Archive for the ‘Web Hosting’ Category

SA-SCSI Storage with RAID – Now Available on our VPS Servers

Monday, August 30th, 2010

In line with our sustained efforts in providing our VPS clients with industry leading hardware and software options, we have upgraded the HDDs on our VPS servers from the current Raptor 10K RPM disks to Seagate Cheetah SA-SCSI 15k RPM drives.

SA-SCSI (Serial Attached Small Computer System Interface) is the gold standard in storage solutions for web servers requiring enterprise class robustness with high availability and fault tolerance features, especially where large databases and mission critical applications are involved. To ensure our clients are able to get the performance of a dedicated hardware at a fraction of its cost, we  have gone ahead and upgraded all our VPS clients to the new hardware without any additional expense and they are all delighted with the improved performance which is being delivered to their applications, as a result of this upgrade.

The SCSI HDDs coupled with the RAID hardware makes it a very stable and robust platform for hosting VMs on the Citrix Xen Server platform. Furthermore, we have also upgraded the Xen Server virtualization platform to its latest version (Xen Server ver 5.6) which is more stable and has several bug fixes implemented in its current verion. We have also added more storage space to our VPS hosting plans alongwith a higher monthly bandwidth allocation for no additional charges.

Bottom line is that if you are looking for a VPS or would like to host your application, website or mail server on a dedicated server platform, you will be hard pressed to find an offering which could better ours!

Check out our new Linux VPS and Windows VPS hosting plans and talk to our sales team today!

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New Web Hosting Plans for Linux and Windows 2008

Friday, August 27th, 2010

In sync with the launch of our new website, we have also revamped our shared web hosting plans for both Windows 2008 Enterprise and Linux platforms and the new hosting plans are now available online. The new hosting plans have enhanced web space, bandwidth and email id allocations amongst other updates and the key benefits are given below:

  • No limits on mailbox quotas: You can now define your own mailbox capacity on a per mailbox basis and the total storage limit allocated on your domain would apply for all users on your domain.
  • No limits on web hosting space: For Linux hosting plans, we have removed web hosting space limits. The total applicable limit on your hosting plan can be used your website, emails or a combination of both, as per your choice.
  • Additional mailboxes: Starting with the SOHO plan onwards, we have increased the no. of mailboxes on every hosting plan by as much as 50% than our previous hosting plans for no additional charges.
  • Latest OS & Control Panel: Industry leading Plesk 9.5 control panel is available to all our clients. We also host ASP/ASP.net enabled websites on Windows 2008 Enterprise Edition for enhanced performance and IIS 7 Support.
  • More server storage space: We have upped storage limits on our hosting plans by nearly 50% across the board. The additional storage space is matched by the upgraded hardware to make your websites and applications run better and faster.

These feature enhancements coupled with our commitment to providing our clients with the most responsive hosting support team in the country clearly makes it a win-win deal for our clients.

Want to learn more? Check out our new Linux and Windows 2008 enterprise hosting plans and signup online.

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What is my IP address ?

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

It might sometime happen that your ISP assigned Internet IP might be blocked by other servers and you might not be able to access those sites or services from your PC. To know your internet IP address (as opposed to your local LAN IP), www.whatismyipaddress.com, allows you to get your ISP IP without a fuss.

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iSCSI Storage – High Availability SAN Solution for Your Mission Critical Applications

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

iSCSI or Internet SCSI (Small Computer System Interface), is an Internet Protocol (IP)-based storage networking standard for linking data storage facilities, developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). By carrying SCSI commands over IP networks, iSCSI is used to facilitate data transfers over intranets and to manage storage over long distances. The iSCSI protocol is among the key technologies expected to help bring about rapid development of the storage area network (SAN) market, by increasing the capabilities and performance of storage data transmission. Because of the ubiquity of IP networks, iSCSI can be used to transmit data over local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), or the Internet and can enable location-independent data storage and retrieval.

In computing, the iSCSI (for “Internet SCSI”) protocol allows clients (called initiators) to send SCSI commands (CDBs) to SCSI storage devices (targets) on remote servers. It is a popular Storage Area Network (SAN) protocol, allowing organizations to consolidate storage into data center storage arrays while providing hosts (such as database and web servers) with the illusion of locally-attached disks. Unlike traditional Fibre Channel, which requires special-purpose cabling, iSCSI can be run over long distances using existing network infrastructure.

iSCSI can run over existing Ethernet networks. A number of vendors, including Cisco, IBM, and Nishan have introduced iSCSI-based products (such as switches and routers).

