Web and Hosting Tips
Written by Natalie Lehrer
Monday, September 15th, 2014
There are a number of things that cloud storage services can do well. They can offer affordable resources, whether you’re starting out or extending from an existing setup. They can make those resources highly reliable and almost infinitely scalable (let’s just say, you’re unlikely to ever bump up against any limits.) And, last but by no means least; they can bring different parts of an organization together. With many enterprises still struggling to break down the barriers that prevent proper information flow, cloud storage services can be a boon for that reason alone. Archive as a Service offers additional “anti-information silo” features that become increasingly important as a company grows.
Demonstrating Compliance: Everybody’s Headache
To a greater or lesser degree, every business is bound by regulations and a need to practice and demonstrate compliance with those regulations. If you’re operating as a sole trader, then to start with you’ll need to keep records for taxes. If your business has employees, departments, branch offices, then you can look forward to accounting, health and safety, traceability, consumer protection, medical confidentiality and more, according to the sector in which you operate. Trying to get each department to conform to compliance regulations is a challenge in itself. Trying to check that each one has done its duty can be even more difficult.
Cloud Archival as Your Aspirin
The first thing that Archive as a Service does is to federate all those otherwise isolated initiatives to conserve historical and compliance data. As an added bonus, the central storage not only guarantees data is kept safely, but Archive as a Service can also prevent any tampering with or unauthorized destruction of data, whether by accident or by design. By combining cloud archiving with cloud backup services you can extend that protection, store different versions with their individual timestamps and be ready for disaster recovery if required.
No More Capital Outlay
Private archival systems can get expensive, fast. They require more and more capacity, as more and more data accumulates and regulations become increasingly demanding. Cloud-based Archive as a Service obviates the need for laying out large hunks of cash. It provides the capacity you need for smaller monthly fees and lets you scale up smoothly, instead of having to buy a complete new archival server each time. More than this however, you can let the service provider do the work on making sure that the systems remain up to date and properly maintained. When you consider that archiving can last for years or decades, not having to worry about hardware refreshes in between can be a big help.
Retention Policies, Discovery and Beyond
Archiving is done so that information can be found again if required. But not all information should be archived or kept beyond a certain time limit. Archive as a Service lets you define and apply enterprise-wide policies for how long different types of data are retained and when information can or should be deleted. You can also search across the whole organization, which is important too for any legal requirements to comply with data sharing or discovery. And once you’ve got your different departments all ‘singing from the same song sheet’ for archiving, you can turn your attention to breaking down any other information silos that exist: for example, in your supply chain or leveraging innovative ideas. Archive as a Service maybe the end destination for much of your information, but that doesn’t stop it from being the starting point for a more unified, efficient and effective organization.
Natalie Lehrer is a senior contributor for CloudWedge. In her spare time, Natalie enjoys exploring all things cloud and is a music enthusiast. Follow Natalie’s daily posts on Google Plus, Twitter @Cloudwedge, or on Facebook.
Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kulturarvsprojektet/6498637005/in/photolist-aUgdnB-aUghg6-7MD3dV-6zikYQ-8uDviZ-dSNCNT-G7hwY-FeWvD-fmtgQn-2XevxG-Mhc6R-Mhc7n-bH8xmk-5a4ToF-8JPib7-c5eEWw-fApYgF-cmXzG-aUg8cx-Mh1of-Mh1pq-8BFk82-aUg5p6-epa4xw-3nsq5E-jqCNfw-dYsB4V-8uGuMb-Mh1oQ-epa7My-epa5HW-epa8d5-epa5rC-eodUdx-eodTmp-epa6K5-jL2Khe-dYSxB1-Mh1om-4uZkio-EfQVB-aAyYzA-eLz2Kp-3nQM8v-3nVgnY-fvGq3x-6tqxy2-cXkMNS-itgAn2-mhCYtN
Written by Ryan Evans
Thursday, September 4th, 2014
Email is one of those little things that you can easily forget about. You read it, maybe even type out a response and click send… but then you go on about your day, likely paying no mind at all to the fact that the little email actually does take up physical space on a hard drive within a server. This can lead to some major issues in the long run, however. Like personal fitness, it is something that you need to keep tabs on and do daily. Left unchecked, an inbox full of old email and spam can ultimately lead to detrimental issues.
