As corporate dependence on IT solutions continues to grow in the early 21st century, demand for reliable, cost effective disaster recovery data centers is expected to be one of the major growth markets for server and networking suppliers in their search for business continuity solutions in the event of unforeseen disaster striking.
Disaster recovery has taken on more urgency with the growth of computer use within global corporations, and uptake in developing nations. Recent tragedies such as 9/11, North-Eastern power blackouts, or the Asian tsunami underscore how vulnerable networks are to disruption, so emphasis on securing data has taken on new importance.
Major server suppliers are now redirecting efforts toward dedicated disaster recovery data centers using real time synchronization of data between geographically diverse servers and data storage networks. A range of disaster recovery solutions such as portable container sized data centers and larger campus style data centers are now being built and designed.
Disaster recovery data centers have the distinct advantage of outsourced equipment and infrastructure which is costly to duplicate, and economies of scale become attractive when many hundreds of thousand servers are located in shared facilities rather than leasing a separate building and constructing redundant systems that otherwise may not be used.
With advances in network speeds and topology, and the advent of cloud computing, real time synchronization of data has become feasible for corporations operating across national boundaries, in fact, it is now feasible to locate disaster recovery data centers intercontinentally offering major security advantages for corporations based in unstable or developing markets.
Cloud computing with respect to disaster recovery now allows almost instant recovery measured in seconds and minutes compared to previously attainable recovery times of hours or days for the most technologically competent corporations.
Data centers are specialized complexes, capable of providing sufficient independent power for hours or days while outside services are restored, exactly the type of security that isn’t possible for most small to mid sized corporations, and even large national corporations may struggle to budget for such disaster recovery expense, so outsourcing server management is in many cases the only option.
The downside of outsourcing to a separate disaster recovery data center comes down to trust, especially if the center owner is a different corporation from the one sub-contracted to provide networking services. The big five server manufacturers all provide data centers for disaster recovery, some as part of their regular server farm offerings, others in dedicated centers that are completely separate.
The rationale for separate separate disaster recovery data centers being more need for security which regular data centers may not be able to provide given the number of personnel with access to servers. Whilst the theory may seem overrated, certainly some of the largest research universities and financial institutions have committed to dedicated data centers for the security they afford.
The major owners of disaster recovery data centers are now, and have been for several years, undertaking security investigations into key staff before appointment to the data center, and this should be a mandatory requirement for corporations considering outsourced backup in dedicated disaster recovery data centers.
Databases have evolved as technology continues to develop. Contrary to popular belief, databases have existed before computers were built. The data was not recorded in a computer but with crude accounting systems which were used by banks. There are different ways to collect and organize data to form a database. One of the models used in early time before the age of computers were flat file databases. A flat file database encodes a table of data in different means as a plain text file. A list of name, phone numbers, and addresses written by hand in table can be considered as a flat file database. To put it simply, any data which is placed in a single file in the form of columns and rows is a flat file database. This database evolved and led to more complex systems as computers emerged in the market.
Flat File Database
Flat files are plain texts which contains one record per line. The record has a single field that is separated by a comma or limited to a fixed length. Flat file databases were used by early computer machines. These machines implemented simple databases. Herman Hollerith was the first one to use the concept of a flat file database with the use of punch cards. His idea consisted of a string of 80 digits and letters, which represented the residents of the U.S., which were padded with spaces. He sold his idea to the US Census which used his machines and his punched cards to store data. This became the first computerized data which composed of boxes of punched cards. In the following years, computers used flat file databases for accounting purposes, particularly payroll. These computers were used by the military and corporations. The demand for these machines led to the creation of relational databases which used normalized tables to organize data. The early applications still used Hollerith cards, and the enterprise grew into a company called IBM. In the 1980s, flat file databases were used by DOS and Macintosh. These programs were designed to enable individuals to make their own databases. They were in the same level with spreadsheets and word processors that were popular at that time. Early versions included FileMaker and shareware PC-File.
Flat File Database Applications
Flat file databases are used today with or without the use of computers. The term is defined broadly if used for general purposes but becomes narrowed in conjunction with the database theory. Although there are a few programs left that will enable novice programmers to create their own flat file database, there are still many computer applications who use it. There are applications that enable users to store and retrieve their data from flat files with a predefined set of fields. Examples of these are programs that allow you to manage appointments or manage your collection of books. An organizer or planner can be considered as a flat file database. By simply listing your contacts along with their personal information which you will then use a reference can be considered as a flat file database. The application of flat file databases can range from simple handwritten records to an enterprise-level solution.
A data source name, also called the DSN, is a data structure that provides information on a certain database. This database usually includes an open database community server that it requires to function effectively. A data source name, which is usually embedded in a registry or a text file, includes information such as the name, the directory as well as the driver of the database. The DSN also includes the name and password of the user, which also depends on the DSN type. Most developer creates a separate DSN for each database. In order to share the particular database to other databases, the developer usually integrates a data within a program. On the other hand, the DSN without any connections will need to have ample information for a specific program in order to work effectively.
