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Jan
27
Business Guidance Pearls Mentoring Opportunity
Posted by Philip Elder on 27 January 2015 09:30 AM

Original Here: MPECS Inc. Blog: Business Guidance Pearls Mentoring Opportunity

Our blog post on Some IT Pro Business Guidance Pearls has generated a _lot_ of questions! Thank you for that. :)

So, how about this?

Third Tier has a special on a block of 3 hours that ends in a few days.

Drop in to the Third Tier Help Desk, register, and purchase a time block. From there, open a ticket: Business Guidance Pearls Mentorship.

I would pick up the ticket and get in touch about scheduling our time together.

The structure would be:

  • 1 Hour: Practice Assessment and Goals

  • 1 Hour: Goals Roadmap
  • 1 Hour: Goals Implementation Steps

I was very fortunate to have a former employer that worked very hard to teach me how to run an I.T. business. By “run” we’re talking about a lot more than just the bookkeeping and cash flow aspects.

Believe me when I say this, you’d not regret any minute spent. We’d look at the big picture right through to the details to facilitate growth in your I.T. Pro practice.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen ASP Project
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business


Read more »



Aug
27
Our Value to Our Clients is in Our Knowledge and Experience
Posted by Reprinted Article on 27 August 2013 01:51 PM

(Posted to the SBS2K Yahoo Group)

When we look at SBS 2003 and the growth in product and features over its lifespan we have an idea of how the single box will perform.

SBS 2008 and Exchange 2007 we encountered an exponential growth in the need for disk I/O due to Exchange and RAM due to both Windows Server (Vista code) and Exchange.

Move to SBS 2010 and Exchange 2010 and if we were keeping an eye on the various product groups and their direction for the product we would have seen _before_ SBS 2011 STD ever RTMd that Exchange 2010 was designed to run on one SATA hard disk with everything in RAM. We would have then planned our deployments, both physical and then virtual as that became much more common, around the server products built-in.

The key to any single host design or cluster design is in what will be running on top of them. Obviously, but maybe not?

Here, our experience comes into play if we have been taking the SBS product and tearing it apart for the last ten years and three major product iterations. The inner-workings of SBS, Exchange, Active Directory, Group Policy, SharePoint, and so many other server feature sets were there for us to explore. Not only that, Microsoft gave us a really solid template to carry forward into our now stacked solution sets.

  • VM0: AD, DNS, DHCP
  • VM1: Exchange or LoB
  • VM2: SQL or LoB
  • VM3: RDS

Provisioning the above has not changed in a sense. We need to augment our host configuration for the extra 15GB of OS space per VM perhaps. But, for the most part our physical hardware will be similar in nature to what we would deploy for previous versions of SBS Standard _given the products running in the suite_.

The key in all of this is knowing how the various server products will behave given certain workloads.

SQL has an I/O tester. Exchange has a load tester called Jetstress. Those two utilities can help us understand what our small, medium, and large clients can expect for a given server topology. They can also help us to deliver a solution tailored to their specific needs.

Having a lab is key to getting to know the products and how to put them together.

Testing _every_ solution that goes out the door before actually setting up the client’s own solution set is also critical.

Knowledge is key to our value to our clients. Lose that and we’ve pretty much lost the game.

It takes lots of time. It can take a lot of money. But, in the end training and grinding away at configurations in a lab is key to our client’s success and to ours as well.

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
Find out more at
www.thirdtier.net/enterprise-solutions-for-small-business/

Windows Live Writer


Read more »



Aug
27
Our Value to Our Clients is in Our Knowledge and Experience
Posted by Reprinted Article on 27 August 2013 01:51 PM

(Posted to the SBS2K Yahoo Group)

When we look at SBS 2003 and the growth in product and features over its lifespan we have an idea of how the single box will perform.

SBS 2008 and Exchange 2007 we encountered an exponential growth in the need for disk I/O due to Exchange and RAM due to both Windows Server (Vista code) and Exchange.

Move to SBS 2010 and Exchange 2010 and if we were keeping an eye on the various product groups and their direction for the product we would have seen _before_ SBS 2011 STD ever RTMd that Exchange 2010 was designed to run on one SATA hard disk with everything in RAM. We would have then planned our deployments, both physical and then virtual as that became much more common, around the server products built-in.

