Five Reasons IT Service Management

Businesses demanding increased IT efficiency and lower cost, agility and scalability have quickly come to rely on cloud services. Many of the responsibilities for lifecycle management and day-to-day operations have moved to the cloud provider, yet CIOs and IT managers remain responsible for the overall governance of the data their companies depend upon.

ManagementWhile almost every company today has a cloud strategy, each in its own stage of development, Logicalis, an international ITSM tools and managed services provider, warns IT pros that the desired speed and efficiencies gained by moving to a cloud model can be quickly lost if not properly managed.

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Mike Alley, director of IT service management (ITSM) for Logicalis, likens this evolution of the IT delivery model to that of a pro motocross racer evolving from a bicycle rider … first there’s a trike, then a bicycle, and when that’s not fast enough, kids want the battery-powered motorcycle they can ride on flat ground, then a gas-powered minibike for the back yard, a moped, a motorcycle, and a few that take it all the way to racing motorcycles at 200 mph.

“The core skill set is the same, but the critical nature of performing those skills accurately is significantly more important as the speed increases,” Alley explains. “It’s the same with IT service management in a cloud model – the governance of the IT delivery model becomes more critical as businesses go through the continuum of services that make them agile and faster, and the cost of not managing the process properly and failing grows significantly with the speed with which those services are delivered as well.”

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To help CIOs as they plan their cloud models to speed the delivery of IT services, Logicalis has identified five of the top reasons IT service management capabilities and toolsets must be a crucial part of every company’s cloud strategy, detailing for IT pros just how to use ITSM to their advantage.

What is fair usage policy and benefits?

If you are considering getting a broadband connection, do make sure that you check the fair usage policy or FUP. There are certain broadband services in India that do not have FUP.

policy

You should make it a point that you check the Fair Usage Policy and other benefits of broadband.

So, what does Fair Usage Policy mean?

In simple words FUP means that even though you may have subscribed to an unlimited broadband data plan, due to your usage being high if your data crosses a certain cap as decided by the broadband provider your connection speed will get reduced for the rest of the month.

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Broadband traffic management

If you are streaming a lot of HD videos, downloading and uploading large files you could be slowing down other people’s data speed and broadband connections. Therefore, if your home broadband is constantly affecting other users, your network provider may restrict your connection during peak times.

This is called traffic management and network providers use this during peak hours so that all users have a consistent experience.

To manage your data needs you should keep a check on how much data you have consumed and even before you go ahead and choose a plan for yourself you should consider referring to online broadband usage calculators. You can find numerous broadband usage calculators online that are simple to use and prove to be very beneficial in helping you understand your data needs.

You can find Hathway broadband data usage details on our website under the broadband section. We have listed everything clearly along with the Fair Usage Policy. Hathway’s broadband plans are designed so that our customers avail the maximum advantage even in peak hours.

Today, broadband internet has become our lifeline and people are choosing broadband internet as compared to dial up for many reasons. Broadband connection is up to 100 times faster than dial up connection. You can download large data, movies, files and pictures within seconds and minutes.

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Today youngsters are drawn towards online gaming. Modern high speed gaming is possible on broadband internet only.

Broadband internet does not affect the phone line. You are connected through cable while using broadband therefore your phone is not preoccupied while using broadband internet. One of the best advantages of broadband is that it gives you high-speed internet along with cheap phone services via VoIP technology.

Today, due to many advantages of using broadband internet connection everyone is opting for it. Broadband internet can be kept connected continuously without attracting any additional charges. Therefore, this avoids frequent dialing or logging on to the service provider’s service while accessing the internet.

Your Internet Speed Test Results Explained

So you just performed an Internet speed test and wondered what do all these results mean? Sure, the download speed seems obvious, but how much do I need for streaming an HD movie? What about the upload speed or ping?

Speed Test

If you are curious about your speed test results, here’s a convenient glossary. This info helps you understand what these results mean and how they affect your home Internet usage. Also, this same concept applies if using a remote WiFi service when traveling.

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Without further adieu, here are Internet speed test results explained.

Download Speed is Important For Watching HD Video Content

Simply put, your Internet download speed is the amount of data transmitted to your home each second. The reported speed (both download and upload) is expressed in Mbps, which stands for megabits per second. A megabit is slight than one-million bits. Users with gigabit Internet service essentially receive one-billion bits of data each second.

