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Office 365 / Microsoft 365: The Essential Companion Guide
Office 365 and Microsoft 365 contain truly powerful applications that can significantly boost productivity in the workplace. However, there’s a lot on offer so we’ve put together a comprehensive companion guide to ensure you get the most out of your investment! This free 85-page eBook, written by Microsoft Certified Trainer Paul Schnackenburg, covers everything from basic descriptions, to installation, migration, use-cases, and best practices for all features within the Office/Microsoft 365 sui

Welcome to this free eBook on Office 365 and Microsoft 365 brought to you by Altaro Software. We’re going to show you how to get the most out of these powerful cloud packages and improve your business. This book follows an informal reference format providing an overview of the most powerful applications of each platform’s feature set in addition to links directing to supporting information and further reading if you want to dig further into a specific topic. The intended audience for this book is administrators and IT staff who are either preparing to migrate to Office/Microsoft 365 or who have already migrated and who need to get the lay of the land. If you’re a developer looking to create applications and services on top of the Microsoft 365 platform, this book is not for you. If you’re a business decision-maker, rather than a technical implementer, this book will give you a good introduction to what you can expect when your organization has been migrated to the cloud and ways you can adopt various services in Microsoft 365 to improve the efficiency of your business.

THE BASICS

We’ll cover the differences (and why one might be more appropriate for you than the other) in more detail later but to start off let’s just clarify what each software package encompasses in a nutshell. Office 365 (from now on referred to as O365) 7 is an email collaboration and a host of other services provided as a Software as a Service (SaaS) whereas Microsoft 365 (M365) is Office 365 plus Azure Active Directory Premium, Intune – cloud-based management of devices and security and Windows 10 Enterprise. Both are per user-based subscription services that require no (or very little) infrastructure deployments on-premises.

How to Develop a Multi-cloud Management Strategy
Increasingly, organizations are looking to move workloads into the cloud. The goal may be to leverage cloud resources for Dev/Test, or they may want to “lift and shift” an application to the cloud and run it natively. In order to enable these various cloud options, it is critical that organizations develop a multi-cloud data management strategy.

The primary goal of a multi-cloud data management strategy is to supply data, either via copying or moving data to the various multi-cloud use cases. A key enabler of this movement is the data management software applications. In theory, data protection applications can perform both of the copy and move functions. A key consideration is how the multi-cloud data management experience is unified. In most cases, data protection applications ignore the user experience of each cloud and use their proprietary interface as the unifying entity, which increases complexity.

There are a variety of reasons organizations may want to leverage multiple clouds. The first use case is to use public cloud storage as a backup mirror to an on-premises data protection process. Using public cloud storage as a backup mirror enables the organization to automatically off-site data. It also sets up many of the more advanced use cases.

Another use case is using the cloud for disaster recovery.

Another use case is “Lift and Shift,” which means the organization wants to run the application in the cloud natively. Initial steps in the “lift and shift” use case are similar to Dev/Test, but now the workload is storing unique data in the cloud.

Multi-cloud is a reality now for most organizations and managing the movement of data between these clouds is critical.

The Top 10 Metrics a Citrix Administrator Must Monitor in Their Environment
We have invited George Spiers, who is a Citrix architect with rich experience in consulting and implementing Citrix technologies for organizations in various sectors, to write this guest blog and enlighten us on the topic of Citrix monitoring. George is also a Citrix Technology Professional and has contributed immensely to the Citrix community. Read on to see what George thinks are the top 10 most important metrics that Citrix administrators must monitor.

Citrix application and desktop virtualization technologies are widely used by organizations that are embarking on digital transformation initiatives. The success of these initiatives is closely tied to ensuring a great user experience for end users as they access their virtual apps and desktops. Given the multitude of components and services that make up the Citrix delivery architecture, administrators constantly face an uphill challenge in measuring performance and knowing what key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor.

