- March 24, 2020
My team is now working from home, does Supra have enough capacity for the VPN and Internet?
The answer is yes. We can provide over 10,000 simultaneous VPN connections using our enterprise firewalls at our datacenters, which is many times more than the # of users we directly support. Equally, our internet bandwidth is sufficient for remote workers to continue working at their homes
How is Supra’s support changing during this emergency?
We’ve implemented a Triage team. This team will assess all emails, phone calls and tickets for urgent issues. We’ve reprioritized end-user support issues as our top priority recognizing our customer base is now mobile and a remote access issue is urgent. Organizationally, we’ve all become part of the support team to provide direct user support.
I’ve been having trouble reaching you. Are your phones not working?
We know, and there is little we can do to. The phone issues are impacting all customers Canada-wide as the internet-based phone providers are saturated. We anticipated this and have taken precautions to minimize the impact including using email/tickets to communication, using mobile phones and chat programs. Supra staff is also being advised to not use our corporate mainlines when making customer calls to help ease the phone issues. We anticipate these phone issues will remain but lessen over time.
What if I need someone to come onsite?
The triage team will assess each onsite request, with management approval. If urgent and necessary, we will continue to support you 100%. If the request is not urgent or there is a work-around, our team will work with you to schedule an alternate date for an onsite visit that is safe and complies with Government of Ontario recommendations.
My team is working from home. Can you support them?
Answer. Yes! We’ve shifted our entire operational processes in order to prioritize support to your remote workers as we recognize working from home may be new and untested for several people.
What’s the process for non-urgent requests?
As you understand, our #1 priority is ensuing your remote users are productive and that our systems are stable. This means we need to make some hard choices for less-than-urgent requests and activities. As such, while we are in this emergency state, non-urgent issues will be worked on in a best effort basis, prioritized based on order of receipt.
- February 1, 2019
Disaster Recovery FAQ
Why do you need a disaster recovery plan?
It’s just a matter of time before you encounter a major disruption to your IT infrastructure that results in the loss of mission-critical business data, halts day-to-day operations and adversely affects your customers. A disaster recovery plan outlines the procedures necessary to ensure fast, successful recovery of mission critical applications and data after any disruption.
What should every disaster recovery plan include?
A comprehensive, effective disaster recovery plan identifies all the activities, resources and procedures needed to carry out all processing requirements during interruptions to normal business operations. It also assigns responsibilities, whether it’s your organization’s role or your cloud service provider’s. The plan ensures coordination and communication among everyone involved who’ve been assigned to the recovery planning strategy, including external points of contact and vendors.
What objectives should guide a disaster recovery plan?
A truly effective disaster recovery plan aims to minimize economic loss, provide the organization stability by reducing disruptions to operations, and limit potential exposure while complying with regulatory requirements and protect assets.
What should a disaster recovery plan cover?
Your disaster recovery plan should be clear about what business processes are in scope, particularly if it involves your service provider. It may include servers, network services, applications and databases. The scope of a typical disaster recovery plan addresses technical recovery in the event of a significant disruption as part of a larger business continuity plan (BCP) and should be clearly spelled out, especially if it’s to be executed by your service provider.
What’s the definition of a disaster?
A disaster is any event that results in the specified mission critical application systems and / or data being unavailable for a period of time, threatens the continued stability and/or continuance of an institution, brings about great loss and/or damage, or that creates an inability on the organization’s part to perform critical functions. Part of developing your plan is defining those parameters.
Where should a disaster recovery plan be stored?
Everyone involved in your disaster recovery plan should have an up-to-date, hard copy of it since a mission critical incident may make digital copies inaccessible. Both soft and hard copies should be stored at multiple locations across your organization, as well as at your service provider.
How often should a disaster recovery plan be updated?
A disaster recovery plan is not set in stone. It will need to be updated as personnel change, software is updated, and hardware is upgraded. Vendors and service providers will also change over time. Any incident is a learning opportunity to update the plan.
If you haven’t begun to think about disaster recovery planning or feel your plan needs an update, check out our Disaster Recovery Primer.
- November 1, 2018
Oracle MSP FAQ
What is Supra ITS announcing?
Supra ITS has achieved the status of Oracle Managed Service (MSP) Provider, one of the few in Canada, having already been an Oracle Worldwide Gold Partner for many years.
What does this partnership status mean for current and prospective customers?
This certification means that clients that are looking to move their Oracle environments to the cloud now have a partner that can provision and manage your IaaS and PaaS requirements. This an ideal situation for customers looking to move to the Oracle Cloud, whether it’s Cloud Machine behind your firewall or Public Cloud, but are constrained by time, resources and expertise.
