We Provide Answers to the Most Common IT Questions We Get

How can I protect my customer's confidential data? Will cloud-based services work for me? Am I protected from a potential disaster? Find answers to these questions and more in our FAQs. If your pressing questions are not answered here, give us a call to make an appointment with one of our IT experts.

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  • What is Nutanix?

    Nutanix Complex Cloud Computing PlatformJust as you rely on a computer to run programs and store information, data centers have different methods of managing data and software. The infrastructure used in a data center must meet industry standards while also having the ability to respond quickly to changes. Our data centers primarily rely on Nutanix infrastructures for high performance, security, and ease of use.

    What Benefits Does Nutanix Offer My Business?

    Nutanix is a software-based solution that allows IT departments to build and operate complex cloud computing platforms. While companies such as Facebook and Google spent millions building their own infrastructure for their mass scale applications, Nutanix makes cloud computing available to companies that do not have the level of resources that multinational corporations do. Nutanix products are built on hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) technology by combining storage, computing power, and virtualization into one package.

    We partner with Nutanix to provide everything you need in a cloud computing platform, including:

    • Infrastructure. Nutanix products include both software and hardware, offering turnkey appliances that deliver cloud building for businesses of all sizes. We work with many vendors and implement Nutanix software on a variety of hardware, giving clients more flexibility to choose the size and make-up of their infrastructure.
    • Efficiency. A virtual platform uses hypervisors to run multiple hundreds of virtual computers on a single physical machine. This results in added reliability and huge cost savings for hardware and staffing. The system size and complexity can increase dramatically while still maintaining back-end manageability; this allows one administrator to oversee thousands of servers with the same amount of effort as if it were just one.
    • Scalability. ATI works with you to provide you with an idea of realistic projected growth and helps you determine how much or how little of Nutanix’s services you’ll need. Nutanix services are completely scalable, allowing companies to purchase only the amount of computing, storage, and memory they need. Applications may be built, deployed, or redesigned quickly, allowing your customers to enjoy the highest level of service as your business grows.

    ATI Solutions is proud to partner with vendors that meet our high standards, and would be happy to consult with business owners about the services offered in our data centers. Contact us today to get more information about the storage and service options in our D.C. data centers, or set up an appointment to tour our Chantilly facility.

     

  • Could my business benefit from IT consulting?

    Data Center Consulting and System DesignAs the success of a business increases, so do the demands and expectations of its customers. Unfortunately, owners who rely on outdated or inefficient technologies can suffer significant financial losses as customers seek a better experience elsewhere. Technology changes rapidly, and all businesses should evaluate their information technology (IT) needs and systems regularly—and IT consulting makes it easy for business owners to get the guidance they need for the best end-user experience.

    Advantages of IT Consulting and System Design for Your Business

    Technology consulting allows businesses to make smart IT decisions that will benefit them both now and well into the future. At ATI, our diverse mix of backgrounds and vocational experience allows us to provide recommendations tailored to your business objectives, operational budget, and specific IT needs.

    Consulting can be customized at each level of service, including:

    • Scope and planning. We begin by meeting with operating officers to determine the scope of the specific project or business platform, discuss timeframe and cost constraints, make growth projections, and any special concerns or roadblocks to implementing new systems. We perform an analysis of current technology and provide options of potential new technologies to make operations as efficient as possible while maintaining compliance under federal privacy and protection requirements.
    • System design and integration. Once you have chosen your preferred systems and providers, we ensure that all processes and systems work together seamlessly for customer satisfaction. We can also implement automation of time-consuming business processes to make the most of employee work time.
    • Support. Businesses who do not have a full-time chief technology officer or a diversely skilled IT staff are at particular risk of losses when an adverse event occurs. Our expert consultants can fulfill this critical role, acting as your help desk, as your onsite IT staff or remote hands if you decide to take advantage of our many Data Center services, and offering a secondary base of operations if you experience a sudden interruption or data loss event.