We have invited George Spiers (https://www.jgspiers.com/), who is a Citrix architect with rich experience in consulting and implementing Citrix technologies for organizations in various sectors, to write this guest blog and enlighten us on the topic of Citrix monitoring. George is also a Citrix Technology Professional and has contributed immensely to the Citrix community. Read on to see what George thinks are the top 10 most important metrics that Citrix administrators must monitor.

The SysAdmin Guide to Azure Infrastructure as a Service
If you're used to on-premises infrastructures, cloud platforms can seem daunting. But it doesn't need to be. This eBook written by the veteran IT consultant and trainer Paul Schnackenburg, covers all aspects of setting up and maintaining a high-performing Azure IaaS environment, including: • VM sizing and deployment • Migration • Storage and networking • Security and identity • Infrastructure as code and more!

The cloud computing era is well and truly upon us, and knowing how to take advantage of the benefits of this computing paradigm while maintaining security, manageability, and cost control are vital skills for any IT professional in 2020 and beyond. And its importance is only getting greater.

In this eBook, we’re going to focus on Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) on Microsoft’s Azure platform - learning how to create VMs, size them correctly, manage storage, networking, and security, along with backup best practices. You’ll also learn how to operate groups of VMs, deploy resources based on templates, managing security and automate your infrastructure. If you currently have VMs in your own datacenter and are looking to migrate to Azure, we’ll also teach you that.

If you’re new to the cloud (or have experience with AWS/GCP but not Azure), this book will cover the basics as well as more advanced skills. Given how fast things change in the cloud, we’ll cover the why (as well as the how) so that as features and interfaces are updated, you’ll have the theoretical knowledge to effectively adapt and know how to proceed.

You’ll benefit most from this book if you actively follow along with the tutorials. We will be going through terms and definitions as we go – learning by doing has always been my preferred way of education. If you don’t have access to an Azure subscription, you can sign up for a free trial with Microsoft. This will give you 30 days 6 to use $200 USD worth of Azure resources, along with 12 months of free resources. Note that most of these “12 months” services aren’t related to IaaS VMs (apart from a few SSD based virtual disks and a small VM that you can run for 750 hours a month) so be sure to get everything covered on the IaaS side before your trial expires. There are also another 25 services that have free tiers “forever”.

Now you know what’s in store, let’s get started!

The Time is Now for File Virtualization
DataCore’s vFilO is a distributed files and object storage virtualization solution that can consume storage from a variety of providers, including NFS or SMB file servers, most NAS systems, and S3 Object Storage systems, including S3-based public cloud providers. Once vFilO integrates these various storage systems into its environment, it presents users with a logical file system and abstracts it from the actual physical location of data.

DataCore vFilO is a top-tier file virtualization solution. Not only can it serve as a global file system, IT can also add new NAS systems or file servers to the environment without having to remap users of the new hardware. vFilO supports live migration of data between the storage systems it has assimilated and leverages the capabilities of the global file system and the software’s policy-driven data management to move older data to less expensive storage automatically; either high capacity NAS or an object storage system. vFilO also transparently moves data from NFS/SMB to object storage. If the user needs access to this data in the future, they access it like they always have. To them, the data has not moved.

The ROI of File virtualization is powerful, but it has struggled to gain adoption in the data center. File Virtualization needs to be explained, and explaining it takes time. vFilO more than meets the requirements to qualify as a top tier file virtualization solution. DataCore has the advantage of over 10,000 customers that are much more likely to be receptive to the concept since they have already embraced block storage virtualization with SANSymphony. Building on its customer base as a beachhead, DataCore can then expand File Virtualization’s reach to new customers, who, because of the changing state of unstructured data, may finally be receptive to the concept. At the same time, these new file virtualization customers may be amenable to virtualizing block storage, and it may open up new doors for SANSymphony.

