Posted by: Anil | July 8, 2008

Summer sale

We’re offering summer sale! Order now and receive up to $12 off each month. For life.

Basic Plan – $2 off

Standard Plan – $5 off

Premium Plan – $8 off

Extreme Plan – $12 off

Our servers use Internap bandwidth with least amount of latencies from around the world! When ordering, please do not proceed to checkout – simply submit your login information and we’ll send you a custom invoice. You must mention this sale when signing up.

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Posted by: Anil | July 2, 2008

Google Apps…

… or is it Google’s Apps? We’ve introduced a beta version of Entic.net’s Your Apps service in early June. It has had limited amount of documentation and not much exposure on the main page.

We wanted to explain what Your Apps is and how its different (and better) than Google Apps.

Your Apps is just a collection of open source software we provide under Your domain name. You get a domain name, and add that domain name into your Your Apps account. You get an address book, web mail, and IMAP mail. Blogs in the future.

Also, all of the software in turn can be accessed via the same login and password.

Back to how we differ from Google Apps…

  • Google Apps is not free (the domain email component is $3/year/user).
    Your Apps is free.
  • Google Apps mail doesn’t use a standard compliant IMAP server. This is why you need some specific customization to your mail client to make it work properly.
    Your Apps is 100% compliant and standards based. It has a pure IMAP protocol service.
  • Google Apps’s main customer service is community based and its not easy to get someone from Google to help you with technical problem(s). If you need to restore your email, do you know what to do?
    Your Apps is run by Entic.net, it is much smaller. You just need to email our support alias, someone will get back to you within 24 hours.
  • Google doesn’t have a centralized address book.
    Your Apps does. We use LDAP to store all address book contacts. Using that, you can access your contacts from anywhere, any client!

Those are just a few reasons. Your Apps is much more than just email. We have some very cool features that we’ll have in the future that’ll all be integrated into Your domain!

We hope this gives you a small glimpse of how Your Apps compares with Google services. One thing we have common with Google Apps is that our service are also in Beta. 🙂 You might see a bug or two — which we are actively resolving in the background.

Enjoy!

Posted by: Anil | June 15, 2008

Outage in San Jose, California – Internap

We’ve had a major outage on Friday evening in our San Jose, CA data center. Our data center provider tells us that its the biggest in 11 years. This was our own biggest outage to date. It turns out it was a configuration issue that happened at Internap that had caused this problem (we use Internap bandwidth). No hardware had failed.

I am not sure why Internap did not know that this change had caused a major network outage, until our network provider escalated – that too after a long time. Internap is a premium provider, so this is a question we are still waiting to hear back from our network provider/Internap. It is unacceptable.

To our customers – I am very dissapointed and concerned with what had happened. Entic.net is a startup, and is marketing to high quality hosting market. So, this kind of thing just throws the work we do, out the door, especially since we put in a lot of money to maximize reliability on the servers themselves. Sorry!

I also wanted to take this opportunity to remind our customers that there is no server or network out there that can be 100% reliable with 100% uptime (even excluding planned outages).

Things can and will go wrong: Human error, software problems, power failure, and more. These companies have lots of money for redundancy too, but things still fail.

All that said, so what can you do to make your web site less prone to outages?

Run two web servers on two different servers (maybe on different data centers). Setup the database in a clustered environment. Here is an example for MySQL. Setup DNS so http://www.domain.com (your web site URL) points to two different web servers, so if one goes down, quickly update DNS and remove one of the effected servers.

The DNS solution above can work, but it requires manual intervention to update DNS. Once DNS is updated, things will work without a problem. The other more automated solution is the use of hardware load balancers. But, this solution is a lot more expensive and (usually) is setup with two different web servers being in the same data center. If the whole data center has problems, than this solution will be of no use – it just provides an automated/seamless fail over of your web server from one server to another.

One thing that people can do is also setup good monitoring of web site so if something does fail, you’ll get paged and you can update DNS right away. Depending on the DNS setup, this can limit the outage to perhaps 30 minutes to one hour or so.

Keep in mind, the DNS setup above with database clustering could result in higher bandwidth costs for you (since the database is replicated over the network to another data center).

These solutions depend on how much redundancy you want and how much you are willing to spend on it. Hope that helps.

Back to Entic.net. We at Entic.net are looking to expand into another data center. We hope to offer our v.DS (Solaris VPS) service in an other data center in the coming weeks. For those wanting to run the two web servers in two different data centers, this will be an option for you very soon.

Again, we sincerely apologize for the outage and we’ll try to get the answers we want from Internap as soon as possible. It hurts us just as much as it hurts your business.

Posted by: Anil | June 5, 2008

DNS hosting

At Entic.net, we try not to manage many of the services as we can and instead refer our customers to our partners when needed. This includes DNS hosting.

When you buy a domain, you buy a domain from a domain registrar, like register.com. Then, you need to tell your registrar which servers “answer for your domain”. These servers are not the same as where your web site runs on, these are strictly DNS servers which answer for your domain name requests. They translate the domain name to an IP address computers/browsers can understand.

Here are a couple of popular ones, and they are free:

EveryDNS.net

PROs: Easy to use, and one of the oldest providers. Recommended for beginners.
CONs: Limited record types compared to other providers.
Records allowed for free account: A CNAME MX NS AAAA
Records allowed for non-free account: A CNAME MX NS AAAA TXT

Xname.org

PROs: Advanced configuration for advanced users. You can control the SOA properties of a domain/zone. TXT records included for spam/SPF prevention. No hard limit on number of domains and records.
CONs: Might not be for beginners.
Records allowed for free account: A CNAME MX NS AAAA TXT
Records allowed for non-free account: same as above.

If you would like additional level of redundancy, what we can do is setup your domain’s as secondary on our DNS servers. This makes it such that the above sites become the primary place where you manage your DNS data, but our servers would also be available to you and can “answer for your domain”.

Posted by: Anil | April 11, 2008

burstable… like a bubble?

What do service providers mean that X and Y are burstable, e.g. 256mb RAM burstable to 1GB? You aren’t really getting 1GB of RAM if you need it. That’s nonsense. What it means is you get 256mb RAM, with 768mb of SWAP! Swap is slow, disk based virtual memory. Its preferred to use memory as much as possible for your applications. To the Operating system the whole SWAP and RAM will look like logical contiguous memory.

At Entic.net our v.Dedicated Servers also have SWAP allocated. We give you double the RAM for SWAP (however, for the Basic package, it is 384MB SWAP).

Where we are different is that our SWAP is from 15K RPM SAS drives! Our servers don’t use the slower SATA drives, usually running around 5K RPM (for SWAP). So you could almost say our memory access is three times as fast.

Posted by: Anil | March 17, 2008

Glassfish Hosting

In one of our previous blogs we’ve discussed how to setup Glassfish in your virtual server from Entic.net. In this blog, we’ll discuss why you would want to use Entic.net for your Glassfish hosting needs, and elaborate a little bit more on the server requirements – good to know before purchasing you server from us.

Lets start with why we are better than the competition.

  • Our servers run on Solaris, developed by Sun. The same company that created Java. Naturally, our servers are optimized for the Java development environment. To this, we run nothing but Solaris. Our expertise is on Solaris.
  • We have several JDK versions available for use. We have them there for developers who have specific requirements and also to provide backward compatibility, if needed.
root@mx1:/usr/jdk# ls
instances      jdk1.5.0_14    latest
j2sdk1.4.2_13  jdk1.6.0_04    packages
root@mx1:/usr/jdk#
  • You get full root access to the server to run your Java application.
  • Low utilized servers, plenty of memory and CPU cycles available for your applications.
  • Full X windows GUI environment available for development – for admin console and other X window based applications/toolkits.

Our Premium plan is the recommended plan for running Glassfish. It’ll give you plenty of additional memory space for running databases and other web servers in conjunction with Glassfish. It currently comes with 512MB of RAM. As of this March 17 2008, the current price for this is $50/month.

Limited time offer

Developer Discounts for those interested in running Glassfish, please contact us at sales at entic.net. We’re offering discounts off the listed price!

Posted by: Anil | March 6, 2008

How are we different…

It can be difficult to pick a VPS provider. Our VPS’ are called v.Dedicated Servers, because thats exactly what they are, at least thats how we offer it. Dedicated Servers which make use of virtualization to provide full root enabled UNIX environment, dedicated to the customer.

Our goal is to not over sell. We allocate the server’s resources such that each customer is assigned their own share – this same share is not assigned out to someone else!

Here are a few reasons that may help you decide on the right provider.

  • Our InterNAP network is the best in the world. NASDAQ financial stock exchange uses the same network! When you want to buy and sell shares, speed matters. 🙂 We’ll elaborate on the different kinds of networks out there in a later blog.
  • Our servers are best in the world. Dual power supplies. Redundant “mirrored ECC RAM” (Yes, there are things like this). Redundant SAS 15K RPM drives. Super optimized software.
  • Our technical support and service are rated with high reviews from current customers.

But, what does all that mean? It just means that we provide high quality superior services that our customers can depend on to! You can think of us like the Starbucks of the virtual server market.

