Do you backup your files? What’s your Disaster Recovery Plan?

computerFireDo you have a disaster recovery plan in place in case something dire were to happen to your business and operations were halted?

Let me ask you this…do you backup your computer files?

Disaster Recovery might seem like a term more suitable for big corporations or businesses, but in fact, it applies to any sized business including 1-man operations such as mine.  Recently, I have taken steps to ensure that I can continue running my business from anywhere in the world on a completely new computer (assuming my existing computer is compromised).

…and did I mention it’s practically free?

You will see that the underlying theme to all these steps is to make your data accessible online anywhere.  Therefore, if you need to start over again on a new computer, you will have access to your data.


IDrive_logo1. The best thing you can do is backup your files.  I had an external 200GB harddrive since forever, but I only used it twice because of the mighty effort involved in plugging it in, turning it on, and dragging huge files onto the drive, then waiting 24+ hours for the backup to finish.  An easier solution is to invest in an online backup service.  I reviewed PC Mag’s recommendations, and while $9.99/month was a bit much to handle, I did opt for the $4.99/month plans.  I tried out Mozzy and IDrive.  I had huge problems installing Mozzy on my computer, so I decided to go with IDrive which offers 150GB of storage.  I’ve had it for about 4 days now, and am very pleased with it.  I schedule online backups daily at 5am. It’s very fast, and you can access the files from their online server.  They even keep the old versions of your files to 30 versions back.

Google Apps2. Email is probably the backbone of your company.  I know it is for mine.  Make sure you’re using IMAP to retrieve your email.  Therefore, it all remains on an online server that you can access from anywhere. Do not use POP, as it downloads the email to your computer and erases it from the online server.  Therefore, only 1 copy of that email will exist.  Also, use a reputable host for your email because you don’t want anything dire happening to their servers.  I recommend Google Apps.

xmarks3. Make sure your bookmarks are stored online! Firefox has a handy plugin called Xmarks that will store your favorites on their server.  Whenever you make a change to your local bookmarks, it will automatically sync to their online server.

password security_learnsomuch4. Put your passwords in an online safe place.  I’m still researching the best method for this, so if you have any recommendations please leave a comment.

exe_icon5. Keep all the install files for the programs most important to you.  They should be in a folder which your online backup service should backup.  This will help you quickly install all the programs you need onto a new machine.  Make sure to keep a text file with the activation keys.  I actually keep a copy of the install file for all the programs I need.

That’s what I do…what do you do to ensure continuous operations? Please comment with your tips!

Aligning optical and IP infrastructures

An Opinion

alcatel_logoThe article “Alcatel integrating network layers for efficiency” by Stephen Lawson of NetworkWorld discusses how the company Alcatel-Lucent plans to more closely align the optical infrastructure with the IP infrastructure.  The integration of these two main components of long-haul service-provider networks will increase speed and efficiency for the carriers.  Traditionally, the two domains have remained, for the most part, separate.  Internet and private IP traffic is generally transported over electronic packet routers.  At times, it is handed off to an optical infrastructure for transport over long distances.  There is very little interaction between the two elements, as they are typically managed by different teams.

Alcatel, a company with expertise in both technologies, plans to offer the ability to send traffic from multiple ports or VLANs into a single wavelength.  As a result, carriers can take full advantage of each wavelength, reducing the need to deploy additional wavelengths.  Furthermore, the company will allow IP routers to send traffic straight across the optical network, thus eliminating unnecessary IP routing along the way.  Finally, because Alcatel supplies both network layers, the two systems have knowledge of each other’s resources, and will be able to communicate fault management alarms.  The ultimate goal will be for the IP and optical network elements to reroute traffic if there is a failure in either layer.  These features are known as the Converged Backbone Transformation Solution and will roll out over time.

Alcatel’s Converged Backbone Transformation Solution will have a large impact on the carriers. Financially, the integration will save carriers at least 30% in capital expenditures if they build a network from the ground up utilizing Alcatel’s technology.  For carrier networks with existing infrastructure, cost savings will be more incremental in nature.  In addition, the technology will provide faster provisioning for enterprises that rely on the carriers to interconnect their offices.  This will increase business processes and customer service, and will ultimately have a positive impact on revenue.  Similarly, the technology will help boost the revenue of the carriers who are currently dealing with the problem of data traffic growing faster than the revenue they can collect for it.  Finally, the introduction of this technology will enable Alactel-Lucent to become an even more significant player in the networking world.  Companies such as Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks will have a new competitor in the field.  This competition will help stimulate a lagging economy, and ideally produce new ideas and growth in the networking community.