Kak Varley

SaaS Company Delivers On Performance For Its Clients

SaaS reduces information delivery times to its clients requests.

This SaaS (Software as a Service) company stores millions of documents as a repository for the higher education system. With an increasing growth in business forcing serious demands on their performance, they reached out to Kak Varley and his team for some technical solution recommendations for their infrastructure, with the most prominent focus on their data storage environment.

In over just a few year period, the company found themselves at 100 Terabytes of data, and running out of disk space. At the same time, they did not have enough disks to get optimal IOPS (input/output operations per second) performance for the clients that were accessing their data repository. The overall storage footprint took up to 30U of rackspace in their co-location data center, and anymore space taken would require them to purchase more rackspace and power. Additionally, their yearly maintenance costs were $60,000 annually with a looming fair market value lease that was expiring within a year.

With these issues in mind, Kak Varley and his team were able to present a much more efficient SAN solution. The solution was able to decouple IOPS from spinning disk and leverage compute, giving them the speed they needed (a minimum of 16,000 consistent IOPS). By decoupling the IOPS from the disk, the solution was also able to leverage larger but cheaper SATA hard disks, which reduced the constraint of storage space. The footprint of the entire solution was only 6U, allowing the company to not only stave off the costs of more co-lo rack space and power, but shrink the amount of rackspace and power usage. Topping it off, the overall capital cost of the SAN was the same as an annual maintenance payment!

Excited about the technology and low financial barrier of entry, the solution was immediately approved by the SaaS company, and Kak Varley’s team was able to begin the process of scheduling the implementation and data transfer.

The result was a client that was ear-to-ear grins about the performance of the SAN, and the wiggle room the solution provided the business for their future needs.


Kak Varley is Technology Solution Specialist whose professional history spans all the way from technology sales to marketing business owner, helping individuals and companies overcome business and career challenges while achieving competitive goals.

Kak Varley can be reached at kak at kakvarley.com

Are We Repeating History? Music, The Internet And The Cloud

The Cloud may be here to stay, but what will it look like in the years to come?


Historical events in technology always remind me of the Seattle music scene of the ‘90’s. One or two bands catch on with the public then the industry responds by signing more of the same, hoping to ride the wave until everyone gets rich. Unfortunately, it does not take long for attrition and consolidation to set in - leaving us listeners with only a handful of those that’ll stand the test of time.

What does a music scene have to do with The Cloud?

That music scenario I described can apply to almost anything in the professional world: from massive trends (seen in the mobile phone market), to simple workplace rhetoric (see Dilbert).

I believe that same scenario will be the case with today’s Cloud providers. As this is being written, providers are being well-funded simply because investors are recognizing a trend. Like all of the dime-a-dozen copy-cat bands that got signed during those music “heydays, some Cloud providers won’t deliver effectively or they will simply become old news. There are too many of these outfits popping up on a we can do that too” type of mentality. With infrastructure being so incredibly complicated and ever-changing with the talent pool, that is sometimes scarce. I just don’t see this lasting in the way we see it now. Let the attrition and consolidation begin.

How is The Cloud like the Dot Com era?

The 90’s not only brought us the Seattle music scene, but also our beloved and revolutionary Internet. At that time, The Internet became so pervasive that people jumped aboard and quickly adopted the notion that one could create an entire business solely on the back of the Internet. The marketplace became flooded with people standing up e-commerce websites or leveraging other e-commerce websites for internet-only businesses. Then the Dot Com bubble came, burst, and the few Internet-only businesses left were the big dogs like Amazon, etc.

Keep in mind, the result of this burst wasn’t all that bad. What? Oh yeah. The Internet remained alive in quite a different form. It became pervasive across almost all businesses as simply a portion of a business portfolio. In other words, the internet was no longer a sole source of revenue, but rather a part of the revenue stream.