Although iSCSI can communicate with arbitrary types of SCSI devices, system administrators almost always use it to allow server computers (such as database servers) to access disk volumes on storage arrays. iSCSI SANs often have one of two objectives:

Storage consolidation

Organizations move disparate storage resources from servers around their network to central locations, often in data centers; this allows for more efficiency in the allocation of storage. In a SAN environment, a server can be allocated a new disk volume without any change to hardware or cabling.

Disaster recovery

Organizations mirror storage resources from one data center to a remote data center, which can serve as a hot standby in the event of a prolonged outage. In particular, iSCSI SANs allow entire disk arrays to be migrated across a WAN with minimal configuration changes, in effect making storage “routable” in the same manner as network traffic.

iSCSI Fundamentals

Initiator

An initiator functions as an iSCSI client. An initiator typically serves the same purpose to a computer as a SCSI bus adapter would, except that instead of physically cabling SCSI devices (like hard drives and tape changers), an iSCSI initiator sends SCSI commands over an IP network. An initiator falls into two broad types:

Software initiator

A software initiator uses code to implement iSCSI. Typically, this happens in a kernel-resident device driver that uses the existing NIC and network stack to emulate SCSI devices for a computer by speaking the iSCSI protocol. Software initiators are available for most mainstream operating systems, and this type is the most common mode of deploying iSCSI on computers.

Hardware Initiator

A hardware initiator uses dedicated hardware, typically in combination with software (firmware) running on that hardware, to implement iSCSI. A hardware initiator mitigates the overhead of iSCSI and TCP processing and Ethernet interrupts, and therefore may improve the performance of servers that use iSCSI.

TARGET

iSCSI refers to a storage resource located on an iSCSI server (more generally, one of potentially many instances of iSCSI running on that server) as a “target”. An iSCSI target usually represents hard disk storage. As with initiators, software to provide an iSCSI target is available for most mainstream operating systems.

Common deployment scenarios for an iSCSI target include:

Storage array

In a data center or enterprise environment, an iSCSI target often resides in a large storage array, such as a NetApp filer or an EMC Corporation NS-series computer appliance. A storage array usually provides distinct iSCSI targets for numerous clients.

Software target

In a smaller or more specialized setting, mainstream server operating systems (like Linux, Solaris or Windows Server 2008) and some specific-purpose operating systems (like StarWind iSCSI SAN, FreeNAS, iStorage Server, OpenFiler or FreeSiOS) can provide iSCSI target’s functionality.

Diadem Technologies provides iSCSI storage solutions to clients who host VPS or dedicated servers on its network. To know more about iSCSI storage options , pricing  and how it can ensure greater availability and redundancy of your mission critical applications, please write to us at info@diadem.co.in for more details.

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VPS data and bandwidth usage tracking with bandwidthd

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

You don’t need any database or snmp connection to monitor all of your client with bandwidthd an open source application for monitoring bandwidth usage on Apache and IIS. All you need just libcap, libpng, libgd and apache/IIS installed on your Linux/Windows system and you can monitor all your connected clients per IP and per connection protocol.

Installation and configuration in windows

Download the packages below and install them prior to installing the bandwidthd software

For installing gd-latest extract the zip archive and place it in a directory in C drive say “gd”. Navigate to the directory C:\gd\bin and copy the bgd.dll to c:\windows\system32 directory.

  1. Download the “Bandwidthd” software from the link
    http://sourceforge.net/projects/bandwidthd/files/
  2. Extract the zip archive and place it in a folder say c:\inetpub\bandwidthd.
  3. In IIS create  a virtual directory either to your existing website or under the default website and point the home directory to “C:\Inetpub\bandwidthd\htdocs”.
  4. Open the file C:\Inetpub\bandwidthd\etc\bandwidthd.conf and  provide the correct subnet of your network.
  5. Now navigate to the directory C:\Inetpub\bandwidthd and execute the batch file “Install Service.bat”. This will install a service for bandwidthd. Make the service start up type as automatic and start the service.
  6. Now point your web server as http://<server IP>/bandwidthd and you will now be able to view the graphs containing the bandwidth statistics.

