Survive and thrive: How to stay ahead in an evolving creative IT landscape

Survive and thrive: How to stay ahead in an evolving creative IT landscape

Your IT infrastructure may be on top form now, but you never know what’s around the corner…

We’re here to help you develop a responsive, resilient IT infrastructure that can support your business in an unpredictable IT landscape, and make sure that rather than just surviving IT setbacks, your business is thriving and moving forward, and you’re not caught out by technological change.

For more information about how our solutions and services can help you survive and thrive, get in touch with the team by calling 03332 400 888 or emailing sales@Jigsaw24.comFor all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Our infrastructure and device management services for education

Our infrastructure and device management services for education

We know that a successful deployment is more than just getting devices in hands. Our solutions help both students and teachers get the most out of their devices they use in their work every day.

In this video, we lay out everything we can do to help your school on its way towards a successful technology deployment, in particular establishing a robust wireless infrastructure including network and WiFi surveys, installation services, structured cabling and switches.

If you want to know more about our services for education, give us a call on 03332 409 290 or email education@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Migrating from your old Xserve to new infrastructure

Migrating from your old Xserve to new infrastructure

We get it, you love your old Apple Xserve. You’ve grown up with it, got to know its quirks and foibles, and shared sweet memories in the soft glow of its system identifier light. But while Apple’s rack-mounted server may have been a loyal servant to your business over the years, it’s now obsolete. So it’s high time to move on from your outdated architecture and get with a new model.

Apple discontinued the Xserve all the way back in 2011, realising their server market was too small to actively compete with mainstream manufacturers. While it’s still supported up to OS X El Capitan, and you’ll probably get a couple of years of updates yet, if you want to use Apple’s latest operating system, you’ll find macOS Sierra has dropped software support for the systems altogether. So to make sure you’re up to date, compliant and – above all – secure, you’ll need to invest in new infrastructure hardware.

Originally, those wanting to continue using Apple for their server-based needs were catered for in the shape of the old Mac Pro tower or the more compact Mac Mini Server option. These ran the macOS Server system which, since the discontinuation of the Xserve, began getting simpler so that it was able to run on the more basic machines.

But for businesses who require enterprise-grade, industrial-strength servers, this solution wouldn’t really be ideal. So what next for former Xserve acolytes who need a server to cover deployments of both Mac and PC?

Many large Mac-based companies have been running Unix AppleShare file servers for years, so a rack-mount, scalable Unix-based server is the strongest option. You’ll find that many new servers from the likes of HP, Dell and IBM will actually cost you less than the price of the original Xserve, include more options for storage, and are easier to expand and scale with your business needs.

And if you still find yourself feeling overly attached to your old server, you could always do what some creative clever-clogs have done and turn your old Xserve into a coffee table.

 

Don’t live in the past; get your infrastructure reviewed

To make sure your setup’s as future- and disaster-proof as possible, book an infrastructure review with our expert field team. For just £450, they’ll visit your premises to ascertain how resilient your systems are, and provide recommendations for strengthening them further or ensuring you can support new formats and standards.

As well as help migrating from obsolete solutions such as Xserve, we can advise on:

– Storage utilisation and growth.

– Removing network bottlenecks.

– Securing critical systems.

– Creating a business continuity plan.

– Disaster recovery strategy.

– Developing cloud strategy.

– Integrating Mac and Windows environments.

Want to know more about Xserve, infrastructure and beyond? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email solutions@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

 

Get peace of mind with our bespoke support packages

Get peace of mind with our bespoke support packages

If you’re looking for scalable, flexible and reliable support for your Apple kit and infrastructure, we’ve got you covered. With a 97% customer satisfaction rating for Apple repairs, 25 years’ worth of experience and a range of options to suit your business, you can be confident that you’re in safe hands.

Your IT infrastructure is critical to the success of your business, and our support can give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you’re supported by experts.

Whether you’re overhauling your infrastructure or looking at integrating Apple, our accredited team of engineers and dedicated support staff are available to lend a hand every step of the way. From over the phone post-sales support with product purchase, to a fully managed service where we proactively manage your IT for you, we’ve got a support package perfectly suited to your business needs.

Our team boasts the highest levels of accreditation for many tech solutions – not just Apple! This means that as well as covering your devices, our support contracts can cover all your infrastructure, including servers, storage, backups, central infrastructure and networking… whatever you need!

What makes us different?

With 25 years of experience working with the UK’s top corporate and creative companies, we understand that every organisation’s IT needs are unique. Our consultants will work in tandem with your team, providing top notch support to ensure that whatever you need is there whenever you need it.

