Hyperconverged Infrastructure: Datacenter Management Made Easy

Datacenters host the most sophisticated and essential business processes, but are often inefficient and expensive to manage. Made up of storage, servers and networking, IT staff with highly specialized expertise spends much of its time troubleshooting to keep these systems available at all times. Meanwhile, new technology is purchased and integrated into current and legacy systems, creating more complexity and an overwhelmed staff.

Imagine a simple and unified way to merge cloud-like agility and cloud-like costs with the security and reliability of on-premises solutions. NEC’s HyperConverged Infrastructure (HCI), powered by Scale Computing, delivers a more manageable solution in a single appliance, a “datacenter in a box.”

A turnkey solution that offers storage, servers, networking and virtualization, HCI is not a new idea and more than 46% of organizations are planning to purchase by 2020. Read further to understand the complexities of traditional datacenters and how a Hyperconverged Infrastructure addresses these and minimizes the costs.

Complexities of Traditional Datacenters

Disparate Systems are Difficult to Manage

Many factors lead to the purchase of disparate systems in a datacenter, including new IT trends, business-critical applications, virtualization and cloud. With so many specialized systems, IT staff must be skilled and trained on the particulars of managing each system. These separate systems, each with its own server, storage, networking and management requirements, create IT silos and cost more to manage.

Scalability is Inefficient

When a business-critical application or the public cloud requires more storage, the organization may not have a clear picture of current datacenter assets available for use. Purchasing more servers or more storage, without regard for space or current capacity, is inefficient and adds to the complexity in the datacenter environment.

Innovation is Nearly Impossible

If the IT staff is spending most of their day trying to rectify errors, learn the specific elements of managing many different systems and install service updates, they will have little time to create new business solutions. Being proactive is nearly impossible with a staff who is in continual react and repair mode.

Downtime is Expensive

In 2014, Gartner estimated that the average cost of network downtime was $5,600/minute. Increased human involvement in managing a complex environment, especially with specialized infrastructure, also increases the risk of downtime. If a business-critical application is unavailable for an hour, the cost to the organization could be in the millions.

How HCI Solves Datacenter Complexity

Hyperconverged Infrastructure integrates hardware and software into one system. By consolidating and streamlining IT processes, HCI brings the hardware into one rack and one virtualized system that is managed on a single screen. With a single management interface, HCI makes troubleshooting simple and easy, allowing your IT staff to be more proactive and productive.

By creating a more unified and simplified environment, adding capacity to existing infrastructure is seamless, without disruption to any running workloads. Different models and capacities can be used together, in many different combinations, to scale out resources more efficiently.

HCI is more stable, offering redundancy and higher availability than traditional virtualization solutions. NEC also offers the option of Disaster Recovery as a Service, building in advanced security and reliability and virtually eliminating both planned and unplanned downtime.

About NEC’s HyperConverged Infrastructure Solution

As another addition to our Smart Enterprise portfolio, NEC’s HCI runs on NEC’s Express 5800/D120h high-density, dual socket modular server that can host 4 nodes in a single chassis. NEC has also partnered with Scale Computing, a hyperconverged infrastructure company, to power the complete virtualization solution with their HC3 software. This cost-effective single appliance is designed for rapid deployment, ease-of-use, seamless scaling and high performance.

NEC’s HCI solution comes preconfigured and preinstalled from the factory for easy integration into the current datacenter environment. Creating a unified and simplified system, the “datacenter in a box” operates as a redundant and elastic “private cloud,” reducing both complexity and cost.

The initial investment in NEC’s HCI solution is lower than other industry providers because our solution includes all the software, hardware and support at a single price. By eliminating expensive virtualization software licensing fees, organizations can quickly realize the value of NEC’s HCI solution and lower their IT costs.

Make certain you keep up with ever-evolving technology while improving your IT processes! Download our eBook, “Keep Calm and Unify Your IT,” to learn more about HCI. If you would like to speak with an NEC Solutions Expert, please contact us today.

