e-upturn for 2005?
Having just mentioned style sheets, we felt we must bring to your attention O’Reilly’s new CSS Cookbook, which is meant as a companion to the firm’s excellent CSS, the Definitive Guide. It is written in an easier-to-read style and is more of a how-to book than the full-on reference format of the latter.
From time to time, the thorny subject of backups rears its ugly head, usually just after your hard disk has failed and some smug colleague asks ‘well, you do have a backup do not you?’ Not very helpful, you will agree. After gently reminding them about their dubious parentage, you set about the recovery of all your data, but such is the nature of backups as a scheduled task that it stands to reason some data will be missing. Hopefully, it will not be more than a day’s worth of work, although this can be considerable, to say nothing of the time taken to recover the operating system, apply patches and all the rest.
The server boys have had this sort of problem licked for sometime, by using RAID arrays of hard disks arranged so that, should one fail, your data is still intact because it is mirrored on one or more of the other drives. All you have to do is swap the faulty drive for a similar good one, and away you go with no data loss. However, despite the best efforts of system administrators to persuade them otherwise, many users still store their current working files on their desktop machines.
This is a particularly common practice among designers, as it is much quicker to load the often very large files locally than across the network; in this case, the network server data store is used as a backup only. Now, a company called Miglia (www.miglia.com) has produced a cage that will fit inside a desktop machine to provide two hot-swappable drive bays in a disk-mirroring RAID1 configuration. Unlike many such solutions, which rely on expensive SCSI drives and adaptors, this one uses standard IDE drives. The device also ships with an extra tray so that a third drive can be swapped with one of the active drives, and this removed active drive can then be taken off-site as a backup for protection in the event of a fire. The unit is easy to fit and offers an interesting solution to providing local hardware failure tolerance at a low cost of £199 plus the drives.
Grounded by MOM
While MOM (Microsoft Operations Manager) has been around for some time, Mark went to see the latest version demonstrated and to talk to the product managers. He was so impressed by this version of the product that the next day he installed it on his office network. MOM, for those of you not familiar with it, is a software product that monitors your network and the machines on it, and reports back via an administrator console program to show alerts and warnings. This information also has the relevant Knowledge Base article attached, and the user can attribute a status to the alert as well as adding notes as to how they fixed it, so that next time it appears this information will be available and hopefully will help to fix the problem.
MOM comes in two main parts: the server and the console. The former can sit on any lightly used server box, where it will consume about 10 per cent of the CPU resources. A DNS or DHCP box should be fine, but not your Active Directory Master, as apparently some functionality will become unavailable. The console part can be installed on any or many machines, and it is this program that an administrator will use to monitor what is happening on their network. You can even access it, with reduced functionality, via a web interface, thus saving having to install it on any machine at all.
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