Types of Data Source Names
The first type of Data Source Name (DSN) is the user DSN. The user DSN usually allows a single user to gain access through a single computer or database. The second type is the system DSN. The system DSN allows multiple users for only a particular computer or database. The file DSN, on the other hand, needs a text file in .DSN format, and it can be shared by several users who installed the same drive on their databases.
How to Use the Data Source Name
When using a Data Source Name (DSN), you must consider the server you’re using. Most DSN is under an open database connectivity drive, which is required to access information from the database. When you’re using an open database source, you should simplify the information to be accessed, thus; making the code transparent to the database.
If you want to open a logging window for your open database source, you initially go to the data hub properties and select the Data logging icon. In the configure database logging, you should click the configure button. Configure your DSN by placing available user name and password as well as the DSN administration information. In selecting your DSN, you must choose an item from the drop-down box. The choices for a DSN administration is then specified or given by the system. Then, you place the user name and password and click “CONNECT”. If you have done it correctly, you will see the words “connected to”, but if an error occurs, you should contact your system provider.
If you are configuring your DSN, you should first click the DSN administrator button. By doing so, you’ll be accessing through the open database server. Select the user DSN or the system DSN. The selection will solely depend on how you’re going to access your DSN. Remember that a user DSN is only available to current DSN users, while the system DSN is only available to registered accounts in the computer. After choosing your DSN administrator, you can modify or create anew database. When you’re satisfied with all the data input, you can press OK and exit the open database source administrator.
Disaster recovery planning is an IT function often involving a whole of business team whose role it is to anticipate disasters of any scale, determine the effects these would have on business continuity, and then create a set of policies and procedures for minimizing downtime and expediting recovery to pre-disaster levels.
In smaller corporations the disaster recovery plan may in fact be just a sheets of paper listing steps to take when the unforeseen occurs, in fact, smaller organizations may be able to download disaster recovery templates from expert websites and simply follow the instructions for completing the audit and creating the recovery plan.
However, larger corporations and the government sector typically require a great deal more detail in their disaster recovery plan which will more likely be a set of procedures and policies filling several folders and requiring extensive staff training from board level right down to data entry operators.
Planning for disaster recovery requires detailed business risk analysis, and a keen understanding of the effect various disasters will likely have on the business, from temporary setbacks that can be coped with, right thru to disasters that threaten the viability of the corporation in the short and long term after the plan is implemented.
In the pre-planning stage an audit by certified disaster recovery experts should be carried out. This may take considerable time to complete but is absolutely necessary for ensuring some critical measure is not forgotten. A small detail could have huge ramifications.
Probably the most important step in preparing a disaster recovery plan, the pre-planning stage will pick up potential threats to data storage, specifically whether off-site backups will be affected by the same disaster that incapacitates the live data. Similarly, a professionally undertaken audit should be able to establish if redundancies in networking will be affected by the disaster.
Having determined the threats to the business data, analysis of recovery options and budgeting for them takes place, and at this stage the complete plan takes shape. This is a commercially sensitive document and is usually known in its entirety to only the most trusted corporate officers.
No disaster recovery plan is ever complete without also testing its efficacy, a process that allows for fine tuning and fault analysis well before ever having to rely on the plan for business continuity. Testing the recovery plan should be considered a necessary expense of producing the plan rather than an unneeded cost after the fact. Far too many corporations neglect testing their systems and procedures, resulting in business closure.
Once the disaster recovery plan is complete, any authorized officer of the organization should be able to refer to it in the event of a major disaster, and sad to say, this means not keeping the plan in soft copy on the Intranet. Printed copies need to be distributed to relevant personnel, and better yet, a copy of the plan needs to be stored off-site. Never take for granted the security of the head office.
Open source is a kind of design where you can immediately access any kind of information from a set group with less hassle. This method has been closely studied by various companies to see whether this method can be used for their business. It has also reached technology in the form of open source database.
The term itself, open source, has been gaining popularity with the development of technology, such as computers and Internet, which allows large numbers of users to tap into their sources with more convenience. Though this kind of strategy hasn’t been popular a few years back, today, it is gaining more audience, especially since there is a rise of businesses not only in the Internet but land-based as well.
Open Source Database Benefits
Open source database is now being used by most companies since it gives them not only faster performance and more reliability but ease of maintenance as well. Open source software is available over the Internet, so it is easily accessible to more people, giving them access on how the software was programmed and allowing them to add their own codes or use it to fit their needs. By making it accessible, the software can easily be upgraded. This is quite beneficial for most since anyone can share their knowledge about the software, and any problems that may arise from it can easily be answered. Plus, more people can share tips on how to fix software bugs or enhance different programs.
