Data Centers Eye Altoona

LightEdge was featured in a Des Moines Register article on Thursday, December 4th discussing the growing trend for companies to construct their data centers in Altoona, IA. This newfound attention has been sparked by companies like Google, Microsoft and Enseva moving their high tech data warehouses to the area. The open land, central location and access to fiber optics & power were a few attractive benefits credited for driving this movement. There is also an interview with our CEO, Jim Masterson, about what appealed to the company when building our data center there in 2006, a move that is considered the “first of its kind” by the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Please visit http://dmreg.co/SxFDpX to read the full article and browse some images that provide a glimpse inside the LightEdge Data Center.

LightEdge Solutions Achieves Silver Certification from Cisco

DES MOINES, IA – October 16, 2012 – LightEdge Solutions announced today it has achieved Silver Certification from Cisco®.  To earn Silver Certification, LightEdge had to meet rigorous standards for networking competency, service, support and customer satisfaction set forth by Cisco.

“Achieving Cisco Silver Reseller Certification is yet another validation of our accomplishments as LightEdge continues to redefine itself from a managed services provider to a complete Information Technology business partner,” said Jim Masterson, chairman and CEO of LightEdge Solutions.  “Through our collaboration with Cisco and the use of Cisco routing, switching and compute platforms, LightEdge is uniquely positioned to implement and deliver high availability IT services for our customers though managed platforms within our data center, dedicated on-premise customer-owned platforms or a hybrid of the two for the highest level of reliability and elastic scalability.”

“Cisco is committed to providing tools, training and programs to help drive partner growth, differentiation and profitability,” said Surinder Brar, senior director of worldwide channels at Cisco.  “With specializations in Advanced Unified Computing, Advanced Unified Communications, Telepresence Express and Advanced Data Center Architecture, LightEdge has made an investment in delivering the integrated and customized technology solutions today’s customers demand.”

As a Cisco Silver Certified Partner, LightEdge has met requirements for attaining a broad range of expertise.  To achieve Cisco Silver Certification LightEdge was required to achieve either two from the following four Cisco advanced specializations:  Unified Communications, Routing and Switching, Security, and Wireless LAN, or the Cisco Express Unified Communications Specialization and one of the following advanced specializations:  Routing and Switching, Security, and Wireless LAN.  In addition, LightEdge was required to integrate Cisco Lifecycle Services into their offerings and maintain high levels of customer satisfaction based on independently audited customer satisfaction surveys.

The Cisco Resale Channel Program provides partners with the training required to build sales, technical and Cisco Lifecycle Services skills, and then validates their skills through a third-party audit.  Cisco resale partner certifications—Gold, Silver, Premier and Select—represent an increasing breadth of skills across key technologies and a partner’s ability to deliver integrated networking solutions.  Cisco resale partner specializations—Master, Advanced and Express—reflect an increasing depth of sales, technical and service expertise in particular technologies.

About LightEdge Solutions

LightEdge Solutions is a customer-centric cloud computing and consulting company devoted to solving the IT issues of businesses nationwide. By utilizing our economies of scale, connections with world-class vendors and our own internal passion for engineering, LightEdge allows its customers to “plug in” to enterprise-grade IT solutions that maximize uptime and performance, yet fit into their budget. For more information, visit www.lightedge.com.

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Young Professional Conversation: Lindsay Alderman

Young Professionals Connection, the largest YP organization in central Iowa, is taking applications for its 2013 board. So for this week’s Thursday YP Conversation, I talked with president-elect Lindsay Alderman, 31, about why interested YPs should think about diving into a board position, how she got to where she is, and more.

Lindsay Alderman

Lindsay Alderman

Q: Let’s start with this: Tell me, as simply as possible, what YPC is and why it’s an important piece of the YP puzzle in central Iowa.

YPC is a focused extension of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. The GDSMP is supported by 24 regional Affiliate Chambers and business organizations and more than 4,300 regional member businesses. The mission is simple: to maximize local resources to address opportunities for economic and community growth. YPC was created to give a voice to the YPs in the community that want to be involved. Our efforts focus on connecting young professionals to each other and to the community through social, civic, charitable, and professional development endeavors.

Q: How did you get started in YPC? And how did you rise to the rank of president-elect?

I was first exposed to YPC through the Impact Downtown’s Trash Bash event several years back. It was such a unique event, and I was so inspired by the group involved leading that effort that I knew I needed to become a member and get involved. From there, I decided to run for the Charitable Board, where I knew I would have, what I considered, the most impact. As a board member, I fell even more in love with my community, YPC, and its members that I knew I wanted to commit myself to the organization for at least three years – the board term commitment for running for president. (President-Elect, President, Past President: each 1 year).

