Leadership Transition at Keller Schroeder

Jeff GormanAs we transition into a new year, it is my pleasure to announce an upcoming leadership transition at Keller Schroeder.  I will be retiring from the Company in first quarter 2017, and our Board of Directors has selected Jeff Gorman as my successor.

Many of you know Jeff already as our Business Unit Director for Keller Schroeder’s Network Solutions Group (NSG).  Jeff will become President of Keller Schroeder effective January 1, 2017, and will be elected our Board Chairman.  I will continue as an owner and a member of the Board for the foreseeable future, but will not have any day-to-day responsibilities after first quarter of next year.

I have seen many changes at Keller Schroeder since my appointment to this position in January, 1999.  We have seen growth in our size, reputation, and impact on our community.  Perhaps most notably, we became employee-owned in 2004 through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).  I believe the strong, positive culture of excellence, substance, and accountability emerging from that transaction has made us better for you, our clients, and for the employee-owners who serve you.

This is a great time for me to step away, as Keller Schroeder is poised for even greater impact in the years ahead, and Jeff is uniquely suited to lead us forward.  Jeff joined Keller Schroeder in 2004 and has overseen tremendous growth in the size, reach, and reputation of NSG, our largest and fastest-growing services business unit.  He is a key member of our Operations Team and has a solid grasp on all segments of our business:  IT consulting and staffing services, project management, and value-added resale and integration of hardware, software, and cloud-based solutions.

Jeff possesses a deep and diverse background in leadership at Keller Schroeder, and at prior employers including Ascension Health/CSC, Welborn Clinic, and South Western Communications.  Most importantly, Jeff is a person of integrity.  He is an outstanding representative of our client-focused, people-centric, ownership culture, and has earned broad “followship” across Keller Schroeder and among many of our clients (see my last newsletter article on this subject).

Jeff earned his B.S. in Electrical Engineering and his Masters of Public Service Administration from the University of Evansville.  He and his wife Amy are natives of Evansville and are avid Aces fans and Hoosier fans (some of us had to overlook the IU part when the Board chose him for this role).  He has three children – Jacob, Caroline, and Allison.

We were intentional about making this announcement a full year in advance of my retirement to give Jeff and me the opportunity to work closely in 2016 to ensure a seamless transition.  Those of you who have interacted with members of the Keller Schroeder team know that our success has been tethered directly to the outstanding skills and conscientious work ethic of our employee-owners.  I have been blessed to lead such a talented group of professionals, and I believe Jeff is stepping into one of the best jobs on the planet.

I could not be more excited about Keller Schroeder’s future under Jeff’s leadership.

 

Larry May

President


Windows Licensing Change – Processor to Core-Based

Dezarae Loewen -[Inside Product Manager & Microsoft Licensing Specialist]2015 Partner Logo

Microsoft is looking to release the newest version of Windows Server sometime in the second half of 2016. With this new significant product release, comes a change in not only the product but the licensing structure as well.  This article will take a look at a few of the new changes that Microsoft has made to Windows Server.

Windows Server 2016 will continue to come in both the Standard and Datacenter versions.  However, there now will be more differences between the two than just virtualization rights.  Datacenter will now include additional storage replication capabilities, a new network stack, and a new shielded virtual machines and host guardian service.

The major change with this new release is that the licensing moves to a per core model.  Windows Server 2016 will use a 2 core pack instead of the processor based model in Windows Server 2012. To license a physical server, all physical cores must be licensed with a minimum of 8 core licenses per physical processor.  The minimum cores per physical server is 16 cores.  Microsoft has stated that the price of the 16 core license of Windows Server 2016 will match the price of the 2 processor license of Windows Server 2012.  Those systems with up to 4 processors and up to 8 cores per processor should not see any change in cost from Windows 2012. However, pricing can get more expensive than the previous licensing model the higher the processor core count on each physical server.  This change to a per core license model does not do away with CAL requirements.  Windows CAL’s will still be required for each user and/or device accessing a licensed Windows Server.

