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Matt Scherocman

The End of SQL Server 2005 Support is Near - Does Your Database Need an Upgrade?

sql server end of life interlink

Databases can sometimes be forgotten - hidden behind the applications that they support. Yet, if you find yourself without support and your datis left exposed – even temporarily, you may be putting your organization at risk.

For those organizations still running SQL Server 2005, it may be time to seriously start evaluating an upgrade. On April 12, 2016, after ten years of going strong, extended support for all versions of SQL Server 2005 is coming to an endThe good news is, over the last decade, Microsoft has continued to invest in this technology and SQL Server has evolved to be an enterprise-class solution to support the growing business needs of organizations - large and smallUpgrading is not just a maintenance task, but an opportunity to provide new value to your business. 

With April 12th right around the cornerthere's no better time to start the evaluation process. 

Depending on the type of application, the migration destination, the scale of the move and resources allocated, migrations can take several months, and without extended support you will no longer get security updates and may also experience:

  • Higher maintenance costs

  • Potential compliance issues 

Watch this short video Is It Time To Upgrade You Database? to help you determine if it’s the right time to migrate and begin achieving breakthrough performance with a move to SQL Server 2014 and/or Azure SQL Database.

In addition to deciding if it’s the right time for you to upgrade, you'll need to weigh all your migration options. 

  1. SQL Server 2014 (On-Premise Server) 
    SQL Server 2014 can provide very fast performance with built-in technology to speed up applications compared to older versions of SQL Server. In fact, SQL Server 2014 benchmarked 13x faster than SQL Server 2005 and 5.5x faster than SQL Server 2008. Reduced downtime, increased mission-critical uptime, fast failover, improved manageability, and better use of hardware resources are just some of the benefits that users report after leveraging SQL Server 2014

  2. SQL Azure (Cloud)
    With SQL Server 2014 available on Azure, you can prioritize cost savings and minimal administration.There are currently two options for hosting: SQL Server workloads in the cloud through Azure SQL Database (Software-as-a-Service/ SaaS) or SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines (Infrastructure as a Service/ IaaS).  We can walk you through which options make the most sense for you.  
  1. Hybrid Approach: On-Premise Server + Cloud
    Microsoft has added several hybrid cloud options to SQL Server 2014 that is showing real value, even for those who continue to run on premise. The hybrid cloud options don’t require you to move your entire SQL Server databases to the cloud. Instead, you can extend to on premise SQL Server instances to the cloud where it makes sense for your business. With enhancements to SQL Server 2014’s Backup, AlwaysOn Replicas, and SQL Server Data Files, these hybrid options can cover all the bases of a complete and secure SQL Server setup. 

  2. Disaster Recovery As A Service – DRAAS
    Allows on premise database to sync out to the cloud for backup and disaster recovery. This can be the best of both world while it allows for fast on LAN speeds and full operation ability in the cloud.  

 

What is the best path for you?

Utilizing Microsoft-based funding, Interlink is currently offering a detailed SQL Modernization Assessment along with a Proof of Concept for SQL Server 2014 and SQL AzureThrough both the assessment and POC, our team can help you determine the right approach, technologies and tools for data platform modernization for SQL Server 2014 and/or SQL Azure Database. The scope, activities, and deliverables for each will vary based on your unique objectives, ultimately tailoring the right fit for your organization the first time.

SQL Assessment

Matt Scherocman

Office 365 - Pros and Cons of a Consolidated Tenant with Global User Dispersion

Office 365 Pros Cons Consolidated Tenant Global User Dispersion

A single Office 365 tenant may not be sufficient for some organizations. In certain cases, a company may need to provision mailboxes or manage end users in more than one tenant.

Below is a detailed breakdown and summary of a single global Office 365 tenant versus multiple tenants. This assumes that there are two or more agreements in place.

As it exists today, a single Enterprise Agreement cannot have licenses allocated to multiple tenants without an exemption and Microsoft intervention to allow it. However, agreements made underneath that entity, such as a second Enterprise Agreement for a sub-company in another country or division of the organization can have its own tenant.

Single Global Tenant

The Pros

  • Single name space support.
    Example: company.com is shared across the organization and everyone needs it as the primary email address. In this scenario, there is no way to provide a unified email address alias without all users existing in the same tenant.
  • Single point of control and management - The proper implementation of Role Based Access Control allows for flexible controls to be put in place to manage licensing, users, and services such as Exchange.
  • Branding controls for portal pages and SharePoint sites is unified.
  • Tenant location is nearest to the primary company listed as the contact location for Office 365. In some cases this is beneficial where the largest set of users exist in a specific office. Retail would commonly see this as a benefit, for example, where the corporate office contains most of the information workers.
  • Perfect solution when a single directory for the entire company is leveraged for user, group, and device management.

