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Elastic vSAN Brings Welcomed Flexibility to VMC on AWS

VMware Elastic vSAN

Don’t think VMC on AWS is a good fit for your organization? That may have been the case at one point. However, VMware has rolled out roughly 25 updates of varying scope and function to VMC on AWS since last August. With some help from our Data Center team, we decided to cover one particular string of updates that could inspire you to take another look at VMC on AWS.

Before we go any further, however, first let’s talk about the problem those updates were deployed to solve. It’s no secret that storage and compute needs don’t always grow in tandem. This presented an issue for organizations using VMC on AWS. Organizations that needed more storage space could add hosts to their environment, but this would pump up both their storage and compute capacity. Since VMC on AWS is billed on a per-host basis, organizations would see their monthly bills go up on account of adding storage space they needed and compute capacity they didn’t.

As a solution, this one wasn’t all that great. Faced with this possibility, organizations with less predictable or linear growth would simply write off VMC on AWS as an option. Then, VMware and Amazon released Elastic vSAN.

Elastic vSAN: A better, more cost effective storage solution

Unveiled earlier this year, Elastic vSAN is a union of VMware’s vSAN and Amazon’s Elastic Block Store (EBS) technologies. ESB provides secure, reliable, and scalable block storage supported by Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud. Elastic vSAN merges that with the enterprise-grade storage virtualization capabilities of vSAN.

The result is a much better answer for organizations in need of more VMC on AWS storage that would rather not incur the expense of adding hosts (and unnecessary compute capacity). Elastic vSAN makes it possible for organizations to decide early on how much per-host storage space they’ll require. VMC on AWS takes that information and populates a cluster automatically and accordingly, using native AWS tools like ESB to help carry the storage load.

Arraya’s Data Center team members have been big on the upside offered by Elastic vSAN for some time. In fact, they made sure to highlight it as one of the VMC on AWS features to watch in a blog post from this past spring. Their enthusiasm has only increased since that point.   

What’s new with Elastic vSAN?

At this year’s VMworld conference, VMware announced the availability of Elastic vSAN in its fullest form to date. During the event, VMware debuted Elastic vSAN support for scaling up the storage capacity of AWS cluster hosts post-deployment. It’s worth noting this is a one-way street in that capacity can be scaled up but not down. Still, as we outlined above, this ability can make a big difference in organizational data center road maps moving forward.

Also, Elastic vSAN’s global footprint has grown in recent weeks. Upon its initial release, Elastic vSAN was only available in four AWS regions, specifically: US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), and Europe Central (Frankfurt). That is no longer the case, however, as VMware and Amazon have brought Elastic vSAN to nine new regions, including US West (N. California) as well as regions in Asia, Europe, and Canada.

Given the evolution of Elastic vSAN so far, it seems the Arraya team isn’t the only one excited about what the solution has to offer.

Next steps: Is VMC on AWS right for you now?

Elastic vSAN’s ability to right-size storage capacity and cloud expenses promises to open VMC on AWS’s doors to organizations that may have otherwise been left out. If yours is ready to take another look (or a first look!) at VMC on AWS, Arraya’s Data Center team is here to help. Our experts will work with your team to analyze your existing environment and organizational objectives to determine if VMC on AWS is actually the right path. If you’d like to schedule an assessment or learn more about Elastic vSAN or VMC on AWS, reach out to us at: https://www.arrayasolutions.com/contact-us/.

Want to leave us a comment on this or any of our blog posts? You can always reach Arraya Solutions through social media. Look for us on LinkedInTwitter, and Facebook. While you’re there, follow us to stay up to date on our industry insights and unique IT events.


Safety in the Cloud with Dell EMC Data Protection for VMC on AWS

Back in the spring, we wrapped up a months-long deep dive into the features and benefits of VMC on AWS. Along the way, we covered NSX Dell EMC Data Protection for VMC on AWSintegration and native tools, as well as the solution’s ability to power migration simplification and disaster recovery. However, a topic came up at our recent Arraya Solutions Tech Summit that compelled us to revisit the series. Even as cloud solutions like VMC on AWS become more popular, myths about what they can deliver abound. If left un-busted, one such myth could have a disastrous impact.

The myth in question pertains to data backups. Many customers assume that their cloud provider is regularly backing up their data. Unless there’s an agreement in place that says otherwise, a cloud provider’s actual responsibility here is zero. Like most cloud platforms, VMC on AWS operates under a shared responsibility model. AWS supports the infrastructure upon which its services are built. This includes hardware, software, networking, etc. Everything else? Data, applications, VMs, OS patching? All of that falls squarely on the organization itself. In short, even in the cloud, the customer’s data is the customer’s responsibility.

