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July 20, 2008

SLales Quotas

It's usually unwise to place bets on what the SoftLayer Slales Team can and cannot sell. We will blow the quota out of the water every time.

But still, we like to place harmless wagers from time to time. Sure we have sales quotas every month, but sometimes our Management team likes to make it interesting by seeing how far beyond our goals we can get each month. May was the BEST sales “spiff” to date. George Karidis was unfortunately on the losing end this month, and had to shave the 3-bars logo into the back of his head. He wore it proudly to customer/vendor meetings & dinners until they grew out.

To be fair, the SoftLayer Sales team has a remarkably easy time making our numbers - it's almost effortless to meet or exceed our server quota every month when you're are standing behind the best product on the market, and working among the most knowledgeable and enthusiastic sales team in the industry.

Go Team SoftLayer!

-Mary

Categories: 
July 18, 2008

Let Them Eat Cake

I've been reducing my calorie intake, as I'm a bit overweight. However, lately I've noticed that my weight, which has been trending downward, has taken a bit of a stall. I've been trying to figure out why. And I think I have.

Movies.

I love movie theater popcorn. And there have been so many good movies lately! I've enjoyed Get Smart, I loved Speed Racer, smiled at Hancock, and have seen Wall-E three times!

And each time I buy a bag of popcorn.

That racks up to a lot of popcorn this summer season.

See, Hollywood complained for years that people just aren't watching movies. Maybe the movie industry is dying? Violent videogames are taking away the marketshare! Or maybe people just don't appreciate ART anymore.

Then a giant alien fleet landed and replaced everyone in Hollywood with doubles. But the doubles weren't perfect, see, because these doubles have done something that no Hollywood executive has thought to do for years.

THEY'RE MAKING MOVIES PEOPLE WANT TO SEE!

It's like suddenly somebody realized; hey, people have to WANT to see Hancock before they go see it! People want well made movies with plot and character development! People want more than just whizbang special effects and cheap jokes! And they started making it! And they started making tons of money again.

Same thing SoftLayer does, you see. We built a network which CUSTOMERS want, even though it's a bit more difficult to make. We buy servers that CUSTOMERS want, instead of cheaper servers that we can buy in bulk. We've bundled the kind of bandwidth providers that CUSTOMERS want, instead of buying cheap bandwidth so we can have big bandwidth numbers. We built a world class control panel, and then added an API for people who want even more control.

And guess what? Customers are buying our stuff.

Huh. Who knew.

I wonder if we have any popcorn in the break room.

-Zoey

Categories: 
July 2, 2008

Welcome to Starbucks

"Welcome to Starbucks!" "Uh yea I’ll have a half decaf grande half-soy, half-low fat, iced white chocolate mocha, double-shot, gingerbread latte, extra dry, light ice, with 3 Splenda’s, one Sweet-n'-Low, and one NutraSweet please!" "…Coming right up, Next!" "Umm, I want a hot tall skinny upside down with a whip caramel macchiato" "Nice Choice! Next!" "I will have a Grande extra shot fresh skim milk latte, extra foam, 2 splenda’s and a dash of cocoa!" I am sure that makes sense to all of you. You can’t discount (and they certainly don’t) Starbucks for letting you have it like you want it.

It’s like the Burger King slogan, "Have it your way" I want a Whopper with cheese, extra cheese, bacon, extra pickles, no onion, light mayo, extra ketchup, a large fry and a chocolate shake with strawberry syrup mixed in. Well that just made me hungry.

SoftLayer isn’t much different than a Starbucks or a Burger King. With our full line of servers, services, network and locations you too can make your order as easy or as complex as you like. And yes you can have it like you like it, need it, or even have it your way! It could look like this:

"uhh, yea I would like a server in Dallas, TX. A Quad Proc Quad Core Intel 7320 2.13 Ghz Tigerton with 8gb of Ram, 3000 GB of public bandwidth, 8 secondary IP’s, redundant power supplies, Four 300gb 15K RPM Scsi Drives configured in a Raid5 array, Windows Server 2008 Standard, Business continuance Insurance, TCP Service monitoring, Automated reboot from monitoring and an ASA 100Mbps Firewall. I would then like a server in Seattle, WA. Make it a Quad Proc Quad Core Intel 7310 1.60 Ghz Tigerton with 16gb of Ram, 6000 GB of public bandwidth,168 secondary IP’s, redundant power supplies, Two 250gb SATA II drives configured in a Raid1 mirror, Debian, TCP Service monitoring, Automated reboot from monitoring and an APF software firewall for Linux. Then I need a Quad Proc Quad Core Opteron 8346 1.80GHz in Washington DC with 32GB ram, 10000GB of public bandwidth, 128 Secondary IP’s, a single 1TB SATA II hard Drive, 1GB Lockbox, 250GB NAS, 80GB of iSCSI SAN Storage, a 500GB Evault backup, Redhat Ent. Linux 5, Plesk 8, Urchin, 24x7x365 NOC Monitoring, notification, and Response, McAfee Virus Scan and McAfee Free PCI Scans for life oh and I almost forgot I would like a CDNLayer Account as well!" "…Coming right up!"