What Unlimited Really Means
It’s easy to think that unlimited does actually mean infinite, but the reality is that physical limitations do exist; there will always be a finite amount of space, be it in your office or on a server. Every single file takes up space, even if just a miniscule amount, but those teeny-tiny amounts do add up when left unchecked!
This is most definitely applicable with email. If you don’t go through and remove old emails and spam from time to time it can really add up, just like cholesterol in your veins. Overtime, the blockage can grow to become a serious issue.
Despite its name, an inode isn’t some new flashy Apple product, it’s a data structure used to keep information about a file on your hosting account. Things on your hosting account like emails, files, folders, or literally anything else stored on your server consumes a relative amount of inodes. There is a set limit of how many inodes you can utilize at any given time, which is the literal physical limitation that people may start to bump up against. A HostGator shared server imposes a limit of 250,000 inodes, and while that sounds like a lot it can easily be consumed by an unkempt inbox.
Although it’s easy to lose track of the situation and let it get out of hand, it’s actually quite as easy to nip it in the bud. Put aside some time every day to go through your inbox and trim the fat, deleting old emails or even just attachments that are no longer relevant. Every little bit helps. Don’t forget to empty your trash and spam folders too!
Another solution might be to use an offsite mail fetch service such as Google. This will help reduce the use of Disk space and inodes, leaving you more leg room to work with.
This hygienic practice should also extend to any 3rd party email services as well like Gmail and Yahoo. Remember, it’s important to keep your inbox clutter free, not only for the health of your server but for the health of your business too!
Written by Jeremy Jensen
Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
In a digital era where connectivity and technology are terms as ubiquitous as food and water, it’s easy to take the Internet for granted and not pay it any more mind beyond your latest tweet. In fact, relatively few people really understand what the Internet is, no less the origins of the world wide web or how it has grown over time to reach its current capabilities.
Although this information might strike you as irrelevant, it might be wise to take minute and learn the basics just as you should understand the fundamentals of a car, considering that the Internet will undoubtedly be the tool that defines the 21st century.
Birth of “The Net”
Conceptualization – The Internet was conceived in 1962 by J.C.R. Licklider of MIT as a “Galactic Network” that would connect a group of computers so they may access data and programs regardless of where a single computer was located.
Experimentation – After MIT researchers Leonard Kleinrock and Lawrence G. Roberts expanded upon Licklider’s idea and theorized the feasibility of such an invention, they managed to successfully link two computers from Massachusetts to California via a low speed dial-up telephone line in 1965.
Development – By 1968 the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, guided the technology and its development under the project name ARPANET and honed the boarder aspects of the project, such as its structural and technical parameters, architectural designs, and key components like the Interface Message Processors (IMP).
Inception – After the very first host computer was connected to the first node at UCLA in 1969, the Stanford Research Institute connected and host-to-host messaging was born. Following this with the addition of two nodes that dealt with application visualization projects, four host computers were connected to ARPANET.
Sophistication – As more and more computers were added to the network, function and utilization was the focus for improvements. Software was subsequently devised and the Network Control Protocol (NCP) was implemented, thus leading to the need for more applications. In 1972, the budding network saw its culmination in the construction of the ultimate coordination tool– electronic mail.
Integration – Soon the ultimate goal of ARPANET turned to incorporating other separate networks through the foundational idea of Internetworking Architecture where they may be independently designed for a unique interface. This would be referred to as “internetting” and throughout the late ‘70s and early 80’s there would be extensive development of LANS, PC’s and workstations that would not just lead to more networks, but to more modifications of the initial model.
Evolution – As the Internet grew, so did the progressive management issues; in particular were the router insufficiencies, the transition to the Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol, and problems regarding a single table for every host after they all were assigned names for easier public use. This latter was accommodated by the creation of the Domain Name System (DNS) that would mitigate the task by properly distributing hierarchical host names into Internet addresses.
Mainstream – By the mid 90’s, the Internet was a respected and well-supported technology that was embraced not only by those in the research communities, but the mainstream masses for personal communicative uses too.
What Brought About the World Wide Web
Documentation – One of the key factors in the successful building of the Internet into what it is now was the free promotion and sharing of research and data. The new, dynamic, and real-time exchange of knowledge was critical to the concept of an online, interconnected community.
