The Chip Merchant

To Cloud or not to Cloud?

We’ve all seen the Microsoft commercials. “To the cloud” is their marketing statement and one that you can’t get out of your head. Brilliant advertising by Microsoft, but what exactly is the cloud and should you be in the cloud? Cloud computing is an umbrella term that allows organizations to share critical computing infrastructure (e.g. servers, storage, etc.) and related services over the internet.

Cloud computing delivers flexible applications, web services, and IT infrastructure as a service, over the Internet, using a utility pricing model. Cloud computing allows businesses to instantly scale their technology requirements to meet new demands. The Cloud is a cost-effective approach to technology because businesses don’t need to make usage predictions, upfront capital investments, or overpurchase hardware or software to meet the demands of peak periods.

Why should I move to the cloud? Efficiency – lower hardware and IT costs. Outsource your hardware needs to providers who can provide maximum efficiency. Having virtualized applications run on pooled resources makes much more efficient use of hardware, requiring fewer servers to be purchased. Scalability – add and remove resources at will. No need to devote hardware to a particular application. Flexibility – pay for what you need. Cloud computing customers simply pay for the resources they use, as they use them.

For small businesses, the significance of cloud computing primarily comes down to cost. In many cases, using cloud-based infrastructure is cheaper than running and maintaining one’s own physical servers. Likewise, the pay-as-you-go licensing model of software-as-a-service providers provides lower costs than traditional software, or at least distributes that cost across low monthly payments. Should I make the move? In a word, yes. In addition to cost savings, moving to the cloud allows for improved business productivity, improved security, enhanced collaboration and 24/7 availability of IT resources.

The Chip Merchant now offers cloud services specifically tailored to small businesses. Call us now at (858) 268-4774 for a free cloud evaluation and find out if you are ready to move “to the cloud”.

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Tech Tips

The Fresh Install

Whether you’ve assembled a new system or are looking to start fresh, most PC users will need to install Windows at some point. However, some often overlooked details of this operation are the proper order to install drivers, prerequisites and finding out what the dreaded “unknown device” is.

It’s generally best practice to download the latest drivers for the motherboard, video card and other devices before you start from the respective manufacturer’s website.

The normal order is as follows:

  1. Install your Operating System. Special Note: If you’re using a RAID you may need to load a driver for the storage controller to see your array(s).
  2. Load the Chipset Driver. – Many times when people see a lot of “Unknown Devices” or devices with exclamation points in Device Manager they simply failed to install the proper Chipset driver(s).
  3. Video card driver. If your motherboard has onboard video, this may have been installed with the chipset drivers.
  4. Network connections – Install any Network Interface Cards (NICs), ethernet or wireless.
  5. Audio – If you’re on XP still you may run into a limitation installing audio drivers. Generally most newer boards require certain features added in Service Pack 3 be present in order for installed audio drivers to function correctly. In some circumstances SP3 isrequired for an audio driver to install at all.6. Other – Install the drivers for anything not mentioned. This may include TV Tuners, serial/parallel cards, firewire cards, etc.

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