Use multiple cloud hosting companies for efficient pricing and effective infrastructure.

While the idea of managing data and applications using multiple cloud providers may sound like a nightmare to maintain – are there any benefits? One likely benefit is the removal of single point of failure within your business process. Cloud providers ranging from Amazon to Microsoft have faced outages in the past and it surely was noticed throughout the web (Instagram website was unavailable).

By putting your business processes in multiple locations and infrastructure – you will find yourself in the following situation: “Our website and applications are down but our reporting service and HR systems are still up.” Doesn’t that sound better compared to “It’s all down. We’re waiting on the hosting company to come back with an ETA.” Perhaps your reporting service is hosted in Microsoft’s Azure (SQL Server and SharePoint rigged with SQL Reporting Services) with SalesForce.com handling HR information. Just because your corporate website and product is unavailable doesn’t mean your whole company is at a full stop.

Selecting multiple cloud carriers leaves room for creative price management. Perhaps one provider is better for bandwidth while another is more flexible for storage. If the cost of managing your IT infrastructure is really a concern, selecting multiple cloud hosting company should definitely be considered. And there are solutions out there to help manage the multiple cloud environment, such as RightScale.

Further reading:

2014 Best Cloud Hosting Reviews and Comparisons

Amazon Web Services suffers outage, takes down Vine, Instagram, others with it

Top Trends At CES 2014

CES logoCES stands for the Consumer Electronics Show and it is the biggest show of the year when it comes to the latest in consumer electronics and innovation! The Consumer Electronics Show is held every year in early January at Las Vegas Nevada. It not only brings all of the largest consumer electronics manufacturers to one place, but also some companies you may not have heard of yet.

If you follow tech news throughout the year, then you can most likely predict what will be unveiled during CES. Despite the predictions and rumors, you still managed to be surprised. The two biggest trends this year were wearable technology and TV’s.

Wearable technology has absolutely exploded in the industry in the past 2 years. With such pieces like Google Glass and Pebble smartwatches, everyone is trying to get a taste of this “new” market. Companies such as Samsung, Epson, and Razer have also been featured with wearable technology. Check out some of the product links at the end of the article.

TV’s and other home entertainment devices are always a wonder to see at CES. This year was no exception. Two devices come to mind out of all others. Vizio’s 120 inch, Ultra HD (4K) “Reference” series TVs stole the show being the biggest and most vivid of CES 2014. Samsung brought something else to the game this year, a curved TV. Using bendable LED technology Samsung offers curved screen TV’s from 55″ to 110″. They even offer a TV that goes from curved to straight in a matter of seconds.

Check out the links below for more details of these awesome products:

Solid State Drives

If you’re interested in computing technology, you’re probably already quite familiar with the term “solid state drive.”  Solid state drives, or SSDs, are a fairly new hard drive technology that stores your computer’s data on a stationary flash medium, rather than on a rotating disk like old HDDs.  SSDs are exceptionally fast, able to achieve data read and write speeds hundreds of times faster than HDDs, and are also more mechanically reliable since they contain no moving parts.  However, as a relatively new technology, they are still prohibitively expensive for many functions.  If you’re interested in upgrading your hard drive to an SSD, though, you have several options to reduce cost.

840PROThe first option is simply to wait.  As with most new technologies, SSD costs have been tumbling, decreasing by a factor of three over the past three years.  Currently, a 512GB Samsung 840 Pro can be had for $429 or a 256GB model for $214; these prices are sure to continue falling.  If your computer’s boot time and performance are fine as-is and you’re on a tight budget, waiting to upgrade could be your best bet.

If you’re using a desktop PC, a second option is to install a small boot SSD and keep the remainder of your files on a larger HDD.  Putting your operating system and core applications on a 64GB or 128GB SSD will significantly decrease your boot time and application start time, while avoiding the prohibitive cost of a larger model.  You can then store the rest of your files on your existing HDD and take advantage of the cheaper storage space.  Unfortunately, this solution is only really feasible for a desktop PC; very few laptops have the physical internal space to accommodate an additional hard drive.