Read the rest

 

 

Beyond technology…Building furniture for a future

From landscaping in July to building furniture in September…LightEdge team members have volunteered in many ways this year. This month, LightEdge employees are helping out at the FreeStore, assembling donated dressers from IKEA. The FreeStore is a warehouse where household items and furniture is stored and given to families free-of-charge who are moving out of Children & Families of Iowa’s Domestic Violence Services shelter. Often the women and children left their homes in the middle of the night with little, but the clothes on their backs. At CFI’s shelter, they receive help to start new, independent and safe lives. The problem arises when they are ready to move into their own apartments. They are often stymied because they have no household goods. In 2011, the FreeStore served 201 families, which included 309 children. LightEdge teams are enjoying their volunteer efforts this month in support of the FreeStore and their mission.

 

Back from VM World

LightEdge team members are back from their annual trip to VMworld, held this year in San Francisco.  The conference consists of keynotes, breakout sessions, hands-on labs, and a solutions exchange where vendors showed off their latest innovations.

Here are some thoughts on the high notes of the week:

  • For the past several years, VMware has been talking about “cloud” and how it is going to transform IT.  This year, it was no different but where others are still spewing the same hype about cloud, VMware is actually delivering.  2012 is bringing a new version of vSphere 5.1 as well as the next evolution of vCloud 5.1.  With the new vCloud suite, we’ll be able to bring more of the features that customers are used to having in the vSphere client available through vCloud.
  • In 2011, VMware made a push for end-user computing that included a virtual Android phone, Horizon Application manager and Project Octopus (for lack of a better term, dropbox for corporate users).   This year, they’re delivering again.  Horizon Application manager is more mature, and Project Octopus is now Horizon Data.  New View technologies make managing the desktop even easier.  VMware even brought some of the protected corporate apps to the iOS devices similar to the virtual phone for Android last year.
  • vRAM licensing model is no more!  The licensing model that had few fans is officially gone.  VMware listened to their partners and customers and is moving back to a per socket licensing model.

We hope those few highlights give you an idea of some key discussions and topics that came from VMworld last week. LightEdge brought back a host of new information and is excited to share that with their customers!

LightEdge Hires David Flagel as part of Consulting Department Expansion

New hire is a networking and security expert with Cisco CCDE, Cisco CCIE and CISSP®-ISSAP® Certifications

Des Moines, IA, September 5, 2012 – LightEdge is pleased to announce that the company has hired David Flagel as a Consulting Network Architect as part of a recent expansion of the company’s IT Consulting Department.  David’s wealth of experience, skillsets and certifications will help to expand the scope and capabilities of the LightEdge consulting team to better service customers.

David’s background includes high-level networking and security positions with Wells Fargo, Wellmark, AT&T and Cisco. His networking credentials include Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE), Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) and Information Systems Security Architecture Professional (CISSP®-ISSAP®).  Most recently David has utilized his talents in IT consulting focused positions with BMC Software and EMC Corporation.

“The consulting team is excited to have someone of David’s caliber join the company,” said Chad Gustafson, director of consulting. “David’s background will certainly elevate the networking and security capabilities for the team and raise the bar for the consulting department as a whole.”

In addition to his technical knowledgebase, David is also certified in Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL).  Simply put, ITIL is an industry model for managing IT services and operations based on widely accepted and dynamically changing best practices.  LightEdge Solutions has strategically migrated support and operational practices to ITIL-based standards over the past two years to better support its customer base.

For more information about LightEdge Consulting Services, see http://www.lightedge.com/productsservices/consulting/microsoft-solutions.html

About LightEdge Solutions

LightEdge Solutions is a customer-centric cloud computing and consulting company devoted to solving the IT issues of businesses nationwide. By utilizing our economies of scale, connections with world-class vendors and our own internal passion for engineering, LightEdge allows its customers to “plug in” to enterprise-grade IT solutions that maximize uptime and performance, yet fit into their budget. For more information, visit www.lightedge.com.

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Top Three Support Features – My.Lightedge.com

In the past year, there have been different features added to the customer portal for LightEdge services that make it even more user-friendly. With all of the new options, though, you may be asking yourself which features should I really take advantage of that would make the most impact. Here are the top three features that you can use within the My.lightedge.com portal to help with your service support.

View status of trouble tickets

Simply login to MYLE and view the status of any open trouble tickets without emailing or calling into the NOC. You can also open trouble tickets from the portal.

