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Web Hosting - Redundancy and Failover
Among the more useful innovations in computing, actually invented decades ago, are the twin ideas of redundancy and failover. These fancy words name very common sense concepts. When one computer (or part) fails, switch to another. Doing that seamlessly and quickly versus slowly with disruption defines one difference between good hosting and bad.
Network redundancy is the most widely used example. The Internet is just that, an inter-connected set of networks. Between and within networks are paths that make possible page requests, file transfers and data movement from one spot (called a 'node') to the next. If you have two or more paths between a user's computer and the server, one becoming unavailable is not much of a problem. Closing one street is not so bad, if you can drive down another just as easily.
Of course, there's the catch: 'just as easily'. When one path fails, the total load (the amount of data requested and by how many within what time frame) doesn't change. Now the same number of 'cars' are using fewer 'roads'. That can lead to traffic jams.
A very different, but related, phenomenon occurs when there suddenly become more 'cars', as happens in a massively widespread virus attack, for example. Then, a large number of useless and destructive programs are running around flooding the network. Making the situation worse, at a certain point, parts of the networks may shut down to prevent further spread, producing more 'cars' on now-fewer 'roads'.
A related form of redundancy and failover can be carried out with servers, which are in essence the 'end-nodes' of a network path.
Servers can fail because of a hard drive failure, motherboard overheating, memory malfunction, operating system bug, web server software overload or any of a hundred other causes. Whatever the cause, when two or more servers are configured so that another can take up the slack from one that's failed, that is redundancy.
That is more difficult to achieve than network redundancy, but it is still very common. Not as common as it should be, since many times a failed server is just re-booted or replaced or repaired with another piece of hardware. But, more sophisticated web hosting companies will have such redundancy in place.
And that's one lesson for anyone considering which web hosting company may offer superior service over another (similarly priced) company. Look at which company can offer competent assistance when things fail, as they always do sooner or later.
One company may have a habit of simply re-booting. Others may have redundant disk arrays. Hardware containing multiple disk drives to which the server has access allows for one or more drives to fail without bringing the system down. The failed drive is replaced and no one but the administrator is even aware there was a problem.
Still other companies may have still more sophisticated systems in place. Failover servers that take up the load of a crashed computer, without the end-user seeing anything are possible. In fact, in better installations, they're the norm. When they're in place, the user has at most only to refresh his or her browser and, bingo, everything is fine.
The more a web site owner knows about redundancy and failover, the better he or she can understand why things go wrong, and what options are available when they do. That knowledge can lead to better choices for a better web site experience.
Five Positive Actions You Should Do After a Lay-off Lay-offs are hard for most people and are essentially difficult to cope with if you were and excellent worker and outstanding employee. Sometimes lay-offs are general cuts such as the closing of a whole department. It often times hits good employees that the company otherwise would have never gotten fired. So what do you need to do after you get laid off? Here are five positive steps you should take after you have been laid-off. The first and probably most important step is coping with the situation. Get your feelings straightened out. Of course you are upset and plain dumbstruck by what happened, but if you are not able to get this sorted out with yourself, the company is not going to take you back. Then you won?t even have a chance of finding another job. In some cases, if it was not very clear why you have been fired, it helps to talk to coworkers, and maybe the human resource person to just find out that it was not you or any of your doings that got you laid-off. Within this step falls also the realization that the job market currently is a tough one and that you might have to make some budget adjustments first off all. Do not be picky about what kind of jobs you want to choose. Sometimes, this means a new beginning, some job you might like much better than your old one, and you just do not know it yet. After you have been able to work through the situation and are ready for the job hunt, get your résumé out. If you have not been looking for a job in a while it might be dusty and not be up to date. Add your last job to the list; add your role and responsibilities to your list and maybe you even have to adapt your résumé to a more current style. Résumés and cover letters are your way into a job and the first impression that a new employer gets from you. When you are finished getting your résumé up to date, apply to as many jobs as there are. As a third step, make yourself clear that the job market is difficult and finding a new job might mean to apply for something that you might have not really wanted to do, maybe because you did study it, but you never really liked in the university classes? Well, it is worth applying for. The sooner you get another job, the better of you are. Face it, if you really do not like the work you can find another job after a year or two. After a lay-off it is very important to get back into the working world as fast as you can. To make your job search even more successful, as a fourth positive step after a lay-off, you also need to network. Talk to friends, other companies? bosses you know, and anybody you have ever met that might have a job available for you. Besides networking, you can also always try to do some cold calling, writing letters to businesses that are not having a newspaper add out. There is always the possibility that they are looking for somebody. As a fifth positive action after you are laid-off there is always college. Taking classes that will refresh your topic and specialty you are working in can make a good bullet on your résumé. If the job market is quite tough, why not go back and finish that degree or add another maybe a graduate degree. This always is better on your résumé than plain being out of work.
