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[Gnumed-devel] Approaches to maintain clinical data uptime

From: James Busser
Subject: [Gnumed-devel] Approaches to maintain clinical data uptime
Date: Sat, 29 Apr 2006 01:29:52 -0700

Whatever company provides me server (and related) service support will ned to know what I want. They will also make some recommendations which I will be happy to share. But I thought it could be helpful to pool people's ideas, options or favored approaches, I could then stick that up on the wiki.

Beyond maintaining OS (including security) updates along with some periodic checking of integrity of the hardware and for security risks --- which die-hards doctors might rather do themselves --- what would people propose or add as "minimums", "recommended" and "optional" among

- primary server... should have 2 hard drives in a hardware RAID 1 array, so that if one drive dies, the box stands a chance of running uninterrupted (i.e. zero downtime)? This does remain vulnerable to the box "dying" at least temporarily whether through failure of the power supply or controller, the box getting damaged or stolen etc.

- would people bother to keep a spare drive available to swap out when one fails, and/or to arrange for a local merchant to keep one stocked

- what about one's router/firewall which could fail... would people want to know they can quickly get another of the same model so they can just upload their stored configuration (or if they were planning to change routers, to already have in their possession the replacement to make sure they are adequately familiar with any quirks)?

- backup server... ought this undergo all of the same hardening as the primary server and will it need all of the same system maintenance and monitoring (for breaches etc) as the primary server? Is there a way to simplify this by making the backup server the equivalent of an extra RAID drive? Or is the best that can be done is to setup and manage the backup machine as a "whole extra" machine, just mirroring the data? Which approach(es) permit --- from within GNUmed --- quickly "switching" to read and write from/to the backup server in the event that the primary fails?

- the primary and backup servers ought to be physically separate, to secure them against simultaneous physical damage or theft... would everybody want the primary to be local, out of a view that to colocate it elsewhere will be much slower? Or would anyone prefer it to be offsite for better environmental control, and possibly improved security against theft?

Would people run their media archive off their primary or backup server? Presumably better configured to be done off the backup server but, if it is located elsewhere, the media becomes a pain to manage?

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