With that said, the question becomes: What can organizations do to ensure their cloud-based data will be accessible when they need it?

Exploring Dell EMC Data Protection for VMC on AWS

Luckily, there are quite a few ways to address this problem. Top data protection vendors have identified that gap and have flocked to address it. Diving into every such option would necessitate either one gigantic blog or a separate series unto itself. Instead, our Data Center team decided to focus, at least for now, on one possible solution: Dell EMC Data Protection for VMC on AWS.

Dell EMC’s Data Protection was the very first data protection tool available for VMC on AWS shops and remains a leader in the space. It delivers enterprise-grade protection for critical files that are housed in hybrid environments. In order to simplify the data protection process, this solution comes as part of a bundle including Dell EMC Data Protection Software as well as Data Domain Virtual Edition. The idea is to put in one spot all the tools organizations need to keep their data safe and available.

Here are a few fast facts about Dell EMC Data Protection for VMC on AWS:

  • It sports an incredibly efficient client-side deduplication capability, topping out at a best-in-class rate of 6:1
  • The solution’s powerful deduplication coupled with its built-in compression abilities can reduce demand on object storage landing places by 71%
  • Dell EMC Data Protection for VMC on AWS integrates with on-prem and cloud-based solutions, allowing for the same level of security and performance no matter where data resides
  • It ties in vSphere’s management functionality to bring time and resource-saving automation into data protection, as well as backup and recovery, saving valuable time during disaster scenarios
  • Modern organizations need to stay innovative and Dell EMC Data Protection for VMC on AWS supports this by leveraging VMware’s SDDC abilities, as well as its own inherent scalability

Next Steps: Learn more about keeping your data safe wherever it lives

As mentioned above, the subject of data protection and the cloud is far too big for a single, easily-digestible blog post. Arraya’s Data Center team can take you through this topic, or through Dell EMC Data Protection for VMC on AWS specifically, in far greater detail. They can help you assess your data protection needs and find the best solution for your organization. Start a dialogue with our team today by visiting: https://www.arrayasolutions.com/contact-us/.

As always, we want to hear from you! Leave us a comment on this or any of our blog posts by way of social media. Arraya can be found on LinkedInTwitter, and Facebook. While you’re there, follow us to stay up to date on our industry insights and unique IT learning opportunities.


VMware Cloud on AWS Workshop

Test drive VMware Cloud on AWS in this technical, hands-on workshop.

Public cloud adoption is being driven by the growing need for greater agility and faster innovation. Developing the right cloud strategy is key to tapping into the transformative power of the cloud as you digitize your organization.

Join VMware and Arraya for this exclusive, one-day, hands-on workshop. You’ll learn how VMware Cloud (VMC) on AWS hybrid-cloud solutions can integrate with your on-premises data center environments to bridge the gap between your private and public cloud, as well as give you the flexibility to respond to your evolving business needs.

This technical workshop will:

  • Provide an architectural overview of VMC on AWS Service
  • Deliver an overview of VMC on AWS Services such as NSX Hybrid Connect, data protection, site recovery and integration with your software-defined data center
  • Offer a hands-on VMC on AWS lab that allows you to create a SDDC in the VMC on AWS, use vCenter VMC on AWS and learn about VMware site recovery
  • Dive into customer case studies and use case examples

You’ll experience an interactive, small-class setting, enjoy hands-on learning with the latest labs, get your specific questions answered and network with peers in a casual environment.


3 VMC on AWS Tools Admins Love (& 1 They Will Soon)

Since the tail end of last year, our Data Center team has been helping us unpack the hype surrounding VMC on AWS. So far, vmc on aws native tools through three blog posts, we’ve covered how this partnership simplifies data center migrations, introduces new layers of security through NSX microsegmentation, and alleviates some common disaster recovery pain points. The final topic our team wants to explore as part of this series concerns VMC on AWS tools native to the solutions and how they contribute to the hype surrounding it and the value it can provide.

The catalog of AWS native tools is nothing short of daunting. Diving into every unique application and its associated use cases would require its own blog series. Instead, our team decided to focus on three tools that, from their perspective, generate the most positive industry buzz.