This same logic has to eventually be applied to The Cloud model. Today, companies are considering and/or attempting to take their entire infrastructures to The Cloud. I can recall a meeting I had with an IT Director of a Fortune 500 company, where the conversation quickly detoured to a Cloud discussion. The Director’s message was, “I want get out of the data center business.” It was as if he had just read the statement in a magazine somewhere. I was astonished because their company had recently spent huge amounts of money on their 75 global data centers and wanted to write it all off to move to The Cloud. I found his idea to be flagrant at best.

This All or Nothing mindset simply can’t and won’t last - this thought that technology will eventually be viewed as a utility. Plug it in, pay monthly, and let someone else maintain it. The Cloud is not there yet. Not for that kind of simplicity. Technology infrastructure is way too complicated and is too erratic. No matter who owns the infrastructure, it’s going to be a challenge in management and financial aspects. If one thinks they will reduce headaches by moving entire business functionality to hosted equipment, think again. Right now, it’s simply trading one headache for another.

But again, I think there’s a bright side. My prediction is that The Cloud will essentially break down into more bite-sized offerings that are much more addressable in terms of control, security, maintenance, and performance consistency. This to the point where it literally won’t make sense anymore for a business to own and operate it internally (kind of how we buy butter today rather than churning butter ourselves). Because of this, these smaller Cloud and/or SaaS offerings will most likely be a part of everyone’s business, just like The Internet is today.


Kak Varley is Technology Solution Specialist whose professional history spans all the way from technology sales to marketing business owner, helping individuals and companies overcome business and career challenges while achieving competitive goals.

Kak Varley can be reached at kak at kakvarley.com.

Manufacturing Company Leaves Cloud For Better Customer Service

This is a story about a manufacturing company that had to course correct their cloud strategy for better customer service.


Many companies have long been looking into Cloud solutions. It all started years earlier with the inception of Google, Facebook, Apple, etc., with their consumer-targeted internet and SaaS (Software as a Service) strategies. It wasn’t too long before these brands ended up in the hands of businesses, in turn inspiring businesses to start wondering how they could leverage those services for better competitive positioning in the marketplace. 

Now it seems that the pendulum has swung completely over to one side, where technology is culturally being seen as a utility, as if it was a typical monthly electric bill. Corporate meetings are occurring now, where leaderships are bouncing around the concept of ‘getting out of the Data Center business' by pushing their entire infrastructures over to The Cloud, with the hope that they will be able to concentrate more heavily on delivering better service and more targeted marketing to their clients. But is everything ready for The Cloud?

Much like the Internet of the 80’s until now, where so many initially thought they could start any business entirely on the Internet, to today’s conducive reality of every business including Internet as just a part of their portfolio, the future of The Cloud is that it will be a part of a business, not the whole business.

You can look across the entire marketplace and see that The Cloud is inevitable. Every brand in the marketplace is clamoring to stand up either SaaS and/or Cloud offerings for its client bases. Without it, they will be left in the dust. However, that doesn’t mean that every Cloud offering plays well with other Cloud offerings. Case in point…….

In this case study we have a manufacturing company that builds, distributes and sells audio equipment globally. Part of their departmental structure includes a sales and a customer service call center, which are all tied together via Attendant Consoles and a Contact Center infrastructure. 

A year earlier, the company entered into a Cloud strategy. Among the few solutions they were researching was Microsoft Office365. Initially the move was flawless and the business continued as usual. However, successful solutions tend to inspire new ideas and how to leverage those solutions in other ways. In this case, the business decided that they wanted to tie Office365 in with their existing voice and contact center system. This turned into a major challenge that resulted in a debilitating voice mail performance issue. All voice mails received internally and externally could not be discerned enough to effectively be responded to.

Kak Varley and Sentinel Technologies met with the company, did a discovery via an interview process, reviewed the voice infrastructure and made a simple recommendation- migrate voice mail from the Office365 Cloud environment back in-house. This involved integrating Call Manager with their Active Directory, re-installing Music On Hold, installing and configuring Cisco Unity, installing and configuring Unity Connection for text to speech, implementing new mailboxes and configuring their Auto Attendants.

Once the company concurred with and accepted the migration plan, Sentinel began the process of migration.