One of the advantages of using open source database in companies or enterprises is the ability to departmentalize the information or data. But even though open source database has been a great help to most, there are still limitations to its capabilities, one of which is the difficulty in finding an expert who can handle this type of database. It may also be more expensive than other kinds of database systems available in the market when implemented.
Popular Open Source Databases
Since the conception of open source databases, there are numerous softwares that are now out in the market. Among the most popular are MySQL and PostgreSQl. MySQL is commonly used for websites since it is easier to use and to manipulate as well as faster than PostgreSQL. Since websites require people to log in or create an account, MySQL is the best software to store information with; plus, there are numerous users who can help you when you set up your own website. PostgreSQL, on the other hand, is considered to be more advanced than MySQL since it can handle numerous transactions all at the same time. It is also far more compliant than MySQL.
Though both MySQL and PostgreSQL have differences, both are tough, stable and available for free over the Internet. They are also easy to manipulate and are perfect for setting up either websites or commercial transactions. The security implemented for database is also included, so you are assured that all information gathered is kept strictly in confidence. Both MySQL and PostgreSQL are the top choice of those who are creating as well as implementing database that can be accessed on numerous platforms over the Internet.
Disasters happen, be they manmade or natural, no corporation or government can ever assume their data and access to their data will be exempt from damage. Disaster recovery is their ability to recover electronic data and data processing to pre-disaster levels in the shortest possible time thru forward planning and setting policy objectives.
Preparing for disasters and knowing that recovery will be possible requires careful analysis of the threats facing a corporation such as earthquakes, terrorism, hacking, staff strikes, electrical failure, even human error, and understanding the consequences for data of each possible situation.
The simple activity of keeping off-site data backups may be all that is required for recovery in smaller corporations and private households, but in larger corporations most responsible IT managers would consider this a basic minimum which would already be provisioned and costed as part of their annual budgets.
Some disasters on the other hand have very little to do with recovering backups, a denial of service attack (DoS) on the corporate website could happen at any time, and all the backups in the world won’t help the corporation with their recovery, instead skilled manpower is needed. This is the sort of disaster that affects a corporation’s ability to use it’s data and communicate with stakeholders, and if not contained quickly affects credibility and stockholder confidence.
Forward planning for eventualities such as DoS attacks and other forms of hacking or viruses often involves contracting third parties for network routing and emergency response. Common network related disasters include hacking, viruses, server and router failure, cable fractures or satellite failure, or any number of other failures in the network loop.
Protecting a corporation from disasters is costly, and often considered a wasted expense until after a major disaster has occurred, and business recovery specialists often complain of the difficulties they face convincing management and staff of the need to work to set procedures.
Equipment and network redundancy plays a large role in mission critical disaster recovery, and may in extreme situations require two or three completely separate systems performing the same task. Many Fortune 500 corporations may not need completely redundant systems that can be brought online almost instantly although this is common in larger financial corporations, and of course large telecommunications operators.
The construction of disaster proof data centers with high levels of redundancy, fire containment, and temporary power generation is often seen as integral to disaster recovery planning, as well as provision of redundant network loops to third parties. Most major corporations and governments allocate as much as 5% of their annual IT budget to disaster recovery planning, a high expense, yet preferable to not continuing in business in the event of catastrophic data loss.
Preparing for every possible contingency would require superhuman effort and unlimited funds however using the Pareto Principle (80-20 rule) and planning in advance for the few disasters that could permanently shut down the corporation is much more affordable, and once these steps are in place the incremental cost of adding more preparedness may not cost that much more.
If it seems like you have a bunch of messy files and you have no idea about what step to take next, then you need to consider getting a database. The database will help you in storing and managing your files with the use of various commands such as SQL statements. With the use of the database, you’ll be able to organize your files according to clusters. This is called “database clustering”. How is database clustering relevant to the database management system?
The database cluster is a program in a database management system that provides users the opportunity to share or keep the files exclusive to themselves. The database cluster, particularly the SQL cluster, was developed in 2004 and was an added feature to the SQL database management system. Database cluster is designed for high-level performance, and users can ensure that this program has a linear scalability.
Know the Features of a Database Cluster
A database cluster has several features that will both give you some advantages and disadvantages. The database cluster has the ability to replicate any shared data. The database cluster utilizes a synchronous replication that allows the data to be copied in multiple nodes upon writing the data. In a database cluster replication, the two copies or replicas can be stored either one at a time or at the same time. The database cluster also has the ability to store data in partitions. This is called the “horizontal data partitioning”. With the database cluster, all data will automatically be stored in several data nodes with the system. The database cluster can also be stored either in the disk or in memory. This is called “hybrid storage”. The data are then stored in memory, while the data is written in the disk asynchronously. This is because of the database cluster’s ability to replicate. In the event when all installations of hardware and software are perfectly in place, the database cluster will not need any shared disk because there are definitely no room for errors and failures.