    At ATI Solutions, we understand that one size does not fit all. That is why we design, build, and maintain scalable solutions using technologies that best meet your specific IT business objectives. Contact us today to get more information about the storage and service options in our D.C. data centers, or set up an appointment to tour our Chantilly facility.

     

  • What are redundant CRAHs?

    Data Center CoolingRunning servers and hardware around the clock generates a considerable amount of heat in data centers, and each one must invest in adequate cooling to protect its clients’ machines. While data center operators may use a variety of cooling methods, our DC area colocation centers use multiple computer room air handlers (CRAH) to prevent interruptions due to overheating.

    Common Methods for Controlling Temperature and Humidity in Data Centers

    Servers and hardware can take considerable power to cool, as a single rack of servers can easily generate over 100 degrees. Most data centers run at temperatures around 68 degrees, keeping the machines cool enough to work while maintaining optimal climate control.

    Cooling methods used in computer rooms and colocation centers include:

    • Air conditioning units. Air conditioning, a system that blows air over a cooling coil filled with refrigerant, has been used in many forms to keep electrical systems cool. However, simpler units are being phased out in favor of more modern CRAC and CRAH units.
    • CRAC units. Computer room air conditioning (CRAC) systems work similarly to air-conditioning units, but are able to maintain a set temperature, air distribution, and humidity level. In most cases, the cool air is dispensed through an elevated floor, forming cold aisles that move through the racks. The picks up heat, forming hot aisles at the rear of the racks, then returns to the CRAC intakes above the floor.
    • CRAH systems. A computer room air handler (CRAH) differs from a CRAC unit because the air is cooled over a cooling coil filled with chilled water instead of using mechanical refrigeration. CRAHs are able to modulate fan speed to maintain a set static pressure, keeping both temperature and humidity stable. Our two facilities offer N+1 or 2N redundancy for cooling and power, complete with built-in CRAHs, a multi-stack chiller plant, and hot aisle containment for high-density accommodation.

    ATI Solutions has a variety of highly-customizable IT interventions and deployment options that can be scaled up or down according to your business’ needs. Contact us today to get more information about the storage and service options in our D.C. data centers, or set up an appointment to tour our Chantilly facility.

     

  • What is MPLS technology?

    Multiprotocol Label Switching MPLSMulti-protocol label switching (MPLS) is a way to make IP routing over the internet faster and more efficient. In networks without MPLS, an internet router receives an information packet with a destination IP address, but no instructions on how that packet should be sent to its destination. Each time the packet contacts a new router, the router will make an independent decision on where the packet will be forwarded next, which can cause a noticeable lag in high-quality or time-sensitive applications.

    How Multi-Protocol Label Switching Makes Online Processes Easier

    MPLS improves routing delivery and response by establishing predetermined routes for different types of packets. Instead of forwarding a packet based on its final destination, MPLS systems “map out” the most efficient route for the type of information being sent, then sends it to the next point on the map to reach the final router. This ultimately makes the process much faster.

    Generally speaking, routing through MPLS works by:

    • Assigning FEC. The first time a packet enters the network, it is assigned to a specific forwarding equivalence class (FEC) based on its final destination and file type.
    • Attaching a label. A short bit sequence called a label is attached to the packet containing the additional forwarding information that the router did not have. The label is removed at the final destination router.
    • Streamlining the network. Each router in the network is configured to process packets of a specific FEC type. As a result, once the labeled packet is sent to its next destination, each router can route the traffic without analyzing the packet’s information or performing additional IP lookups because of the label.
    • Improving consistency. MPLS networks have the ability to route and label packets grouped by certain characteristics, such as the point of transmission and the type of application. This allows packets carrying real-time information, such as voice over IP (VoIP) or videos, to be sent using low-latency routes across the network to be delivered without interruption.

    ATI Solutions has a variety of highly-customizable IT interventions and deployment options that can be scaled up or down according to your business’ needs. Contact us today to get more information about the storage and service options in our D.C. data centers, or set up an appointment to tour our Chantilly facility.

     

  • How can I tailor my IT services to meet the needs of my business?

