Mar 18

Who uses sql database support?

By Charles | Business

sql database support

It seems like a silly question, obviously organisations that use SQL databases but what organisations and what size are they?

SQL Server users

Since SQL Server has had an express edition (formerly Desktop Edition) available for customers to use for free its use has grown massively. More and more software has used it as the back end to store application data and settings. This has lead to the mass adoption of SQL server in businesses and organisations around the world. Once the organisation has outgrown the server there is an easy upgrade path through standard edition then enterprise edition.

What size business?

As Managed SQL Server has several different editions it caters for all size businesses so it will not come as a surprise that all businesses are likely to need SQL database support. Small businesses may just have SQL Server running one express edition instance possibly used for Backup Exec or an industry specific piece of software.

Medium sized businesses are more likely to have multiple databases possibly consisting of internally written software which needs more support. As databases change the older they get this can show up as performance issues. If processes are not setup to re-index and update statistics regularly performance can degrade over time. It is likely a part time DBA (Database Administrator) will be looking out for the database server. A developer or infrastructure engineer may also be tasked with this responsibility.

Large businesses particularly those grown by acquisition can end up with server sprawl. Dozens and even hundreds of SQL instances spread all over the place leading to massive licensing costs. Generally large enterprises have a team of DBA’s to monitor and maintain the databases.

Not my job

Occasionally you find or hear the phrase not my job or not my role in a department. First of all this is exceptionally poor to hear but it usually comes around as no one wants to get blamed for breaking anything. With training this can be removed as an excuse. The other alternative is to hire someone to fill that missing skill set or outsource the role completely.

Why outsource?

I’m not going to lie DBA’s are expensive. A simple job search can show average salaries in London of £70k even outside London average salaries are around the £50k mark.

What if we get a junior DBA? This is a possibility but I would highly recommend not hiring a skill set that you have little or no experience with internally. How would you know if they were any good or not? Think about it for a few minutes would you want to leave one of the most important roles which looks after every single piece of business critical data your business has to someone who is new to the role?

Outsourcing to an experienced Microsoft Partner is your best way to go. You can even get an out of hours service giving your business 24/7 access to DBA’s in emergencies. This is the most cost effective way to get the skills your business needs without the worry of finding someone with the right but unfamiliar skill set.

SQL Database support

For a quote to cover sql database support get in touch and we can discuss your requirements.

Mar 13

Who needs SQL Server consulting?

By Charles | Business

As everyone seems to blame the database for slow performance the answer could be everyone.

Why You Need SQL Server Consulting?

It would be almost impossible to find a business that does not have a database sat somewhere in their organisation. A database might be part of an application like a CRM system or it could be a custom made application to track holiday requests but there is always a database at the back.

Databases are Organic

They are more like babies in that they grow and change over time. A database might start off small and efficient but over time how the database is used can change. Even if its used for its entire life as expected the amount of data it now holds can affect how it performs.

http://www.digitalsamurai.it/contact/

Who is To Blame?

If I had a pound for every time I had heard “the database is slow”, well I would be writing this post from a beach. A very nice beach without pebbles that’s for sure. I do not know why it is always the database being blamed for being slow. I do know however that they need to be maintained and monitored over time because the amount of data that gets inserted and stored is usually forever and is always going up. The number of users on a system also tends to always go up over time as businesses tend to grow.

Is SQL Server consulting right for me?

  • Are users complaining about slow performance?
  • Have you heard the phrase “Is the database running slow”?
  • Has anyone performed a health check on your database server?
  • Is your application freezing for an unknown reason?

The above are just a few ideas which can point to a yes answer. If you have never had a SQL health check or if you are not sure if indexes are being organised and rebuilt then its worth at least a quick chat to find out if there are any issues lurking in the near future which can cause performance issues.

If you know for a fact there are database performance issues then you should absolutely get a SQL consultant. Our consultants can troubleshoot and tune SQL for better performance so get in contact for a resolution.

Mar 11

Cloud Computing Services – Build a Real-time Hybrid Cloud

By Charles | cloud computing

In the beginning there was on premise and hosted solutions. These days there are 3247 meanings for the term cloud, well give or take a few.

What are Cloud Computing Services?

