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  • Adobe Creative Cloud 2016 Features & Pricing

    Adobe Creative Cloud is a subscription based software collection, developed by ADOBE, and is based on the Software as a Service (SAAS) business model. This software suite is aimed at variety of users including but not limited to graphic designers, web developers. Customers can use this software suite with a monthly or an annual subscription with no upfront expense.  Adobe Creative Cloud comprises of core desktop apps like Photoshop and Illustrator paired with group of mobile companion apps as well as a marketplace called Adobe Stock and a thriving community. These features come with Adobe’s assets management technology called Creative Sync.

     

     

    HOW CREATIVE CLOUD WORKS

    On the face of it creative cloud works like your average run of the mill software but instead of getting DVD’s, you subscribe and download it off the internet. It installs like any other software would. This suite can be used as long as the subscription remains valid. Online updates are a part of this subscription.

     

    TOP FEATURES OF CREATIVE CLOUD

    Adobe Creative Cloud provides all tools you need in one place. Some of the best features of these tool are:

    CONTENT-AWARE CROP - Photoshop

     This feature enables you to automatically fill the edges of the cropped image with matching content using the Content-Aware Crop It will automatically fill the edges when you expand the canvas beyond its boundaries.

    CAMERA SHAKE REDUCTION - Photoshop

    Blurry images due to shaking camera is an age-old photography issue. This nifty feature realigns the image pixels by analyzing the motion path of the camera shake thereby providing you with clearer, sharper images.

    GESTURE-BASED DRAWING - Comp CC

    Comp CC uses this feature to transform drawing gestures into crisp wireframe graphics and layouts. For instance, to create a multi-line text you only need to draw a bunch of lines with a dot. Comp converts your gestures into objects as your draw.

    FONT MATCHING - Photoshop

    This is the new font recognition technology which allows you to identify fonts from scans, posters and more. It recognizes the text in the image and then finds the similar fonts.

     

    KULER iOS APP - Illustrator CC

    This iPhone apps allows you to create color swatch from photos you take. You just need to select five areas from the photos and it will create a swatch these colors and sent it to your Illustrator.

    FLUID LAYOUTS - Dreamweaver CC

    Adobe Dreamweaver CC now comes with a new project type that enables you to create fluid and responsive websites for different screen resolutions

    BEHANCE SOCIAL NETWORK

    This feature allows users to share their projects to the Adobe Social Network, Behance, to get the feedback from the ever-thriving community. Behance also works as a professional portfolio where potential customers can see your work.

     

    Creative Cloud License

     

    BENEFITS OF CREATIVE CLOUD

    UPFRONT EXPENSE

    Adobe Creative Cloud comes with a monthly or annual subscription. This allows you to avoid the one time high cost of $999.

    UPGRADE COST

    Adobe offers the Creative Cloud with free updates with zero extra charges.

    STORE, SHARE, AND SYNC

    Creative Cloud users can access the Adobe Cloud and sync and share data across devices.


  • SQL Server 2016 Developers Edition Features

    SQL Server Developer Edition Features & Pricing

    SQL Server Developers Edition is a full featured edition of Microsoft SQL server. Developers prefer this version because it is a fully unlocked version of SQL at no cost. Wondering if Developer's edition is right for you? There are many different ways to price & license SQL server. Keep in mind Developer's edition is primarily for building and testing. Learn more about the features and highlights below.

    SQL Server Developers Edition Vs Standard

    SQL Server Developers Edition comes with all the bells and whistles of Enterprise Edition but in a non-production environment. This means those looking to run applications will need to opt for the standard version. SQL Dev Ed is used for the production, building and demonstration of applications. This version includes the full feature set of the Enterprise Edition. Moreover, Microsoft offers developer edition with no cost whatsoever with Visual Studio. Developers edition allows user to build web/mobile application for various data types.

    SQL Server Licensing

     

    SQL Server Developer's Edition Features & Highlights

    ENCRYPTION

    SQL Server comes with an always encrypted feature. With this feature enable, your database is always encrypted with the SQL Server. Access of the database is restricted to the devices calling SQL Server only. This allows the data owner to control who has access to the database and stop the nosy Administrator from poking around. This is a welcome security edition.

    JSON SUPPORT

    SQL Server Developers Edition also supports JSON (Java Script Object Notation) just like the enterprise edition. JSON support enables you to exchange JSON data between applications and SQL database engine. Moreover, Developers can turn the relational data into JSON formatted data.

    QUERY STORE

    With the query store feature, SQL Server saves historical execution plans for the queries. It also saves the query statistics that go along with these historical execution plans. This great edition will help you to track performance of queries over time.

    ROW LEVEL SECURITY

    SQL Server comes with row level security which allows database engine to restrict access to rows based the SQL Server Login. Implementing this feature will exempt application developers from maintaining code to restrict data access to some logins.

    TEMPORAL TABLES

    A temporal table hold the old version of the records within a base table. SQL Server Developers edition now automatically manages moving old row versions to the temporal tables whenever the records are updated.

    R- SUPPORT

    Microsoft incorporates R-programing language in SQL server to support advance analytics against big data sets. This allows the Database administrators to run their existing R code inside the SQL Server database engine, thereby eliminating the need for exporting the database to perform these advance analytics.

    PolyBase

    PolyBase is a nifty feature that allows user to query distributed data sets. By using polybase user can write adhoc queries which join relational data from SQL Server with data stored in Hadoop or SQL Azure blob storage.

    DYNAMIC DATA MASKING

    This feature allows to obscure confidential columns in a database from users which are not allowed to view the. Dynamic Data Masking allows you to identify how to obscure the data. For instance, By using this feature you can define a mask that can limit a user’s view to only some digits of Credit Card Number.


  • 4 Secrets to Saving Big on Software Costs

    4 Tips When Buying Discount Software 

                As software has become increasingly more complicated over time, the need for the user to be conscious of their purchases has become increasingly important. Every smart enterprise is undoubtedly looking to save money, and this requires it to remain well-informed. There are indeed a lot of ways in which the uninformed user can be driven to overpay for their software, or driven to purchase a product that simply does not fit their needs, but fortunately, keeping just a few simple tips in mind can help every consumer make the best purchase possible:

    1. Work with a licensed Microsoft partner.

    Though software licensing agreements (SLA) may appear to be uniform for every user, they can actually be adapted and customized to meet the user’s particular needs. Many enterprises can save upwards of thousands of dollars by negotiating more flexible payment schedules, licensing swaps, and by restructuring the terms and agreements of their SLAs. In order to avoid confusion—or in some cases, outright scams—working with a licensed Microsoft partner can assure the most accurate information possible is provided. Only by engaging directly with their software provider can the user discover and negotiate their most workable solutions.

    1. Learn about Microsoft incentives and licensing factors.

                Many incentive and software licensing programs can be rather complicated, but, fortunately for users, there are many useful resources from which they can acquire information. Microsoft is one of the largest and most diverse software companies in the world, and there are many details of this company that often go unnoticed by its users. The Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) is a good place to begin learning about Microsoft’s intricate licensing program and begin dissecting these details. An organization’s specific licensing agreement will depend on a wide variety of factors, such as the specific number of computers it may use, its desire to enter a perpetual or non-perpetual agreement, its long-term goals, and many others. As a company of its size, Microsoft offers incentives in order to satisfy the niche needs of every user, and these incentives can each offer a tremendous amount of savings.

    1. Avoid questionable retailers.

                Unfortunately, in the modern world of software sales, there are many ways in which even the most cautious users can be harmed or deceived. When shopping for discount software—or anything digital, for that matter—it is absolutely vital for users to be conscious of the retailer they are dealing with. A good retailer is one that is willing to present information in an objective manner, assure that their customer’s information will remain protected, and offer continuous support throughout the entire purchase process. Most good retailers ought to have plenty of available reviews and information about themselves online, and if the company seems to be avoidant of consumer’s inquiries or have a generally bad reputation, it may be one that would be better off avoided.

    1. Look for holistic solutions and long term support.

                If any enterprise hopes to remain competitive and survive, it knows it cannot just be thinking about its particular needs in the status quo—it needs to be thinking about the future. With the purchase of any Microsoft software, the license holder is entitled to comprehensive support from the company, and this support can be crucial in the long run. Having support from a team of knowledgeable specialists can save a substantial amount of money over time due to the avoidance of unexpected costs associated with the alternative. Furthermore, holistically integrating all of an enterprise’s technology into a unifying source can avoid costs by avoiding redundant payments and avoiding multi-device incompatibility. The best solutions for any problem are the ones that are the most comprehensive, and holistic planning alongside long term support are necessary for creating real value.

    Ultimately, it seems that thinking with a “big picture” mindset is what will best enable the user to realize big savings.

               


  • New Features Found in Windows Server 2016

    Why Buy Windows Server 2016?

    Windows Server, part of Microsoft’s Windows NT family, is a server operating system. This Operating system offers enterprise level management. Windows server provides the same features of a normal OS alongside side some server management features. Windows Server 2016 is the latest and greatest in the long line of these Server operating systems.

    New Features in Windows Server 2016

    As it is expected with a new release of windows, Windows Server 2016 arrives bundled with a huge array of new features. The fully baked version of Windows Server illustrates a strong emphasis on security and cloud services. From Nano-Servers to networking improvements, all the new features work together to form a well-balanced and extremely useful enterprise level Operating System. Some of the top new features of Windows Server are:

    Nano Server:

    Nano Server is a stripped-down version of Windows Server that’s designed specifically for cloud environments. Nano Server offers headless installation (No local UI and no local console).  The overall footprint of Nano Server is 92% less than Windows Server Core GUI    (Graphical User Interface). Nano Server comes with a minimal UI called Nano Recovery Console that can be used to perform initial configuration tasks. Some advantages of using Nano Severs are:

    • Nano can easily be ported across Servers and data centres.
    • Few reboots are necessary as less updates are required.
    • Nano can host the common Windows Server workloads like Hyper-V host.

    Docker-based Containers:

    Container provide the users with a way to isolate the application and services in an easy to administrator way. Such Containers were only a part of Linux/Unix based OS but now Microsoft in collaboration with Docker is bringing Docker-based containers to Windows Server 2016. Microsoft’s new approach is of open-source technologies.  This feature comes with two different types of controllers:

    • Hyper-V Container which offers a super-isolated containerized instance of Windows Server that is completely isolated from the host server and other containers. Such Containers are preferred for high-priority workload.
    • Windows Server Container is usually preferred for low-trust workloads. Such Containers are isolated from one another but use some common resources.

    Resilient File System (ReFS)

    Windows Server 2016 comes with a stable version of the Resilient file system which is intended as a high-performance file system to be used with Hyper-V workloads and Storage Spaces Direct.

    Nested Virtualization

    This feature allows a virtual machine to host virtual machines itself. This feature was previously not available with Windows Server Hyper-V, but with version 2016 this feature is available to users.

    Linux Secure Boot

    Secure Boot is a UEFI standard which protects the machine against the boot-time malware or rootkits injection. Windows Server 2016 now allows users to deploy Linux VMs under Hyper-V without the need of disabling this Secure Boot Feature.

    Hyper-V HOT-Add Virtual Hardware

    Lastly, Hyper-V Server allowed users to add virtual hardware and allocate resources to a virtual machine with a catch of first powering down the machine. Users can now add virtual hardware to a running machine without the need of turning it off in the latest version.

    The aforementioned features are just some examples of the new and innovative features in Windows Server 2016.  


  • How to License SQL Server 2016 - The Comprehensive Guide

    How To License SQL Server 2016 - The Comprehensive Guide

    SQL server is a relational database management system (RDBMS) developed by Microsoft. It is a feature-rich database system designed to compete against Oracle and MySQL. Microsoft offers SQL server in several editions, each with their different set of options and features. Database Administrators prefer the Enterprise Edition because of its features; while organizations tend to prefer Standard Edition due to the lower costs.

    These editions come with their own licensing and pricing options.

    • Standard: Developed for small and medium size organizations. Offers basic database, reporting, and analytics capabilities.
    • Enterprise: Designed for large corporations with complex data sets and requirement. Has all functionalities/features. Contains all the basic features of Standard Edition plus tools for analysing business and financial data, mission-critical applications, and data warehousing features
    • Workgroup: Targeted towards small organizations.
    • Express: Free for distribution.

    Licensing Models

    Licensing has always been one of the more puzzling aspects of any new product. SQL server is no exception. Selecting the proper licensing model can prove to be a daunting task; with so many different types of licensing to choose from, one can easily get confused. Microsoft basically offers two types of paid licenses for SQL server. The client access licenses(CAL) are offered for Standard edition. It is usually used when the number of clients are pre-determined.

    Core-based licensing is offered for the Enterprise as well as the Standard Edition. Majority of users opt for core based licensing since CAL rarely fits every database model and is one more thing to manage. Core based licensing requires customers to purchase licenses for all the cores in the system for a physical server.

    Core licensing

    Core Licensing is an option for the SQL Server 2016 Standard edition and is a requirement for the SQL Server 2016 Enterprise edition. With the release of SQL Server 2016, Microsoft shifted from per Processor licensing to Per Core licensing. Such licensing can be availed for both physical and virtual servers. Core based licensing is appropriate when you are unable to count the users/devices using the program. A minimum of four core licenses are required for each physical processor on the server.  If you are using SQL server on a physical server, enough copies of the licenses are needed to cover all the cores in the system you plan to use.  Hyper threading is not considered – only the physical cores are counted. There is no need for CAL alongside with Core licensing. Microsoft offers these licenses in packs of two. Here is more information on the SQL Server Core vs Cal licensing model.

    When to use core-based licensing?

    • Preferably used when deploying to the Internet or Extranet.
    • When counting, users is impossible/impractical.
    • Mandatory use with Enterprise
    • When Comprehensive performance from demanding database is required.

    When to use CAL?

    • Deploying standard edition
    • Deploying SQL Server BI
    • Utilizing numerous SQL Servers within the organization

  • Office 365: Improving Business Communication

    New Features in Office 2016 Promote Easy Collaboration

    Communication is vital to existence of any healthy relationship and business is no exception. In particular, business communication is core to internal workflow processes, external partnerships, and connection to customers. With the recent introduction of affordable, state-of-the-art internal communication platforms, telecommuting and globalization are shaping and scaling businesses in ways we’ve never seen before. Real-time services such as SharePoint and Skype for Business are decreasing business opportunity costs and are promoting a fast, fun, easy and effective way to collaborate in the digital era.

    Chats, video presentations, and virtual conferences have replaced the dreary in-person meetings of the past. Virtual discussions are the new way to get more done. Microsoft Office 365 has expanded its traditional offerings of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook to include a suite of applications which provide mobility and continual access to foster and maintain conversations globally. Microsoft’s main mission with O365 for Business is simple: collective, easy collaboration.

    Office 365 Has a Suite of New Business Applications

    Applications, such as OneDrive, offer tools for co-authoring and collaboration; Word and PowerPoint now allow colleagues to work on the same documents and presentations through its integration with OneDrive and SharePoint for “real-time” editing. These applications also include features such as the “Share” button, granting users the ability to share files within their organization and allowing individuals and management to see who is working on a particular document. Users can also send large files through Outlook, which will then convert said files into a downloadable link for those actively on OneDrive or SharePoint.

    Office 365 and Skype for Business

    Another unique feature of Office 365 is the ability to view “historical versions” of a particular document from within the traditional desktop office suite itself. Everyone has experienced the of frustration of accidentally deleting a portion of a document and this feature acts as a safeguard for this inevitable occurrence.

    These additional offerings, such as Skype for Business integration, data forecasting, improved cross-device support, and document collaboration arm nearly any business with the latest, most powerful industry-grade tools necessary to compete in the ever-evolving world of business communications.


  • What Happens During A Microsoft Audit (SAM)

    Avoiding unforeseen liabilities is an ongoing reality for most businesses, and one of the biggest expenses can come from the licensing problems associated with Microsoft software. The management of such high-value software can be a difficult problem, exasperated by ever evolving licensing agreements with greater levels of complexity and lack of best practices for software license management.

    In medium to large companies, the risk of fees associated with failed audits is compounded due to the sheer number of software license contracts they must manage. With an average of 70 software license contracts, determining compliance can become almost ambiguous until an actual audit is performed. A failed audit can lead to company embarrassment and fees that can negatively impact company profitability.

    Internal Management Is Costly; Outsource SAM to a Partner

    Microsoft is reported to have an especially aggressive audit strategy, from informal audits through audit partners and workshops, to more formal, official on site audits. These expensive ordeals are highly likely for medium and large sized companies, with over 60 percent of executives reporting some sort of Microsoft audit associated activity occurring in the last 12 months. Preparing for an audit begins with understanding the terms of your software license agreements.

    Protect against a SAM audit and legal implications.

    Until recent years, internal SAM management systems haven't aligned with the cost-conscience business models most companies utilize, encouraging the tendency for reliance on poor data. This leads to costly miscalculations and mistakes, but is also where Software asset management systems come into play. These services handle the complex issues presented by high value enterprise applications. The best methods for asset management include maintaining continuing compliance utilizing SAM services, keeping a roster of active software licenses (using VLSC or others) and ensuring constant preparation for any potential upcoming audit.

    Centralizing license operations can give managers access to all agreements for tracking and maintenance. Automating licensing operations also ensures software availability and easy reassignment or bill-back. One best practice is to analyze usage reports, in order to make sure usage data is as accurate and complete as possible and adopt the right management tools. Effective management of software assets is almost impossible without effective tools and software.

    Preparing for a company-wide SAM audit can be as simple as meeting with a Microsoft Certified Partner, and setting up an free consultation. With the right plan and tools, maintaining compliance can be largely automated and easily managed to prevent future worries.


  • Benefits of Implementing a Microsoft Server

    Servers are used for centralized user and resource management, network security, file and print services, and Web-based collaboration tools. As the mediator between an operating system and the rest of the network, it is arguably the most important component of that network. Microsoft Windows Server products now have a cloud ready operating system, extending the reach to resources not available on servers that are not cloud based. Before deciding to implement the Microsoft server, however, you should determine whether your business has the IT capabilities to make the switch and understand the benefits.

    The new cloud based Microsoft servers allows for businesses to have added layers of security and to stay at the cutting edge of application and infrastructure development to move your business forward. The server provides a platform for transition to the cloud when your company is prepared for the change, while supporting the operations necessary to manage current business workloads.

    Windows Server Data Center Vs Standard Editions

    There are two editions of the Windows Server R2: the Datacenter Edition and the Standard Edition. The Datacenter edition caters to high-density hybrid and private cloud environments, providing unlimited OSE containers, a nano server, new storage features, such as Storage Spaces Direct and Storage Replica, which is an Azure-inspired storage enhancement, and new Shielded Virtual Machines. In addition, it allows for unlimited on premise virtualization. The Standard Edition comes with limited features coming equipped with little more than the core of the Windows server and two OSE containers.