Community – Though the Internet was established by those in academia, it was the efficient transmittance of ideas that allowed the common man to become engaged and help build it with his public presence. By creating a widespread community, they also created a widespread dialogue and their peer-to-peer relationships helped drive the technology forward.
Commercialization – As vendors began to supply the network products, and the service providers the internet connections, we have seen a shift in the popular demand that now treats the technology much like a physical commodity due to the systemic use of browsers and search engines and the World Wide Web for commercial purposes.
Tool of The 21st Century
What once began as a data communications network and evolved into a global information infrastructure is now a technology that manifests itself in every person’s life. It dictates how we communicate as a society, how we learn, and how we will continue to evolve. You should take credence in the fact that knowing this brief history will help you understand the trajectory we are all on as a globalized, interconnected people.
Written by Natalie Lehrer
Monday, August 25th, 2014
With your website up and running, you can welcome visitors from all over the web. And with several websites – or web applications – you can multiply that number of visitors further. But what if you wanted to give each visitor a seamless experience so that whichever website he or she accessed, it would be possible to transparently get services from the other websites, too? Sure, you can always provide handy links to open up new browser windows or embed information in pop-ups, but web hosting also allows you to make things much more seamless and slick. You can give your visitors the perception that they are getting everything they need from just one site.
How your visitors see your site can affect visitor loyalty, traffic and (if that’s your goal) website revenues. Suppose you run a travel information service on one web hosting platform, a hotel reservation service on another, and you’d also like to make up to date currency exchange information (which you don’t host) available to your visitors too. In fact, by using a standard networking protocol that other providers offer, you can also make your web site the center of the universe for your visitors and invisibly pull in all sorts of information that could be of interest to them. ‘One-stop shops’ like this are more convenient and encourage more visitors to return. So what sort of mechanism lets you do that?
SOAP: Simple But Effective
SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol to give its full, former name) is a standard protocol that lets web sites access information from external sources for their visitors without interrupting the ‘one site does it all’ experience. It’s not the only way to accomplish this, but it is one of the most simple. What’s more, it doesn’t depend on any particular web programming language or web hosting operating system, so it can hook up just about anything. SOAP just uses two universal resources to work: HTTP (which is how your website works anyway) and XML (eXtensible Markup Language), which is also available as a standard part of any mainstream web platform.
What SOAP Does
SOAP specifies how to set up communications with an HTTP header and an XML file so that an application in one server can call an application in another and ask for information. It also specifies how the other application then responds to the first with the requested information. Essentially the provider of the information makes instructions available about what information can be requested and how. These instructions are expressed in WSDL or Web Services Description Language (which is based on XML). The consumer of the information uses the instructions to create a calling application and sends it using SOAP to manage the interaction.
Back To Our Example
If you’re running the website with the travel info and the webserver with the hotel reservation system, then you can choose to have a SOAP provider application on your reservation system and a SOAP consumer application on the travel info website. A visitor reading your travel info could then click to get immediate hotel availability information and even a hotel reservation form without leaving the travel info site. To get auxiliary information on currency exchange rates for foreign destinations, you could use the WSDL instructions from a third-party site and create a second SOAP consumer application to get up to the minute currency conversion for your own visitors – again, without them leaving your travel info site.
Is It Complicated to Implement?
In absolute terms, no. Somebody who knows HTTP and who understands XML will likely find that SOAP and WSDL are simple enough to work with. Of course, you’ll want to design and test your web services applications properly to make quite sure they work consistently and reliably for all your visitors. But once they are in place, you can then also offer your slick hotel reservation web service to other webmasters so that you can boost your business even more!
Author bio: Natalie Lehrer is a senior contributor for CloudWedge. In her spare time, Natalie enjoys exploring all things cloud and is a music enthusiast. Follow Natalie’s daily posts on Google Plus, Twitter @Cloudwedge, or on Facebook.
Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/monsieurlui/316350341/in/photolist-tXnWe-fNfHbS-ifXF2F-ifXFjN-arujE9-cfFUX3-kLeAct-9kKrVe-5T9fu6-4xhrfT-fkv78c-aWa2ZT-3265bo-FLKc7-nxxMxP-eUAzmU-617kFE-7WvyGS-fV8bGm-e1ajoV