The key to any single host design or cluster design is in what will be running on top of them. Obviously, but maybe not?

Here, our experience comes into play if we have been taking the SBS product and tearing it apart for the last ten years and three major product iterations. The inner-workings of SBS, Exchange, Active Directory, Group Policy, SharePoint, and so many other server feature sets were there for us to explore. Not only that, Microsoft gave us a really solid template to carry forward into our now stacked solution sets.

  • VM0: AD, DNS, DHCP
  • VM1: Exchange or LoB
  • VM2: SQL or LoB
  • VM3: RDS

Provisioning the above has not changed in a sense. We need to augment our host configuration for the extra 15GB of OS space per VM perhaps. But, for the most part our physical hardware will be similar in nature to what we would deploy for previous versions of SBS Standard _given the products running in the suite_.

The key in all of this is knowing how the various server products will behave given certain workloads.

SQL has an I/O tester. Exchange has a load tester called Jetstress. Those two utilities can help us understand what our small, medium, and large clients can expect for a given server topology. They can also help us to deliver a solution tailored to their specific needs.

Having a lab is key to getting to know the products and how to put them together.

Testing _every_ solution that goes out the door before actually setting up the client’s own solution set is also critical.

Knowledge is key to our value to our clients. Lose that and we’ve pretty much lost the game.

It takes lots of time. It can take a lot of money. But, in the end training and grinding away at configurations in a lab is key to our client’s success and to ours as well.

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
Find out more at
www.thirdtier.net/enterprise-solutions-for-small-business/

Windows Live Writer


Read more »



Aug
22
SMB Kitchen – Presenting at the SMB TechFest in Orange County, CA October 19th!
Posted by Reprinted Article on 22 August 2013 08:06 AM

I’m excited to announce that I will be doing some presenting at the upcoming TechFest in Orange County, California! :)

Amy Babinchak will be delving into the changes we are seeing in our industry and how she is working those changes into her own IT practice Harbor Computer Services.

Boon Tee will be looking at Hyper-V Replica and how it can be deployed in all manner of businesses.

Susan Bradley is going to present on a wide variety of security issues that SMB faces today and some of the tools that can be used to address them.

I will be delving into the materials I have already posted to the SMB Kitchen on Hyper-V, clustering with Hyper-V, with a special focus on selling Hyper-V clusters into SMB starting at the 15 seat level and above.

We will also have a Q&A session at the end where folks will be able to ask us questions.

And, of course, we will have lots of time to kibitz throughout the event!

image

If you can please join Amy Babinchak, Boon Tee, Susan Bradley, and myself for an excellent business and technical focused non-marketing fluff day. I can guarantee you there will be pearls to be had! :D

Oh, and we will have whiteboards for discussion times! W00t!

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMB Kitchen
Find out more at
www.thirdtier.net/enterprise-solutions-for-small-business/

Windows Live Writer


Read more »



Aug
22
SMB Kitchen – Presenting at the SMB TechFest in Orange County, CA October 19th!
Posted by Reprinted Article on 22 August 2013 08:06 AM

I’m excited to announce that I will be doing some presenting at the upcoming TechFest in Orange County, California! :)

Amy Babinchak will be delving into the changes we are seeing in our industry and how she is working those changes into her own IT practice Harbor Computer Services.

Boon Tee will be looking at Hyper-V Replica and how it can be deployed in all manner of businesses.

Susan Bradley is going to present on a wide variety of security issues that SMB faces today and some of the tools that can be used to address them.

I will be delving into the materials I have already posted to the SMB Kitchen on Hyper-V, clustering with Hyper-V, with a special focus on selling Hyper-V clusters into SMB starting at the 15 seat level and above.

We will also have a Q&A session at the end where folks will be able to ask us questions.

And, of course, we will have lots of time to kibitz throughout the event!

image

If you can please join Amy Babinchak, Boon Tee, Susan Bradley, and myself for an excellent business and technical focused non-marketing fluff day. I can guarantee you there will be pearls to be had! :D

Oh, and we will have whiteboards for discussion times! W00t!