2016 Server Licensing

With this expected release coming later this year, now is a great time to purchase Windows Server 2012 with software assurance.  By adding software assurance to your Windows purchase today, you will be guaranteed the right to a free license upgrade to Windows 2016 at its release. Once the software assurance term ends, the processor licenses will then be exchanged for a minimum of 8 two-core pack licenses or the actual number of physical cores in use.

For any additional questions, please contact your Keller Schroeder Account Manager for more information, including what Software Assurance and migration benefits your company is eligible for as well as how to purchase new licenses before these changes take effect.


Veeam Availability Suite v9 – Now Available!

Jessee Drew [Senior Consultant]

Veeam Availability Suite version 9 was officially released to the public on January 12th, 2016, after an early release in December to manufacturers and partners. Veeam Availability Suite combines the industry-leading backup, restore and replication capabilities of Veeam Backup & Replication with the advanced monitoring, reporting and capacity planning functionality of Veeam ONE. This article will focus on the new features available in Veeam Backup & Replication. Below is a list of some of the major new features in the latest software release.Veeam V9

  1. Scale-Out Backup Repository – Scale-Out Backup Repository is perhaps the most significant new feature of Veeam Backup & Replication v9 and will provide the greatest benefit to many businesses. This feature allows multiple disk repositories from any backup target supported by Veeam to be grouped into a single pool for maximum scale-out capabilities.  Backup targets can be Windows or Linux servers with local or direct attached storage, or even NAS or SAN storage volumes with compression and/or deduplication technologies.  Any of these various sources can now be combined into one big backup destination pool for Veeam backups.  This not only benefits scale-out for backups, but also allows new storage sources to be added and old storage sources to be removed on the fly over time, without disrupting backup operations. Also, the combination of multiple disk sources can dramatically improve backup performance.

  2. Per-VM Backup Chains – Per-VM backup chains will allow a single backup job, which in v8 was a single-threaded task, to become a multi-threaded task. For example, a backup job with 20 VMs can now create 20 threads on the underlying storage.  This will result in faster backup completion times by allowing each disk resource to reach its full performance level.  This feature in combination with the Scale-Out Repository feature will greatly improve backup performance.

  3. Stand-alone Console – The previous Veeam versions could only be managed by directly accessing the Veeam management server via RDP or console and opening the local client that was installed as part of the Veeam server installation. In the new Veeam Backup & Replication v9, there is now a separate stand-alone thick client that can be installed on any workstation or server, providing more convenient & secure access to Veeam management.

  4. Storage Snapshot Integration with EMC – Veeam Backup & Replication v9 has also added the ability to leverage storage based snapshots from EMC storage, just as it has done in previous versions with HP & NetApp storage. These storage snapshots can be accessed from “Veeam Explorer for Storage Snapshots”.  Just like Veeam’s other client specific Explorer utilities (Exchange, SQL, Oracle, etc.), the snapshot backups can be searched and item level data can be recovered directly from the Veeam Explorer GUI.

  5. Direct Backup from Network File System (NFS) – Veeam Backup & Replication v9 can now directly backup any NFS storage target attached to a vSphere ESXi host. This new version of Veeam will also support the NFS 4.1 protocol on vSphere 6. This is a great additional feature, as until now, only select vendor’s NFS storage targets were supported.

To learn more about these and other new features, please check out Veeam’s website at the following link: https://www.veeam.com or contact your Keller Schroeder Account Manager.


LogRhythm 7 – Next-Gen Security Threat Detection & Response

Brad Mathis[Senior Consultant, Information Security]LogRhythm Platform

 

LogRhythm, The Security Intelligence Company, recently unveiled LogRhythm 7, a major upgrade to their security intelligence and analytics platform.  With new and enhanced features and capabilities, LogRhythm continues to be a leader in the SIEM (Security Information & Event Management) space.