What Oracle services is Supra current offering?
Supra is offering a wide range of Oracle services including:
- Design and implementation of a new cloud environment for customer
- Support and management of Oracle ERP Cloud as well as EBS
- Implementation and support for Oracle Business Intelligence
- Shared Support Services for Oracle DBA
We can provide a complete set of project management resources to help design a net new build or a migrate of an existing on-premise environment – everything from provisioning to migration, from testing to ongoing management of the environment.
Which Oracle services are of strategic value to customers?
The areas where strategic value include:
- Migration of customer to Oracle Cloud
- Shared support services for Oracle ERP cloud
- Implementation and support for Oracle Services such as HCM, Finance Cloud, Procurement cloud, SCM Cloud, Services Cloud etc.
- Shared support services for Oracle DBA service, both for Oracle Core DBA as well as Oracle Apps DBA
Two areas of particular interest to clients are being able to migrate an environment to the Public Cloud and leverage IaaS and PaaS credits sold to them by Oracle Sales, and once on the Cloud, leverage Supra’s monitoring, networking and server management resources to maintain a Service Level Agreement (SLA) needed by their business consumers.
The other area of value is our DBA resources that can provide DBA Management capabilities enabling our clients to not have to worry about the Patching, Tuning and Diagnostics activities and focus on having DBA staff derive new business value through the building of new analytics capabilities.
Last but not the least, Supra’s deep expertise in Oracle applications implementation and production support provides a unique opportunity for our customers to have a partner who can support the entire spectrum of services, bringing higher efficiencies as there is no contention (finger pointing) between application and infrastructure providers.
How significant do Supra’s Oracle services rank in comparison with other Oracle partners?
The breadth and depth of our services is a key advantage compared to our competitors. Our offerings are competitive those of big four consulting companies in the enterprise space, but our ability to serve the small and medium enterprise (SME) space with competitive pricing enables us to help the north American and APAC market and the Oracle Sales teams.
The breadth of our services makes our offer unique in comparison to other players. Some of our key advantage include:
- Single window access to all services, including infrastructure, applications, and databases
- Wide range of services (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS) under one roof
- Mature processes in providing diverse offerings to customer
How does Oracle fit within Supra’s public cloud offerings?
Oracle is a very strong software development company with the largest market share of the database market. It is also strong in ERP, HCM and SaaS solutions. In the ERP space, for example, Oracle and SAP are two major players in and occupy more than 80 percent of the market. Oracle is unique in a way that there are no other Major ERP players who are providing such offering on cloud.
It also an emerging player in the pubic cloud wars, competing with Amazon (AWS), and to lesser extent, Microsoft, and gaining momentum. Oracle is targeting current on-premise deployments to migrate to the cloud. Supra’s migration and cloud MSP status enables us to align with Oracle’s cohesive selling strategy.
Supra is uniquely poised to support and manage customers which are in SMB space. With our depth of knowledge in Cloud and our understanding in Oracle Applications, Supra can partner with Oracle to acquire SMB customers who are likely to look for a cost effective cloud solutions vis-à-vis Oracle cloud offering.
How does Oracle within Supra’s broad hybrid cloud portfolio?
Publicly traded companies and government agencies sometime cannot sit in the Public Cloud because those environments are sometimes based outside their respective countries, so we can provision the Oracle cloud in our customer’s environment behind their firewalls, Supra’s private cloud with Data Centers in Canada, USA and India for data sovereignty compliance requirements. With our Networking and Enterprise Security capabilities already in place we can enable a client to migrate to a Hybrid environment quickly and comfort that the data both in transit and at rest will remain within their country borders.
Does Oracle have many MSP partners?
Oracle’s MSP partner community is growing and currently have global MSP partners in double digits as the requirements are complex and vetting process is quite extensive. Most of the partners are large consulting companies, currently four in Canada and Supra is ideally positioned to support SME marketplace worldwide with its follow the sun model for uptime and production support.
How is Supra different from other Oracle partners in Canada?
Supra has been an early cloud adopter and its public / private cloud offerings are quite mature. With a strong Oracle applications practice, Supra’s offering look very rich and deep vis-à-vis other competitors. Most Oracle partners are focused on traditional ways of delivering value by being resellers of hardware and software. Supra has focused on the ability to co-sell cloud services and deliver on the promise of the cloud to those Oracle customers and offer complete solution encompassing DBA and application support as well.
Will Supra be supporting fast, direction connections to Oracle cloud like we announced with Microsoft and Amazon?
