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Case of the Great Hot-Site Swap

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the collaboration-makes-things-easier-you-don't-say dept.

119

BobB writes "Two universities — Bowdoin in Maine and Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles — have entered a unique arrangement under which they are backing up each other's web sites, email and servers on different ends of the continent. They say this could be a disaster recovery model all sorts of organizations could follow. From the article: 'When Bowdoin switched over to Exchange e-mail, so the schools would have similar e-mail infrastructure, LMU staffers were their guides and advisers. "We implemented that pretty quickly," says Davis, the Bowdoin CIO. "When we launched Exchange, we had just eight calls to our help desk." And the shared experience of the infrastructure components then forms a kind of informal help desk, where managers and staff can reach out for advice, brainstorm and troubleshoot problems with their colleagues a continent away.'"

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119 comments

In a realted story.. (-1, Offtopic)

UncleWilly (1128141) | more than 6 years ago | (#20116693)

Bowdoin students in Maine discover California girls are hot!

Oh, yea, right. Like any BUSINESS would do that (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20116769)

Oh, yea, right. Like any BUSINESS would do that. You kommie-geeks need to realize not everyone plants potatos and bean sprouts and wears sandles and smokes weed. BUSINESS is in BUSINESS to make money, not share the land and head lice.

Re:Oh, yea, right. Like any BUSINESS would do that (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20117219)

That is so true man. I got lice at the Linux convention on the way man.

Trust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20116713)

I don't trust anyone.

They ain't touchin' mah beautiful bytes.

That's why you use ENCRYPTION (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20116729)

Your data can always* live somewhere else if it's properly encrypted.

*Always limited to the length of time until encryption used is broken.

Re:That's why you use ENCRYPTION (1)

darkpixel2k (623900) | more than 6 years ago | (#20122631)

Yeah, I'll just right click on the exchange server and hit "Encrypt my data".

I love how Microsoft is so fucking secure like that.

The Great Exchange (5, Funny)

IAmGarethAdams (990037) | more than 6 years ago | (#20116761)

When we launched Exchange, we had just eight calls to our help desk.
So they had Exchange running their helpdesk phone system too?

Re:The Great Exchange (1, Insightful)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118059)

As much as it's fun to knock Microsoft products, there's really not anything that compares to Exchange.

Re:The Great Exchange (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20118235)

As much as it's fun to knock Microsoft products, there's really not anything that compares to Exchange.

Notes does a lot of what Exchange does, and does a whole lot more.

Re:The Great Exchange (1)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118393)

I'll admit I have not used Notes from the admin side, nor used any version of it for about 4 years. The places I used it at were a few retail locations (I was never personally impressed with the program), so possibly it is preferred from supporting a lot of remote users, but this was before RPC over HTTP in Outlook as well. The people I work with in IT used Notes several years ago and often use it as a humorous comparison to some other piece of software, essentially refering to how much they disliked the program.

Oh, and who gave the mindless Linux fanboy mod points? It's not my fault Linux is not the best solution for everything.

Re:The Great Exchange (1)

The Spoonman (634311) | more than 6 years ago | (#20122639)

Notes does a lot of what Exchange does, and does a whole lot more.

Having been an administrator of both systems, there's only two spots in which Notes exceeds Exchange/Outlook: in Notes, when I set an item on my calendar as "out of office", it asks if I want to set an out of office message for that time. Fantastic, but that's available in E/O 2007, so it's only an edge if you're still on older versions of the pair. Second, I can set the number of people a conference room will hold so that users can't overpopulate a room for a meeting. Great feature, but not a show-stopper.

Beyond that, Notes offers nothing to corporations except increased calls to help desks due to downtime and a user interface that must've been designed by Dali when he was on acid. I realize they've simply designed their own "standards" since they're cross-platform, but in doing so they've violated the UI standards of every OS it runs on and thus makes it difficult to train users with. It's hard to use, doesn't integrate with other apps very well, is a pig on the desktop (in the last place I used it, we had Citrix servers capable of handling 150 users each simultaneously. We had to cut that down to 45 since they'd be running the Notes client). Sure, we could've given them Outlook with the Notes connector, but why run a half-assed backend with a full-assed frontend?

Sorry, but Exchange is simply install and forget. Even in my current environment of 14,000 desktops, the only calls my group ever gets about "Exchange" are "can you check and see if this customer's address has been blacklisted by the spam filter?"

Two stories in one... (-1, Flamebait)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#20116775)

One is about a good idea of using a peer's storage for backup (a more general plan would be to split your backups between multiple peers a'la RAID). My parents' and mine systems do this too.

