A system cannot be better than its core components. We are frequently tasked with audits or support for failed projects and usually the first line of inquiry is to check the install configurations and set up and there are always issues discovered with basic set ups
The ownership of the tasks is unclear – the application consultant may feel he has only to install the application – next, next next etc.
Did the RAID and database come preinstalled by the hardware vendor ? Did he have any idea how it was going to be used?
The client does not want to pay also for a DBA or WIndows engineer to be involved in that install, especially where travel and hotel costs are involved
The implementation partner does not want to overquote and the small print says that the server, operating system and database installs and set ups are the client’s responsibility.
In a smaller company there may be no specific DBA or Windows Engineer- it maybe a duty of a functional user to look after multiple systems and administration and also the emails, fax and pritners and end user hardware and the phones and part time development and report writing, and consumables mangement etc , with either no formal, or in-depth training, or very out of date skills.
Consultants are also often undertrained or misused – a finance product certification does not make you an installer- completing an install that works does not mean that back ups are set up, that memory, or page sizes and temporary files are correctly sized, etc.
Systems prerequistes are not considered or referred to and the configuration is often not documented.
No use is made of monitoring tools or scripts.
Often the requisite information comes from many sources beyond most client adminstrators no matter how competent – white papers, knowledge base articles, obscure blog site, tech net, Books on line, Customer source and partner source, implementation manuals but which one the Application, SQL?SSRS? SSAS? Windows? or dependent systems such as Outlook or Office toolsor knowledge of ports or firewalls or anti-virus systems and which was the last update for the application, operating system and database and are these supported together? and how is this affected by virtualisation or use of Ciitrix or Kerbros and just how many times will an internal IT staff in a medium size company do such an install? Who will provide the guidance or checklist and review it? Do they have a suitable test environment for testing patches before deployment.
There is often no process for testing patches and keeping security updated or for testing recovery of back ups, or system performance or security or…
Many companies spend more on their company cars than they do on their key business systems. They invest in high end motors, use licensed driver,s formally trained and tested, and undertake regular servicing at registered dealers, but expect to use tier 3 business solutions and cut price untrained freelance consultants, uncertified staff, with inappropriate tools and training, no support agreement etc and then blame the system. Sometimes its not the car, its sometimes the driver.
It does not make sense to buy an expensive car and only drive it in first gear due to lack of training. Nor will it look good if it is never cleaned, nor will it run well on with old oil and skimped services, tyres set to the wrong pressure, etc.
Business systems are an asset, not an expense – like any other asset you should consider how to get the most value out of it and how to extend its life and performance and that also takes investment and management. the right way is usually the cheapest in the long run and delivers the most value.
Microsoft Exchange Server is the leading messaging platform in the world today, and can be found in SMBs, large enterprises and also behind cloud services of unimaginable scale. Exchange has been with us since its release in April 1996 and from that first version, it has evolved to offer businesses and consumers outstanding features that they have come to heavily rely upon.This is fantastic! Until something happens…. That is, something bad happens, or something really bad happens.
When people are unable to access the services that they have become dependent upon, then there are multiple preventative steps that we can take to help ensure that bad things don’t happen.
Are you are an IT or business professional who needs to ensure:
- that your organisation’s Exchange environment meets the needs of its user base
- that Exchange is available
- and (if that’s not enough) that Exchange performance is also excellent?
What about SQL issues?:
- Security Updates not applied
- SQL is running under an administrative account
- Database integrity checks not scheduled
- SQL Server has not been updated to the current service pack
- The usage of NOLOCK
- Large growth values (1GB+) for data / log files
- Weak and blank passwords for SQL logins
- Disaster Recovery Plan is not documented or does not exist
- Clustered MSDTC configuration issues
- Transaction log on the same drive as the database
- No monitoring of databse growth
- No back up of master database
- Incorrect collation
- No reidnexing or other maintenance tasks
- No tests of back up restore
Do you need help? Ask us about audits and reviews and training, we can involve Microsoft premier support engineers for complex sites if needed. Does your IT administrator need an introduction to some key system mangement tasks? What about Power Shell skills this has become a must have skill formanageent of SQL, Windows and Exchange Server. Let us train you.
There are many utilities to make your life easier – many are free or low cost.
If you are changing systems, or have system perfomance or security issues or compliance worries for ITI, SOX, ITAM, Basel accord, ISO 14000 etc then we may be able to help. You don’t need to be a qualified motor mechanic to drive a car – but it helps to know the highway code and to have the right licence to drive. A HGV1 needs a little more skills than a bicycle. and as your business and system grows and technology changes it may be necessary for a fresh look at your system set up and support. A small investment at install and an annual review will usually have lasting benefits.