Saturday, November 28

Determining When to Virtualize Your Servers

by David Davis

Server virtualization isn’t just for big companies. Entry-level virtualization tools are free or low-cost, and there are many benefits to virtualization (including saving money). It’s not a question of “if” you should virtualize your servers; it’s a question of “when.”

Davis says following these five steps when determining if virtualization is right for your servers should help to alleviate some of the pains commonly associated with consolidating IT environments.

Step 1: Verify your motivation for going virtual

Most likely you will have to justify the reason to virtualize to a manager or a "C" level executive. Even if you don’t have to do that, you should be able to answer the “why” question for yourself with an answer that’s more concrete that “because it’s the next big thing.”

Step 2: Evaluate a virtualized solution

When selecting the right virtualization solution for your company, consider the following:

  • Don’t choose the “newest” or “cheapest” solution just because they are new and inexpensive.

  • Look for a solution that has been around for a long period of time to ensure the technology has been tested with a variety of applications.

  • Look for a solution that has been proven in productiveIT environments.

  • Choose a solution that offers flexibility and options to fit the needs of your company.

Friday, November 27

What about Craigslist or Ebay?

by Eric Pratt

There's been a lot of hype lately over Social Media. Many businesses are rushing to build a Facebook page, get a Twitter account, and build a network on Linkedin. While the jury may still be out on how measurable returns are and what industries have had the best success I think there is another format that can provide instant returns and metrics.

Most of you probably know Craigslist and Ebay. Craigslist is very basic but highly successful internet classified site. Ebay is the top dog in online auctioneers. You may have bought or even sold personal items through Craigslist or Ebay but have you ever thought about generating revenue and profits for your business?

Obviously this is most relevant to companies that sell a good and carry inventory. If you have inventory you have no doubt dealt with stales or dead inventory. What if you could slowly get rid of unneeded product, increase cash flow, and invest nothing on the front end? That's what Craigslist and other sites can do.

Let me give you a real life example that you can apply your specifics to. My Dad lives in WA and owns a transmission shop, Snohomish Transmission. Over 20-some years he has piled up a lot of car parts. Some of them very valuable, the pack rat in my Dad always saves stuff in the event he might have a use for it later. Many of his parts, especially the hard to find specialty parts, are very rare.

Monday, November 23

QeH2 Interviews Strategic Local Partner

by Alex Repola

I had heard the company name many times, but I never really knew what their services could provide me as member of the community. After delving into it, I learned that whether you live in or work in the area or are just visiting from out of town, is the fastest, easiest way to find everything that’s here. I jumped at the chance to meet the owner of such an innovative organization.

I wasn’t quite sure what to think when I first walked into City Pub on November 18th. This was the place that Pam Rubins, owner of, and Eric Pratt had planned to meet prior to me asking to tag along. Of course, I first noticed the University of Colorado Buffalo flag hanging right alongside what looked like Ralphie, (CU’s mascot that they parade around the field before each game). I then noticed our biggest rival’s flag, Colorado State University, hanging not far away. Not something I’m comfortable with being a graduate from CU, but I soon got over it.

There were only a couple tables with people around them and I figured Pam, Eric, and I would have the majority of the place to ourselves. It wasn’t long before groups of six and seven people started pouring in the door, filling up the tables around us. In fact, it got so noisy that once Pam arrived and I had introduced myself, we had to move across the room so we could hear one another and to begin the interview…

Alex: How did this idea come about?
Pam: Local search hardly existed when we moved to Denver a number of years ago. Yet, and I’ll argue this point until I’m blue in the face, it is easier and more cost-effective to do business locally. So we decided to bring everything online. We spent two years on proof-of-concept and development of the initial site, which is largely built on the “convenience factor,” and haven’t looked back since.

Alex: Describe 1SpotInfo.
1SpotInfo was built to be a resource for local business by making it easy to find one another. Our site is based on “tightly-localized” search and we offer free listing and mapping in the ten areas we currently cover. We will do the same in several new areas that are in development.