The other is about the institutions' unfortunate use of Exchange... Nothing to celebrate on this one.

Re:Two stories in one... (2, Insightful)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 6 years ago | (#20116835)

Excluding religious points.. why not? Exchange is nowdays a VERY MATURE colaboration system and the de-facto standard for business in many places. What's the diference? Use Exchange, GMail, POP3 or whatever you want. It's all about freedome, isn't it?

Re:Two stories in one... (0, Troll)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 6 years ago | (#20116923)

It's all about freedom, as long as you do what he wants you to.

Re:Two stories in one... (3, Insightful)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117003)

/late night rant on/Actually there is a large number of individuals who are supportes of the free/os movement for ideological reasons: "it's all about freedom" they cry, "let's us all decide what to use", "information wants to be free", "yadda yadda"... And then, when somebody chose to use Exchange or Vista or whatever they are the first to jump and cry foul....Wasn't it about freedom after all? Well, they made their choise, so what's the freaking problem then? It's actualy very amusing. Bytes ate bytes. Software is software and a tool is just a tool and everything that is above childish ideological reasons... Let's people use whatever they want, and believe me, the world will be a less hateful place. /late night rant off/

Re:Two stories in one... (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117325)

The University I work for has used Exchange for the last 4 years. From my point of view as a user, it's been excellent. There hasn't been more than a handful of hours of downtime in my entire term there (that I've noticed).

I'd like to see Microsoft broken up the way AT&T was a few decades ago, but for real. Not, however, because their Exchange Server sucks. Vista is a different story, of course, and is a real dog. But, by automatically being critical of every product, the "I hate everything Microsoft" critics hurt their own case.

Re:Two stories in one... (0, Troll)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117945)

Anyone who thinks Exchange is a great tool has probably never performed administration of a production Exchange server.

Exchange is a sysadmin's nightmare. It's great from the end-user's point of view, but from the sysadmin's point of view, it's flaky and broken and crashes if you breath on it too hard.

Re:Two stories in one... (1)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118441)

It is usually not about each individual's freedom, but every individual's freedom... One person deciding that an entire university will use exchange and nothing but (thus exercising their freedom) severely limits the freedom of the students and faculty at that university to choose email clients. Luckily my undergrad university also offered IMAP access (although they very strongly discouraged it); otherwise I'd have been stuck either using Windows and outlook or using the webmail interface (evolution connector wasn't really working yet then. Is it now?). Neither one is a good option in my opinion. However, there are a large number of options for replacing exchange (as an email system, perhaps not as a whole-hog groupware system... that's out of my realm of understanding, but anyway, nearly all that it was used for at my university was email, so...) which do not limit the freedom of the students and faculty regarding mail clients.

So, which is worth more: the freedom of the person choosing an email system, or the freedom of thousands of faculty and students? I think that, if you can calm down for a minute, you will find that most of the people you would blithely brush off as "FOSSIES" (to use the AC trolls' term) do understand that when people's freedoms conflict with one another, things are very very complex. They seem to advocate their own freedom above that of others; you seem to advocate others' freedom over theirs. Neither you nor them are advocating self-sacrifice, so we can't use that appeal to emotion to establish who is right. So, who is right? Whose freedom has to give? "Your right to swing your arm stops at the end of my nose."

Furthermore, I think you will also find, in a quiet moment, that most of the "FOSSIES" would be happy enough with people using Exchange if it didn't limit their freedom of mail clients. Many might worry that it might suddenly begin to limit their freedom in the future (hence "You can't trust MS!"), and perhaps this would be a legitimate concern. Or perhaps it would not. I don't claim to know, at almost 1am. But I do know this: Mockery is cheap. Careful thought is not. Perhaps that is why both sides of this issue portray the other side in such a radical light. Invest a bit of thought before posting again, please.

Re:Two stories in one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20118555)

I often use the webmail part of exchange, works like a charm. Looks very similar to the actual outlook interface.

Re:Two stories in one... (1)

Garion Maki (791172) | more than 6 years ago | (#20119725)

unless you use firefox.
I use all three (outlook, IE and firefox) to read my mail and manage my calendar.
exchange in outlook and IE is verry similar but in firefox it's missing most of the basic functionality like flagging a message and decent search.

on the other hand, when not using firefox for it, it's actualy has several good features that I haven't found elswhere tho, the fact that it's easy to sync. the calendar between the exchange server and a pocket pc being one of them.

Blasting Exchange (1)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120725)

Exchange is nowdays a VERY MATURE colaboration system and the de-facto standard for business in many places.

Same can be said about Windows, can it not? Certainly "mature", right? And with 95% of the desktops running it, there is no argument, that it is anything, but a standard.