Limited time offer

For a limited time we are offering up to 50% off of our plans for developers! This includes the Glassfish or Java community, Python, RoR developers and more. Please email us for more information.

Posted by: Anil | February 17, 2008

Sun’s new x4150 (hypertown) … problems

We just got the new x4150s with the E5410 Intel CPU. We’re still having lots of problems with just setting them up. I guess its too new?

1. The DVD drive had problems seating properly in the drive bay. We ended up finally putting it in, after some magic work, but maybe with some damage?

2. We got an LSI PCIe SAS HBA. We took out the SATA cables the system comes with, and put in the SAS cables as instructed in the Service Manual. Be sure to put the HBA into the middle slot, as recommended. LSI BIOS recognized the drives and we built a hardware mirror, things looking good! I was wrong. The disks are all functional, but the disk lights do not come on! We ignored this, and went ahead and installed an OS on it (solaris 10 u4).

3. Install went smoothly. However, after the install, Solaris would not boot up in 64 bit. We had to boot 32 bit, install latest Solaris 10 recommended patches. After which, Solaris boot up in 64 bit mode. I don’t think there was any documentation about this. I think the minimum required version is u3 as per documentation. Once we got a working Solaris install, we upgraded the drivers from the driver CD for the AST video card etc. But this too didn’t work quite like it should, see below.

Summary

Here is a list of problems we need to resolve before we can use it in production!

– Disk lights don’t work

– DVD casing/hardware had issues

– Even after installing the new video drivers the system came with, the X server would not start after boot. It complained that it can’t find the AST video device.

(But why on earth would we need the windowing system on a server? … It’ll be a new service we’ll offer in the future. More on that later.)

Posted by: Anil | February 5, 2008

How to check memory usage on Solaris 10 zone

root@vds5:/# prstat -s rss -Z
   PID USERNAME  SIZE   RSS STATE  PRI NICE      TIME  CPU PROCESS/NLWP
  9584 root      435M  329M sleep    1    0   0:46:36 0.0% java/58
 24009 clamav     39M   37M sleep    1    0   0:00:02 0.0% clamd/1
 27463 mysql      46M   26M sleep   59    0   0:27:30 0.0% mysqld/13
 20366 root       27M   23M sleep    1    0   0:01:53 0.0% spamd/1
 20369 spamd      28M   21M sleep    1    0   0:00:01 0.0% spamd/1
 16949 root       24M   20M sleep   59    0   0:00:03 0.0% paster/6
 16728 root       24M   19M sleep   39    0   0:00:04 0.0% paster/7
 24014 clamav     39M   16M sleep    5    0   0:00:22 0.0% clamav-milter/3
 27930 webservd   22M   11M sleep   59    0   0:00:07 0.0% php-cgi/1
 27928 webservd   21M 9092K sleep   59    0   0:00:00 0.0% php-cgi/1
 22888 root       10M 8684K sleep   29    0   0:00:22 0.0% svc.startd/13
 22890 root       10M 8684K sleep   43    0   0:00:38 0.0% svc.configd/13
 27927 webservd   18M 5368K sleep   38    0   0:00:00 0.0% php-cgi/1
 27929 webservd   18M 5368K sleep   38    0   0:00:00 0.0% php-cgi/1
 27925 webservd   18M 5368K sleep   38    0   0:00:00 0.0% php-cgi/1
ZONEID    NPROC  SWAP   RSS MEMORY      TIME  CPU ZONE
    31       53  661M  577M   7.2%   1:22:36 0.0% vds5

Look at the RSS memory column in the last couple of lines. This Solaris 10 zone from Entic.net is using about 577MB of RAM.

Posted by: Anil | January 27, 2008

Entic.net acquires GridZones.com’s VPS!

Great news everyone! We have finalized the acquisition of GridZones.com’s VPS services. GridZones was the first Solaris zones based VPS provider and it had done a great job so far promoting the Solaris OS!

We at Entic.net are thrilled to have this opportunity. We’ll be rolling out new Sun’s x4150 servers soon to accommodate the existing Entic.net customers and the new members we’ve acquired, in the coming months. You’ll like it, we promise!

To all GridZone’s customers:

We hope the change from GridZones’ to Entic.net won’t be disruptive for you, and hope you’ll stick around to see all the things we are offering and will be offering in the coming months. We’ve agreed with GridZones’ to lease the servers your VPS servers are housed in for as long as needed. You can be sure that you won’t be shutdown or forced to migrate to Entic.net servers any time soon.

Welcome!

Please come visit us on irc.freenode.org, #entic for a virtual party. 🙂

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