    IT Technology Choices for Small and Medium BusinessesBusinesses face a wide range of IT challenges, and failure to select the right options can have costly consequences. Your IT provider should provide a reliable platform for your customers, but also have the necessary measures in place to protect information and prevent downtime—all while working within your specific business requirements and budget. ATI’s management solutions are highly customizable, making us the optimal choice for insurance companies, banks, and other businesses.

    Common IT Considerations for Small to Medium Businesses

    The right IT solutions will be those that allow you to grow at your own pace, charge only for the resources you need, and perform interventions if an adverse event were to occur. The more flexibility your provider has, the better the chances that your needs will be met if you choose to scale operations up or down.

    Business owners typically need basic IT services such as:

    • Colocation. The purchase and maintenance of IT hardware can place a drain on your resources, especially for small businesses with few employees. Conveniently located in the DC-area, our two data centers have redundant power and cooling, connectivity with multiple carriers, and industry-standard security measures.
    • Cloud hosting and deployment. If your company relies on any services delivered either over the internet or a dedicated cloud network, you will need someone to host and oversee your cloud platform. Our skilled technical staff can create a customized, scalable hosting plan for your infrastructure through private clouds, Software as a Service (SaaS), or Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) for a fully-managed virtual platform.
    • Managed services. A managed IT service gives owners the ability to focus on their daily business operations while the provider prevents potential technical problems. ATI is an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and wide area network (WAN) provider, and our vulnerability and patch management teams regularly audit systems and implement security solutions before they become problems.
    • Disaster recovery. Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) offers the peace of mind that your business-critical systems will remain online in the event of a natural disaster or any other emergency.

    The professionals at ATI Solutions can evaluate your needs and help you determine which storage and service options are right for you. Contact us today to get more information about how our data centers can serve your needs or set up an appointment to tour our Chantilly facility.

     

  • What are the special IT considerations for banks?

    Secure Financial InstitutionCustomers using online banking have seen a technological boom from financial organizations, making it easier to do business with the click of a button. A bank’s online platform must be user-friendly and available to customers 24/7, but also has to have security measures that meet state and federal standards for data protection.

    Risks of Failing to Secure Your Financial Institution’s Online Platform

    Financial institutions face not only all of the online security risks of other businesses, but also the added hazard of being a prime target for cyberattacks. Cybercriminals are constantly looking to exploit weaknesses in security systems, making it vital for banks and other financial institutions to consistently improve and implement new defense measures.

    Financial institutions that do not have adequate network security and deployment are placing themselves at risk of:

    • Theft of protected information. Banks have a duty to protect sensitive financial information, including customers' and employees’ personal identifiable information (PII). Data such as bank account numbers and balances, Social Security numbers, addresses, lending statements, and payment card numbers can all be sold on the black market and be used for identity theft.
    • Penalties and fines. Each nation is responsible for controlling the security of financial information in its banks. Financial service providers operating in the U.S. are required to comply with numerous statutes and regulations pertaining to data collection and protection, as well as state or provincial regulations regarding the security of sensitive information. Failure to implement these controls can result in significant fines for bank owners and officers.
    • Mistaken transmission of sensitive information. Financial institutions may have adequate security of their hardware, but use applications and third-party providers with undiscovered vulnerabilities. Email clients, file sharing services, and cloud storage systems can allow the transmission of protected data outside the bounds of a secure network (where opportunistic cybercriminals can easily access it).
    • Loss of reputation. Even if a data loss event occurred because of an unknown glitch or an external entity, a financial institution will inevitably be associated with the event—especially if a strong data loss recovery system is not in place. The failure to implement data loss and recovery that meets industry standards ultimately results in a loss of reputation that can permanently halt operations.

    ATI Solutions has provided IT services to community banks for over 20 years, and can implement financial infrastructure that is compliant with regulations and scalable to you your bank’s growing needs. Contact us today to get more information about the storage and service options in our D.C. data centers, or set up an appointment to tour our Chantilly facility.

