Category: Server Hosting

When Shared Servers Don’t Work….

For some businesses, having an up to date, easily accessible and manageable website is the lifeblood of their company.  For web designers maintaining various sites on a community/shared server, access and software updates can prove difficult to manage, if not almost impossible.  While a dedicated hardware server may not be the answer, Gconnect’s 30:30 server could be.

The 30:30 server bridges the gap between a dedicated hardware server and shared hosting on a community server.  The servers are delivered as a base server, with a number of optional add-ons.  These allow customisation with the “everything you need, and nothing you don’t” ethos.

The security advantages of these “lightweight” dedicated servers make hosting web sites with specialist software requirements and PCI compliance need a breeze.  The flexibility offered by full root access, and the option to install or develop your own software, makes the 30:30 server the ideal solution for many IT headaches.

Based upon industry leading “VMWare ESX Enterprise” software and enterprise grade Dell hardware, our 30:30 servers are built for reliability and resilience, giving you peace of mind that your application will be available day and night.  To find out more about these fantastic servers, call us on 0845 006 0866.

Deprecation of Internal Server Names from SSL certificates

We have had to reconfigure some of our customers Exchange Server settings recently as part of their SAN UC certificate renewal. This is due to the CA/Browser Forum, a collaborative effort between the Certificate Authorities and Browser vendors, phasing out the use of internal server names and reserved IP addresses from certificates from November 2015.

In a nutshell, this means if you use internal server names on your SAN UC certificate and have a domain such as .local, you will almost certainly need to change some settings on your Exchange Server, or apply your certificate at the perimeter of your network and use an internal CA for your Exchange server certificate. These changes are designed to stop the use of domains that cannot be verified in the public namespace.

Further information on the CA/Browser Forum and the changes can be found here: https://www.cabforum.org/index.html

MySQL Replication with ZFS

After a meeting with a customer this week, we were posed with the question of how to backup  a MySQL database, off site with the ability to recover records that have been deleted in error. To make the job more interesting, there are some ‘caveats’ which include, not buying Terrabytes of storage, not requiring enormous amounts of bandwidth and not using a massive overhead on te production server. Currently the end user is using a well know replication product which rhymes with ‘Trouble Bake’ but this is using 1GB of RAM on the 32Bit OS so is causing some issues. MySQL is running on Windows for that extra RAM overhead and can only have 4GB RAM (see 32Bit).

As fairly long time users of ZFS with FreeBSD, we are now testing a box which is replicating MySQL using the built in replication feature (in real time) and the snapshots the data every hour. Our Lab is using a ‘production database which is quite small and the data does not change much. The results are very good, so good in fact we are now using it to take backups of web servers in parallel to the normal backups. With great features like de-duplication, on the fly compression and quotas the ZFS system is really worth looking at. The new version of FreeBSD has the system installed out of the box as of course does Solaris and Linux even has a package called ZFS on Linux.

If you are motivated to have a look, here are some links:

FreeBSD Project
Solaris
ZFS on Linux
Or if you would like some help from Gconnect click here

Exam Success!

Congratulations to Mark Murray, one of our resident Windows engineers, on passing his latest Microsoft exam. His latest certification takes him to MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate) level and further strengthens our in-house technical abilities here at Gconnect. The MCSA certification is based around implementing and managing Windows Server 2008 and 2012 Active Directory and network infrastructure.

Work Diary: Making sense of NFSen

We recently took on new client who was hosting a SOAP server on the end of 2mbps leased line. The line was being completely flat-lined and the service was all but unavailable. Unfortunately, the networking hardware on site was pretty ‘basic’ so it was not possible to see what the issues were. The client had decided that as this service was mission critical they would move the 2 servers into the cloud, and then the extra bandwidth available would probably solve the issue. After the  initial install and server setup, we were able to analyse the data going to and from the server using a Netflow collector. This analysis identified the issue and the customer was able resolve the issue by speaking to the owner of the offending server. By using proprietary Cisco networking equipment and firewalls we are able to export Netflow data to our collectors which run on FreeBSD and NFSen, giving customers access to a wealth of data to help keep their businesses running at their best.

The NFSen Project at Sourceforge
The FreeBSD Project
Gconnect Hosting

30:30 server with IPv6 – drinking our own champagne

Gconnect’s own website and blogs have moved to a 30:30 server running FreeBSD. We could have a used a dedicated server, or even used space on one of our community servers, but we chose to move to the new 30:30 server – why? Well, there’s nothing like ‘drinking your own champagne’ to really understand how it works, and:

  • IPv6 connectivity – Using the Security Upgrade 1 we have a full /64
  • Enhanced security – only www service visible to the outside world, fully PCI complaint.
  • Software Flexibility – we like to keep our software up to date, but that does not suit everybody
  • Quick and easy backups

Our WordPress blogs transferred into the FreeBSD 9.1 server running Apache22, PHP5.4 & MySQL5.5 without any issues and there is more than enough ‘juice’ to run the sites. Now with the server completely locked down and the websites isolated, we can manage the server operating system and the software ‘our way’.

For more details on how you can use IPv6 or 30:30 servers go to www.gconnect.net/3030-servers.php

30:30 servers launched! Affordable virtual server hosting

Gconnect 30:30 Server LogoGconnect have today launched the 30:30 server – a compact dedicated virtual server with a menu of add-on options. The ability to customise the servers allows customers to pay only for the services they need and nothing that they don’t. The 30:30 servers are fast to deploy and can be pre-installed with either a base operating system (see list) or a complete image containing open source software to hit the ground running. The increased security that dedicated hosting can offer means that 30:30 servers are ideal for websites requiring PCI compliance or have specific software requirements. Developers will be able to utilise the full root SSH access to tweak software, manage backups, schedule tasks and many other sysadmin tasks that are not available with community hosting packages.

Our website contains full details: (http://www.gconnect.net/3030-servers.php)

Update to Root DNS Servers

If you’ve not done so already, its time to update the hints file on your DNS servers. An update to the ‘D’ server means that a new root file is available here:

http://www.internic.net/domain/named.root