The term cloud has been hijacked by marketers to mean just about every single type of managed IT service that is not in the building you are sitting in. Between you and me there is no cloud it’s just someone else’s computer.

cloud computing service in Bristol

cloud computing service in Bristol

Under the heading of cloud computing services are several other terms with distinct meanings for different types of service.

  • SaaS is the most well known. It stands for Software as a Service. Think Office 365 or FreeAgent when we talk of SaaS.
  • IaaS is the next most familiar which stands for Infrastructure as a Service. This is like purchasing VM’s from Microsoft Azure or a physical server from HeartInternet.
  • PaaS is less well known and means Platform as a Service. Once again Azure offers this. It allows businesses to concentrate on the actual development of the application and ignore the infrastructure its running on. Using this approach you would add a new web application in your portal manager instead of adding a new server and then installing an app.
  • DBaaS is the latest type of cloud service. It stands for Database as a Service. Instead of creating and managing a database server like SQL Server you can just create a single database object for your application and everything else is managed behind the scenes.

Cloud approach

As you can see there are many different types of cloud computing services but which one is right for you? This is a large topic which is changing rapidly. There is no right single type of cloud service for a company. Cloud services need to be looked at from a single project perspective. You might have a strategy to use only on premise solutions, cloud solutions or a hybrid approach but inside that strategy are the individual project requirements.

In the past most companies used ‘the cloud’ for their website and email hosting. These days it can be used for CRM, accounting, databases and thousands of new uses too. In order to choose the correct solution for your business we need to discuss the requirements and your objectives for the next few years.

Looking for Cloud Computing Service in Bristol, Contact Us Now!

Mar 08

Why do I need Managed IT Services?

By Charles | Business

Tale as old as time. OK perhaps not as old as time but certainly one of the oldest IT questions.

Do I need Managed IT Services?

In my opinion it is not a question of do I need them but a question of when. Sooner or later your business will reach the size where IT issues are costing you time and lost revenue. For a smaller growing business this can really kill your momentum. If your growth starts to slow competitors can swoop in and steal your market share.

managed IT services bristol

When do I need Managed IT Services?

Have you just found out how important IT is to your business from an outage or simply trying to get an IT issue sorted, then it is that time?

Do you have enough work for a full time IT engineer? If not then it is time to consider Managed IT services as a cost effective approach.

If you do not think you can find the full range of IT skills in a single person (lets be clear about this) it is very unlikely. A persons skill set is never as broad as those recruitment ads want them to be. Then it’s time to look at a full service solution.

The Solution

By using a managed IT service provider you get a very wide and very in depth skill set which your business can use for a very cost effective IT department.

When you think about your business can you think of a single part of it that does not use IT in at least one way? Accounts are all online and these days have to filed electronically. CRM systems are all stored in databases which run on IT hardware. Even your smartphones are more like computers than phones and need to be secured and enable access to your internal systems.

Unless you are big enough to warrant an entire IT department of at least three plus a manager. Then a managed service is the right cost effective solution for your business.

Mar 07

Cloud Computing Solutions In Bristol

By Charles | cloud computing

cllud computing solutions in Bristol

The IT industry has spoken and for better or worse the future is the cloud.

Cloud Computing Solutions in Bristol

No matter if your business is a young fresh startup or a rock solid and established business, the cloud has a solution for your IT woes. There are multiple paths but the destination is always the same. A sleek efficient and easily manageable infrastructure that can scale instantly with the needs of your business.

Bristol is not just one of the largest cities in the UK. Bristol was voted best city to live in 2017 and has a strong growing economy not to mention being a massive tech hub outside of London.

Tech used to move fast now businesses have to move faster. Digital is disrupting existing business models at an ever increasing rate. The reason they are able to do this is by using agile development methodologies and elastic cloud infrastructure which can scale up and down in both price and capacity.

Where to start?

The first step of moving to the cloud and the easiest is email. Office 365 offers fantastic value for money with easy administration. It scales easily, you pay only for what you use and removes the need for hardware, software licenses and engineers to monitor and maintain the infrastructure.

From this starting point it is easy to add services and migrate existing infrastructure to the cloud but what should you move? Unless there are specific legal reasons to keep systems on site or bespoke software that will not make the move you can move everything. If you are using a CRM system I would recommend Microsoft Dynamics online. Need a SQL server, then use Azure SQL Database for a very cost efficient SQL service.