     

  • What are hypervisors?

    Cloud computing allows businesses to run many different online environments from the same physical hardware. One “host” machine can run millions of “guest” virtual machines (VMs), each one with the ability to run entire operating systems and perform all of the functions of a physical computer. A hypervisor is software, firmware, or hardware that controls the guest operating systems and manages the activities on all of the virtual machines.

    Understanding the Different Kinds of Hypervisors

    Hypervisors, also called virtual machine managers, separate a computer’s applications and operating system from its physical hardware. The hypervisor allows multiple virtual environments to exist on the same physical machine while remaining isolated from one another. With more virtual machines and fewer physical machines, having a large infrastructure becomes drastically more affordable. One of the most important benefits of hypervisors is that if one of the many VMs crashes or is corrupted, recovery is quick and easy since it only affects that one VM, leaving the rest of your virtual infrastructure unscathed.

    There are two types of hypervisors: type-1 or type-2. Type-1 hypervisors, known as “native” or “bare metal” hypervisors, run directly on the host's hardware to control the hardware and manage guest operating systems. Type-2, also called “hosted” hypervisors, run on a conventional operating system with the guest operating systems running as a process on the host. The hypervisor layer separates the guest operating systems from the host systems, while running all of the virtualization processes.

    Benefits of using our industry-standard hypervisors as part of a fully-managed virtual platform include:

    • Extending the capabilities of existing servers and hardware
    • Easily scalable technology for more or less virtual machines
    • More efficient use of bandwidth and memory
    • Allowing businesses to test new software and debug programs without disrupting the existing platform
    • Improved security and reliability
    • Lower costs

    The professionals at ATI can evaluate your needs and help you determine which storage and service options are right for you. Contact us today to get more information about how our data centers can serve your needs or set up an appointment to tour our Chantilly facility.

     

  • Why should I choose ATI over Amazon Web Services (AWS)?

    ATI Web Services Word CloudBusiness owners often consider Amazon Web Services (AWS) when they begin transitioning their business to the cloud. As a large provider of web services, AWS can offer cloud computing at a relatively low cost. However, many independent providers offer the same products and services, with the added benefit of keeping your operations close to home.

    Choosing Between ATI and Amazon Web Services

    ATI Solutions offers the same flexibility and scalability of major cloud providers with the addition of having a full-service staff of technicians on-site and ready to help clients implement the platform and deployment options that work for them. Since we offer multiple levels of cloud deployment that allow you to maintain as much control of your online processes as you’re comfortable with, your customers enjoy a quality online experience, and you have the peace of mind that your business will remain up and running at optimal levels 24/7.

    At ATI, our technical staff can help with a variety of cloud deployment concerns, including:

    • What if my business needs change suddenly? – ATI’s hosting options are tailored to each individual client we serve, and we recognize that your cloud computing requirements must be flexible. You will not be limited to a set amount of bandwidth or storage, and can quickly access additional computing resources as you need them—and with our “pay as you grow” pricing, you will only be charged for the resources you use.
    • Will I have to get all new software? – Our services support multiple operating systems and programming languages, allowing you to select the programs and development platforms that are most beneficial to your business. In addition to deciding which services you want to use, you can also select the manner in which they will be implemented.
    • What if an adverse event occurs? – Our servers are configured to switch mission-critical operations to offsite secure alternative servers in the event of a power outage or other service interruption. We have multiple redundancies in place to ensure minimal end-user disruption.
    • What if I need help? – Our technicians are available around the clock to provide intervention in the case of an emergency as well as help you discover better and more efficient ways to serve your customers.

    The professionals at ATI can evaluate your needs and help you determine which storage and service options are right for you. Contact us today to get more information about how our data centers can serve your needs or set up an appointment to tour our Chantilly facility.

     

  • What is 2N redundancy?

    Data centers are responsible for providing reliable and uninterrupted service for their customers around the clock. Unfortunately, these facilities are not infallible, and will always be susceptible to sudden power interruptions caused by weather, equipment failure, or sudden loss of municipal utilities. Since an unplanned outage can cost a company thousands or even millions of dollars in just a few minutes, many data centers offer multiple redundancies to prevent downtime.