So how fast does your Internet speed need to be for streaming an HD movie? At least 5 Mbps is a good benchmark for streaming to one device. When more than one device is consuming data from your network, you need more speed.

For streaming a 4K UHD movie, at least 25 Mbps Internet speed is required. Once again, more speed is necessary if multiple devices are accessing your network.

What About Upload Speed?

Upload speed is important when you publish content on the Internet. This includes posting videos to YouTube or Facebook, or even hosting a stream of your band. The upload speed is generally slower than download speed. For example, if your ISP provides a download speed of 100 Mbps, expect an upload speed of around 10 Mbps.

ISP stands for Internet Service Provider if you didn’t already know.

A Low Ping Value is Vital for Gaming and the IoT

Ping is the amount of time it takes for data to be sent to or from a server. Latency is another term for a ping. A lower value is better for your overall Internet responsiveness. Our speed test automatically chooses a server with the lowest ping. You are able to select a specific server if desired.

Low latency is extremely important for online video gaming. When the value gets too high, games just aren’t as responsive. In fact, in some situations they become unplayable.

Latency also matters greatly with Internet of Things (IoT) applications. In a similar manner as with online video games, a home automation system suffers from poor response when the latency is high. For example, an IoT-controlled light reacts a few seconds after you send it a command.

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What’s The Difference Between Internet Speed and Bandwidth?

Bandwidth and Internet speed are closely related. Bandwidth defines the amount data able to be transmitted between two points on the Internet at one time. Internet speed is the actual amount of data transmitted in a second.

The terms are almost interchangeable, but don’t actually define the same thing. Also, note that this definition of bandwidth only applies to the computer networking realm.

10 Tactics to Improve Your Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Writing what’s known as comprehensive holistic content—relevant, high-quality content tailored to user searches—your words become not only something that users will want to read and share but also something that will rank well with search engines for a variety of keywords. Google loves good, fresh, relevant content.

Optimization

Below, we review the top ten best practices and tips for site-wide SEO and on-page SEO—including what keyword-rich content to write— to drastically improve your search engine rankings. Our list is primarily based on Searchmetrics reports and findings.

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On-Page SEO

  1. Fresh, holistic content: Regularly and expansively cover relevant topics sprinkling in keywords in a natural way. Don’t keyword stuff!
  2. Word count: Today, Google favors longer content. According to Searchmetrics, the average word count for top-ranking desktop content is between 1,590 and 1,633. This is up from 902 words in 2014 and 1,285 words in 2015. The thought is, more in-depth coverage of a relevant topic can better answer users’ questions.
  3. Tags, tags, tags: 99 percent of “top 10” pages have a meta-description and 80 percent used an H1 tag.
    • Meta-keywords are dead, but meta-descriptions are alive and well. Make sure they are 160 characters inclusive of spaces and odd characters. Meta-descriptions should be descriptive, yet to the point; they should use natural language and can include keywords as long as they are not littering the description or sound forced. Google knows if you’re keyword stuffing! If you’re writing a meta-description for the About page, for instance, the description could say something like “Learn more about our team and our mission statement.”
    • Title tags must be no more than 70 characters inclusive of spacing and odd characters. On a homepage, title tags should always offer the name of the company first (or its acronym) followed by keywords that truly describe the company. On interior pages, title tags should always be title of the page, the name of the company, followed by related keywords. For example: About Us, Lform Design, web design experts.
    • Use H1 through H6 tags appropriately to help Google index your website properly. For example, H1 tags should be the page name, H2 tags should be subtitles, and so on. For example, an About page’s H1 should be “About” and some H2 tags may include “Our Team,” “Company History,” and “Our Mission.”
    • Alt tags also play a role in SEO. Alt tags apply only to images or icons such as .jpg, .png, and .svg files. Alt tags were originally developed for the visually impaired to describe the image they could not see. Attribute characteristics and keywords to the image or icon being described when created alt tags.
    • Rename your image or icon files. If your website has an image of China hat light fixture, don’t use DC1056.jpg, rename it, “china-hat-light-fixture.jpg.”
  4. Internal links: The number of internal links on high-ranking pages has increased since 2014. According to Searchmetrics, the number of links you include in your content isn’t as important as optimizing your overall link structure: “What counts is not the total number of internal links, but rather the optimization of the internal structure and page information so that the user (and also the search engine) is optimally guided through the provider’s content and to ensure that the user stays on the page and is satisfied.”
  5. Sitemap: Your sitemap should cite every page on your website even if it is not in the main navigation. Your website should also produce an XML sitemap and include a sitemap link on every page.
  6. Security Sockets Layer (SSL): Google may be leaning toward using SSLs as a factor in search rankings, therefore, it might be a good idea to have an SSL installed on your website. An SSL is a verification tool that shows your website is secure and that you produce all of your own content.