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The 3 R’s In Disaster Preparedness

Few want to be ‘that person’ … the one whose phone rings first when some aspect of the organization’s critical infrastructure fails. Hoping for the best is all well and good. Even planning for the worst only goes so far. There are just too many variables in preventing unexpected outages to be totally failsafe. Yes, there are some situations that can be planned for. But the severity of even known concerns can mean the difference between a manageable and challenging scenario.

When disaster does strike, it is all about recovering to a state of normalcy quickly and minimizing any impact to the end user experience. This applies to almost every aspect in risk management, whether it be for a physical location or operational infrastructure.

Here at NEC, disaster preparedness can be broken down into 3 core competencies – otherwise known as the 3 R’s.

Resiliency

Resiliency
Fully redundant architecture that supports and runs in lockstep with mission critical infrastructure.

Information must be protected yet accessible before and after the restoration of essential services.

Our high availability infrastructure works to deliver a multi-tiered resilient environment that recovers quickly should disaster strike through the use of our Five9s Fault Tolerant servers, disaster recovery software and SAN and Scale-Out Grid Storage solutions.

Our Fault Tolerant servers and ExpressCluster® software are viable options for effective redundancy protection of physical security applications and possible hardware, software and site infrastructure failure.

Robustness

Robustness
Simplified environments based on stable, flexible foundations that elevate security and responsiveness.

To alleviate the risk of data loss and the expense of investing in backup management infrastructure, third-party hosting is a viable alternative while SDN solutions deliver greater oversight for companies interested in keeping control in-house.

NEC is uniquely positioned to deliver Backup-as-a-Service. As the first technology infrastructure provider to join Iron Mountain’s Data Center Marketplace, we can help protect and deliver accessibility of the data stores we host through Iron Mountain’s secure, compliant and energy efficient data centers in North Virginia (VA10) and West Pennsylvania (WPA1).

With so much depending on the network, our software defined networking software and switches can deliver granular, end-to-end network visibility and administrative insight from one central point to promote continuous supervision and greater operability.

Relevance

Relevance
Deliverables that best adapt to the needs of internal and external users through optimized experiences.

For optimum protection of those on-site and within related or nearby offices, emergency protocols can be a vital life line.

NEC’s highly accurate facial recognition technology provide better situational awareness through the use of identification matching software and video surveillance for greater on-site safety and more appropriate course of action.

Where large numbers of people must be reached quickly, our mass communications solutions can send voice, email and text messages or a combination of all so people stay informed and remain vigilant.

Check out NEC Retail solutions to learn more.

Our enterprise security solutions provide a comprehensive package of options that range from streamlining visitor handling, providing employees with a secure environment through physical and visual safeguards and helping to make your critical processes highly available.

Don’t wait for that next phone call or incidence. Let NEC provide a roadmap on critical IT, communications and on-site recovery that will help your organization’s preparedness in disaster recovery.

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RESOLVE Plus 2018 Conference

In late August, NEC’s annual RESOLVE Plus Conference took place at NEC Corporation of America’s (NEC) headquarters in Irving, TX. NEC’s RESOLVE Plus (Remote Engineering Support of Large Volume End-users) is a subscription program for end users with at least 20,000 end points which provides direct access to NEC’s National Technical Assistance Center (NTAC) for engineering support plus complete software support coverage for NEC platform software and applications through Software Assurance (SWA). The conference brings together members of the program to discuss their existing solutions and NEC’s overall technology offerings portfolio.

RESOLVE Plus members from Vanderbilt University, Tift Regional Health System, JPS Health Network, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, and the Department of Veteran Affairs attended the two-day gathering. The conference agenda emphasized administration of various NEC applications currently running at customer sites in an effort to demonstrate how to increase efficiency. Members were provided expert technical insights on the latest software releases and enhancements leveraging NEC’s application technology to increase work productivity. Additional presentations of particular interest included: NEC Product Roadmaps, an overview of the UNIVERGE SV9500, and NEC’s IT offerings.

The RESOLVE Plus Conference is also an opportunity for members to network, exchange and share new ideas around product implementation and use. Marcus Newman, Manager of Network Services at Vanderbilt University, who values the networking opportunity that the RESOLVE Plus Conference offers, commented, “It is always good to get in a face-to-face setting to hear about challenges experienced by other large customers and how they were resolved, plus discuss our own.” Discussing NEC solutions and the design implementation at other sites provides insights on how to better utilize NEC’s technology and make it more efficient.  Marcus added, “The direct interaction with the SWA team, NTAC managers and staff, and product managers helps build relationships that have been very beneficial to us in the past.”