Finally, a third option that will work for almost any PC is to upgrade to a fusion drive.  A fusion drive is a single hard drive that contains a small SSD partition and a larger HDD partition.  The drive firmware automatically moves your operating system and most frequently-used files and applications to the SSD portion, providing rapid access to the things you need most, and stores the rest on the larger HDD portion.  Fusion drives offer read/write speeds that can approach those of an SSD under optimal circumstances for a significantly reduced cost.  Additionally, fusion drives can be installed in laptops as well as desktop PCs, since both the SSD and HDD sectors are contained in a single drive enclosure and exposed to the operating system as a single hard disk.

As SSD prices continue to fall, this exciting new technology will become affordable for more and more computer users.  Here at Omnispear, we’re always staying on top of the latest technology to provide top-quality IT support to our clients.  For quotes or inquiries, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The Importance of Software License Management

As businesses grow and purchasing of software is spread across multiple people, it has become increasingly difficult to manage and keep track of the licenses for this software. There are several reasons why keeping an up-to-date inventory of software licenses is important. First it ensures that you are in compliance with the software company’s terms and conditions. Secondly, this inventory will help assist you in the process of showing proof of purchase in case of an audit done by a software company. Lastly, keeping an up-to-date inventory allows you to easily and quickly access license serial keys for software reinstalls in case of a computer crash.

Many companies use basic Microsoft Office Excel spreadsheets to manage their software licensing. This solution is okay, but the major issue with using any type of manual entry inventory is making sure your data is up-to-date. After purchasing several licensed software titles and forgetting to update your inventory results in the data becoming out of date and eventually unusable.

AllMySoftware

OmniSpear has a solution to this problem. Currently in beta now, AMS (AllMySoftware) is a web and cloud-based solution that will manage all of your IT infrastructure licensing needs by small software agents deployed on all computer systems that will securely transmit data to a web management portal in the cloud. This portal will display all licenses across several groups, locations, or clients (for MSP’s) and will allow multiple users in your organization to manage this data. This system will always keep an up-to-date listing of software licenses on all systems.

For more information please visit www.allmysoftware.com

Alternative Office Application Solutions

Let’s face it. Times are still tough and money is still tight, but your workload certainly isn’t. We all know the very popular Microsoft Office applications aren’t exactly cheap, but they’re still necessary. Well there are ways to get the job done at just the right price, free. Whether you’re using Windows, Linux, or Macintosh there is a free office suite alternative out there for you! Let’s check it out.

open-source-crave-1Apache OpenOffice has been available to the public since 2000. Now maintained by the popular web server software developer Apache, OpenOffice is one of the most popular free office alternatives today. One of the great benefits to this software, as well as other free office suite solutions is its compatibility to Microsoft Office file formats.

Here is what comes with Apache OpenOffice:

  • Writer – a word processor you can use for anything from writing a quick letter to producing an entire book.
  • Calc – a powerful spreadsheet with all the tools you need to calculate, analyze, and present your data in numerical reports or sizzling graphics.
  • Impress –  the fastest, most powerful way to create effective multimedia presentations.
  • Draw – lets you produce everything from simple diagrams to dynamic 3D illustrations.
  • Base – lets you manipulate databases seamlessly. Create and modify tables, forms, queries, and reports, all from within Apache OpenOffice.
  • Math – lets you create mathematical equations with a graphic user interface or by directly typing your formulas into the equation editor.

As mentioned earlier, Apache OpenOffice is compatible with Microsoft Office file formats. You can open, edit, and save into Microsoft Office formats. You can read from .doc, .docx, ,xls, .xlsx, .ppt and .pptx. You can save to .doc, .xls, and .ppt. Apache OpenOffice supports Windows, Macintosh and Linux environments. To check out more about them, visit their website at www.OpenOffice.com.

