July, July! What a great month it was, even though it seemed to be gone in an instant. We’ve added some new services, there’s global network upgrades pending, and we’ve even optimized some existing services. It’s hard to say just exactly where those 31 days went, but everyone managed to accomplish a lot. I’m sure I’ve overlooked something but here’s the major changes for last month.
Partnership with CloudFlare
Last month we were selected by CloudFlare to be an official hosting provider for their services. CloudFlare is a free service for all of our users which, once enabled, acts as a reverse proxy for all of your websites traffic. Using the same technologies utilized by some of the largest companies in the world, CloudFlare inspects your traffic through their filtering system for known malicious traffic, bots, crawlers, and other traffic sources which have a negative impact on your site. In addition to their filtering, CloudFlare also provides a CDN style network which caches your static content, providing faster pageloads and an overall better response time for your site as your files are now globally distributed.
One of the many features of this partnership is that we’re able to integrate CloudFlare directly into our control panel, giving users the ability to enable or disable CloudFlare protection with the click of a button. For an idea of what this looks like and also some more information about how CloudFlare benefits you, take a look at http://www.hawkhost.com/cloudflare
Our upstream provider made a number of significant network upgrades over the last 45 days, all meant to increase capacity and allow for future growth. The purpose of the upgrades (at least most of them) was to replace aging routing equipment for newer, higher power models that offer a new suite of features. Along with the upgrades for capacity in existing locations, it was also announced that their global network will be getting a boost by opening 6 overseas POPs. There are already plans for datacenters in Singapore and Amsterdam, but they will also be building out network POPs in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Moscow, Tokyo and Hong Kong. The goal is to get every single user within 40ms of their network , an idea that will allow them to have almost complete control over users routing from any region of the globe. The implications of these upgrades are pretty significant for us given our global userbase, so we’re pretty excited to see these new POPs up and running!
Since this is a monthly recap, I couldn’t go without bringing up our recent upgrade to cPanel version 11.30. However, Tony has already written an expansive post on what 11.30 offers. If you’re interested in reading more about the 11.30 release and how it effects you, read this
New DNS cluster
We recently setup another shared hosting machine in our San Jose, CA location — that in itself is not unusual, we’re lighting up new servers all the time. What did change is that this newest machine is the inaugural server for our brand new DNS cluster. We’ve been discussing a second set of nameservers for some time now, but with this new server the decision was finally made to push them live. While this has little impact on existing accounts, new customers should now pay special attention to their account information emails for the correct nameservers.
Whenever a new account was be created with us, our system would just display the default directory listing. That wasn’t really very exciting or helpful, but it at least let users know there was an account on our servers. We gave that default page a bit of a facelift so now it’s at least prettier to look at and has a whole lot of helpful information on getting started with your account.
It’s a little hard to read in the screen shot (we had to shrink it so it fit in the post), but if you do have a new account setup with us you may see this page. You’ll definitely know what it says then!
Ksplice purchased by Oracle
We were an early adopter of Ksplice Uptrack, a Linux kernel technology which allows users to apply system updates on the fly without a reboot. Usually applying kernel level updates requires you to reboot the server to take effect, meaning more scheduled maintenance and more downtime. Obviously, that’s something we like to avoid!
It was announced that Oracle, a multi-billion dollar company, recently acquired Ksplice for an undisclosed amount of money. While we’ve been assured by Ksplice that both our rates and existing privileges won’t change, there is some worry among the community that Oracle will drop support for RHEL based kernels. Oracle provides their own enterprise version of Linux, meant to compete with Red Hat and their managed services. It’s easy to see why they’d want to drop support for any distros other than their own, so we’ll see how things develop here.
Should Oracle decide to drop support, fortunately a lot of the technology Ksplice Uptrack relied on is open source, leaving room for another company or project to develop their own rebootless technology. There are a few hiccups to work through (patent issues, namely) but confidence seems high in the ability to develop a competing service.
Some of you diligent readers may have noticed this is the latest we’ve ever posted a monthly status report. We’re not getting lazy, I promise. In the past year or so I’ve taken to writing these posts and it’s been increasingly difficult to convince the other guys to let their creative writing see the light of day. I think it may also be because they’re super busy with other projects. Either way, the reason I’m so late on this months post is I recently took a 10 day trip to San Francisco. I wasn’t alone though, as our CTO Cody (my partner in crime) came along. Here’s a picture of us playing some billiards:
That’s me in the blue pretending I have a clue or strategy, and Cody appears to be doing the same thing. We also caught a Giants game at the gorgeous AT&T park in the heart of the city:
Overall it was a great trip to the West coast, but we’re both excited to be back at the office and keeping things moving forward. August is shaping up to be just as exciting as July, so we’ll see you in a few weeks with another update!