Category Archives: Technology

Example of Tank Monitoring at Christfort Ranch

I wanted to share a screenshot from my own ranch’s water system (below). It’s a graph of the status of the water tank for the ranch main house. It tells me the water level, flow into the tank, plus I added a calculated “virtual” sensor showing total water pumped in last 24hrs. We get water from a spring with solar pumping.

Several interesting things I get from using this graph:

  • I can see the filling pattern from the solar pump daily. I can spot when it is doing less (overcast days), or not working at all
  • I can see overall production on 24hrs basis, which ideally is a reasonably flat graph
  • From the level graph I can see the effect of drawing water (mostly landscape irrigation)
  • You can see we are dealing with some piping leaks – that show up as slopes overnight on the water level graph. A few weeks ago the slope was less, but since yesterday it is bigger: we added a new section of piping, so we now know we have a large leak.
  • I have alerts set for low water level, and also for missing pumping at mid-day: all these go direct to me and the caretaker’s cell phone, so even when I’m not paying attention I know he is.
  • Finally, a text message is set up to go to my caretaker each morning at 8am with current level. Since he is not computer literate, this is a simple way for him to track this important status each day as he plans his day.

One of the big reasons for designing the RS technology was exactly this kind of scenario: being not always on site (and even if I were), I felt powerless to understand if my water system was working, and when not, what were the degree of the problem – and when I did fixes, whether they worked.  Now these answers are always at my fingertips, or rather my iPhone 🙂

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Server Upgrades

We are currently in the process of upgrading our server cloud.  The Spring season has brought an inflow of many new customers, which means that our infrastructure needs to grow with it.  We also recently suffered a disk crash from which we were able to recover, but not as gracefully and quickly as we wanted.

So we are underway implementing the following improvements:

  1. Additional, more powerful servers.  So far most of our customers were on the “augusta” server which is the one suffering the crash.  As part of recovery, data was moved to “gallica”  and “gemina” server. Soon “augusta” will be back up with the same high performance configuration as “gemina” while “gallica” will revert to being a standby for emergency.
  2. RAID5 redundancy on all disks.  All the new server will spread out data on 3 disks in parallel with full redundancy, using a scheme called RAID5. This means that future disk crashes will be invisible event to our users – disks will be hot-swapped as necessary when a failure is detected.
  3. New backup software which will constantly  move incremental changes from main server on to remote standby server, both in terms of database items as well as uploaded images file, such as camera images and real-time map picture. This software will enable us to very quickly activate a complete standby server in the case of future catastrophic crashes.

We’ll keep you posted!