If You Don’t Plan IT, Technology Happens

May 10th, 2012

If You Don’t Plan IT Technology Happens

Serious Fire Safety Concerns with Many Offshore Communications Cables … and what you should know.

August 18th, 2010

From the Communications Cable & Connectivity Association

The incidence of offshore-manufactured communications cable products which fail to meet industry fire safety requirements continues to plague the Structured Cabling industry in the North American (NA) market.

As a user of building communications cables, you should be aware that some commercially available cable products are not compliant to minimum NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) National Electric Code (NEC) fire safety standards, even though they may display the listing mark of a major, independent testing organization. In addition, some cable products also fail to meet minimum standards for physical and electrical performance, which can impair network performance and in some cases result in network failures and lost productivity. In other words, these cables offer only the illusion of quality, electrical performance, and fire safety.

The Communications Cable & Connectivity Association (CCCA) has been concerned about this problem which affects the entire Structured Cabling industry and undermines the codes and standards based integrity of the NA market. In 2008, and again in 2009, the CCCA conducted quality testing of randomly selected communication cable samples purchased from NA distribution, from manufacturers not widely known. Tests were conducted by a well recognized independent testing agency familiar with communications cable electrical and fire performance standards and testing. Many of the samples failed minimum flame spread and smoke requirements, showing a serious public safety hazard. CCCA is working with the major independent testing agencies to address this issue, to promote high-quality, high-performance products in the marketplace, for the betterment of the industry.

Based on these findings, it is evident that some manufacturers are continuing to substitute inferior materials and circumvent the quality assurance practices of independent testing agencies. Consequently, there is a significant amount of imported cable currently in inventory that is questionable, at best. If ever there was a time to heed “Caveat Emptor” … “Let the buyer beware” … that time is now.

Our recommendation is to purchase cable from known, reputable, quality-focused manufacturers.

To download a printable version of this article, click CCCA Fire Safety Concerns in Offshore Communications Cables

Blue Wave Parent Company, Compuquip Technologies, Releases Summer Newsletter

July 18th, 2010

Welcome to the eighth edition of Quip Notes, the newsletter presented to you by Compuquip Technologies!

To download a printable version of the newsletter, click Quip Notes July 2010.

CEO’s Corner:

Photo - Alberto DosalI am delighted to announce some exciting updates for Compuquip! First, we very recently announced the promotion of Eric Dosal to Chief Operating Officer. Eric started eight years ago in sales and excelled, growing a small territory successfully and winning many new accounts. Several years ago, he was asked to take over our managed services operations, which had many challenges in its infancy, and was able to grow it soundly and profitably. Over the last two years, he has served as director of services streamlining our offerings, hiring a terrific support team and mastering our billing and accounting systems. Please join me in congratulating Eric on his new assignment!

Second, this past April, twelve brave members of the Compuquip Team swam, biked and ran in the Nautica South Beach Triathlon. We are not only proud of their training, preparation and participation, but their sense of “giving back” by raising over $16,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The team of Eric Dosal, Alex Marrero and Ian Anderson took first place of the Compuquip teams participating. We look forward to next year’s event and growing our team to include clients, family and friends.

Lastly, I am honored to have been selected by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce as Group Chair for Domestic Business Development, following in the footsteps of Jorge Gonzalez, president of City National Bank. As Group Chair I will oversee twelve committees that represent Miami’s diverse business and industrial sectors, including technology & bioscience, healthcare, small business, real estate and transportation. I hope you will join me at the Chamber and help us make Miami a better place to live, work and play!

Serving our clients, partners and community continues to be our top priority. Our door is always open and we welcome you to let us know how we can help!

Alberto Dosal, President & CEO

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New @ Compuquip

Compuquip Technologies Promotes Eric Dosal to COO

Photo Eric DosalCompuquip Technologies has appointed Eric Dosal to COO from his previous role as director of services.

In his new role as COO, Dosal will be responsible for the future direction and management of Compuquip’s sales, client services and human resources. This will include a strong focus on client support and the introduction of new offerings to help small and medium-sized businesses leverage technology to reduce costs and improve operating efficiency.

“We’re proud to recognize Eric’s contributions to our company’s ongoing success and welcome his continued leadership in his new role,” said Alberto Dosal, Compuquip’s president and CEO. “Since joining the company in 2002, he has helped to streamline our operations, grow our client roster and reinvent our service offerings to adapt to economic and market demands.”