How to Create a Database Cluster
Before doing anything, you must first create a database cluster or database storage on disk. A database cluster is a collection of databases within a database management system. After initiating the database cluster, the database will be named. For instance, the database is named Template 1. This means that this database will only be used for a created database and, thus, cannot be used for actual work. In the database system, the database cluster can be identified as the data directory, so users can definitely store data anytime, anywhere. But if you want to make a database cluster area, then here are the instructions you should specifically follow:
1. You will initially log in as a root.
2. Create a directory which will act as your database cluster area. Then you should reassign the ownership to the Postgre account, which comes with the database software. For instance, you can use this command – root# mkdir /var/lib/pgsql/data, root# chown postgres /var/lib/pgsql/data.
3. You can log on to your Postgre user account.
In order to start your database cluster, you should place the command, “initdb”. Since the database cluster includes all the files in the database, you’ll need to secure it. The initdb command will therefore restrict unauthorized persons who want to access your data.
Database server is a program that connects the information stored in a database to other computers or computer programs. Most of the database management systems provide this type of function, while others count on the client-server model in order to access the database. The client-server model means that one computer, called the client, requests information from the server, which is the second computer. This is the type of model that most database servers use in order to function. There is also the master-slave model wherein the master or main servers are in a primary location, while the slave servers are considered to be the proxies.
The Purpose of Database Servers
Database servers are usually computers that have multiprocessors as well as disk arrays for storage purposes. This is to ensure that the storage of information is stable enough to avoid any problems during accessing of information as well as storing of data. The purpose of database servers is to make the information available to all relevant users, such as in a company where most employees need to access the same information stored in the database. Database servers don’t simply act as a bridge or connection, but it also sort the information entered by the users. This is quite important since most companies transact with customers everyday. Any modifications done in the database are also read by the server, and it also stores them in its location to be available to other users. This is to facilitate the ease of updates as well as processing of information. The database server is also the one that studies the information loaded into it to be able to generate a report.
Database servers allow multiple computer programs to access the information stored inside it since the servers are the ones that handle the core or central storage. Most database servers require the right kind of hardware in order to handle multiple accessing of information. Since databases are used early on, there are now different versions available. Database servers have also evolved into servers with the ability to handle large numbers of information and with an added feature that present the gathered information to the user in various formats. Among the outputs that database servers generate are web pages. Database servers also allow inputs of orders from customers for ecommerce.
Choosing the Database Server
There are still different types of servers out in the market, and it is best for you to have the knowledge of the uses of each type. Though some of them may have similarities, still, there are differences to be found. There is the difference between database servers, server hardware and the operating system of the server.
When we say server hardware, we are talking about the physical aspect of the server, which is the computer or the machine. The operating system, on the other hand, is the interface that connects the machine to the other applications which also handles the database server. The database server, as we all know, is the one that stores the information.
All in all, a company needs all of these components to make sure that their stored information can be accessed at all times.
Database is a place to store data and has the capability of being accessed by other users whether they are at home, in the office, or anywhere. The databases are normally used by companies that are transacting with customers, businesses, and so on. Databases are great for storing information since they are organized and easy to access. It is also easy to use. Database is composed of forms, tables, rows, columns, fields, labels, and so on. These are necessary since these items are the ones that will help organize any data encoded into the form. Databases can also be altered or edited. There are different kinds of databases each with their own unique operation used. Some of them can also support other kinds of databases.
A database form is the front end of any database since it is here where the user encodes the data to be stored. It is also here where the editing of information happens. The database forms can range from simple to complex. Simple database forms can only have a few items in it, such as the text field and text boxes and so on. Complex databases, on the other hand, can include text boxes, text fields, graphics, and lots more. Though the design of the database forms can be different, its use is still the same. This is where all information are encoded and manipulated before being stored into the database.
The users of databases prefer to interact with the database forms since they are far simpler to understand and to manipulate. The forms are the ones that provide the users with the ability to format the data they wish to store. It is also here that you can see different command buttons that have different functions such as operational functions and so on. A user can have a small skill or understanding of the database, but through the form, they can easily encode the information. Another function of the database forms is that the administrator can limit the interaction of the users with the database. The administrator can create a form where only a select field can be answered by the user.
Designing Database Forms
Database form is also defined as a form that handles most of the data being entered by various users with or without skills in handling databases. The design of the database form will be handled by the programmer or the administrator and will be the only one that has the capability of altering the database itself. This is also done to ensure that only the administrator has the access and has the power to remove databases.
The database form’s design also needs to be easily understood, so users will not have a hard time using it. Designing a database form requires the administrator or the programmer to place the necessary fields for the database. All the fields and labels that you need should already be placed in the form before you start aligning them. This way, you wouldn’t have any trouble designing your database form.