Migrating to the cloud backups

We have already talked about how secure backups can be in a cloud environment and what the cost may be of not leveraging the potential of DRaaS. The next step would be to start thinking about how to migrate your infrastructure or backups/replicas to cloud backups and at what scale it has to be done. We will review the main points that you need to consider and check prior to initiating your move into the world of cloud.

Who can benefit from the cloud?

The short answer is a bold one: Everyone. Regardless of the size of the operation, there is a good incentive in road mapping your migration over to the cloud as it brings a whole new level of accessibility, scalability and long-term cost savings. But what does that really mean?
When it comes to conventional disaster recovery sites, it’s hard to plan everything beforehand because you have no way of knowing when the disaster is going to strike and at what scale. You’re only as flexible as the hardware that you’re provided with. Any additional capacity would require time and more money to acquire and install.
That’s where the cloud steps up the game. You are presented with a variety of options that allow you to build a flexible DR environment with the ability to grow and shrink its capacity at will. The only price you’ll pay is for the actual hardware in use, thus granting an incredible scalability that is ready for any DR needs. Not every provider possesses such ability at a full scale, but there’s plenty of options to pick from based on your particular needs.
The two approaches Veeam has for businesses with on-premises deployments wanting to get backups or replicas to the cloud are Backup as a Service (BaaS) and Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). These approaches utilize cloud and service provider technologies which are flexible enough for any use case and you can avoid the cost and complexity of building and maintaining an offsite infrastructure.

So, how hard is it to migrate to the cloud?

What’s important to remember is that migrating data to the cloud is not a one-day feat and is a project that will require planning and a timeline. However, depending on what data management software you use, getting data offsite to the cloud can be a very simplified experience.
Migrating to the cloud certainly doesn’t require you to drop all the investments in your existing DR infrastructure, should you have one. If you’re already running an on-premises infrastructure, then you know that any hardware has its lifecycle and will eventually be replaced. So, you can plan to move your servers and applications to the cloud environment as the time for hardware renewals shows up on the calendar.
If you’re just starting off at the stage of designing your infrastructure then it would be even more beneficial, as you are getting high-class disaster-proof hardware used on Enterprise levels of operation at an affordable price and right-away at your disposal. No need to worry about building and maintaining your own DR site, all the more so about the time to set everything up from scratch.
In any case scenario, Veeam® has the tools to make your migration to the cloud as easy as your daily backup tasks. In fact, even though Veeam Cloud Connect Backup and Replication are used for archival purposes and providing continuous synchronization, they’re a perfect instrument for migrating your infrastructure to the cloud without any hassle.

What should be migrated first?

The first contenders are the servers that will fully benefit from the flexibility and added performance of the cloud. But, not every server or application needs to or can be migrated right away. You need to plan it in the way that won’t obstruct your production performance more than usual hardware migration or upgrade. It’s important to make sure the migration to the cloud won’t cause you trouble during the process or after the completion. That can be done by testing the performance of servers or applications in the lab to find out about any hiccups beforehand. Sometimes an existing set of dependencies, like an on-site SQL database or Active Directory, can make it harder to simply move some applications without correcting their workflow.
In such scenarios the use of hybrid cloud might be helpful. In a hybrid setup one part of your cloud infrastructure is private and running under your full control on-premises and the other part is in public cloud, making use of all the servers that are easily moved to cloud or will benefit from it the most.

Where do you start?

No matter the size of the infrastructure, Veeam Cloud Connect offers a solution to fully control and easily migrate on premises data to highest standard cloud environments – requiring no network (VPN) setup or change to the customer environment. And whether you plan on implementing a big bang migration strategy or the trickle migration strategy, Veeam Cloud Connect allows for both methods.


This article was provided by our service partner Veeam

Intel igb/e1000 driver showing dropped packets on the interface

Recently I ran into a strange issue where the Intel NIC was showing dropped packets on the interface. This particular server was having other issues (performance-ish type) so we were eager to get to the bottom of this.

Symptoms and interesting finds…

  1. ifconfig shows dropped packets only for RX
  2. The sum of rx_flow_control_xon+rx_flow_control_xoff from ethtool -S exatly matched #1 above. The count was reset at some point and we didn’t figure this out until later. Rebooting the server helped getting our minds clear and reset this.
  3. While tcpdump is running the dropped packet count would never increase.
  4. tcpdump wouldn’t show whatever was being dropped. I guess this is why they are dropped, no?

A solution, though not perfect was finally discovered. Disable BPDU/STP on the switch. The environment only had one switch so it wasn’t huge issue. On the Cisco the command was:

no spanning-tree vlan 1,100,168,216

Some interesting resources on this:

  1. Title : #477 igb driver, flow control packets being dropped?
  2. Title : Mystery RX packet drops on SLES11 SP2 every 30 sec


client onboarding

6 Steps to Client Onboarding Success

Client onboarding is the first time new clients get to see how you operate. It’s when first impressions are formed; impressions that could have a lasting impact. And if you don’t deliver on promises that were made during the sales process, what impression do you think they’ll be left with?