This sentiment was echoed by Walter Niedhammer, Voice Network Team Lead at JPS Health Network, when he affirmed, “The NEC RESOLVE Plus conference provides an opportunity for us to communicate directly with NEC and other top level customers. But more importantly, NEC RESOLVE is a unique relationship that allows us to give and receive direct information and feedback on current solutions, to hear about new products and offerings, and to provide our input on what the group feels would be beneficial to all.”

While NEC strives to make the two-day conference informative and worthwhile to the RESOLVE Community, we also like to have a little fun! Watching the Texas Rangers take on the LA Dodgers Global Life Park in Arlington was the perfect way to relax and network. To learn more about the value NEC offers with RESOLVE Plus Program, fill out the form below.

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What’s “More Personal” Than Your Face?

Personalizing the Customer Experience with a Unified Biometric Key

The path to a frictionless, personalized customer experience begins with something unique and individual—your face. Using facial recognition technology, a single unified biometric key  enables a seamless experience as you move through an environment, whether it’s a sports stadium, entertainment facility, airport, hotel or casino. Facial recognition technology is the key that unlocks a contactless customer experience in a wide range of venues and situations. What could be more convenient or more secure?

Recent developments in facial recognition solutions are not only enhancing security in airports, stadiums or hospitality locations, but also making access to public spaces more convenient, effortless and personal for patrons. Today, consumers are enjoying the speed and security of unlocking their phones using facial recognition, without the bother of passcodes. These demonstrable user benefits have made face-driven technology more common and acceptable as a secure and time-saving part of our day.

Increasingly, consumers are looking for this same easy, contactless and convenient experience in other areas of their daily lives. Benefits of biometric technology are applicable to other situations that require secure access and easy transactions. Here are a just few ways NEC, a leading global provider of Advance Recognition Systems technology, is changing today’s customer experience through facial recognition.

Removing Bottlenecks at Large Events

A game day experience can be exciting and fun. However, you may have to navigate through a few long lines before you can get to your seat to cheer on your team. Sports arenas handle large crowds on a regular basis. In fact, in 2017, the NFL alone had more than 17 million spectators attend its regular season games, while the NBA averaged 17,830 visitors per game in 2017 and 2018. With large crowds, come inevitable “pinch points” as fans move through the venue. What if advanced facial recognition technology could eliminate some of those stress points and create a more pleasurable and hassle-free fan experience?

Everything from dropping your car off in a parking garage, entering the gate, purchasing concessions or swooping into a VIP suite is made easier by using a unified biometric key as a virtual parking pass, wallet and secure entry ticket. Guests no longer need to juggle parking permits, paper tickets, cash or credit cards. They don’t even have to remember where they stored their electronic tickets or try to recall app passcodes or loyalty numbers. Best of all, no more waiting in long, annoying lines. Let’s be honest, who wants to wait 20 minutes just to buy a water at the concessions?

Personalizing the Customer Experience Yields Positive Results

From the point of view of a sports venue, hotel or theme park, facial recognition solutions enhance the customer experience and can have a positive impact on the bottom line as well. Some examples include:

  • Providing concierge alerts when a VIP enters a facility
  • Enhancing guest services protocols
  • Providing crowd density estimates to allocate staff more efficiently
  • Offering opportunities for personalized sales and services on site

A single unified biometric key triggers concierge alerts when a VIP enters a hotel or casino, prompting enhanced guest services and special offers to the valued patron. Front-desk staff can greet returning loyalty guests by name, further personalizing the check-in experience.

Stadium VIP patrons enter suites seamlessly using facial recognition. Enhanced services are delivered in a more personalized way. Theme parks quickly admit season pass patrons through the gates using facial recognition, with the ability to provide special offers and services geared to loyal guests. Often the technology can be integrated with and deployed using existing venue systems, making the installation an even easier, more cost effective situation.

