ISC   Information Support Concepts, Inc
A Certified Woman Owned Business Enterprise (WBE)

Issue 44

Publisher:  Jack Burlin                                Editor:  Nanci Kindle

February 5, 2009

IN THIS ISSUE
                          Your success story                Monthly featured product Kevinisms Trivia
Articles of Interest:  Testing Backups & Conducting Restores Let There Be Light!
Back to ISC Main Page

Your Success Story

Dear Jack,

Thank you so much for your help and in resolving our issues.  I had ordered a KVM drawer with built-in switch.  I ordered it with USB cables, but I really needed PS2 cables.  Your people bent over backwards to get me the correct parts on short notice by air freight and gave me full credit on the ones I ordered incorrectly.  Not only that, my customer told me this is the nicest KVM drawer they have ever used.  They were equally impressed with the full rack I bought from you.  Your great prices are what brought me to you, but your incredible service is even more valuable.

Thanks again,

Ed Pearlman

 

Monthly Featured Product

 

                      

 

  The Super Trackstick runs on two AAA batteries and is only 4.5 inches long

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Information Support Concepts (ISC) has discontinued the monthly product special. Since we are now running weekly specials with much deeper discounts, it made sense for the monthly special to be replaced.  We will now have a featured product each month, and direct our customers back to the weekly special for discounted items.

You can click on this link to see the current weekly product special! 

Also, watch for our latest innovation:  coupons!

ISC now offers the Super Trackstick GPS for vehicle tracking.  Click here to see it on our website:

As always, ISC personnel are ready to answer your questions, and can confirm what product will work for your specific application. If you have a question, just call us at 800-458-6255.

Testing Backups &
Conducting Restores

Be Better Prepared For Disaster Recovery

 
by Will Kelly
From , April 27, 2007

Backing up corporate data has come into renewed focus because of Sept. 11, 2001, natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, and audit requirements from compliance programs such as Sarbanes-Oxley. However, conducting restores successfully is even more important for disaster recovery and business continuity.

Here are some tips for how you can test your backups, restores, and otherwise prepare for the worst-case scenario—having to restore systems from your backups after a catastrophe.

Test On The Appropriate Equipment

Mark Phillippi, vice president of product management for Unitrends, maker of the Unitrends DPU (Data Protection Unit), says, “Test your restore on a recovery platform that is most like what you’ll recover to after a disaster.” Oftentimes when restoring your data after a disaster, you aren’t restoring it to the same servers and infrastructure—rather, you’ll be restoring your data to newer equipment.

"Test on the equipment you will most likely find in a panic situation," says Phillippi. As your SME’s equipment goes through its life cycle, a major disaster is most likely going to mean you are replacing equipment with newer models, meaning you will have to make some allowances for dissimilar hardware. Therefore, while those four-year-old Dell servers in your data center worked like champs, the servers you are restoring to will probably be newer models, maybe even from a different vendor.

Schedule Annual Testing

Another measure Phillippi stresses is to test your restores on an annual basis and to make sure the necessary personnel from the business side are available to test the restored application. “Have the business owner of the application sign off on the restored application,” Phillippi says. As applications grow in complexity and encompass multiple systems, often files, scripts, and settings can be lost, meaning that the application can boot up and look fine to a non-user, but it won’t function properly. While this multidisciplinary approach may seem unnecessary at first, the business owner’s sign-off is the ultimate testament that the application is working and may save you from the business side pointing fingers about an unsuccessful restore of its core applications.

Use Prioritized Restoring

Another tip is to configure your backup system to restore the most important applications, services, and business-critical data first, either through automation or through manual intervention. Setting up such restoration processes requires a multidisciplinary team to determine the priority of the applications, services, and data. Such a prioritized restore doesn’t expedite the restoration process and may in fact cost you more time in restoring and bringing up one of your SME’s key systems, but in the event of a major failure, it will make things move faster for the enterprise.

Know Your Exchange Server Databases

Bob Spurzem, senior product manager for Mimosa Systems, says getting a deep understanding of your Microsoft Exchange Server’s databases can be integral to running a successful restore because of the number, size, and complexity of Exchange Server databases. He also recommends looking to disk-based backup and restore solutions for your Exchange Servers to expedite your backups and restore, as disk-based solutions run faster than their tape backup cousins do. Exchange Server 2003 has 20 databases per server, and the new Exchange 2007 Server has 50 databases per server, which can tax your tape-based backup solution with longer backups that may cause some SMEs to forgo backing up their Exchange Server data.

Spending time analyzing your data, developing and testing a DR plan, and perfecting your system restores can give you an advantage with customers. Such planning and testing can also build confidence in your staff that you can recover business systems and data from a disaster and keep operating.
 

Kevinisms

A Kevinism is a funny or intriguing statement or idea from our Vice President of Sales, Kevin Hunt.  Kevin is a big fan of Sandra Bullock, Pizza Inn black olive pizza, The Washington Redskins, and Dr. Pepper (not necessarily in that order).  He is not a big fan of Chinese food, seafood, or other types of "dead" stuff.