Just like the rest of Microsoft products, Exchange is very appealing on the surface of it and from the start. Then the real problems start creeping in and soon you can't buy new hardware fast enough to keep the piece of crap running. It does not help, that the messages are kept in "a database" (which means, they can not be operated on with regular file-tools) — because the authors could not trust the underlying FS (I guess, being able to run on top of FAT32 was one of the requirements).

For similar reasons, backing it all up requires their own tools too, or special "plug-ins" for the common backup software vendors.

There really is a point, beyond which one should stop trusting a person or a firm — presumption of guilt, so to speak. With everything, that Microsoft has put its customers through, anybody wishing to buy their products should be justifying the decision in front of extreme prejudice, not the other way around.

Re:Two stories in one... (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20122683)

The warm fuzzy, feel good, parent article talks of 2 organizations able to share data files, something that has been going on for as long as "Off Site Storage" has been around. I am baffled, what is the point of this article?

Lol... (2, Insightful)

msimm (580077) | more than 6 years ago | (#20116981)

Who modded this? Aside from the post being more or less irrelevant (it's not about a multi-peered architecture) his comparison to his LAN using his parents system should have been a good reason to rule out ANY enterprise architecture expertise whatsoever.

That said, as a system admin who's business does not have any kind of secondary solution (no hot/hot, no hot/cold, etc) I'd still be leery of trusting my data or my lively hood to a peer and an admin team I didn't know. Maybe this works better in academia, but I don't see banks or mortgage companies dropping their secondary sites and teaming with competitors to provide this service.

Re:Lol... (1)

perlchild (582235) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117177)

As a system admin who has a backup place... I can tell you I might not do it with a competitor, but a major client or reseller, I'd certainly think about it, if they had the expertise...

Of course, if they had the expertise, they'd do it in house... And I'd be out a client...

Given a "peer" for backups whose not a competitor, but in a different vertical market might work, provided the trust aspects would be met

Re:Lol... (5, Funny)

Vulva R. Thompson, P (1060828) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117743)

Maybe his parents are Ma Bell and Uncle Sam.

Rumor has it they've been in bed together for years.

Re:Lol... (1)

zCyl (14362) | more than 6 years ago | (#20119229)

Maybe his parents are Ma Bell and Uncle Sam.

If your parents are Ma Bell and Uncle Sam, then your family tree has a forking bug...

Re:Lol... (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118595)

I think dumping an encrypted file over on someone else's network over a secure connection isn't such a big deal. I mean, you're not an idiot so you'll be using a pretty decent encryption tool on the data before handing it over to the semi-trusted peer. One box and a VPN is a lot cheaper than a colo. I think it's kind of an interesting experiment. You do make a valid point though about how it probably will not catch on in corporate america.

Re:Lol... (1)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120619)

his comparison to his LAN using his parents system should have been a good reason to rule out ANY enterprise architecture expertise whatsoever.

Are you really ruling out my having any expertise based on my application of it to my family?..

as a system admin who's business does not have any kind of secondary solution (no hot/hot, no hot/cold, etc)

So, you — while admitting to have no disaster-recovery plans/setups — feel comfortable enough to talk about anyone else's "expertise"?..

I'd still be leery of ...

You better have arguments better than the "I'm leery", if you come with an architecture proposal to me, dear...

Another FOSSie failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20118429)

The simple and undeniable fact is that nothing... absolutely nothing... compares to MS Exchange. It's far and away the best email system available for businesses today.

The failure of FOSS has been to sit on their hands and say "sendmail is good enough", or whatever other half-assed FOSSie solution they would like to force everyone into using.

Thank goodness for MS, and the fact that they make software worth purchasing.

Not nearly as exciting as I first read it... (5, Funny)

Franklin Brauner (1034220) | more than 6 years ago | (#20116799)

Case of the Great Hot-Wife Swap

Pity. It being a Saturday, I kind of wanted to read that article.

Exchange (1)

alitaa (636041) | more than 6 years ago | (#20116811)

"When we launched Exchange, we had just eight calls to our help desk."

probably because nobody wanted to use their email anymore :-)

Higher Ed. (4, Interesting)

saintlupus (227599) | more than 6 years ago | (#20116815)

From what I understand, this is pretty common in higher ed -- in fact, the college that I work for is currently setting up something similar with another college in the area. Not cross-continent redundancy, true, but enough to keep things going should there be a smaller disaster in the area. If all of Western New York is wiped out, I don't really care if people can get their email.

This really came to the forefront with the beating the New Orleans area colleges took during Katrina; from what I recall, Loyola and Tulane were really unprepared and suffered for it.