As you can see an order from SoftLayer can be just as fulfilling and just as hard to say in one breath as a special burger from Burger King or even your favorite drink at Starbucks. Don’t let the crazy amount of options we offer make your ordering experience any harder than it should be. If you have any questions at all, one of our fine upstanding SLales folks will be glad to walk you through it from beginning to end. Happy Ordering!

What is your Favorite Starbucks order?

-Skinman

June 26, 2008

New Kid in Town

Well, I have been here working for Softlayer for a week and it has been GREAT. Not great... UNBELIEVEABLE! I just graduated from ITT just down the street in Chantilly, Va with a degree unrelated to what I am doing right now. To be honest, I was afraid that I may not do too well with Softlayer, because of the material and positions they train for. I have quite a history with trouble understanding basic computer terms and how computers and electroncs work.

My brother is like a GOD in my family with electronics. He picked out our family PC, set up our wireless system, and fixed my laptops multiple times (I have had 4 in the past 3 years...) and he was a full-time CSA for a conference center while he was in high school. He tried to teach me and help me understand what he's doing when he works on computers and I just couldnt process it in my mind. It just doesn't click.

My very first class in ITT was Intro to Personal Computers. I got an A in classwork and homework by writing the papers and turning them in, but I couldnt even understand what I write. I did not do too well in tests and final exams and ended up with a B. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldnt make sense of what I'm reading in the books. We never did lab work, it was all just books and papers and black and white pictures.

My first day at Softlayer, I was very nervous. I thought the day would not end very well. Robert Guerra was my trainer for the first half of the week. He did an AMAZING job explaining EVERYTHING about the company, what my job is and parts of the server and everything in between. He did 500 times better than my teacher in college. Everything clicked almost right away. Of course, I did not remember every single thing the first time, it just had to be repeated to make everything perfect. I remember driving home with a HUGE smile on my face and saying "I LOVE this job!"

I never expected to be doing IT work, and I just think this is AWESOME! The facility looks amazing and everything is in tip-top shape and everything is very well organized. I have not worked in a cleaner environment until I got to Softlayer. There are not very many people in the WDC facility yet, but I have gotten to know many of them here and I feel very comfortable.

My other issue here is communication. Spark is a GREAT communication tool for the whole company of SoftLayer and it is helping me out a TON. I love the fact that we use instant messaging to communicate with Dallas and Seattle divisions and sort out problems and I love how everyone is friendly to one another. I cannot use a phone because of my hearing impairment and that is one reason why it is really hard to find jobs for me. A lot of job positions require someone to use a phone or radio and that cancels a LOT of opportunities for me. When I had to deal with that situation with one of my previous jobs, I had to pull someone aside and ask them a favor and help me out with phone use. Not a lot of people like to be pulled aside REPEATEDLY. Spark will help me rely on myself to talk to people myself and get all of the job done!

Thank you Robert Guerra and Eric Antonio for training and putting up with me for the past week! I have one more week of training to do with Eric and I am going to stop at nothing to make Softlayer proud.

-Clayton

June 24, 2008

A Little Philosophical Thought: The SoftLayer Family Tree

Somewhat picking up on the theme of the blog, “Here’s to you, that nerdy Sysadmin”, this is a sort of, “Here’s to you, our family tree of customers.”

I find it very interesting how everyone in the world has customers. Our customer’s, customer’s, customer’s, customer’s…and so on…depend on us here at SoftLayer. It is a sort of bottomless pit. Does it begin anywhere…or end anywhere. Does anyone NOT have customers?

