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8 Key Takeaways from IDS Fast Forward

By | Cloud Computing, Events, IDS, IDS Fast Forward, Infrastructure, Security | No Comments

Just one word is needed to sum up the theme of the inaugural IDS Fast Forward event: DISRUPTION!
On July 13, IT leaders gathered in Chicago to hear from a dynamic and diverse lineup of presenters, to learn about cutting-edge technologies from top solution providers, and to network with their peers. During the event, it became clear: in order to deliver the outcomes demanded by businesses, today’s technologists need to both think and act differently.  Not only do they need to embrace disruption, they need to cause it. Read More

Welcome Aboard

Meet Randy Pyle, Director of Sales at IDS

By | Employee News, IDS | No Comments

Empowering IDS customers by transforming the way IT is delivered

As IDS’ new Director of Sales, Randy Pyle is drawing on a vast career in technology—from both the OEM/vendor side and the reseller side—to help drive aggressive growth plans. He’s focused on moving IT forward through solutions that provide improved efficiency, flexibility, performance and a competitive advantage. Read More

IDS placed to Inc 5000 for fifth time

IDS Celebrates Fifth Year on Inc. 5000 List

By | Cloud Computing, Data Center, IDS | No Comments

We are excited to announce our inclusion in the 34th annual Inc. 5000 list, honoring the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. This year IDS ranked No. 167 in the Chicago market and No. 3912 overall, and marks the fifth time we have been recognized.

We credit this recognition and impressive growth to our strategic initiatives and a passion for putting customers first. Matt Massick, IDS CEO, explains that this year has been about tightening processes, expanding solutions and revolutionizing the customer experience. He said, “Our Inc. 5000 placement can be attributed to a significantly expanded solutions portfolio which includes a distinguished IT consulting practice, IDS Cloud offerings, and most recently, the IDS Asset Management Portal and the IDS Integration Center.” He added, “Each addition and development for our business is carefully calculated with our customers in mind. The positive response to our improvements has already caused a highly accelerated growth rate in 2015, and we can’t wait to see where the next few years take us.” Read More

IDS announces three new hires to expand engineering team

New IDS Hires Announcement: Welcome to the team!

By | Employee News, IDS, Networking, Security | No Comments

We’re incredibly excited to announce the addition of three new hires at IDS who will be instrumental in growing our business around transformational technologies. The strategic expansion will further fuel the growth of the IDS consulting practice by increasing focus surrounding big data, analytics, security and software-defined networking. We have experienced incredible success over the last few years, and this latest addition is one of many that will continue to contribute to the ongoing IDS transformation. Read More

IDS Announces Brand Refresh and New Website

Announcing the New IDS Look

By | IDS | No Comments

We are excited to officially introduce you to our refreshed brand, new website and IDS Cloud services branding!

IDS has grown exponentially over the past few years. As we took a step back and evaluated our company, we realized our branding and web presence had fallen behind the level of excellence achieved by the services we deliver to our customers. We also realized that because IDS has naturally expanded to include cloud services and IT consulting in addition to our data center integration solutions, we needed branding that would encompass our entire company as we continue to evolve. Because of this, we’ve been working around the clock to update our branding and web presence. Read More

nine big data takeaways for 2015

Nine Big Data Facts to Guide Your Technology Resolutions

By | Data Center, Storage | No Comments

We recently came across one of Gartner’s newest reports, “Major Myths About Big Data’s Impact on Information Infrastructure,” which explores nine big data myths. An abundance of marketplace hype and news about big data has caused a series of misconceptions surrounding the hot topic. To help straighten out the confusion, Gartner completed valuable research around nine major areas. We read through the lengthy report and compiled the biggest takeaways for you.

If you’d prefer to wade through the report on your own, check out the full Gartner research report instead.