--saint

Re:Higher Ed. (2, Insightful)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 6 years ago | (#20116887)

I am not familiar with specifics of these agreements, so perhaps you can tell me... is security jointly administered (blanket policies/configs etc), does the host institution have oversight, or does the institute that originates the data have oversight of the remote servers.

Not that it makes a huge difference... my sister had all of her data stolen (and consequently her credit was hijacked) through infiltration of a Bay Area college by ID thieves. No off-siting involved.

Regards.

Re:Higher Ed. (1)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117877)

It doesn't surprise me either. It would surprise me if my university system (Wisconsin) wasn't doing this by copying to other campuses within the state. From what I've gathered from our IT department, we have IPv6 backbones running throughout the UW system (but oddly, not "used" for anywhere outside of the system). Unfortunately, they have not taken them further than the server rooms. The only way I could get IPv6 to work when I lived on campus was through tunnelling....

Re:Higher Ed. (3, Interesting)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 6 years ago | (#20119625)

Good point.

My company has 30 sites and so it was easy for us to install (Linux) servers at multiple locations and arrange overnight rsync backups of data, server-located 'My Documents' folders, email & Intranet redundancy etc. for business continuity. I am a school governor for my son's local primary school and their backup procedure comprised a disk-to-disk copy from their main student server to another Windows-based server on the network, with an occasional dump to a removable hard disk.

When the school decided to improve their backup (after a disk failure and realisation that their backup process had not been working for a while, naturally!), they approached their incumbent IT supplier for a recommendation - which turned out to be a new main server with Windows 2003 Server, enough CALs for the children, a dual Xeon processors, SCSI-based RAID 5 and removable tape - very functional, very corporate and very expensive (approx £6,500) for a school that teaches 5-11 year olds!

Having approached me for my comments, we are now looking at a two-way peering arrangement with the local secondary school comprising two Linux-based servers with SATA RAID 1 (the school is only using the server for low-volume file and print services so Samba and CUPS are just what's needed), and an overnight backup strategy through the education WAN. Total cost is approx £750 for the two servers.

The only thing that may not make this fly will be County Hall red tape.

Re:Higher Ed. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20122255)

Recover file xxxxxx.yyy that I accidently deleted three weeks ago please.

How about just collocation? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20116817)

Eh, this is hardly unique. The university's IT department I work for has a similar arrangement with three other universities in place. We offer collocation space for each other and in one case even make each other's IP address space available on both sides. Is something really bad happens our colleagues can bring up our web site at their location and vice versa. In addition to that we also use SunGuard [sungard.com] so that the administration is able to keep on running even if our campus falls off the world.


I guess we should have submitted an article to trade magazines to give us more publicity also.

they'll need those backups (-1, Troll)

pchan- (118053) | more than 6 years ago | (#20116827)

So they had to switch to Exchange in order to get backups? Sounds like they lost out on that deal. They'll need those backups when Exchanged decides to barf all over the mail database files. On the other hand, LMU is a bastion of hot party girls, so I don't blame them.

It's not as bad as it was (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117057)

Exchange used to be a great steaming pile of rubbish you could not back up properly without shutting down everything for the duration of the tape run (yes there were hacks, but not really good enough for bare metal recovery). It has improved a lot since then - personally I prefer just about anything else instead of something with big, weird, slow databases you can't read with anything else that change format with versions. So long as things are kept carefully in step (ie. same versions and patches so no big deal) at both sites this will work well.

Re:It's not as bad as it was (1)

Bacon Bits (926911) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117297)

Yes, Exchange has not been difficult to backup in some time. The only version I ever used that would corrupt itself was 5.5, and that's well over 9 years old now.

The only issue now is with poorly trained admins who still try to run brick-level backups or use ExMerge as their backup tool. MS has repeated told admins not to do this since Exchange 2000, and there are still backup programs that tell you to do it this way. You *will* break something using that method. It's akin to backing up a 500 table database one individual table at a time over several hours and expecting a restore to be consistent.

I would be using Bacula for all my backups if they didn't still recommend brick-level in the wiki docs. I don't trust a backup vendor that so fails to understand the Exchange Jet database. [Note: The Jet DB used in Exchange is the same one used in Active Directory, to give you an idea of the robustness. It is wholly unrelated to the Jet DB used in Access.]

"the initial success of this barter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20116861)

rests on the double coincidence of needs, which must be maintained going forward if the system is going to continue to work with satisfactory payoffs for both sides..."

- professor, Ec 101 (Bowdoin College)
- professor, Business Management 1a (Loyala Maramount)

VPN connection over a 30Mbps link. (4, Insightful)

More_Cowbell (957742) | more than 6 years ago | (#20116879)

I run backups for a large web hosting company; this is to say I do this 40 hours a week for thousands of servers around the globe.

