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.

  • Page 1
  • Why is it better to host my servers nearby?

    Server Room Every byte of information found online is physically hosted somewhere in the world. It could be in the basement of a startup company or in a data center overseas. No matter how big your business is, your physical machines must be stored somewhere and the right geographical location for your servers depends on many different factors.

    Benefits of Hosting Servers in a Local Offsite Facility

    When it comes to choosing a location for IT hardware, there is a delicate balance between having servers close enough to ensure quality and cut travel costs, but also far enough that owners don’t have to waste focus and resources on maintaining their servers. In the past, budget constraints forced business owners to choose between in-house or overseas hosting. Today, more and more companies are reaping the benefits of “local offsites” that offer hosting as well as IT services.

    There are many benefits of hosting your servers close to home with us, including:

    • Lower overhead. Hosting servers onsite is an expensive endeavor, especially in locations that are not designed to handle excess heat or electrical load. Hosting servers requires expensive and well-planned facilities made just for that. To ensure the environment is safe for the servers, constant maintenance is necessary to monitor temperatures and levels of humidity. Local hosting solutions can free up floor space at your business location, lowering your rent, power, and cooling costs.
    • Security. Our secured DC-area data centers offer rooms and cages with multi-layer security including biometrics, 24-hour surveillance and environment monitoring, and virtual hosting to take the burdens of security and IT services off of your employees.
    • Disaster recovery. It may be difficult to explain to your customers that online operations in your US-based company has been interrupted due to a natural disaster thousands of miles away. Peace of mind is almost guaranteed knowing that at any moment, if necessary, you could access your rack space as opposed to overseas hosting. In addition to taking precautions against common outage risks, we offer a temporary work space for up to 50 employees at our data center location if your main business location suffers an adverse event.

    The data specialists at ATI Solutions would be happy to consult with business owners about the services we offer. 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 scalability?

    Is Scalable Software Worth it?Scalability is the term for an application or network’s capacity to maintain its ability to function as its workload increases and, in some instances, decreases. The best scalable systems will be able to automatically adjust to increased queries or demands without manual intervention, and manage new workloads in a way that is most efficient, ultimately saving both time and money.

    Risks of Choosing Cheaper Systems Over Scalable Software

    Since scalable systems do not need to be redesigned in order to maintain optimum performance levels, they offer immediate and long-term commercial benefits. Businesses may install or subscribe to scalable systems that have the potential for growth that may not apply to the business at that moment, but only pay for the systems they immediately require. If the business experiences a sudden dramatic increase in workload, additional computing power and systems may be implemented or rather “turned on” to the existing system, responding immediately to customer needs.

    When software isn’t scalable, it can lead to a variety of problems such as:

    • Ineffective solutions. Productivity may suffer as more and more strain is placed on inefficient systems. As a way to remediate issues with scalability, companies may install patches as a short-term solution. This may temporarily fix the issue, but more resources will be spent on fixing these reoccurring scaling issues, whereas it could have been avoided if the business was scalable in the beginning.
    • Delays. As simultaneous users increase and more data is stored on the system, the software’s ability to process requests drops significantly, causing delays or even crashing the system. If the infrastructure is not made to handle increasing requests, it will eventually crash.
    • Data breach. As new applications are added to the system in an attempt to ease workflow problems, each new piece of software increases the possibilities of having vulnerabilities and makes it more difficult to diagnose underlying problems. These slowdowns can hinder the productivity levels of employees, in turn forcing them to resort to using unreliable software or unsecured systems to account for the delay. This can place the company at risk of a data breach.
    • Customer frustration. In today’s culture of immediate customer satisfaction, users who experience slow loading times or unreliable software are unlikely to return to a business that could not fulfill their needs quickly and easily if the issues aren’t remediated. With a scalable business, customers experience fewer issues and have an overall better experience.

    The data specialists at ATI Solutions 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.

     

  • How can I be sure all of my business’s IT components will work together effectively?

    IT Services Working and Fitting TogetherBusinesses rely on a wide variety of software tools to perform daily operations. From the front page of your company’s website to the internal email and employee payroll systems, you need all of your software services to perform perfectly, but also to work together as one system. If you are using outdated programs or performing manual workarounds for incompatible products, you are likely losing work hours—and customers—that can cost you millions over time.

    Business Integration for All of Your IT Services

    Business systems integration is the term used for ensuring that all of your software systems can “speak” to one another, allowing them to interact in a way that will best serve your employees and customers and reduce the strain on your infrastructure. As the majority of modern business operations take place online, it is vital that your software is updated and optimized regularly to prevent unforeseen losses and keep up with changing needs.

    ATI uses innovation and industry best practices to provide end-to-end system integration through:

    • Existing services. We can examine your current infrastructure along with programs and systems (including security software, antivirus, business applications, system policies, email, etc.) and find the best way to integrate them, plan out future software or system deployments, as well as maximize the efficiency of your daily operations.
    • Financial systems management. ATI is well known for its competency when it comes to integration for financial sectors, as we have decades of experience successfully setting up and maintaining critical systems for financial institutions. Banks and financial institutions who utilize our Software as a Service (SaaS) can enjoy the benefits of having all of the financial applications they rely on on a day-to-day basis in one easy, secure, and convenient place. We almost always are able to aid clients in cutting down their existing costs due to our many partnerships and longstanding relations in the field.
    • IT consulting. The best way to begin a business systems integration project is to perform a detailed analysis of all systems currently in use and the desired functions, along with future goals and projections of each one. Once this is complete, we can help you determine better ways to save you money while boosting quality and performance, providing other options for products and services that could better serve your needs, and help you strategically choose the best methods for interconnecting all of your existing systems. We ensure that interconnection will not cause any disruption to your workflows, and if possible, improve those workflows.

    The data specialists at ATI Solutions 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.

     

  • What is the Service Organization Control (SOC) 2 Report?

    Discussing a Service Organization Control ReportService Organization Control (SOC) reports were introduced in 2011 as a way of auditing providers on security and availability of their services. The SOC 2 report evaluates an organization’s information systems relevant to security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, or privacy to prevent unauthorized access of sensitive information. If the auditor issues a clean SOC 2 report, the data provider may be trusted as a secure hosting company. Overall, this ensures that the client and their assets are as protected as possible.

    Criteria in the Service Organization Control (SOC) 2 Report

    SOC 2 reports are vital to maintaining the security of financial transactions and other highly-sensitive data transmissions. ATI combines the best practices and compliance with industry standards in our SOC 2 hosting. This allows clients and customers to enjoy secure access to protected information.

    The five principles of a SOC 2 report include:

    • Security. Systems and information must have physical and logical protection against unauthorized access and unauthorized disclosure of information. Security should address any potential damage to systems that could compromise the integrity, confidentiality, and privacy of information or systems.
    • Availability. Systems and information must be operationally available for use as committed or agreed upon between the client and the provider.
    • Processing integrity. Processing must be valid, complete, accurate, timely, and authorized to meet the client’s objectives.
    • Confidentiality. Information designated as confidential must be adequately classified and protected as agreed upon between the client and the provider.
    • Privacy. Personal information must be collected, used, retained, transferred, disclosed, and disposed of as agreed upon between the client and the provider.

    ATI Solutions is 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.

     

  • 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 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.