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Newsletter #14
Februrary 8, 2012

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Dear BVCMS Community,

This newsletter contains tips, information about new features, and announcments of upcoming events. See past newsletters.

User News & Announcements

This is where we keep users informed. Here are the latest news items and announcements from BVCMS.

Scorecard or Ministry Tool?

"Every number is a soul for whom Jesus died." While BVCMS is a database that tracks attendance numbers, contributions and all of the normal statistics that churches need in order to help them evaluate their effectiveness, our heart is that it is much more. Behind those numbers are people who either need to know Christ or who are already believers and need to be discipled and receive fellowship and encouragement from your church. So, by design, BVCMS is a tool to help you reach these souls. Read more about how to use BVCMS as an integrated part of your ministry plan.

iPad App Now in the Apple App Store

You can now use an iPad for checkinóand even print labels! We have tested it here at Bellevue and are very pleased with the results. Download it now from the App Store. It's named BVCheckin. Read more about using iPads for attendance. We are working on more of these iPad apps, stay tuned.

Recurring Giving Feature

Your donors who give on-line can now set up and manage their giving as recurring gifts. If you are already using online giving through BVCMS, then you already have the required merchant account and will just need your BVCMS System Admin to do a simple Manage Recurring Giving set up. Read more about online giving and how to get started.

Who Moved my Cheese—I Mean, My Verify Address Button?

We did, and we are proud of it! Itís a good thing. The verification happens automatically now (you can still override it if needed). Read more about how this works.

No More Strange Passwords

Well, the ones you make up for yourself might be strange, but we're talking about the system generated passwords, sometimes funny, sometimes weird, sometimes a bit embarrassing. But what can you do? It's a computer! Well, here's what we did. We took the responsibility away from the computer and gave it to you, the user. This new method applies not only to new users (who can create their own passwords in the beginning), but also to existing users who forget their passwords. Read more.

Speaking of New Users...

We have simplified that process as well. Read more about changes regarding creating new users.

And speaking of simple...your System Admin can now email a special Create Account link to a person or a group of people inviting them to create a My Data account on BVCMS. It just doesn't get any easier than that! Read more.

Development News

Moving to the Farm...the one in the Cloud that is

Recently when we added Bellevue to our web server, we had some severe slowness episodes the first day. The next night, we doubled the number of CPUs which helped some and finally this past weekend we moved Bellevue to their own server. But now that we have over 100 churches hosted we are still getting close to saturating our main server. We need to prepare for the future. So, we are moving to the farm—the Web Farm that is, otherwise known as a load balancer configuration. The way a Web Farm works is that you have a single IP address front end that serves up requests to one of a number of backend web servers. Itís how Facebook can serve so many users. The neat thing is that as we grow, we'll be able to add a new server to the farm in a matter of a few minutes without any shutdowns.

There is a lot of coding to be done to make this possible, but we think that will be ready to go sometime this week. It is interesting that moving from a single server to two servers is a huge job but moving from two to three or more servers is really easy. Thatís because the hard part is the coding to support the greater than one server configuration. Just to give you an idea of what is involved, when you upload a file to BVCMS to share with your email recipients, the file gets stored on that web server. But since there will be more than one web server now, that file has to be stored somewhere that is accessible by any of the servers since you donít know which server is going to be responding to the request. So, the answer for us is to use a Content Delivery Network to store your uploaded files. Rackspace has a great CloudFiles service which can also be setup to act as a CDN. In fact, CloudFiles is where we save your nightly backups.

We do Backups

Did you know we create a backup your data every night at 1:00 AM Central time? We keep these backups indefinately too. Read more about how our daily/weekly/monthly backup schedule works. We have only had to restore from backup once due to a hardware failure. Occasionally, someone will accidently delete something and we'll mount their backup in a separate place so they can go retrieve the data. That has been rare too.

David Carroll and Karen Worrell
Your BVCMS Team

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