Computers Servers and all that techy good stuff.

Some of you are probably wondering what is happening with the server changes and glitches we had recently. In short, the problems could have been much worse but we have McGuyvered it with duct tape and bubblegum to keep it up and running until we can install the permanent fix. (You can use your imagination of who we are imagining that duct tape for)

Where we have been: The server and computers were never networked properly. The server is not even being used in the correct way and is only serving the database for the Scheduling and POS software. It has never been secure and because of the way it was set up it is wide open to attacks. Recently, one of the old computers up front died and was not able to be resurrected in any good state. The network cabling was shoddy and simply moving the shelves could disrupt the network. There was also no good backup in place. The backups were set to backup to the drive that the server is on which is self defeating. In short, if the server drive failed, there would be no way to retrieve the data (short of sending the drive to a recovery warehouse which would take weeks). The Wi-Fi network was slow with no correct public connection which was insulated from our server.

What we have done so far: We have replaced every station with a new computer running on super fast SSD drives. We have upgraded the Wi-Fi to pump out 1GBS speed (super fast). We also instituted a secure Wi-Fi system on the same network as the cabled system and set up a firewall and separate Wi-Fi for guests. The security system is on a totally separate Wi-Fi system and is also locked down. There were many holes in the system and too many ways to break in…including access that was set uo by Rachel and her IT gang. We now have a sophisticated backup system in place, which will back up the data on a RAID 5 locally, in the cloud, and at a duplicated drive system art our house. In layman’s terms: Using Raid5 to store your data is like using multiple banks to store you money, if one bank go bust or its systems are down you can still access your money at the other banks. Parity is the same as keeping a ledger at each bank for the money held in the other banks, that way if one bank is lost, you can rebuild the finances using the data held at the other banks. Speed…lots of people trying to use one cashpoint = slow as your money is stored across several banks you can use multiple cashpoints simultaneously.

What still needs to happen: The server log is starting to spit out errors and is losing connection. In short the server is on its last legs (Good thing we have that backup system in place). We are ordering a new server and will have it installed ASAP. We need a full day in the salon in order to put the nail in the coffin. One week from Monday we will be finalizing everything. All of the computers will get upgraded to Windows Professional and will belong to the Studio 360 Server Domain. The new server will be installed and new cables for the entire salon will be run. In humaneese: “Everything will be set up correctly and will work”

In the mean time: If there is an issue contact me at (443) 803-2174. I will walk you through whatever needs to happen.  Sometimes the best course of action will be too hobble with what you have and not reboot the server.  A server reboot in it’s current condition will take about 30 min and it will require you to turn off any computer running the Scheduler & POS to be turned off first, then only turned back on once the server is back up.  By no means should you ever turn off a computer in the middle of an update.  Microsoft rolled out an update a few days ago which took us down.  During that update the server decided to misbehave.  So the first thought would be too reboot the computers.  Since it was not happening someone decided to press the button on the computer to turn it off which fried the computers operating system.  It was an honest mistake and the computer is being reformatted and will be back for you Tuesday.

In short – Don’t Panic.