We have many clients that mirror backups between East and West coast. They may be connected at each end at that speed, but they are almost assuredly not achieving throughput at that rate.

YMMV, but there are 3000 miles to deal with here. I've never been able to achieve speeds like that, and we have some seriously fat pipes in our data centers.

Re:VPN connection over a 30Mbps link. (4, Informative)

quanticle (843097) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117153)

Remember, these are universities, so they get access to the Internet2 pipes.

Re:VPN connection over a 30Mbps link. (1)

scottv67 (731709) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117209)

Remember, these are universities, so they get access to the Internet2 pipes.

It doesn't matter how fat the pipes are, the speed-of-light will still bite you in the ass when you are replicating data from one coast to the other.

rsync it, with compression. (3, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117309)

That way you only take a real hit during the first copy.

After that, you should be able to copy just the changes and the new files. It is amazing.

Re:rsync it, with compression. (1)

More_Cowbell (957742) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117447)

After that, you should be able to copy just the changes and the new files.
We use software that does exactly that with block level backups to Netapp filers. Taking a wild guess here, I would say they have quite a bit of new data daily on the exchange servers of two large universities.

Re:rsync it, with compression. (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 6 years ago | (#20121079)

That way you only take a real hit during the first copy.

After that, you should be able to copy just the changes and the new files. It is amazing.

Even better, use rdiff-backup, which uses rsync to transfer minimal deltas, and preserves a complete history on the backup server. I do this with a number of systems that I back up and it works very, very well. When I first set it up I put extensive effort into building a script to automatically clean out backups so that I could keep dailies for a week, weeklies for two months, monthlies for a year, etc., but in practice I just keep dailies forever because all backups except the most recent are stored as compressed deltas and they just aren't that big.

Re:VPN connection over a 30Mbps link. (2, Insightful)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117533)

The speed of light is more of a limiting factor for latency, and not throughput.

That said, it's not even a big deal for latency -- light travels at 186,282 miles/second. New York to LA is approximately 2,800 miles.

Most of the latency/bandwidth lag comes from routing or congestion along the tubes.

Re:VPN connection over a 30Mbps link. (1)

scottv67 (731709) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117591)

The speed of light is more of a limiting factor for latency, and not throughput.

And throughput is affected by latency. Which was the original poster's point. A huge round-trip time will affect the number of Megabits/sec that you can get through a pipe regardless of how big the pipe is.

That said, it's not even a big deal for latency -- light travels at 186,282 miles/second. New York to LA is approximately 2,800 miles.

Light travels through fiber at a slower speed. You'll never see data moving through fiber (ignoring the electronics that have to route the packets) at the speed of light.

Most of the latency/bandwidth lag comes from routing or congestion along the tubes.

I can tell that you've never worked on a long-distance link... You'll be in for quite a shock when you order a 30 Mbit link from NY to LA and find that you can't get 30 Mbits/sec through the pipe. You can't ignore physics (the speed of light in a certain medium) when working on long-distance connections.

Re:VPN connection over a 30Mbps link. (1)

quanticle (843097) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117781)

And throughput is affected by latency. Which was the original poster's point. A huge round-trip time will affect the number of Megabits/sec that you can get through a pipe regardless of how big the pipe is.


Not necessarily. Given that these are pretty reliable links, you can set the transmission window relatively high without incurring very many penalties. That way, even if there is significant latency in the connection, you can maximize bandwidth.

Re:VPN connection over a 30Mbps link. (1)

scottv67 (731709) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117833)

you can set the transmission window relatively high without incurring very many penalties.

I agree, some TCP tuning will help offset the challenges introduced by the large round-trip time.

Re:VPN connection over a 30Mbps link. (1)

localman (111171) | more than 6 years ago | (#20119359)

I never used to think the speed of light was much of a limiting factor in my day to day life, but once I was living somewhere without access to wired broadband and so I looked into satellite internet. Then I found that geostationary satellites are about 22,200 miles above the surface of the earth, and that the best-case round trip ping would be about 500 ms. Which is awful for gaming or working via remote terminal.

And suddenly the speed of light seemed strangely slow :)

Re:VPN connection over a 30Mbps link. (2, Informative)

More_Cowbell (957742) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117521)

OK, must admit this was new to me. But from what I can tell through some quick research-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet2 [wikipedia.org]

There have been times when the media have reported on a network called "Internet2." This is misleading since Internet2 is in fact a consortium and not a computer network. "Internet2" is sometimes used, albeit a misnomer, for the Abilene Network.

