New Monitoring System in Place

StatusmapWe are proud to announce that our new and improved device-monitoring system is back in place.

Approximately 18 months ago we replaced our existing network and server monitoring solution with a proprietary product from one of our security software providers. We have found using this closed 3rd party software too limiting in what it could do and be customised to accomplish for our customer requirements (like most monitoring software solutions).

We are happy to report that after an extensive rigorous testing period of 3 months; Nagios is officially back as of today – this time supported by our own developments to accomplish the following:

  • Configuration for the monitoring system and Devices are now drawn from our in-place already-maintained Service Level Agreement documentation. Therefore, when we add/remove devices from our SLA documentation, they’re automatically being put onto the monitoring system or taken off.

  • graphWe have developed an app which periodically draws information from servers, routers and network switches to collect information such as network addresses of devices and which port, switch or route the device is connected to. This allows the configuration of the monitoring system to update automatically keeping the system 100% accurate.
  • Historical performance data is also collected and saved to be used for capacity planning and evaluating SLA objectives such as uptimes and service availability.

  • Because Nagios is a more open platform, we’ve been able to add some custom monitoring scripts and methods which lets us keep an eye over what is specifically important to our customers. This ensures that for example Windows Server Backups, VoIP Services and Public Access Servers amongst other things stay running smoothly

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About Content Management Systems

What is a Content Management System?

cmsA Content Management System (Acronym: CMS)  is a program running on a Web Server (the machine hosting a web-site) to make managing the content of a web-site easier and more user friendly.

In 99% of cases a content management system has a database back-end where it stores all data and settings of the website. This type of system is primarily used (in smaller websites) to allow non-technical users to add, edit and otherwise manage the website’s content. This is generally done through a web interface which looks similar to any standard forms on a web-site. Some content management systems allow you to edit the contents of pages through a program installed on your computer such as Windows Live Writer – this is more common amongst content management systems designed for running  a “blog”.

How does it work?

Generally a Content Management System has lists of data (like tables in an excel workbook) saved in a database. Through a form-based webpage the user can view, edit, add and delete entries in these lists which is saved to the database backend. When a visitor attempts to view a section of the website, the system fetches the list or details of entries and displays them in a format specified by the web developer through configuration of the Content Management System.

What is very important to know and realise is that the user can not change the entire look of the website through a content management system to anything they want. There are things that can be changed through modules such as “themes” but these are generally limited to font types, colours and a few images. If the website was not developed for certain content to be editable they simply will not be and a qualified web developer or web designer will still have to make these kind of changes.

What are the benefits?

There are a multitude of benefits to having a website designed using a Content Management System some of which have been outlined here below, however like everything else, it also comes with its own set of challenges:

Pros   Cons

icoallowWebsite can be maintained by untrained staff such as the marketing and sales department of a company.

icoallowSince a Web Designer or Web Developer doesn’t have to be involved in standard basic changes to the website’s content and these changes can be done in-house this ends up costing the website owner less.

icoallowMaking standard content changes or additions goes much faster as the CMS takes care of most styling, resizing and formatting of elements such as images and text.

icoallowContent Management Systems generally come with modules and functionality built-in for more advanced functions needed in some websites such as online-shopping and user accounts used in sections such as public forums.

 

icodenyInitial web site design and development costs more as the job is more complicated, has higher-skilled requirements and the working hours can be a lot more.

icodenySince a CMS works with structured data it is often challenging to make unique individual changes to certain items or pages on the web-site. If a CMS is set to show Products in a Catalogue in a certain format, to make one particular product look different is not that easy. Major changes to design and general “Look and Feel” must also still be done by a qualified or knowledgeable web designer / developer.

icodenyAs a CMS-driven website can be edited through a web interface, there are security concerns and the website application itself can be hacked by a malicious person on the internet.

Are all Content Management Systems the same?

tclogoNot at all. There are a wide variety of free versions available online that anyone can use such as WordPress or Joomla. Some companies (such as ourselves) also develop their own. Tyrmida has developed “Typecast” that we use in most of the websites we develop ourselves. The only reason why we have done this (and some other companies do this as well) is that it is easier to create custom modules and sections specifically required by our clients. We are not limited to working with a system designed for and developed by someone else. There is also the problem that websites developed with freely-available online Content Management Systems generally look alike.

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Tyrmida Doubles Traffic On All Hosting Accounts

Hosting Traffic

From March 2012, we have doubled all hosting account traffic allocations for existing as well as new accounts.

Bandwidth & Internet Traffic is one of the few services which are becoming less expensive by the day, therefore it is only fair for us to pass that cost savings on to our customers.

No action or activation is required from any customer. All accounts have automatically been upgraded accordingly.

The new rates are tabulated below, and can also be viewed at: Hosting Packages Available with Pricing

Cost Traffic (Megabytes) Over Usage Traffic (Per Megabyte)
R 25.00 260 12c
R 50.00 620 12c
R 75.00 950 12c
R 125.00 1650 12c
R 150.00 2000 12c
R 200.00 2800 12c
R 350.00 5000 12c
R 500.00 7500 12c
R 650.00 10000 12c
R 950.00 15000 12c
R 1 200.00 20000 12c
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Extended Capacity Laptop Batteries a Cost-Effective solution for Power Failures

Electricity_pylon_power_outageSince we are going into winter in South Africa where power failures are quite common, and there is an increased risk of load shedding happening – we have started looking around for more cost-effective solutions to this problem than big heavy noisy generators and extraordinarily expensive long-term UPS Systems.

AT486AA_400x400A clever solution to this problem comes in the form of ultra-capacity notebook batteries. If you are working from home or in a small office where most users use laptops, this might just be the answer for you.

A standard laptop battery will last an hour or two, perhaps even more when setting your laptop to an absolute-power-saving profile. However, it is definitely not going to last the 4+ hours needed to get through a power outage or load shedding without losing any productivity. For on-site travelling engineers and reps, HP has a 12-cell battery available which according to specifications would give you 10 hours (of course, in the real world, our experience has been more around the 8 hour mark) of uptime.

Naturally other brands such as Dell have similar products available. However these high capacity secondary batteries seem to only be available for Business (non-retail) products. It shows that there are still some great benefits to purchasing your I.T. equipment through value-added reseller channels instead of bargain hunting in retail shops!

An extended battery should set you back around R 1250.00 per laptop, which compared to the cost of productivity loss is quite affordable. It has to be mentioned that the HP 12-cell battery does not replace your existing laptop battery – instead it clips on to the bottom of your laptop and act as a secondary battery. Therefore, your current / existing laptop battery will still be used and is required.

The laptop also doesn’t fit into a docking station with the battery attached which makes getting in and out of your office slightly more inconvenient, but the battery does come with a DC power connector with which you can charge it directly using your existing laptop power supply.

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