Because we’ve tackled every kind of workflow, including those where your infrastructure supports an Apple and PC environment, we can usually resolve your issue first time round – even if Apple aren’t the only vendor involved. We respond to 96% of calls within one hour and prioritise tickets based on impact and urgency, so for example if your server went down you’d be our highest priority.
Our service agreements are not just there for when something goes wrong. You’ll have a dedicated point of contact from our team of accredited engineers for whenever you need technical advice. We’re keen to be inclusive with our help, so while there are high-end and specialist areas that may be out of scope of standard support, we will always do our best to help and offer as much advice and support as we’re able to.

What’s right for your business?

Our modular approach enables you to select which type of cover you need for different elements of your infrastructure. We can provide support for just one component or all of your infrastructure, depending on what you need help with. We’re totally flexible and our support options are scalable, so we can provide a support package that meets your exact business needs.

Level 1: Post-sales support

We provide telephone and email support both during and after purchase, so if you have a problem or are not completely satisfied, we’re just a phone call away. We also offer product returns and exchanges should you find your purchase is unsuitable, and our post-sales desk is open 9am-5pm Monday to Friday.

Level 2: Remote support

Our remote support options all come with standard service level agreements (SLAs) and are ideal for businesses who want end user device support for their Apple Macs and iOS devices. These offerings can include warranties, staging and configuration, remote device support, hardware break/fix with replacement kit or loan options if we need to keep hold of your kit for more than five days.

Level 3: Infrastructure support and Mac management

After more in-depth support? Our highly-accredited engineers will ensure your infrastructure and production workflow runs smoothly. Build support to suit your specific needs, choosing from unlimited remote support, cover for media and entertainment infrastructure, cover for your Jamf Pro estate, and cover for your servers, storage, backups, central infrastructure and networking.

Level 4: Managed support

If you want to take the pressure off your management team, let us be your trusted IT partner. Our comprehensive managed support provides you with proactive services, with guaranteed SLAs and monthly reports. Built around you, as with all our packages, this can include Apple and infrastructure support, systems monitoring, infrastructure management, security and patching, and capacity management user administration.

For businesses looking to provide an enhanced user experience for their Apple estate, we can put one of our trained Apple technicians onsite with you for one day a week. This dedicated member of staff will provide users with all the support, fixes and guidance they might need – whatever your challenge, we are able to assist.

If you’re not sure whether we’ll cover equipment or technology that’s important to your business, let us know. We can confirm one way or the other, and, if it’s not covered, give you some options and costs for other solutions.

Want to know more about our support options? Call us on 03332 409 288, email solutions@Jigsaw24.com or visit Jigsaw24.com/support-services for a live chat! For all the latest news and reviews, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 and ‘like’ us on Facebook.

Quiz: Is it time you upgraded your storage infrastructure?

Quiz: Is it time you upgraded your storage infrastructure?

Are you struggling with storage, or quite happy with your hard drives? As businesses grow with new employees, projects and devices, and take on new and more diverse creative work (which usually means increasingly large file formats), it can put a real strain on old storage systems and networks. 

So could your business do with souping up in the storage stakes? Take our quick quiz to find out, and don’t hesitate to get in touch to quiz us on all things storage too!

 

Take the quiz…

How well is your storage network performing?

A. It’s chugging along just nicely, with plenty of bandwidth to cope with our editors working on high end video, thank you for asking.

B. As we’ve taken on more work involving increasing file sizes, resolutions and frame rates, we’ve noticed data transfer is getting slower, meaning less productivity.

C. Our network has ground to a halt – our storage is over 80% full and we’re forever juggling storage, archiving and retrieval.

Are your staff collaborating as best as they can?

A. Our employees are like one singular, living, breathing collaborative entity.

B. It would be great if staff had access to all our shared digital files remotely from home and other offices as well as our office, so they could work and edit together more collaboratively.

C. Does shouting across the office count as collaboration…?

Is your storage hardware arranged effectively?

A. Our storage estate is optimised for space, power and multiple platforms, and is protected against any eventualities.

B. We have lots of disparate shared drives and racks and would ideally like to consolidate them into one resilient storage estate that allows for hardware failures.

C. We have a cupboard with some hard drives in…

Do you have the storage capacity to cope with business growth?

A. We’ve just incorporated 4K, and are coping with storing larger assets.

B. We’ve only just moved creative in-house, and could do with more storage as we’re finding winning new business and creating rich media such as videos is meaning a lot more unplanned data.

C. We can’t really pitch for new business as we just don’t have the storage capacity to take on rich media projects.

 

How did you get on?