Well, the Superbowl was played on Sunday February 1, and pitted the Cardinals against the Steelers.  Conspicuously absent were either the Washington Redskins (which is supposedly Kevin's team) and the Dallas Cowboys, which Kevin regularly reviles.  Kevin also can't resist castigating his many friends who are all Cowboy fans by telling them the Cowboys are going to let them down.  This year, he turned out to be right.  The Cowboys did let many people down by not making the playoffs (although they lost three out of their last four games to teams who were all in their conference title games on January 18).  Their record was 9 and 7 and they were third place in the NFC East. 

Kevin "forgets" to mention that the Redskins were 8 and 8, took fourth place in the NFC East, and blew their own opportunity to be in the playoffs by losing 5 out of their last 6 games.

Kevin still inhabits a fantasy world where the Redskins play to lose, and of course they never provide any of their fans with the expectation of winning.  For some reason Kevin believes his own BS, even though it has been disproven countless times.

Herein is the latest proof that Kevin is wrong:  The Detroit Lions.  They went 0 and 16 and really wanted to win their last game against Green Bay.  If there was ever a thought in the league of giving another team a break, here was the opportunity.  Green Bay could have taken a dive, but they did not.  Thus proving, no matter what the circumstances, every team in the league wants to win all the time.  This is what makes the NFL great, and the Redskins not so great.

Here are the final standings in the NFC East:

Team W L T PF PA Home Road
New York Giants 12 4 0 427 294 7-1-0 5-3-0
Philadelphia Eagles  9 6 1 416 289 6-2-0 3-4-1
Dallas Cowboys  9 7 0 362 365 6-2-0 3-5-0
Washington Redskins  8 8 0 265 296 4-4-0 4-4-0
 

At least the Redskins were consistent in being average in all measurements.  They don't seem to play any better in front of their own fans as they do in front of opponents' fans.

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ISC can help with any infrastructure issues related to disaster recovery or remote data centers.  Call
800-458-6255 to talk to your account representative.

Let There Be Light!
 

In June 2008, we had just moved into our new offices in Mansfield, TX.  Today was the first day of work in the new office, and I was very excited because my office had an automatic light switch with a motion detector.  This was great, because I did not have to turn the lights on or off.  They came on when I entered the office and went out when there was no activity in the office.  Or so I thought.

Going into the office was great.  It made me seem powerful.  Just like the first chapter of Genesis:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and God said let there be light, and there was light!  For about 10 seconds.  Then, while I was typing at my desk, the lights went out.  I waved at the motion detector and the lights came on, for about ten seconds.  I waved at the motion detector again, and the lights came on, for about ten seconds.  After this, I resolved to work in the dark as I could see my work on the monitor.  But being in the dark gets old really fast.

The reason we had this kind of switch was that it is in the Mansfield city code.  However, the goal is to save energy, and I don’t think constantly turning on the fluorescent lights every ten seconds is really very energy efficient.  They are much better when left on.

Other people were having the same problems with their lights, although most stayed on for at least a minute.  Shortly, we all realized we hated the automatic light switches.  We called for an electrician to come out and change the switches.

That was fine, but what was I supposed to do while we waited?  I did not want to be waving at the switch six times a minute.

I tried a couple of things to get the lights to stay on:

  1. I have a little rotary fan.  I figured turning it on would provide the necessary motion to keep the lights on.  Wrong!
  2. I have a little cardboard noise-maker horn like you would use on New Year’s Eve.  It has the horn part and then strands of cellophane (colored blue in my case) that move with the air as it goes through the horn.  I turned the fan on it and the cellophane blew around randomly.  I taped the horn to a floor dolly and positioned it in front of the light switch.  The motion was evidently not enough to keep the lights on.
  3. I took the horn and taped it directly over the motion sensor, and pointed the fan at it.  Eureka!  The fan kept the cellophane fringes moving enough to fool the motion detector.  See the photo at the right of the final, successful, configuration.

We finally got the light switches replaced later in the afternoon, and things have been great since then.
 

  Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed this month's newsletter. 
Please direct your comments to Jack Burlin.

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Trivia Question

Q:  A trapezoid is a type of quadrilateral where two opposite sides are parallel to each other.  This figure has a different name in Britain, what is it?

All correct answers will be placed into a pool for a random drawing at the end of the month.  The winner will receive a free roll of velcro, plus free ground shipping. Send your answers to: Jack Burlin

See next month's newsletter for the winner and the correct answer.

Answer from December's Newsletter.

Q:  Time Bandits is a 1981 fantasy film produced and directed by Terry Gilliam of Monty Python fame.  There were some notable actors in the film including one who had dual "heroic" roles as Agamemnon and a fireman.  Can you name this actor?

 A:  Sean Connery.

The winner was .  Congratulations!

     

   Motion sensitive light switch with "party horn" and constant air flow.
 

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Information Support Concepts, Inc.

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ISC   Information Support Concepts, Inc