There are certainly more free alternative office suits available to you. Check out LibreOffice (Windows / Mac / Linux),  Google Docs (web-based, works with modern web browsers), NeoOffice (Mac) and iLIfe / iWork (With purchases of new Macs or iOS devices, or you can upgrade if you had a previous version of iLIfe and iWork.).

OmniSpear, Inc is always looking at the new and innovative products that come from our wonderful industry! We embrace and utilize different software and hardware solutions to meet our customers needs and their budget. For more information, visit www.DaytonITSupport.com. and www.OmniSpear.com.

Onsite Email is Becoming a Thing of The Past

As the entire IT industry moves toward the “cloud”; companies are looking at every component of their infrastructure to see what is no longer needed “on premise”. One of the most popular mail server products on the market is Microsoft Exchange. Many companies host this onsite for the rich feature set that Microsoft Exchange provides. With Microsoft Small Business Server 2003, 2008, and 2011, Exchange was built-in to the operating system which provided a cost-effective email server solution without the need to purchase a separate exchange license and extra CAL’s which are costly on their own.

The problem is that many companies would prefer to have exchange functionality with actually hosting “exchange” themselves. And many MSP’s would love to offer exchange functionality to their clients without having to support “exchange”. Businesses want to reap the benefits of having exchange functionality and all that comes with it without having to actually deal with an Microsoft Exchange server on-premises. Same goes for MSP’s.

office 365Microsoft’s solution is a product called Office 365. Built as a competitor to the ever increasing popular Google Apps product by Google, Office 365 essentially provides email solutions with exchange functionality, but all hosted in the “cloud” on redundant Microsoft servers across the world. It doesn’t stop there, they have added many of their existing server software packages to Office 365 including Lync, SharePoint, and SkyDrive. With more and more features added every year, moving your email solution to the cloud only makes sense for small to medium sized companies.

If you have further questions about moving your company to the cloud or for a quote, please email us at info@omnispear.com

OmniSpear Expands IT Services Team

Welcome Kirk Smith & James Porcha to the OmniSpear team. Kirk & James will be supporting our growing list of customers who depend on us for affordable IT services.

Does your office need IT help? OmniSpear, Inc. provides both Managed Network Support as well as Web Development for the Dayton and Cincinnati area. Give us a call at 937-643-4037 or click here for a free estimate.

Paid IT Help Desk / End-User Support Intern

Paid IT Help Desk / End-User Support Intern
OmniSpear, Inc. is looking for an IT Help Desk/End-User Support Intern to provide superior phone & face-to-face support. As IT Help Desk Support, you will work primarily in Microsoft Windows 7/Server 2003/Server 2008/Server 2012 environments. You will work with the Network Administrator to maintain all Microsoft applications and monitor all systems and applications for uptime and availability.

Technical Requirements:
  • Knowledge of modern operating systems including Windows, MAC, Linux
  • Understanding of small business type networking devices including firewalls, routers, switches, etc.
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office software.
  • Experienced with basic networking protocols. DHCP, DNS, etc.
  • Basic Understanding of IP addressing scheme and subnets.
  • Experience with basic PC hardware & software troubleshooting
Other Requirements:
Availability of 15 hours minimum per week
Minimum GPA of 3.0
Pursuing a degree in:
  • Computer Science
  • Computer Engineering
  • Information Systems
  • Management Information Systems
  • Informatics
Strong communication skills.
Strong written and oral skills.
Legally authorized to work in the US without sponsorship

Full-Time Network Administrator

Positions Available: 1

Wage/Salary:
Varies based on experience of Candidate

Description:
OmniSpear, Inc. located between Dayton and Cincinnati is seeking a full-time Network Administrator to provide client support. Duties will include workstation and network troubleshooting and server administration. Position requires both inter-office technical support as well as client on-site services.

Candidates must meet or exceed our listed requirements to be considered for this position.