So I take a look at Abilenes website and find this map: http://abilene.internet2.edu/peernetworks/domestic .html [internet2.edu]

From what I can see here, It does not look like the Internet2 network reaches as far north as Maine.

Having been born and raised in Maine (living in CA now), this really comes as no surprise to me. There are only about 1.2 million people there, certainly considered the "last mile" by most providers (cell, cable, dsl...)

Re:VPN connection over a 30Mbps link. (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117617)

A map of Internet2 without MIT? Somethings not right here...

This list [internet2.edu] [PDF] is better, and while it confirms that this particular college isn't on Internet2, University of Maine is a member. Your sleepy home state isn't entirely left out of the fun it seems.

Re:VPN connection over a 30Mbps link. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20118001)

The University of Maine system has Internet2 connectivity.

Re:VPN connection over a 30Mbps link. (1)

rmm4pi8 (680224) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117863)

I actually do see speeds like this. We pay $450/mo for a 3mb guaranteed/100mb burst pipe at our Vericenter cage in Boston, and something like that much for a backup facility in Dallas. We have about 300mb of new data an hour to transfer, which we send in hourly batches, and it usually completes at something like 37mb/s. Now this certainly isn't a guaranteed rate, and I wouldn't want to run an application that depended on that kind of throughput, but it shows you what's possible across Sprint's backbone for a not-crazy amount of money.

Re:VPN connection over a 30Mbps link. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20118419)

37 (mb / s) = 4.62500 MB / s

Re:VPN connection over a 30Mbps link. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20119199)

Perhaps they've got bigger station wagons than you do.

One of the main problem is... (5, Insightful)

KokorHekkus (986906) | more than 6 years ago | (#20116895)

...that you might have to accept the legal responsibilies of the site that is being backed up. It's not just a simple exchange of providing corresponding services... Take it down to a personal level... who would you trust to use your personal computer as a backup server (in a reciprocal manner)? No one that hasn't your full and complete trust is my guess. Encryption would provide some protection but this isn't about data backup but service fallback.

So unless you have some kind of legal agreement covering your actual risks it's not for everyone. But for large scale organisations, with real legal clout, like universities it might makes sense. But not for individuals.

Re:One of the main problem is... (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117305)

I don't know... companies that offer "online backup" still don't actually take responsibility for the integrity of your data. Also, you'd find out pretty quickly whether the person on the other end of your backup is doing a good job. Try accessing your data, running checksums, etc.

After all, you don't really need to make sure that the person you have the deal with never once loses a piece of data, but only that the chances are remote of him losing a piece of data at the same time you lose that same piece of data. Other than that, it would be an issue of protecting your data both locally and remotely. Everything you send offsite should be encrypted, and anyone accessing your computer should be jailed somehow.

Re:One of the main problem is... (2, Informative)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117421)

Everything you send offsite should be encrypted, and anyone accessing your computer should be jailed somehow.

The problem is, a lot of the people trying to access your computer nowadays want to put you in jail somehow.

Re:One of the main problem is... (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117779)

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but giving someone you know a jailed FTP/SFTP account shouldn't present a significant security risk for the server the account is on.

Re:One of the main problem is... (1)

flok (24996) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120251)

If that is worry to you, use my program cryptosync [vanheusden.com]. It compresses and encrypts each file and also encrypts the file- and pathname. All files stay individual files so that you don't need to transfer a tar file of gigabytes.

Maine (3, Interesting)

nuclearpenguins (907128) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117017)

It's always nice to see something from Maine featured in technology news. We're a tiny state population-wise, but there are many high-tech companies here. Hell, even in my own town there is a company that developed and makes the MK47 Advanced Lightweight Grenade Launcher as well as a bunch of other armaments for the military. Sure, this post is off topic and my karma blows already, but I always have to say "Go Maine!" whenever I read about my little state on any technology forum/site.

How'd this make the front page?! (0)

mattgreen (701203) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117031)

The summary mentions a university using Exchange successfully. Anathema, I say! Anathema! Have we no sense of decency? Must we sit idly by and let such disinformation blot out a beacon of truth here on the Internet? Let us take up our arms, brothers, and march onward. Er, roll onward, since all our computer chairs have wheels on them. We shall destroy the enemy while sitting upright in an ergonomic fashion! We shall upend the world from the depths of the basement!

Simple answer (3, Funny)

schon (31600) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117255)

How'd this make the front page?!
Simple - and you answer it with the first sentence of your post:

The summary mentions a university using Exchange successfully.
You're trying to say that this *isn't* front-page news? :)

Curses! (1)

mattgreen (701203) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117311)

Well done, you win.

