Category

General

Maximising site performance: 5 key considerations

By | General | No Comments

Maintaining and managing the ongoing performance of your website or application is an area where ‘not my problem’ can be a recurring sentiment from all stakeholders.   It’s not just a case of getting your shiny new website or application onto the biggest, most highly spec-ed-up dedicated server or cloud instance that money can buy. There are many factors that can influence the performance of your website that you — yes you — need to make friends with. The relationship between site performance and business outcomes Websites today have evolved into fully fledged web applications. They started out as simple HTML, but have today evolved into complex, database driven, ‘rich’ multimedia content, requiring buckets of storage and computing power. Your server needs to run complex scripts and processes, and serves up…

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Free Your Time: Why Outsourcing AWS Management is Vital!

By | General | One Comment

While most drivers are capable of carrying out a few basic car maintenance tasks, the majority wouldn’t attempt to reconfigure the clutch or modify the engine, no matter how many YouTube videos or handy guides there might be. Sending the car to a trusted mechanic not only saves a great deal of time and stress—often worth the fee alone— but also gives us the confidence that it is done RIGHT. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is incredibly powerful, flexible and complex. When a competitive advantage can rely on squeezing every last ounce of performance or uptime from your infrastructure, expert help can make a massive difference that can easily justify—and often more than repay— any management fee. Plus, a certified AWS partner may have access to economies of scale that allow…

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Red Hat Enterprise Linux & CentOS 5 End-of-Life

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Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and CentOS 5 reaches end-of-life at the end of March, 2017. This means that maintenance will cease, and there will be no further updates to any software installed via vendor packages. Although this change has no immediate effect on current services hosted by Anchor, it does mean that Anchor or any other hosting provider, can no longer make the same security guarantees. This means that any future vulnerabilities, detected in packaged software or the core operating system, will not be patched. Anchor recommends that anyone still running these, or any previous versions, should migrate to a new machine running a supported operating system, such as CentOS 7, which is the current stable release. This process involves building a new machine, testing and migrating all of the…

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Why your compliance scan keeps failing

By | General, Technical | No Comments

At Anchor, a large number of our customers seek various certifications for their hosted properties. These commonly include PCI, IRAP and many others. The business drivers for undertaking a certification programme vary between customers, but often involve the need to meet some form or regulatory or industry compliance requirement. Whilst it may not be the initial driver, the fundamental goal of many of these activities is to reduce business risk by improving security posture. We’ve become accustomed to dealing with auditors to assist our customers in undertaking certification initiatives. Unfortunately, just as in any industry, the quality of service, analysis and rigour that these entities employ can vary wildly. Automated scans Auditors commonly use automated tooling as an initial mechanism when assessing the compliance of a hosted infrastructure against the certification that…

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Avoiding Simple Code Breaks on AWS

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Faulty code remains one of the most common reasons for performance issues and unscheduled downtime. Yet, it is still possible for bad code to make its way into the Production environment, even with testing. Your Production environment is most likely a collection of interlinked servers, load balancers and more. Does it really make sense to test your code on a single sandbox server that doesn’t equate in any way to the real world it will need to operate within? Of course your code performs flawlessly within the simplified, unchallenging environment of a single testing or staging server. But that’s no indication of what may happen upon release when it attempts to mesh with the harsh realities of your full Production environment. Instead, code should be tested in a complete and…

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Decide on your backup plan before it’s too late!

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Most businesses don’t think twice about taking out insurance policies to protect against various forms of loss, such as workers compensation or public liability. They’re rightly considered a cost of doing business. But what about the cost of downtime? If your website or application is a critical part of your business, you should be taking every precaution to guard against outages in the same way you insure yourself against other forms of loss. The most serious business consequences of downtime are often lost customer registrations, lost sales or frustrated customers. In 2015, one of Anchor’s larger e-commerce customers transacted more than $100 million dollars in revenue through their Magento store. Crunching those numbers means a single hour of downtime equals a potential revenue loss of around $11,415. In reality, the…

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Is your 2017 cloud resolution to grow your online presence?

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If your resolution for 2017 is to grow your online presence, provide a better customer experience or maximising your ecommerce revenue without increasing your workload, then switching your hosting to the cloud is exactly what you’re looking for! Moving your website or web application into a cloud hosting environment means you can take advantage of the latest, high speed, highly available infrastructure to power your application. You can easily ‘scale up’ to meet your growing demands and only pay for what you use, making it more cost effective than the lofty fixed monthly costs of traditional dedicated or virtual servers. One of the biggest mistakes however, is attempting to manage the cloud operations by yourself – highlighted in our Mistakes to Avoid in AWS  EBook. While some car drivers might be…

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AWS Reinvent 2016: Embiggen your business with Amazon Web Services

By | Cloud Computing, General | One Comment

Three weeks ago, Amazon Web Services ran their annual love-fest in Las Vegas and it was quite a remarkable week. On arrival, attendees (all 32,000+ of them) were given a shiny new Alexa Echo Dot, Amazon’s latest entrant into the growing market for voice controlled, AI-based smart assistants, a segment that includes Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant and Microsoft’s Cortana. Amazon have now made it clear that they’re taking Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning very seriously, with four brand new, developer-focussed AI related services (Polly, Rekognition, Lex and MXNet) announced during the week. The free Alexa Echo Dots yet another incentive for developers to start building apps that make use of (and ultimately contribute to) Amazon’s efforts in this space. The week was brought to a close with a spectacular party,…

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Digital Transformation, AWS, Agile, DevOps and MicroServices. Oh My!

By | General | No Comments
Accelerating software delivery has been an important organisational goal for well over a decade, and the new software economy is making it even more so. As I'm sure you've noticed, digital disruption is very real. The past few years has seen profound change across many established industries (with repercussions felt across tens, if not hundreds of thousands of businesses), and it's clear that we're only just getting started. Established companies have to resist the temptation to perpetuate "business as usual", instead remodelling their businesses to create and serve the new kinds of value demanded by customers in a digital world. And if the incumbents don't do it, a new entrant into your market will. "The traditional core competencies of existing companies often become less like industry-defending fortresses and more like deadweight." - Digital to the Core. Mark Raskino and...
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AWS discount vouchers? We can do better than that!

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If you’re looking to reduce your AWS spend, read on. It’s no secret that the range of cloud services offered by providers such as Amazon Web Services brings many benefits to your business. Despite this, complex usage pricing and a huge range of services (around 60 at this stage!) means that it can be challenging controlling your costs. While many organisations move to the cloud expecting to save money, depending on how you’ve set things up you may find you’re spending more than you expected to. And while AWS discount vouchers sadly aren’t really a thing – Anchor has a few simple ways to reduce your AWS costs. You can get a quick fix with the “AWS Caretaker” service – simply link Anchor as your billing provider and you’ll immediately benefit from our volume discounts. We should be able to…

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