Each of the following VMC on AWS tools is available to those using VMware and Amazon’s cloud service. After we look into each one, our team will also preview a feature on its way to VMC on AWS. This upcoming feature could soon join the ranks of the most talked about and leveraged.

Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS)

Managing organizational databases is a time and resource-intensive job. Staying on top of security, monitoring performance, backup – all of these tasks (and more) can eat up much of an admin’s workday. The longer that admin is tied up with necessary, but routine, maintenance tasks, the less time he or she has for projects that push the business forward.

Amazon RDS through VMC on AWS provides a database as-a-service experience, allowing organizations to free database admins by automating the time-consuming tasks above. RDS can also automate failover, minimizing downtime in the event of a worst-case scenario.

When it’s time for an application to scale, RDS can help there too. It can provide the room apps need to scale, requiring little more than a few clicks to provision the necessary compute or storage assets. RDS also works across the most popular database engines on the market, including SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, and more. This ensures operational continuity as organizations can continue using the tools with which they’re most familiar.

Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3)

For many modern organizations, complexity has become a defining characteristic of the data center. Skyrocketing demands surrounding capacity, durability, etc. have pushed some to pursue best-of-breed solutions to those problems. However, a piecemeal approach can result in environments that are increasingly difficult for IT pros to manage and secure.

The name of Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3) feature says it all. This Amazon native tool can deliver vast, easily scalable quantities of reliable object-based storage to VMC on AWS shops. Organizations can relocate as much as they choose into S3, paying only for the space they use. That data can be anything, including backups, IoT-generated analytics and beyond, all with a guaranteed durability of eleven 9s (99.999999999%).

Also, S3 enables unmatched, granular data control. Admins can manage their data at either the account, bucket, or object level. It doesn’t matter if they’re replicating, auditing, or performing some other management task. They can do so across any level.

Elastic vSAN

The last presently available feature our Data Center team wanted to highlight is also one of the most recent additions to the VMC on AWS tool chest. The hardware upon which customers’ VMC on AWS deployments are built comes with a fixed amount of useable block storage. However, among adopters there was a growing demand for more storage space and more compute power to go along with it.

Enter Elastic vSAN. This tool combines Amazon’s Elastic Block Store with VMware’s vSAN storage solution. Organizations can use this feature to expand their available storage capacity using Amazon’s own native block storage.

Furthermore, Elastic vSAN is able to reduce downtime in the event of a problem through its auto-remediation feature. If an issue affects a given host, a replacement will become available and automatically incorporated to ensure service continuity.

Coming Soon: VMC on AWS Outposts

Finally, VMC on AWS Outposts is a new tool set to arrive during the second half of 2019. For a variety of reasons, not all data is able to reside in the public cloud. VMC on AWS Outposts intends to bring a SDDC infrastructure as-a-service experience to these otherwise grounded data sets.

As part of VMC on AWS Outposts, organizations will gain access to software-defined services covering compute, storage, security, and more. This solution will be able to run VMs, containers, and Kubernetes-based apps in the hybrid cloud, one based inside either a customer’s own data center or at a designated co-lo facility.

Next Steps: Further your VMC on AWS knowledge and skills

Want to learn more about VMC on AWS tools or the solution as a whole? You can reach out to our Data Center team at any time by heading to https://www.arrayasolutions.com/contact-us/.

VMC on AWS will also be one of the featured topics at the 5th Annual Arraya Tech Summit. This by techs, for techs event features a full day of deep dives into the topics and trends impacting today’s IT professional. The session, VMC on AWS and What It Might Mean for the Present (& Future) of the Data Center, will focus extensively on VMC on AWS as the true hybrid cloud solution. Attendees will gain a greater understanding of VMC on AWS’s role in the evolution of the data center, particularly as it pertains to disaster recovery, hybrid integration, and cyber security.

The Arraya Tech Summit will take place on June 6th at the Sheraton Valley Forge in King of Prussia, PA. To learn more or reserve your spot, visit: https://events.arrayasolutions.com/.


VMC on AWS Upgrade Ushers in NSX Microsegmentation, More

Is VMC on AWS really worth the hype? Late last year, we posed that question to the members of Arraya’s Data Center team and they set out to answer it over the course of VMC on AWS NSX MicroSegmentationa series of blog posts, each looking at a different facet of the VMC on AWS platform. To date, we’ve covered how VMC on AWS can alleviate disaster recovery pain points and un-complicate hybrid cloud management. Both of these are sizeable issues, however, there is a proverbial elephant in the room we have yet to address. For many, it’s where cloud conversations begin and, unfortunately, can end.