For example:

Our customers have customers, who have customers, who have customer, who have customers, etc. We are the customer of INTEL, AMD, Seagate, etc. They are the customers of those that provide the material to make the hardware that they manufacture. The natural resources used to make the hardware are purchased from someone. That someone purchased the rights to those resources from someone, who purchased the rights from someone, who purchased the rights from someone, etc. I suppose somewhere upstream someone’s country went to war and took the rights to those resources from someone else. And, I suppose if you go far enough back, no one had “rights” to those resources before the land was “claimed”. As recent as 2005, the race was on to claim the land of the Arctic Circle. I suppose you could say that all customers began with a gift of land containing resources from God. And, SoftLayer gives free stuff to customers all the time…so…I guess God gave the land containing the resources to people…His customers!

Anyway, this necessity of life that we have termed “customers”, has been, and will always be, I suppose, the most important aspect of life in terms of survival. Without customers, basic necessities like food cannot be purchased. In other words, without customers, you cannot be a customer. And, if you are not a customer, you must, therefore, be dead. So, in terms on everyone being dependent on being a customer and having customers, we all depend on each other like a family of customers. And, we must take care of our family.

We know that our survival, here at SoftLayer, depends on our customers (our family) and that their survival depends on us. We take this responsibility very seriously and work very hard to provide for our family the way that we would like to be provided for.

In conclusion, I feel that we, here at SoftLayer, do a pretty good job of taking care of our “family”, and in turn, our family of customers do a great job of taking care of us. As we continue to grow together, our success will benefit each other for years and years to come.

*If you do not understand any of this, just write it off to the insane ramblings of a tired CSA at the end of a long, challenging, and yet satisfying day at Softlayer working for his family.

-David

Categories: 
June 23, 2008

Writing a Blog is Hard

A blog is a strong commitment. I mean, if you just set up a web page, it's obvious that you're going to update occasionally, maybe once or twice a month, add a new page or two. I've seen viable websites that haven't been updated since before Y2K. But it's OK, because it's a website. Not so with a blog! If you set up a blog engine*, you're not allowed to make just one or two updates a month. You have to keep the pump primed with awesome content.

Most of this just has to do with the design of a blog engine. For one, each post is stamped with a date. The assumption seems to be that if you have a date on something, the date is important. The date on a carton of milk tells you when to drink it by, so maybe the date on a blog post is also some kind of content expiration date? The assumption seems to be that dates on text mean that you want people to notice the date and act upon it. Not to mention that most blog engines have some kind of calendar that points to listings of posts by date. If you have a calendar widget that only has one or two days highlighted, the assumption is you don't care about your blog or something.

Again, it's not any kind of failure, it's just what's expected. Blogs all look similar: they have a home page of posts, which link to full post pages. Pages are tagged for quick taxonomy identification and grouping. Blogs also generally allow comments, upping the conversational angle. So you have to keep your blog pumping content. I've discovered three different schemes of blog content generation:

The Panic Morning News: The Panic Morning News is a strategy where a blogger panics, struggling to create content every day. What you end up with is some content which is well written, and some content that seems to be filler, designed to put something up to fill this day's update.

The Anything Goes Times: These are the blogs where you find incredibly boring posts about accounting suddenly appearing in between exciting posts. I'm not saying that accounting is boring, per se, more that suddenly discovering a post about accounting sandwiched between a post about video games and exploding cars sticks out. Of course, these blogs generally are a kind of string of consciousness blogs, where the blogs are more of a “What am I thinking now” type blog.

The Who Cares Star-Telegram: These are the trailblazers who don't care that you think they're lame for having only one or two posts a month. Their posts are well written, and it becomes obvious that, to them, a blog is more a Content Management Engine* than a two-way communication medium.

But this isn't just a blogging phenomenon… it happens with anything that updates daily. Comic strips and books, websites, news feeds. And filler content usually follows some kind of pattern. For comics, a comic/cartoon character is usually put into a silly situation for a day. Batman has a birthday party thrown by Joker and the Penguin, or Naruto goes on a tangent about ramen noodles for a whole episode. Blogs and Webcomics tend to have their own special type of ‘filler,' usually they have a whole update talking about how difficult it is to write blogs and/or webcomics.

-Zoey

* NOTE: If you want the convenience of a blog without the expectations of daily updates, look at making a wiki or use a Content Management System like Drupal.

Categories: 
June 20, 2008

I Always Have a Backup Plan

It was the day of the big secret meeting. All my vice presidents were there except for the unix system administrator. He was a strange man, always wearing that robe, with the long beard and long hair. He considered himself some sort of wizard, and after the conflict last month when we decided to switch all our servers over to SoftLayer, I really didn’t want him involved in the meeting I called today. You see, I called it so I could announce my plan to switch our servers over to Windows. My goal was really to get rid of him; he’s the only one who ever managed to thwart my plans.