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Site-Wide SEO

Ensuring proper keyword research is conducted and then incorporating those keywords in conjunction with the strategies outlined are integral in optimizing your content, but without implementing the proper site-wide elements, your on-page SEO will have limited reach. Let’s review some best practices for site-wide SEO in an effort to rank highly in organic search results.

  1. Responsive design: In 2016, Google updated its algorithm to give an additional ranking boost for responsive, mobile-friendly websites. Thus, it has become vital for websites to maintain a responsive design or offer a dedicated mobile site or app.
  2. Mobile load times: Sites need to load quickly on all devices.  According to Smart Insights, 48 percent of consumers start mobile research with a search engine. And that number will only increase from this point on, so it’s even more critical your site loads quickly on mobile devices. Searchmetrics found that the top-ranking pages loaded in an average of 1.16 seconds for desktop results and 1.10 seconds for mobile. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to find out how quickly your site is loading. Note: this tool works on a
  3. Content structure: Better your rankings and user experience by structuring your content in a logical way with menus, buttons, and internal links, and offerings bulleted or numbered lists that make content easily digestible.

What are the top 5 Benefits of Digital Advertising?

Digital Advertising, you are exposed to two options: traditional advertising or digital advertising. Although traditional advertising has its benefits (it’s great for targeting local audiences and driving customers to brick-and-mortar stores),

Advertising

 

 

 

it doesn’t have the capabilities digital advertising has, including the ability to concentrate on a specific audience and to watch real-time results, among many others. Here are the top six benefits unique to digital advertising.

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1. It’s Cost-Effective

Unless your company is big, traditional advertising may be too expensive for you. On average, local television stations charge too high for a 30-second commercial. With traditional advertising, it’s difficult to internationally spread brand awareness unless you have a handsome amount of money stowed away somewhere.

Digital advertising is so cost-effective that even small businesses, start-ups, and mom-and-pop shops can afford it. It’s significantly cheaper than traditional advertising.

2. More Teens Are on Social Media

If you pass by a millennial with his/her eyes trained on the glowing phone screen, chances are he’s/she’s on social media. In a survey from Think with Google conducted by Ipsos, 51% of teens said they spend three hours or more on social networks. As social media becomes an omnipresent part of their lives, so would your social media ads.

3. You Can Target Ads to Almost Anyone

Social media platforms have the ability to target ads to almost anyone with the information it collects from users and third-party data brokers such as Acxiom, Epsilon, and Experian. With the data provided by Facebook, you can target people according to their demographics, behaviors, lifestyles, interests, and connections.

4. You Have Access to Data and Insights

When you place an ad on the internet, whether that’s on Facebook, Google, or Snapchat, you get real-time data and insights. You gain detailed information on who interacted with your ad (their demographics, lifestyles, habits, etc.), how much money you’re spending, and how much profit you’re getting. Unlike traditional advertising, you don’t have to wait for weeks for the results that you can then use to improve your campaigns.

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5. Ad Formats Are Constantly Improving

Every month Facebook updates its ad products to increase the buying process for users. To note a few examples, Facebook-owned Instagram released shoppable photo tags that allow users to shop from a brand without leaving the app, and recently Facebook released Collections, a video ad that attaches the web link of the featured product. Because Facebook ads were constantly improving, so will your advertising experience.

Traditional advertising and digital advertising are two great ways to develop your business. However, keep in mind that the two have their differences and from that one has benefits but the other doesn’t, that’s Digital Advertising!!

10 Creative Ways To Promote Your Event

Event Marketers and event planners are in the constant hunger to create campaigns that are unique, fresh and bring in loads of energy in an event. The idea is to convert someone’s vacay into a full-blown business deal. In this blog, we are going to discuss ideas about how can you attract more attendees, even if you have no money or a very minimal marketing budget to spend.

Event

1. Digital Media

Digital media marketing is never going to be stale. It has changed the face of marketing altogether and is going to stay as long as people are hooked to the internet. The overflow of information, however, can be overwhelming sometimes. Use the following ways to make it more targeted.