More than three-quarters (77%) of technology pros say security is a challenge raised by the cloud – almost three-in-ten (29%) call it a significant one. That’s the case according to RightScale’s 2018 State of the Cloud Report. Security isn’t only a barrier to entry. It continues to be a challenge even as organizations move further along in their cloud journeys. A separate study, the State of Hybrid Cloud Security: 2019 conducted by Firemon, found 60% of IT pros struggling to keep up with the rapid movement of business services into the cloud. This may have exposed some of those workloads to attack.

Given that security is a critical part of every technology conversation, particularly those involving the cloud, we thought the time was right to tackle this subject in regard to VMC on AWS. To do so, we’ll need to take a trip back to last summer and revisit a significant VMware announcement.

Bringing NSX-T and microsegmentation to VMC on AWS

During the summer of 2018, VMware and Amazon brought the network and security management capabilities of NSX to workloads hosted on AWS by introducing support for NSX-T. As a result of this change, microsegmentation can now be a part of the VMC on AWS conversation moving forward. Admins can leverage NSX-T’s distributed firewall to deploy microsegmentation policies at the virtual machine-level. This is possible internally, within the same L2 network, or across multiple L3 networks.

However, microsegmentation isn’t the only new ability coming to the platform thanks to the introduction of NSX-T. Here are five other ways the NSX-T update is making VMC on AWS simpler, smarter and more secure:

  • Security Groups – Admins can now group objects to ensure a more exact and consistent application of security policies. Groups can cover a variety of criteria, including IP address, VM instance, VM name or VM security tag. This promotes a greater security without increasing hands-on work.
  • Streamlined Configuration – Segmentation, as well as VMC on AWS’s networking and security functions, can now be managed directly through the console itself. This makes it easier for admins to manage the flow of traffic within their network. Plus, they can do so without installing extra plug-ins as was previously the case.
  • Automated Route Recognition – Admins can configure networks connecting in-house deployments and VMC on AWS so that they’re automatically recognizable by traffic. Beyond just simplifying the process, this can also help prevent errors caused by hands-on network management. Furthermore, NSX-T allows admins to add greater redundancy (and reliability) into their networks through the use of IPSec VPN and boarder gateway protocol (BGP) configuration.
  • Increased Network Connectivity – NSX-T joins together the compute gateway and management gateway as an out-of-box feature, meaning there’s no need to deploy any additional VPN technology to achieve this interoperability. Admins can deploy a variety of functionality on the compute side and have it seamlessly interact with supporting infrastructure.
  • Simplified Traffic Management – The NSX-T update doesn’t only reduce the need for supplementary VPN technology in terms of connectivity, it also, in some cases, can eliminate it. NSX-T redesigned traffic flow so most of it can traverse the AWS Direct Connect Virtual Interfaces instead of VPN. This includes all data traveling between onsite infrastructure and VMC on AWS.

Next Steps: Take the VMC on AWS discussion outside our blog

Have you been following along with our ongoing VMC on AWS series? Let’s turn this into a two-way conversation. Visit https://www.arrayasolutions.com/contact-us/ to engage with Arraya’s Data Center team today. Our experts can offer insights into whether VMC on AWS could bolster your cyber security efforts. They can help you analyze your business needs and determine if VMC on AWS really is the right fit.

Want to share your two cents on this topic? Leave us a comment on this or any of our blogs through social media. Arraya can be found on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. While you’re there, follow us to stay up to date with our industry insights and unique IT learning opportunities.


5 Reasons VMware Cloud on AWS Has IT Excited About Disaster Recovery

Is VMware Cloud on AWS really worth the hype? We posed this question to members of our Data Center team in a recent post. In response, they rattled off four of thevmware cloud on aws disaster recovery solution’s most valuable use cases. However, they cautioned us that our initial question was too broad and its answers too complex to cover in a single post. So, over the course of four posts, we plan to look at each of the different VMware Cloud on AWS capabilities our team highlighted and find out more about who could benefit and how.

Kicking off this series is a topic that, to be honest, most prefer to think about only when necessary. Despite that fact, disaster recovery should absolutely be kept front-of-mind by all technology teams. It’s also an area where VMware Cloud on AWS can have an impact with the help of VMware Site Recovery, a bolt-on disaster recovery as-a-service (DRaaS) solution. Let’s take a look at five reasons why technologists hate talking disaster recovery – and how the pairing of VMware Site Recovery and VMware Cloud on AWS makes those conversations more appealing.