Since customers’ purchasing during an event is faster using a single unified biometric key, this increases the number of transactions that can be processed in the finite duration of an event. Not having to bother with cash or credit cards speeds up purchases and enables staff to serve more customers more quickly.

Facial recognition technology also captures crowd estimates at venue entrances, concession areas, hotel lobbies or retail areas so additional staff can be deployed immediately where they are most needed.

On-site offers can enhance the customer experience. Facility managers don’t really know who is attending a sporting event or musical performance. They know who bought a ticket, but not much information about the purchaser. Facial recognition provides real-time demographic data about attendees or guests to enable a venue to further shape the customer experience with on-the-spot offers and services.

For instance, if a stadium has facial recognition data that shows it has a large percentage of young men ages 21-29 in attendance for an event, it can prepare by stocking more beer at the concession stands, or change the advertising on retail shop displays to appeal to this demographic, or even alter music choices in the common areas.

Marketing partners and sponsors are able to curate offers in real time to appeal to a certain type of guest—enhancing the customer experience and positively affecting brand recognition and potential sales as well.

Transforming Transportation Processes

Stadiums, theme parks and hotels are not the only facilities being transformed into more efficient and secure places. The transportation industry is also seeing new uses for NEC’s facial recognition technology, considered to be the world’s best in search speed and accuracy according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).Transportation should be about getting to your destination quickly and with as few problems as possible.

Today’s airports are busier, more congested and more stressful than ever. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, more than 821 million passengers boarded U.S. airline flights in 2016—and with the demand for air travel expected to double over the next 20 years, this will certainly make for some very crowded airports.

Free eBook on Facial Recognition Systems for Aviation and Airports

In the United States, facial recognition technology is being tested to permit passengers to board flights quickly, and also for fast access to airline lounges. Since the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency started testing NEC’s NeoFace® Express facial recognition solution in U.S. airports in 2016, it has registered a success rate of close to 99%. Other airport-related potential uses of a single unified biometric key include:  passenger check-in counters, bag drops, in-airport entertainment, boarding, retail and monitoring baggage claim areas.

The cruise ship industry is finding that a single unified biometric key can be used for everything from terminal queue management and effortless check-in to frictionless embarkation and debarkation, and for seamless payments and onboard purchasing.

Enhancing Security Through Technology

Security concerns have invaded almost all aspects of our lives in recent years—from travel to entertainment and sporting venues to retail spaces. Unfortunately, when people gather in public places, there is automatically the awareness of an increased threat, forcing security concerns to be uppermost in our minds.

Our reality is the tension between the heightened focus on keeping public places safe while not having a negative effect on the actual customer experience. The ability to create an excellent customer experience requires balancing both efficiency and security.  Authorities responsible for the safety of public places are extremely concerned, and debates over how best to address security concerns are ongoing. At the same time, increased usage of facial recognition in consumer products is making the technology more acceptable as consumers recognize the convenience it provides: frictionless, personalized and secure experiences.

Facial Recognition from NEC

Solutions that combine surveillance cameras with facial recognition software can elevate the level of public security in airports, stadiums and other public places. Also, enterprises can ensure only authorized personnel have access to their facilities, while retailers and sports and entertainment venues can secure their facilities and protect their customers.

 

Changing the ‘Face’ of the Customer Experience

Deploying a single unified biometric key based on facial recognition technology helps deliver a superior guest experience. Our unique face is rapidly becoming the universal key to replacing our usernames, passwords, paper tickets, parking permits, payment options and even more.

Whether at a stadium or a major transportation facility, NEC’s Advanced Recognition Systems solutions are at the forefront of reinventing the customer journey by melding the optimal combination of convenience and security.

Learn why NEC is a leading facial recognition provider, and find out more about our biometric solutions by visiting https://www.necam.com/AdvancedRecognitionSystems/

NEC Corporation of America

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The Power of Identity

Facial recognition technology has matured rapidly and provides game-changing solutions to today’s identification challenges. To learn more, fill out the form to download the white paper.

 



Gartner’s UC Magic Quadrant is Losing its Luster

The Gartner Magic Quadrant has long held a place of reverence in the Information and Communications Technology industry as a go-to resource for large enterprises seeking a short list of vendors to consider for technology purchases and projects.

