We’re in the final stretch on the Technology Plans series! You’ve looked at the state of your current equipment, analyzed some common issues you may be experiencing and are ready for the last step. So, let’s talk about the future.
What are your future plans?
- Will you be adding new employees to your network?
- Implementing new software or a different version of your operating system?
- Going to the cloud for some of your software needs?
We’ll take each of these issues in turn. (We’ll be using some technical terms in our discussion. If you would like a definition, click on the word and jump to the Glossary at the end.)
Adding new employees to your network can cause significant changes in the performance of your system and needs to be considered in your Technology Plans. We’ve talked about network traffic in a previous blog and the significant difference even one person can make on a network that is already handling maximum traffic. If you have enough bandwidth to handle the additional load, however; you probably won’t see much difference in network speed and performance.
Implementing new software or a new operating system can create higher demands for IT resources, also. All software publishes System Requirements. At the least, these requirements tell you how much RAM (Random Access Memory) and hard drive space you need, along with the speed and type of CPU required. Software applications may also specify the version of operating system you need to run the software. Some software will list minimum and optimal specifications.
Note: Minimum specifications may not provide acceptable performance.
System Requirements refer to the amount of resources a particular software application or operating system needs to have available for its use only. In other words, those resources are in addition to the resources used by other software.
Let’s look at an example using RAM, a key component to system performance. Say you currently use Windows XP as your operating system (OS) on a workstation. As you can see below, XP requires only 64 megabytes (MB) of RAM.
If you implement Windows 8, however, you’ll need to have 1 or 2 gigabytes (GB) of RAM. A gigabyte of RAM is 1024 megabytes, so that’s a significant increase. You’ll need to check on whether you have enough RAM for all your applications plus your new operating system.
Note: A new version of a software application might not work with a significantly older operating system.
Besides RAM, you’ll need to look at your CPU or processor, hard disk space and other system requirements to determine if your system is adequate. If not, the operating system or applications, and often both, will not function properly.
Note: One additional wrinkle—there may be System Requirements specified for both the server and any workstation that will be used for the application. Both machines will need to be checked to determine whether they meet the System Requirements and upgraded as needed.
Going to the cloud may affect your technology plans since it can mean there are less demands on your server. Most businesses who are on the cloud have a hybrid system, where they access some applications through the internet (a type of cloud computing called SaaS or Software as a Service), and other applications are kept on their in-house server. This means that your in-house server only needs to meet the System Requirements of the software loaded on it. When it comes time to replace your server, you may be able to operate with a less robust, and therefore less expensive machine.
Note: The System Requirements for cloud applications include the needed bandwidth. If your system has any less speed, you’ll notice delays, drops, and other problems.
Technology Plans & Priorities
At this point, you’ve looked at all aspects of your system. Your Technology Plans may have quite a list of changes you’d like to make to your system to get optimum performance. How do you decide what to do first?
- The first priority is always Protection. Protecting your system from outside threats, such as viruses and other malware is critical. But Protection also means protecting your data from loss, so your backup solution is the highest priority, also. So, anything that affects your system’s protected status needs to be at the top of the Action Items in your Technology Plans.
- The second priority is Performance. Performance refers to the speed and reliability of your network. Network slowdowns, crashes, and downtime all translate into actual dollars wasted. Nearly always, it is more economical to fix and upgrade your system than pay your employees to wait on your network. Your business will benefit from the enhanced productivity and effectiveness a reliable, fast network brings.
- The third priority is Enhancement. Usually this is where a new software application or remote access will be prioritized. These elements enhance the productivity the technology brings to your business and gives the users, whether employees or customers, an effective and high-quality experience.
With these priorities in mind, you can complete your Technology Plans. The Technology Plans then helps you develop your IT budget; clarifies what you need IT providers to include in their bids and proposals; and gives you peace of mind about your system.
If you need help creating Technology Plans for your business, give NoCo Technology Solutions a call at 970-223-1885. We’ll be happy to help you.
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Bandwidth refers to how fast data can move through your system. Bandwidth is determined by the type of cables used or the capabilities of your wireless network router.
Byte: Per techterms.com, “a byte is a unit of measurement used to measure data. . . While the byte was originally designed to measure character data, it is now the fundamental unit of measurement of all data storage.” Megabytes (MB) and gigabytes (GB) both designate amounts of data.
CPU (Central Processing Unit), also known as “the processor”. System Requirements refer to the speed or the CPU, which is designated in gigahertz (GHz); and may include type of CPU, such as Pentium-Class.
Gigahertz (GHz) is a measure of speed. It usually refers to the processing speed of the CPU but may also refer to the speed of the RAM and other parts of the computer.
The Hard Drive is the storage component in your computer or network server. Storage is measured in bytes, such as megabytes or gigabytes.
RAM, or Random Access Memory, which is where software is loaded from the hard drive, is specified in gigabytes (GB) or megabytes (MB).
SaaS, or Software as a Service. SaaS means you pay usually a monthly fee to access a software program over the internet.
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