August News:


On The CalendarAugust at The Fulcrum Group
  • Congratulations to Scot Clevenger with MacDonald Realty Group in Desoto. Scot was our lucky Amazon Echo winner from the July "Grow Successfully, Exit Successfully" ballpark event. We hope you enjoy!
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time to planIT Planning & Budgeting Tip:  Guidelines For Refreshing Your Business Technology As part of our SPOT Managed IT Services, we provide CIO-level services such as budgeting and IT planning.  Many of our clients often ask, “How often should I replace my laptops, PCs, servers, printers, firewalls, switching, WiFi, etc.?”. Below are some general guidelines that we observe. Depending on your industry, how you use technology, what kind of applications you use, and other factors, these frequency recommendations could increase or decrease, but here are some guidelines: Laptops – Replace every 2-3 years Laptops typically don’t last as long as desktops due to wear and tear, batteries wearing down, and slower hard drives (unless you have SSD hard drive in your laptop). Desktops – Replace every 3-4 years Power desktops can often have their life extended by reallocating them to users who have lower computing needs.  Desktops can last longer if investments are made on the front end for faster processors and more memory. Servers – Replace every 4-5 years As many IT systems transition to the Cloud, some servers can simply be retired at the end of their useful life.  Other servers can be consolidated into Virtual Server environments (3 or more host servers replacing 10 or more physical servers). Printers – Replace every 3 years While older printers may continue to function, the consumables cost of those printers can be very high, making the purchase of a new printer more cost-effective.  In addition, older printers may jam more frequently, or may require expensive parts and repairs. Firewalls – Replace every 5 years The security technology behind firewalls changes frequently, and if you have an older firewall, you may not be protected against the latest threats.  In addition, if you upgrade your Internet connection, your firewall could become a bottleneck causing an Internet slow down. Network Switches – Replace every 5 years While some network switches will continue to run for many years, upgrading to the latest technology can improve network and server performance, especially with the advent of 10GB Ethernet.  Connecting switches and servers at 10GB speeds can significantly improve overall network performance by eliminating bottlenecks. WiFi – Replace every 5 years Older WiFi technology tend to be slower speeds with less of the advanced features that organizations need for today’s mobile workforce.  Troubleshooting older WiFi systems is a money drainer that can really cost you over time. Storage – Replace every 5 years As new hard drives and technology become available, performance and drive size continues to improve.  Older storage systems can cause system performance issues. Cloud – Evaluate every 2 years Cloud applications tend to change in a very dynamic fashion.  Evaluating Cloud applications for functionality, performance, and cost can help improve employee productivity and reduce costs. Contact us here at The Fulcrum Group at 817-337-0300 to talk to one of our technology consultants who can assist you in the decision and processes of refreshing your technology.  Please do not hesitate to reach out personally or by way of our website at www.fulcrum.pro if you would like to know more.
Nimble Vs. Dell Compellant SAN Smackdown Storage Area Networks (SANs) are a critical part of building out a redundant, highly available Virtual Server environment.  If you’re looking to take advantage of the latest high availability features of VMware (such as Vmotion) and Microsoft Hyper-V, you will need a SAN to make it happen.  So, now that you know that you need a SAN, what kind of SAN do you need? nimbleThe Fulcrum Group recommends SANs from storage vendors Nimble Storage and Dell Compellent.  While each vendor’s SAN solution has it’s own merits, there are some differences, and it helps to understand which to use in which situation.  Below are a few scenarios in which you might prefer one over the other. Dell-Compellent-logo
  • If this will be your 1st SAN as well as 1st Virtual Server environment, it is likely a lower-cost Dell Compellent solution would be the best fit for you.
  • If performance is your primary concern, Nimble Storage solutions with its Adaptive Flash caching system would be our recommended solution.
  • If uptime, high availability, and SAN monitoring are critical factors in your decision, Nimble Storage and its Infosight Predictive Analytics will be your choice.