  • Facebook marketing: Starting off as a networking platform, Facebook has redefined digital marketing. Event planners need to remind their potential customers that there is something out there which they must attend. According to Pew Research, nearly 45% of people in America only get news from Facebook. Given the statistics, you can reach 2 billion people at a time using Facebook.
  • Instagram: Have you seen the stories they run? Sheer brilliance, isn’t it? After the acquisition by Facebook, Instagram has changed a gradual shift. Stories are also a wonderful way to promote your future presence at a big event. Show your team preparing, have one of your salespeople introduce themselves, and try to think of fun ways to get people to come to your booth once the event begins.
  • Email marketing: It is still not dead. Ask your content team to write a warm and crisp email targeting potential customers. A crisp email with an infographic followed by regular follow-up emails is a good way to remind customers about the event.

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2. Podcasts

Podcasts are the new ways to listening to stories. When you don’t have enough time to sit back and read, switch on to a podcast and listen to it rather. Start a podcast and begin to build a following you can promote your event to. Influencers can be a great help to build up a podcast. Ask then to feature in your podcast. In return, you can offer them free tickets and maybe exclusive passes to attend the after-party for networking purposes.

3. Henna Tattoo Bar

It is not a good idea to mix business with pleasure, but it surely is a good idea to mix business with cultures. If you are hosting your event out of a Southeast Asian or a Gulf country, a henna tattoo can do wonders. Place the booth strategically at the event.  It will surely attract women and men alike. Ask the booth operator or henna artist to give brand logos as tattoos- a long term brand recognition technique.

4. Run a Ticket Giveaway Campaign

People love free stuff. It’s just plain old human nature. So why not give away a small set of tickets for free. It attracts interest in the event. Run some social ads around the giveaway, create a hashtag, and get people interested. The rules are simple where people have to tag their friends in the post. Your potential attendees will spread the world, and drive more word-of-mouth marketing for your event. this is a fun way to get more attendees registered and treat some lucky winner to a free ticket.

5. Set a Theme

From baby showers to weddings, from business dinners to grand events, everything is running on specific themes. Embrace this change. Choosing a theme helps you organize the message you’re trying to get out to attendees and better yet, ensures those attendees remember that message long after the event concludes. Themes are the playground for adults and allow them to become children again. Let them feel that way and give them experience.

6. Exclusive Events

People like being given VIP treatment. Give them what they want. Elite and invite-only sessions are a great way to engage people. You can piggyback this with free event entry to encourage them to mix and mingle. Having VIP presence at your events boosts the cachet of your audience and amplifies your online promotion, too.

7. Branded Cupcakes

You don’t have to shell out a bomb in your branded giveaways. Some of the simpler and cost-effective options can be found in the food and beverage section. Try getting cupcakes with your brand’s logo or maybe sponsors’ logo.  Send them cupcakes as invitations to special guests, or maybe offer as a free snack in the event. This will garner some sweet attention and long term retention for the sheer awesomeness (Make sure the cupcakes tastes like heaven)!

8. Flashmob

The possibilities are endless here and you can create flash mobs that are all singing and dancing or something that is particularly event-specific like special entertainers or an immersive role-play experience in public. If flashmobs can bring a change in people’s mindsets around social issues, it will surely help your event get more attendees.

9. Human Billboards

They are fun and they are interactive. Make sure that this is someone from your staff or if through an external agency, the person should know everything about your event. Have something fun yet informative written on their oversized clothing and let people ask them questions and click pictures. People have this habit of posting pictures on Instagram and Facebook. Let them click pictures with your human billboard and post on social media. It is free of cost marketing and very effective too.

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10. Run Geo-targeted Search

Geo-targeting will become your best friend before these events. You want to make it very clear to your audience that you’re going to be at this event because you are paying to be there. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to promote your brand’s presence before the event using geo-targeted search and social ads.

How do Event Networking Games Work?

Games For some people, the hardest part, in any event, is to talk to people and fortunately or unfortunately most of those people are strangers. You’re supposed to talk to them, but how? Event planners often offer cocktail mixers as a relaxed way to get to know one another. But the thing is that they’re not that relaxing. For most people, unstructured networking events are intimidating.

