Any business owner who has taken the time to truly understand how virtualization works knows that the final product is invaluable. But since nothing worth doing is ever easy, there are a lot of things that might scare SMBs away from making the leap. Amazon Web Services is working tirelessly to make that leap a lot easier and less frightening with their Data Migration Service. Let’s take a look at the latest development.
If your business has decided to make the move to virtualized servers and databases, there are countless variables you need to plan for during the migration process. In an effort to make the whole affair as painless as possible for SMBs, Amazon Web Services has created a tool to make migrations faster, cheaper and simpler — what else could you ask for? Not much, which is why we’re excited to tell you all about it.
As a quick review, virtualization is best imagined by visualizing your server as a house. When a user draws computing power from your server, it’s a lot like opening the front door and just telling anyone to come in and grab whatever they need. The house gets crowded and messy quickly. Virtualization allows you to create doorways into partitioned rooms, with specifications and permissions unique to the user or application that needs them.
Much like the house in our analogy, the hardware and upkeep of servers can become quite expensive. By taking virtualization one step further, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has created the equivalent of a gigantic apartment building, online. When renting these internet-based apartments, your SMB is presented with virtualized versions of your server and desktops. You realize huge cost savings by eliminating upfront capital expenditures on hardware, and the rooms and their contents can be modified and adapted with little more than a simple request to AWS.
So you’re ready to migrate your server and clients to a virtualized environment, but after hiring experts you’re informed they will need days — possibly weeks — of server downtime to move your data from on-site storage to AWS. This service interruption has long been a massive speed bump in cloud migration projects. With Amazon’s Data Migration Service (DMS), that server downtime can be reduced to as little as 10-15 minutes.
This significantly reduced downtime is achieved by keeping your database liveduring the migration process. The final product can be stored in one of AWS’s several regional datacenters, or even copied back to your on-site server for concerns about redundancy and continuity.
Another speed bump along the road to your new virtualized home is moving from one database schema to another. Imagine the front door of your original, one-bedroom house is shaped like a triangle. But your destination, the AWS home, has a front door in the shape of a circle — how will you get your data into its new home? Amazon’s DMS has added a new tool to take care of all of that for you. This means it doesn’t matter if you have an Oracle or MySQL on-site server; Amazon can almost effortlessly convert it to a new schema.
With such a valuable tool, AWS must be charging a fortune to utilize it, right? Wrong. Amazon promises DMS migrations will cost as little as three dollars per terabyte. Even if your business is hosting above average amounts of data on-site, that’s still a price tag any cash-strapped SMB can afford.
Just because there’s a new tool for the migration, doesn’t mean you should attempt buying a new home for your server and driving it across town alone. Think of us as your virtualization real estate agent and movers, all wrapped into one. For an inexpensive, swift migration to a virtualized environment, we’ve got just the place for you. Contact us today.
What questions do you need to ask about your servers
Your heart is always there beating away 24-hours a day. This is also an apt description for your servers. They are always working, ensuring your business stays operational even if you don’t notice it. However, it’s not unusual for business owners to overlook their servers as most times it is a simple case of out of sight, out of mind. This is a dangerous way of thinking because once your servers go down, you will start losing money and maybe even go under. Even if your servers seem to be running smoothly, do yourself a favor and consider these three questions
When servers are working properly, you would never know they were there. When they are malfunctioning, servers become the scourge of the universe single-handedly bringing your business to a halt. In many ways, your servers are the heartbeat of your business. A strong one ensures good health while down servers are likely to leave your organization flatlining.
When do my servers need to be replaced?
This is a difficult question to answer but there are two factors you will want to consider – age and performance. The useful life of a server tends to be around three years. After the third year, your support costs to maintain them will rise drastically. While it’s not unheard of for servers to function properly beyond year three, relying on them beyond this point can be risky as their health can’t always be guaranteed. This means you will have to deal with costly repairs and possible downtime that you can’t predict.
Performance is another factor when it comes to servers. Even if your servers are only a year old, it doesn’t make sense to keep them around until year three if they are slow and are costing a fortune to maintain. It’s important to do a cost benefit analysis in these situations and look at how much money you will lose in repairs and downtime and then compare it to the cost of buying new hardware.
Do I have an alternative to buying new servers?
