Archive for October, 2009

FRP Assists with Today’s Distributed Workforce

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

laptop_manThere was a time when people chose a job near their homes — or moved to live near their jobs. Traveling salespeople had a territory near their homes and dealt with the regional office. Workers were matched with employers on the basis of geography.

Office computers didn’t really change this. The office had a local area network and a big server, and the workers came into the office to access their computers. People moved to an area because it was good for their chosen profession, or chose a profession because it was needed in the place where they lived.

Now workers and jobs are distributed unevenly around the globe. You choose your off-site workers from an international palette of talents, and send your on-site workers out more often and more widely.

When it comes to communication, this often means that your office computers are not a network of desktop workstations with a central server, but a collection of laptops in changing locations. A mobile sales forces is still likely, but you may also have a mobile accounting staff or a mobile IT department.

How do you get information from the field back to headquarters? How are new price sheets distributed from headquarters to the sales force? How can you be certain that colleagues in multiple locations are in fact working on the same iteration of a collaborative document?

Install FileReplicationPro on a laptop. As soon as that laptop is connected to the internet, it will sync with the office server in a secure manner. It’ll send information out and receive information automatically with no complex VPN setups, and with no action required from the laptop user. Install FileReplicationPro on all the laptops used by your workforce, and you have the same data available to all — better synchronization than in the average office, even if your staff stretches from Dubai to Dallas.

Not only can non-technical staff make sure to be up to date and on the same virtual page, but you don’t even have to rely on workers to remember to email, update, or even back up their data.

Download FRP synchronization software for free, now, and see how it works in your own workspace — however large a space that is.

FRP Maximizes Workflow Options

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Boston City Flow

FRP moves data fast, with plenty of power and speed. It also gives you more than one route to getting the job done.

Say you need to copy a directory from server A to B so as to bring B up to date.  Folders A and B might be quite large and may have many files that are either equal or almost equal.  You simply want to take advantage of FRP’s speed and sophisticated synchronization capabilities to perform the one-time copy straight from the command line. You can do it with the newest update.

Or your company uses a central scheduler and you want to schedule FRP jobs via that tool rather than use the built in FRP scheduler. You can do it.

    After successful completion of a production job, you want to copy some directories to another server.  You can add the FRP copy command to the post production script. Perhaps you need FRP to collect data from one or more servers prior to starting a production job.  You can add that step to your pre production script.

    Now you’ve got that flexibility without sacrificing the speed and power.

    New FRP Functionality: Web Services

    Thursday, October 8th, 2009

    Sailing-San-Diego-Bay

    You may be using FRP to backup data to a second server, save important business data to another site, distribute data to remote offices, collect business data from multiple sources – any job that involves moving data.

    FRP is a super “data mover”.  Not only is it very fast and resilient when moving data across a network, it is also very efficient and supports smart modes of data transfer, copying only what is necessary.  FRP can mirror directories rather than just copy files.  For large files which may be similar, FRP will use bit level algorithms to transfer only the deltas.  It will zip on the fly, it will recover from network errors, it can copy open files – wouldn’t you want to have this power at your fingertips whenever you need to move data?

    No matter where you are?

    This is what we are setting out to do – we’re going to make FRP’s data moving capabilities available to you in multiple ways.  So, in addition to the standard FRP interface, where you define data transfer jobs via the Management Server, we are planning to expose FRP’s capabilities as web services with two simpler interfaces: command line and HTTP.

    So, from any desktop or server, you will be able to either run the FRPCLI utility or send HTTP commands (as simple URLs) to accomplish a range of tasks:

    Immediately run an FRP copy/move/mirror operation between two FRP servers
    Create and schedule an FRP job from the command line
    Modify existing jobs
    Activate and execute previously created jobs.
    Add servers to or remove servers from the FRP network configuration
    Import and export jobs and servers in XML format.

    We believe that the combination of execution power and simplicity of use will make FRP an indispensable part of your network data management toolset.

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    Server Consolidation and Cloud Computing

    Friday, October 2nd, 2009

    tiger

    How Did We Get Here?

    A few years ago, friend of mine who runs the DBA group in a large automotive corporation commented, “I remember when I was in charge of a mainframe database. Everything was so much simpler. Security was centralized, the storage system was all right there, access was clear. Why did they have to go and split this into so many boxes, layers and systems?”

    I was struck by his complaint mainly because it was so different from the then accepted norm. This was well before the current trends of server consolidation and cloud computing became self evident.

    Has the decentralization pendulum swung its course and is simply swinging back?

    Are these moves technology driven? Is now the right time, being that the internet is now light years ahead of where it was when Netscape and Larry Ellison wanted to replace the (Microsoft powered) PC with a network computer (NC – this acronym was widely used for a while).