Games

Simply put, event networking games are conversation starters and offer basic solutions:

  • They work as icebreakers by helping reduce anxiety and create a more welcoming atmosphere
  • They also work as group networking games and help larger groups perform better
  • Some people attend events to exchange as many contacts as possible in a limited timeframe. Event networking games sometimes work on speed dating format as well

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Four best networking games

 There are hundreds of event networking games that are available. Some event organizers get them customized, some use them as is- choose whatever floats your boat. If you don’t want to spend a lot on it, as your event networking app partner to provide some extra features and your purpose is sorted. We have tried to put in 4 best games that are a sure shot way for event attendees to break ice quicker and talk real business.

1. Find Your Match

There are high chances of two people/ companies/ groups to connect when they share common interests. This can be done in two simple ways. One can use relatable words like King-Queen, Pilot- Airplane etc. Write one work each on a piece of paper and distribute the chits. Ask the attendees to pick a chit and find their partner. This surely sounds like a school game but extremely effective in setting the right pace for an event.

An alternate to relatable words can be asking simple questions. Provide all event guests with a list of 10 questions and ask them to underline 3 they would prefer to answer. Then encourage them to spread out around the venue looking at each other’s lists and spotting like-minders. Apps like brella.io is one of the best event matchmaking app that is available around. Go check them out. To learn more about what other features a good event networking app should have.

2. Communication Challenge

Everyone says that communication is the key to good networking but seldom knows the art of good communication. And a rare set of people really know how to use communication for fruitful networking. We live in an information-driven society, where communication determines how fast we learn. Cooperation and collaboration underpin how we work together There are various communication games that can be played. Divide your attendees into groups and blindfold them and they shouldn’t be allowed to talk, then ask them to arrange themselves in the order of their shoe size. It will be good to see how they communicate and get them in order.

Another communication challenge can be back-back-drawing. Divide the group in sets to two participants.  Once people have paired off, they sit back-to-back with a paper and pencil each. One member takes on the role of a speaker, and the other plays the part of the listener. This game is about listening, clarity and developing potential strategies when we communicate.

3. The Shoe Game

This challenge is extreme fun. While the game is played mostly in weddings and wedding reception parties, there is no rule that it can’t be played in an event. Obviously you will need to be a little creative and play it differently. Ask everyone to remove one shoe and toss it into a pile. Then tell everyone to pick a shoe out, not their own, and try to find the match without speaking. You do want to keep a hand-sanitizer and room fresheners handy for this one.

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4. Give a Compliment

All of us deserve some love and giving compliments is as simple as it gets. Give compliments and receive compliments. It doesn’t hurt and it makes you feel good. Although we don’t encourage you to use this game to bring your tinder game on the table (do it at your own risk). You can always compliment someone on their business skills, or how well their company/ product is doing. A next step can be complimenting someone on their shoes or the mobile phone they are using. Compliments put people in their comfort zone and are surely a good way to start a healthy conversation.

Disruptive Cares: Understanding Our Company Core Values

Every business tries to define them, but often a company’s values—although well-intentioned—are nothing more than just vinyl words on a wall.

But while a company’s values and culture often play second fiddle to making more money, company values are actually really important. Company values help ensure that your employees are working towards the same common goal and sharing a bigger purpose.

Disruptive

And the purpose is critical for employee satisfaction.

In fact, an Imperative survey found 73% of purpose-oriented employees are satisfied in their jobs, compared to 64% who are not purpose-oriented. The same Imperative survey found 58% of companies with a clearly articulated and understood purpose experienced growth of +10%, compared to just 42% of companies that don’t prioritize purpose!

With numbers like that, core values are critical if you want to create a long-lasting and meaningful work experience people thrive in.

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Disruptive’s Core Values

At Disruptive, those statistics are no surprise. For years, our values have been more than just a pretty office decoration. We need everyone to feel that we were committed to our values and to step further, see them in action.

We started looking for ways to get everyone at Disruptive to understand what living these values meant and what difference they made in our day-to-day actions. From sharing core value stories publically, giving people character bonuses to sharing them in our company monthly meetings, we have engrained who we are into the lives of our employees.

The core values we hold dear at Disruptive are :

  1. Write the Check (Extreme Ownership)
  2. Sugar-Free (Radical Candor)
  3. I’m All In (Growth Mindset)
  4. Get New Tires (Abundance Ethos)

Although we stumble sometimes in our pursuit of these core values, we all do our best to have a positive impact on our clients, the business and each other. In this article, we’re going to take a look at what makes Disruptive…well, “disruptive” in terms of company culture and how we are making a difference in not only our bottom line but the lives of our employees.

