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The Cloud! What is it? – The Cloud Explained

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

The new technical term which is spreading all over the world like wild fire is the “cloud”.  Join IT GURUS OF ATLANTA, a Microsoft Partner on this journey to show how we arrived at the Cloud, its importance, and why companies are running to get their data on the cloud.  So, let’s start from the top, to figure what people think of when hearing the words “The Cloud”.  When at first hearing the term, the typical mind may go to the thoughts of cloud in the sky and a more technical mind would think virtual. Well to be honest, both answers are not too far from each other. The cloud in more technical terms is the elimination of physical equipment such as servers which are typically used on-premise such as in server rooms which a lot of companies and government agencies house their pertinent data. All traffic goes from the user, computer, over the internet or intranet, and then ends up being housed somewhere. From the websites that we all visit such as Google, Yahoo, CNN, or our favorite channels such as HBO, Showtime, and more are located on servers. These huge data storage devices can be further divvied up into other storage devices such as SAN (Storage Area Network) or NAS (Network Attached Storage). All data from the internet, a person’s computer is all stored somewhere and these serves store the data from the devices.

Another thought that people have is, what happens to the data that is stored on my computer? Well the storage on your computer is very limited. This means that even the larger computer storage that can be installed on laptop or desktop such as 1TB (1 terabyte) or 3TB (3 terabytes) of data is still not enough to house all the data that a company or a user may have. This causes for companies to seek out other means of storage. Years, ago companies went to portable storage devices such as disks, CDs, and portable storage devices. Then the industry realized that trusting users to handle the data and its security is where the trust line and ability for accidents gets blurred. A company and individual’s life’s work can be housed in the data that is being tallied by users. That’s where servers came into a big relief. Servers could be stored locally at the company’s designated location where the user data is uploaded and stored. The industry saw the benefit and it wasn’t long before the servers began to run redundancy which means that the servers had a back, and the backup had a backup. This increases the availability of the data in case of natural or unnatural disasters and data breaches. The data can be utilized even if whole data centers housing thousands of servers go down.  The data is immediately available by its counterpart data centers which already backed up the latest data upload. The user on the other end does not experience more than a second or millisecond in lag time between the data centers and accessing the needed data.

Data centers have become the wave of the future by housing servers, NAS, and SANs which have unprecedented amounts of storage. Unfortunately, due to the cost of owning a data center, companies only kept redundant systems at a data center and kept most of their key systems on premise. These key systems involved constant watch of a human eye to ensure high availability and engineers to do maintenance on the servers. Buying a server, maintaining the server, which includes applying the latest security patches, load balancing, error resolution, and hardware updating is a constant cost and struggle for companies to maintain. However, with this cost of doing business, most companies have accepted the cost to maintain data. Data is the heartbeat of any company, organization, or government agency. As everything that businesses and individuals do today become increasingly digital is where the data and the storage of this data becomes increasingly needed.

 

One of the aspects of technology which has taken a huge increase over the years is the ability to go virtual. Companies such as VMWare came out with VMWare, Microsoft with Hyper-V, and Citrix with XenServer. What were these products? Well to be frank, this is another link in the chain for the “Cloud”. These companies came up with virtual servers. These storage and computing devices could be housed on a physical server. This means that one server with enough memory, storage, and processing power could house 2-15 or more servers virtually. So many say, how is that done? Well from a high level, what Microsoft, Citrix, and VMWare did was allow servers to be created from each processor and core on a physical server and virtually partition the space on the physical server to be dedicated to each virtual server. In layman’s terms this means if a server has 4 processors, 16 gigs of RAM (Random Access Memory), and 120 Gigs of physical memory, then the virtual software could dedicate physical attributes to one or many more virtual servers.  An example of this is a virtual server using 1 processor, 2 gigs or ram, and 20 gigs of physical space for the predefined server to a spin up virtual server. This means that the physical server could house multiple virtual servers based on its physical attributes.

This breakthrough quickly became a trend for top companies to follow.  Going virtual saved tons of money on the front end for physical servers and saved money on the back end by eliminating teams of engineers to now only a few engineers that maintain the smaller number of physical servers. In the event of cutting down engineers that maintain and monitor physical servers, the industry changing also increased the need for professionals to learn about virtual technology with architecture, design, and support.  Information Technology is an ever changing and developing industry in which professionals constantly must learn because there are constant updates and inventions that quickly make every day utilized technology obsolete. To stay up-to-date and technologically advanced, professionals must constantly study and learn better ways of utilizing technology to be expert providers.

