Tag

server Archives - AWS Managed Services by Anchor

Cloud Servers – cheap, fast & reliable?

By | Company News, General, Technical | One Comment

One of the things the cloud has taught us over the past few years is to expect outages. Lots of them. Many of those outages have been pretty big! This is because in the world of public cloud (aka. Infrastructure as a Service), running servers in reliable, physical data centres has been replaced with a new concept; that of running cloud servers in Availability Zones. Which is fine, so long as you understand the implications and can configure your website or application to operate optimally in this type of environment. Don’t get me wrong, cloud servers have a lot going for them. It’s just that while they solve many problems, they also introduce a few biggies of their own and you really should be across the pros and cons before jumping on the…

Read More

How hard is it to set the service tag on a Dell motherboard?

By | Technical | 4 Comments

Dell is a weird, weird place. A little while ago we had a server with a bad motherboard, one of the 5-volt lines was out of whack. No big deal, we’d just get a replacement part and swap it out (getting a Dell technician into Globalswitch datacentre is more hassle than it’s worth). Our datacentre monkeytechnician replaced the motherboard without incident, but they did notice that there was now no service tag attached to the motherboard. This isn’t a problem, but it means the DRAC card can’t report its identity properly. We asked Dell for advice on writing the service tag to the new hardware, and they promised to send through details. That evening we received two emails from two different Dell support staff, each with very different instructions on…

Read More

Shiny new hardware: Dell R720xd

By | Technical | No Comments

We just received a shipment from Dell, it’s our new VPS hardware! Even the once-mighty leviathan is feeling rather humble these days. She’s got a pair of hyperthreaded octo-core Xeons (32 logical cores, rawr!), 384GiB RAM and 15.6TB of bare disk capacity! Team that with a pair of 10Gbps network ports, a pair of 1Gbps ports, H710 RAID card and the latest iDRAC 7 for management (much improved over the iDRAC 6), and you’ve got one hell of a machine. Unlike most of our servers, which come in pairs, this one was received as a single unit. Once our usual burn-in process has been done (expected to take quite a while), it’ll be evaluated for suitability as a replacement for the R510 chassis model that we currently use for VPS…

Read More

Naming your servers, Anchor-style

By | Technical | No Comments

If you’ve been an Anchor customer for a while, you’ve probably heard the names of a few of our servers. Since the company’s inception way back when, we’ve been using fun nautical-themed names for everything. That’s why our backup servers, being the disk-hogging monsters that they are, have names of great sea beasts like leviathan and cthulhu. This isn’t just us being silly, there’s sound logic behind it. Choosing good names for computers is covered by RFC 1178, it offers advice on things you should and shouldn’t do, and explains why. Even having been written over 20 years ago, the guidelines are as relevant as ever. It largely revolves around being clear, unambiguous, easy to remember and reducing the chance of mistakes in usage. This has served us very well…

Read More

Supermicro hardware up for grabs

By | Technical | No Comments

In the last year or so Anchor has been making a strong push towards energy-efficient Dell hardware and VPSes. As a result, we find ourselves with a collection of older Supermicro servers on our hands that still perform well, but aren’t viable to sell to customers any more. Rather than scrapping them and foisting more e-waste on the environment, we’d prefer to send them to a good home where a geek or hacker can make use of them. If this sounds like you, we’d love you to have a gander at our ebay listings. To whet your appetite, here’s a sample of what you can expect. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about the hardware. N.B. Nyanserver may not be as nyan as shown, photograph…

Read More

Stay-at-home servers

By | Technical | No Comments

So this is a bit old, but it’s been kicking around my bag of links for a little while. Who said Microsoft didn’t know how to have a little fun? You can even get a deadtree copy from Amazon. If that doesn’t do it for you, there’s apparently PDFs to be had as well.

Read More

“That’s like euthanising your grandmother”

By | Technical | No Comments

Remember that server you lost? Yeah, well we found it. [root@tidal90 root]# uptime 15:26:10 up 1080 days, 15:47, 1 user, load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00 We unearthed this beauty because the customer wants to upgrade their service to a VPS. Running Fedora Core 2 with a 2.6.10 kernel, most processes are so old that they don’t have a start-time or start-date, but a start-year, mostly in 2007. For those interested in the title of this post, When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth is a fun short story by Cory Doctorow.

Read More

Envy our new Leviathan!

By | Technical | One Comment

Our current rdiff and amanda backup server, KRAKEN, is almost full, so it was time to order a new one. After much wrangling, we finally received LEVIATHAN this morning. I was pushing for PHYREXIAN DREADNOUGHT personally, but LEVIATHAN is acceptable too; the upkeep effort of backup servers is pretty high after all.

Read More

Pain-free server migration

By | Technical | No Comments

Being the veteran of a datacentre migration and several whole server migrations I feel like I’m getting the process down to a reasonably fine art. I had to perform another migration last night from another datacentre to ours at Global Switch and the process went very smoothly so I thought I’d share some of the techniques I’ve built up over time so you might benefit if you’re in the same situation. Preparation This should go without saying. The more time you have to prepare for the migration, the better. You do not want to leave it until the last minute. My philosophy when approaching the migration is always to leave the least amount of work possible to do at the time of the actual migration. Clients will generally want to…

Read More

Tales of Hardware – IBM x3650

By | Technical | No Comments

All the servers Anchor buys are from Supermicro. Most people won’t have heard of them, but they’re a sizeable hardware vendor that also does some OEM gear. Supermicro certainly doesn’t carry the mindshare of other big brands like HP, Dell, et al., but we chose them because their stuff is reliable and affordable – we focus on the things that actually matter, rather than some enterprise-y idea of sticking with big brands that you trust – “noone ever got fired for buying IBM” they say. Actually, hold that thought for a moment.

Read More