Technical Requirements:
Experience with Microsoft Office, Microsoft Windows, and Linux (or OS X).

Working knowledge of networking technologies such as ethernet, switches, computer hardware, and software.

Knowledge of Active Directory.

Knowledge of Linux operating systems.

Provide computer and network support to end-users, both local and remote.

Perform support and maintenance, both local and remote, of server and network hardware.

Provide resolution to help desk tickets, covering all IT technology issues and accurately document the nature of the problem with supporting details.

Diagnose reported PC/peripheral/client software problems and enact appropriate solutions with a high level of user satisfaction.

Configure, install and deploy user-issued hardware and software, ensuring reliability and a high level of performance.

Maintain inventory of both client and network assets (make, model, serial number, location, assigned user).

Ensure compliance to hardware and software standards and licensing.

Manage ticket queue and escalate tickets to upper tier network team, as needed.

Work with third party vendors to resolve hardware issues that are covered under manufacturer and extended warranties.

Maintain system image configurations and continue to improve software standardization.

Strong customer service through communications and follow-up.

Additional related duties as assigned by management.

Non-Technical Requirements:
Candidate should have completed or be actively be pursuing Associates or Bachelors in an Information Technology field.

Excellent troubleshooting and diagnostic capabilities.

Must be able to effectively prioritize tasks in a high-pressure environment with strong customer service orientation.

Must be able to balance working independently or in a team and provide effective communication communication skills to main office and client contacts.

Maintain the appropriate level of confidentiality.

Maintain and extend current knowledge of technology innovations in networking and computing.

Must be able maintain travel accommodations to client offices.

Other Considerations:
A+, MCSE 2003+, CCNA, or other certifications

Application Instructions:
Email resumes to careers@omnispear.com for consideration. Please include your name and the position in the subject of the email.

Office Location:
9039 Springboro Pike
Miamisburg OH 45342

OmniSpear To Offer New Website Maintenance Services

OmniSpear offers Website Maintenance Services in packages with non-expiring maintenance hours for organizations that require website maintenance, content revision and updating services but don’t want the expense and commitment of a staff position.

A Flexible Solution to Website Maintenance

Our Website Maintenance Services packages have non-expiring hours which carry over month to month until used up. This is the perfect solution for any firm that isn’t sure how much maintenance help they will need. Website maintenance services can be purchased in increments of 2, 5, 10, 15 or 20+ hours. The more you purchase, the more you save.

Peace of Mind – the Expert Way

We are Internet experts – Internet is all we do. Since 2001, we’ve created and maintained more than 200 websites. Our Design team keeps abreast of new internet technologies and trends; we can offer a range of advanced skills and expertise not possible if you hired an employee Webmaster. Website revisions can be easily and quickly displayed back via a private Web address known only to you for you to view at your convenience.

Once the revisions have been approved, then we load the revised files onto your hosting server. We currently handle website maintenance projects this “wired” way for clients in Canada, United States and Europe.

The Simple and Easy Website Maintenance Solution

We make website maintenance a simple, stress-free experience. You will be assigned a single contact person who knows you and your project – you won’t be shuffled around and have to start at square one explaining your project and needs. OmniSpear prides itself on providing personalized custom service – it’s the reason so many of our clients have been with us long term.

Our multi-step quality control process ensures that your website gets the attention to detail and accuracy that is essential for your site’s success. Communications are easily handled with e-mail, fax and telephone. You can expect to receive a telephone or email reply with production timelines from our team within 24 hours from receipt of your website maintenance request during our normal business week of Mon-Fri. We always try to accommodate any rush or emergency changes from our clients.

No Billing Surprises

Client’s don’t like surprises on their invoices, that’s why we’ve designed a system that keeps you up to speed with what we’re doing and how long it’s taking. You will receive an email when a maintenance request has been received, who it’s assigned to, when it’s completed and most importantly how long it took to accomplish. All of these notifications are provided to you as they happen.