Learn about virtualization best practices for your business

On Wednesday March 27th, I will be joining Alan Renouf (@alanrenouf) for a TweetChat about virtualization options and best practices for small and medium sized businesses.  You can follow along on your favorite Twitter client or at TweetChat.com starting at 1PM EST (10AM PST).

Here’s how to participate in #vSMBchat:

Follow @VMwareSMB@alanrenouf and @jfrappier on Twitter
At 10AM PT @VMwareSMB will pose a few questions using the #vSMBchat hashtag to get the conversation rolling.
Follow the #vSMBchat hashtag (via TweetChat, TweetGrid, TweetDeck or another Twitter client) and watch the real-time stream.
Make sure to tag your tweets with the #vSMBchat hashtag.
This #vSMBchat should last about an hour.

The chat is open to all, or you can also RSVP ahead of time with Twitvite

More about Alan and Jonathan:  Alan is a Senior Technical Marketing Architect at VMware focused on the automation and integration of VMware products. Alan is a frequent blogger at http://blogs.vmware.com/vipowershell and has a personal blog at http://virtu-al.net. Jonathan joins us with 12+ years in various IT roles at small to medium sized companies with up to 250 servers.  He is a VCP5-DV and has been working with VMware in production environments since version 3.5.

Are big software companies getting too big?

Here at LightWire we work with and are partners with all types of companies so we can offer the services that best fit the needs of our customers, but we have been noticing a trend lately.  The larger software companies seem to have trouble releasing quality products at the right time, and its not just bugs – its compatibility between even their own major products.  Most notably of late the two companies with snafus during launch were Microsoft and VMware.

Microsoft recently released Windows 2012 and Exchange Server 2013 – both major products for the company, the previous versions of these applications were Windows 2008 and Exchange 2010.  One major problem, if you were using Exchange 2010 and wanted to upgrade to Windows 2012 you couldn’t – they weren’t compatible!  These are products that are not even two years apart – if you were on Exchange 2010 you were stuck on Windows 2008.  Of course the obvious track would be to upgrade to Exchange 2013…but there in lies yet another problem – you can’t upgrade from Exchange 2010 to Exchange 2013!!  That’s right, at launch there is not a direct upgrade path, you would have to install Exchange 2013 as a completely brand new installation and migrate everything, that flies in the face of 10+ years of tried and true Exchange upgrades.  While Microsoft plans to fix this in a future “patch” for Exchange 2010 they should have had it ready for the Exchange 2013 launch.

Over the summer, VMware released VMware View 5.1 and vSphere 5.1 – sounds like they would be compatible.  In fact several KB articles and blog posts suggested that bug fixes for VMware View 5 would be addressed with Hardware version 9 which is the version available with vSphere 5.1, but like Microsoft, they launched the product before they were ready and it was several weeks before you could use View 5.1 and vSphere 5.1 together.  That’s not to mention several other bugs and problems introduced with vSphere 5.1 which caused early upgraders headaches.

Thankfully for our customers, this kind of thing is just another day in the life for a technologist and we have successfully implemented these technologies even though the vendors who released the software weren’t ready for them.


Calling all iPhone users with iOS 6.1 – time to update!

If you own an iPhone and use it to sync with your Exchange email and calendar, make sure you update from iOS 6.1 to 6.1.2 to fix a bug that can cause excessive traffic to your Exchange server.  In small batches it may not be noticeable but can negatively impact your server and thus, ability to send and receive email.  This is the second major, and well know bug in Apple’s Active Sync implementation (Active Sync is how your mobile device syncs messages with the Exchange email server).  The first major bug (if you don’t count the original iPhones inability to use Active Sync at all) allowed those who had delegated their calendar to another person to “hi-jack” meetings and cancel the entire meeting even if that person did not originally create the meeting.  I have seen first hand how that bug can cause confusion for everyone including IT departments.  In the case of this most recent bug, Apple moved quickly to provide a fix where as the calendar hi-jacking bug survived through several versions of iOS.


One more reason your small business should have a technology partner – Microsoft Office 2013 licensing

Now that Microsoft Office 2013 is on the shelves at your local retailer, its important to understand the new licensing terms.  A retail copy of Microsoft Office 2013, the kind you would buy at your local BestBuy, Staples or even online at Amazon, is tied to a single physical computer.  This means that if at anytime you replace your computer (it fails, need something a little more speedy) you will have to buy a new copy of Microsoft Office.  In previous versions, this was not true as you could move the software from one device to another so long as you stayed within your licensing restrictions (depending on version).

For businesses, this can become extremely expensive as a typical version of Microsoft Office will typically be effective longer than the computer.  You can, however, purchase your Microsoft Office licenses through a partner and not be bound by this restriction with future computer upgrades.  LightWire, a Microsoft Solution Provider, can help you with your next Microsoft Office purchase as well as many other technology needs.  Contact us today at the form below or by calling Ian or Jon.

Don’t go free for security software – the importance of a quality anti-malware solution

So much of our lives (personal and business) runs through technology that anti-virus, or anti-malware tools are more important than ever (did I mention its actually required by the state of Massachusetts if you are a business that has Personal Information about a resident of Massachusetts, so all/most of your employees?).  The software vendors behind these tools have done a very good job over the last 10 years at improving and protecting our computers, so much so that I have started to see an alarming trend – people and business relying on free software to protect the very computers they rely on to operate their business.  PC Magazine did a review of the major anti-virus providers and Microsoft’s free security tool for businesses (with less than 10 computers) ranked dead last in effectiveness.  This comes just 2 months after Security Essentials lost is certification from an independent lab.

So what are businesses to do?  Well you may have noticed in that fancy infographic… wait you didn’t click the link?  Okay the infographic below, that Norton Internet Security (made by Symantec) was the top ranked product and LightWire is a Symantec partner.  For just $2 per computer/mo.  you can have a fully managed and automated anti-virus tool on all of your computers.  If you are interested in adding this solution to your account give us a call or email Ian or Jon.

PC Magazine Anti-Virus Review