The project resulted in a far better performing voice mail system tantamount to what they had before the move to The Cloud. The company was able to return to the proper levels of customer service to its clients, allowing them to accelerate towards advancing their capabilities for the future.

For more information, please contact Kak Varley at 480.897.5984.

Construction Company Finds Security And Productivity In File Access

Construction company finds an easy access, yet secure solution for their field staff.


Like many in the construction industry, this construction firm was struggling with the management issues surrounding the storage and access of their company files (maps, plans, etc.), a crucial part of any construction company today. On a management level, this company was repeatedly creating FTP access to individual users on an antiquated shared drive environment, which was inefficient on both a time and availability standpoint. As a result, users were bailing on their IT department and its policies to create their own personal Dropbox accounts. This proved to be a highly insecure practice, to the point that there were incidents revealed where competitors had obtained company information, which resulted in them losing project bids.

Through a consultative meeting with Kak Varley and Sentinel Technologies, the solution needed for their environment was one that could provide customizable levels of security, ease of back-end management and ease of access to files from any device. It was determined that the optimal solution in this case was Citrix Sharefile, a file storage and sharing solution for corporate businesses.

Sentinel was able to prove through a trial environment that not only could the solution provide ultimate file level security through a policy-based structure, but also provide an efficient level of productivity that their field staff had not experienced in the past.

Once the company was comfortable with the solution, Sentinel provided the licensing and implemented the Citrix Sharefile solution for their field department initially, then eventually across the entire company, on a department by department basis.

Today, the company has found comfort in knowing that their file information is secure, while their users continue to express how the Sharefile product has helped them in their day to day administration.

For more information, please contact Kak Varley at 480.897.5984.

Sentinel Helps Resort Achieve PCI Compliance and Guest Services


With an upgrade requirement in their hospitality POS (Point of Sale) system, this Northeastern Resort needed an experienced infrastructure consultant to help them get down the path of PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance and be able to provide improved services to their guests. 

Sentinel was brought in to review the Resort’s IT environment and come up with a plan to meet compliance requirements, while being able to deliver better indoor and outdoor wireless services for some upcoming scheduled events. Sentinel Technologies spent a day with the Resort, did a complete walk-through, reviewed the Resort’s management tools and came up with a technical plan.

The recommendation was to refresh the network with the Cisco switching that would be able to properly separate the network traffic from the Point of Sale transactions, replace the Resort’s current and limited load balancing solution with Citrix Netscalers for better redundancy, and provide a more robust Cisco wireless indoor and outdoor infrastructure to handle the periodic bursts of traffic due to conventions and music events.

Sentinel was to able to design, configure, implement and provide ongoing support for the Resort’s entire LAN, WAN and Wireless environment, resulting in easier management and improved reliability for the IT department, and market leading services for their guests.

Sentinel Technologies Helps To Calibrate Infrastructure For School District


With a new school year quickly approaching, this IT department of a Phoenix area School District wanted to implement new objectives to meet the needs of its student body. The District presented these objectives to Sentinel based on three core areas: system unification, management simplification and user empowerment.

Sentinel was brought in, by referral, to consult on the School District’s infrastructure spanning across Exchange, Active Directory, virtual infrastructure, storage, backup, wireless and their data center management tools. Sentinel came in with a team of architects and technicians to perform a multi-platform inspection of the District’s environment. Afterwards, the District and Sentinel teams sat down to determine the systematic concerns, their importance and created a priority list for remediation.

Once in agreement, projects were scheduled (on an aggressive timeline to meet the students’ return to the school year). Sentinel and the School District worked side by side in an immediate fashion to perform the proper modifications.

The result was an infrastructure that was better unified and easier to manage, in effect providing improved service to the District’s users and students.

IT Shooting Event at C2 Tactical

Sentinel Technologies BaaS and DRaaS

Sentinel CloudSelect™ Backup and Disaster Recovery

Loss of information can have devastating consequences, so backing up your data is vital to your business. Sentinel has revolutionized their cloud infrastructure in an effort to help you plan for the inevitable.

