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3 Tips to Optimize Your SMB IT Infrastructure

By Peter Miles

Like the enterprise, small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) need powerful, scalable solutions when it comes to IT infrastructure. SMBs face a unique set of challenges and obstacles related to their size and situation when developing server and storage solutions, installing hardware, and handling relocations. We work with many SMBs and have identified several of these challenges, and would like to share some recommendations to help you overcome these obstacles.

1) Evaluate Your Current Infrastructure Before Expanding

One of the most common issues facing SMB IT professionals is not understanding what infrastructure assets exist, how well current assets are being utilized, and uncertainty as to how to improve or expand upon existing resources. For instance, if you have a new service offering, but are unsure if your current infrastructure can support it, an infrastructure analysis can answer that question. Infrastructure analyses can help pinpoint any necessary changes to the current environment and the critical next steps are needed to move your IT initiative forward. It can also provide insight into what your current infrastructure can handle and what changes need to be made to support a project. Finally, an infrastructure analysis will also help you identify whether these changes will have an adverse effect on the infrastructure.

2) Conquer Staff & Resource Challenges

While most SMBs are more nimble than enterprise business, many are also resource-challenged. SMBs may not have the staff or time resources to complete IT hardware installations or relocations themselves, in some instances causing delays to critical projects. Location proximity convenience can also be a factor, as the data center may not be in close proximity to the office. Think about the time away from your office to make a trip to the data center or the time away to perform a memory upgrade, hard drive replacement, or racking and stacking servers. These are the resource challenges that take away valuable time which can be devoted to other organization-wide projects. Whether you host your own equipment, plan on moving into a data center, or are switching data centers, a trusted external IT expert might just be your solution. And, it leaves your employees the time needed to take care of business.

3) Avoid the “Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail” Conundrum

Let’s take the logistics discussion one step further and discuss the benefits of pre-planning. When new equipment is installed or moved to a new location, there are inherent risks involved. These risks include experiencing problems with the new equipment or having systems offline for an extended period of time, thus disrupting access to critical applications. The two major causes of these problems is ineffective planning prior to the move or installation and undetected failures that could have been discovered in connectivity testing and post-production verification. Pre-planning, conducting a connectivity test and post-production verification tests to verify all aspects are functioning properly are some of the most important steps to optimizing your IT infrastructure. For hardware relocations, this means not just physically moving the equipment to the new location; but actually setting everything up and making sure it’s working before hitting production. This can provide a seamless transition and help avoid any setbacks along the way.

Entrusting an IT advisor is of huge importance when undertaking infrastructure projects. Those that are familiar with this issue understand that when one problem is fixed, only to cause an adverse reaction elsewhere on the network, or even worse, reduced infrastructure and staff productivity. How can this scenario be avoided? Having an infrastructure analysis conducted is a good start. With planning backed behind your IT project, it can actually help prevent these issues from occurring, and it’s always good to have a fresh set of eyes—especially since in this case it’s technically trained eyes. If you determine additional hardware needs to be installed or existing systems need to be moved to another location, consider working with an IT infrastructure expert to plan and execute the installation or move. This external IT advisor will be able to analyze the best timing and most efficient processes to install or move your systems, minimizing the time any systems need to be offline. Check out Aventis Systems’ Server & Storage Solutions to learn more about our infrastructure analysis, installation, and relocation services.