– Mostly As: Well done, you. Your storage sounds like it’s in good shape, but do get in touch if you need any advice.

– Mostly Bs: Not bad, but room for improvement. Talk to us about how you can improve your storage infrastructure going forward.

– Mostly Cs: Yikes. Sounds like you could do with some help! We’d recommend calling us for an Infrastructure Review – see below.

What to do next

Whether you’re looking at making your storage fit for purpose for your creative files and workflow, bringing video in-house or scaling up to 4K, the best thing you can do is talk to a qualified systems architect or solution designer. Our expert team can pop in to take a look at your existing setup, and give advice on how storage can accommodate your workflow and bring you the best benefit – all for just £450 ex VAT!

Want to know more about storage and bandwidth, or want to book your Infrastructure Review? Give us a call on 03332 409 306, email thrive@Jigsaw24.com or pop your details in the form below. For all the latest news and reviews, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 and ‘like’ us on Facebook.

Jigsaw24 achieves Jamf Gold Reseller status!

Jigsaw24 achieves Jamf Gold Reseller status!

Joining an elite group of four in the UK, Jigsaw24 has received Gold Reseller accreditation from Jamf. As a Gold Reseller and System Integrator, we’ve demonstrated continued commitment to Jamf, customer service and sport a strong sales record.

In 2015, we sold a cool 7252 Jamf Pro licences and performed 37 JumpStarts (including 42 total JumpStart sales), successfully integrating Apple IT into schools and businesses throughout the UK. Last year, we provided more JumpStarts than any other partner in the UK. A JumpStart engagement accompanies all purchases of Jamf Pro – a certified JumpStart integrator will work alongside your staff to implement your new system, and integrate it seamlessly into your existing IT environment.

Jamf Pro allows businesses and schools to harness the power of Apple hardware and manage it accordingly. Designed with self-sufficiency in mind, Apple Mobile Device Management is incorporated into Jamf Pro providing establishments full control over their Apple hardware and individual user activities – a powerful, unified solution for device management.

We are the UK’s No. 1 Jamf Pro reseller, having sold 10% more than any other partner in 2015. Jamf are dedicated to providing the hottest Apple tech to businesses and educational institutions all over the country, offering some of the best IT implementation and integration solutions around. Our engineers work in conjunction with Jamf to JumpStart Jamf Pro, and deliver refreshed, reliable IT infrastructure.

Gold Resller status and being a system integrator reaffirms our strong relationship with the guys over at Jamf, and our commitment to delivering high-quality IT solutions and system integration services to our customers.

We can now add a Gold Reseller badge to our growing list of industry-recognised qualifications, which also includes Avid Elite Reseller, Adobe Platinum Reseller and Apple Premium Service Provider accreditations. We’re pretty good at what we do.

If you’d like to know more about Jamf and Jamf Pro, call us on 03332 400 888, email sales@Jigsaw24.com, ‘like’ us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24

 

Jigsaw24 at Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University

Jigsaw24 at Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University

On the 22nd October, we were invited to the official opening of the new Ruskin School of Arts building at Oxford University. Over the past year we’ve been working with them to build a robust infrastructure and AV solution, including building a film screen window display and three new editing suites. Here’s a sneak preview of what happened on their opening night.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Hamilton presented the opening ceremony. He introduced us to their brand new multimedia lab, three editing suites, a print room, and wood and metal workshops. We listened to speeches from Alumni Conrad Shawcross and Turner Prize Winner for 2012, Dr Elizabeth Price, and watched a special performance by Hannah Jones.

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with everyone at Ruskin School of Art and can’t wait to follow the work they produce in their new editing suites! Keep a look out for our full case study coming soon, and in the meantime take a nosy at our photos from the evening.

2015-10-22 18.08.15 2015-10-22 18.34.56 2015-10-22 17.21.12 2015-10-22 17.21.33

Want to find out more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

How Apple and Acronis are making Mac integration easier

How Apple and Acronis are making Mac integration easier

There have been times in history when Mac computers and PC servers were less than friendly, but with iOS devices overrunning offices and people outside the design department asking for Macs, those days are long gone. OS X offers you tools to make integration easier than ever, and there are some great third party tools available, too.

Let’s start with the basics

It’s a myth that you can’t integrate Mac computers into a Windows environment. The latest version of OS X, Yosemite, even supports SMB 3.0, so everyone’s on the same file sharing protocol and integration is even easier.

