April 28, 2017 Mark Dryfoos

Several times a month technology acquisitions and mergers are major news.   Brands come and go quickly – technologies birthed in celebration vanish without a whisper in the very same year.  This flux in the industry is such that sometimes brands and technologies change before you finish learning about them.  As such, MNJ does not hard-sell specific products and technologies to customers, as we’re of the opinion that’s a poor way to do business.  Instead of pushing  a product or technology, MNJ endeavors to learn about the customer environment, preferences, needs and pain points.   Nobody knows your environment better than you do, and frankly it doesn’t make sense for vendors to push any solution without knowing whether it’s a good fit or not.   Our goal is to be more than just a vendor, but a true partner.  The communication provided by this relationship allows us to cover all your IT needs under one roof – from hardware to the cloud.  Our consultative approach examines your overall business goals and objectives in order to provide technology solutions that are the best fit for your needs.  This approach incorporates understanding customer preference, challenges and pain points along with both year-over-year and set period growth, potential future upgrades, and estimated budget to name a few.

Advanced technology solutions such as networking, security, virtualization, unified communications and storage necessitate design and architecture resources trained in multiple disciplines and technologies.  This is where the MNJ Sales Engineering team comes in – the role of MNJ’s Sales Engineering Team is to work with the customer and sales teams to learn about the customer environment, preferences, needs and pain points and from there design solutions.  The no-cost architecture and design consulting services offered by the Sales Engineering Team provide an outsider’s unbiased view of your environment.  MNJ’s broad product line provides a degree of agnosticism as well, where customer challenges can be met with multiple solutions with different feature sets, brands and price points.  Utilizing a consultative approach, MNJ works with customers from a holistic perspective to recommend and provide solutions that will fit the environment as a whole, while providing investment protection and understanding how new technologies can help drive the bottom line.

MNJ Technologies enables our clients to achieve their organizational goals and objectives through strategic, simplified IT solutions.

Sample examples from our methodology:

Networking Scenarios

Customer: We’re looking to replace the existing switches out with new models of the same size and capacity as they are going end of support.

MNJ: I understand that your corporate year-over-year growth is 20%.  Factoring that growth into our calculations, it would make sense for you to increase your port density in closets 3, 7, 11 & 14 where you would max out capacity quickly.  In addition, stacking the switches would reduce management overhead.   When you stack switches, they act as a single switch and are managed as one.

Customer:  Our school is planning out a 1:1 initiative and aside from purchasing new access points, and frankly I’m a bit overwhelmed and I don’t know where to start.

MNJ: 1:1 initiatives can certainly be daunting.  Depending on the existing infrastructure, 1:1 initiatives can require significant augmentation to your existing network  or replacement of existing equipment.   In addition, 1:1 initiatives often require an increase in bandwidth, cable runs, and in certain cases, additional staff.   To effectively scope any 1:1 initiative, we need to evaluate your existing equipment and ideally conduct an on-site assessment to collect additional information.  Once sufficient information is collected both from the assessment(s) and discussions, we can work to build out a design.

Collaboration Scenario

Customer: We have an older Cisco Call Manager-based phone system and we need to upgrade it.   I’m new to the role and don’t know how many users or even what version of software we’re using.  In addition, I don’t think we’ve been paying SMARTnet for the last few years.  Can you help?

MNJ: Absolutely – one of our Sales Engineers can log into your environment, assess the version, total number of licenses, types of licenses and number of users to prepare for an upgrade.  In terms of Cisco SMARTnet support, there are low-cost promotions that can be utilized to get you up to date with support to make an upgrade easier.

Data Center Scenario

Customer: We have 42 bare-metal servers and our CEO has been hesitant to virtualize.  Once we were able to convince him of the efficiencies we would gain, he’s finally on board.  What we don’t know is how to start the virtualization process.   There are so many different solutions we could go with.   Our CEO has heard a lot about hyper-converged solutions and may want to go that direction.  Specifically he wanted to check out SimpliVity.  Is that the right solution for us?   If so, which one would you recommend?

MNJ: Virtualization will indeed provide a number of efficiencies; power and cooling, redundancy, security, and management simplicity are a few.  In terms of what solution to go with?   Let’s start with getting an understanding of your current server environment.  A better understanding of your applications, workloads and data requirements will allow us to come up with a number of options that would work.  You mentioned that your CEO wanted to look at SimpliVity.  We can provide a SimpliVity design as one of the options.  There are a few no-cost assessments that we can run to collect the data we need.

May 11, 2016 Mark Dryfoos

Wireless growth continues to explode in today’s enterprise networks.  Wireless devices used for production, 1:1 initiatives for education, and BYOD have caused traditional wireless and network infrastructures to strain, and in some cases become, a bottleneck.  On top of that, 802.11ac Wave 2 access points capable of 5Gbps+ have recently been released.  These access points provide multiuser multiple-input multiple-output or (MU-MIMO) technology which splits signals between clients, maximizing throughput.

Additional speed and throughput is great – if you can support it.  The fundamental problem with providing the necessary speed to access points is that that majority of existing network infrastructure today, at the access layer, is 1GB.  How to get around this bottleneck?  Vendors have proposed two ways.

First, many new access points include a pair of 1GB Ethernet uplinks which can be combined together to provide a 2GB connection to and from the connecting switch.  This solution can work well, but requires costly, invasive and sometimes non-feasible wiring and does not scale.  Running a second gigabit line to each access point provides a maximum connection speed of 2Gbps and with 802.11ac Wave 2 providing 5Gbps+, you could be paying for speed you cannot access.

The second solution is much more elegant and scalable – multigigabit switching.  Cisco, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Brocade and other vendors provide multigigabit switches at the access layer.  Depending on the model and vendor, multigigabit switches can provide 100, 1GB, 2.5GB, 5GB and 10GBASE-T bandwidth per port.  Multigigabit switches utilize the same RJ-45 Ethernet ports used today, but are capable of providing speeds in excess of 1Gbps over those ports.  While the ports are the same, the cabling is not.  What makes this solution so elegant is that existing Cat5e cabling can be used to provide the additional bandwidth – to a point.  While Cat5e will support up to 5Gbps, that’s where it stops.  Cat6, Cat6a and Cat7 cables are required to provide higher speeds over greater distances.  In addition to the bandwidth increase, these multigigabit switches can also provide 60+ watts of PoE per port.  60W per port is enough to power energy-hungry access points and even power smaller switches.

Today, multigigabit switching is available from Cisco, Aruba Networks (HPE), Brocade and other vendors.

Thinking about a wireless initiative?   Let MNJ Technologies help!  Our team of Solutions Architects and Engineers can assist with the assessment, planning, design and implementation of your wireless infrastructure.  Reach out to your MNJ Account Executive to learn more.