Even though virtual technology is utilizing physical equipment to maximize and expound servers, it has graduated into virtual desktops. Virtual desktops allow users to go from one computer to another computer and have access to all their data and desktop as if they never left it. They simply need to user their secure logon ID to access their data on a completely different computer. All of this is stemmed from virtual technology. Now with all these advancements in virtual technology from virtual servers to virtual desktops, where is the next unconquered avenue for virtual technology to go? Well this is where the “Cloud” has come into play. The “Cloud” is data centers which we referred to earlier in this article. The” Cloud” is where companies can now eliminate their on-premise servers and have all their data stored at data centers. The businesses don’t own the data centers, nor do they own the servers, but they pay a price to companies that do own the data centers and the physical servers. One of the dominant companies which has taken advantage of the move to the “Cloud” is Microsoft.

Microsoft has well over 42 different data centers around the world and close to a million physical servers as they expand their cloud grasp on the world. Microsoft Office 365 is their flag ship which started by allowing businesses and government agencies to get rid of their physical exchange servers, cut down on the need to keep exchange architects, and allow users to access their mail data from anywhere and on any device securely. This quickly began a wave of movement of companies rapidly signing up for Office 365. The next aspect of their “Cloud” came Azure which allows the use and accessibility of Active Directory in virtually.  The other aspects of the Microsoft Cloud came InTune for MDM (Mobile Device Management), and RMS (Rights Management Suite). It wasn’t long before Microsoft decided to bundle all these products together under EMS (Enterprise Mobility Suite). This comprehensive product currently encompasses the largest products that are completely virtual saving companies millions and billions of dollars while drastically increasing productivity. This is an easy decision which is why government agencies have been signing up by the boatload for the Microsoft Government Cloud space. The stigma of security concerns over the crowd is gradually weaning away as Microsoft has shown that their “Cloud” product not only complies with security requirements of companies and government organizations, but it surpasses it.  Microsoft allows for users to utilize both on-premise and “Cloud” technology in hybrid modes that allow companies and agencies to still utilize their current equipment while still having the ability to access their data via the Microsoft Cloud.

It’s clear the “Cloud” is not going anywhere anytime soon, but in fact is the platform for even greater advancements in virtual technology to come. IT GURUS OF ATLANTA is a trusted Microsoft Partner which is certified to service clients wishing to advance to the Microsoft Cloud space. We are also paired with most major manufacturers as a reseller to provide computer hardware solutions to companies, government agencies, and data centers. We pride ourselves as a low cost, thoroughly experienced, certified, and a quantifiable company.  IT GURUS OF ATLANTA delivers services and products that exceed the current standards while proving to be a one-stop IT service and hardware provider.

We hope you enjoyed our journey in learning about the “Cloud”, where it is headed, where it is currently, and how to get the most out of this growing technology.

 

IT GURUS OF ATLANTA LLC

“All Your Company Information Technology Needs Under One Company”

3355 Lenox Road Atlanta, GA 30326

www.itgurusatl.comcustomerservice@itgurusatl.com|

(888) 511-0143 OR (706) 406-5914

“As a registered SAM.gov company, we service government entities across the entire US and Canada”

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Confirmed: iPhone 8, iWatch 3, and the secret iPhone X (10)!

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

After much anticipation this week, Apple has blown off the hinges with its latest Apple event which took place on September 12th, 2017. This event was one of the technology market’s major event as Apple is the leading manufacturer in cutting edge design, security, and effortless user interfaces. Since the introduction of the original iPhone by Steve Jobs over 10 years ago, Apple has made their mark on the industry and in the world to be a trend setter in the market. Apple has continued to captivate the minds and intuitively interface user and technology in a perfect blend. With releases such as the iPhone 6 Plus which gave us a glimpse into a larger hand set, and then following through with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, Apple has reshaped our expectations of the company and engulfed an ever-evolving way of technological advancement from what is expected into what the mind can achieve.