Nine Big Data Takeaways for 2015

  1. Everyone has not already adopted big data. Many organizations exist in a state of fear that they will be the last to develop and implement big data strategies. Thanks to Gartner’s research, we know that in reality only 13% of organizations have actually fully adopted big data solutions. On the flip side, the research also reveals that close to 25% of organizations have no plans to invest in big data at all.
  2. Quantity doesn’t trump quality. Organizations are becoming so obsessed with collecting big data, they’ve forgotten about the importance of quality. Gartner explains that many organizations think that larger data sets mean flaws have less of an impact. In actuality, the number of flaws grows as the data does, meaning the overall impact of errors is unchanged. IT organizations need to put just as much effort, if not more, into big data quality strategy.
  3. Big data won’t eliminate data integration. According to Gartner, using new technologies to replace some data integration steps won’t eliminate the need for integration; it will just change the design. Gartner recommends assessing the existing architecture to pinpoint areas for improvement as top priorities for new engineering approaches.
  4. Data warehouses will still be relevant. While a lot of hype surrounding big data seems to suggest there’s no longer a need for data warehouses, Gartner reports that’s simply not true. According to Gartner, organizations don’t necessarily need to utilize data warehouses during the experimentation phase, but they should still implement them afterwards. Gartner points out that curated data leads to the best scoring and risk models, keeping data warehouses relevant.
  5. Data lakes will not replace data warehouses. Critics are also arguing that data lakes will replace data warehouses. Garter responds by suggesting that data lakes aren’t quite as easy as they seem. They recommend capitalizing on already-successful data warehouses, instead of dealing with the lack of analytical and data-manipulation skills necessary for data lakes.
  6. Hadoop will not replace data warehouses. With a third theory, critics suggest that Hadoop will replace data warehouses, but Gartner dispels this one too. Gartner reports that fewer than 5% or organizations are actually planning on replacing data centers with Hadoop, and the number is actually decreasing.
  7. Big data has not fully matured. As specified earlier, only 13% of organizations have actually deployed big data solutions. While big data is growing, it’s not a mature market and there is still an incredible wealth of information that is unknown, making risk very realizable.
  8. Big data is not the end-all, be-all. While big data seems big, it’s not the first opportunity for IT development. Gartner’s research shows that processing capacity doubles every 22 to 28 months, memory capacity doubles each year and every five years storage improves in efficiency, among other advancements. Instead of reacting in a panic, Garter suggests that organizations should calm down and develop a logical plan that works for them.
  9. You need to keep data governance in mind. Because big data is just like any other data, only larger, organizations still need to employ data governance initiatives. Gartner mentions that as organizations implement big data they should re-evaluate the current data governance structure and make sure it is flexible enough to meet the criteria needed.
Five signs it's time to invest in your data center

Five Signs It’s Time to Invest in Your Data Center

By | Data Center, Design & Architecture, How To | No Comments

In an industry where technology development and advancement moves incredibly fast, even top CIOs may feel like it’s impossible to keep up. While they may feel like their organization is falling behind, how do they determine whether they really are? What counts as “up to date” in our constantly evolving IT landscape, and is that even good enough? It’s easy to let Data Centers get out of control, and unfortunately it’s a risky business to do so. We’ve compiled the five top signs that your Data Center needs some investment to help cut through the confusion. See one or a few things that sound eerily familiar on this list? It may be time for a Data Center upgrade.