No matter what your requirements the cloud can meet your needs and in most cases improve service availability while reducing costs.

Need help moving to the cloud? Want to know what options and benefits can help your business?

Give us a call for a no obligation discussion of your needs and how the cloud can help your business.

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Sep 27

Linux Dirty Cow Vulnerability; Fixed

By Charles | DNS Management

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Phasellus iaculis convallis risus, id ullamcorper quam. Phasellus tincidunt hendrerit egestas. Cras feugiat semper nisl, eget suscipit erat scelerisque vitae. Suspendisse sagittis laoreet varius. Curabitur eu eleifend lorem. Etiam rutrum tellus eu tortor aliquet, ac fermentum diam aliquam. Morbi pharetra accumsan facilisis. Ut vel pellentesque ipsum. Pellentesque iaculis arcu id lacus euismod convallis. In enim ipsum, lacinia vitae purus ac, mattis pharetra erat.

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Jun 20

DBaaS – what is it?

By Charles | Business

DBaaS is an interesting term which started to gain popularity in late 2011 and early 2012 and has continued to reach new heights every year since but what is it?

[h2_heading]DBaaS[/h2_heading]

You may have heard of several similar terms like IaaS, PaaS, SaaS which stand for Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service and Software as a Service. DBaas is of this ilk, standing for Database as a Service. Instead of using your own infrastructure you pay a monthly service fee based on the number of databases you have hosted, their size and any advanced features you might need. No licensing fees to worry about as it has all of the benefits of a cloud based service.

DBaaS digital samuari

The licensing costs of Enterprise SQL server can be substantial at approx. £6k per CORE and if you need those features for a fairly small database it can feel very expensive. DBaaS can help by reducing this cost to a monthly cost on a shared server where you are only paying for part of the total environment. This is a much more performance focused basis allowing you to pay only for what you are actually using rather than the entire cost of hardware and software as well as the resource to look after this environment.

Have you heard of DBaaS before? Is it an approach that you would consider either now or in the future?

May 31

The Latest IT Security Secret is Here

By Charles | Security

With decades in the making and pure divinity in its simplicity it is hard to understand why this Managed IT security secret has not been thought of before. Threats are found every single day to break into the most securely designed systems on the planet. These zero day exploits can cause significant damage. Then the race is on to plug these vulnerabilities as fast as programmers can type.

Do you know that a large percentage of breaches start from old forgotten about servers left under the desk of someone that left a few months ago. Servers that have not been touched most likely in years because no one wants to break it. I have heard claims of zero outages and zero downtime in 3 years and 5 years and I shudder every time I hear the answer to my inevitable question. The question I have to ask even though I know the answer “How can you have zero downtime on a server. When were they last patched”?

I imagine as you are reading this you have just face palmed as the answer flashes through your mind. These servers have never been patched. For the entirety of their lives they have been left accruing more and more vulnerabilities as time goes on (maybe even a virus/malware or more). So what is this IT security secret that I have so far withheld?

it security services

it security services

IT security secret

Just patch your damn servers. Regularly and completely. Yes you need to test patches on QA/test systems first. However once you have done it you need to complete the task by rolling them into production.

When it comes to security like most other things it’s not about doing a few extraordinary and mysteriously clever things. It’s about doing the basics extraordinarily well that gives you the edge. Patching is such a simple and vital process to carry out on your systems yet it is often overlooked.

By keeping your systems up to date you minimise the window of opportunity for bad actors to compromise your servers and your business. Continuing to avoid patches in this fast paced environment is unacceptable and will result in a massive amount of work to set it right. Take some time to analyze what you have. Find what is not up to date then start to work your way through the list. Once a server has been patched add it to a patching schedule to keep it up to date.

Get in Touch for Managed IT Security Services Now!

