Technical Curiosity

Magnifying Glass Man
My Dad passed away a little over a year ago at the age of 85.  All who knew him would say he was a “young acting” guy for at least 84 of those years – until his illness got the best of him.  His youthfulness was expressed not in athleticism or a high energy personality.  In fact, he would be best described as a slow-moving, soft-spoken type.  Dad remained young in mind and spirit because he was a continual learner.  Place him in an unfamiliar setting or introduce him to an unknown piece of technology or machinery, and you could watch his eyes surveying the situation with a great deal of interest, not only for how things work, but why they work and where they fit in.  The focus was on the application of learning, not just knowledge acquisition.

Dad was educated only through high school, and no one would have accused him of being a stellar student. However, Dad was a continual, reliable source of know-how and wisdom for this MBA-educated son.  My brothers and I often poked fun at Dad for his resistance to assembly instructions and user guides.  Only at a point of desperation would Dad read the dreaded manual.  He relied on common sense and confidence in his own ability to master the technical aspects of most any gadget, project, or circumstance to which he was introduced.

Einstein QuoteToday, Keller Schroeder looks for this same common sense and confidence as we recruit for talented employee-owners who can learn and adapt to the fast-changing tools and techniques within the IT industry.  We call it technical curiosity.  Few organizations have time or budget to spoon-feed all the training necessary to stay up to speed on best practices and current technologies.  Today’s IT professional must take the initiative to seek out advice and experience, conduct necessary research, and rely on common sense to figure out how things work and where to apply them to solve problems.

When I joined the workforce as an applications programmer in 1982, my COBOL language and IMS database knowledge carried me through most of my technical years because the tools of the trade were evolving at a much slower pace than they are in 2015.  But even in my non-technical role today, I must resort to thinking like a “rookie” in order to stay sharp and stay on the learning curve (consider reading Liz Wiseman’s Rookie Smarts for more on this topic).

Today, no one coming out of college pursuing virtually any technical vocation can assume their academic training will carry them very far.  They must be technically curious.  As I mentioned in my May newsletter article, IT professionals must care about learning more than knowing.  Being the expert in your area of competence may be critical to the success of your organization today, but having the curiosity and initiative to continually learn without being spoon-fed by instructions or teachers is equally critical to your professional viability for the long-term.

 

Larry May

President

 


VMworld 2015 – End User Compute (EUC)

VM World ExteriorMatt Barton – Senior Systems Engineer

What tech conference combines 23,000+ people, 785 sessions, 1,000,000+ sq ft, miles of walking, painfully slow wifi, all spread over 6 days in the heart of San Francisco?  Any guesses?  Of course it’s VMworld 2015.  I had the good fortune of being able to attend this year.  Focusing on VMware’s End User Compute (EUC) technologies and future roadmap, along with 20+ scheduled sessions, I was ready to tackle the onslaught of information.

VM World ANY

VMware’s catchphrase this year was “Ready for Any” and they did not let down attendees.  Two key takeaways from this conference were VMware Project A2 and the latest release of VMware Horizon 6.2.  The announcement of Project A2 occurred during Tuesday’s Keynote address, and included Microsoft VP for Windows Enterprise & Security Jim Alkove.  Project A2 combines Airwatch Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) and VMware Horizon App Volumes to manage and deliver applications to Physical Windows 10 PCs.  Combining Airwatch EMM and Horizion App Volumes will speed application delivery to your endpoints by extending the ease of virtual application deployment & management to your physical devices.  There was also a demonstration highlighting the import of System Center application packages into App Volumes. VMware has recognized that most organizations cannot rip & replace their existing virtual desktop/application environment.  Instead they look to become the unified deployment and management portal of choice for Microsoft RDSH, Citrix, mobile, and traditional Horizon VDI deployments.

VMware also announced VMware Horizon 6.2.  This newest version of VMware’s VDI solution brings a number of incremental improvements to the table.  Some Remote Desktop Session/Remote Desktop Session Host (RDS/RDSH) enhancements of note include Skype for Business for RDS, RDSH Farm Load Balancing, and File Type Associations for Published Apps.  This last enhancement allows users to click on a document on their physical Windows device and, if the application is not installed locally, to be redirected seamlessly to the application on their Horizon View desktop or RDSH session.  VMware Identity Manager provides single sign on and a Self-Service App Store, allowing users to access on-premise web-based applications, SaaS applications or native mobile apps from any device.  Combining Identity Manager with Airwatch EMM and Enterprise BYO is a reality, allowing for dynamic app provisioning based on a wide range of policies.

Overwhelmed
After 6 days of all things VMware, I left feeling a bit overwhelmed. However, I look forward to implementing these new features as we strive to be “Ready for Any.”


My Top 5 SharePoint 2016 Features

Matt Mulherin – Applications Consultant

Sharepoint Roll-over

 

SharePoint 2016 is scheduled to be released in the second quarter of 2016 with many new features for both cloud and on-premises (on-prem) deployments.  Of the 26 new SharePoint 2016 features listed on Microsoft’s TechNet site, I will highlight my favorite five.  The big focus with SharePoint 2016 seems to be helping organizations to bridge the gap between their on-prem SharePoint data with their Office 365 data, which Microsoft refers to as Hybrid.  Many organizations still choose to use the on-prem SharePoint product and do not want to fully commit to the cloud (SharePoint Online via Office 365).  Some organizations may choose to invest in some of the Office 365 offerings such as email, Office web applications, and OneDrive.  I understand the hesitation of some organizations to fully commit to the cloud, and based on the SharePoint 2016 features, it appears Microsoft also understands this.

