Interlink Cloud Blog
Matt Scherocman

Microsoft EMS Case Study: Interlink Sets G&J Pepsi Free to Innovate, Collaborate and Grow

Microsoft EMS Case Study: Interlink Sets G&J Pepsi Free to Innovate, Collaborate and Grow

G&J Pepsi Cola is the largest family-owned and operated Pepsi franchise bottler in the United States. Over 1,000 of their 1,600 employees are made up of deskless workers, including drivers, salespeople, and merchandisers. Not yet utilizing mobile devices, this sizable workforce did their job based on paper marching orders each morning. Over time, these paper instructions became hefty books that field people lugged around and rummaged for information.

hybrid Use Benefit quoteRealizing the need for change, G&J transitioned from paper to electronic documents and outfitted its deskless workforce with Android smartphones. The move created hundreds of new, unsecure and unoptimized mobile endpoints.

hybrid Use Benefit case study

Here’s just a couple of ways Interlink used the full value of Microsoft enterprise cloud products to meet G&J’s business challenge.

  • Secured the Digital Link with Microsoft EMS
    Using Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS), Interlink quickly secured 1,200 smartphones and tablets.

    With the mobile devices secure, G&J corporate offices, distribution centers, and field employees can now communicate and collaborate without having to worry about endpoint security. Management is free to share sensitive data in real time with other business units, decreasing data availability downtime while increasing efficiency of response to changes in operations.
  • Extended Microsoft EMS with Azure Active Directory Premium
    G&J uses several different applications across their IT infrastructure, all deployed with the challenge of needing to be secure and easily accessible. Using Azure Active Directory Premium, Interlink streamlined the management of these applications and improved the secure accessibility of multiple applications.

    By using a cloud-based single-sign-on (SSO), G&J consolidates application management and usage into one simple process. IT no longer needs to spend time and resources configuring multiple sets of credentials, and field employees never need to be concerned about not having access to their suite of third-party applications.

Read the full case study and see how Interlink met G&J Pepsi’s business mobility challenges with Interlink and Microsoft EMS.

hybrid Use Benefit case study

Contact us to show you how we can improve your collaboration, security, and mobility with Microsoft EMS too.  

Matt Scherocman

Limited-Time Microsoft Offer: Migrate VMware to Hyper-V Now and Save

Limited-Time Microsoft Offer: Migrate VMware to Hyper-V Now and Save

With the launch of Windows Server 2016, making the switch from VMware to the Microsoft Hyper-V makes more sense than ever. With Microsoft’s VMware migration offer, switching to a cloud-ready, dynamic virtual server is easy.

Migrating from VMware to Hyper-V takes advantage of Windows Server 2016 unmatched benefits, including:

  • Built-in security capabilities
  • Reduced total cost of ownership
  • The flexibility to deploy hybrid to the cloud where optimal
  • Scalable cloud application workloads support
  • One less vendor that you must negotiate with


Windows Server 2016 provides robust solutions for small and large enterprises. The Hyper-V puts an emphasis on security by offering new, unique security services such as Shielded Virtual Machines and Azure powered Just in Time Administration.

Windows Server 2016 also comes with software-defined datacenter capabilities that cover virtual machines management, increased performance software defined storage, and time-saving networking infrastructure solutions

Reducing Total Cost of Ownership

Migrating from VMware to Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V reduces your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). The VMware to Windows Server 2016 migration offer gives customers free Windows Server Datacenter licenses with a Software Assurance subscription. Basically, if you purchase the maintenance package, Microsoft will grant you the actual license. 

The annual cost of a similar VMware solutions suite almost double that of a Windows Server 2016 datacenter – which you still need to purchase to support your Windows workload! (You can calculate your savings here). 

Microsoft Hyper V

Hyper-V positions your IT infrastructure, management, and deployment solutions to be ready to scale with cloud challenges so you can take advantage of the benefits of virtual machines. 

 

Start The Migration Process Today

Contact Interlink to discussion the migration planning process. We will assist you in identifying which virtualized workloads you’ll want to migrate and how many Windows Server Datacenter cores are required.

Guest Blogger

Top 5 Reasons You Should NOT Use Cloud Storage

Top 5 Reasons You Should NOT Use Cloud Storage

The value and benefits of cloud storage are so clear and compelling that I have found it difficult to understand why a business would choose not to embrace the cloud as a means of solving file sprawl. In the past, cloud fear was a major obstacle, but this is no longer the case. So I tried to put myself in the shoes of a change-averse enterprise to better understand their thinking. The result is a list of the top five reasons you should not move files to the cloud.

1. You love running big hardware datacenters.

We are all still kids at heart and a massive datacenter is essentially a giant playroom filled with very expensive and complex toys.

These toys, otherwise known as servers, do not take care of themselves. You get to oversee the maintenance of both the datacenter as a whole and the actual hardware. Heating, cooling, electricity, disaster planning – that’s all yours.  As time goes by and your employees and applications generate more and larger files, this hardware will start to run out of capacity.

But don’t worry about consolidating your data center. You can always buy a whole new set of big, shiny, expensive servers when you need more space. This makes your storage environment more complex. 

And don’t forget the budget planning that goes along with it – what’s not to love about complex financial spreadsheets?

2. Migrations are a joy!

Speaking of fun, who enjoys a good migration? 

Nothing is more thrilling than sitting at your workstation and managing the movement of files from one storage volume to another.  No matter which solution you have in place, migrations can be very complex affairs.  And IT professionals love nothing more than performing challenging, pull-out-your-hair tasks on nights and weekends when all their friends and families are doing normal activities (e.g. having a life). 

Don’t worry, you will not be going through this misery alone. You get to interact with your peers when they call you about the inevitable permissions problems that keep them from their data. Then you can be a hero and solve the problem they blamed you for in the first place.