IDC: DataCore SDS: Enabling Speed of Business and Innovation with Next-Gen Building Blocks
DataCore solutions include and combine block, file, object, and HCI software offerings that enable the creation of a unified storage system which integrates more functionalities such as data protection, replication, and storage/device management to eliminate complexity. They also converge primary and secondary storage environments to give a unified view, predictive analytics and actionable insights. DataCore’s newly engineered SDS architecture make it a key player in the modern SDS solutions spa
The enterprise IT infrastructure market is undergoing a once-in-a-generation change due to ongoing digital transformation initiatives and the onslaught of applications and data. The need for speed, agility, and efficiency is pushing demand for modern datacenter technologies that can lower costs while providing new levels of scale, quality, and operational efficiency. This has driven strong demand for next-generation solutions such as software-defined storage/networking/compute, public cloud infrastructure as a service, flash-based storage systems, and hyperconverged infrastructure. Each of these solutions offers enterprise IT departments a way to rethink how they deploy, manage, consume, and refresh IT infrastructure. These solutions represent modern infrastructure that can deliver the performance and agility required for both existing virtualized workloads and next-generation applications — applications that are cloud-native, highly dynamic, and built using containers and microservices architectures. As we enter the next phase of datacenter modernization, businesses need to leverage newer capabilities enabled by software-defined storage that help them eliminate management complexities, overcome data fragmentation and growth challenges, and become a data-driven organization to propel innovation. As enterprises embark on their core datacenter modernization initiatives with compelling technologies, they should evaluate enterprise-grade solutions that redefine storage and data architectures designed for the demands of the digital-native economy. Digital transformation is a technology-based business strategy that is becoming increasingly imperative for success. However, unless infrastructure provisioning evolves to suit new application requirements, IT will not be viewed as a business enabler. IDC believes that those organizations that do not leverage proven technologies such as SDS to evolve their datacenters truly risk losing their competitive edge.
Ten Topics to Discuss with Your Cloud Provider
Find the “just right” cloud for your business. For this paper, we will focus on existing applications (vs. new application services) that require high levels of performance and security, but that also enable customers to meet specific cost expectations.

Choosing the right cloud service for your organization, or for your target customer if you are a managed service provider, can be time consuming and effort intensive. For this paper, we will focus on existing applications (vs. new application services) that require high levels of performance and security, but that also enable customers to meet specific cost expectations.

Topics covered include:

  • Global access and availability
  • Cloud management
  • Application performance
  • Security and compliance
  • And more!
After the Lockdown – Reinventing the Way Your Business Works
As a result of the Covid-19 lockdown experience, temporary measures will be scaled back and adoption of fully functional “Remote” workplaces will now be accelerated. A reduction in the obstacles for moving to virtual desktops and applications will be required so that businesses can be 100% productive during Business Continuity events. The winners will be those organizations who use and explore the possibilities of a virtual workplace every day.

As lockdowns end, organziations are ready to start planning on how to gear their business for more agility, with a robust business continuity plan for their employees and their technology. A plan that includes technology which enables their business to work at full capacity rather than just getting by.

A successful Business Continuity Plan includes key technology attributes needed for employees to be 100% productive before, during and after a Covid-19 type event. The technology should be:

  • A device agnostic, simple, intuitive and responsive user experienceIt should enhance data security
  • It should increase the agility of IT service delivery options
  • Reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) of staff technology delivery
  • Must be simple to deploy, manage and expand remotely

As a result of the Covid-19 lockdown experience, temporary measures will be scaled back and adoption of fully functional “Remote” workplaces will now be accelerated. A reduction in the obstacles for moving to virtual desktops and applications will be required so that businesses can be 100% productive during Business Continuity events. The winners will be those organizations who use and explore the possibilities of a virtual workplace every day.

As an affordable but scalable all-in-one virtual desktop and application solution, Parallels Remote Application Server (RAS) allows users to securely access virtual workspaces from anywhere, on any device, at any time. Parallels RAS centralizes management of the IT infrastructure, streamlines multi-cloud deployments, enhances data security and improves process automation.

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