  • If you are interested in storage tiering, Dell Compellent with its Data Progression automated tiering will be right up your alley.
We want to help make virtualization easier for organizations of all sizes.  Feel free to request your free Virtualization Readiness Assessment – we’re always glad to help!
SPOTlight On: SPOT Grows Up!The Fulcrum Group - Dallas Fort Worth IT Experts Back in the early days of IT outsourcing, many mid-tier IT service providers started branding their offerings. In The Fulcrum Group's earliest days, our management team began crafting what we planned to deliver to our clients based on our expertise deploying and supporting technology in the enterprise. All the ideas we explored seemed fairly technical-sounding (or unoriginal with "metallic" level descriptions - "silver/gold/platinum") but we desired to spotlight how our service focuses on people first, and technology second. In putting ourselves into the mind of the typical client, we asked ourselves, 'if my company needed help, what would we want that would put us at ease and help us through our tough situation...?'  Further, we desired a type of branding that allowed us to move away from computer images and stand out among the noise of IT support. Small SPOTWe came up with the idea of SPOT ('your network's best friend"). The idea behind breathing life into the solutions we offered was that we wanted to position our support people to be friendly, understanding and empathetic in helping a frustrated person through whatever business technology need or issue they were experiencing. It was an easy visual matchup to associate the SPOT name with a dog-related graphic, but we felt we needed more to explain why our computer company might relate the concept of a dog to our network services.  The monitoring portion of Fulcrum Group Managed IT provided a good opportunity to describe our services further with a descriptive acronym for SPOT - System Protection, Observation and Trending - key words illustrating the benefits of our monitoring. SPOT_hires We’ve evolved over time with the different logos you can see here, but one of the main ideas behind creation of The Fulcrum Group has always remained the same - for our team members to set their minds on the business of helping people. As The Fulcrum Group has grown up over the past 14 years, so has SPOT. We like to think we're still filled with the energy and spunk of puppyhood, but now can also boast a more more mature, structured nature with our refined methods of service delivery, such as advanced back office systems, service level agreements, assessment methods and more. We've also associated SPOT with a new acronym which simplifies what The Fulcrum Group has always aimed to be, your "Single Point Of Technology."  So, in this month of August, 2016, we are pleased and proud to introduce you to "grown up" SPOT! SPOT-headonlyAnimated   SPOT_fullbody      
  More Than Tech Tips: Qualities Of Exceptional Employees Tech Tips from The Fulcrum Group, Dallas Fort Worth IT Managed Services Provider Steve Meek, our company President, recently shared this article in an appreciative message to us all. We found it fun to read over and notice so many people that we work with every day share many of these qualities.  Here's the upshot:
  1. They think well beyond job descriptions. Adapting, doing what it takes to get a job done and never using the "its not my job" excuse is how this type of person rolls.
  2. We'll take quirky over plain vanilla any time.
  3. Reining in individuality when its time, is always a welcome ability.
  4. Its super important to publicly recognize the contributions of others. And it feels great when yours are recognized!
  5. Knowing when to disagree in private is just as appreciated.
  6. Exceptional employees have a good feel for the issues and concerns of those around them, and step up to ask questions or raise important issues when others hesitate.
  7. Education, intelligence, talent, and skill are important, but drive is critical. Exceptional employees like to prove doubters wrong by being driven by something deeper and more personal than just the desire to do a good job.
  8. Good employees follow processes. Great employees tweak processes and are constantly exploring.
Read the article here in its entirety and see how your peers or staff measures up!
  Did You Know...What is a SAN?The Fulcrum Group Dallas Fort Worth IT Experts A SAN - or Storage Area Network - is shared storage with logically assigned loads that are able to move around as needed.  This technology is geared to clients who need high availability and performance, and scaling in virtualization. SAN works together with virtualization to provide better availability.  If you have further questions on how a SAN might apply to your business, don't hesitate to reach out and ask!  Let us help you today!