Network solution provider talks network virtualization strategy, security

In this edition of Solution Provider Spotlight, we highlight Personal Computer Resources, a networksolution provider from Braintree, Mass. CEO and President Peter Hirschfeld sits down with to discuss the recession and its effect on business, as well as customer concerns such as network virtualization and green networking. Hirschfeld also explains his thoughts on:

  • Network virtualization strategy
  • Why disaster recovery is one of the main uses for network virtualization.
  • Demand for green networking vs. network virtualization.
  • New Massachusetts regulations on data encryption and network security.

Watch the video or read a transcript of the conversation below:

Elaine Hom: Welcome to Solution Provider Spotlight, the video series highlighting network solution providers in the Boston area. This is Elaine Hom, associate editor for In this edition of Solution Provider Spotlight, we’ll introduce you to Peter Hirschfeld, CEO and president of Personal Computer Resources, Braintree, Massachusetts. Let’s take a walk inside and learn about Personal Computer Resources.  

Personal Computer Resources is a network solution provider focusing on network infrastructure technologies. Partnered with Microsoft, SonicWALLl, Symantec and other major vendors, Personal Computer Resources provides networking services for Boston to Worcester, Massachusetts, and throughout the state of RhodeIsland. Personal Computer Resources focuses its technical capabilities on network design and implementation, back and disaster recovery, remote monitoring and management and installation and ongoing maintenance.  According to CEO and President Peter Hirschfeld, integration is a key component of their business, and they are willing to work with other companies to deliver a solution that’s right for their diverse SMB clients, which has ranged from a non-profit in Boston to a major oil company based in Massachusetts’ South Shore area.

Barb Darrow: Like everyone else you’ve probably been impacted by the recession. Can you talk a little bit about what you’re seeing there and if you’re seeing things start to take off again?

Peter Hirschfeld: Absolutely.  For us, the recession started in June of 2008, and really ended in March of 2009, so for the last five months things have been pretty good. We’re back to a steady state. But the biggest impact during that time were new server installations and migrations from existing platforms, like Exchange 2003, Exchange 2007. Most customers aren’t doing that at this point.

Darrow: And so are you expecting that to change by the end of the year going into 2010?

Hirschfeld:  I do.  And I expect that a lot of customers will bypass Exchange 2007 and go right to Exchange 2010.

Darrow:  Are you seeing any pent-up demand for the new Windows Server 2008 release, R2, that’s coming out soon?

Hirschfeld:  We are, yes.

Darrow: And what are you seeing in terms of demand for green networking and IT? We’re hearing a lot of customers starting to ask about this now; they’re worrying about their power bills, etc. Are you seeing that?

Hirschfeld:  We’re seeing it a little bit. Quite frankly, it’s not one of those top conversations that we have. Customers are interested in virtualization, which relays into the green space, saving power. But in the current economic situation, you have to pay money to get the green implementation, so at this point they’re just holding off.

Darrow: And are you specializing in any particular vertical markets? We know you do a lot of infrastructure work. Do you come up the stack a little bit to verticals?

Hirschfeld:  We do.

Darrow: Which ones?

Hirschfeld:  We’re focused on professional services, and then within professional services there’s two particular verticals that work well for us. One is CPA firms, and secondly, insurance agencies. We’ve done very well in those two.

Darrow: Great. And Massachusetts has just passed some new regulations concerning data encryption and security on the network. Can you talk a little bit about whether that poses an opportunity or a challenge for you and your customers?

Hirschfeld:  Sure. It poses both. For us it poses a huge opportunity; for customers, there’s costs associated with it. I think in fact that’s why the law keeps getting delayed.  Originally it was going into effect in January 2009, then May 2009, then January 2010. Now the target date is March 2010. But there are significant technological improvements that we’re going to put in place at customer locations to protect personal data ...

Darrow: And do you have to help them prove that they’ve met these criteria?

Hirschfeld:  We do.

Darrow: And what do you see in terms of demand or lack of demand for network virtualization? Cisco’s been talking a lot about this lately. Is this a problem in search of a solution or the other way around?

Hirschfeld:  [Network] virtualization is pretty much confined to disaster recovery at this point. So a customer has a primary server, we’ve got a virtual server ready to go in the event the primary fails. That’s basically what we’ve been doing with virtualization. I think it still has a lot of opportunity and a long way to go.

Darrow: And again, just going back to the recession question, you’re saying IT spending is starting to come back a little bit, correct?

Hirschfeld:  Absolutely, yeah. The worst is over for us, so for the last five months we’ve pretty much been running at a rate pre-recession.

Darrow: So people who have deferred on hardware upgrades are back on track now?

Hirschfeld:  Yes.

Darrow: Thank you very much for taking the time today.

Hirschfeld:  Thank you.

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