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Can't trust PVC. What is a solution that is dependable enough to schedule?

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:25 am
by aclawson
All all-stake bishopric/stake president meeting was scheduled to be conducted through PVC, when the time arrived for the meeting people were getting the "system down for maintenance" error so what was intended to be a webcast with screen sharing turned into a telephone conference. This is unacceptable. Things may happen from time to time, but if a product is going to be provided and advertised as being available then it needs to be available 24/7 with five nine uptime. The system goes down for maintenance for hours from time to time and unless that gets fixed then we cannot trust the system to be reliable enough to schedule events in the future.

What is a good, preferably free, solution that we can use with confidence knowing that it will be working when it needs to work?

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:39 am
by dannykos
Unacceptable?!? I think you mean unfortunate.

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:07 am
by aclawson
dannykos wrote:Unacceptable?!? I think you mean unfortunate.

Unfortunate is where a clerk can't update a phone number or a home teacher can't verify an address on

Unacceptable does not have as negative of a connotation as you seem to be implying here - unacceptable in this instance is a synonym for unsuitable.

Unacceptable is where you plan a specific event involving the majority of the leadership of a stake that is depending on a service that is presented as the official solution but is still subject to relatively frequent outages. It is an unacceptable solution in that it is not reliable - we can't trust it for anything of importance so we need to find an alternative solution that has high availability and not subject to what was apparently 36 hours of unreliable service.

They could have used a Cisco product. They could have used Citrix. There are many, many services out there that exceed five nine reliability - those services are reliable and dependable and can be trusted to be up and running for a significant event such as this. Until there are some assurances that pvc will be working as reliably as it should be it has to be excluded from the planning of anything that really matters.

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:08 am
by pani
Are people actually using PVC?
Google Hangouts for groups of 10 could work well and cost nothing.

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:10 am
by aclawson
That could work. Haven't played with it much - does it allow for desktop sharing, does it work with macs, and does it require a google account or can you invite non-using guests?

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:02 am
by Mikerowaved
aclawson wrote:That could work. Haven't played with it much - does it allow for desktop sharing...
aclawson wrote:...does it work with macs
Yes, OS X ver 10.5 and up is supported. It also supports Ubuntu and other Debian based Linux distros.
aclawson wrote:and does it require a google account or can you invite non-using guests?
Yes, [unfortunately] it requires a free Google+ account for those actively participating.

Within that Google+ account, you can create a "circle" that contains a specific group of people, for example, a High Council, then create a Hangout so only those in that circle can participate.

I like to try and use the church's recommended system(s) first, but I think Hangouts would be an excellent fall-back, should PVC not be working for some reason. It does take a bit of planning to get everyone a G+ account, but that's a pretty simple process.

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:19 am
by aclawson
That very well could work. I'll check into it. My biggest fear is that if we get everybody using a gmail account the temptation to use the doc collaboration would be strong and church information would probably end up being stored on a third party server which is a big no-no. The stake could get a domain and set up apps for domains to kind of keep tabs on things, but that opens up a whole mess of administration overhead.


Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:26 am
by sammythesm
As a Cisco employee, I can vouch for Cisco WebEx and/or Cisco Telepresence as viable solutions. Thankfully, I have a WebEx account I can use as a backup, and apparently (just went to today) there is now a free version of WebEx you can use with VoIP only and up to 3 participants. So, keep that one on your radar in terms of a backup solution. Also, Cisco has launched a free beta of its Jabber Video service (point-to-point HD video) at Though it is only point to point, it may also serve as a backup solution.

I'm a dog-food-eater at work all day - pretty much half to 3/4 of my day is spent on WebEx or Telepresence every single day, and the solutions are rock solid. I'd like to see the Church adopt more of them, though it seems they have hitched their wagons to Microsoft and Vidyo for the time being. :( I did see an email float around that there is a new sales engineer focused on the Church's account, though, so we'll see if that helps push some of these new, awesome solutions we are building.

Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 10:55 am
by rodhyde
I apologize that you experienced difficulty when trying to use PVC. To help us better understand this problem, can you provide more information on the times that you were attempting to access PVC and experienced this issue? Also, can you tell me if you called the Global Service Center for help when this occurred?

The message you referenced is manually put in place when we perform system maintenance, which we have not done recently. It appears very much like a caching issue with your browser, however if you can provide more details we will certainly research this on our end.

Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 11:39 am
by russellhltn
rodhyde wrote:The message you referenced is manually put in place when we perform system maintenance, which we have not done recently.

I believe there's a redirect to thrown up by some church front-end router anytime a server's response time becomes too slow. Nothing manual about it. I've encountered it anytime the forum response time gets bad. Note that once redirected to this location, "refresh" will be pointless. You have to go back and try your original URL again.