Here are my five favorite features:

  1. New Hybrid in SharePoint 2016
  2. Sharing Improvements
  3. File Size and Name Limits Improved
  4. Mobile Touch Friendly Interface
  5. Protect the Organization’s Sensitive Data

 

New Hybrid Support

Is there confusion around your organization’s strategy regarding where to store documents?  Some organizations have two OneDrive deployments, one on-prem and one in Office 365.  If so, SharePoint 2016 can remedy this by redirecting the on-prem OneDrive to the Office 365 OneDrive.

Does your organization have sites on-prem and in Office 365?  If so, you can help your users by allowing them to “pin” a site, which will add the site to a combined list of sites that can reside on-prem and in Office 365.

Do your users complain they can’t find information because some of it is on-prem and some in the cloud?  One of the most highly anticipated hybrid features allows users to search both on-prem and Office 365 content in one place.

 

Sharing Improvements

Collaboration and the sharing of information between your employees is key to the success of any company.  SharePoint 2016 boasts some new and improved sharing features.  Users will be able to do the following:

  • Create and share folders
  • View sharing hints
  • Quickly see who the folder is shared with currently
  • Share with other members
  • Take advantage of improved invitation email
  • Approve or deny a request for access with one click

 

File Size and Name Limits Improved

SharePoint has historically blocked files larger than 2GB and files with certain characters in the name.  In SharePoint 2016 users can upload files up to 10GB in size and the names of the files can contain special characters like &, ~, {}, leading dots, and the name can be longer than 128 characters.

 

Mobile Touch Friendly Interface

People are increasingly accessing the internet through mobile devices.  With SharePoint 2016, users can utilize their mobile devices to interact with SharePoint using a newly designed touch enabled interface.  Here is a screen shot of what it looks like in the Preview version of SharePoint 2016.

sharepoint-2016-collaboration-experience

 

 

Protect the Organization’s Sensitive Data

Responsible organizations today use a variety of controls and policies to keep their data safe and secure.  Sometimes users will unknowingly upload documents into SharePoint with private information in them (e.g. Social Security Numbers, Credit Card Numbers, etc…).  SharePoint 2016 has a way to help find this sensitive data and assist in the process of removing it.  SharePoint Administrators can run reports that find sensitive data residing in SharePoint and OneDrive documents.  The exportable reports identify offending documents so the document owners can properly protect this sensitive data.

 

More to Come

As we think about the next version of SharePoint, it appears Microsoft is focused on delivering value to customers as part of their on-prem deployments, while at the same time making it easier to take advantage of cloud innovation thru hybrid deployments of SharePoint.  New features are being developed and we know they be will categorized as improved user experiences, cloud-inspired infrastructure, and compliance and reporting.  Keller Schroeder is committed to our clients utilizing SharePoint and we plan to publish more insights about the exciting new features of SharePoint 2016 in the future.  Stay tuned!

 

SharePoint-Server-2016-Update-1

 

Courtesy of the Microsoft SharePoint Team

Veeam Backup & Replication

Veeam Logo

Matt Barton – Senior Engineer

Is your business still backing up a VMware or Hyper-V environment using traditional physical backup software?  Has your business recently made the transition from physical infrastructure to a VMware or Hyper-V virtualized environment, and are now looking to take further advantage of server virtualization?  Or are your backups failing to meet RPO & RTO targets?  If any of these scenarios are true of your business, now is a great time to look into Veeam, and the Veeam Availability Suite.

 

Veeam-Availability-v8

 

The Veeam Availability Suite combines 2 great products: Veeam Backup & Replication and Veeam ONE.  Veeam Backup & Replication is the ideal replacement for your legacy backup; Veeam was built from the beginning for virtualized environments.  This allows for recovery of failed VMs in as little as 2 minutes, near-continuous data protection and replication, and 15 minute RTO & RPOs.  Veeam backups include in-line deduplication, compression, and changed-block tracking (CBT), greatly reducing capacity requirements.  The best part – no backup agents on your VMs!

Veeam ONE is a full-featured monitoring, reporting, and capacity planning tool for VMware or Hyper-V virtualized environments.  It provides 24×7 real-time monitoring and alarming of performance and backup issues.  The software comes configured with 200+ pre-set alarms, but is fully customizable based on your environment.  The advanced capacity planning allows for “what-if?” analysis and resource reservation configuration.

Interested in trying out Veeam, but not ready to fully commit?  Check out the completely FREE versions: Veeam Backup Free Edition and Veeam ONE Free Edition.  Both offer a subset of the functionality included in the fully licensed versions, including full VM backups, single item recovery, and 7 days of performance and capacity metrics from Veeam ONE Free Edition.


2015 Client Appreciation Event : All-Star Bash

Allstar Bash
Carissa Montgomery
– Marketing & Communications Coordinator

On October 2nd, 2015, Keller Schroeder hosted our annual Client Appreciation Event. This year, we held an All-Star Bash to celebrate the TRUE MVPs of our organization. It was a day filled with delicious food from Marx Barbecue and Pacetre, plus fellowship and a lot of fun.

Full SwingGirls

Along with our vendor partners, we also gave attendees the opportunity to win great prizes – including our grand prize – a set of 4 Indianapolis Colts Tickets.

Perhaps our favorite aspect of this event every year is the opportunity we give our clients and employee-owners to give back to the community. The continued generosity shown at this event never ceases to amaze us. This year, the Boys & Girls Club of Evansville was chosen to receive our give back donations. We successfully collected over 2 truckloads of supplies for the organization – things like cleaning supplies, healthy snacks, copy paper, and supplies for the care of their sports field.

Giving BackBasketball

Thank you so much to all of our employee-owners for their hard work in making this event a reality every year. Thank you to our vendor partners for both their resources and for joining us. Most importantly, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to our clients for their continued loyalty and support.

Group ShotRay

Be sure to mark your calendars for next year’s Client Appreciation Event! It’s always the first Friday in October – October 7th in 2016!