What Our Core Values Mean to Us

Our core values give us a framework for leadership and daily decisions and help us enjoy our work environment. Although this sounds simple, too often companies get caught up in office politics, ivory-tower mentalities and rising the ladder instead of focusing on the things that made them successful in the first place.

We are not those companies. We are not those people.

Below are the core values that drive every decision we make and define what’s important to us at Disruptive, along with stories people have shared internally about others they have seen living those core values:

Write the Check (Extreme Ownership)

“We had a big ball drop on one of our enterprise accounts and Kevin—who literally had the smallest piece of accountability in this ball drop—genuinely looked at the situation and found how he had contributed to it.  He owned it, arguably when no one would have probably noticed if he didn’t. It was awesome because he wasn’t pretending to accept blame, he honestly truly thought about the situation critically and owned what was his to own. It inspired me to better my own piece and I appreciated his example very much…”

At Disruptive, we own our successes and failures. But more importantly, we focus on what we can change in those situations.

Often when problems arise, people are quick to point fingers and hope that other people change rather than looking at how they contributed to the problem. Disruptive “red” is not just a random brand color. At Disruptive, we want people to embrace the “red marks” that appear in their lives and own up to what is not working so we can embrace growth and learning opportunities.

In our company, we promote personal ownership of the things we do (or don’t do) and motivate ourselves for self-improvement. We understand that mental freedom comes from controlling our own actions instead of wishing others would change.

In short, we believe there are three types of people: people who want things to happen, people who watch things happen and people who make things happen. What kind of person are you?

Sugar-Free (Radical Candor)

“In every team meeting, each of my team members openly discusses their strengths and weaknesses. We talk about where we have struggled and what we are working on to be better in both our personal and professional lives. This radical candor helps us be cohesive as a team and we know everyone has our back when we are struggling to grow.”

At Disruptive, we are not afraid to have the hard conversations—especially when those conversations will help us overcome problems and take our performance and relationships to the next level.

As a business, you cannot afford to be stuck in passive-aggressive and non-communicative behavior patterns. For a business to truly thrive, you need to promote work environments that relish mutual respect, trust and care so you can have honest conversations.

Not only do we promise mutual respect, transparency and direct feedback for employees, we also promote good communication between teams and individuals alike.

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I’m All In (Growth Mindset)

“Chelsea is a new Team Lead but you wouldn’t know it by her level of expertise, organization and natural leadership qualities. On my second day as a full-time employee here, she mapped out my next three months of work and how she was going to help me succeed. She saw that I wanted to grow and she has done everything to help make it happen. I am so unbelievably grateful to know her and to work under her leadership. She is a living embodiment of the growth mindset value because she knows as you help others grow first, you grow yourself.”

Creating a great company is all about solving problems and learning from them. If you surround yourself with people who are excited to jump through the hoops of life and problem solve, you will achieve greatness.

At Disruptive, we love and choose the challenges that come with growth.

Instead of telling ourselves “I’ll be happy when…”, we focus on enjoying every part of our growth journey. We truly believe that to improve, you have to change and to be perfect, you have to change often. How well we adapt to growth opportunities will determine how durable our success as a company will be for years to come.

We want our team at Disruptive to be full of people who are ready to roll with the punches, learn and to improve not only their work performance but their individual lives.

NVMe vs. SATA: Which SSD Technology Is Faster?

NVMe drives are a big deal in computer storage right now, and for good reason. Not only does an NVMe solid-state drive (SSD) leave most older SSDs in the dust, it’s also blazing fast compared to standard 3.5- and 2.5-inch drives.

NVMe

NVMe vs. SATA III

Take, for example, the 1 TB Samsung 860 Pro, a 2.5-inch SSD with a maximum sequential read speed of 560 megabytes per second (MB/s). Its successor, the NVMe-based 960 Pro, is more than six times faster than that, with a top speed of 3,500 MB/s.

This is because the pre-NVMe drives connect to a PC via SATA III, the third revision of the Serial ATA computer bus interface. NVMe, meanwhile, is the host controller interface for newer, more advanced SSDs.

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SATA III and NVMe are the terms most commonly used to differentiate between old-school drives and the new hotness everyone wants. NVMe is not, however, the same type of technology as SATA III.