View bandwidth usage

If your connection seems to be slower than usual, you can login and see if you are nearing the maximum bandwidth of your connection. If that is the case, you can contact LightEdge, to discuss possible solutions to the issue. If that’s not the case, and you feel there is an issue, you can open a trouble ticket online.

Make DNS changes

You can make your own changes to your DNS, eliminating the need to submit a change request and the queue for processing that request.

There are many more features out on My.Lightedge.com to help you manage your account for admins and other official contacts at your company. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact LightEdge support at support@lightedge.com or call 1-877-771-3343 for more details.

LightEdge Engineer speaks at Puppet Labs event

To begin with…No – LightEdge did not send one of their engineers to learn all about puppetry this week. Rather, our engineer was asked to speak at a Puppet Camp event in Chicago, Illinois. Puppet Labs is a software development firm that created an IT automation software for system administrators. After presenting to the Linux User Group in January about Puppet at LightEdge, Matt Patterson, LightEdge engineer, was asked to present at the Chicago Puppet Camp this past Monday (July 23rd). Puppet Camps are community oriented gatherings of Puppet users and developers to allow for networking, best practice sharing, and opportunities to discuss potential implementations that are held all over the globe. Matt was asked to speak about how LightEdge uses Puppet and some lessons learned along the way. It was a great opportunity for him to connect with other experts in that field and bring back even more knowledge to LightEdge and their customers on this rapidly growing product.

Questions to ask before moving to the cloud

By Matt Patterson, LightEdge Engineer

Everyone is talking about Cloud these days? Are you in the cloud? Is your infrastructure cloud ready? What the heck is the cloud? You may already be using the cloud and just don’t know it.

With all the talk of the cloud of what it is and what it isn’t, there’s a general agreement that at some point, you’re going to have a conversation about moving your infrastructure out of your four walls and what that really means to your organization. Whether you’ve taken the leap already or are planning to in the near future, it makes sense to fully understand certain considerations that help lead to a successful platform.

Questions to ask

When evaluating a shared cloud provider, you should be asking some of these questions (and many more pertaining to your particular needs) to make sure that you are prepared for various scenarios that can develop. Even the well known names have the occasional issues. It’s best to, at a minimum, consider what your plan is for different situations to make sure you are making the best decisions for your company.

  • Access to the VM. Do you have a remote console access? Do you need to VPN in to then RDP or SSH? What level of security is offered by default to your VM?
  • Backups! Even though your workloads are now virtualized instead of running on a physical server, you still need to be able to both successfully back up the data and successfully recover in a timely fashion. Test your backups and make sure that you can recover the necessary data to be up and running within your recovery window.
  • Access to support. One of the tricks to use when checking out cloud providers is to see how fast they will respond to a phone or email inquiry. When you call their support number, are you in a long queue before you get a real person? If you leave a voice mail, do you get a return call that day? How about email? What’s the response time? Do they have an online chat that you can use? How comfortable are you with the response you received before you have an actual issue?
  • Brick and Mortar. For the truly tech savvy folks out there, you want to know that the physical facility that your virtual bits are going into can stand up to the various outage-causing issues that may come its way. Not everyone is going to be able to take a data center tour based on your geographic location. But hopefully you can find information about the facility on a web site or with a quick chat with someone from sales. Mother Nature has a habit of taking out the biggest of the power grids. Is the data center prepared to run for a while without power? What happens when the generators run out of fuel? Is the facility on multiple power grids?
  • If you are a high end site that can’t handle much downtime, then you’ve probably made the investment to have your workloads in multiple data centers. One thing you’ll want to make clear – If datacenter A goes down, is there any limitation either of your application or the data center itself that relies on the other data center. You should be fully separated and able to run active/active if you truly want to mitigate downtime. This is often an area that can haunt a company who has put a lot of hard work (and money) into making their environment as redundant as possible.

Is this a fully comprehensive list of everything you need to ask your cloud provider? No, but it does give you a good starting point. Physical servers and cloud servers…they’re not that different. Ask the right questions and be comfortable with your level of risk.

Happy computing!

LightEdge Team Members are True Warriors

This past weekend, more than a dozen LightEdge team members and spouses participated in the first ever Warrior Dash to be held in Iowa. The race took the team up and down steep trails through the woods, over dry creek beds and over / under 12 obstacles placed throughout the 3+ mile course. They pushed themselves to complete obstacles that included jumping old cars, climbing cargo net walls, jumping fire lines and wading through the final obstacle – a mud pit – while ducking under barbed wire. It was a race that pushed the team to their limits, especially given the hot summer weather, and one that will not be forgotten any time soon. They proved themselves to be true warriors and are looking forward to recruiting even more team members to participate next year!

   

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