As director of services, Dosal more than doubled the size of Compuquip’s IT support team and developed and implemented processes and services that grew the business 200 percent over a three year period. Before this, he was director of managed services, responsible for developing and rolling out Compuquip’s successful Managed IT Services business model, which provides complete IT infrastructure and network support to help small and medium-sized businesses improve productivity and reduce business downtime.

“I’m very pleased to expand my role and take on the added responsibility of growing our family-owned and -operated business,” said Eric Dosal. “Along with my father and my brother Brian, we look forward to continuing to evolve our company and deliver IT solutions that benefit regional businesses and provide significant return on their investments in technology.”

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Exchange 2010 & Virtualization: Enabling ‘Always On’ Email

by: Jorge Azcuy

Over the past decade, Corporate Email has slowly but surely moved from a Tier 2 application with an acceptable Recovery Time Objective of up to 48 hours, to a Mission Critical application that is always expected to be available. This is mainly due to the maturation of mobility-enabling technology such as Blackberry and Windows Mobile as well as many ‘paperless’ initiatives that rely on a company’s messaging infrastructure. Executives, managers, and everyday employees alike just expect Email to always be ‘On’.

Compuquip recognizes how crucial Email has become to our clients (and really, to ourselves) and has been designing and deploying solutions that meet this rigorous standard without breaking the bank. In fact, over half of our current and scheduled projects involve deploying a Highly Available infrastructure for Email. There are two technologies that are helping to make ‘Always On’ Email a reality:

  • Virtualization
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2010

The benefits of Virtualization in general and VMware in particular have been widely documented for the past few years, including in these two blog posts: Uptime 201 and Cloud Computing and the Future. However, Exchange Server 2010, which was released to the public in November of 2009 and is still in the early adoption phase of its lifecycle, looks like a home run when it comes to High Availability for small businesses and enterprises alike. To note:

  • Exchange 2010 improves upon the clustering enhancements introduced in Exchange 2007 by introducing Distributed Availability Group (DAG) technology. DAG eliminates the need for traditional shared storage clusters by replicating changes to the ‘Active’ Exchange database in a near real-time fashion. The changes are sent to one or many ‘Passive’ databases in the form of 1 MB Log files.
  • As stated in the previous bullet, there is no longer a 1-to-1 limit for database replication. A single database can be replicated to up to 16 different Exchange 2010 Servers.
  • As you may infer from the previous two bullets, clustering across the WAN, which was complex and limited in Exchange 2007, is fully supported with very few restrictions in 2010.
  • A failover from an Active copy of the data to a Passive copy of the data can be done on a per-database basis; failing over an entire Server, which may be hosting multiple databases, is no longer required.
  • While Windows Enterprise licenses are still required to enable replication, Exchange Standard Edition can be used for DAG, representing a significant cost savings.

Large and small clients alike are now able to achieve ‘Always On’ email that is not only affordable, but can be implemented quickly. There are many more High Availability benefits which are driving our clients’ adoption of Exchange 2010 and Virtualization, but you get the idea.

The following design represents a ‘real world’ example of a deployment scheduled to start this month:

exchange server example

Before reviewing some of the finer points of this design, a note about the client: They have already invested in a Disaster Recovery Site, a good amount of bandwidth dedicated to that site, and a VMware Infrastructure, including SAN replication and Site Recovery Manager. However, to my point earlier in this article, a recent outage resulted in the conclusion that a 2-4 hour recovery window for Email was not acceptable; they wanted Email to be ‘Always On’.

Now, onto the design notes:

  • All components will be installed on their existing VMware Infrastructure, which means that all servers will be able to take advantage of features like HA and vMotion that protect against planned or unplanned hardware downtime.
  • The environment is designed to provide multiple levels of redundancy: There is no single point of failure.
  • If a single physical server fails, VMware will provide redundancy.
  • If a single virtual machine fails, Exchange replication or Windows Network Load Balancing will provide redundancy.
  • If an entire site fails, Email will automatically be rerouted to the remaining site via the hosted Email Filter (McAfee SaaS, formerly MX Logic, is our provider of choice).
  • If both sites fail, incoming Email will be queued by McAfee SaaS and be made available to users over the Internet.

A decade ago, implementing an Email environment that can truly provide this level of High Availability would have taken six months to 1 year and cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Today, we estimate this deployment to take less than a month and cost in the $15,000-$40,000 range, including software and services, making Always On email a reality for even our smallest customers.