Five Signs Your Data Center Needs an Upgrade

  1. Your data center feels like a desert. If you’re carrying around a personal fan while walking through your Data Center, you’re definitely losing the Data Center cooling battle. Some recommend looking at a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis to assist in cooling system arrangements, and hot and cold aisle containment. If your Data Center continuously suffers from heat stroke, it’s probably not operating to the highest capacity possible.
  2. You skipped spring-cleaning the last 10 years. While it’s easy to let gear pile up, it’s vital to complete some fundamental analysis when it comes to the hardware in your Data Center. Equipment that no longer adds value, or is simply not being used should be thrown away or donated to a non-profit organization like a school for example. Discarding old equipment can have countless benefits including increased power capacity and clearing valuable space.
  3. Your server lifecycle was up three cycles ago. There are multiple reasons why a server lifecycle may come to a close. Because server lifecycles can vary greatly, deciphering that usable life can be confusing based on legacy applications and operating systems. We follow a general rule of thumb that if the server can no longer meet your required needs after 3 years, replacement or an alternative solution will likely make sense over simple upgrades. Replacing old servers, or incorporating innovative technologies like virtualization, cloud-based services, and converged infrastructure can help consolidate and optimize the Data Center. In turn, consolidating the Data Center can reduce cabling, management, heating, cooling and ongoing maintenance costs.
  4. Your cabling looks like a rat’s nest. Cabling can easily consume a Data Center if it’s not managed properly. If you’re not labeling, tying down and properly organizing your Data Center cabling, you need a serious revamp of this vital part of the Data Center. This type of disorganization can even lead to human error that can cause downtime to business-critical applications. If a wrongly placed elbow could take your retail business offline for multiple days, it’s time to rethink your cabling strategy. In addition to organization, converged technologies can greatly decrease the cabling in your Data Center.
  5. People are walking around your data center and you don’t know who they are. If you’re finding strangers meandering through your Data Center, it’s probably time to consider the physical security and current measures in place to protect your valuable applications and data. While you may not need a full-time guard dog, your organization may consider implementing key card access, security cameras and a sign in, sign out process with regular audits. Keep in mind, the biggest threat can often come from within your organization, so checks and balances are critical. Moving your infrastructure services to the Cloud or colocation facilities can allow you to leverage enterprise-class security and controls without massive capital investment upfront.

Even with the tips above, determining when and how to update your Data Center can be a difficult decision. It’s often a good idea to bring in a third party for a Data Center assessment consultation to make sure you’re receiving unbiased feedback. Taking the time to properly assess your current Data Center infrastructure and plan an integrative upgrade will help deter hasty decisions, and ultimately save critical capital.

IDS Partners with Ronald McDonald House Charities in Holiday Toy Drive

IDS Hosts Holiday Toy Drive in Support of Ronald McDonald House Charities

By | Events, IDS | No Comments

Each year we like to take the time to celebrate our customers and partners with an annual IDS Holiday Party. It’s a time for us to spend some quality time together, and say thanks for a great year. As the year goes by it can be incredibly easy to forget how fortunate we all are, so this year we chose to do something a little different.

This year IDS is partnering with Ronald McDonald House Charities to host a toy drive in support of sick children and their families. There’s nothing more important than spending time with family, and that time becomes even more important when a family member is ill. Ronald McDonald House Charities allows families to stay close to their children while they are seeking medical treatment, providing unequivocal emotional support for the child. We decided that if we get to spend time celebrating with our customers, we want to support a charity that allows families to spend time with the people who are important to them as well.

We’ve been collecting toys at the IDS office throughout the months of November and December, and the pile is growing. We have also called upon our guests and asked that each party attendee bring a new, unwrapped toy to support this great cause. Guests who prefer to make a monetary donation instead of bringing a toy can easily do so on our IDS fundraiser page.

We thank everyone in our network for not only being part of the IDS family, but for helping us to support such an amazing cause. As we see continued success in our business, we wish to raise the bar in our charitable contributions, giving back whenever we can. We hope 2015 will be our best giving year yet.

About Ronald McDonald House Charities

Ronald McDonald House Charities is an independent non-for-profit organization providing a ‘home away from home’ for families supporting their children with complex medical needs. Ronald McDonald House helps 140 families every single night and has saved over $7 million in hotel costs. Various locations in the Chicagoland area allow families to at a minimum, feel comforted by having each other together.

IDS Hires new Director of Pre-Sales Engineering

Welcome to New Director of Pre-Sales Engineering, Ajay Patel

By | IDS, Strategy | No Comments

IDS is excited to announce the addition of a new Director of Pre-Sales Engineering, Ajay Patel, to our team. As a leading Data Center Technology Integrator and Cloud Services Provider we are careful to hire only the most impressive engineering and IT professionals. Right from the start we knew Ajay, who has over 20 years of experience in the field, would be a perfect complement to our skill set and culture.