However, to deliver the best user experience, your servers still need a little help…

While huge strides have been made, SMB 3.0 is only supported by Windows Server 2012 and OS X Yosemite, and Mac users in a Windows environment can still experience issues like seeing certain files as ‘greyed out’ and inaccessible, or be denied certain permissions that their PC counterparts have. There are also Mac-only features, such as Spotlight search, that aren’t supported if you’re just using Apple’s built-in integration tools, but which contribute a considerable amount to your Mac users’ productivity and the hassle-free user experience they expect from their Apple kit.

Acronis Access Connect (formerly known as ExtremeZ-IP) is a tried and tested solution for solving these issues. By allowing Mac computers to connect to Windows servers over AFP, it re-enables instant search and indexing, and allows Mac users to integrate their files with volumes and file structures on your Windows network. It also returns support for Time Machine, Apple’s built-in backup technology, to the Mac.

Part of Access Connect’s appeal is that it installs quickly, and automatically integrates with Active Directory accounts and NTFS permissions. It then allows end users running any version of OS X to connect using AFP. This results in better performance from their core apps (which are all optimised for AFP) and gives parity of functionality between users.

It also makes life easier for IT admins – not just because they don’t have to deal with incompatibility-based help desk queries, but because Access Connect supports key features like single sign on through Kerberos,  DFS/network reshare, home directories, clustering, quotas, file name policies and advanced logging.

And don’t forget to back up…

If you need to back up your servers (hint: you do) but don’t have the money, capacity or desire to store all your backups locally (perhaps your office is a flood risk, or the office dog likes to gnaw through wires, or you’re just incredibly professional and thorough), then we can help there too.

Our Backup24 managed backup service allows you to back all your data up to our tier 2+ data centre. It’s based in the UK, so you know exactly where your data is, and we physically check that all backups have been successful every day. And if you’re feeling particularly worried about any particular day’s save, our team are only a phone call away. You can find out more here.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email business@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Shared storage for a video editing suite at Bath Spa Uni

Shared storage for a video editing suite at Bath Spa Uni

Bath Spa University were looking for an 11-seat, multi-user video editing suite. They gave Jigsaw24 a call and we helped them find the solution to meet their performance and budgetary requirements, and ensure that they were able to undertake real-world professional projects. As well as including the capacity for future upgrades, our experts implemented a render farm to operate out of hours.

Bath Spa offers a range of courses, from pre-degree study to postgraduate degrees. The university, home to around 5,500 students, has achieved exceptionally high rankings in the national league table. It has also been designated as a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in the creative industries, with strong links with key employers and industry partners.

Bath Spa University have made a significant investment in resources and facilities available to their students, both at the Bath School of Art and Design and the Schools of Music and Performing Arts.

Marrying professional and educational requirements

The university wanted an 11-seat video editing suite with a commercial focus that would be capable of fulfilling real briefs to a professional standard. The technical requirements included managed logins for full- and part-time students, fully shared data storage and roaming home folders and real performance suited to video editing by multiple users. It was also important for the university that the proposed solution consisted of professional industry tools, as completed projects could be used to generate revenue.

Designing a storage solution

Sammy Aindow, one of Jigsaw24’s leading systems and storage consultants, helped Bath Spa University investigate a number of possible solutions. Sammy specialises in backend broadcast and post-production systems, so he was able to assess exactly what was needed.

He decided against a ten Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) storage solution, as it was not the best value for money in this instance and instead suggested a Fibre Channel-based SAN, with redundant metadata controllers for high availability. The Fibre Channel fabric offered redundancy and 8Gb per second capability, which would give the university the opportunity to double their storage bandwidth in the future. In addition to this, tight directory integration would provide the centralised management and security required.

Careful coordination and project management

As the new video editing suite was located in a newly acquired university building where construction was still underway, careful coordination and project management was required. Components for the suite were delivered independently from a number of sources, while a subcontractor installed the Fibre cabling onsite. We organised and carried out the task efficiently, without encountering any problems.

The project was completed, including the final stage of configuration, in approximately three days. Technicians at the university undertook some preliminary work and set up their client machines, while our onsite engineers configured and installed the servers and storage.

Seeing the benefits…

The university now has enhanced professional facilities to offer both its staff and students. The addition of a compressor cluster was not in their original specification but has essentially resulted in the university getting two solutions for the price of one. Several options for redundancy and failover were incorporated to improve reliability and optimise the availability of the systems.

We made sure that Bath Spa got the best possible prices, enabling them to implement the latest 8Gb-ready Fibre Channel switching at no extra cost, with the capacity to double the bandwidth of their storage network in the future.

Want to know more about shared storage for your video setup? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook