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integration and implementation of technology-focused business solutions

Coming soon: updates to the Oklahoma Sex & Violent Offender Registry

December 20th, 2016

checking-information-on-phoneLSG Solutions is proud of our work on the Oklahoma Sex & Violent Offender Registry. Over the years, there have been many changes made and new features offered in hopes of providing more information to the public.

As our work on this system continues, we are entering the next phase of development. Coming in the spring of 2017, the registry will offer new features, including a mobile interface.

Currently, the site features the same image on desktops and mobile devices. This forces mobile users to zoom in multiple times for readability.

In an effort to add mobile responsiveness to the site, here are new features we are working on:

  • Community alerts: This will allow users to sign up to receive mobile alerts when a sex offender moves into a selected geographical area.
  • Area scanning: You can scan the area you are in to see registered offenders in up to a five-mile radius.
  • Greater functionality: The mobile interface will allow for increased functionality, which should lead to a better experience for the user.

We know it is essential to keep the sex offender registry updated to interface with current technology. We feel confident that expanding the site in this way will allow more people to access the information they need.

This build-out will most likely be launched to the public in phases. Our hope is that with the mobile interface, we will see an increase in items like signups for the community alerts. We also anticipate that traffic to the Oklahoma Sex & Violent Offender Registry website will increase.

At LSG Solutions we are committed to serving our customers and our community. Our continued work on the sex offender registry is an example of that commitment. We look forward to providing this information and making it accessible to all Oklahomans.

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Overcoming common software testing challenges

November 1st, 2016

testing-softwareWhen you’re in a hurry, it’s easy look past the test phase of implementing new software. However, testing is essential to avoid future problems.

When software rolls out with bugs, it can become a huge morale problem, involving the extension of deadlines and increased cost. Here are some common challenges in software testing, and ways that you can overcome them.

Unskilled testers

Just because someone possesses technical skills doesn’t mean they are a good fit for testing software. The trick here is to find people who understand the business needs and how the software should promote them.

Failure to plan ahead

Too often, test plans are put together as the project is winding down or not at all. A test plan should have an appropriate structure with a checklist of items to be tested in various environments and conditions.

A test plan developed at the beginning of a project can build in check points to catch issues before they become major challenges. A thorough plan can also help reign in the scope creep that inevitably happens.

Lack of automated testing

Automated testing allows you to run scenarios over and over, which becomes even more important as you increase functionality. Since software often operates in a changing environment, it’s important to set automated testing to catch bugs before they become a problem.

Inability to test the unknown

Despite your team’s best efforts, you can never plan for every scenario. It’s essential that you are working closely with project managers and appropriate stakeholders to keep them informed on project developments.

This relationship can prove educational for the business stakeholders, giving them a more holistic perspective to software development and implementation.

Whatever challenges you face in testing software, resources are available to help you overcome them. The team at LSG Solutions is always ready to answers your questions, or work with your business to chart a way forward.

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Winning the software development wars

October 18th, 2016

software-warChances are if you’ve worked in the software development world, you know the debates that rage regarding different development environments. Some developers wave the Java flag, while others hang on to .NET. At LSG Solutions, we believe customers should be comfortable with whatever development tool is being used.

LSG specializes in Java, .NET, and Oracle Application Express. We think that providing options allows us to meet the unique needs of our customers.

Past experience has shown us that while Java and .NET remain the heavy hitters in the industry, many of our clients simply don’t need their complexity.

Think of building a house. Some people want to build a custom home, with endless design options. The customization will allow them to have a truly unique house, but the trade-off is an extended build time. For others, having a quality home built with a quick turn-around time is the most important thing. Customization takes a back seat to efficiency.

These software development options offer the same type of scenario, making it ever more important to work with an organization who understands your unique business needs.

For companies needing something extremely complex, like a trading platform, the flexible customization of Java or .NET is essential. However, a business needing a simple platform developed quickly will find that Oracle Application Express is a better fit.

Over the years, we’ve found that businesses usually make their software development decisions based on the existing environment they have in place. If, for example, a past developer used Java, that customer will naturally gravitate to Java.

By partnering with LSG Solutions, we can help you understand which available options may be best for your needs. Since we specialize in Java, .NET, and Oracle Application Express, we have the flexibility and expertise to provide a custom solution for you.

You won’t get caught in the crossfire of developers championing their own favorite platform. By working with us to figure out what best suits your needs, you come out the winner every time.

Questions? Reach out to us today to discuss your options, and find out how we can help your business move forward.

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Oracle ODA X6 and SMB affordability

October 4th, 2016

smb-server-roomSmall and medium businesses have unique database needs. In the past, business owners were priced out of robust appliance applications. But a new option from Oracle is changing that.

This summer, Oracle unveiled a new database appliance specifically for small businesses; the Oracle Database Appliance X6. This is a new version of still-current appliance, the X4 and X5.

The X6 still offers the same ease of set up as Oracle’s other versions. This hardware line is set up as a high availability system, with loads of redundancy. As a 2-server-in-1 option, it allows for a tremendous reduction in downtime. The server is also certified with Standard Edition 2.

Here are a few features that differentiate X6 from the previous versions.

Affordability: The price of X4 and X5 priced out many small and medium businesses. Business owners had to contend with fulfilling a database need in small, affordable increments by paying someone for their time, versus a relatively high cost of buying the X4 or X5 ODA.

Small business savvy: The X6 is specialized for small business. If you’re an SMB and need to run an around-the-clock database system, this is a good choice. It’s meant for people who need to run one database in production on site.

Storage: Buyers should take note that because it’s scaled for small business, X6 has limited storage. This appliance application is geared for organizations whose storage needs won’t grow past 10 terabytes.

Oracle X6 is available in two sizes: 2S (small) and 2M (medium):

 Oracle Database Appliance X6-2SOracle Database Appliance X6-2M
SizeOne rack unit serverOne rack unit server
ProcessorOne 10-core Intel Xeon E5-2630 v4Two 10-core Intel Xeon E5-2630 v4
Memory128 GB expandable to 384 GB256 GB expandable to 768 GB
Networking2x 10GbE SFP+ (fiber) and 2x 10GBase-T (copper) ports2x 10GbE SFP+ (fiber) and 4x 10GBase-T (copper) ports
Storage6.4 TB high performance NVMe flash storage6.4 TB high performance NVMe flash storage
Storage ManagementOracle Auto Storage Management (ASM)Oracle Auto Storage Management (ASM)
Database SE2 or EESE2 or EE

Oracle Database Appliance X6 offers database option accessibility to the small business market like never before. Not sure if this is a good fit for your business? Contact us today, and we will review options with you.

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How one local business used PaaS to save money

September 20th, 2016

IT servicePlatform as a Service (PaaS) is one of the latest in a line of cloud-based services that make it easier for businesses to operate without having to handle the upkeep of a network.

PaaS is a set of tools that allow developers to build applications without having to worry about the upkeep of owning infrastructure.

Here’s an example of how we used PaaS to give a local company a robust application without requiring them to house (or pay for!) a single server.

A local example of the usefulness of PaaS

BC Clark came to LSG Solutions searching for a way to develop an application for their “Pray for Rain” promotion. While it’s a big name in Oklahoma, BC Clark isn’t a very large company and couldn’t justify the time, expense and resources required to build an in-house infrastructure and hire a developer to maintain it and develop the application.

This was at a time when PaaS wasn’t widely used. We found a hosting company that allowed us to make custom requests for resources to build the infrastructure, which remained hosted off-site and required no effort on the customer’s part. Throughout the development and launch of the application, BC Clark didn’t buy a single server or a single piece of other hardware related to the program.

If it’s so good, why haven’t most people heard about PaaS?

As has often been the case in Oklahoma, PaaS hasn’t caught on as quickly locally as it has elsewhere in the country. In fact, a large percentage of the population likely has not heard of this or has heard of it but doesn’t know what it is.

Nevertheless, we foresee a time when all application development will be done on a PaaS basis, because it’s simply the most efficient way to do so for both the companies and the developers.

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Introduction to Platform as a Service (PaaS)

September 6th, 2016

ServerMany developers face the challenge of coding and deploying an application while also having to build and maintain the infrastructure and platform required to do so. PaaS lightens this load by making the provider responsible for the platform. That allows developers to focus on developing.

What is PaaS?

Think of PaaS as a tool set. Imagine that you’re a carpenter, and you own your own set of tools. Not only do you have to spend time performing the carpentry, but you also have to also buy, store, fix, and replace the tools and the shop where you work. In this case, PaaS functions like a provider who does all of those tool-related functions for you. You can focus on the carpentry itself.

In the case of cloud computing, a PaaS provider is responsible for providing and maintaining:

  • Tangible assets such as servers, networks, storage and operating system
  • Middleware such as Java or .NET runtime and integration
  • The database

PaaS takes these responsibilities off of the developers’ shoulders so that they can focus on what they do best-developing applications.

Why use PaaS?

All of the benefits of PaaS center on its ability to improve efficiency, and include:

  • Reducing developer time spent on maintenance
  • Faster product development
  • Improved culture of innovation for developers
  • Improved overall network security

PaaS gives developers more time to be productive, leading to a host of workflow improvements.

The relationship between IaaS, PaaS and SaaS

All three of these services are built on top of one another to provide a comprehensive cloud solution. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a service in which the provider houses and maintains the tangible assets like the servers and networks themselves. PaaS is a toolset that allows developers to develop software in the cloud, quickly and efficiently. SaaS are the software applications themselves that exist in the cloud.

Together, these three services allow all of the hardware and software associated with a business’s network to be hosted and maintained off-site, in the cloud.

One local company’s use of PaaS

BC Clark wanted to develop an application to allow customers to register for their “Pray for Rain” promotion. As a small company, BC Clark couldn’t justify the cost of building an infrastructure and the resources required for this development in-house. Instead, they purchased IaaS and PaaS with LSG Solutions, where this application was developed, deployed and housed.

Learn more about PaaS

If you think that PaaS would work well for your particular situation and would like to get more information based on your specific needs, we’d be happy to talk with you at (405) 285-2500.

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We’re ready to take our relationship to the next step

August 2nd, 2016

Choosing a backup and recovery partner is a lot like choosing your partner for life. You’re looking for someone to be by your side in the best and worst of times. Sometimes, it even can feel like a competition to get the best backup provider.

You need a strong partner who can protect you. After all, there’s a world of problems out there and those solutions aren’t in most people’s wheelhouse. Start asking random folks what they know about the cloud and you’ll see what we mean. The data world is complicated and without a caring mate, it’s easy to get in trouble and lose data that makes it critical for your business to operate.

Care is also important. And we don’t stop caring. In fact we care 24 hours a day and seven days a week, which is how often we’re available for technical support or to start recovery in the case of a disaster. To some of those backup bachelors out there, you’ll just be a number, just another notch in the server rack and nothing more. Don’t fall for their sweet talk and limited-time promotions. Choose somebody who really cares about you all the time.

Now, you’ve got to know that we’re in this for the long haul. If we weren’t serious about a relationship with your business, we wouldn’t put all of our qualifications on the table. You can see them here. If you would choose to give your company’s data heart to our Biz-E line of services, you’d feel safe knowing that our mission is to give you peace of mind.

It’s scary out there. There are countless ways to stumble and create a lot of problems. But when you have somebody serious about caring for you by your side, it takes an edge off the worry.

So what do you think? Do you see us together?

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Face risk head-on

July 19th, 2016

Risk managementSome people simply don’t want to talk about risk. Unfortunately, ignoring potential problems doesn’t make that potential go away. That’s what makes risk management so important.

When we meet with clients, the topic of risk doesn’t always go over very well. They want us to tell them that the job will be done and nothing could ever go wrong. Unfortunately, that’s not the way that the world works.

It’s essential for any business to identify and reduce risk, which is why we’re transparent with risk-management conversations with our clients.

Identifying and reducing risk

Part of poor risk management is misunderstanding what risk is. Risk is ever-present in every aspect of a company’s daily operations. Larger risks are fairly obvious: The building could get hit by a tornado. A project could go over-budget.

Other types of risk aren’t as obvious but can still have a profound effect. What if a project manager leaves the company? What if the company loses experience with high turnover rates? These are also serious risks and should be taken into account.

Identifying and planning for these situations is vital to making sure that operations continue regardless of what may come.

Avoiding denial to avert risk

Another problem that we find in talking about risk is poor communication or outright denial. Some managers are results-oriented. They want any project to produce the desired result without a hitch, and the last thing they want to hear about is potential problems.

Everyone is a little resistant to change now and then, but it pays to be transparent and acknowledge what may happen, even if it’s unlikely.

Denying the existence of risk doesn’t make it go away. In fact, denying it sets your company up for a painful and embarrassing failure if the problem that you didn’t want to discuss or plan for actually happens.

At the outset of your company’s important projects, be sure to acknowledge and plan for all that may happen. That way, you’ll be prepared to handle it well if the unexpected occurs.

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Oracle resources for developers of all skill levels

July 5th, 2016

Online researchWhether you’re in search of information about a specific application that you’re working on or simply want to learn more about Oracle, there’s a place for all of your needs - Apex.world.

What is Apex.world and what can you do there?

Apex.world is a community for the discussion of all things Oracle. Perhaps the most valuable aspect of this community is that it’s a place where developers of all skill levels can network and exchange information outside of the world of conferences. For many developers, this is a way to meet and learn from the best in the industry.

This forum isn’t only a place to find information about your projects. Apex.world also frequently features announcements about job openings, conferences, presentations, code sharing, and more.

What makes Apex.world so special?

There were plenty of resources for Oracle before Apex.world came around. However, these resources were very spread out. If you were new to Oracle and searching for help, finding it could be a daunting process. The founders of Apex.world brought all of that information to one location. Using the Slack platform, they made it easy for people to get answers from other specialists.

Who is Apex.world for?

To put it simply, Apex.world is a community for anybody involved with Oracle. Developers at all stages of learning will find content that’s helpful for them. Apex.world is also a great place for managers and recruiting agencies who are looking for talent.

The most common use of Apex.world, though, is to help developers finish excellent work. Developers value this community as a resource that will help them complete projects and get the desired results form Oracle.

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Combining virtualization with DBaaS

June 21st, 2016

CodingRecently, we wrote about the benefits of switching to cloud-based database as a service technology (DBaaS). To complement that experience, you might consider virtualization.

Virtualization is possible regardless of whether or not your company’s database is in the cloud. It involves moving from one operating system per machine to a virtual system of several operating systems. Virtualization alone improves the efficiency of your database hardware and allows for easier scaling, recovery, and security.

Virtualization and implementing the DBaaS are closely related tasks. Opting for virtualization improves the efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and productivity that you gain by choosing a cloud database.

When you’re making decisions about the future of your company’s database architecture, you should definitely put serious thought into virtualization as well as DBaaS.

In fact, if you’re considering purchasing a DBaaS for your business, it’s important that you find out whether or not a provider can offer virtualization.

Without that virtualization from your DBaaS provider, you’re still tasked with maintaining the database. Your ability to quickly replicate and change databases as needed will likely suffer.

Implementing a DBaaS already takes care of the inefficient and expensive burden of operating the company’s database in your own physical space. It only makes sense to stay free of the task of maintaining it.

Turning the administration of the database over to a virtualization provider allows your company to fully harness the opportunities that having a cloud database provides.

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CONTACT

501 E. 15th St., Suite 200B
Edmond, OK 73013
(405)285-2500
info@lsgsolutions.com