ITSD Computing and Communications Services News
May, 2003
  Outgrowing Your Desktop Web Hosting? ITSD Offers a Range of Services, Solutions

Way back when, many Lab researchers and groups set up their own Web servers to provide a repository for easily sharing documents, research results and data. But with the growth in size and sophistication of the Web, some of these small sites have evolved into complicated Web services. Not only do the owners spend considerably more time massaging text and graphics into usable information, but they also have to contend with continuous system upgrades and cyber security issues. For those who find themselves overwhelmed by Web duties, several departments in the Lab’s Information Technologies and Services Division provide a range of Web services and hosting options. Here’s a look at those services:

Creative/Web Services (TEID-Illustration@lbl.gov)
Whether you're looking to build an entirely new Web presence, or just update your existing Web site, the Creative/Web Services Group can analyze the situation and offer solutions. The group will consult with you to determine what you want your site to accomplish, what audience you're addressing and how best to accomplish your goals. Depending on your goals and budget, they can build out a complete site, or just "template it" and let you add content and additional pages. Training in Macromedia Dreamweaver software is also offered. When your site is ready for launch, Creative/Web Services will assist with setting up your site on an appropriate Lab Web server, as well as establish access for your site administrators. The group will also ensure compliance with established Berkeley Lab Web site interface guidelines.

Creative/Web services provides:

Art and design:

  • Free initial consultation
  • New Web site design
  • Existing site redesign
  • Design of custom identity marks, banners, illustration, photography, etc.
  • Conversion of print media (brochures, flyers, etc.) and other document types (MS-Excel, MS-PowerPoint, etc.) into HTML or PDF

Information management:

  • Information/navigation/usability analysis and best practices recommendations
  • Web forms
  • Surveys/questionnaires
  • Web-based training/quizzes
  • HTML-based email newsletter templating
  • JavaScript, DHTML
  • Quality control/uploading of your finished site to Lab Web server and access

Multimedia:

  • Video-to-Web in a variety of modes: QuickTime, QTVR, RealVideo, MPEG3
  • Web site-to-CD production for conferences or archiving
  • RealVideo media streaming
  • Macromedia Flash

Business Technology Solutions Group (JRWiller@lbl.gov)
Business Technology Solutions Group (BTS) specializes in cost-effective, customized Web-enabled database applications. BTS provides database Web applications using a strong standard software tool suite that simplifies and automates the design, development and administration of Web applications. BTS's database of choice is Oracle, a powerful and robust product that is professionally maintained, backed up, provides both data integrity and recovery, and can easily access information from various other applications as needed.

The Business Technology Solutions Group:

  • Uses the latest Web technology for rapid development (JSP/ASP).
  • Develops powerful and well-organized Web sites with a common look and feel.
  • Develops Web sites that are intuitive, innovative, use elegant site navigation and powerful search tools
  • Provides low-cost ,database-driven Web site hosting.
  • Provides specialized expertise in creating back-end Web solutions utilizing SQL databases and server-side scripting technologies.
  • Controls quality to ensure accuracy and multi-browser compatibility.
  • Provides stability, reliability and 24x7 monitoring and security.

UNIX Shared and Dedicated Servers (GMJung@lbl.gov)
The UNIX Systems Group offers several different Web-hosting solutions designed to supplement services offered by the other groups. The UNIX group offers shared and dedicated Web hosting comparable to commercial Internet service providers. These are apache-based Web servers supporting a full range of development possibilities, from static pages and server side includes to CGI to mod_perl and PHP.

A shared Web server is a secured and optimized UNIX system serving content for multiple Web sites. Each user has private content, application and logging directories. This is a low-cost, low-maintenance solution for users who don't want to worry about upgrading operating systems or server software. The hardware, operating system and server software are maintained and monitored by the UNIX Group to provide a hassle-free Web solution.

Some Web sites require a more controlled approach. The UNIX group offers dedicated servers for users requiring the resources of an entire machine all to their own. Some users may have very high security requirements, while others may have a complex Web application that has high memory or CPU requirements. In a dedicated hosting solution, the UNIX group will rack, install, configure, and secure a server for running one or more Web sites for one client. The UNIX group will then monitor the host and provide OS upgrades and support. Additionally, the UNIX group can provide upgrade support and maintenance of the server software (apache, mod-perl, PHP, etc.). Application support, such as analysis of CGI or PHP programs, is generally beyond the scope of dedicated hosting; however, consulting services are available.

In addition to shared and dedicated Web server hosting, the UNIX group also offers custom hosting and consulting services. Complex Web sites involving multi-tier application servers, load-balanced servers, and separate database servers require customized hosting services. Projects requiring their own enterprise Web server environments should contact the UNIX group for custom support services. Group or individuals who are unsure of what services they need, or how to support new or legacy Web services should contact the UNIX group for specialized Web service consulting.