5 DR pain points alleviated by VMware Cloud on AWS

Reason #1: It’s expensive.

It’s true, disaster recovery can be costly. After all, think of the one-time, CapEx investments needed to do it right. Neither the technologies needed to provision a secondary, backup data center nor the physical space needed to house it come cheap. These expenses are not a concern with cloud-based solutions such as VMware Site Recovery. In the case of VMware Site Recovery, the technologies that enable recovery belong to VMware. The responsibility for housing those technologies falls on VMware. Organizations simply reap the benefits and the peace of mind that comes from knowing their data will be safe even in a worst case scenario.

Reason #2: It’s REALLY expensive.

Disaster recovery’s price tag doesn’t simply include CapEx costs. Instead, there are also OpEx investments to consider. Recurring costs associated with supporting a backup data center run the gamut from staffing to cooling and everything in between. Cloud solutions such as VMware Site Recovery aren’t immune to OpEx, however, the associated costs are more streamlined. It requires minimal additional on-staff expertise to support these solutions, while any expenses associated with power or maintaining the technologies themselves, again, fall to the owner: VMware.

Reason #3: There’s no way to get it just right.

With traditional approaches to disaster recovery, businesses can easily end up with far more – or far less – than they need. Anticipating future growth necessitates investing in a greater amount of resources upfront and hoping that growth materializes. Or, they can invest in only what is needed and run the risk of not being able to keep up later on. With VMware Site Recovery, organizations pay only for the disaster recovery resources they use. Pricing is structured on an on-demand, per VM format and bills are sent monthly. This allows organizations to set their disaster recovery at the right level for them and adjust on the fly.

Reason #4: Recovery is extremely complex.

Returning a technology environment back to a state of normalcy after a catastrophe is a tricky process. It requires multiple, most often manual, steps, all of which are open to human error. This risk is exacerbated by the fact that disaster recovery strategies are rarely tested all the way through. Solutions such as VMware Site Recovery simplify the recovery process. It uses intelligent automation to streamline failover and failback capabilities down to a single click each. Additionally, VMware Site Recovery leverages HTML5 and an interface based on that of VMware Site Recovery Manager (the company’s onsite disaster recovery solution) to deliver a familiar, user-friendly, experience.   

Reason #5: Testing is too disruptive (but without it there’s no visibility). 

For traditional disaster recovery solutions, the best case scenario is they are tested once a year. Without more regular testing, those solutions can only inspire so much confidence as there is minimal to no visibility into the health and well being of the process otherwise. The reason for this lack of testing is straightforward enough: it can be expensive and disruptive. VMware Site Recovery promises non-disruptive testing so organizations can test whenever they want without interrupting their mission critical systems. With increased routine testing, should a real emergency occur, businesses will know VMware Site Recovery will function as expected.

Next Steps: Reliable disaster recovery with VMware Cloud on AWS

Before we wrap this up, there are a few additional points about VMware Site Recovery worth mentioning. To start, the solution is backwards compatible. This means it can work seamlessly with all vSphere 6.0 versions dating back to Update 3. Also, above we mentioned how VMware Site Recovery is a bolt-on service for VMware Cloud on AWS. Another such service is vSAN Stretched Clusters. Admins can use this to stretch backups across three AWS availability zones. In the unlikely event an entire availability zone goes out, organizations will still be able to access their data and function normally by way of a secondary location.

Want to learn more about VMware Site Recovery and vSAN Stretched Clusters? What about VMware Cloud on AWS? Don’t wait for our next blog. Instead, start a conversation with our Data Center team today. You can do so by visiting: https://www.arrayasolutions.com/contact-us/.

As always, feel free to leave us a comment on this or any of our blogs through social media. Arraya can be found on LinkedInTwitter, and Facebook. Let us know what you think, then follow us to stay up to date on our industry insights and unique IT learning opportunities.


Overview: VMware Cloud on AWS – Is It Worth The Hype?

VMware became the talk of the cloud world this summer with the announcement of completely overhauled pricing and configuration schemes for its VMware Cloud on AWS platform. In case youVMware cloud on AWS overview missed it, in the waning days of August, the tech leader kicked off VMworld by slashing the price of VMware Cloud on AWS in half. If that wasn’t enough, VMware also dropped the minimum commitment needed to roll out its cloud offering from four host clusters down to three. Together these moves have substantially lowered a barrier to entry that, for many, proved too high previously.