Sentinel Technologies provides superior technology and ease of use for the unique needs of the small to medium sized organization; and market leading technology, scalability and flexibility for large to enterprise organizations. Sentinel provides secure, reliable, and flexible solutions that allow you to customize the solution that best fits your needs.

The following is an overview of features that is provided in Sentinel’s CloudSelect™ Backup offerings.


CTO  (Cloud Target Only)

If you are only looking for an additional (or offsite) location for your data, Sentinel’s CTO is the perfect solution for you. Sentinel provides a dedicated cloud storage location (via CIFS share) and credentials to access that location. Sentinel’s fully redundant cloud provides leading SLA’s for Uptime and Availability so you can manage your backup 24x7x365.

File share

One of the biggest challenges for Enterprise IT is dealing with data gravity - providing easy file sharing and accessibility, while keeping data in-place. Sentinel’s File Share solution allows customers to store files in the right place based on file size, security and compliance needs with a unique solution that can be cloud only, on-prem only or synchronized between cloud and on-prem storage. Users get seamless access and file sharing from any device regardless of where files are stored.

Sentinel’s File Share offering includes features like:

  •        File Sharing – Access, Store and Share files from any computer, smartphone or table on the CloudSelect™ infrastructure.
  •        Maintain cloud file sharing security with access controls, real time auditing, network, and physical security.
  •        Access files and folders through drives in ‘My Computer’.


BaaS (Backup-as-a-Service) and DRaaS (Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service)

Sentinel Managed Cloud Backup solution is coupled with the award winning Network Operations Center (NOC) monitoring and managed services that provide assurance your backups are successful and your data is secure. Sentinel’s CloudSelect™ infrastructure provides a resilient and efficient disaster recovery.

Each offering supports Windows and Linux operating systems and provides granular support for Microsoft Exchange, SQL, Active Directory and SharePoint. Sentinel’s Managed Cloud BaaS is a complete backup, de-duplication, and replication cloud solution for your sensitive and critical data.

Sentinel CloudSelect™ Backup features include:

       Complete Data Backup and Protection

Sentinel offers a complete backup and protection solution on your entire infrastructure that includes virtual and physical servers.

       Scalability & Flexibility

Pay-As-You-Grow model lets you choose the services and capacity you need today and adjust them as your business needs change.

       Data Restoration

Sentinel provides multiple solutions for data restoration and recovery. Solutions range from a self-service portal for on-demand file restoration to delivering physical media in the event of a disaster.

       Backup Optimization

Sentinel optimizes bandwidth utilization and tackles the challenges of backup inefficiencies and massive cloud storage by de-duplicating and compressing data at its source.

       24 x 7 Monitoring & Support

Sentinel’s state of the art NOC will monitor and manage your online cloud backup solution. Engineers immediately respond 24x7 to backup errors and failures.

       CloudSelect Redundancy

Sentinel’s robust cloud infrastructure provides redundancy and diversity from end to end, providing full protection and security for your critical data.

       Disaster Recovery

Sentinel provides disaster recovery solutions that move your critical workloads to the cloud while delivering strict RTO (Recovery Time Objective) and RPO (Recovery Point Objective).


        Data Restoration Assessments

Sentinel assesses the integrity of your data by performing restoration tests of file or folder data on a quarterly basis

       Annual DR Tests

Sentinel performs an annual DR test to ensure that in the event of a DR, services are restored efficiently and promptly. Sentinel’s annual DR test provides assurance there are no unexpected outcomes.

       Active Domain Controller in the Cloud

Sentinel CloudSelect™ Backup Settings & Deployment

Sentinel delivers the highest-performance and most scalable platform solution of its kind. Our goal is to provide you peace of mind knowing your data is backed up in a secure location while providing ease of use for data restoration. In the event of a catastrophic outage, Sentinel ensures a seamless transition to a disaster recovery.

Full level backups are performed during the initial seeding of data and incremental backups are performed nightly. Data retention is 7 days, 5 weeks, and 12 months. Customized data retention can be configured at an additional cost.