This year’s Apple event had been a major buzz among Apple enthusiasts including the technology market as rumors circled about how the new iPhone 8 would look. There are always speculations that go around and many of the different enthusiasts had gone from a practical belief of what the iPhone 8 would look like into a realm of extreme possibilities. Well Apple being the show stopper as they are come on September 12th, 2017 to announce their lineup and to set the record straight. The presentation was led by Tim Cook, which is the CEO of Apple, and was assisted by Phil Schiller. In the event, they laid out the new lineup of Apple devices from the Apple TV 4K to iWatch 3, then disclosed the new iPhone 8. The big surprise to everyone was when they gave us a peek at their crown jewel that they have been working on for the past few years, which is the iPhone X (iPhone 10). This mind-blowing device is the high note that Apple closed on during their event. We at IT GURUS OF ATLANTA want to give more insight on these devices, their availability, and pricing. The first device up is the Apple TV 4k.

Apple TV 4K

The Apple TV 4K is a tv experience unlike any other. From the depth defying sound, picture quality, apps, and features, it’s clear to see that tv watching is not just tv watching with Apple. Oh, and did we forget to mention the 4k? Yes, that’s right, the Apple TV 4k allows the user to watch their movies and stream in 4K HDR. Stream and watch content from favorite providers such as Netflix, Hulu, ESPN, and more. One of the key note features which comes along with the Apple TV 4K is that it now has “Siri” integrated. Picking up the remote and speaking to Siri the same as you would on your phone just became that much simpler as this device is fully Siri AI integrated.

If this is your first Apple TV device, then let’s get into the specs of this simple, yet robust device. Well at first glance at opening the box you see it is small such as a mini desktop and then has a remote that comes along with it. Simple but intuitive is the Apple standard. Inspecting the Apple TV 4K, you will see the ports a single HDMI 2.0a, Gigabit Ethernet, and IR Receiver. The output ports allow for Digital Plus 7.1 surround sound which gives the real feel as if being a part of the program that is being viewed.  The other device next to it would be the nifty remote that you would use to speak to Siri, go to channels, open apps, and much more. The remote works on Bluetooth 4.0 technology, has a lightning connector charger, and most importantly, rechargeable batteries to ensure longevity.  The Apple TV 4K weights about 15 ounces so it is light and the remote weights about 1.59 ounces. Underneath the hood o of this device you will find Apple’s A10X chip processor which is what allows the 4K quality to be viewed.  Once the cords are properly connected, the proper input is selected on your 4K TV, then from start, you will see the difference in quality that the Apple TV 4K brings to your home or office.

Now for the next important question and that is pricing and availability. How can a person get their hands on this coveted device? Well let’s start to talk about the two different models. The first model is the 32Gig, which the only difference between this model and the other is the amount of space that can be housed. The next model is the 64Gig in the lineup which allows the maximum room for storage on the device. Pricing wise, is as follows: Apple TV 4K 32Gig – $179 and Apple TV 4K 64Gig – $199. Both devices are available for Pre-Order right now! Once ordered, the first shipments will start to be received as of September 22nd, 2017.

iWatch 3

Step aside iWatch and iWatch 2, the iWatch 3 is what everyone was amazed to see in action. When the stage was taken by Tim Cook and he announced the new features of the iWatch, the audience was amazed at all the new features. The iWatch 3 major selling point is that it is now completely independent of the phone. That is correct. The iWatch 3 is one of the very few wearable watches that has its own cellular network capabilities. This means you can leave your phone at home and still receive all your app alerts, emails, texts, and make/receive calls. The excitement doesn’t stop there as Apple spoke of “Siri” being included and the ability to stream over 40 million songs seamlessly on this device. The wireless earbuds that are an added accessory do not come with the iWatch 3, but Apple knew exactly what they were doing when they designed this device.  The iWatch 3 will set itself above the bar by not only having the cellular network included, but adding dust and water resistance to the list of features. Now swimmers can take their iWatch swimming to monitor their progress and the rest of the world can go diving into the pool without worry about getting their iWatch wet. Its water resistance level is now up to 50 meters now as opposed to previous models such as the original iWatch and iWatch 2.

