turning vital.

So, while planning for a migration from Analog to IP, please give equal importance to your video storage needs, like you do for the cameras and other components in the architecture.

Otherwise, it just doest make sense to have sophisticated cameras on premises minus an efficient video storage.

Universal Studios servers host pirated copies of blockbuster Jurassic World movie

Jurassic World which is a spin-up of Steven Spielberg’s 1993 marvel Jurassic Park is available online as a free to download and view movie on Google search engine. Universal Pictures which produced this VFX enriched movie recently wanted to take down all those pirated links of its movie available on Google and directed its team of experts to do so.

The world renowned production company filed a take down notice with Google on July 15th, 2015, under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, demanding that the search engine block links to several sites allegedly hosting or linking to pirated copies of Jurassic world.

But to the surprise of their team experts most of the links led to a server which was being hosted on the server farm of Universal Studios France office.

Movie studios and publishers typically use automated programs that search for unlicensed copyrighted works, in this case a movie.

When Universal Studios learnt that one of the servers in France was seeding the pirated versions of its stupendous hit “Jurassic World” from the past one month or so, it immediately asked the company’s IT head to look into the matter and sue the IT team who was in-charge of the Universal Studio’s network in France.

A preliminary probe has revealed that the server hosting the movie was hacked just before the movie release and so was acting as a host to outsider’s data…..Clever thinking……isn’t it?

How the network admin missed all these acts are the details which have to be found yet?

FYI, Jurassic World has collected $1.8 billion revenue worldwide so far.

 

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