Infrastructure Uplift Project

DSW are currently working on a £20 million Public Sector IT transformation programme to address corporate IT risks, improve service delivery and reduce total cost of ownership. Consolidate three old data centres in to two new data centres, refresh legacy technology platforms, migrate all business applications to the new platforms and provide a disaster recovery capability.

Dynamic DNS

DSW are currently in final testing of our new free Dynamic DNS service.

There are many free Dynamic DNS services available however each service is restricted to a limited number of domain names and these may not suit your business. With the DSW Dynamic DNS service, you can setup any hostname under your own domain as long as this domain is hosted on the DSW Nameservers. So if you own yourcompany.com and this domain uses the Nameservers at DSW, then you can have anyhost.yourcompany.com as your Dynamic hostname.

More details of this new service will follow soon however please contact us at info@dsw.scot if you would like more information.

Happy New Year

DSW would like to wish their customers a very Happy New Year, we look forward to another year working with you.

Website fix for Mearns Kirk

For over 2 years, Mearns Kirk had been trying to fix their failed Graveyard Project website but every avenue either lead to disappointment or to failure. DSW were offered the challenge which we were happy to take on. The first stage was to setup a development site on one of DSW’s own internet servers and began to piece together a list of issues and work our way through them. Once this was all working and tested by Mearns Kirk, they changed their hosting package via guidance from DSW and the latest code was installed. Finally after over two years of being let down, their website was back up and running.

The Graveyard Project website can be viewed here – http://www.mearnsparishkirk.co.uk/MGP/index.asp

Do you have an IT challenge for DSW? Why not contact us at info@dsw.scot to see if we can help you out.

HP EOSL

We had briefly lost our source of HP retired dates but this is now back up and running and the EOSL page has now been updated with a few new dates. The retired dates are from the HP Product Bulletin and HP will generally support the hardware for a further 5 years after the product has been ritired.

Windows Server 2003 End of Life

In July 2010, Microsoft ended Mainstream support for the Windows Server 2003 family and on 14th July 2015, Microsoft will end Extended support. This will mean that there will be no more updates developed for the Operating System which includes fixes for any vulnerabilities.

What does this mean?
With no fixes available, your server will be vulnerable to attack and could easily be compromised. If you work in the Payments industry, then your server will fail a compliance audit for PCI DSS. You may also find that any applications that you run on your server may not be supported by the vendor.

What can you do?
DSW can help you analyse your 2003 estate and look at what upgrade paths are available for your applications. In short, your best answer is to upgrade to Windows Server 2012 R2 and again DSW can help you to plan and implement this.

New alerts for SPMA

The DSW alerting service (SPMA) continues to add more functionality to fit our customers needs. Recent alerts added include

  • Send a Warning if the server reboots
  • Monitor the number of Terminal Services Connections (this can be configured to monitor any TCP port)
  • Monitor ISP Name Servers (ensure the Name Server responds in a timely manner and that the response is correct)

New alerts are added to SPMA on a monthly basis and if there is not an alert that suits your needs, then we will write one to fit the requirement.

Each alert can be configured on it’s own or follow the generic configuration. So if you want an alert to run on a different schedule, alert email sent to a different set of people or only alert during core/custom hours then SPMA can be configured for your exact needs.

The power of systems monitoring

DSW recently setup their SPMA (Systems Performance Monitoring & Alerting) system for one of our customers and to be honest, they didn’t quite understand what they would get out of it. After the system was running for less than 1 week, it showed some strange peaks in CPU and network usage.

DSW investigated this which turned out to be a Brute Force attack on their system to try and hack their Administrator password. Their systems were safe as DSW had already advised the customer to disable the Administrator account and use another administrator account for their day to day admin work.

The graphs produced for the customer also included the uptime of the server which showed for this customer that the server had been running for over 200 days. DSW questioned this with the customer as it was a Windows server and we would have expected a monthly reboot for patching. This has highlighted an issue with the WSUS server at the hosting company.

What the customer learned with SPMA is that it will show them a normal profile for the standard system usage but will highlight unusual usage which should be investigated.