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As Seen On

The Origin of System 76 Computers

System 76 Computers is a relative newcomer to the computer hardware reselling market, having only been founded in 2003, just 15 years ago. With its HQ in Denver, Colorado, the company was created by the combined minds of Erik Fetzer and Carl Richell, who still remains as the enterprise’s CEO.

Since it began operation, the company has been involved in the supply of servers, desktops, notebooks and netbooks and employing a modest 21 employees, it is rightly considered as a rather small fish in a rather big pond. What System 76 is most notable for is their support of software deemed as ‘open source’, offering as they do, their proprietary Pop! Operating system or Ubuntu (another open source OS) pre installed on machines they supply.

The Name
The founders settled on the name System 76, which sounds like a file you might find somewhere in the bowels of your control panel, but the source is a little more interesting than that. Using the year 1776, the year of the American Revolution against the British, the pair decided that was it was appropriate, as they were trying to instigate something of a revolution themselves. This revolution being that by encouraging the use of open source platforms, the consumer dependence on proprietary software would come to an end.

Linux OS
Despite registering System 76 in 2003, it took nearly two years for Fetzer and Richell to formally begin operations, which was focussed on Linux based computer systems. The most pressing issue the pair had to address when they set out was which particular Linux distribution to employ, as the path to their goal (bringing Linux to the masses) had to be by using the most efficient platform in order to succeed.

Amongst the Linux options considered, were OpenSUSE, Red Hat Enterprise and Yoper, all of which were eschewed in favour of Ubuntu. Their goal was to offer commercially supported, free software and it was realised when the company launched its first computer with Unbuntu 5.10 (aka Breezy Badger) pre installed.

In recent years, Ubuntu has changed its approach, preferring to adopt GNU Network Object Model Environment (GNOME), which wasn’t conducive to what System 76 were trying to achieve. This led to the company launching its own OS, based on Ubuntu, called Pop!

The Future
Whether Richell and Fetzer’s vision will come to be realised and Linux becomes used on much more widespread basis remains to be seen, but given the giants they are up against, it could be said that they’ll have their work cut out to break to the current domination by the likes of iOS and Windows.

Explaining Recovery Point Objective (RPO)

The specifics of RPO are typically defined by the business continuity strategy parameters put into place, but generally speaking, it relates to a set objective for the maximum amount of time that major incidents cause data to be lost from an IT network. When designers are creating the network, the RPO is a set of guidelines for the system to be able to adhere to.

For example, should the RPO be required at no more than 3 hours, in reality, mirrored backups located at a secondary site must be monitored at all times, as a daily backup of this kind won’t offer a short enough recovery time to meet the set parameters.

Information Technology Service Continuity (ITSC)
RPO forms part of a larger continuity strategy that is known as an ITSC, that requires a consistent backup from as recent a point in time as possible. This kind of system is a necessity to any business hoping to achieve business continuity, able to react to any given crisis and restore normal service within a set time frame.

This ITSC strategy must offer an RPO and a specific Recovery Time Objective (RTO), which is usually measured in lost hours and lost data. From a cost standpoint, the shorter the time aimed for, the more expensive the strategy will be to implement. It is down to the business in question to decide whether the impact of loss in service time outweighs the implementation cost.

How It’s Worked Out
A business continuity team will normally be responsible for working out the specifics of the RPO and RTO, which as a starting point, is the set amount of time any given business can be without service without it experiencing major operational or financial loss. The figures involved will usually be agreed in advance between themselves and the ITSC team.

The measurable time can be determined as the duration between the service interruption and it being fully restored, but the starting point can also be marked as when the decision is taken to proceed with recovery proceedings and the end being when the network is made accessible to the existing user community.

Measurable Loss
Whilst the amount of time a system is down for can be measured accurately, the quantity of lost data and its associated financial impact can only be estimated. What cannot be underestimated, however, is the amount of damage that can result from a prolonged outage to a company that relies on continuity, which is why these strategies are regularly used across the business IT world.

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