Believe it or not, the answer to your server problems might not necessarily be purchasing more physical hardware. One way to avoid this is by embracing virtualization. This process allows your servers to be stored and maintained off-site with everything being delivered to your office via the internet. There are two notable benefits of virtualizing your servers. The first is that you don’t have to spend a bunch of money buying new equipment. The second is that virtualization is a scalable technology meaning you only pay for the space you use. For instance, if you only need two and a half servers, you can do that. This is in contrast to having physical equipment which would require your business to either make do with two servers or splurge and buy the third one even if you didn’t need all of that space.
Of course there are a few things you need to consider before making the switch to server virtualization. One of the biggest issues is security. You’ll have to ask yourself if you feel comfortable keeping all of your data off-site. While this isn’t a concern for some companies, others don’t see this as palatable. There are several workarounds to this issue including the hybrid option where you keep sensitive data on-site and everything else off-site.
Can I do anything to prevent a full-scale server replacement?
Yes. It’s certainly possible for you to buy some time and give your current servers additional life, but these are short term fixes, not long term solutions. Server upgrades are a good place to start if your servers are less than three years old but are degrading in performance. Adding additional CPUs or memory may increase server performance at a fraction of the cost of buying new servers.
You can also utilize old servers for non-critical workloads. It’s possible to extend the life of servers that may have four of five years of wear and tear on them via repurposing. Instead of swapping out all of your servers, use the old ones for the non-critical processes and purchase new ones to handle critical workloads. This will help you get a better ROI on your technology while avoiding a wholesale hardware purchase which could cripple your budget.
If you have any questions about your servers and how you can increase performance, get in touch with us today. We can help you procure new hardware or show you the benefits of virtualization.
Ready to cut the ties with your old server and start fresh? If your server is over 4 years old, prevention is the only true cure for your woes. Take a look at these great advantages to upgrading your server before summer hits.
Think about it, your server is working 24/7/365 each year. It is safe to say, this is the hardest working piece of equipment in your business. A failed or breached server can be devastating leaving your company hanging and customers terribly unhappy. Here are 7 reasons to stop dancing around the problem and jump into a new server this quarter.
You deserve a safe and reliable partner. In the past year has your security been threatened? Has your server gone down? If you just said “yes” and started counting how many times, your overdue for a new server. Downtime and security breaches can be very costly for your business. Not only are your employees unproductive, but you may lose data or incur costs to repairing your server and recovering your company information.
You shouldn’t be kept waiting. Do you head for the coffee pot when you are uploading or downloading large spreadsheets or folders with information you need for work? If so, your server is slowing you down. You and your staff won’t have to wait when saving new files or retrieving information with a new server. The increased speed and efficiency will change the way you work.
You need room to store what you want when you want. Running out of space for your shoes is one thing, you can just build a shoe rack or buy a closet organizer. A server isn’t that easy. Running out of space can slow down everything you use daily.
No one should be limited on size with new technology available today. A new server will more than likely hold double what you’re working with right now. This type of expansion will not only give you more space, but increased efficiency too.
Everyone loves a free lunch. No more Dutch dating. You could spend the extra money you will save in technical support with a new server on lunch each quarter for your entire office. While it won’t be enough for a T-bone stakes, you will see a dramatic decrease in security breaches and failures. A new server solution will extend greater security features than their predecessors.
Compatibility. Over the past few years, many software companies have been gearing up for newly released server products. Most of them will follow Microsoft and stop supporting the older versions of their software pushing companies to upgrade. Stay ahead of the curve with compatible equipment for the software you love.
Backing up could save you big bucks! Ok, we all know back-ups are important. All those files you save each day at work are invaluable. Now that there aren’t hard copies to reach for it is critical to have a good back-up of the data from your server somewhere preferably off-site in case of an emergency.
It may seem like a lot of stuff to store; trust me if it was all on paper it would take up your entire office. However, today back-up technology has evolved significantly so we’re able to offer massive storage solutions with little ramp up time and low monthly costs. Remember, your recovery after a disaster is only as good as the back-up you have available to restore your network.
While there is no guarantee with love, your server should have a good warranty. A new server, comes with a new warranty. You will have server support from the manufacturer that can save you thousands if a hardware related problem arises.
Don’t forget support. Windows Server 2003’s end of support is July 14th, 2015. This end of support means increased support costs and security/compliance issues for many companies. If you are concerned about this July cut-off and have questions about options, give us a call today.
Call for your FREE 27 Point Network Assessment and Server Quote. We will come on-site and review your entire network. Then we will work with our engineers to create the perfect solution just for business. You will receive a quote that shows you all the details of our review, our recommendations and a server quote. Need service and support too? We can take care of it all. When it comes to your network, you’ve got IT handled with: