French Gerleman, Parent Company of Applied Technologies, Merges with IAC Supply Solutions

July 1, 2021: ST. LOUIS, MO – Applied Technologies, a St. Louis-based provider of advanced technology system integration solutions, has announced that parent company French Gerleman has merged with Memphis-based IAC Supply Solutions to create a $250 million industrial automation and electrical supply distributor. The combined company will operate under the name Agilix Solutions, and will be headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri.

Beginning July 1, 2021, Applied Technologies is now an Agilix Solutions company. In addition to serving clients’ networking, data center and security needs, Applied Technologies will also work with Agilix to support customers’ industrial automation and industrial networking projects across 13 branches in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi.

“For more than 30 years, Applied Technologies has worked hand-in-hand with customers to advance their productivity and security initiatives and reach their strategic goals through technology,” said Krista Salvatore, Vice President, General Manager of Applied Technologies. “Our team of professionals has a great deal of experience and decades of insight into industrial networks, allowing us to address today’s needs while anticipating the needs of the future in this ever-evolving space. We look forward to furthering our work through Agilix Solutions’ expanded regional presence.”

Salvatore will continue in her role as Vice President, General Manager of Applied Technologies. French Gerleman President Mike Stanfill will serve as CEO of Agilix Solutions, with Darrell Smith serving as President.

“Applied Technologies has been a key service provider since the 1980s, supporting customers as they develop and implement large-scale, enterprise-wide networking projects,” said Stanfill. “The shift to a truly Connected Enterprise requires not only IoT devices, but also secure communication and analytics to address key business needs such as quality control, efficiency, and safety. The team at Applied Technologies understands these issues and has a longstanding history of successful implementations. Their expertise in this area will help us best serve our customers and support Agilix’s growth initiatives.”

More information about French Gerleman and IAC Supply Solutions, as well as the merger, can be found online at GoAgilix.com.

About Applied Technologies
Headquartered in St. Louis, MO, Applied Technologies, an Agilix Solutions technology company, is an advanced technology systems integration company that designs, builds and implements customized technology solutions for real-world business needs. Founded in 1988, Applied Technologies helps manufacturing, distribution, commercial/enterprise, hospitality/gaming, healthcare, medical cannabis, financial and education industries achieve their digital transformation goals and objectives by partnering with leading industry technology providers such as Aruba/HPE, Cisco, Microsoft, NetApp, Nimble Storage, Rockwell Automation and VMWare.

About Agilix Solutions:
Agilix is one of the 50 largest electrical supply distributors in the United States, and a leading distributor of products and services to the industrial, commercial and construction markets. Founded in 2021 through the merger of French Gerleman and IAC Supply Solutions, the company has longstanding partnerships with manufacturers such as Rockwell Automation, nVent Hoffman, Panduit, ABB, Southwire, Siemens, Hubbell, Acuity Brands, 3M, Mersen, and many other top manufacturers of automation, electrical, datacom, power transmission, safety, industrial supply, lighting and solar solutions.

Disaster Recovery Planning: Are You Prepared for the Worst?

Disaster Recovery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How important is a disaster recovery plan? According to FEMA, 40% of all businesses who experience a disaster never reopen their doors. And 25% of the ones that do fail within a year. Most every company today has a data footprint. That data needs to live somewhere and be protected. A documented disaster recovery plan is a lot like an insurance policy. You hope you never need it. But you are sure glad you have it when you do.

Most large companies have a disaster recovery plan in place. However, many small to mid-sized businesses either don’t have one or are operating with one that doesn’t provide the level of protection they need. There are many events that could put your data at risk, some more obvious than others. But each of them has the potential to cause problems. The most common risks to your data include:

  • Human error
  • Malicious employee behavior
  • Hardware failure
  • Natural disasters
  • Power failure
  • Ransomware
  • Cybercrime

Regardless of the cause, disaster is a major threat to your data and business continuity. That’s why disaster recovery plans are so critical. Let’s explore the factors you need to consider when deciding on a solution and detail how Applied Technologies helps companies develop, implement, and test data recovery plans for long-term protection.

Weighing Your RPO and RTO

One of the most common hesitations businesses have with developing a disaster recovery plan is the cost. They struggle to prioritize budget for something they might never need. But there is a broad spectrum of disaster recovery solutions available on the market today. Compared to the data and financial loss they could incur in a disaster, a well-implemented plan would more than pay for itself if it were needed just once over the life of a business. And even if it’s never needed, the peace of mind that comes with having it takes one less stress off their shoulders so they can focus on running the business.

The extent of your disaster recovery plan and the cost associated with it are heavily weighted by two factors: your recovery point objective (RPO) and your recovery time objective (RTO). Your RPO is the point in history you need to go back to for data recovery. Your RTO is how quickly your business needs to be back up and functioning. While a financial institution might have very stringent needs for a long RPO and a quick RTO, a retail store might have more flexibility and the solution and cost would reflect that.

The Disaster Recovery Planning Process

Applied Technologies’ data recovery planning process starts with a complete assessment of your current infrastructure. We want to determine the amount of data you’re backing up, how long you need to retain that data, and how often you need to perform a backup. We’ll ask the right questions to help establish your RPO and RTO. Once we know what you need, we work with our technology partners to implement the right solution for your organization. We get your backups going on a recurring basis, document the plan including screenshots of what you would see in a disaster recovery situation, and set up a plan for annual testing. Technology is ever changing, and new challenges arise every day.  In many cases, we serve as a long-term partner for customers, managing their annual testing.

Disasters do not discriminate, and they rarely happen at a time when it’s convenient for you. So we deliver your plan in both a hard copy version that can sit on a shelf in your server room, and a digital version you can store in a secure location. This ensures that even if key IT personnel are not present at the time of the disaster, there are step-by-step instructions for other employees to follow to recover the system.

Why We Partner with Veeam for Disaster Recovery

Veeam is a company we commonly partner with in the development of disaster recovery solutions for customers. They are a software company with a hardware-agnostic approach to disaster recovery. Their solutions work on whichever hardware and server products you choose to use.

One of the biggest things that sets Veeam apart is their Microsoft 365 backup solution. Many companies using Microsoft 365 believe their data is protected from disaster because it is a cloud-based solution. Unfortunately, we’ve met with companies who had to find out the hard way that wasn’t the case. For more information on the data that is and isn’t protected by Microsoft, and how Veeam provides protection and access for all your Microsoft 365 business data we suggest checking out their Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 whitepaper.

Protect the Irreplaceable with Applied Technologies and Veeam

Operating a business with an inadequate plan (or no plan at all) for disaster recovery is gambling with incredibly high stakes. If this article has left you feeling unsure how prepared your business is for a disaster, contact Applied Technologies. We will provide an honest assessment of your current vulnerabilities and a clear plan for overcoming them with a carefully architected plan utilizing the latest in data recovery technology from Veeam and our other disaster recovery technology partners.

The Five Biggest Business Benefits of Utilizing SD-WAN

SD-WAN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For many years, traditional wide area network (WAN) technology has been the standard for IT, voice, and data networking in organizations of all kinds. WANs connect local area networks in multiple office locations together through routers and virtual private networks. As the demand for cloud activity in business has increased traditional WANs have struggled to keep up, resulting in performance issues and reduced productivity.

 

To solve for these issues, many organizations are considering replacing traditional WANs with software defined WAN (SD-WAN) solutions. While traditional WAN infrastructure is hardware-defined on individual devices, SD-WAN solutions allow organizations to set policies in one centralized location and push them out to all devices on a network. A centralized virtual controller defines how traffic on the network is routed.

SD-WAN offers considerable benefits to organizations attempting to manage complex data networking requirements. In this blog, we’ll explore five big reasons your organization should consider making the switch to SD-WAN.

 

SD-WAN Improves Network Performance

One of the biggest benefits of implementing SD-WAN is drastically improved network performance. Different types of traffic respond differently to network performance. Voice and video data, often referred to as real time data, can become choppy if the network is too bogged down. Realtime data requires reliable connections.

With an SD-WAN solution, policies are predefined and centrally located. Instead of configuring policies individually on branch equipment, they’re set in one central location and pushed out to branch controllers. An SD-WAN solution allows your organization to automatically steer traffic based on network conditions to identify more reliable and efficient routes for high performance traffic.

Solve Network Complexity Issues with SD-WAN

Traditional WAN systems were not designed to do what they’re tasked with in most organizations today. As our needs have evolved, these systems have become increasingly large, complex, and difficult to manage with multiple layers of connectivity. Policies must be defined and configured individually for every single branch link.  If an organizational security change occurs, policies also must be updated on each of those branch links.

SD-WAN solutions drastically simplify WAN management. The centralized controller serves as a single pane of glass, or portal, into the performance of the entire network. All policies are managed from a central location and pushed down to branch equipment. Traffic can be easily monitored and rerouted. Troubleshooting also becomes significantly easier. Instead of needing to physically check individual pieces of equipment when issues arise, SD-WAN gives your team an understanding of the network from one portal, without needing to get on edge devices.

