Monday, 26 February 2007

Improving the 'Manchester connection'

Sounds a bit like a Tom Clancy novel doesn't it - "The Manchester Connection" - in reality of course it's nothing very classy (if Tom Clancy novels can be described as classy) it is a slot in a rack in Manchester which is currently occupied by one of our little VPN firewalls.

When we first embarked upon extending the VPN to Manchester it was a bit of an experiment and as such we didn't necessarily want to go mad buying expensive hardware for the first phase. However now that we have approaching 20 connections to this part of the network and are beginning to use the applications and data store there more and more, we are in need of a bit more horse power.

One thing we have noticed is that when the total number of connections on our current Draytek 2900 exceeds the recommended 16, although it will quite happily chug along for days without a problem every now and again if a connection is dropped it can fail to automatically pick up again. The only solution is to manually drop the connection and then everyone is happy again. Of course when you are relying on this connection to serve up applications it is not acceptable to have this occasional glitch and the resulting lockout so its time for an upgrade. What we were intending to use was a Draytek 330V as these units have capacity for 200 simultaneous connections and a dedicated VPN processor and was the choice for our main VPN hub, however it turns out that Draytek have a new toy out - the 2950 Note especially the cutting edge case design which is such a hall mark of any Drayteck product, the designers obviously frightened themselves with the racy blue case of the 330V and retreated to their comfort zones with the latest offering! Its a good job they work so well.

Click here for a full spec and here for a link to their control panel demonstration. We have been given a delivery date for Friday so if its on time I should be able to relate the tale of the setup on the Friday afternoon post :o)

Other news is that on the Google calendaring and sync front so far the Mac system - spanning sync - seems to be fine. However the PC solution syncmycal is having some minor emotional problems, so far the most impressive thing is the prompt service from their technical support department. Nuff said.

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A view from the rack is the personal blog of an IT manager who works for a pub company - hence beer