    Windows Server Data Center

    The Standard Edition might be sufficient for businesses that do not require or want to virtualize and just need a lighter weight server. The Datacenter Edition might be desirable for large companies and want to put more of their workflows into the cloud or want to rehash their legacy Windows applications and move them to Open Source Apps. Large companies would be able to justify the cost of the high-value servers and licensing.

     


  • Choosing an Office 365 Enterprise Plan for your Business

    Office Pricing Made Easy

    Determining which version of O365 would best fit your company and budget requires an assessment of both the needs and access your employees require to fulfill their roles; as well as what your company budget will allow. Microsoft designed its Office365 plans to fit the needs of any company, of any size, regardless of scope and budget.

    What is Office 365 for Enterprise?

    The Office 365 Enterprise plans are broken down into six plans, including a basic plan and even two plans for kiosk worker types, showing the versatility of the features and pricing. There are four main offerings for businesses, whether for a entrepreneur or a large company employing tens of thousands.

    Enterprise E1 & E2

    The MS 365 Enterprise E1 and E2 plans were designed for businesses with no more than 25 employees. This is a good plan for small businesses with no plans to expand. While the E1 variant doesn’t have the Office Web Apps, the web version of the Microsoft Office Suite, it does give access to Skype for Business, with on-premise options to Exchange and SharePoint. If you find that your employees need online access to Microsoft Office Suite, the E2 plan does contain the Office Web Apps, along with all the features included in the E1 plan.

    Enterprise E3 & E4

    The Microsoft Office 365 Enterprise E3 and E4 plans were designed with medium to large companies, with 50 to thousands of employees, or small businesses with goals for expansion. With these options you can install the desktop versions of the Office Web Apps, with the E4 option offering the Microsoft Lync enterprise VOIP solution, allowing for fully integrated voice capabilities on premise.

    Which Plan is Best for Me?

    For many businesses, the Enterprise E3 plan might be the happy medium or unicorn plan, giving you all the benefits of the E1 and E2 plans, with the added advantage of advanced analytical tools and document sharing capabilities.

    Office365 Enterprise Pricing
    Whatever option you chose, Office 365 “E” plans offer flexibility and on premise licensing rights for SharePoint, Exchange and Lync; making it easy and convenient to quickly view your options and chose a customized feature tier that caters to your company size and needs.


  • The Risk Factor: Cheap Software VS Pirated Software

    Software companies such as Adobe and Microsoft have built their brand on the vision of creating products that can be used by creators and innovators to curate content that can be distributed to whatever market they wish to serve. This vision can be seen manifested on the screens of millions of computers globally. Programs such as Photoshop and Office Suite have become industry standards.

    Pirated Software Costs Companies

    The most marketable skills for a potential employee are often founded on the ability to master the tools found in these programs. Adobe and Microsoft have become mainstays and their products, must-have tools of success and creation. Because of this software is expensive, placing it out of reach for many users. Piracy and cheap software seem like legitimate solutions to the market gap, but can have consequences that ultimately cause the company to loss profit.

    Cheap software in particular can offer a legal solution to those who cannot afford the alternative with pros and cons. Cheap software sold through third party vendors can be 18 to 22 percent less in licensing fees and up to 50 percent of the initial annual fee. While reducing costs is often the goal of budget conscious companies, with this potential benefit comes potential pitfalls. Third-party vendors cannot fully replace vendor support programs. This means that you will not get any software updates as your software is essentially frozen.

    You may also face reinstatement fees if your company grows and you need to return to the direct vendor.

    Despite of these disadvantages of cheap software, the consequences of using pirated software can be far graver. Using pirated software, like using cheap software, means no official vendor support, potential viruses and malware, no official builds or updates, and slowed computer performance due to modifications to make the program more authentic. Unlike the purchase of cheap software, pirated software is illegal, and thus, a crime. If a company is found guilty, they can face fees up to or exceeding $250,000 in fines.

    If financial resources are limited, cheap software can be a good alternative for beginning users or smaller companies, but overall it is recommended in the long term to invest in original software sold officially by the vendor that owns the original copyright.

     


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