As you may know, NEC is regularly included in a number of Gartner reports, most notably the recently updated 2018 Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications.

Frost and Sullivan Report NEC Smart Enterprise

Despite the fact that NEC is the world leader in lines shipped – with a 14.3 % market share in Global Call Control Licenses Vendor over Q1 2018 according to MZA Consultants – and despite the fact that we offer a full portfolio of UC solutions for businesses small, medium and large, Gartner has decided to place us in the “niche” category.

I’d like to share a few points of fact that I think you should consider when reading this year’s updated UC Magic Quadrant.

“Unified” No More

Let’s start with the name. I believe the widely accepted phrase “unified communications” is reaching its end of life. I’m not the only person who believes this, in fact there are several prominent industry analysts who share this opinion.

A recent NoJitter article by Sorell Slaymaker – a former Gartner analyst who was the lead author on the Corporate Telephony (CT) magic quadrant – makes a compelling point that the Gartner UC Magic Quadrant is “reaching the end of its usefulness.”

In Slaymaker’s opinion, “the idea that an enterprise will use a single platform for all communications is dead. Business communications is increasing an embedded capability in applications, and no one vendor does all things well across all regions of the world.”

His point is valid. We live in a highly customized world. Different business processes drive unique requirements, and we in the vendor community have learned that we must be able to integrate to survive. This is what we as NEC successfully demonstrate and are widely recognized as doing with our smart and integrated solutions across many vertical market sectors such as Hospitality, Healthcare, Government and Education.

Is #Gartner UC Magic Quadrant Losing its Luster? #magicquadrant Click To Tweet

Positioning in Quadrant Highly Questionable

Slaymaker furthermore does not agree with the positioning given by Gartner to several major vendors, including NEC.

As he states: “It’s hard to see NEC move to a niche player this year since it arguably sells more phones than anyone else; has a full feature set; is doing some leading edge things, including incorporating facial recognition into communications; and gets decent reviews.”

Many of our largest customers run multi-vendor, multi-cloud communications environments, just as many also run only NEC. We embrace them all. And I doubt any of them would consider us “niche.”

Furthermore it is worthwhile noting that, not unlike the market overall, a significant portion of our customers are categorized as ‘midsize businesses,’ while analysts like Gartner tend to be disproportionately impressed by major firms with larger marketing budgets. The strong marketing influence of American-based vendors like Cisco, Microsoft and Avaya is another aspect to consider when evaluating Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant.

Smart Enterprise is the Future

The truth of the matter is there’s no perfect Magic Quadrant that can accurately capture the essence of NEC’s enterprise technology business. As a result, you’ll find NEC products, services and solutions captured in 11 different Gartner Magic Quadrants, at last count.

Today’s large businesses run highly customized IT and communications environments, and rather than seeking point solutions to react to specific problems, they’re becoming more strategic about their buying decisions.

NEC believes this strategic approach is best achieved by focusing on the four value pillars of the Smart Enterprise. These pillars are business agility, cloud delivery, collaborative communities and assured services.

NEC supports these four pillars by delivering the industry’s strongest and most innovative portfolio of IT and communications solutions built on 118 years of excellence and expertise.

You can learn more about the Smart Enterprise on our Web site.

The Bigger Picture

Gartner’s library of Magic Quadrants is constantly evolving. For example, the company retired its Corporate Telephony Magic Quadrant a few years ago. Many believe the same will be true for the UC Magic Quadrant before too long.

In the meantime, NEC will continue to pursue optimal positioning with Gartner and other industry influencers with all available facts, vision and information regarding our products, solutions and implementations, as we’ve always done.

And while the era of optimal usefulness may be coming to an end for the UC Magic Quadrant, NEC maintains a healthy rating over on the Gartner Peer Insights Web portal.

If you’re not familiar, Gartner Peer Insights is where you can find customer testimonials on numerous IT vendor solutions. NEC has numerous positive reviews in numerous categories. I encourage you to check it out.

And if you’re an NEC customer, please do us a favor and leave a review! After all, in the customer’s buying journey, there’s very little information that’s more useful than hearing from a peer who has walked a mile in your shoes.

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