Automation and Zero-Touch Provisioning to Improve Efficiency

Before SD-WAN, deploying connectivity to branch sites required a lot of manual upfront configurations. For many IT teams, that meant a lot of employee hours provisioning routers and going on site to complete device configuration. If you need to deploy a configuration change at sixty different sites with a traditional WAN solution, that means you need to touch every site to deploy it.

Most SD-WAN solution offerings have self-provisioning baked in. As a result, configuration is pulled from the central controller and branch equipment doesn’t require as much individual configuration. Devices can be plugged in at branch locations with no configuration, and the device automatically checks in with the network and is configured accordingly. Setting up a branch location, which used to take days from a network perspective, can often be done in about 20 minutes with an SD-WAN solution.

Reduce the Costs of Your WAN Configuration

WAN usage always comes with a price tag. The greater the requirements for reliability and security, the higher the cost. Most organizations with a traditional WAN solution use a private MPLS connection, which offers a great deal of reliability and security. But it can also come at a significant expense.

SD-WAN solutions often reduce the cost required for a WAN configuration. Instead of depending on high-cost connections like MPLS circuits, SD-WAN can utilize affordable broadband public internet circuits to build a reliable and secure connection. If you’re located in an area without access to reliable internet connectivity, an MPLS connection may not even be an option. SD-WAN opens organizations like yours up to alternative connectivity options.

SD-WAN Delivers Flexibility and High Availability

Traditional WAN networks can only route traffic through a single connection. If you were receiving a telecommunications connection from one internet provider, and they had issues, you had issues too.

An SD-WAN solution can actively use and integrate a wide variety of connections and multiple forms of traffic into the WAN infrastructure. If you want to continue to utilize your MPLS connection for specific types of traffic, for instance, you can. You can also integrate connections from multiple telecommunications companies. Utilizing multiple connections, you can set policies for which networks specific data types use. Traffic can be directed based on policies, or circuits can be integrated to serve strictly as a backup. Additional connections can easily scale to your organization’s pool of SD-WAN resources.

If versatility and a consistent, reliable connection matter, SD-WAN can help you achieve it.

Applied Technologies Can Help

There are a wide variety of SD-WAN solutions, ranging from simple to complex, depending on your unique circumstances and needs. Applied Technologies works with clients to identify, configure, and implement a tailored SD-WAN solution to help your organization get the most from the benefits outlined in this article.

In addition, we offer training to help your staff manage the network with limited third-party involvement. Traditionally if your team didn’t have the expertise to do configurations, you needed to bring someone in to make them. While we’re still available to support you when needed, with the appropriate training a SD-WAN solution will allow you to bring more expertise in house.

When you’re ready to realize the benefits outlined in this blog, make Applied Technologies your first call. Our team will work with you directly to understand the complexities of your network requirements and implement an SD-WAN solution suited specifically to your needs.

 

NetApp HCI Meets Public Clouds to Simplify Storage and Processing

 

In order to compete in today’s business environment, companies strive to identify ways to simplify processes to create efficiencies and speed up their go-to-market time.  While there are many process and technology enhancements that can contribute, there is a fundamental way that organizations of all types and sizes can change the way they approach their IT infrastructure – that solution is hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), taken to the next level with NetApp Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure (HCI).

 

NetApp HCI is a revolutionary way to manage data and applications leveraging an on-premise cloud environment. NetApp HCI has changed the traditional model of hybrid cloud storage and made it possible for a company to have a system that combines on-premise and cloud functionality in the three major public Clouds.  It serves as the fabric that holds all of the pieces of your overall architecture together, allowing for seamless movement of data and workflows from one to the next, and back again.

 

How is NetApp HCI fundamentally different?

A NetApp HCI can scale compute and storage independently. Users now have the power to run applications and maintain efficient storage space needed for the workloads. Previous HCI architectures combined those capabilities, which consumed valuable resources both from an infrastructure perspective and a financial one. The traditional architecture was clumsy; NetApp HCI streamlines infrastructure solutions and makes application environment options simpler and more efficient.

A user can mix and match different storage nodes without making any changes at the compute layer and vice versa. This is incredibly powerful when it comes to expanding storage capacity or compute resources one node at a time. NetApp HCI was developed for large enterprises, so it can be scaled in a large corporate scenario, but it is accessible enough to be easily and efficiently deployed in smaller organizations and even the Edge. This makes NetApp HCI an agile technology that any industry can benefit from regardless of size or scope while achieving enterprise-grade levels of resources, performance, and protection.

Why utilize NetApp HCI?