The Cons

  • No flexibility in the location of the services today. All services such as Exchange, Skype for Business, and SharePoint are provisioned in the nearest datacenter to where the company's contact listing.
  • Role Management is very cumbersome - even with groups.
  • One directory and its trusted relationships can be synchronized, a third party tool must be used if the company has multiple directories and no trusts in place.
  • Can be very complex when you are leveraging multiple AD forests and Trusts - Overlapping contacts and sync errors are common.
  • Services can be very slow when global access is enabled. An example is Skype, which has a low tolerance for latency and is impacted significantly for users outside of the country where the tenant is provisioned.
  • Global instances of Yammer and SharePoint can cause companies to rethink putting all collaboration sites in the cloud.


Multiple Tenant

The Pros

  • Primary benefit is autonomy and control of your own portal and services underneath it.
  • Performance on a per company / agreement basis is markedly better due to the location being closer to the sub-company.
  • Provides less complexity about managing admin roles on a large scale and can be less cumbersome.
  • In scenarios where the company is global and large sets of users are distributed, this provides the best performance on a per agreement basis.
  • Managing licenses is much easier and based intimately on the way each company operates.

The Cons

  • No single namespace and consolidated company domain support exists today.
  • Global policy adherence is very difficult to achieve since the policy setting company doesn't have a view into the settings.
  • Multiple locations to manage licensing can have limitations if only a single Microsoft licensing agreement exists.
  • Security of company information is in the hands of each company managing its own portal.
  • Compliance configurations are hard to regulate and enforce on an individual and consistent level.

If you have any addtional questions or would like to discuss, please contact us.

Stephanie Donahue

Microsoft SharePoint - Proving a Return on Investment

microsoft sharepoint proving roi

Every day I speak to clients about how we can solve their communication and content challenges with Microsoft SharePoint. However, no matter how obvious it is that SharePoint can solve their issues, we still run into scenarios where we hear, “We think your team is great and we love your ideas, but we just don’t have the budget this year.” What do you do when you don’t have a budget? You prove the return on investment of Microsoft SharePoint.

No Budget

The challenging thing -- okay one of the challenging things -- about SharePoint is that it too often starts out in the IT budget because it’s considered company-wide software that everyone uses. In addition to not being allocated as part of everyone’s budget, SharePoint also has the issue of being tough to measure in terms of return on investment (ROI). Those of us who have been around SharePoint long enough know the value of what SharePoint can do, but we struggle to communicate how that translates into real money saved. Being frustrated with the no budget answer, I’ve been racking my brain on what the answer is to showing SharePoint’s true ROI. So, I decided to run through a series of recent scenarios I’ve heard about from clients, friends, and even personal experiences. What has been obvious is that it all comes back to communication. Problems stem from communication issues, and conveniently, SharePoint (and Yammer) fix those communication issues.

The ROI Challenge

You can’t estimate SharePoint ROI, or any content management system, in terms of dollars gained during a more efficient process. People are not a manufacturing plant where stats are kept on how much content or value is derived from a single action from a single person. However, what you can measure is the cost of mistakes. People are human and while some mistakes can be contributed to inexperience or a lapse in judgment, it’s more often related to a lack of communication. In some cases, communication can even overcome inexperience and bad judgment.

Think back through the last time your organization lost money on a deal, a new partnership, or a new product. How would effective communication have changed the situation?

Communication Issues Plague Organizations

Scenario 1: A client has a proposal sent out with unclear terms of engagement with a vendor. This client is now ‘on the hook’ for far more work than they should’ve been. Not to mention the initial projected time-frames for the work are now completely irrelevant. Had this proposal been put through a formal review process where the entire team knew about it (rather than it ‘hiding’ in email and file shares), the ambiguity could’ve been caught. Not simply because of a formal approval process being in place, but because of the visibility of the document to someone who may not be directly involved.

The cost: Extra time negotiating what can be accomplished in the contract, lower profit margin on the work, if there is a profit at all, and potential loss of client due to the possibility of expectations not being met.

Scenario 2: A survey was sent out to all users and the number one complaint was a lack of company-wide communication. Employees did not feel properly informed. This same client doesn’t have the budget for SharePoint this year. So they continue to use a home grown intranet application where a developer must provide announcement updates. This slows the time to share those updates and will likely prevent many from being shared in the first place.

The cost: Unlimited and depends on the organization

What is the cost of the lack of rapid communication across the organization?

  • What is the turnover cost of an employee who doesn’t feel engaged or informed and leaves the organization?
  • What is the cost of waiting on an email response only to find out after the person you’ve been waiting on for 3 days is the wrong person?
  • What is the cost of not properly communicating new safety procedures to field engineers on remote sites? Have you dealt with law suits this year?
  • What about health care benefits to those sitting at headquarters? How much time does HR spend explaining things that could be available in a forum or Q&A section?
  • What about new compliance policies to content managers? Have you been through a painful audit recently?

The visibility provided by the social communication channels provided in SharePoint (and also in Yammer) can transform the way an organization works. The speed at which information is communicated is directly tied to an organizations ability to adjust to rapid changes in the market, to the amount of income that can be generated with the same number of people, and most importantly tied to defining an efficient and effective corporate culture that spans many remote locations.