Just as I finished that thought, he burst through the door, trailing a long ribbon of old-fashioned printer paper behind him. “How dare you have a systems meeting without me!” he intoned, dropping his stack of papers on the conference table in front of me. A quick glance at the stack tells me that he has printed out operating statistics for every version of Unix and every version of Windows going back to 1985. I didn’t have time for this. Luckily, I always have a back up plan.

Turning away slightly, I quickly activated a program on my Blackberry. You see, yesterday I had written a few custom programs that utilize the SoftLayer API to control a variety of our services. Within moments, a confirmation had appeared on my screen. All of our web traffic had been redirected from our load balanced main servers to our tertiary backup server. In the middle of the work day, that means it was only a matter of minutes before our bandwidth would be exceeded on that server. I allowed the sysadmin to begin his presentation, confident that he would barely get past the 8086 before disaster stuck.

I was right! Within minutes, an email arrived notifying us that we were nearing the bandwidth cap on the hostname last_resort. Panicked, the sysadmin left the meeting. Quickly I summarized my plans to the other VPs, we all voted unanimously for Windows, and I retreated to my office. Shortly after sitting behind my desk, my door burst open. Framed in the light from the hallway, his long shadow washing over me, stood the sysadmin, slowly twirling his staff. “Do you think you can stop me with a simple change to our load balancer? I was configuring load balancers when you were still on dial-up! Now, you will listen, AOL user, and you will see why Unix is your only choice!” Of course, I had a backup plan for just such a situation.

I dove out the window next to my desk, landing nimbly next to my secretary’s bright pink LeBaron. I had made copies of all her keys months ago in order to utilize her unique vehicle for any necessary escapes. I quickly tapped out a text message to Michael in SoftLayer sales. We have a standing agreement that when he receives a message from me containing only the word DAWT, he is to send the best sale at his disposal to my sysadmin. As I drove past the front door of the building I saw him running toward the car. He pulled out his Blackberry in mid-stride and suddenly stopped dead. “Free double RAM AND double hard drives!? IMPOSSIBLE!” he screamed, and I managed to swerve around him and escape. As I drove away, I thought about my secretary. When she first started here, I had convinced her that if her car were ever stolen, the best plan of action would be to change the building security policies so that only my badge could open the doors. I hoped I didn’t need to make use of that plan, but the sysadmin has proved a worthy adversary.

Unbelievable! Even with my masterful backup plan, he was still following me. I saw his battered VW Bus merge into traffic behind me, his vulture-like shadow looming behind the wheel. I sped up until we were both racing down the road, weaving in and out of the other vehicles. Finally we passed a police car, and my next plan sprang into action. I knew that standard procedure was to radio in the vehicles you were pursuing, and I knew my friend Joe was on duty today. Joe knew that if he ever received a radio call about a business man in a pink LeBaron being chased down the highway by a wizard in a VW Bus, he was to call off the police and park a fire truck at a certain intersection. You see, I had hired an actor to pretend to be a corporate Psychiatrist, and learned that the Sysadmin had an irrational fear of fire trucks. Why? Because it always pays to have a backup plan.

I angled toward the intersection and managed to squeeze past the truck just as it pulled up to block the street. I heard the squeal of tires as the sysadmin slammed on his breaks and reversed wildly behind me. Now that I was free, however, I couldn’t return to the office. Luckily I was prepared for just such an eventuality. As I drove to my next location, I quickly used my Blackberry to shut down one of our production web servers. I knew that it would be 20 minutes before the monitoring system would officially declare the server “down,” so I had time.

I made it to my secret office above the video arcade not long after. Before leaving the car I collected the grappling hook and rope from a secret compartment in the door, then went inside. I walked in to the darkened room and immediately noticed something was wrong. My security system wasn’t beeping! The door slammed behind me and the sysadmin boomed out “NO PLAN CAN DEFEAT ME, MORTAL!”

“I’m ALWAYS prepared!” I shot back, and quickly glanced at my watch. It had been 19 minutes and 45 seconds since I shut down my server, the timing was perfect! The sysadmin walked toward me, twirling that staff. Just as he was about to reach me, his blackberry beeped. Pausing to check, he let out a stream of curses and then lunged at me, but I had already rappelled down the side of the building and made my escape.

