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We have a small, but growing company. We need 24 / 7 coverage on our servers (beyond the managed hosting coverage). We have had cases where people's cell died or were out of coverage.

We want to provide a simple backup device with long battery life, just for emergency issues. The best option would be a pager that works everywhere. Does anyone have experience with Iridium? What are other good options?

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3 Answers 3

Pager Duty might fit your needs. It will give you an email address that will alert someone (via SMS, email, whatever) and supports escalations (if no one answers for 10 minutes, go to this person, then this one, etc). It's cheap enough for a small shop that it shouldn't be a problem if you're really in 24x7 land.

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instead of shelling out for a satellite phone - which has it's own issues as far as coverage, just different ones. Why not just setup escalations on your monitoring package - if the first guy doesn't acknowledge the alert in 30 mins, page the second guy, if he doesn't acknowledge in 30 mins, page the whole world.

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Satellite pager, not phone. Phones are very pricey. And we only have two people on deck at any given time. If one is out of coverage area (for example, I live rurally) and other did not notice phone was on silent, we have no coverage. –  Peter Sep 10 '10 at 19:56
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@Peter, So if both those people tragically died in a car accident while 'on deck', what would happen. Surely you want the alert to then go to the next person on a list even if they are not supposed to be doing on-call support for that night? –  Zoredache Sep 10 '10 at 20:09
    
@Peter, You'll still have battery/coverage/etc problems with a sat phone/pager just less predictable and more due to weather. What we do is page on call 1st, then backup , then the entire team - if it's been down for an hour without being ack'd something is sufficiently wrong to warrant paging someone who isn't on call –  Zypher Sep 10 '10 at 20:17
    
We have two people on deck always, but it can be that one person is out of coverage and other has dead phone –  Peter Oct 5 '10 at 11:00

If your 'out of range' is typically the same place (eg. your home), you could have Internet access there and get a Chumby (http://www.chumby.com/). You could both have it load either a service you maintain (eg. Nagios) or a service like pingdom, OR you could whip up a little program (the Chumby is very hackable) that sets off an alarm based on a Nagios/pingdom status.

Another option along somewhat similar lines would be one of the femtocell or 'hotspot at home' solutions from your wireless carrier. This would kill two birds with one stone.

If you tend to be moving around when you are out of range, then perhaps what you should first investigate is paying for remote hands or setting up automatic actions (eg. system or service cycling) in Nagios or similar.

If none of these work for you, then maybe your Satellite pager idea is the answer.

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