Q: How do you access your own data while you
while we're at client sites, in a hotel room, or at the store, we need
access to data files. We have an elaborate and massively redundant
system of keeping needed information at our fingertips at all times.
This system enables us to physically move into any "hot
stand-by site" worldwide and resume support operations seamlessly.
These access methods cover the entire spectrum in terms of speed and
ease of access, capacity, connectivity & bandwidth requirements, client
hardware/software requirements, and security. They fall into 4 main
categories: 1. Physical Media, 2. Remote Control & VPN, 3. FTP & SSH,
and 4. Web Portal access.
1. Key Contacts & Tech Reference in wallet.
Electronically generated hard copy, updated monthly. Non-electronic,
relative immune to instant catastrophic failure.
2. Keychain USB Drive: (Some refer to it
as thumb drive, as it's about the size of a finger)There are 3 drives
actually. I carry a 64M drive on my keychain, with all my critical
files, plus a 128M drive in my briefcase for transferring clients'
files. Vicky carries a 64M drive on her keychain and partially erases
files as needed for file transfer and "re-image" the drive upon
returning to base. In all cases, we have scripts to synchronize from
server to keychain every few days so it's kept up-to-date. Of course,
the content of drives is encrypted at multiple levels to protect
ourselves and clients from harms in the event of theft or loss.
3. Bravo Ultimate Disc (BUD) in
briefcase, which contains network boot disk, diagnostics tools, and core
set of install library.
4. CD-R library and CDRW backups in
vehicle (or as we affectionately refer to as: the Mother Ship).
5. PDA Palm, and Psion. Synchronized
Daily with news and email for reading at restaurant or while waiting in
lines at the bank between appointments. Also contain important tech
reference files and checklists, and WAP versions of all our business web
6. Notebook PC: docking to LAN for
Daily/Weekly replication. Wifi-equipped for real-time Internet access
while within service range at various locations.
7. Remote Control: RDC/TS (always on),
PCA and VNC (special arrangement) at sites with appropriate client
8. BRAG (Bravo Remote Access Gateway):
Our own portal site allows Remote control from any location with using a
9. VPN: connect to HQ LAN Windows 2000
Server (THUM) directly as remote node via Dynamic DNS
10. SSH: console access to Linux server
at data center (FELI)
11. Support Intranet Repository hosted at
our data center: Mirroring 10G worth of data, tech reference, and subset
of vendor libraries and install images at HQ. Replicated on as-needed
basis. Provides access to screenshots, downloads, checklists for support
purposes w/o need to directly access HQ servers. Supports HTTP, FTP, SSH
& SCP. Also contains Bravo Start Page for staff, and our extensive 1600+
entries Favorites (bookmarks).
12. Mirror Servers at 3x backup data
centers. Supplementing FELI.
13. Private Web Portals: BON (Bravo
Online Network) which contains general references, and Bravo Start Page,
which is our private staff-only portal site.
14. WAP capable Mobile Phone: Live access
to web. Receive server monitoring alerts. Retrieve and reply to email.
Posting emergency service announcements and updates at main web site.