The next time you are faced with the ‘no budget for SharePoint’ problem, it may be time to start discussing the cost of poor communication. From there you should be able to start defining what your return on investment looks like.

Matt Scherocman

Microsoft Office 365: Taking Information Security to a Whole New Level

Office 365 Taking Information Security

Imagine a world where you can continue work without even worrying about security. Microsoft Office 365 is getting closer and closer to that reality with controls that follow your data without affecting user productivity. Microsoft has (and is) investing a ton of time and resources making Office 365 secure, and it goes way beyond hard passwords and data encryption. Below is a quick look at just some of the ways they’re accomplishing this.

Secure Access Anywhere:

Once you set the rules for data loss prevention, the Office 365 service proactively protects in the background. You don’t have to take the data out of the service to protect it. It’s still usable in the cloud while completely secure to your organization based on who you’ve allowed permissions. New identity and access management controls allow you to set appropriate permissions that can be revoked at any time. Better yet, no matter where your data resides, Office 365 protects it while also protecting your device.

Policy Tips:

When you author a document, Office can inform you of any risks through policy tips before you save that document. Policy tips are based on the policies that you have set up in Office 365. When you’re checking email, Office 365 can detect malware before you’re even exposed to it, blocking malicious links across all devices.

Advanced Threat Protection (ATP):

ATP proactively protects against incoming threats. Phishing attacks are becoming more common and definitely more advanced. ATP catches any and all suspicious content and runs it through a real-time behavioral malware analysis. Suspicious attachments and malicious links don’t stand a chance when Office 365 is on the case.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP):

Office 365 backs up your data, sure, but it does it with security top of mind. DLP allows you to set granular policies so that when data is shared, it follows certain actions that you determine.

Productive Artificial Intelligence:

In the future, Office 365 will have the ability to suggest proactive security, giving you a 360-degree view on the security of your data wherever it is stored. To do this, Microsoft is using machine learning, which is implementing pattern recognition so that computers can learn without being explicitly programmed. Yes, artificial intelligence…but not take over the world type AI, beneficial and useful AI for you and your business. Intelligent protection can further help keep your data secure.

These advanced controls, accessibility, and security measures are making Office 365 even better and making users even more productive. For a service that already streamlines business processes, they are covering all the bases of security while they’re at it.

Are you wondering how these security features fit into your overall data protection plan?

Maybe you need insight into how to license the different options?

Contact Interlink and we’ll answer any and all of your questions.
We’ve helped highly regulated industries like banking and healthcare make the move – we can help you.

Office 365 Free Trial

Matt Scherocman

The New OneDrive For Business

The New OneDrive For Business

Microsoft has made significant improvements to their backup, syncing and sharing client - OneDrive for Business and has had an amazing 179% growth in active usage. The new client builds on the strength of the Consumer client for OneDrive and adds the features that businesses need like:

· Consolidated single sign on to Office 365 tenant

· Clear corporate ownership of data

· Attractive web and mobile interfaces - now iwth offline capabilities

· Shared and improved desktop-folder syncing

· Real-time coauthoring in Office with notifications of others' edits

· Increased mobile functionality

 

Let’s break down some of the new features and improvements to OneDrive for Business.


Solidified Syncing

First, the syncing process is solidified and more reliable with the new “next generation sync client (NGSC)” for companies. The new mobile clients allow access to both the Consumer and Business editions of OneDrive from the same app. The sync limit has been lifted to now allows individual files up to 10 GB in size and has removed the 20,000 file sync limit. As an added IT bonus, you can configure and deploy the client silently to help benefit the client on behalf of your users. Selective sync is also available – so you can select the files that are needed on each device that you are syncing.

one drive for business

Browser Experience & Sharing

The new browser abilities make sharing files quicker and easier. There is a new, easy to access command bar, tile or list view options, and enhanced sharing options. Therefore, the new browser experience lets you have more flexibility with new sharing features: link forwarding, non-sign in options, and even the option to add an expiration date.

Mobile Updates

In addition to OneDrive for Business being more flexible in sharing, there are now more mobile options. Recently released was a new OneDrive app for Windows 10 Mobile, which offers all the essential capabilities to view, edit, delete, share and upload files onto both your personal OneDrive and OneDrive for Business storage services. Offline flagging in the mobile Android apps lets you work unconnected. New PDF annotating abilities in the iOS app also add essential capabilities to the mobile work space.

OneDrive for Business update on storage plans 2a 509x1024

 Amplified Control

With more file-sharing capabilities and document access comes the need for new and improved controls and managing options for OneDrive for Business. These new controls will allow for governance of external sharing, limiting external sharing permissions, managing external sharing domains, and even auditing of external sharing invitations. For example administrators can turn on or off external sharing for single users. Administrators will also be able to limit sharing by domain in the near future.


 Interested in learning more about OneDrive for Business, seeing it in action, or utilizing its abilities?
Contact us here or give us a call at 1-800-900-1150.

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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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