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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.
Get Noticed at your Job by Doing it with Flair Doing your job with ?37 pieces of flair? may have entered the pop culture vernacular through the famous movie about life working an office, Office Space, but there may just be something to it. You might not need 37 pieces of flair, but doing your job with a little bit of flair and a lot of hard work is a great way to get noticed in the office and to move on to bigger and better things. How do you go about doing your job with flair? The first way to make sure you are doing your job with distinction doesn?t involve much flair at all ? it simply involves doing your job and doing it well. Know exactly what your responsibilities are and attend to them every day. Don?t let any of the things that come under your job description fall by the wayside because you think they are unimportant. If you are unsure exactly what all of your responsibilities are, ask your boss for a meeting and discuss your job description with them. You will get noticed simply for your desire to make sure you are covering all of your bases and not letting any of your responsibilities fall by the wayside. Another way to do your job with flair is to add to the good morale in the office. Everyone has at least one person in the office that is like a black cloud hanging in the air. Gloom, doom and pessimism don?t really have a place in the office. Even if you feel like you are heading for a fall with the way a certain project is coming together or because someone on the team is not pulling their weight, look for solutions instead of standing around and complaining about it. When your attitude can help people stay on track with their work and not dread coming into the office every day, you are bound to get noticed. If you really want to add some flair to your work performance, learn how to manage your time and avoid procrastination. Time management is one of the biggest problems all employees face, and when you don?t manage your time efficiently, you are not being as productive as possible for your boss, which never wins you any fans among the management team. If you find yourself always rushing through your work at the last minute trying to meet your deadline, try keeping a journal of all of your activities at work for a few days. When you see how much time you spending doing things like talking with co-workers by the water cooler and surfing the net, you might see ways you can improve your work habits, so you can get things done well before the deadline is pressing down on you. Increasing your productivity by managing your time is a surefire way to earn some praise from the people over your head. Another way to add flair to your work performance is by being a team player. It can be tempting to thing that to have flair you have to go out on a limb and try to do everything yourself, but that is not the case. Employers don?t like to see an employee trying to hog credit for things that everyone has worked on together or trying to one up everyone else on the staff. When you work together with the team, you show your employer that your interests are with making the company a success and not trying to advance you own personal agenda. If your employer understands that you see the bigger picture of making the company succeed, you are sure to get noticed and rewarded.
Networking Ideas to Land a Job You Want Finding a new job is always a chore, especially if you are looking for your ideal job. While all jobs have pros and cons, finding employment that you enjoy or feel strongly about can greatly improve your job satisfaction. There are many ways to network and find the job you want. One of the biggest ways to make connections is to volunteer or find an internship. If you have not been able to land a permanent position in the career of your choice, apply for internships or offer your services for free. This is an ideal way to get your foot in the door and since the employer will already be familiar with you, it increases your chances of being hired when an opening arises. Meet people in the field you want to be in. If there are conferences or organizations that members who work in your desired field join, see about getting a membership or attending. Networking within your field of choice can build connections that blossom in the future. Take a lesser position at the company you want to work at. If you want to be a manager but are offered a customer service position, take the customer service position. Management roles are less stressful when you know what the company expects from you. Watch and learn the ins and outs of being a manager at that particular company. After you have some experience under your belt, apply for the next opening. Ask around. Most job openings are not posted anywhere. Finding openings is typically more about inquiring than finding posting. If you are eager to be a part of a company, e-mail your resume to the Human Resources department and see what type of hits you get. Stop by local companies and inquire in person and leave a copy of your resume if there are openings. Most employers are using the Internet to find new employees. Even if the position they are hiring for is not posted online, searching through posted portfolios is commonplace. The best way to get noticed is to have a concise portfolio that goes into detail about past work experience and your future career goals. Before you make it to an interview, the employer should already have a good idea about whom you are. Having a web presence is essential to job-hunting these days. Many employers are using e-mail and electronic submissions to screen employees. With that in mind, you need to be Internet savvy. Brush up on Internet skills, learning the tricks and trades of using the web as a way to seek out the best jobs. Purchase a domain and post your portfolio there. Be sure to show versatility, accomplishment and organization in your portfolio. Also if you choose to use social or networking sites represent yourself in a positive light. Be sure to keep your portfolio updated even when you are not actively looking for work. An interested employer could choose to contact you based on your updated portfolio. Be open to relocating. Search through Internet job postings for other states. Leaving your hometown might be difficult but the job of your dreams may be out there somewhere. Pack up and move to a more economically viable area and mingle with the populous. Make your employment intentions known without seeming desperate for a job. No matter what type of job you have been dreaming of, there are numerous ways to get that position. The key to pinning down, and getting the job you desire is to never give up. If you have been on the job hunt for two years without any success, do not give up.