3.  You have no need for backups.

Your users may have lost access to their files before.

Maybe they deleted a document they needed, or suddenly wanted an old project back. But you know that files are files.  Your users can always create new ones. In fact, you and your colleagues have been wondering whether it’s necessary to protect company files at all.  Sure, you may have heard about how the cloud can eliminate the need for backup, generating significant cost savings and improving protection, but why not just leave everything to chance instead?

Writing to tape is the Russian roulette of the IT world.  So go ahead, scrap protection, and inject a little do-or-die drama into your work place. 

state of cloud storage

 

4.  Your users work only at their desk.

Employees are constantly on the go. They need access to their files from any device or location. The right enterprise cloud storage solution makes this possible. 

But when you don’t use cloud storage, you’re operating as though your employees work only at their desks.  In fact, they never:

  • Go home at night
  • Visit clients
  • Work in conference rooms, common areas or off-site
  • Travel for business

You might as well shut your servers down at night while you’re at it.  

5. None of your employees collaborate on work. 

This especially gets complicated with users in different branches or those working remotely. When collaborating, users will need to access the same files that others are also working on. But in a company without cloud sharing, these collaborations are intensely more difficult, stressful and time-consuming.

On those rare occasions when a project requires the input of an employee who works in a different region, the standard operating procedure is to charter a jet, fly that person into the office for a few hours, then whisk them back again. If something comes up the next day, and that employee’s input is needed again, there are always more jets.

Personally, I still think cloud storage makes more sense, and Cloud NAS in particular, but this has been a helpful exercise for me. I am starting to understand why companies choose to avoid moving files to the cloud. That said, if you are the sort who would rather avoid migrations, reduce your dependence on expensive hardware, enhance protection and extend file access, you might want to take 90 seconds to watch this quick video on our complete storage solution leveraging the cloud.

 


Nasuni is a partner of Interlink. If you need help with a cloud storage solution, Interlink can help - contact us today.

 

Nasuni 2015 State of Cloud Storage Report Thumb no DS Web

Download this white paper to receive your copy of the The State of Cloud Storage in 2015.

 

Matt Scherocman

SQL Server in the Public Cloud: SQL Database vs. SQL Server on Azure VMs

SQL Server in the Public Cloud: SQL Database vs. SQL Server on Azure VMs

When it comes to hosting SQL Server in the public cloud, there are two major options. 

  1. SQL Database
  2. SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines (VMs)

Customers can choose just one or both, as each is designed for different SQL workloads and fit into Microsoft’s platform a different way.

In order to choose the right route for your application workload, you’ll want to match your business requirements with the benefits and capabilities of these two options. But first, know that if you choose a cloud path, you don’t have to be all in the cloud. Same goes for an on-premises direction. A hybrid cloud option, which means having part of your data centers in the cloud while keeping a select workloads on-premises, is what most businesses choose and what Microsoft’s cloud platform is built for.

The diagram below, courtesy of Microsoft Azure, shows the relation of cloud options to the level of administration you have over the infrastructure and the degree of cost efficiency:

SQL Server in the Public Cloud

The public cloud options (represented in blue) are outlined below, starting with…

Microsoft Azure SQL Database

SQL Database is hosted, and maintained by Microsoft. This Azure cloud platform is categorized as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS) and offers a few desirable features to help companies scale efficiently. First of which is cost flexibility. Users pay as they go, scaling up or down for more power and little interruption. You can also develop directly on the service using Azure's built-in features and functionality.

#1 Benefit: Lowered Overall Cost and Administration

In addition to lowering the overall cost of running multiple databases, SQL Database reduces ongoing administration costs because you don’t need a full IT team to manage any virtual machines, operating systems, or database software.

How to Purchase

SQL Database is sold as a service, not with a license. In order to limit your cost exposure, clients will need to manage and monitor what is in use along with what can be scaled back to reduce subscription fees.

Administration

With SQL Database, you can continue to administer your database, but Microsoft takes care of the underlying hardware, can replicate data to provide high availability, configures and upgrades the database software, manages load balancing, and does transparent failover if there is a server failure. Ultimately, taking away the time-consuming administration duties.

SQL Server on Azure VMs

SQL Server on Azure VMs allows you to run SQL Server inside a virtual machine in the cloud. This falls under the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) category and is meant to extend on premise SQL Server applications to the cloud.

#1 Benefit: Customizability

If you already have a full-time IT staff and need administrative rights, yet desire a fully customizable setup, SQL Server on Azure VMs is optimized exactly for your scenario.

How to Purchase

Traditional SQL Server licensing is available for SQL Server on Azure VMs. Customers with current software assurance have the ability to run use that license to cover their instances of SQL within Azure. If there is a workload running full time, it is typically less expensive to purchase the SQL than to subscribe to it in scenario 1. 

Administration

SQL Server on Azure VMs makes it possible to keep control over database location down to the location of the disk. You can upgrade on your own schedule.

When deciding what public cloud option is right for you, assess your situation first and determine which workloads fit which cloud scenarios best.  Keep in mind that you may want to reuse licensing that may already be used to run the same workload on premises. 

Whatever your situation, Interlink can help you determine the best fit and then take the right next steps from there. Contact Interlink.

SQL Modernization Assessment Ad

Matt Scherocman

What Is the Most Noticeable Impact to Our Users?

The most noticeable impact occurs when sending a large file from one user to another in the same office, while they are waiting for it.  This large file needs to traverse out to the Office 365 servers and back.  Now, realistically in most cases we are talking seconds here for this process.  Sometimes you can’t wait – when you need instant speed to collaborate on a document, we typically recommending using Lync and sharing screens for access in real-time.

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All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations or warranties regarding the information from our partners or other external sources.

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