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Web Hosting - Redundancy and Failover
Among the more useful innovations in computing, actually invented decades ago, are the twin ideas of redundancy and failover. These fancy words name very common sense concepts. When one computer (or part) fails, switch to another. Doing that seamlessly and quickly versus slowly with disruption defines one difference between good hosting and bad.
Network redundancy is the most widely used example. The Internet is just that, an inter-connected set of networks. Between and within networks are paths that make possible page requests, file transfers and data movement from one spot (called a 'node') to the next. If you have two or more paths between a user's computer and the server, one becoming unavailable is not much of a problem. Closing one street is not so bad, if you can drive down another just as easily.
Of course, there's the catch: 'just as easily'. When one path fails, the total load (the amount of data requested and by how many within what time frame) doesn't change. Now the same number of 'cars' are using fewer 'roads'. That can lead to traffic jams.
A very different, but related, phenomenon occurs when there suddenly become more 'cars', as happens in a massively widespread virus attack, for example. Then, a large number of useless and destructive programs are running around flooding the network. Making the situation worse, at a certain point, parts of the networks may shut down to prevent further spread, producing more 'cars' on now-fewer 'roads'.
A related form of redundancy and failover can be carried out with servers, which are in essence the 'end-nodes' of a network path.
Servers can fail because of a hard drive failure, motherboard overheating, memory malfunction, operating system bug, web server software overload or any of a hundred other causes. Whatever the cause, when two or more servers are configured so that another can take up the slack from one that's failed, that is redundancy.
That is more difficult to achieve than network redundancy, but it is still very common. Not as common as it should be, since many times a failed server is just re-booted or replaced or repaired with another piece of hardware. But, more sophisticated web hosting companies will have such redundancy in place.
And that's one lesson for anyone considering which web hosting company may offer superior service over another (similarly priced) company. Look at which company can offer competent assistance when things fail, as they always do sooner or later.
One company may have a habit of simply re-booting. Others may have redundant disk arrays. Hardware containing multiple disk drives to which the server has access allows for one or more drives to fail without bringing the system down. The failed drive is replaced and no one but the administrator is even aware there was a problem.
Still other companies may have still more sophisticated systems in place. Failover servers that take up the load of a crashed computer, without the end-user seeing anything are possible. In fact, in better installations, they're the norm. When they're in place, the user has at most only to refresh his or her browser and, bingo, everything is fine.
The more a web site owner knows about redundancy and failover, the better he or she can understand why things go wrong, and what options are available when they do. That knowledge can lead to better choices for a better web site experience.
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A Brief Guide to Writing Short Stories Effectively (writing short stories) A short story is basically a condensed version of a book or a rapidly progressing story. It has fewer characters than a novel and covers less amount of time. A short story generally is around 6,000 words or 6 pages. Do your research and organization before you begin to write. Outline your plot and the background. Make sure they make sense and flow together. Individually list the events of the story in the order in which they occur. Create your characters. Not just their name and role in the story, but as if they were real people with real lives. By creating more information for your characters you will get a sense of what they would do or how they would be and convey that to your writing. By creating an outline you will have a point of reference to look back upon and make sure you have included all vital points of the story. When writing a short story, you will need a captivating first paragraph. You have roughly 5 to 7 lines to appeal to your reads unlike novels that have the whole first chapter. This can actually make or break your story. You will need to grab their attention and keep it to make them want to read more. By starting the plot in the first few sentences it will make people want to know more. They will keep reading to find out who is involved and why. Keep the timeline of events brief. You are writing a short story and the timeline should match that. A timeline of a day, a week, or maybe even a month is generally the span a story should cover. Use character dialogue as a way to move the plot ahead. In a short story there is no time for general chitchat. By using the character dialogue you are deepening the plot as well as moving it along. Do not add unnecessary characters. By adding them you are wasting time one someone that is not linked to your story or its plot. Provide swift and precise details to keep the story moving. Elaborate descriptions of characters, plot, or surroundings will only waste your words and are not essential to making a good story. Use short words instead of phrases that mean the same thing. Building to the climax should be most of the story. Keep the conflicts building to the climax simple and easy to understand. You writing should be able to evoke the following emotions empathy, pain, hurt, despair, surprise, and desire just to name a few. Since the story is only a few pages long in its entirety it is necessary to maintain consistency through out the beginning, middle, and end. Make sure the dialog and plot complement each other. Keep the same point of view through out the story. You are almost ready to be published. After completing your own proofreading and editing, let someone else read it, a neighbor, your spouse, colleague, or a close friend. Even if they are not writers themselves they will be able to help point out any grammar errors. They will be able to tell you if something just doesn?t make sense. You are trying to fit a lot of captivating information in a small space; it is easy to leave something out. Something you may not catch because you know what is supposed to happen, while your will not. By following these simple rules, you will be able to write a short story that is captivating and effective. Writing short stories isn?t for everyone. Many writers like more detail and for short stories the space is just not available.