If there is one thing that we have plenty of but we wish we didn’t, it would be SPAM or junk email. All of us, at one point or another, have had issues with unsolicited email finding its way into our mailbox. This can clog up not only bandwidth and disk space, but also make your system more vulnerable to malware and viruses. Although the task of eliminating all junk email is a virtually impossible feat, there are steps that can be taken to manage and prevent them from going rampant.
The first step in achieving this freedom from SPAM is to protect your email address. If spammers do not know you exist, they cannot SPAM you. This is easier said than done however. Using your best judgment is your best defense. As a rule, do NOT use your email to sign up for unknown/untrusted online mailing lists or contests. Many spammers use some kind of email registration as part of the process. It’s also a good idea NOT to list your email address in plain sight when posting comments on member boards. Keep your mailbox private as much as possible and give it out only to trusted parties.
Another strategy is to create a separate email account. If you find it difficult to keep your email address completely private, a separate account may be the answer. There are many free places to get additional email addresses such as Google and Yahoo. Use these to protect your primary email if you feel you need to give out an email address to a site that seems suspicious. In the event that the account gets infested with junk, you can simply walk away from it; with your primary still safe and secured.
In the unfortunate event that your primary email address has been compromised, beyond what the built in junk filter on most email client software can handle (Outlook, Lotus, Etc.), there are third party tools that can filter your account or the whole domain. These can be actual hardware or software that filters junk emails based on rules/policy and threshold that you create. These third party tools can also use data based on domains that have been blacklisted. So these spammers and their junk email are automatically filtered away from your inbox. A report can be generated advising you of what was marked and handled as junk so you can address them accordingly: keep as junk or release if it is from a legitimate source.
Though spammers and their junk emails will likely continue to target all of us, following the steps above can dramatically reduce if not closely eradicate them altogether. It is impossible to eliminate them 100%. But with a simple caution and attention, together with the tools available to us, spam can be easily managed.
Investing in a good battery backup for your data center/server room is equally important as any security measure, network policy, or state-of-the-art hardware. In fact, the more high-end the devices, the more you should invest in a solid battery backup system. Did you know power brownouts and electrical surges/spikes often ruin valuable hardware and data in the blink of an eye? Brownout, which is power loss or a lack of voltage are the most frequent cause of data loss. Surges (increases of around 10 – 35% voltages) and spikes (a quick jolt of electricity) are the most damaging. Over time, if remain unchecked, it reduces the lifespan of your equipment if not render it completely useless. Additionally, because electricity is dirty, even when already transformed inside your building, you often need an extra layer of protection to clean and purify power to your delicate equipment. So to prevent data loss, corruption, and damage; servers and other electrical devices must be protected from these events and given ample time to properly shutdown. Battery backup or UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) should be part of any good disaster recovery plan.
But just exactly how do you determine how big a battery you require? Generally, battery backup specifications are given in both Volt-amps and watts. For inductive load devices like a computer or server, the VA rating is usually twice the wattage rating as a general estimation. The basic formula is to multiply the Volts with the Amps for each device and add them all together. A sample formula for 5 devices at 2 amps each should look like the following:
Volts(US) 110 * Amps 2.0 * # of devices 5 = 1100VA
Once the total power required is calculated, then it’s just a matter of getting the right battery backup specified to the amount of time you want to run your load. Battery backup manufacturers almost always specify their runtime based on at least half load and full load runtimes. Given this battery specification and knowing your power needs, you can then estimate pretty accurately the runtime required for your specific need.
In the world of Windows operating systems, there are two ways to partition hard disk drives and store data. They are MBR (Master Boot Record) or GPT (GUID Partition Table). MBR is the original and most common architecture used today. GPT, however, is rapidly gaining acceptance due to the shortcomings of the older MBR scheme. The need for more storage has prompted the design of newer technology, and GPT is born. One of MBR’s biggest flaw that is becoming more and more realized is its ability to read beyond 2GB. As far as size limit goes, GPT virtually has no limit. It offers a ridiculously large storage capability of 9.4ZB (1 Zettabyte = 1,000,000,000 Terabyte). It seems that there is a movement brewing towards adopting GPT mainly out of necessity. Users and administrators are forced to look into the newer technology because MBR’s weakness is slowly coming to light. The advantage of using GPT doesn’t stop there as it also addresses issues with the limitation of the number partitions that can be created. MBR allows 3 primary partitions and 1 extended in a single disk. With GPT, Microsoft supports up to 128 partitions by default but can be much higher. This means that managing and organizing data becomes that much more effective.
Though all this extra storage capability is exciting, it does not mean a thing if the structure is unreliable. Data integrity is crucial to any design. GPT addresses that as well. By nature, GPT-based disks are much more stable in design, using primary and backup partition tables for redundancy. It uses Cyclic Redundancy Checksum (CRC32) for improved partition structure integrity to protect data. GPT’s architecture offers great resilience to corruption because of this.
Despite the many advantages of GPT, however, there are many administrators that still prefer MBR and it still is predominantly used in the real world. Also, GPT it is not available on older operating systems. Recently, GPT announced it now supports Failover Cluster Setup. This is just another reason why GPT is a solid choice. Though MBR has been tried and true for many years, a new successor is already here and is a very attractive alternative.