Tech Report

Date: January 23rd, 2013
To: Michael Green
From: Steve Rippl
Subject: Tech Dept. Executive Summary

The primary thing we're focusing on right now is our new website, we're so close to having it ready that I'm hoping by the end of this week or next weekend we'll be able to make the switch.  James and I are transferring over content (while improving layout and making sure things are up-to-date) while Travis and I are working on finalizing application functionality (calendars, galleries, board docs, email lists etc).  Some small pieces of functionality will still be on the old site temporarily (culminating project, some custom forms), they'll still be available and we'll move those over as we can.

Over Christmas we were forced to push out a new update to our anti-virus software (the actual server and client, not the virus definitions which update constantly).  The version of the client we were on suddenly developed some problems (wasn't clear if it was Kaspersky's or Microsoft's fault) and the only fix seemed to be an upgrade, which when it comes to anti-virus software is never a trivial thing.  The guys, however, did a great job over the break of getting to every staff machine and ensuring the upgrade had happened successfully so things were working at the start of school again!  They also deployed a few new staff and student computers.

Our tape drive for backups died shortly before Christmas which caused me to rethink our backup strategy again.  We had already moved from nightly tape backups to nightly to disk and monthly to tape.  Now we're moving our monthly to the cloud with Amazon's Glacier storage service, a low cost off-site storage service especially designed for infrequently accessed backup data.  Calculating the amount of data we have (a little under 1TB per month at the moment) this works out a bit cheaper than the cost of a tape drive over it's life, but the big advantage is that it's real off-site storage (and avoids the problems of trying at access tapes after a tape drive has died!).

Finally, the State has released this year's versions of the MSP online testing software so once we've moved past the new website we'll be focusing in on getting that installed for the Middle and Intermediate schools to practice with.