To make sure your client relationship starts off on the right foot (sorry lefties), you just need to follow a few simple steps.

1. Have a Plan

I’m always surprised to learn just how many people fail to use a project plan. I can’t stress this enough; a templated project plan is key to transforming your client onboarding process from mass chaos to a seamless, automated process. Outline every step that has to take place from the date the contract is signed to service go-live.

2. Use Time-Saving Automation

Using an IT automation platform, such as ConnectWise Automate (formerly LabTech), can cut hours off of the manual engineering tasks many of us still do today. Let’s look at some of the places you can shave a few hours from the client onboarding process.

3. Optimize and Secure Endpoints

Automate detects more than 40 different antivirus (AV) vendors, so let it handle the AV rip and replace process. As part of the security rollout, you’ll also want to deploy a second opinion scanner, such as HitmanPro, to automatically scan for and remediate any security issues your AV software might miss. Follow that up by deploying desktop optimization software, such as CCleaner, to get those systems running smoothly without a technician ever having to touch a single desktop.

4. Software Deployment

You’ll need to make sure common applications, such as Adobe and Java, are installed and updated. You can automate this task. Using some simple logic, the Automate script engine can easily search for missing or outdated software and then install or update accordingly. No more combing through reports or visiting each desktop to find out what’s there and what’s not.

5. Policy Deployment

Missing a critical error at any stage of the game can be detrimental; missing it during onboarding is simply unacceptable. Automate intuitively detects a machine’s role, determines which policies should be applied and automatically applies the right ones. Never again get that awkward phone call from your new client asking why their email isn’t working, and you didn’t know about it because someone forgot to apply a monitor template.

6. Educate Your Sales Team

After your project plan is in place and your automated processes are built, it’s time to educate your sales team. Let them see how the onboarding process works and how long it really takes, so they can set realistic expectations from the start.

Best Practices

8 Essential Steps to Implement IT Best Practices

In the past, we’ve defined best practices and looked at how they benefit your business. Now let’s talk about how to implement best practices so you’ll start seeing results.

Implementing best practices is just like any other project you take on. Success comes from accounting for every detail. Make sure you have these 8 things covered when implementing best practices in your IT business:

  1. Do Your Homework: What companies come to mind when you think of great employees or stellar customer service? Think about companies both inside and outside your industry that you admire and find out how they do what they do: hire employees, provide customer service, or anything else that catches your attention.
  2. Share Your Information: Make sure your employees understand the best practice you’re implementing―what it is, why it matters, and how they will benefit.
  3. Define Your Metrics: Know what you’re measuring so you can monitor and report on progress. Want to cut response time by two minutes? That’s your metric.
  4. Manage Change: Most people resist change. Make sure you have a plan in place to mitigate people’s fears. This applies to all stakeholders, including customers.
  5. Modify for Your Business: Your business is unique. Don’t be afraid to take the best of what you find and make adjustments to fit your specific needs.
  6. Involve Everyone: Your employees will be most affected by best practice implementation, so make sure they’re on board. Ask for input and be open about feedback.
  7. Align Business and Customer Needs: Even if you call on outside consultants or other experts to help you select and implement best practices, you know your business best. Don’t implement any best practice unless it aligns with your business objectives and customer needs.
  8. Evaluate and Refine: Your work isn’t done once you implement a new best practice. You have to continually evaluate progress even after implementation is over. As your business changes, refine your best practices to make sure your business and customer needs remain aligned.

Growing your business with best practices means happier customers, more productive employees and a better bottom line. Use these 8 tips to streamline best practice implementation, so you’ll see results fast.

Top 5 Best Practices for your Help Desk

A Help Desk is designed to be the first point of contact for customers when they have requests or problems with their technology services. And you, as the technology service provider are responsible for addressing those issues as quickly and efficiently as possible. It is essential, then, to ensure a strategic method of managing this single point of contact for requests and issues. This will include tracking inbound and outbound ticket processes, escalation procedures, and ticket resolution.

Good luck finding clients that are ok with issues slipping through the cracks and hanging out there for extended periods of time. People just won’t stand for it, so to ensure this doesn’t happen, check out our Top 5 Best Practices for your Help Desk.

Everything is a Ticket – All incidents and requests must be a ticket to properly capture all work performed, regardless of length, nature, or severity of the request.

Keep Customers in the Loop – Leverage Closed Loop to communicate with the customers. You should be updating them on progress and the status of their service requests.

All Roads Lead to Rome – Rome being your service boards, everything ends up as a service ticket on your service boards regardless of the source. The service board is what then controls your next step through workflows.

My Life is My Service Board – Help Desk employees work service tickets on their assigned service boards in order of assignment and the service level agreement’s priority, urgency, and impact.

All Time, All of the Time, On Time – All employees must enter all time worked, on everything they work (all of the time), as it happens (on time).