To-Do Lists an Important Part of Being a Better Employee What makes a good employee? Take a look at how the star employee in your office operates. Chances are that they don?t run around in a constant fog of stress and pressure. Good employees are usually calm and conscientious; they seem to always get the job done with a minimum of hair pulling and frantic rushing around. Is it just genes that these people have that allow them to work like this, or are some people just better at managing stress than others? The answer is probably not. If you take a closer look at the star employee in your office, you will are likely to see that they are so stress free and productive because they are good at managing their time. And chances are they manage that time with the help of a to-do list. The to-do list is an often-overlooked part of working life. While they are the kind of thing people expect housewives to carry around with them in their purse while they run errands, many people think they can do without them in the work place. This is a big mistake. Being productive at work is all about being able to carry out your tasks in a timely manner, and being productive at work is also about managing your stress. If you are too stressed out, your work will suffer for it. You will fall behind because you won?t be able to concentrate, and you will make mistakes you might not have made if you were able to take your time with your work. So, how can a to-do list help? To-do lists can do many things for you in your busy working life. For starters, to-do lists remove the problem of having that all important phone call or meetings slip your mind. When you have a to-do list, everything that needs to be accomplished is set out there for you, so there is no more explaining to your boss why you stood up your company?s most important client. With a to-do list, you can also see the bigger picture of everything that needs to be done, so you can plan your time wisely. Working on tasks one after another as they come up is not a smart way to accomplish things at the office. Some jobs are on a tight deadline, while other jobs can stand to wait a little while. When you set everything out for yourself in a to-do list, you will be able to prioritize your tasks in order of importance, so you get the crucial work out of the way first thing, and only move on to less important jobs when you have the time to devote to them. All of this organization will make your working life less stressful. Imagine a typical day without a to-do list. You come in to the office in the morning, you work through all of the email sitting in your inbox, you make a few phone calls, chat with some co-workers in the break room, answer a few more emails, and then bam! All of the sudden, you remember that the presentation your boss needs for the big meeting is due at 2 p.m., and you haven?t even started it. Now you resort to hair pulling and frantic working. Then, you give your boss the presentation over an hour late, and it is filled with mistakes and sloppy work. Now imagine the same day with a to-do list. You get the presentation out of the way first thing, and you have time to check it. Then you can move on to less important tasks without the dark cloud of stress hanging over you. To-do list writing is time well spent if you want to succeed at work.
Clean Up your Digital Profile and Land that Job Whether you are looking for a job after getting fired or you are looking for a job other than the one you are working at currently, many steps in that process are the same. You need to get your résumé up to date and conform to newest standards, you need to get your wardrobe together and most of all you need to be prepared to go for the interview. But did you know that in a fast paced society with all the high technology gadgets, employers and companies appreciate a good digital profile? When it is time to land a new job it is time for you to clean up your digital profile. For those of you who might not know what a digital profile is, let?s reminisce about digital profiles for just a second here. A digital profile is any and all information about you that can be found online. It can be anything from your own homepage, over articles and answers that you have posted on the Internet to videos and pictures of you. Anything that is somehow connected to you and your name and can be found through Internet search engines such as Google, Yahoo and other crawlers belongs to your digital profile or e-portfolio. Believe it or not, many employers have started to check out your digital profile online by doing a little research on the Internet and finding any information about you. If it is on the Internet it is public information and therefore not illegal. Information on the Internet does not necessarily have to be positive. What if one of your friends posted some stories or pictures/movies about you on the Internet? Employers might see that and think that you are not fir for the tasks that are asked form you by the new job and might just plain throw your nice résumé into the trash before they ever have a chance to meet you in person. Therefore before going onto your next job-hunt, clean up your digital profile. Steps you can take to clean up your e-profile are many and one of the easiest ones is a regular search with different Internet search engines about things that are related to your name. See what comes up and try to clean it up. If there are pictures or movies posted on such pages as u-tube about you, try to get friends or the owners of the page to take them down or at least take your name of the page in such a way that a search engine cannot find this information when somebody is searching for your name. A very important positive step in cleaning up your digital profile is to create your own positive statements and information on the Internet, such as online résumé, Personal web pages or a personal development plan (PDP). If the amount of positive information, academic achievements, and plans for the future are greater than any negative amount of information they can find, the light shed on you is of good nature and your chances are greater to land that job than when they only find negative information for the reasons that you never knew about a digital profile. Should you still be new to all of this and you are not quite as well versed on the Internet, there are places that can help you. Many Universities and development centers offer help and tools just for this kind of situation. Public libraries also offer you free time on the Internet as well as other resources in connection with the job-hunt and digital profiles. So before you actually send out your résumé, make sure that you checked online for any information that might harm you.