 

 

As the iWatch 3 is unboxed, its first distinguishing character if getting the cellular version, the digital crown has a red dot over it. The symmetry of the watch remains the same physically and it has the same unique fit as with the other versions.  The iWatch 3 operates on the LTE network with the same connectivity and speed as a smartphone. The iWatch 3 can do noise reduction during calls, get alerts from the same apps on the phone, access to the iTunes store, and music streaming. iWatch 3 comes with WatchOS 4 that is packed with a variety of feature updates. There are four different versions of the iWatch 3, which are the iWatch 3, iWatch 3 Nike, iWatch 3 Edition, and iWatch 3 Hermes. All models come with the S3 chip which is 70% more powerful than the previous versions, 50% more power efficient, and is 85% faster when connected via Wi-Fi. Beyond just the hyped-up speed, the storage capacity has also been increased in the iWatch 3 from 8GB to 16GB allowing even more to be saved locally on the iWatch 3.  The iWatch 3 cost varies by model and size. The cost for the iWatch 3 is iWatch 3 $329 to $749, iWatch 3 Nike series $329 to $399, iWatch 3 Hermes $1,299 to $1,399, then the iWatch 3 Edition which costs $1,299The iWatch 3 pre-orders started on September 15th, 2017 and go on sale on September 22nd, 2017.

iPhone 8

The much-anticipated iPhone 8 hit the airwaves with the months of momentum packed behind it as expected by Apple. The advances in technology and design and how are Apple has managed to blend them into one device is what Apple enthusiasts have grown to want and expect from this new addition to the iPhone family.  From the exterior design, it is easy to see that the casing is in durable glass from edge to edge. This glass exterior gives the phone a slick look which allows it to deliver a smooth finish to the space grey, silver, and gold finishes. The size of the iPhone 8 comes as with previous iPhone 6 and 7, where there is the standard 4.7-inch retina display and the Plus size which comes with a 5.5-inch retina display.  The display comes with 3D touch integrated along with enhanced retina sensors to improve the visual experience of the device.  The two dual speakers at the bottom of the phone includes an upgrade that packs a deeper base feature giving more quality sound as playback or streaming is done with more precision.  The lightening connector at the bottom of the phone between the speakers has dual usage which is for charging and wired headphones to plug into as with previous models.  The home button with fingerprint ID is in the same location along with the side power, and volume buttons.  The true magic of the iPhone 8 is beneath the hood.

The True Tone display gives a rich feel for the picture and video quality. The mechanics behind the quality of imagery given by True Tone is that it has sensors that measure the amount of ambient light color and adjusts the brightness accordingly when capturing videos and pictures. Storage for the iPhone 8 has been limited to two sizes which are the 64GB and 256GB. The dust and water resistance capabilities have been enhanced to give the iPhone 8 a water resistance level of rating IP67. This means that it can be submerged in under 1 meter (about 3 feet) of water for up to 30 minutes and still function without issues.  Capturing photos and videos are impressive with a 7MP front facing camera which is complemented with a 12MP rear facing camera.  The standard iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus come with digital zoom. The standard comes with 5x digital zoom and the plus comes with 10x digital zoom.  Portrait mode comes standard with the iPhone 8 Plus, but then gets an upgrade by having Portrait mode in the front facing camera with Portrait lighting. The beloved Portrait mode can now be done with light from the front or the back and in light or dark scenarios.   Video capture and playback are done in magnificent 4K at 24, 30, and now 60 fps.  The ability to take 8MP photos while capturing 4K video recordings comes as part of the iPhone 8 package for both models.

To get a true understanding of the work designed behind the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus is to look at the processor. By doing a true blend of Artificial Intelligence, user interaction, speed, and efficiency, Apple’s driving force for this device is the A11 Bionic chip.  The A11 Bionic chip has a neural engine which does true machine learning. This chipset is the most powerful currently packed into a smartphone device. With this processor, it allows the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus to perform 25% faster than the previous models. Multi-tasking is easily accomplished without compromising performance by the A11’s ability to access all 6 cores simultaneously.  Wireless charging has been added as an enhancement which Apple is showing that they are slowly moving away from the conventional cords that restrict use and access. The icing on this cake is iOS 11, which comes with a plethora of additions to performance, features, and updates. iOS 11 will come standard on all of Apple’s new devices and will be available for download to all Apple devices on September 19th, 2017.  Now for pricing on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. The iPhone 8 prices are 64GB $699 and 256GB $699, then the iPhone 8 Plus is 64GB $799 and 256GB $949. Preorder today with your carrier and be one of the first to receive shipment between October 2nd to October 9th, 2017.

iPhone X (iPhone 10)