Any corporation facing a new technology development or looking to expand their storage or computing capabilities can benefit from NetApp’s hybrid cloud architecture:

  • Speed … the system provides the highway for information to move more quickly through your organization. This means that your internal and external customers have the data and services they need more readily available as there is a smooth conduit in place to facilitate on-premise and cloud communication – regardless of what cloud your data and workflow reside in. NetApp HCI delivers an elastic hybrid cloud infrastructure that enables customers to start anywhere, run anywhere, and manage everywhere from Edge, to Core, to Cloud.
  • Scale-on-Demand … need more storage space but not more processing power, or vice versa? You can quickly scale your system, on your terms, to meet your specific needs. Due to the modular nature of the system and included automation, it is quick and easy to add or reallocate what you need as your requirements change ultimately reducing TCO.
  • Security … you can have the best of both worlds with a cloud-operational environment located on-premise, maintaining a hybrid cloud, while still securing your applications with built-in security features such as multi-factor authentication, data at rest encryption, and FIPS 140-2 Level 1.
  • Control … there can be layers of complexity when it comes to fully managing your IT in the cloud. You can gain the control and governance you need with a NetApp HCI solution.
  • Flexibility … NetApp HCI is multi-cloud and supports multiple hybrid-cloud solutions such as those from VMware, Google, and RedHat delivering an agile foundation for your private and hybrid cloud infrastructure.
  • Guaranteed Performance … in a traditional environment, you may find processes competing for resources at the same time, in different areas of your production workflow. The NetApp architecture allows you the visibility into these resource demands in order to allocate them for maximum speed and efficiency while guaranteeing performance for all of your applications through three-dimensional QoS capabilities.

 

How is NetApp HCI Implemented?

Discovery & Goal Setting: The discovery process begins with a meeting to determine your company’s overall objectives and the storage and compute needs that will be required to achieve those objectives. The goal of this process is to gain an understanding of the resource requirements needed in the environment. The team leverages assessment tools to gain a thorough picture of what is already running in the environment, what modifications may be in order, and what the key objectives from leadership may be. This might include striving for a reduction in complexity or cost, or a move to a new environment for example.

Easy Implementation: The time needed to implement is dependent on how large the cluster is, but in general it is a streamlined and consolidated process depending on the following factors:

  • If a customer already has VMware in the environment and the network is determined to be in appropriate working order, HCI can attach to an existing vCenter, so it can shift to the new infrastructure with VMotion.
  • The only migration required is moving the VMs to the new hardware, which is done through VMware’s typical mechanisms.
  • If there is no VMware present, the process entails more planning in order to implement.
  • After implementation, if you need more compute or storage, you may easily add either (or both if needed) through the NetApp Deployment Engine. The beauty of the system is that you can scale independently, using the new available nodes which are easy to absorb into the cluster.

Partner Collaboration: Partnerships are key in ensuring the success of NetApp implementations. NetApp Partners, such as Applied Technologies, hold the valuable experience and intimate knowledge of each customer’s needs, goals, and challenges. These insights allow for the creation of a comprehensive technology plan that can include the NetApp HCI solution working in concert with other hardware and software platforms for maximum performance and advancement towards the customer’s goals.

NetApp HCI’s innovative design combines the best methods for managing data and applications. You no longer need to pay for extra storage or compute you don’t need while still benefiting from an enterprise-grade infrastructure with guaranteed performance. The bottom line is, NetApp HCI creates more flexibility, eliminates complexity, and drives costs down while accelerating new services for faster time to market speeds.  As a preferred NetApp partner, Applied Technologies will help you understand how your company can leverage the system which is scalable, delivers the speed you need, and allows for the security and control you’re looking for.

To begin the conversation contact us at sales@appliedtech.pro or call 636.274.8000 to discuss your business requirements with one of our Account Managers or Practice Leaders.

Helping Customers Adapt to a Remote Workforce Environment

Working Remote

 

Applied Technologies is available and ready to help your organization support business continuity during these challenging and unprecedented times.

 

As many companies move to a remote workforce environment, in response to social distancing guidelines and requirements, it is important for employers to keep remote workers secure, connected and productive.

 

While Coronavirus (COVID-19) remains a threat, our top priorities remain the satisfaction and support of our customers, as well as the health and wellbeing of the people who work for, and partner with, Applied Technologies. We have taken several precautions for our employees to stay healthy, productive and available to support you and your organization by delivering technologies that address both your current and future business challenges. In fact, most of our employees are equipped with the same technologies we provide our customers – which allows our team members to work remotely and provide you with continuous service and support.

Applied Technologies experts are available to help you navigate these increased demands in networking, collaboration, storage (cloud and hybrid-cloud) and security.

We are prepared to support you and ensure we keep business strong for our communities and country. We remain confident in our ability to respond to these new technology challenges.

Please contact us at 314.736.0500 or sales@appliedtech.pro with any questions or to discuss any immediate technology needs.