Royal Winchester Golf Club

Royal Winchester Golf Club - The 9th hole
The 9th hole

Had a great day today at The Royal Winchester Golf Club, nice weather, good company (thanks Pete, Doug and Paul) and reasonable golf. The course was in excellent condition, particularly the greens and bunkers and we had an unobstructed round.

At first, we were a little confused by the directional mowing of the fairways which made them look half as wide as they really were but after a couple of holes we got used to it.

Luckily for us, the round was part of a reciprocal arrangement included in our membership of Shanklin & Sandown Golf Club which meant it was free of charge.

We only managed to chat to a few members but were made to feel very welcome. I very much look forward to visiting again – the only problem with that is we have another 10 or so reciprocal clubs to visit!

Keith Emerson – 2 Nov 1944 – 10 Mar 2016

Sad to hear today’s news of the death of Keith Emerson. There’s hardly a week goes by these days without a part creator of my music library leaving us.

Keith Emerson

The Nice and Emerson, Lake and Palmer were two bands I took too right back in the late 1960s and early 70s. They are both in my iTunes library today and I still consider the ELP album “Trilogy” as my number one Desert Island Disc, my mobile ringtone is the synthesiser bit from the track “From the Beginning” (the synth starts about 3min in).

Gone but not forgotten, thanks Keith.

Heart Internet – UPS System? I don’t think so!

UPS MultiModule System
UPS MultiModule System

A few years ago, after an altogether unsatisfactory “dalliance” with FastHosts as my webhosting provider, I decided that Heart Internet were a better bet. All has been excellent until this last month or so. Recently I have been treated to a couple of prolonged service problems. Today’s has been the worst example – not only have all my sites been down due to a UPS problem but so has the entire email service to them.

What went wrong?

At first Heart blamed the problem on a DDOS (Distributed Denial Of Service) attack, but then suddenly changed the reason to an unexplainable problem during scheduled maintenance!

The maintenance was supposed to be the change of a “Voltage Monitor” in their Uninterruptible Power Supply, OK that sounds fine, but why on earth was the work done during normal working hours? As an experienced UPS engineer, I know that any decent UPS system would be resilient as an N+1 or N+2 configuration. That means that, as a minimum, the system would comprise enough UPS modules to support the load with 1 or 2 module(s) out of service.

As an example, let’s assume the entire load was about 1000kVA (approx 1000kW), A sensibly configured UPS would be 5 units of 250kVA (this is a minimum, there could easily be 6 modules, N+2), one/two online but acting as standby(s) should any other fail. This also allows for one/two module(s) to be taken out of service for maintenance should that be required.

It seems today’s failure happened when the entire system was switched to bypass (meaning servers were supplied by the mains) while the “Voltage Monitor” was attended to. That should never have been considered. A properly configured/specified UPS should have been able to remove one or two modules from service without compromising the entire system.

That of course assumes that the faulty item was not in the overall system monitoring component. If that had been the case, the work should not have been done during normal working hours and should have been done as “planned maintenance” out of hours and customers warned.

As it happened, the entire system appears to have been compromised during normal hours. Something interrupted the mains supply while the UPS was in bypass and thus the entire Heart Datacentre lost supply. Completely unacceptable under any circumstances!

How to solve the UPS problem?

A message to Heart Internet: Contact me if you want to know how to configure a proper UPS System, and, if this kind of failure happens again, don’t bullshit your customers…..