Sentinel’s Cloud Backup and DR infrastructure provides deployment options designed by expert engineers with the goal of optimizing your bandwidth and storage. A vAppliance or Sentinel CAN (Cloud Application Node) will be deployed onsite to provide a disk-to-cloud backup solution to meet your storage requirements.


Sentinel Technologies CloudSelect - Your Cloud Solutions In One Place

Offering Best-in-Class Cloud and Hosted Solutions

Sentinel’s cloud, hosted, and advisory services span multiple solution sets and deliver a customizable experience for your IT service needs. Sentinel has more than 30 years of experience bringing intelligent ideas into integrated technology solutions - regardless of location, management and consumption model for IT. 


DaaS- Desktop as a Service

Sentinel’s CloudSelect Desktop-as-a-Service provides a scalable and reliable service to your employees:

•Any Device
•Any Time
•Central location

WiFiaaS- WiFi as a Service

Sentinel has made technology advancements with a new way to deliver wireless connectivity.

•No more controllers
•Lightweight AP’s
•Clean Air Technology
•Reduce Management
•Keep up with growth 

IaaS- Infrastructure as a Service

Sentinel provides you peace of mind knowing your critical applications are hosted on our robust CloudSelect infrastructure as Software as a Service:

•Big Data
•100% Availability
•On demand
•Always on
•24x7 Monitoring
•Fast Provisioning
•Online Portal (powered by OpenStack)

BUaaS- Backup as a Service

Loss of information can have devastating consequences. Sentinel can help you plan for the inevitable with their secure and

•UC Backups
•Data Backup and Storage
•Eliminate legacy backup solutions
•Guaranteed security

DRaaS- Disaster Recovery as a Service

Sentinel Disaster Recovery solutions provide next generation data protection and availability.

•SLA’s for strictest RTO/RPO objectives
•Rapid Recovery
•Stable & Predictable

CaaS- Collaboration as a Service

Sentinel’s CloudSelect™ Cisco Collaboration (C3) is a hosted voice solution running from the Sentinel CloudSelect™ Enterprise infrastructure. 

•Upgrade your UC licensing while taking advantage of numerous cloud features.
•Circuits available  with  C3
•Advanced CDR, Call Recording,  and numerous other options.
•Priority 1 e-rate availability
•Includes award-winning managed services
•All UC applications supported:
•Ideal solution for hybrid cloud model
For more information, contact Kak Varley at 480-897-5984 or mvarley@sentinel.com.

Monitoring and Managed Services Offerings

Monitoring and Managed Services Offerings

Sentinel offers a variety of monitoring and managed services levels designed to meet specific customer needs.


Sentinel Proactive Care

Sentinel’s 24 x 7 x 365 NOC will monitor the health of your network to ensure devices, circuits, bandwidth, servers, and applications are performing optimally. Receiving proactive alerts when any outage or performance issues is affected will help isolate issues and keep your network up and stable!

  • Sentinel Proactive Care – Network Monitoring
  • Sentinel Proactive Care – Server & Application Monitoring
  • Sentinel Proactive Care – VoIP Monitoring (includes SIP utilization!!)

Sentinel Total System Care

In addition to proactive remote monitoring, Sentinel offers Total System Care which provides support services to your environment. A dedicated engineer will provide remote support remediation, preventative maintenance, review meetings and software upgrades. Focus on business objectives and driving productivity while Sentinel monitors and assists in supporting your infrastructure.

Sentinel Proactive Care plus:

  • 24X7X365 Access to Technicians
  • On-site Engineering Remediation
  • Complete System Restoration
  • Remote Diagnosis and Repair
  • ITIL based process for incident and change
  • Incident Reporting
  • Primary & Secondary Dedicated Engineers
  • Self Service Web for Incident and Change Ticket Creation
  • Preventative Maintenance
  • Quarterly review meeting for Trending Service
  • Weekly scheduled on-site visits
  • Quarterly patching of application servers (OS Only - servers must be under contract)
  • Quarterly software updates to network devices
  • Moves, Add, Changes (remote device administration)

For more information, contact Kak Varley at 480-897-5984 or mvarley@sentinel.com.