However, industry buzz and greater accessibility only go so far. Organizations still must determine if VMware Cloud on AWS as a pathway to the cloud makes sense for them. With the help of our Data Center team, we decided to put VMware Cloud on AWS to the test. Over multiple posts, we’re going to explore the features and capabilities that define VMware Cloud on AWS. Here’s an overview of the areas we plan to investigate:

  • Disaster Recovery. No business can afford to be without a rock solid disaster recovery plan and the cloud has proven to be a cost and labor-saving alternative to traditional approaches. Our Data Center team will look at how VMware Cloud on AWS fits in with modern approaches to disaster recovery and what sets it apart from other cloud-based options.
  • Hybrid Cloud Migrations. Cloud migrations don’t have to be painful. In this post, we’ll cover what it takes to move workloads off site and into the cloud. In addition, our Data Center team will try to answer the question of whether or not VMware Cloud on AWS can simplify hybrid cloud migrations.
  • Network Security. Among some organizations, the idea of moving to the cloud is tantamount to sacrificing security. However, that impression isn’t necessarily accurate. In this post, our team will explore the cyber security features built-in to VMware Cloud on AWS as well as the use cases in which moving data off site can actually make it more secure.
  • Native Tools. Organizations that leverage VMware Cloud on AWS aren’t just getting a secure place to leave their data in the cloud. They’re also gaining access to the full suite of AWS productivity tools. This post will break down the AWS native tools accessible through VMware Cloud on AWS and how these solutions can lead to higher buy-in and lower training costs.

Go beyond the overview: Learn more about VMware Cloud on AWS

Over the next several weeks, the members of our Data Center team will analyze each of the above topics in greater detail. Their mission? Determine whether VMware Cloud on AWS is really worth all of the post-VMworld hype. We’ll post all of their findings right here on this blog, so be sure to stay tuned.

Need more immediate answers regarding VMware Cloud on AWS or VMworld in general? Our Data Center team members are ready to share their insights! Get the conversation started with them today by visiting https://www.arrayasolutions.com/contact-us/.

We want to hear from you! Leave us a comment on this or any of our blogs through social media. We can be found on LinkedInTwitter, and Facebook. Once you’ve shared your take, follow us to stay updated on our industry insights and learning opportunities.


Did these updates to PA’s 9-1-1 laws fly under your radar?

Heads up: Businesses located in Pennsylvania that utilize a multiline telephone system (MLTS) will want to take note of a pair of recent changes to the state’s 9-1-1 laws. The bill – which had beencall center employee designated as HB 911 for obvious reasons – was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf late this past June. However, these changes may have been missed by some as they weren’t the bill’s main focus.

Here’s a closer look at those changes, what they mean, and how Arraya can help.

Change #1: Updates to ELIN/ERL requirements for select businesses

The first update involves a pair of acronyms that play a vital role ensuring quick and efficient response during an emergency. The first is Emergency Location Identification Number (ELIN) – or the number which allows dispatchers to call a person back directly should a call to 9-1-1 get disconnected and the other is Emergency Response Location (ERL), i.e., the identifier of the physical area in which a telephone extension exists.

According to section 5311.16 of the new law, an ELIN must lead a dispatcher to one of two things:

  • an ERL providing at least the building and floor from which a caller reached out
  • a private 9-1-1 answering endpoint which can be used to direct response

There are exceptions to this law. Single-level workspaces covering less than 7,000 square feet and which are located on a single property are not required to provide more than one ERL. The same goes for key telephone systems.

Change #2: Dialing instruction updates

Obviously time is of the essence if 9-1-1 is being dialed, and that need for urgency is reflected in the second change. Section 5311.22 of the new law is designed to ensure callers can get in touch with emergency responders right away. To make sure they can, the law requires that MLTSs allow callers to dial 9-1-1 directly, without having to dial any other numbers or be intercepted by switchboard operators, attendants etc. This applies to all MLTSs installed after this section went into effect.

Complying with 9-1-1 updates

These changes represent best practices for corporate communication systems. They’re critical measures which can be taken to prevent tragedies, heartache, and lawsuits. After all, consider the horror stories that could occur as a result of noncompliance. For example, without the correct ERL, emergency personnel could go to the wrong suite in a divided building, be sent away, only to have to return to the site of the actual crisis. All the while, precious seconds would be ticking off the clock as the mix-up was sorted out.