Yes, Oracle has announced that it will opening two data centres in Canada and Supra will be setting up direct fast connections to the Oracle Cloud in 2019.
- November 20, 2018
Fast Lane to the Cloud
What is Supra ITS announcing?
Supra ITS is announcing its fast connection to Amazon Web Services (AWS) using AWS Direct Connect and to Microsoft Azure using ExpressRoute.
Supra is also announcing that it will soon have similar links to Oracle and Google. The company’s overall goal as a Canadian managed IT services provider is to be “public cloud neutral” by investing in connectivity to all major public cloud providers. This enables us to provide customers with a true hybrid model that comprises the public cloud(s) of their choice.
Why support fast connections to both AWS and Microsoft Azure?
Supra ITS recognizes that our customers are looking to make the most of the public cloud and that not one size fits all. For example, customers may want to take advantage of AWS for its simple and elastic storage capabilities, while using Microsoft Azure’s more advanced SQL capabilities. We are seeing increasing interest from customers who want to take advantage of public cloud as vendors such as Amazon and Microsoft open facilities in Canada and support Canadian data residency.
More importantly, we’re enabling customers to combine their on-premise, Supra private cloud and public cloud deployments to fully take advantage of a managed hybrid cloud model.
What are the benefits of the fast, direction connections?
A direct connection will eliminate the need for those in Toronto to rely on the public internet to send data back and forth from the cloud provider. Users can establish a private connection between AWS and their own data centre, office, or colocation environment. Among the key benefits:
- Security: These direct connections are more secure because traffic is not routed through the public internet. The premium nature of a direct connection usually means that providers also address and resolve connectivity problems faster.
- Performance: Users experience less latency for applications and other critical infrastructure guaranteed with Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
- Hybrid Cloud Usage: Legacy colocation and dedicated server clients can now directly connect to public cloud networks.
- Risk Mitigation: In certain scenarios, direct connections to public cloud services enable customers to use existing IP addressing range and significantly reduce risk while transitioning to the cloud.
- Data Sovereignty: Data remains in Canada when in transit and at rest.
How fast are these connections?
Tests show that transferring a 1GB file using Azure ExpressRoute can be twice as fast at 41 seconds as compared with the Internet using the IPsec protocol at 93 seconds. In addition, encrypted traffic can slow as much as 15 percent when sent via IPsec tunneling compared with a direct connection.
Because “best effort” networks such as the public Internet and long-haul MPLS connections are replaced by direct peering connections to AWS and Azure, Supra ITS customers can expect consistent throughput and performance. These shorter-distance, geographically dispersed direction connections are also closer to a larger number of users thanks to Supra ITS’ colocation facilities and interconnection provider partnerships.
Is Supra ITS charging extra for this capability?
No. Support for AWS Direct Connect and Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute is part of our commitment to helping customers take advantage of the public of their choice. Customers may have to pay for any charges from the public cloud provider.
Is Supra ITS offering any additional technical support to help customers use AWS Direct Connect and Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute?
Yes. Technical support is included as part of our managed services, providing customers with a single point of contact for managed private and public cloud. Supra ITS will provide as much or as little technical support for the faster connections as customers required based on their internal level expertise. In all cases, we will be available to help customers make sure they are maximizing the benefits of AWS Direct Connect and Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute.
How does a customer set up AWS Direct Connect or Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute connection to Supra ITS?
Supra has already invested and has these connections in our private cloud so that our customers don’t have to. The connections to the customer preferred public cloud networks are provisioned at the time of onboarding and are part of transition services. Existing customers can reach out to their Supra ITS technical account manager to discuss the requirements.
How is Supra ITS securing these connections?
Because AWS Direct Connect and Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute are direct connections and do not traverse the public internet, they are inherently more secure. Supra ITS’ focus on security spans the entire breadth of its customers’ organization. Because we are a managed IT services company and not just a partner that hosts customer data, we can integrate security from end-to-end, including your on-premise IT infrastructure, public cloud services providers and Supra’s own Tier 3 data centres in the Greater Toronto Area.
Does customer data remain in Canada should they use AWS Direct Connect and Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute to connect to their applications and data?
Yes. Supra operates data centres worldwide with two based in Canada. We can provide Canadian customers private and public cloud options through our private network to ensure that all data remains within borders, while in transit or at rest.
How do AWS Direct Connect and Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute avoid using the public internet?
Supra ITS has partnered with Cologix at its Toronto facilities to connect to AWS Direct Connect and Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute.
What is AWS Direct Connect?
