microstack logoI’m excited to announce that CatN have just launched a new private cloud solution! Microstack is a modular, OpenStack-based private cloud, designed to meet the needs of small to medium businesses looking for a cloud entry point which scales to meet their needs in a predictable way and without long contracts.

We’ve been working on bringing a private cloud to market for just over a year now and MicroStack is the culmination of this effort. I’m really proud that we’ve achieved our objective of creating a low-cost, short-commit private cloud offering to appeal to SMEs who have traditionally been scared off from high-CAPEX private clouds with long contract durations.

Read More…

It’s been a very busy bank holiday weekend at Fubra following an intermittent backplane failure on one of our storage arrays. With the help of our storage vendor, Coraid, we’ve managed to stabilise the failing unit as a temporary measure while we move all of the storage to our other array.

This is taking us quite some time however, as it contains hundreds of gigabytes of production storage. We hope to get this process completed later today.

Read More…

Today saw day 1 of LINX66, the LINX members meeting at Goodenough College in London.  As a LINX member we dispatched our MD Brendan to make a short talk to the group about one of our latest projects — our in-house datacentre.

The presentation briefly covered why we had opted to develop our own infrastructure, how we have gone about implementing all the ancillary services required in a datacentre environment, the network and technology we have built the main services around, how we had gone about detecting and overcoming the inevitable problems which crop up during the day-to-day running of such a facility, and finally the services we are offering at our facility.  Brendan then took questions from the floor relating to the final price tag of the project, as well as addressing some of the technical questions relating to our environmental monitoring network.

For more information download the slides which accompanied the presentation (they’re in PowerPoint format).

This week we decided to take the plunge and finally migrate our internal e-mail system to Google Apps. I’ve been using Gmail personally since it launched, and I’ve always been impressed with its amazing spam fighting abilities and the general level of innovation throughout the system.

Up until now we’ve hosted our own e-mail servers in-house, and whilst that has given us a high degree of flexibility, it’s also been a pain to configure, maintain and keep spam free!

Google Apps Dashboard

We’re particularly happy with gmail’s filters – previously we had to edit a maildrop filter file on our server in order to set up new rules. Not only does Google provide a simple interface to configure them, it also gives us the ability to choose whether they are marked as read when they come in. I know it’s possible to replicate this in a desktop mail client, but it’s much better to do it on the server – that way if you access your e-mails from multiple devices, they will be organised the same way on each one. This is particularly handy for us as we receive a fair amount of auto-generated notification e-mails from our various web sites which we don’t need to read as they come in but we do like to keep to refer back to.

So the key benefits to us are:

  • Simplified and improved filter configuration
  • Improved spam detection
  • Excellent web mail platform
  • Shared calendars
  • Easier Administration for setting up new users and groups.
  • Takes less time to maintain.

We also plan to become a Google App’s Authorised Reseller over the next few months, so that we can resell these services via hoston.it

If you ever had to do multiple linux installations you know how laborious it can be. At times like this you may have wondered if it would be possible to carry out a fully automatic linux installation. Fortunately it is not only possible to prepare a fully hands-off installation, but also a one that does not require any discs. You can read how to perform a network installation on Paul’s blog, while in this post we will concentrate on making the installation fully automatic. Having a configuration described on Paul’s blog such installation is fairly easy to set up. There are four things we will have to do:

  • Prepare a kickstart file
  • Save the kickstart file in a place accessible for the installer
  • Prepare an installation source
  • Modify the PXE config so it instructs the kernel to use the kickstart file

Read More…