Troubleshooting as an ART

One of the most critical issues when looking for a technology vendor (and hopefully partner) is their ability to troubleshoot issues and provide real solutions.   Troubleshooting is an art that requires a background in science, communications, and creativity.   Generally it is looked at as a skill or learned knowledge set.   While it does require specific skills and a good knowledge base of articles to reference, it is not a simple straight forward process.   If it was, there would be a straight forward set of instructions in a manual to follow to fix the problem and would not be ‘trouble’ and would not need ‘shooting’.

At CeraNet, we help our clients troubleshoot problems with the following guidelines:

1) Communicate with our clients to gain an understanding of the problem at hand
2) Then use straight forward science to reverse engineer the problem & knowledge of similar issues to diagnose the problem
3) Use our creativity to come up with possible solutions
4) Communicate with the client to decide the best solution to implement
5) Implement the best possible solution
6) Test to ensure success

This type of process works for just about every problem & can be completed in as little as a couple of minutes for low impact issues.  So the next time you are faced with troubleshooting a problem, give this a try OR contact us at for help with the process.

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Centralized Data that allows decentralized decision making

Data management has come full circle.

In the last century, large mainframes were used to process and store data.   Then came decentralized computing with its client server technology with promises of low cost computing that empowered users with the information they wanted, when they wanted it.  That brought a whole array of problems with security, data availability across users platforms in different locations, backup, etc.

Now we’ve come back to centralized data storage in the ‘cloud’ and easy to use web applications & server access that allows users to be anywhere and work off of a single platform.   This allows easier and more secure access, single data sources, single point of data for backup, etc.   It allows people to make decisions from different locations and gives them up to date information to make the best decisions possible.   <– decentralized decision making

Contact us to see how we can make this work for you.

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Economical Service

Far too many technology and data center companies are about providing something that ‘works’ within their technology limitations, fitting customers needs into their limitations, and generally providing more storage or bandwidth for less $$$ per month.   This only serves to accelerate the ‘race to the bottom’ where providers margins are squeezed further and further, support and customer services are cut out of the equation, and customer perception of the entire industry erodes to a point where they don’t understand the difference between paying for good service with an outstanding support system behind it and going with the lowest cost commodity.

Discount data center / hosting services may work for some people that are not running mission critical applications.  It DOES NOT work well for most others.   Just about every day we hear from individuals who tell us that they are suffering from the impacts of going with the lowest cost commodity (downtime, no support, their needs have changed but the discount provider cannot customize their services to meet the demand, etc.).  If that is what you need, then you need to find someone that is willing to take on more than the minimum, provide top notch services and support, and you have to willing to pay fair value for it.

Contact us at if you are looking for a custom solution for your data center needs!

P.S. – Seth Godin has many good points in his books about being remarkable, purple cows, creativity, and creating art.  CeraNet thrives on working with you to create custom solutions that meet your needs at the most economical cost available.

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Cloud Computing IS / IS NOT Outsourcing

A recent conversation with a prospective client brought up another problem with the ‘cloud computing’ marketing hype.  Their understanding of cloud computing was that it was essentially ‘outsourcing’ their server functionality.  While I could see how they would interpret using resources outside their office as ‘outsourcing’, it only served to stir the muddy waters.

This is how I responded:  functionally, you are correct.  You can set up a CeraNet cloud server that will look and feel like the server you have in your office, (start sales pitch) plus giving you more ‘remote access’ infrastructure, agility to start and stop the server + only pay for what you use, and an almost unlimited resource pool that you cannot get on your server, etc. etc. etc. (end sales pitch).  So yes, it is very similar to finding less expensive manufacturing operations down the road vs building your own machine shop.

However, cloud computing is not outsourcing.  It is a different way of doing things.  It’s more like ‘shared manufacturing operations’ with several other businesses that use the same tools as you, but not at the same time.  Isn’t it more cost-effective to share the costs for the lights, heat, expensive tools and only pay for what you use?   I would think if you combine the resources of 10 companies you can get bigger and better tools than if you do it yourself.   Cloud computing works similar to this scenario because almost all servers only work 10-15% of the time and companies, like ours, have found a way to give you a safe and secure way of sharing those resources.

We’ll see.    Let me know what you think —

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SMB Cloud based Windows Hosted Server FAQs

  1. Do you or your IT guy/girl spend a lot of time managing the servers at your site?
    – Moving to Windows Server in the cloud eliminates the need to manage your physical servers. CeraNet can handle everything, including monitoring, updates, and ongoing support so you can focus on running your business.
  2. Are you looking at having to upgrade your server within the next 6-12 months?
    – Save money and time by moving your Microsoft Windows Server to the cloud and eliminate the need to purchase your new server.  You can also upgrade / increase your resources (processors, memory, and storage) as needed + you only pay for what you use, when you need it.
  3. Are email volumes and file sizes growing fast, forcing you to invest in more storage?
    – Moving your file storage to CeraNet Cloud Servers running Window or Linux allows you to automatically and cost-effectively add more storage as your needs grow. You don’t need to buy more hardware.
  4. Do you or your employees need remote access to applications, including some of your older very important ones (like accounting)?
    – Moving your applications to our cloud computing services can give your employees with greater access on a wider variety of devices (laptops, tablets, smart phones, iPad, iPhones, etc.) with easy to use remote desktop functions and apps from the app store.
  5. Would you like to be able to easily add more applications as your business needs evolve?
    – You can add new applications in minutes using our control panel to install apps like WordPress, Drupal, SugarCRM, and more.  We can also provide Microsoft (and other vendors) software without large upfront licensing costs, and only pay for those using the software using our Service Providers Licensing Agreement.  We also offer membership to WebsiteSpark, BizSpark, and other programs that give you access to free license.   Email to get started.
  6. Are you lacking a formalized back-up and disaster recovery plan and process?
    – Backing up your data at our data center in the event of fire, flood, or earthquake helps keep it safe.  All of our cloud servers and your data are fully backed up every night and we offer specialized backup services to get access to your files & databases running back 10 days or more.

Have additional questions or need help — email

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