There’s no silver bullet that can bring an organization into compliance. Corporate communication systems are unique, and each one will need to be evaluated based on its own merits. However, Arraya’s team of communication and collaboration experts can walk customers through the diagnostic process. Then, they can help make the necessary configuration changes to bring systems up to code.

Our team can help ensure continued compliance by performing annual or semi-annual 9-1-1 audits for customers. We’ll set up calls with carriers or with local dispatchers to check that information is being transmitted correctly and that everything is in working order. These test scenarios serve essentially the same function as a test of disaster recovery capabilities. They give organizations confidence that their system will respond correctly should it ever be needed.

If you’d like to learn more about the new 9-1-1 legislation, how it could impact your business, or how we can help, reach out to us at www.arrayasolutions.com/contact-us. We can also be reached directly through our Twitter account, @ArrayaSolutions. While there, follow us to stay updated on our latest blog posts, company events, and special offers.


How to Overcome Turbulence and Find Flexible Stability in the Cloud

How to Overcome Turbulence and Find Flexible Stability in the Cloud

If the cloud was seen as the future back in our pre-pandemic world, then our current reality has done nothing to change that perception. In fact, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic seems to have heightened interest in the cloud. One study, Flexera’s 2020 State of the Cloud Report, found nearly 6-in-10 (59%) expect cloud use to surpass initial annual forecasts due to the pandemic. Another, McAfee’s Cloud Adoption and Risk Report, tracked a 50% growth in enterprise use of cloud services from January to April. This comes as, in some cases; entire organizations have spent the last several months working offsite. The strategies and architectures behind the technology environments supporting those workforces have had to be reimagined. Decisions have been made on the fly to allow organizations to be more malleable during an unprecedented time.

As businesses inch toward reopening, additional research suggests not to expect this push to diminish. In the 2020 Remote Work From Home Cybersecurity Report from Pulse Secure, 84% of participants anticipated broadening access to remote work and making it a permanent part of their culture. Cloud will likely continue to have a role in enabling and supporting that shift.

Two of the cloud’s biggest selling points have always been flexibility and consistency. While those traits may have once been labeled as desirable, in our current normal, they have become essential.

Expanding beyond hardware during times of need

There’s no shortage of pathways into the cloud. Once there, organizations have just as many options on how to expand and grow their footprint. One often overlooked element in all this is disaster recovery. Too many organizations seek to address the problem of a primary data center outage with hardware spend. It’s in these types of scenarios, however, where the cloud really shines. Arraya has developed a two-fold offering designed to help organizations not only take advantage of the flexibility the cloud offers but to bring greater efficiency to disaster recovery postures.

Let’s check in on the individual pieces of the above solution map.   

  • VMC on AWS for VDI: VMware Cloud on AWS provides elastic burstable virtual desktop capacity that can start in the hundreds and easily scale well into the thousands of desktops should the need arise. Starting with a minimal reserved 3-node footprint allows you to keep costs down while giving you the flexibility to rapidly expand that capacity if necessary.
  • DRaaS in Cloud Hub: At a high level, this solution can leverage hyperconverged or three tiered infrastructure to execute disaster recovery workloads. These activities can be governed by orchestration tools like Zerto Orchestrator or VMware Site Recovery Manager. Using the cloud for failover gives organizations the base necessary from which to launch remediation efforts that will unfold in accordance with targeted Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO).
  • Cloud Connectivity Hub: Serving as the central point in a hybrid cloud environment, Cloud Connectivity Hub offers fiber patch, public, or private access to Azure, AWS, Office 365 and other platforms. Cloud Connectivity Hub can be integrated with a compatible network security solution, allowing key applications to travel safely between the Hub and the various platforms making up an organization’s cloud environment. Additionally, as performance requirements and organizational marching orders shift, the Cloud Connectivity Hub can ensure IT will be able to pivot in response, moving data and workflows from home to home in the cloud in order to maximize productivity and efficiency across all scenarios.

Next Steps: Utilizing the cloud to maintain productivity even in a worst-case scenario

Want to learn more about VMC on AWS for VDI DRaaS in Cloud Hub and Cloud Connectivity Hub? Interested in kicking off a broader conversation about what you can do to help your organization better anticipate and respond to today’s challenges more effectively? Arraya’s data center team can help. Our team can help you analyze your existing environment and organizational objectives. Then, we will work to connect you with customized solutions designed to help your organization reach its goals.    

Visit https://www.arrayasolutions.com/contact-us/ to connect with our team now.

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Can Azure Arc Help Alleviate Hybrid Complexity?