But, know this: you haven't seen the last of me! You shall rue the day you caught me in my own logic trap!

I'm assuming (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117033)

that my mail is being watched by 'the authorities' (you know, the ones which are keeping us safe from terrorism so successfully these days), and that if I should ever lose any I can just make a baseless accusation against myself to the police and have them restore it from their backups.

on a less formal/intense level: higher ed dns (2, Informative)

Ex Machina (10710) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117181)

The alternate nameservers for many Universities are often at other schools. Not the same thing, but interesting to note:


mtnBook:~ $ whois rochester.edu
Name Servers:
      NS1.UTD.ROCHESTER.EDU 128.151.2.1
      NS2.UTD.ROCHESTER.EDU 128.151.7.6
      SIMON.CS.CORNELL.EDU
      DNS.CS.WISC.EDU

mtnBook:~ $ whois cornell.edu
Name Servers:
      BIGRED.CIT.CORNELL.EDU 128.253.180.2
      DNS.CIT.CORNELL.EDU 192.35.82.50
      CAYUGA.CS.ROCHESTER.EDU

mtnBook:~ $ whois ucsb.edu
Name Servers:
      NS1.UCSB.EDU 128.111.1.1
      NS2.UCSB.EDU 128.111.1.2
      KNOT.BROWN.EDU



There's a bunch more NYU/UCBerkeley, WUSTL/ULA, etc.

Re:on a less formal/intense level: higher ed dns (1)

pyite (140350) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117249)

Further evidence:

aman:~ $ whois rutgers.edu
 
...
 
Name Servers:
  DNS3.RUTGERS.EDU 198.151.130.254
  DNS4.RUTGERS.EDU 66.187.157.84
  RU-UFL.RUTGERS.EDU 128.227.128.162
  DNS1.RUTGERS.EDU 165.230.144.131
  DNS2.RUTGERS.EDU 128.6.21.9
 
aman:~ $ whois ufl.edu
 
...
 
Name Servers:
  LOWER-NAME.SERVER.UFL.EDU 128.227.128.254
  NAME.UFL.EDU 128.227.128.24
  RUTGERS-NAME.SERVER.UFL.EDU 128.6.224.82

Re:on a less formal/intense level: higher ed dns (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 6 years ago | (#20119767)

Cross continent:

whois cam.ac.uk
Servers:
        authdns0.csx.cam.ac.uk  131.111.8.37
        authdns1.csx.cam.ac.uk  131.111.12.37
        dns0.cl.cam.ac.uk       128.232.0.19
        dns1.cl.cam.ac.uk       128.232.0.18
        dns0.eng.cam.ac.uk      129.169.8.8
        ns2.ic.ac.uk
        bitsy.mit.edu

Strangely, MIT don't back up their own DNS at Cambridge (UK). Imperial College (London) do though.

whois ic.ac.uk
Servers:
        ns0.ic.ac.uk    155.198.5.12
        ns1.ic.ac.uk    155.198.20.20
        ns2.ic.ac.uk    155.198.5.3
        authdns1.csx.cam.ac.uk

whois mit.edu
Name Servers:
   STRAWB.MIT.EDU      18.71.0.151
   W20NS.MIT.EDU       18.70.0.160
   BITSY.MIT.EDU       18.72.0.3

Several universities in Ohio already doing this (2, Informative)

kaminari42 (1112015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117265)

The University of Cincinnati, The Ohio State University, and the University of Miami (Ohio) are already doing this.

Not for everyone... (2, Insightful)

fuffer (600365) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117317)

"They say this could be a disaster recovery model all sorts of organizations could follow."
For private businesses maybe, but I'm sure hosting backups on other organizations hardware is not acceptable under SOX.

My mail is backed up in at least 5 centres (4, Funny)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117333)

CIA, FBI, CSIS, KGB, MI5...

It is the most secure backup system in the world.

Re:My mail is backed up in at least 5 centres (3, Funny)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117897)

...says yet another that's never tried a restore.

Light's out, Pard. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20117383)

Somewhere in a lonely hospital room, *BSD is dying.

Lights out . . . Pard.