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Employee Spotlight:

Michael Baron, Technical Account Manager

Mike BaronThis September Mike Baron will celebrate his 5th anniversary with Compuquip Technologies, where he serves Compuquip clients and delivers the latest technologies in a variety of business environments.

A Florida International University graduate with a Bachelors degree in Management Information Systems, Mike began his career at Compuquip as a Field Engineer visiting client sites. Since then he has obtained MCSE 2003, SharePoint Design and Deployment, Citrix Design and Deployment, and VMware Sales and Technical Professional certifications, and has advanced to the roles of Network Engineer and Senior Network Engineer where he was involved with the design of servers at the network component level.

In his current role as Technical Account Manager, Mike is responsible for developing a technical roadmap for his clients and working with Compuquip’s sales and engineering teams to implement pioneering technology solutions. Through analysis and understanding of his clients’ business environments, he leverages IT solutions that can improve their business productivity and bridge the gap between technology and end-users.

Said Mike, “I am excited about my future at Compuquip where I envision my role as a Technical Account Manager becoming more vital in directing the integration of technology across our clientele and continuing to stay on the bleeding edge of technology innovations.”

“Mike has really blossomed in his role as a Technical Account Manager,” added Compuquip’s Technical Services Manager, Jorge Azcuy. “He has a great rapport with his clients and a firm grasp on their technology needs. I have no doubt that Mike will be a key employee for Compuquip for many years to come.”

In his spare time Mike enjoys fishing and playing golf in the summer, and skiing in the winter. A family man with no children of his own yet, he gets plenty of practice in spending time with his nieces and nephews.

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Blue Wave Partners with the Hilton Miami Downtown

November 16th, 2009

Challenge:

The Hilton Miami Downtown was in dire need of reliable and high speed internet access for their hotel guests.  As the number one complaint received by the hotel, adequate internet services became a top priority.  Installation was complicated by the layout of a 40-year old hotel with hard, inaccessible ceilings and walls, and a need for an aesthetically pleasing design and an installation that was as unobtrusive as possible to guests, staff and hotel operations.

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Compuquip Newsletter Featuring Blue Wave Communications

November 15th, 2009

Compuquip’s Quarterly Newsletter, Quip Notes, features Blue Wave Communications in their November 2009 issue.

To download a copy of the newsletter, click Compuquip Quip Notes November 2009

Blue Wave Employee Spotlight: Max Bravo

November 14th, 2009

Max Bravo

Field Operations Manager

Blue Wave Communications

Max Bravo joined Compuquip on February 1, 2001.  Nearly 9 years later, he has grown with and within Compuquip where he started as a Computer/Printer Technician, progressed to Cable Technician in 2002, and transitioned to his current role as Field Operations Manager for Blue Wave in 2005.

Max takes special pride in providing Blue Wave clients with the support and solutions they are looking for.  He thrives in his hands-on role where he oversees and ensures the quality of work performed by all Blue Wave technicians, reads and interprets construction plans, pulls necessary permits, interacts with contractors, and verifies that all contracts are completed on time and within budget.

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Out-of-Sight Fire Hazard: Abandoned Cables And Wires

August 28th, 2009

From The June 2006 issue of Maintenance Solutions Magazine. The resource on institutional and commercial facilities management.

By James Piper.

Depending on the size, use and age of a typical institutional or commercial facility today, it can include thousands or even tens of thousands of feet of cable. And a good percentage of that cable has been abandoned. Lift any acoustical ceiling panel or inspect any riser system or telecommunications closet, and the chances are very good that abandoned cables — lots of abandoned cables — will turn up.

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Blue Wave Communications featured in South Florida Hospital News

August 28th, 2009

Blue Wave’s Cabling Expertise Results in Faster Information Flow, Greater Return on Investment

By Vanessa Orr

For a printable version of this article click here, Blue Wave Hospital News Article.

Tim Orr, General Manager of Blue Wave

Tim Orr, General Manager of Blue Wave

There are few things more frustrating in an office setting than slow-moving data or frequent computer crashes.  And while many people are quick to blame phone lines or software programs, the fact is, there could be another reason why things aren’t working the way they should.

“A lot of businesses don’t realize that their networks are only as good as their weakest links, and cabling can have a lot to do with that,” explained Tim Orr, general manager of Blue Wave Communications. “If cables aren’t tested and installed to the proper standards, they can degrade a company’s network, causing it to run more slowly, take more time to connect, and cause programs to crash.”

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