    Differences Between N+1, 2N, and 2N+1 Redundancy

    Redundancy is the duplication of critical components of a system in order to provide a reliable backup in case of sudden failure. Data centers typically offer some form of redundancy for power, ensuring that the customer’s systems and devices will continue to operate with no noticeable effect to the user in an outage. However, not all data centers’ redundancy systems are equal.

    The most common redundancy options in carrier facilities include:

    • N+1. An N+1 system, also known as parallel redundancy, offers alternate, redundant components capable of handling 100 percent of the work needed to supply power to the customer’s equipment in case of component failure. Although this system contains redundant equipment, it may run on a shared main power source, so it is not a multi-independent, redundant system.
    • 2N. A 2N system offers not one, but two uninterruptible alternate sources of power, offering seamless transitions between sources to continuously support the customer’s systems and equipment. In addition, the power sources are run separately, fully independent of each other, and go through a fully redundant path to eliminate any single points of failure. 2N systems are more reliable than N+1 systems because they offer at least two options for power in the event of failure, and can be regularly maintained, independently, and be used in the event of an extended power outage. Our Chantilly location offers 2N redundancy for data loss and downtime prevention.
    • 2N+1. A 2N+1 configuration is the highest common tier of downtime prevention, and offers double the amount of power needed to run all client systems and devices. Additionally, each power source has separate, parallel, fully redundant components that can seamlessly power all necessary systems. All this means that if one component from one main power source used in the path fails, there is a backup component which can fully take on its role. This applies to all the components in each separate path from the main power sources.

    The professionals at ATI can evaluate your needs and help you determine which service options are right for you. Contact us today to get more information about how our data centers can serve your needs or set up an appointment to tour our Chantilly facility.

     

  • What does "facility is carrier neutral" mean?

    Carrier-Neutral Data CenterThere are two different ways to provide internet service in a colocation center: carrier-specific and carrier-neutral. Carrier-specific facilities have already chosen the carrier that will provide internet services, and it is the only option available to their clients. In a carrier-neutral facility, the data center is not tied to any one provider, and instead allows clients to choose between a variety of telecommunications and internet service providers.

    Benefits of Carrier-Neutral Data Centers

    Carrier neutrality can be a major asset for companies that want to get the most out of their data center services. Even if a business does not require carrier neutrality in its early days, it can be frustrating and expensive to make the switch to a neutral data center in the future.

    Carrier-neutral data centers offer customers many benefits such as:

    • Better value. Since the data center accommodates a variety of providers, these providers will increasingly offer benefits to remain competitive in the market. Several companies vying for your business allows you to choose the perfect combination of all the services and options you might want to meet your current and future needs.
    • Lower prices. A carrier-specific center might not allow clients to choose their network, hardware, or even software vendors, charging you for a one-size-fits-all service costing you exponentially more long term. Multiple carriers in a single data facility helps you negotiate the prices down not only of your main carrier’s services but of your secondary carrier’s services as well.
    • Flexibility. Clients in a carrier-specific facility will be limited to the bandwidth and network options provided by that data center’s specific carrier, while those in neutral facilities can select service levels that will guarantee their required amount of uptime. They can also either scale up or scale down their required services with much more ease, even have the possibility to switch to a different carrier later on if needed.
    • Protection. Carrier diversity is necessary for redundant systems, and is invaluable when it comes to cyberattacks, service outages, and data loss events. If one internet connection fails, an alternative carrier can instantly continue to provide support for vital systems, while interconnectivity between providers can continuously backup and transfer files to protect against data loss. In a carrier-neutral facility, you also get a say in exactly how you want your configurations for redundancy set up.

    The professionals at ATI can evaluate your needs and help you determine which storage and service options are right for you. Contact us today to get more information about how our data centers can serve your needs or set up an appointment to tour our Chantilly facility.