4 ways to work remotely and beat the snow

snow

Yet again we are seeing travel disruption, schools closed and people struggling to get to the office due to the weather. And if the forecasters are right its here to stay for a while..and we are only just entering December!

We had all this early in 2010 when the country came to a halt for around a week, with massive impact on industry. Yet technology allows us to overcome these problems for many office users and allows us to be more productive and flexible what ever the weather. So I thought I’d list 4 ways we can all work remotely, paying special attention to email access as this really is the life blood for many organisations.

1) Cloud based systems
The cloud or hosted systems, really do you give you complete access as long as you have a PC with an internet connection. It may be a particular application, such as a CRM or ERP package or a complete hosted desktop. But if its truly in the cloud its available to you wherever you have an ok internet connection.

2) Remote Desktop Service (previously Terminal Services)
If you organisation has invested in this technology, users can access their works systems either through a VPN or through a browser. I did a more in depth article on this with some video some time ago.

3)Outlook Anywhere /Outlook Web Access
Outlook can be configured to talk to your Exchange server even if you are out the office. Using the internet as its connection it will synchronise for mail, calendar and contact items as though you are at your desk. And for the user they just fire up Outlook. A great way to work with Outlook and Exchange wherever you are. If you don’t have your laptop with Outlook on with you, you can still use any internet enabled machine and connect to Outlook Web Access through a browser. With Exchange 2010 you get a feature rich experience even allowing you to see multiple colleagues calendars on the screen. Very fast, very reliable and very safe. Great products. If you use hosted Exchange you get these features as standard..

4)SharePoint
If you use SharePoint to store data, use electronic forms, workflow etc then as long as its been made accessible over the internet or via VPN you can access it from home through the browser. Everything works as normal and document management rules apply no matter where you are. Its your business available to you. If your interested in seeing the benefits of SharePoint 2010 we have a webinar scheduled in the middle of December. Details coming soon on the blog.

If you are interested in exploring any of these technologies further, please feel free to either drop me a mail at liam.walton@tecman.co.uk or phone at 01902 578300.

Thanks

Virtualising SQL server

Our major ERP and CRM solutions all use SQL server as the backend database and over the last couple of year we have been big advocates about virtualising these servers and take advantages of the features this brings. However we often get asked about the performance of running SQL in a virtual environment, does it impact on the system and create bottlenecks in certain circumstances.

Well Microsoft have been doing some research and have published this through one of their blogs, with some good advice and interesting findings.

http://blogs.technet.com/b/andrew/archive/2010/11/23/sql-server-performance-in-a-virtual-world.aspx

Worth a read if your considering virtualising a SQL server.