A New Approach to Technology Solutions

Ajay brings a thoughtful approach to the technology industry. He explains that having the correct mindset is crucial for success.

“In my experience I’ve found it’s possible to orchestrate transformative business strategy using thoughtful data-driven decisions. We can revolutionize organizational growth, performance and profitability simply by leveraging technology in a strategic way,” says Patel.

Enthusiastic about the new hire, Chief Technology Officer, Justin Mescher, explained that Ajay’s hire is a crucial pivot point for IDS. He said that IDS has already seen great success from their Data Center and Cloud offerings, and with Ajay they will be able to dedicate even more focus to expanding and developing customer-facing resources and other initiatives.

“IDS has already grown exponentially due to our unique methodology and expert engineering talent. There is no question that the combination of Ajay’s extensive background and thought leadership will continue to propel IDS further than we ever knew it could go,” says Mescher.

Ajay is looking forward to providing integral expertise and a unique mindset to support IDS in their continued path of exponential growth, but he’s even more enthusiastic about the culture. He explained that he’s excited to be a part of IDS because it represents an impressive level of skill and dedication to customers, something he hasn’t found within many other organizations.

We are thrilled to officially welcome Ajay to the IDS team and look forward to seeing how we will continue to grow with his support.



The Array of Things Plans to Revolutionize Data in Chicago

Array of Things Plans to Revolutionize Data in Chicago

By | Analytics, Security, Storage | No Comments

In a quickly evolving technology industry, we were especially excited to hear about a fascinating project coming right to our own backyard. The Array of Things project recently announced plans to revolutionize how citizens live in, and interact with their cities. In partnership with the City of Chicago, the Array of Things team plans to install a network of interactive, modular sensor boxes that will collect real-time data throughout Chicago.

What Exactly Are Interactive, Modular Sensor Boxes and What Can They Do?

The Array of Things team explains that the first versions of these innovative boxes will be dedicated to collecting information on environmental factors like atmosphere and air quality. The sensors will also have the capability to collect and store information surrounding human activity, but only at a very general level. The sensors will collect data on noise level, surface temperature of sidewalks and roads and will also be able to detect the number of wireless networks in a given area. Without actually recording any personal information, the sensors will be able to extrapolate human traffic statistics.

How Does the Array of Things Team Hope to Use the Data?

Members from the Array of Things team explain that while in the beginning, data collection may be more rudimentary, they believe the sensors will continue to get more complex, allowing everyone accessing the data to use it in a more exiting way.

They state the following potential uses for data collected by the sensors:

  • Healthy walking route suggestions. Researchers could use air quality, sound and vibration data so suggest the healthiest and unhealthiest walking times and routes in the city.
  • Targeted winter salt application. The city may choose to use sidewalk and street temperature data to save money and prevent environmental damage by planning targeted salt application based on traffic.
  • Block-by-block weather reports. Weather experts could use atmosphere data to provide real-time, micro-climate weather reports by neighborhood, or even by block.
  • Safe and efficient route suggestions. Data surrounding human activity might be used to find the safest and most efficient routes in the city during different times of the day.
  • Improved traffic light timing. The city could use vibration data and data surrounding human activity to improve traffic light timing and efficiency.

Not only is the Array of Things team predicting pretty unbelievable uses for projected data, they also believe that everyone should profit from the experiment. The data collected by the Array of Things project will be available to everyone including residents, software developers, scientists, policymakers and researchers to optimize the usage output. Data is expected to be published and updated multiple times per minute.

Wait, What About Personal Security?

The data will be available to everyone, meaning security will be an extremely high priority. Due to the nature of the project, the sensors are designed only to collect general information and will not be capable of extracting personal information from people or devices. The entire project including the software and hardware will be heavily regulated and reviewed regularly to make sure standards are met and kept.

The first 50 sensors are planned for installation during the Winter of 2014-2015, with an additional eight nodes planned for Spring 2015. Potential funding opportunities mean there could be at least 500 additional sensors installed between 2015 to 2017.

Learn more about the Array of Things project.

Image credit to Urban Center for Computation and Data.