As soon as I reached the car, my Blackberry alerted me that the server I shut down was back up. How!? The sysadmin must have his own API programs! I cringed as I activated my final backup plan: a program that constantly shut down all our servers. Let’s see him handle that! I took the direct route back to the office, past the still-idling fire truck. I threw Joe a wave, knowing that I’d owe him a big favor for this, and rocketed back to the office. I knew that he would be right behind me, but hopefully with all our servers offline he won’t beat me to my destination. Also, once I made it into the building, the security system wouldn’t allow anyone in behind me. I would be safe!

I raced into the building, looking frantically around for the sysadmin, but he was nowhere to be seen. Finally! I had defeated him! I walked calmly to my office and opened the door, only to see HIM, climbing in through my window. I had forgotten to close it when I escaped this morning! I quickly opened the secret panel in the wall next to the door and put my finger on the red button.

“WAIT!” cried the sysadmin. “We need to put our differences behind us. Our plans have almost destroyed our servers!”

“What do you mean?” I demanded. “They’re fine!”

“No, they’re not,” he said in a sad voice. “You see, I always have a backup plan, and I knew that eventually someone would attempt to power off our machines, so I wrote a script to constantly turn the machines on!”

“B-but…” I stammered, “but I wrote a script to constantly turn them OFF”

“I know” he said, “and the constant power cycling has corrupted our data base. We need to set aside this silly feud and fix it.”

“Don’t worry, dear end user” I proudly proclaimed, “I always have a backup-“

It was right then I realized that in all my planning, I had never actually created any backups.

-Daniel

Categories: 
June 18, 2008

Planning for Data Center Disasters Doesn’t Have to Cost a Lot of $$

One of the hot topics over the past couple of weeks in our growing industry has been how to minimize downtime should your (or your host’s) data center experience catastrophic failure leading to outages that could span multiple days.

Some will think that it is the host’s responsibility to essentially maintain a spare data center into which they can migrate customers in case of catastrophe. The reason we don’t do this is simple economics. To maintain this type of redundancy, we’d need to charge you at least double our current rates. Because costs begin jumping exponentially instead of linearly as extensive redundancy is added, we’d likely need to charge you more than double our current rates. You know what? Nobody would buy at that point. It would be above the “reservation price” of the market. Go check your old Econ 101 notes for more details.

Given this economic reality, we at SoftLayer provide the infrastructure and tools for you to recover quickly from a catastrophe with minimal cost and downtime. But, every customer must determine which tools to use and build a plan that suits the needs of the business.

One way to do this is to maintain a hot-synched copy of your server at a second of our three geographically diverse locations. Should catastrophe happen to the location of your server, you will stay up and have no downtime. Many of you do this already, even keeping servers at multiple hosts. According to our customer surveys, 61% of our customers use multiple providers for exactly that reason – to minimize business risk.

Now I know what you’re thinking – “why should I maintain double redundancy and double my costs if you won’t do it?” Believe me, I understand this - I realize that your profit margins may not be able to handle a doubling of your costs. That is why SoftLayer provides the infrastructure and tools to provide an affordable alternative to running double infrastructure in multiple locations in case of catastrophe.

SoftLayer’s eVault offering can be a great cost effective alternative to the cost of placing servers in multiple locations. Justin Scott has already blogged about the rich backup features of eVault and how his backup data is in Seattle while his server is in Dallas, so I won’t continue to restate what he has already said. I will add that eVault is available in each of our data centers, so no matter where your server is at SoftLayer, you can work with your sales rep to have your eVault backups in a different location. Thus, for prices that are WAY lower than an extra server (eVault starts at $20/month), you can keep near real-time backups of your server data off site. And because the data transfer between locations happens on SoftLayer’s private network, your data is secure and the transfer doesn’t count toward your bandwidth allotment.

So let’s say your server is in our new Washington DC data center and your eVault backups are kept in one of our Dallas data centers. A terrorist group decides to bomb data centers in the Washington DC area in an attempt to cripple US government infrastructure and our facility is affected and won’t be back up for several days. At this point, you can order a server in Dallas, and once it is provisioned in an hour or so, you restore the eVault backup of your choice, wait on DNS to propagate based on TTL, and you’re rolling again.

Granted, you do experience some downtime with this recovery strategy. But the tradeoff is that you are up and running smoothly after the brief downtime at a cost for this contingency that begins at only $20 per month. And when you factor in your SLA credit on the destroyed server, this offsets the cost of ordering a new server, so the cost of your eVault is the only cost of this recovery plan.

