Thoughts on disaster recovery
Whether you are part of a large corporation that maintains thousands of servers or you happen to maintain just one personal website, you have probably heard of the term disaster recovery.
This type of wholly geographically redundant solution is a worthwhile investment for businesses who make millions of dollars, but it is often not financially feasible for small operations.
For a personal website or for a small business, disaster recovery can mean as little as ensuring that your online data, such as websites and databases, are routinely backed up. Routine backups are an essential minimum level of protection that you need to employ if you value your data. Restoring data from a backup can be invaluable in many situations. Some of these recovery scenarios include; fixing human errors, restoring deleted content, moving to a new hosting provider, recovery from a malicious attack and website defacement.
If you are running a personal site or a site for a small organization, look into the different tools that are available that can help with the automated backup of your data. For instance, there are many free tools and plugins for the WordPress blogging platform that can be used to help protect your data and prepare you for a recovery situation.
Otherwise, some web hosting outfits offer their own data backup and disaster recovery solutions. Make sure that you know exactly what your hosting provider offers. If they are missing backup procedures or their processes are inadequate, consider switching to a new host or looking into solutions from other providers. For businesses that have larger budgets marked for protecting their data assets, they can look to one of many 3rd party providers who specialize in disaster recovery, such as Allstream’s Business Continuity.
What type of disaster recovery procedures do you employ for your personal websites or business?
Server rack photo above by Jamison_Judd on Flickr.
Hardware Steven Kippel on 02 Jan 2013
Samsung hyping new TV ahead of CES
“A true innovation of TV design,” they say, with a “new TV shape and timeless gallery design.” They’re sparing no adjective to hype this new TV.
I’m not sure what kind of TV could have a “new shape.” Certainly from the video it doesn’t appear to be too radical of a departure from the rectangle.
The only other clue is the teaser image they’ve published which shows a lone tree on a barren landscape in a frame. The frame casts a shadow on the foreground, while the landscape outside the frame appears to be a bit darker with more contrast.
What can we deduce? The video shows a regular-shaped HDTV on a pedestal. The text talks about a “new shape” and a “gallery.” And the image shows a portrait frame which I’m taking to signify “out of the box.”
We’ll know soon, but I’m guessing an apps-focused TV with either AMOLED or OLED technology with a nonexistent bezel. Their marketing department is certainly doing their job.
Hardware Steven Kippel on 27 Dec 2012
Testing Celerity Technologies HDMI cables
Over the past couple of years HDMI video baluns have come to market delivering HD video long distances on category or coax cable. This provided a solution for long runs, but often had difficulties working. An integrator might try three or four baluns before getting one that works for the specific situation they faced, and usually they would have to sacrifice a feature to get the video. This might include lowering the output resolution or doing without 3D. One solution many companies have tried is the use of fiber optic cables attached to transmitters and receivers as fiber provides a higher bandwidth and longer run lengths. Fiber optic cable and these electronics were pretty expensive, and often prohibitively so. Fiber is also more difficult to terminate than copper, leading many ESCs to ignore fiber.
And then there were fiber HDMI cables that integrated the electronics without the need for external electronics. Manufacturers of these cables came and went as ESCs found pulling these cables to be difficult as the ends of the cables were very large so they wouldn’t fit through conduit. Celerity Technologies took all of these problems and put together a unique solution: a pre-terminated fiber optic HDMI cable that had small ends.
But how well do these cables work? Continue Reading »
Syntax Systems Limited asked us to take a look at their IBM Power Systems solutions.
Syntax is an IBM Premier Business Partner. For over 40 years they have been providing comprehensive technology solutions to businesses of all sizes in North America.
Syntax partners with leading technology providers, such as IBM, to deliver the best combination of hardware, software and services to customers to meet their technology needs.
They offer an array of services, including; strategic consulting, project management, systems integration, design, development, programming, installation, training and post installation application and technology audits.
So what exactly are IBM Power Systems and how can businesses benefit from them? Let’s take a look at the benefits as described by IBM themselves.
Continue Reading »
Get it on sale: Roku 2 XS
While supplies last, Roku is selling their flagship at a $20 discount including free shipping. This brings the price down to the same level as the Roku 2 XD.
The Roku 2 XS includes over 600 entertainment channels, one-stop search, analog and digital video outputs, built-in wireless (b/g/n), 1080p Full HD video support, motion control, Ethernet port, and USB port.
Even if you have a TV or Blu-ray Disc player with internet streaming, the Roku is a welcome addition just for its ease of use.
CDW Cloud Collaboration is a new suite of services now offered by CDW, a leading provider of technology solutions for business, government, education and healthcare.
“CDW Cloud Collaboration leverages Unified Communications to provide your staff the ability to seamlessly collaborate—whether by VoIP, conferencing, IM, file sharing or blogs. It allows them to do their jobs more successfully. And it simplifies management—making your staff messages available through one interface, all accessible on one device in real time. Hosting UC in the cloud is a winning combination.”
Kaleidescape launches download store
Kaleidescape has launched the beta version of their online retail store for owners of a Kaleidescape System. Backed by a multi-year deal with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, the store is providing bit-for-bit downloads of DVD and Blu-ray Disc content directly to the Kaleidescape server.
How the process was described to me by a Kaleidescape representative is that Kaleidescape buys physical copies of the movies for each download and stores them in their own warehouse. This way the copyright license is intact without having to create a new digital version with its own license structure and licensing rights to be negotiated, and the studio gets their “disc” sale. This is also beneficial to the end user who doesn’t have to store the physical discs at home, and the download comes complete with the special features every DVD or BD comes with as well – unlike other digital versions. Obviously this is a hokey legal work around, so hopefully these high-quality, feature-full downloads will be available without the disc ownership issue in the future.
Because the data is bit-for-bit identical to the physical disc, the video resolution is not compromised, and the audio remains high-definition surround sound. Additionally, titles with UltraViolet digital copies provide additional digital access from tablets, smartphones, and computers.
To make things explicit: This is not a streaming service, but a complete digital download. The files are stored on the local hard drive, and played from the local server to the local player. Once the video is downloaded to the local Kaleidescape System, the full HD video will play immediately with no buffer.
The Kaleidescape System features a proprietary RAID hard drive array which prevents data loss, but if there is a catastrophe and the server data is lost, the downloaded titles may be downloaded from Kaleidescape again for no cost. Any titles loaded into the system at home would have to be loaded again from the physical disc.
The store will allow the end user to purchase individual titles, or they can select a complete collection to purchase. The store is smart enough to know what movies you already own so you won’t purchase multiple copies. For example: you can purchase a collection called “Academy Award Nominees — Best Picture” to purchase and download the entire listed collection, but if you already own the Lord of the Rings collection, those titles won’t be purchased.
One interesting collection is the Leonard Maltin Recommends collection, an exclusive to Kaleidescape partnership of movies selected by famed film critic Leonard Maltin.
One feature that isn’t active yet but I’m told will be is the ability to upgrade a DVD copy to a Blu-ray Disc copy. I’m not sure how this would work, and I won’t make any assumptions. The new high-def copy would replace the standard def version, but I’m not sure if the standard def version is completely wiped out or made available through the menu still. Some DVDs have different special features, so some collectors may want to have both. UPDATE: Kaleidescape claims DVDs can be upgraded to Blu-ray Disc for $8 each, to include all bonus features of the BD. This is only available to titles with UltraViolet HD rights.
The Kaleidescape System is expensive, but it’s also the best and only solution of its kind. If you have a few bucks and are serious about movies, find out where your local dealer is and ask for an in-home demonstration.