I read (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20117459)

For a moment I thought it was Hot-wife swap and then I realized I was on /. :-(

been done... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20117523)

This business model has been done and it failed miserably not so very long ago.

google for "Redundant Networks"

Survival/Preparedness community (3, Interesting)

zogger (617870) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117657)

This is common for survivalist and preparedness minded folks. You and a trusted relative or friend exchange backup critical gear/necessities/copies of records, etc. In case of catastrophic loss of either abode, the other person has a decent "backup" for you to fall back on. Arrangements like this have been quite common for some decades now, usually they include mutually assured lodging, should full long term evacuation be required. IMO, it is quite a sound idea. Remember on the news, you see the same scene all the time, those scenes from..take your pick, fires, floods, hurricanes or whatever.. the newsies always zero in on those folks who are all freaked out and sad, and EVERY time they say "We lost EVERYTHING!"..well, there's no need for that if you take the time in advance to preposition enough of your gear so it doesn't fall into the "everything" category. The situation will still suck, but having a nice set of backup everything will sure help mitigate things and make the situation suck *less*. As to what to exchange/store, use your imagination, what would you like to have as a backup if for some reason your home just got wiped out? Spare sets of clothes for everyone, favorite toys for the kids, some electronic gear, tools, sporting goods, books, other media of importance to you, family photos, household records, personal mementos, etc. Salt to taste there. Even just a stuffed closet is good enough, that and the place to evacuate *to*.

That, and what we call BOBs, or "bug out bags" are good ideas. A "bob" is a backpack or other container (backbacks are good in case you get stuck on foot), that has enough critical essentials to keep you alive for a week or so, enough even on foot to get you out of the disaster area most likely. It's called a bug-out bag from the old army term, and it is designed so if you have zero notice-hear on the radio local railroad has a tanker car full of chlorine leaking, nasty forest fire heading your way, and it's close, etc, that you can grab it and go, out the door within less than one minute. Very high speed emergency evacuation. The deal is, you hope you never need it, but if you do, it literally could save your life.

Interesting subject, and although it is not directly related to the main parent IT topic, the concept is very similar.

So when the RIAA/MPAA come a knockin... (1)

gpinzone (531794) | more than 6 years ago | (#20117699)

So when the RIAA/MPAA come a knockin', they can subpoena the data from both universities in one shot.

Now see, if they were smart (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118067)

They would store it in the middle (instead of on the edges, where it could fall off), somewhere like Lebanon, Kansas [roadsideamerica.com], equally convenient to both coasts.

RIAA (1)

kbsoftware (1000159) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118303)

So does this mean that if one University doesn't give up information to the RIAA, then the RIAA could just try to get it from the "backups" from another University ? Not that I would ever suggest that the RIAA would ever do such a thing.

A few thoughts (1)

Evets (629327) | more than 6 years ago | (#20119289)

Exchange isn't so problematic because it is written poorly. The problem is that it is so frequently administered poorly.

It's also problematic because exchange experts are few and far between. But then again how many sendmail or qmail experts are there?

I wonder though - are they using exchange just for e-mail? Or are they using it for scheduling, shared folders, etc.? I can't see implementing shared schedules university wide and only receiving 8 help desk calls. You'd think more than 8 people would be calling about how to use their software.

Aside from that - is it really a good idea to require an Outlook client for students? That pushes the student body away from Linux boxes as there is no exchange client for linux that I'm aware of.

Re:A few thoughts (1)

jabuzz (182671) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120709)

And there was me thinking the problem was the shit that is the Exchange Jet storage engine is the biggest pile of dino turd going. We know from PostPath that Exchange really is a pile of junk. That gets five times the throughput on *IDENTICAL* hardware, talking the same binary protocol down the wire. I remember back when Exchange first came out everyone said it just chewed through CPU cycles and IO bandwidth compared to other solutions. Now we know it that it really is down to rubbish programming on behalf of Microsoft.

As for support calls, I can well believe that. A large university will have lots of competent IT people out in the departments that are usually the first port of call, and they generally don't need to ring central IT.

Finally, Evolution has talked to Exchange for years now, and the OpenChange [openchange.org] libmapi library talks native binary Exchange protocols if you don't have OWA enabled on the server.

And? (1, Insightful)

yellowalienbaby (897469) | more than 6 years ago | (#20119515)

Im not sure what special about this? replace University with DataCentre and this happens all the time. With SAN's and dark fibre, you can get machine A at datacentre A writing data directly to tapes in an automated library in DataCentre B, and vice versa. and they generally backup a hell of a lot more than email and websites.

Exchange support group (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20120941)

big Exchange users probably really need help
from each other; what color ribbon should they
wear?

SunGard beware! (1)

CBob (722532) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120981)

...Or Not.

I wish we could do a similar setup where I work(a hospital system). But, HIPPA regs would prob nail both parties/partners to the rulebook cross :-(

Recycling Past Ideas (1)

jman.org (953199) | more than 6 years ago | (#20121163)

Hmmm, a cross-continental backup system, set on college campuses.

Sounds like something the defense department might be interested in.

Wonder what they'll call it?
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