May 27

Email Marketing: 4 Ways to Effectively Grow Your List

By Charles | Affiliate Program

Mauris semper ut purus ut convallis. Curabitur erat neque, vestibulum vel volutpat efficitur, varius lobortis neque. Sed et nisl vel est convallis tincidunt sed at urna. Praesent ullamcorper accumsan nunc, at sodales massa rhoncus id. Morbi mattis bibendum augue id rutrum. Aliquam sit amet sagittis nisi. Praesent sit amet magna viverra, tempor erat vel, volutpat enim. Integer bibendum, turpis finibus fermentum blandit, orci neque tristique erat, eu rutrum tellus erat ut orci. Nam at gravida nulla. Mauris rhoncus magna eu tellus laoreet fringilla. Ut nec ligula sem. Vivamus a lectus at massa sodales fringilla ut ut magna. Donec ac ipsum id nisl tempor efficitur id id nisl. Pellentesque iaculis turpis sed ligula pretium, vel bibendum urna maximus. Suspendisse at pellentesque sem.

Phasellus iaculis convallis risus, id ullamcorper quam. Phasellus tincidunt hendrerit egestas. Cras feugiat semper nisl, eget suscipit erat scelerisque vitae. Suspendisse sagittis laoreet varius. Curabitur eu eleifend lorem. Etiam rutrum tellus eu tortor aliquet, ac fermentum diam aliquam. Morbi pharetra accumsan facilisis. Ut vel pellentesque ipsum. Pellentesque iaculis arcu id lacus euismod convallis. In enim ipsum, lacinia vitae purus ac, mattis pharetra erat.

Integer diam odio, pulvinar sit amet consequat ac, feugiat vel arcu. Nulla sagittis lacus quis ipsum tincidunt, ut lobortis ligula porttitor. Fusce justo enim, pulvinar at commodo non, commodo eu odio. Curabitur mauris tortor, accumsan quis dignissim at, volutpat sit amet lectus. Nunc nulla leo, ornare id elementum ut, sodales sed lorem. Morbi tincidunt arcu tortor, in lacinia dui varius sed. Aenean tellus ipsum, efficitur eget dui id, aliquam aliquam nisi. Vestibulum ullamcorper ante risus, vel venenatis neque semper id. Integer id sem suscipit, interdum massa a, eleifend erat. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Donec nisl dolor, ultricies id eros vel, blandit condimentum dui. Nulla vel volutpat neque.

Donec eu enim vel nunc rhoncus elementum. Ut facilisis nulla sit amet mi placerat, ac finibus diam malesuada. Suspendisse non fermentum quam, et mattis lacus. Sed ut fringilla odio, non hendrerit magna. Vivamus leo ipsum, vehicula quis scelerisque ut, condimentum sed ante. In eu augue est. Quisque fermentum, eros vel tempus congue, nisi massa tempus neque, at vulputate magna leo nec ex. Nunc sit amet est nisl. Sed non cursus lectus. Nunc porttitor congue mattis. Duis sapien tortor, rhoncus ac iaculis in, tristique ac libero. Aenean ultrices turpis id congue dictum.

May 25

Where Does Your Network Security Begin?

By Charles | Architecture

network security

Decades ago when we talked about network security the perimeter was very easily defined. The perimeter of a business used to be the front door or the edge of the carpark. Network perimeters however have been growing since the creation and expansion of the internet. At the start networks had a mainframe and terminals which were most likely on site. This then became desktops and servers and we are now in the cloud wave of computing. Your perimeter has been slowly expanding along with it. To start with everything was in the building then a few devices were outside the building. Now smartphones and tablets have enabled your entire systems to be outside of your own building and in someone else’s.

When sales people come round to your office to do a demo the first thing they ask is can I use your WiFi? Now hopefully you have a guest network with separate broadband lines to create a physical perimeter between your business systems and visiting devices. If not at least have a separate VLAN for guests to use to provide some sort of separation. The point is that IT has become so blurred it is hard to figure out where the network perimeter actually is. Some of your systems will live inside someone else’s business and other businesses devices will end up being used inside what used to be your perimeter (your building).

Every device you use is what we call an end point. Each endpoint is a potential entry into your systems and your business. Each endpoint needs to be secured from both internal and external threats but those devices may not be on your site and may not even be in the same country. When you think about network security you need to assume any foreign environment is hostile but you must also be vigilant when it comes to trusted devices. Any devices on your network like laptops and servers will be trusted by the domain but they could be infected by a virus or some malware so it is vital that all endpoints be considered potential threats even if they are internal.

Knowing where your perimeter is and what the end points are is the first step to designing a network security strategy.