Alex: What’s your message?
Pam: There is no room for complacency in this economy. Recent surveys indicate as many as 83% of consumers search for local services online, and that over 25% of commercial online searches in the U.S. are for local merchants. You have no choice -- your business has to be found on the Internet.

Alex: Who are you targeting?
Any business that needs to be found online in the local market.

Alex: What service do you provide to your customers?
The primary focus of our business is affordable and effective SEO on Google, but we are starting to focus on Bing as well. We use proprietary software to optimize our clients for as little as $200 a month.

Alex: What are the steps in getting a company listed?
It’s on our website, go to Get Listed.

Alex: Tell me a little about 1SpotInfo 4 Schools.
This is a business-driven initiative designed to broaden the exposure of local companies among a key demographic while providing a steady stream of undesignated funding for local schools. How it works is very simple. When someone makes a purchase from an involved company, that business sends a pre-determined percent of the sale to the participating school of the customer’s choice. This is a free service for the schools and our clients. 100% of the proceeds of this program are donated to participating schools.

Alex: With a lot of small to medium-sized businesses just now bouncing back from a rough couple of years, are you seeing more business owners shifting towards helpful tools like
Everybody is pulling out of print and shifting to the Internet. Its way more affordable and you reach people that are actually looking for you; it’s a whole different ball game.

Alex: Is the same thing happening with strategic local partnerships in communities?
Absolutely, referrals are the highest compliment you can give to any business. It means that you trust that company to do a great job. It’s like what happened with you guys. We connected through Rev Networking and, after multiple meetings that focused on the respective benefits we provide, we’ve started referring prospective clients to one another.

Alex: Why choose you?
: Results and affordability. There is no ambiguity here; you show on the first page of Google or you don’t, that’s it. We are very proud that our customer retention rate is over 90 percent.

Alex: What do you see the future partnership between 1SpotInfo and QeH2 looking like?
: You guys are a great resource; I love your business model. You’re the anti-consultants! Our focus is SEO and we do a great job at it. I see you guys shifting more of that towards us. Similarly, we don’t provide IT support, that’s your specialty. If we have a client who can use your services, we’ll happily make the connection.

Alex: Closing thoughts?
We are very happy to be working together; we think it’s the beginning of a great relationship.

The background noises fazed neither Pam nor myself. Eric showed up soon after we had moved tables, adding strong points here and there. I walked away from the interview completely satisfied, spending the next few hours tooling around on, checking out the different pages on the site and thinking how helpful it would be to have this tool in every city across the country.

Friday, November 20

Microsoft Enters Partnership with LinkedIn

LinkedIn has reported that it will be the first social networking site to support Outlook Social Connector, part of Microsoft Office 2010.

Both companies have released reports stating the the functionality will be available in early 2010, the belief being that you can be much more effective in the business world with your professional network right at your finger tips. Read more.

Using an email from someone you've just stared doing business with who is connected on LinkedIn, can be instantly added to your professional network, bringing key elements of your LinkedIn network to where you work - your Outlook e-mail inbox. The Paper Pane gives you the ability to see picture, title, and name of email senders, providing a rich, comprehensive collection of information about the sender.

These two corporations and the partnership they have formed here is only going to continue to find new and innovative ways to do business and bring people together.

Thursday, November 19

Shift to Online Media from More Traditional for SMBs

Shift to Online Media from More Traditional for SMBs
by BIA/Kelsey

A survey conducted by BIA/Kelsey Group in August 2009 has shown a shift in the use of more traditional media over the last few years to the use of digital media, altering the way small to medium-sized businesses handle sales and marketing efforts within their organization.

Thursday, November 5

The Value of Virtualization

by Johan De Gelas

TCO and ROI have been abused repeatedly by sales representatives, in the hope of getting you to swallow the sometimes outrageously high pricing on their quotation for a trendy new technology. However, server virtualization is one of the few ICT technologies that really lives up to its hype. The cost savings are real and the TCO is great, as long as you obey a few basic rules like not installing bloatware or extremely large memory limited databases. There is more.