This is much less than doubling your costs with offsite servers to almost guarantee no downtime. The reason that I throw in the word “almost” is that if an asteroid storm takes out all of our locations and your other providers’ locations, you will experience downtime. Significant downtime.

-Gary

June 16, 2008

More RAM!

More RAM. DDR2 must be going out of style, because Microcenter is selling a gig for $12.99. This time I don't make it in time before they run out, and I settle for sour grapes: my home pc can't use all the addressable memory, anyway. 4 Gigabytes. The maximum addressable memory for a 32-bit motherboard / OS. It used to be such a big deal to me- maxing out the 4 slots on my Dell, but not anymore. Why? Because now I work for SoftLayer. When you work with motherboards with up to 32 slots, 1 or 2 gig each; 4 measly slots just seems sad. I start nosing around for a video card that will fit the last expansion slot on my pc. No luck. I end up going home empty handed from Microcenter (outrageous!) and ordering the pci-e x1 video card from Newegg.

So, the hardware that customers can order at SoftLayer is impressive enough to jade the geek tech-lust of any home technician. And everything fits so nice and clean. Working on SoftLayer servers has really spoiled me for home pc's. Open up the case on your home pc and what do you see? Fabulous shiny bits? No. Cables. Cables in the computer. Cables behind the computer. Cables everywhere! You get the nifty zips and loops from Radio Shack, spend 2 hours zipping and looping, and as you proudly call your wife over to take a look she says, "Can't it all be wireless?"

The truth is neat cables take time, and SoftLayer engineers spend every spare minute making neat, organized, color-coordinated cables running to the servers. Cat 5e. Fiber. Special cables. Cables we can't talk about. All very neat and aesthetic. If Mr. Crosby ever takes you for a walk through the dc (datacenter), it looks effortless and lovely. But it took hours. Hundreds of hours. Just on cabling (I think SoftLayer might have stock in zip ties). You can be sure your SoftLayer server is not lost in a sea of Cat5 and power cables. It has been gracefully bound to its slot, the formidable innards pumping away at your command, your data streaming straight and true from switch to switch into the Internet beyond...

-Philip

Categories: 
June 14, 2008

In Memory of Dawn

Dawn was the best friend I’ve ever had, except for my little sister. Just yesterday I got home only to find out that Dawn had died silently in the night. No amount of resuscitation could bring her back. Needless to say, I was quite sad.

Dawn was my computer.*

The funny part of it all was just how much of my time involves a computer. I watch TV and Movies on my computer, I play games on my computer, I do my banking on my computer, I pay all my bills on my computer, I schedule my non-computer time on my computer, I use my computer as a jukebox.

In other words, I was completely lost. What made it worse, however, was that I had had yesterday scheduled to pay my bills. But where was my list of bills?

If you guessed “Dawn had all your bills”, then you are right.

What about paper bills? I’ve got the Internet and a computer! So, in most cases I’ve canceled paper bills. All paper bills I get are shredded forthwith. So I had no paper backup of bills.

Well, I made do. I kicked my roommate off his computer (a technique involving making annoying noises while he tries to concentrate playing Call of Duty 4) and used it to pay what bills I could remember. I kept track of the bills I was paying by entering them into a Google Document.

That’s when it hit me! Why wasn’t my bill spreadsheet on Google Documents? Along with my bill list? Along with all the other documents I work on every day? Cloud Computing For The Win! As soon as I get my next computer up and running (and I figure out a new naming algorithm) I’m going to put all my vital files on Google Docs. This ties in well with Justin Scott’s post; the key to not having your data disappear during a disaster is to have a backup copy. You want backups out there, far away from your potential point of failure. (I did have backups… but they’re all on CDs that I didn’t want to have to sort through to find just one file. And had the disaster been, say, a flood, I would have had no backups.)

Google Docs is a great example of Cloud Computing: Putting both the program and the file being worked on “in the cloud.” Having built internal applications for a few people, I would make the same recommendation: Since many business apps are moving to PHP anyway (thanks for the reminder, Daniel!), you might as well move the application AND the data out of the building and onto a secure server. And as Mr. Scott** mentioned, SoftLayer ALREADY has geographic diversity as well as a private network that will allow you to link your application and data servers together in real time through all datacenters… for free. Along with the added bonus of being able to access your application from any computer… should yours meet up with Misty, May, and Dawn at the Great Datacenter in the Sky.

-Zoey

* I had a system of naming my computers after the female protagonists from the Pokemon series. Dawn, however, is the last of that series…

** I’ve decided that since Justin is an Engineer, calling him Mr. Scott is funny.

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