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMB Kitchen
Find out more at
www.thirdtier.net/enterprise-solutions-for-small-business/

Windows Live Writer


Read more »



Aug
14
Microsoft Slaughtering It’s Own Cash Cow?
Posted by Reprinted Article on 14 August 2013 03:28 PM

We in SMB IT have been hearing the Microsoft Cloud Drums for quite a few years now.

In the first year or two the call was along the lines of how great Microsoft’s new Cloud was to be and how we were all going to do well selling it.

Well, in SMB IT that pretty much fell flat on its face once it became apparent the SMB IT Provider was not be be billing the customer Microsoft was.

Plus, where was the SMB IT Provider supposed to fit in to the picture anyway?

The drums kept beating but the SMB IT Solution Provider did not listen.

Microsoft made some changes in their sales model for the Microsoft Cloud product line that allowed the SMB IT Provider to bill their clients, but uptake was probably very slow if at all.

Off to conferences and Webinars we go where “Partners” trumpet their great success selling Microsoft and other Cloud Vendor’s wares. How great their success was they were proclaiming but in the end we received a lot of fluff with little substance.

The drums are still beating today. However, they no longer beat for us to take up the call and sell Microsoft Cloud.

IMNSHO, they now beat the message to the end customer to avoid working with us altogether.

You don’t need the SMB IT Provider! You can do it all yourself! We’re making it really easy for you!

To be fair, Microsoft pushed really hard to get the SMB IT Provider on board with training and certification. They spent hundreds of thousands if not millions on getting us to on-board with the Small Business Specialist Community and the certification structures it required.

Those of us that took up to that beat, that is the SBSC and all it entailed, did really well and Microsoft took great pains to support us.

Unfortunately, in the end, the folks that drove Microsoft to create the SBSC and make efforts to bring things up to par kept on doing what they were doing: Giving Microsoft and other legitimate SMB IT Providers a black eye.

As much as the “Trusted Advisor” role has been poo poo’d by many behind the Cloud drum beating we are the ones that the SMB Business Owner will listen to over commercials, surveys, and Consumer Reports.

Yes, the ones responsible for the black eyes for both Microsoft and those SMB IT Providers doing the right thing will be the ones most hurt by their customers bailing away from the pain they’ve been in for however many years by adopting the Cloud over on-premises.

Why would those customers, that is the ones that have been repeatedly burned, trust us anyway? And why would they trust Microsoft to provide a Cloud service that say Google or Amazon may be able to do just as well if not better?

While we and our client population may not be in the majority as far as SMB IT, we do represent a substantial number of small to medium businesses and the directions they take with the IT infrastructure.

A sales driver within SMB is the excited Geek coming in with a new product that perfectly fits in to their client’s business model. In fact, the Geek would have a demo prepared that directly relates to _that specific client_ without even thinking about it.

That situation translates into sales. _Lots_ of sales. And business owners talk.

Perhaps I’m overestimating our worth here? Maybe I am but then again, maybe I am not.

The drums today are beating “You SMB Business go Cloud. Period.”

We are cautioning our clients that a hybrid approach may be a better rule of thumb for so many reasons. Think PRISM for one and the Patriot Act for another.

Now, given the Microsoft’s position for us is all-in for the Cloud one has to wonder how long it will be before Microsoft removes the “choice” in SME and Enterprise environments?

Meaning, how long before Microsoft makes on-premises a lot more expensive than their Cloud offerings to in effect remove that option?

Certainly the restructuring that has happened around a services model this new Microsoft fiscal year may indicate such.

Most certainly Microsoft is at a crossroads.

Depending on the tact they take over the next 12 to 24 months we could see a vastly different company down the road that may in fact be more like Apple was before it was bailed out or like RIM is today.

Drum beating the message and forcing us in SMB into a direction because as single units we are essentially powerless against them is one thing (though we’ve been seeing that we are not so powerless after all over this last year or so).

However, trying the same tact with SME and Enterprise businesses may well fall flat on its face.

No one person or business has ever liked being shoe-horned into an option.

If given no option by a vendor, then it is more likely that another will be found, or much to the possible surprise of Microsoft, and others before them, the business may carry on and/or build what is needed from within.

Most certainly changes are afoot and we need to be very aware of what is happening around us!

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
Find out more at
www.thirdtier.net/enterprise-solutions-for-small-business/

Windows Live Writer


Read more »




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