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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.
How to Succeed as a Writer in the World of Freelancing (freelancing) Many may view freelancing as a writer as an acquired taste. There are many things about freelance writing that may be deemed as undesirable for many writers, including the common low pay and high demands. However, most writers would consider the freelance writing field, and many enjoy the freedom of freelancing. Being a freelance writer involves writing as well as the marketing of oneself and one?s work. For freelancers, it is important to give careful attention to the business details of the writing world, such as quarterly taxes, and staying ahead of the changing trends of publishing. Freelance writers also have the job of writing according to the editor or publisher?s rules while staying true to their own style. Being a freelance writer may seem ideal to some writers, but in the world of freelance there is stiff competition and most writers receive a hundred rejections before receiving one letter accepting their work. Many freelancers don?t consider being a freelance writer as an easy job, but there are some steps that can help turn any person succeed as a freelance writer. First, it is important that the freelance writer is honest about the quality of their writing and the depth of their writing skills, as well as their knowledge of freelancing. Editors will not spend time with submissions that have many grammatical or spelling mistakes, so it is important to know your own limits, learn your weakness, and use your strengths when writing on a freelance basis. There are many freelance writers who consider themselves professionals, but who don?t have the proper training or degree in any field of writing. So, the next step to being a successful freelance writer is to take a writing course or attend a workshop. Learning techniques from an instructor can be very helpful to a freelance career, and may inspire some writers to move higher on the career ladder. Writers may benefit from receiving comments on the quality of their work from instructors and peers, and may benefit from the pressure of writing well on deadlines. Freelancing requires a certain amount of promotion of oneself, and writers must learn how to write query letters to editors well. For freelance writers, a query letter briefly proposes their idea for an article, gives their qualifications as a writer, and makes the editor believe that the idea is better than every other idea out there. Next, the freelance writer should use web sites for writers to improve their writing skills and to find freelance job opportunities. Many writing web sites have features that are very helpful to writers, and some even offer advice and lessons on how to become a freelance writer and how to maintain a freelancing career. Freelance writers may find it difficult to begin their career, but a simple starting point is the local newspaper or local magazines. It is usually best for a writer to contact the local paper or magazine and ask to submit an article ?on spec,? which means the editor may choose not to pay for the article but will be willing to read it. Typically this method works as a good introduction into the freelance process and world, and helps the writer learn the proper techniques for presenting work. Freelance writers should also work on many small points to improve their career, such as professional presentation. It is advisable for a writer to create a portfolio of clips that prove that they have experience as a writer. This may be difficult for inexperienced writers, but they can begin to build their portfolio by volunteering to write for community publications. Online communities also offer writers the opportunity to write and create material for their portfolio. Freelancing may not be desirable for all writers, but for many it is passion, and some believe the writing world cannot survive without freelancers.
Make Allies in the Workplace to Boost your Own Employee Status A pleasant work environment can go a long way. Having allies in the workplace that work with you, opposed to against you, can create an enjoyable calm at your place of employment. While everyone is not going to be best friends in the workplace, the ability to get along is very important. This can be more challenging with some people than others. However, typically when there is a real bad apple in the mix, they tend to weed themselves out with complete alienation. With that in mind, make allies with as many of your co-workers as you can. A healthy work environment makes the actual work go much smoother. If you want to gain allies at work treat everyone with respect. Employees that are known for their fairness and respect for others are the ones that people trust. If something goes wrong on the job, the boss and other employees know that they can get the right version of the situation from the employee that is kind to everyone. You do not have to like people to be kind to them. Co-workers that you do not like personally should be the ones that you greet and discuss work issues with. Other than that, you want to steer clear of your least favorites. The same is true for bosses that are on your least liked list. Simply limit contact to business material and you will cut down on the chances of having altercations. Nothing ignites work hostility more than employees that do not do their share of the work. If you want to have allies in the workplace, be sure that you are doing your job. You will not have to force the issue if you are doing what you are supposed to do. Your co-workers will like having you around and will be pleasant if you are completing the work you need to do. Don?t gossip. This is one of the major ways to create dislike in the workplace. Spreading rumors, or even truths that were confessed behind closed doors can keep the office on edge. If you are the confidant of someone at work, do not take the information they have shared with you and share it with others. If co-workers come to you and bicker about one another, do not chime in. If they are complaining to you about someone, they are complaining about you to someone else. Politely listen and move on. Remember your manners. Sometimes things get hectic at work and we forget our manners. We find ourselves in a hurry, throwing reports at the secretary or interrupting someone?s phone conversation. Try to compose yourself and be polite. Do not forget your manners simply because you are at work. Put forth extra effort to get along with your co-workers that are not easy to get along with. Personalities are going to be in conflict occasionally. There is nothing wrong with being opposed to someone and their views of the world. However, if they are your co-worker or boss, you need to not let that get in the way of you communicating with them. Allies do not have to necessarily be friends. Instead they should be people that are aligned with you because of the job you do and the way that you treat people. Employees that are able to form alliances at work will have a much easier time getting through the day. Also, if something happens on the job and you need help, co-workers will be much more willing to help out if you are someone who is well liked. With that in mind, it is worth your effort to try to gain allies at work.