AWS Direct Connect makes it easy for Supra ITS customers to establish a dedicated network connection from their premises as well as their facilities managed by Supra ITS to AWS. AWS Direct Connect enables private connectivity between AWS and the customer’s data centre, office, or colocation environment. Using industry standard 802.1q VLANs, this dedicated connection can be partitioned into multiple virtual interfaces and allows customers to use the same connection to access public resources such as objects stored in Amazon S3 using public IP address space, and private resources such as Amazon EC2 instances running within an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) using private IP space, while maintaining network separation between the public and private environments.
What are the set-up costs for AWS Direct Connect for Supra ITS customers?
Normally, it is included as part of transition services for our managed customers. Existing customers should reach out their Technical Account Manager (TAM) at Supra.
What are the ongoing costs for AWS Direct Connect for Supra ITS customers?
The costs of these connections are included for Supra’s managed services customers where we manage private and public cloud. Other AWS and Azure costs are extra and depend upon the usage.
Where is the AWS Direct Connect facility located?
The Toronto AWS Direct Connect facility is located at 250 Front St. W, Toronto. Companies can set up a single connection to any AWS Direct Connect location in North America, and use it to then access public AWS services in any North American region and AWS GovCloud.
Which AWS services can be used with AWS Direct Connect?
All AWS services, including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), and Amazon DynamoDB can be used with AWS Direct Connect.
Can customers use the same private network connection with Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) and other AWS services simultaneously?
Yes. Each AWS Direct Connect connection can be configured with one or more virtual interfaces. Virtual interfaces may be configured to access AWS services such as Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3 using public IP space, or resources in a VPC using private IP space.
If customers are using Amazon CloudFront and their origin is in their own data centre, can they use AWS Direct Connect to transfer the objects stored in their own data centre?
Yes. Amazon CloudFront supports custom origins including origins you run outside of AWS. The access to the CloudFront edge locations will be restricted to the geographically nearest AWS region. With the exception of the North America regions which currently allow access to all North American region’s on-net CloudFront origins. With AWS Direct Connect, you will pay AWS Direct Connect data transfer rates for origin transfer.
Through Direct Connect, customer traffic will remain on the Amazon backbone network after it enters it. Therefore, prefixes of CloudFront locations that are not on the Amazon backbone network will not be advertised through Direct Connect.
What does Azure ExpressRoute do?
Supra ITS customers can use Azure ExpressRoute to create private connections between Azure data centres and infrastructure on their premises or in a colocation environment, including their infrastructure at Supra ITS. ExpressRoute connections don’t go over the public Internet, and they offer more reliability, faster speeds, and lower latencies than typical Internet connections. In some cases, using ExpressRoute connections to transfer data between on-premises systems and Azure can give customers significant cost benefits.
What are some of the benefits for Supra ITS customers?
ExpressRoute gives Supra ITS customers a fast and reliable connection to Azure, which makes it excellent for scenarios such as periodic data migration, replication for business continuity, disaster recovery, and other high-availability strategies. It can be a cost-effective option for transferring large amounts of data, such as datasets for high-performance computing applications, or moving large virtual machines between a dev-test environment in an Azure virtual private cloud and an on-premises production environment.
What kind of connectivity does ExpressRoute employ?
Microsoft uses industry standard dynamic routing protocol (BGP) to exchange routes between a customer’s on-premises network, their instances in Azure, and Microsoft public addresses. It establishes multiple BGP sessions with the customer’s network for different traffic profiles.
Which Microsoft cloud services can be accessed using ExpressRoute?
Infrastructure and platform services running in Azure often benefit by addressing network architecture and performance considerations. That’s why Microsoft recommends enterprises use ExpressRoute for Azure. Microsoft’s Software as a Service offerings, such as Office 365 and Dynamics 365, were created to be accessed securely and reliably via the Internet, so Microsoft only recommends ExpressRoute for these applications in specific scenarios.
How might Supra ITS customers take advantage of their ExpressRoute connection to Microsoft Azure?
Supra ITS customers can use ExpressRoute to add compute and storage capacity to its existing data centre or facilities at Supra ITS, enabling them to enjoy the scale and economics of the public cloud without having to compromise on network performance. They can also build hybrid applications build applications that span on-premises infrastructure (their own and Supra ITS’) and Azure without compromising privacy or performance.
What the bandwidth options for ExpressRoute?
Supra ITS customers can purchase ExpressRoute circuits for a wide range of bandwidths. Supra ITS supports the following bandwidths:
- 50 Mbps
- 100 Mbps
- 200 Mbps
- 500 Mbps
- 1 Gbps
- 2 Gbps
- 5 Gbps
- 10 Gbps