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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.
The Job Interview ? How to Handle Getting Around a Negatively Asked Question Many dread that day that they have to go for an interview. Looking professionally dressed, acting professional and displaying the knowledge is all important. Employers and interviewers test you for anything and everything that you can think about--from your likes and dislikes to the actual experiences with this type of work to the facts. Most of these questions you can dodge and answer safely and securely. But how about those negatively asked questions, how could you professionally dodge those questions? Often times a reaction to a negative question is what can make or break the deal. Sometimes employers ask these questions on purpose to see what your reaction might be and to be able to determine first of all your character and second of all, if the negative event in your life is related to a good or bad character. So how can you master these questions and possibly pass the tests? One of the most important factors when getting prepared to dodge difficult questions is to be secure and knowledgeable about any points on your résumé and in your life. If you have a good answer prepared for difficult situations that happened in your life, it will be an ease for you to get around negatively asked questions. Whenever an interviewer asks you a negative question, make sure you stay calm and do not answer hastily. Sometimes it is enough to give a very short answer and it does not necessarily need a complete explanation that might get you stuck. The longer the answer you try to make up, the easier you might stumble over something and then fall hard. When trying to get around a negatively asked question, besides that fact that you need to stay calm and give a short answer, try to get to a different topic. Strike up a conversation about your more positive skills and accomplishments and therefore get around that question that might have bothered you otherwise. In some instances, depending on the content of the question, it might even be best to answer truthfully. What if you were asked about staying home for no obvious reason? At least according to your résumé there is no job, no new degree or similar mentioned. Maybe it was for a sick relative or the birth of a baby? Why not use the truth in these cases as an answer. When answering difficult questions you might have to decide often on the spot how to answer. In any case, it will almost never help you to make up a lie for a negatively asked question. A lie can get you into a situation you cannot get out of, but the truth can never get you in a worth situation than you are in by answering the questions truthfully. If you do not want to answer truthfully because you think it can hurt your image, sometimes it then is better not to answer the questions. Try to divert the attention successfully to another more positive topic such as your achievements, earlier project or similar other experiences that led to a positive result. Keep in mind that the interviewer is testing to see if you are a good fit for the company and they do not exactly know you. They know a few facts about you, but the do not know the whole picture and especially not about the more negative things they might want to find moiré information about. So when going for a an interview and trying to get around a negatively question, make sure to be honest or to not get into details if you do not want to discuss the issue, but mainly make sure that you stay calm, do not get excited about it. A calm confident person can easily answer any and all questions that might be posed to him or her.
Yes, Freebies are Real! If you tell someone that something is free, they immediately start looking for the catch. After all, the words of wisdom ?there is no such thing as a free lunch? have usually been proven true for people time and again throughout life, and so a healthy cynicism towards free stuff usually springs up with good reason. If you are one of these skeptical types, however, you may be missing out on some really great stuff. The truth is that you CAN get free things that are really and truly free, and yes, actually worth having. You just have to know where to look. OK, here is where the caveat comes in. The definition of ?free? often depends on the definition of ?cost.? As any economist can tell you, cost really doesn?t only come down to how much money you have to hand over to get something. There are additional costs, like inconvenience and time spent doing something. And true, some freebies have these ?non monetary? kinds of costs associated with them. You have to balance all of the costs with the value of the free stuff you are getting and decide if it is worth it to you. The two biggest costs associated with freebies? Time and convenience are at the top of the list. Time is a big factor in many free offers. Companies want a bit of your time in exchange for their free products. Indeed, some companies literally want hours of your time. Have you ever taken advantage of one of those ?free weekend vacation? offers in which you received free accommodation in a beach house or condo for a weekend in exchange for suffering through a long presentation and intense sales pitch? For some people, they can handle the presentation and have no qualms about refusing to buy anything and the free vacation more than makes up for it. Other people would rather pay any price to avoid having to listen to one of these spiels. So, while these weekends are freebies, for some people, they cost too much. More often, a company wants your time in a less obvious way ? they want you to spend time filling out forms. These forms may simply be your name, address and email address, or they may be very lengthy, quizzing you about buying habits and the like. The reason the companies want you to do these forms is often for market research, and they are more than happy to give you a freebie in exchange for this. Many people find the time spent filling out these forms will worth it to get a great free product. Convenience is the other cost involved with many freebies. Time and convenience go hand in hand in some cases ? after all, it may not be especially convenient to fill out form after form simply because it is time consuming, but convenience takes another hit from freebies in the form of spam email. Often, signing up for a freebie can land you on a spam email list, and for some people, getting tons of spam is so inconvenient that they would rather pay full price. The truth about all of these costs of freebies is that the freebie is in the eye of the beholder. You have to decide what you are willing to put up with in order to get a free product. Once you know the limits to your freebie costs, than you can cash in on some really great products that don?t cost you a dime. When you spend five minutes filling out a form and get rewarded with a free DVD player that you have been wanting, you will realize that there are free things out there to be had.