Before closing the Apple event on September 12th, 2017, Apple gave its enthusiasts a market changing introduction of their iPhone X (iPhone 10). Everyone expected that the iPhone 8 would be the star of the show and then subsequent models would follow to make the introduction of the iPhone 8 and updates that much more powerful. However, Apple had a different view in mind. To commemorate their 10th year anniversary and to give the Apple fans innovative technology, they introduced the iPhone X (iPhone 10). From the exterior to the interior, the iPhone X is unlike any other iPhone ever delivered by Apple. One of the first features to stand out about the iPhone X is that the screen goes from edge to edge, where the black spaces were for the fingerprint ID and the upper large portion for the camera and hearing have been significantly reduced to a thin strip. There is no more “home button” and the screen has jumped to a 5.8-inch super retina display. The screen size is larger than any of the iPhone Plus models. The phone comes in two colors which is space grey and silver adding feature to the durable glass which encompasses the phone completely. In terms of pixel density, the phone has 458 ppi (pixels per inch).  OLED is integrated into the super retina display of the device and is the first to be integrated with a smartphone. True Tone is included with this device as with the iPhone 8, it enhances the picture taking experience and allows the viewer to engage with the images or videos on a more realistic level.

“Siri” can be engaged by the usual “Hey Siri”, but if there is no home button, then Siri can be launched by the new feature of the right-side button.  The iPhone X comes with what Apple has dubbed “Face ID”. Facial recognition is included with the iPhone X allowing it to give the security features of facial recognition that is required. The facial recognition feature is so advanced that it will not unlock the phone unless the phone is looked at by the user.  The thin strip at the top of the display is where the technology resides. In the thin strip at the top of iPhone X is located the Infrared Camera, Flood Illuminator, Front Camera, Dot Projector, Proximity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Speaker, and Microphone. All these features work together to determine the size, depth, and characteristics to create a mathematical model to determine if there is a match for the face ID originally created by the owner of the device.  Even if there are changes to the user such as changing hairstyles, adding accessories, aging, or even adding facial hair, Face ID can depict the owner of the device and if there is a match. All processes are done on the device and not sent to a server as with other facial recognition software. The statistics revealed by Apple is that only 1 in 1,000,000 can ever unlock the device with similar facial features.

iPhone X comes dust and water resistant with the same level of resistance that the iPhone 8 has of IP67. Wireless charging is integrated as part of the features added which is why the durable glass encases the device from edge to edge. No more need for conventional chargers or carrying multiple chargers for all your Apple devices.  Portrait mode is integrated with the camera allowing selfies to be taken with the professional sharp look that users of the iPhone Plus have grown fond of.  No longer having to only take Portrait images in lighted areas only, because there is a new Portrait Lighting feature that is supported by the TrueDepth camera included with this device. The back camera is 12MP and the front facing camera receives the upgrade of 7MP.  The digital and optical zoom is up to 10x. Taking videos are all in 4K giving the record and playback features impeccable quality at 60fps.

The true genius behind the iPhone X is derived from the A11 Bionic chip which has a total of 6 cores. Two of the cores are the major processors and the other four load balance for the primary processors making multi-tasking effortless.  The A11 chip is integrated with machine learning allowing for an advanced user experience as it learns the habits, voice, and facial features of the owner.  The iPhone X comes with iOS 11 as part of its standard package allowing the new OS to fit this device perfectly.  The battery life for the iPhone X has been upgraded to 21hrs of talk time, 12hrs of internet surfing, 13hrs of video playback, 60hrs of audio playback, and up to 50% faster charge than the previous models.

Now for pricing and availability of this new this device. The iPhone X comes in the same capacity as the iPhone 8 which is 64GB and 256GB. The pricing for the iPhone X is $999 for the 64GB and $1,149 for the 256GB. Apple is accepting Pre-orders for the iPhone X on October 27th, 2017 and the first shipments will start to be received 3rd of November 2017. We at IT GURUS OF ATLANTA have been keeping close tabs on Apple and their development of this new technology. We look forward to unveiling more information for this device as the time rapidly approaches. Stay connected with the latest news and updates from IT GURUS OF ATLANTA by subscribing to our newsletter in the link below:

IT GURUS OF ATLANTA LLC

“All Your Company Information Technology Needs Under One Company”

3355 Lenox Road Atlanta, GA 30326

www.itgurusatl.comcustomerservice@itgurusatl.com|

(888) 511-0143 OR (706) 406-5914

“As a registered SAM.gov company, we service government entities across the entire US and Canada”

“LIKE” us on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/itgurusatl / “FOLLOW US” on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/itgurusatl / “CONNECT” with us on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/itgurusofatlanta/

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