Backup hardware

Discussions around the setup, operation, replacement, and disposal of clerk computers, not to include using MLS
tuple-p40
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Backup hardware

Postby tuple-p40 » Sat Jan 12, 2008 8:54 pm

I recently had a computer die at a local unit in our Stake. While the FM representative was working to get a permanent replacement (a 2 week process) I added the local units data on the MLS system of another local unit in the same building. It was a bit inconvenient for the users of the system. (Not to mention that it is not always possible to do this.)

I just received a call that yet another machine in our Stake has died. I will go through the replacement process again.

Is there any policy that says I couldn't have a Stake President approved laptop that I could use as a drop-in temporary replacement until the permanent machine arrives? It would remain locked in the Stake office and only used by the Stake Presidency until an emergency occurs for which I would do an "Add Unit", then a restore from back up flash drive and then the local unit would experience no down time or inconvenience. Once the new machine is installed I would "Remove Unit" and no confidential data would ever leave the local units office.

I had a member of the Stake Presidency suggest that I borrow a computer from the Family History Center. I think those computers, as old as they are, might struggle to act as a temporary MLS drop-in.

Thank you for any comments or recommendations.

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Sat Jan 12, 2008 11:51 pm

Well, I don't think you're permitted to buy machines and the Church is no longer accepting donations for Administrative computers. Besides, computers only have a functional lifetime of around 5 years before they become too weak to run new software.

Seems kind of expensive to keep a spare machine for such emergencies.

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thedqs
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Postby thedqs » Sun Jan 13, 2008 1:20 pm

It depends on how long you can wait for the new computer. You would have to reimage the FHC computer to become an admin computer and reimage it back to a FHC computer. However it might just be as easy to keep track of everything on paper for 2 weeks and then type it all in once the computer arrives. (I know every clerk is going to hate me for that last comment)

You might also be able to find a cheap laptop that has the same basic specs as the admin machines to implement your idea.
- David

tuple-p40
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Postby tuple-p40 » Sun Jan 13, 2008 4:13 pm

Additional Stake Presidency uses of the machine would include: Powerpoint presentations, showing DVD clips, burning to DVD recorded Stake Conferences as well as access to lds.org resources and missionary recommend entry once the Stake building gets internet access.

Right now, the services of my personal laptop is rendered to do these important functions. (Although usually requested in a round about way) I get requests from other Stake leaders to use "the" machine for a presentation and a lot of times my answer is just plain no. I suspect the backup machine would see quite a bit of use.

When my first local unit lost their machine it was during the last week of the year while tithing settlement was in full swing. The clerks were understandably very motivated to get access to their data.

I do want to stay within policy as I solve these issues. (Maybe that means finding a reasonably priced machine and donating it's services if not the machine itself?)

I appreciate your comments and ideas! I am very interested in how other STS's are solving these problems!

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Sun Jan 13, 2008 10:41 pm

I think if a machine failed on me right at tithing settlement and FM said it would take 2 weeks, I'll call clerk support and ask them what they wanted me to do. Make it their problem.

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WelchTC
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Postby WelchTC » Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:56 am

The problem with using a personal machine that is temporarily donated to the church is that it opens to door for interpretation and abuse. I'd call clerk support to get their feedback.

Tom

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Life Span of Machines

Postby Eric Werny-p40 » Fri Apr 25, 2008 9:47 pm

Five years is a long time for machines. I see the life span of most highly used hard drives at 2.5 years.

And with Microsoft toying with the idea discontinuing the support of XP, and pushing again Vista as they
release their service pack, what is now the church's position on the OS issue.

I hear SP3 is coming out for XP soon, I wonder what everyone reaction is to that?

:)

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Fri Apr 25, 2008 11:24 pm

I really doubt that MS will cut XP short. The last I read is that they are considering extending the sales for XP Home to compete with some of the lower end OS out there for smaller computers.

Currently WinXP "Direct OEM and Retail License Availability" ends on June 30, 2008. But "System Builder License Availability" goes until January 31, 2009. [color="Blue"]LInk[/color] At this point the church is mostly distributing Windows as part of Desktop 5.5. I assume they have a site license so I don't think either of those dates are going to be much of a issue.

On the support side, "Mainstream Support" ends on 4/14/2009 but "Extended Support" which includes security patches doesn't end until 4/8/2014. [color="blue"]Link[/color]

At that rate, the church could just about wait until the 3rd round of machines before going to Vista.

At this time I fail to see any compelling reasons to move to Vista. No killer apps, or lack of apps on XP.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sat Apr 26, 2008 6:04 am

Eric Werny wrote:Five years is a long time for machines. I see the life span of most highly used hard drives at 2.5 years.


I'm not sure what your definition of "highly used" is, but I guarantee that ward and stake administrative computers are nowhere near it. In fact, they are some of the most lightly used computers I ever come in contact with. So I see no unusual risk of hardware failure in the 5 year policy.

Sure, we'd all like faster computers, but the Church is being prudent in selecting 5 years as the policy. In our stake we got computers 4.5 years ago that were barely mid-range in terms of power at the time, and eventually added a memory upgrade to 512MB, but they are adequate even now. Think of what it costs to get new computers for on the order of 10,000 units in the US and Canada, and the difference in cost between a 2.5 year cycle and a 5 year cycle -- we're talking millions of dollars. I don't mind a conservative approach to the use of tithing funds.

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mkmurray
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Postby mkmurray » Sat Apr 26, 2008 9:08 am

RussellHltn wrote:At that rate, the church could just about wait until the 3rd round of machines before going to Vista.

By then, the next Microsoft OS could already be out. A well-known Microsoft Exec has been quoted saying they may have the next version of Windows out by mid to late 2009. Looks like they may be trying to quickly move on from Vista to something better (or at least different).

Of course, this is all just conjecture...


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