 

Chris Peterson, senior vice-president of products, CTO and co-founder at LogRhythm states, “The sophistication and resolve of today’s cyber adversaries continue to rise, as does the number of successful intrusions.” “The innovations in LogRhythm 7 empower IT security teams to detect, respond to and neutralize cyber intruders faster and more efficiently.”

 

LogRhythm DashboardWith LogRhythm’s HTML5 based dashboard, advanced security analytics and SmartResponse automation capabilities, and the ability to perform full-text unstructured search with the introduction of Elasticsearch, it is no surprise LogRhythm has been positioned as a Leader in Gartner’s SIEM Magic Quadrant report for four consecutive years.  LogRhythm scored highest in Gartner’s Critical Capabilities for Security Information and Event Management.

 

New features with LogRhythm 7 include:

  • Elasticsearch based indexing for expedited investigations
  • Architectural advancements for up to a 300 percent improvement in data indexing performance on a per-node basis
  • Real-time threat activity map
  • New Risk-Based scoring algorithms
  • Incident Response advancements
  • Extensions to the SmartResponse Automation framework, such as the ability to prevent malware outbreak with endpoint shutdown

For more information or to schedule a LogRhythm demonstration, contact your Keller Schroeder Account Manager.


New Year’s Resolutions for Application Owners & Managers

Rob Wilson[Business Unit Director – Application Solutions]

2016 Goals

Just in case you were having a hard time coming up with your goals and objectives for 2016, we wanted to pitch in and help. We asked some of our application developers, architects, and owners to contribute New Year’s resolutions for software application professionals. If you are responsible for owning or supporting an application at your organization, this list is for you.

Check your logs

Make it a goal to monitor your application logs proactively. It could be that errors are occurring behind the scenes that do not surface on the display. Proactively monitoring your application logs may help you identify smaller issues before they become large ones.

Upgrade your solution

Are you at the current release in your packaged software? Do you have a custom written app that was developed for an older version of .NET, Java, or another platform? If so, you may be missing out on some of the latest features or making yourself vulnerable to security risks that have been addressed in future releases. Make it a goal to get your packages and platforms up to date.

Archive and purge old data

If you have data that is old and irrelevant to your existing applications, it may be taking up needed space and causing performance degradation on your servers. Resolve to archive and purge that data in 2016 and maybe you will get a performance boost in your data intensive applications.

Give some needed attention to your mission critical applications

Have you developed mission critical applications in Access, Excel, or another platform that they have outgrown? Bite the bullet in 2016 and rewrite those applications on a more robust, multiuser platform such as .NET, Java, or SharePoint. The advantages will be immediately recognizable.

Make your web site mobile friendly

If you did not get the message in 2015 that Google will not include non-mobile sites in its mobile index, then you need to get motivated right away. Mobile devices are prominent. Google has said that more searches are performed now from mobile devices than from desktops in some regions. If the Google threat alone does not motivate you, focus on the improved user experience you will be providing to your employees, customers, and prospects.

Get a handle on your source code

Is the latest source code for all of your custom applications checked in to a central repository? Is it backed up regularly? If one-off applications do not make it into the repository, or if developers do not check in their latest revisions at the appropriate times, then you may put yourself in a precarious situation if those developers are unavailable or their workstations are compromised. Make 2016 the year you get a handle on the source code situation.

Have a security assessment performed

Do you have sensitive information in a database? Do you integrate with Active Directory or another directory service every place that you should? For every high profile data breach that hit the news in 2015, there were more data breaches that went unreported and possibly undetected.  Learn from the mistakes of others and have a security assessment performed by an experienced, quality partner.

Learn something new

There are plenty of free online resources that you can use to keep your skills relevant and up to date.  Try GitHub (https://github.com/vhf/free-programming-books), YouTube (https://www.youtube.com), or the free Pluralsight (https://www.pluralsight.com) subscription that comes with a MSDN license.  Spend a few hours to make sure your next project takes advantage of the latest software tools and runs as efficiently as possible.

If you need assistance accomplishing any of your Applications New Year’s Resolutions, contact your Keller Schroeder Account Team. We are here to help!