Azure Arc Microsoft

We used to think of a hybrid environment as having one foot in the cloud and the other planted firmly on-premises, but things are no longer that simple. Today’s hybrid environments can have one foot in one cloud, another foot in a different cloud, a third foot back on-prem, and maybe even a fourth foot at the network’s edge. Before we tack on any more extra feet, let’s just say hybrid has gotten more complex. Maintaining visibility into, managing, and securing these broad, intricate environments has proven to be a task of equal stature for IT departments, particularly those in the SMB space. However, at Microsoft’s Ignite conference last month, the company announced help was on the way.

Azure Arc follows on the spiritual heels of another Microsoft hybrid solution: Azure Stack. While that tool caters more toward the needs of enterprise-scale organizations, Azure Arc is intended to help all organizations gain greater insight into and control over technologically-diverse environments.

Let’s look at some challenges addressed by Azure Arc (which is still in the preview phase) that may make it a solution to watch in this year.

Managing diverse, expanding technology landscapes

First and foremost, back to the challenge referenced above. Today’s environments are a hodgepodge of solutions and providers. It’s becoming increasingly common for organizations to have some workloads living in, say Azure, as others are stored in AWS. Maybe others are kept back on prem, contained within a Windows-powered server.

Azure Arc can streamline the task of managing multifaceted environments by wrapping them in Azure’s suite of management solutions, including Azure Resource Manager, Microsoft Azure Cloud Shell, Azure portal, API, and more. Azure Arc brings these capabilities on prem, to both Linux and Windows servers. It can also extend them out to Kubernetes clusters, whether they exist on the network’s edge, in the cloud, or closer to home.

By doing so, Azure Arc can make it easier for IT to create, update, or stay on top of workloads wherever they reside.

Accounting for changing needs and technology advances 

Technology is always on the move. The same goes for the organizations that leverage it. As organizational needs and directives shift, it falls on IT to make sure technology aligns with those evolutions in a meaningful way. While doing so, IT must also keep in mind how those needs may ebb and flow over time and keep expenses in check.  

Azure Arc makes it possible to run Azure data services from anywhere – or at least a pair of them. The plan is to roll out more moving forward, but, as of now, organizations have two database solutions they can utilize as part of this offering: Azure SQL Database and Azure Database for PostgreSQL Hyperscale. Again, these solutions can be deployed on-prem, in the cloud, or on the back of any Kubernetes cluster.   

These solutions will help organizations to better keep pace with the latest Microsoft cloud innovations. They’ll also be able to deploy new solutions rapidly (think seconds not hours or longer) and scale capacity as the need arises with the freedom of a cloud cost model.     

Navigating the high-risk world of App Dev

Developing and fine-tuning the applications modern organizations rely on is something of a mysterious, perilous process. So much so, in fact, that one of Arraya’s in-house experts has compiled a five-part blog series on some of the most common and hard-to-shake misconceptions about the topic. Misconceptions aside, false steps can leave end users without access to critical tools. 

Azure Arc can help minimize risk by bringing freedoms typically found in the cloud to on prem-based, application-focused projects. Through Azure Arc, developers have the ability to choose which tools they want to use to build and maintain Kubernetes-hosted apps as opposed to being locked to whatever is in a preselected toolkit. Then, IT can leverage Arc to efficiently implement organization-wide standardization governing how those apps are deployed, configured, and managed.

The result? A balance between the freedom developers want and the control IT needs, one that ensures users have access to the apps they need to get the job done.   

Securing an ever-widening attack surface

No conversations should take place in IT these days without security getting a prominent seat at the table. It doesn’t matter where a workload will eventually reside, be it in the cloud, on prem, or at the network’s edge, it will need to be secured against malicious activities emanating from both inside and outside the organization.   

Azure Arc brings Microsoft’s cloud security muscle to hybrid environments. Capabilities such as role-based access control can limit who has access to what. Azure Activity Log showcases its value during security audits and remediation efforts. Azure Threat Detection can weed out advanced attack efforts before they have a chance to do harm to an organization.

These security solutions (and others) can help make technology environments more secure even as the attack surface increases.   

Next Steps: Learn more about Azure Arc or try it for yourself

Azure Arc is open for trials now, giving you the opportunity to see for yourself if it makes sense for your organization. Want to learn more about Azure Arc or take it for a trial spin? Arraya can help! Visit https://www.arrayasolutions.com/contact-us/ to get a conversation started with our workspace and cloud teams today!

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