We’ll get into why we use the terms “SATA III” and “NVMe” to compare the technologies later.

What is SATA III?

In 2000, SATA was introduced to replace the Parallel ATA standard that preceded it. SATA offered higher speed connections, which meant vastly improved performance compared to its predecessor. SATA III rolled out eight years later with a maximum transfer rate of 600 MB/s.

SATA III components use a specific type of connector to slot into a laptop, and a specific type of cable to connect to a desktop PC motherboard.

Once a drive is connected to the computer system via SATA III, the work is only half done. For the drive to actually talk to the system, it needs a host controller interface. That job belongs to AHCI, which is the most common way for SATA III drives to talk to a computer system.

For many years, SATA III and AHCI performed admirably, including during the early days of SSDs. However, AHCI was optimized for high-latency rotating media, not low latency, non-volatile storage like SSDs, a representative from drive manufacturer Kingston explained.

Solid-state drives became so fast, they eventually saturated the SATA III connection. SATA III and AHCI simply couldn’t provide enough bandwidth for increasingly capable SSDS.

With drive speeds and capabilities expanding, the search was on for a better alternative. And, luckily, it was already in use on PCs.

What Is PCIe?

PCIe is another hardware interface. It’s best known as the way a graphics card slots into a desktop PC, but it’s also used for sound cards, Thunderbolt expansion cards, and M.2 drives (more on those later).

If you look on a motherboard (see above), you can easily see where the PCIe slots are. They mostly come in x16, x8, x4, and x1 variants. These numbers indicate how many lanes of data transmission a slot has. The higher the number of lanes, the more data you can move at any one time, which is why graphics cards use x16 slots.

There’s also an M.2 slot in the image above, right under the top x16 slot. M.2 slots can use up to four lanes, thus, they’re x4.

The key PCIe slots in any computer have lanes connected to the CPU for the best performance possible. The rest of the PCIe slots connect to the chipset. This also supports a fairly speedy connection to the CPU, but not as fast as the direct connections.

Currently, there are two generations of PCIe in use: 3.0 (the most common) and 4.0. As of mid-2019, PCIe 4.0 was brand-spanking-new and only supported on AMD’s Ryzen 3000 processors and X570 motherboards. Version 4, as you would expect, is faster.

However, most components are not yet saturating the maximum bandwidth of PCIe 3.0. So, while PCIe 4.0 is impressive, it’s not yet a necessity for modern computers.

NVMe Over PCIe

PCIe, then, is like SATA III; they’re both used to connect individual components to a computer system. Just like SATA III needs AHCI before a hard drive or SSD can communicate with a computer system, PCIe-based drives rely on a host controller, called non-volatile memory express (NVMe).

But why don’t we talk about SATA III versus PCIe drives, or AHCI versus NVMe?

The reason is pretty straightforward. We’ve always referred to drives as being SATA-based, like SATA, SATA II, and SATA III—no surprise there.

When drive manufacturers started making PCIe drives, there was a short period during which we talked about PCIe SSDs.

However, the industry didn’t have any standards to rally around as it did with SATA drives. Instead, as Western Digital explained, companies used AHCI and built their own drivers and firmware to run those drives.

That was a mess, and AHCI still wasn’t good enough. As Kingston explained to us, it was also more difficult for people to adopt drives that were faster than SATA because, rather than a plug-and-play experience, they also had to install special drivers.

Eventually, the industry rallied around the standard that became NVMe and replaced AHCI. The new standard was so much better, it made sense to start talking about NVMe. And the rest, as they say, is history.

NVMe was built with modern, PCIe-based SSDs in mind. NVMe drives are able to accept vastly more commands at once than SATA III mechanical hard drives or SSDs. That, combined with lower latency, makes NVMe drives faster and more responsive.

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What Do NVMe Drives Look Like?

If you go shopping for an NVMe-based drive today, what you want is an M.2 gumstick. M.2 describes the drive’s form factor—or, for our purposes, how it looks. M.2 drives usually have up to about 1 TB of storage, but they’re small enough to hold between your thumb and index finger.

M.2 drives connect to special M.2 PCIe slots that support up to four lanes of data transfer. These drives are usually NVMe based, but you can also find M.2 drives that use SATA III—just read the packaging carefully.

SATA III-based M.2s aren’t all that common these days, but they do exist. Some popular examples are the WD Blue 3D NAND and the Samsung 860 Evo.