    Or are we simply seeing economics and control plays?

    Old questions revisited

    Let me take you back to the early 80’s. Our jungle had several species of mainframes fighting for supremacy (dothe names CDC, Burroughs, or Honywell ring a bell?).  A slew of smaller creatures, minicomputers, were threatening the hegemony of mainframes.  Moreover, even smaller computers than minis, microcomputers (to be later named “Personal Computers”), started to emerge.

    The minicomputers of the 80’s were no slouches. They boasted operating systems like UNIX and VAX/VMS and were manufactured by giants such as DEC and IBM (even AT&T jumped in for a while). When a company needed to decide where to house its next application, on a brand new minicomputer or on the (perhaps upgraded) mainframe, how did it make that decision?
    An economic definition of a minicomputer that was popular among department managers was: “A mini is a computer you can hide in your departmental budget.”

    Rather than base the definition on technology parameters, the computer was defined in terms of the conflict between centralized control and local flexibility and power.

    The technical advantages of centralization did not trump the promised local control and flexibility of minicomputers. They survived and flourished until PCs became more powerful and more useful. You can find many articles from around 1990 debating a similar battle to the one we’re seeing waged now. “What is better,”  the argument ran, “a powerful minicomputer with central storage and control, or a LAN with multiple PCs?”

    Similar arguments were used, but the old supply and demand curves won again. Low cost PC LANs with new operating systems (do the names LAN Manager and Netware ring a bell?) found acceptance among users who could not afford the more expensive minicomputers.

    That demand goes up when the price goes down doesn’t always mean you buy two for one. It often means that new customers come in at a more affordable price point.

    In parallel, companies with minicomputers also bought PC based LANs for other applications. We now had three types of species roaming the IT jungle – mainframes, minicomputers (who have later been renamed to Servers) and PCs as processing platforms.

    Those were joined by a fourth species: networks. The networks did not have their own processing or storage but allowed access and data sharing.  The plethora of network attached storage, and their high speed brethren appeared later. The new core idea that emerged from these networks was that of centralized storage that is not “owned” by any particular processing computer. A computer was dedicated to manage the access to storage and it was given a name: a file server, and a new species was born.

    Remember the computer you could hide in your department’s budget? You were in full control.  No need to wait in line for IT, no need to compete with other departments. Well, the same departments that got file servers, later got web servers, application  servers, you-name-it servers. Decentralization reached its zenith.

    It is somewhat ironic that virtualization technology was initially adopted to help cope with testing and deployment in decentralized environments.  Virtual machines “simulated” the real world out there and QA teams were able to subject applications to real world conditions.  Virtualization graduated from that environment into production and provided the force needed to swing the pendulum back towards centralization.

    A second force, the high speed internet, joined to provide another centralization alternative – the Cloud.  Whether used as a central platform offering virtual machines as “servers on demand” or as centralized application or storage services, the Cloud is a new alternative to be evaluated.

    The Network Computer, after a brief disappearance seems to be emerging under a new name: netbook.  As usual, it is not the network computing ideology but rather “mundane” elements such as form factor and price point that fuel the netbooks acceptance.  Later, people will ask, why can’t we use it in the office?

    Evolution: Mutation or Survival of the Fittest?

    As any student of evolution knows, mutation and survival of the fittest are not mutually exclusive.  They join together to determine the set of species that can survive in a given environment. A key factor is the pressure the environment is putting on the species (or lack thereof).

    It seems prudent to realize that what we are seeing is not real centralization.  Rather, it’s the emergence of new categories of computing alternatives. From the smart devices (such as iPhone) to the Cloud, with the traditional desktops, servers, clusters, virtualized servers, private networks and VPNs — are all in contention.

    Who will win?  Well, when mainframes become extinct, call me and I will venture a prediction.

    Till then, the IT jungle seems to be hospitable enough to a variety of species that might continue to mutate and proliferate.

    FRP Greens Up Your Office

    Thursday, October 1st, 2009

    stockvault_3454_20070301Green business is good business nowadays. Not only are there often cost savings associated with efforts toward sustainability and environmental responsibility, but the number of consumers who will intentionally choose a green company over competitors continues to increase.

    One of the easiest steps you can take toward environmental responsibility in your workplace is to choose File Replication Pro.

    You’ll cut down on paper, since you can keep your files synchronized and updated on all machines at once. You’ll cut down on the resources used to mail, fax, print out, copy, and otherwise move data around in space. And you’ll reduce energy usage compared with other data storage and backup solutions, because FRP uses the least resources for the task.

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