Installation and configuration in Redhat/Centos/Fedora Linux

  1. As a prerequisite please ensure that you have libcap, libpng, libgd and apache installed in your computer.
    # rpm -qa | grep libcap
    # rpm -qa | grep libpng
    # rpm -qa | grep gd
    # rpm -qa | grep httpd
  2. Next download the bandwidthd RPM according to your Linux distro from the link
    http://rpm.pbone.net/index.php3 (Search with “bandwidthd”)
  3. Install the RPM as below
    # rpm -ivh bandwidthd-2.0.1-9.el5.i386.rpm
    This will install bandwidthd under /var/www/bandwidthd
  4. Next open the httpd.conf file
    # vi /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf
    Add the lines as below to it and save:

    Alias /bandwidthd “/var/www/bandwidthd/htdocs”
    <Directory “/var/www/bandwidthd/htdocs”>
    Order Allow,Deny
    Allow from All
    </Directory>

  5. open /var/www/bandwidthd/etc/bandwidthd.conf and provide the correct subnet for your network.
  6. Restart the webserver
    # service httpd restart.
  7. Start the bandwidthd service
    # service bandwidthd start
  8. Now point your browser to http://<server IP>/bandwidthd and start checking the bandwidth statistics graphs.

Few screenshots

Diadem VPS Hosting Services – Dedicated Server performance minus the expense!

Friday, April 9th, 2010

Virtualisation Hosting Services

Virtualisation alongwith cloud computing are the hottest buzzwords in the online IT world today. Both these technologies are very promising and on a long term basis it would help lower the TCO (total cost of operation) for the consumers and ensure a scalable service infrastructure where the underlying hardware becomes a virtualised commodity.

At Diadem, we like to be on the leading edge by deploying these technologies on our network infrastructure and enable our clients to benefit from such services. Our Virtual Private Server offerings is the result of over six months of dedicated effort in research, testing and deployment to enable implementation of stable, reliable and cost effective VPS offerings for our clients.

So what is a VPS and why do I need one?

Virtual Private Servers is an offshoot of OS virtualisation, which allows you to run more than one operating system simultaneously or singly on a single machine by sharing the same hardware resources. While OS virtualisation has been existence since the 1960′s, it has evolved rapidly over the past decade, thanks to the explosive growth of the Internet requiring ever more servers online and the need by businesses to cut down their  IT spend and consolidating multiple OS for different functions, within a single server. Server virtualisation is now a proven and accepted technology which enterprises of all shapes and sizes are embracing rapidly for their server deployment needs to ensure that their server infrastructure is well utilised and generate a higher ROI from their IT investments.

Here is my non technical description of a VPS:

“A Virtual Private Server is a ‘server within a server’ which allows you to have your own memory space, HDD capacity and CPU resources and enables you to run your own Operating System within a dedicated server. Consider it to be your own apartment within a multi-storied building. Every apartment owner has their own living space, bedrooms and other areas which they could beautify and update as per their individual needs but they also share a common entrance to the building with the rest of the apartment owners, a common heating and sewage system, electrical wiring and other such features to reduce the cost of the apartment per individual.”

Benefits of a VPS in comparison with dedicated servers or shared hosting is highlighted below:

  • A virtual server is significantly cheaper to run than a standalone dedicated server in which an entire server is dedicated for a specific client.
  • It allows clients to experiment their application on a smaller scale without having to make upfront investments on a dedicated server.
  • Businesses can run multiple servers with different operating systems from within the same physical server, thereby reducing the cost and increasing the utilisation of a dedicated server.

Compared to a shared hosting environment, here are the key benefits of a VPS:

  • It is a secure environment dedicated for the client to run their websites online and retain complete control on the server.
  • Server OS settings can be tweaked and optimised as per the requirement of a specific application.
  • Corporates can run their own mailing servers in a secure VPS which would allow them to create unlimited email ids, web space for individual users with customised antispam and mail archiving solutions.
  • Clients can consolidate multiple sites on a single VPS and manage them from a single OS.
  • Web design firms can operate their own hosting services without having to share credit with a web hosting firm.

Our VPS Story

While we have been dabbling with virtualisation for the past year, we seriously got into delivering it as a service to our clients towards the end of last year. There were three main contenders for the virtualisation platform, Windows HyperV, VMWare ESXi and Citrix XenServer and we gave them a fair evaluation from our end.

While each server virtualisation platform has its own pros and cons and new features are being developed and deployed for all these hypervisors on a rapid scale, we found Citrix XenServer to be the most suitable for our needs. Following are the primary reasons why we choose XenServer over the other hypervisors:

  • The Citrix XenServer is FREE for personal and commercial use.
  • It is packed with tools and features which are available as paid options or are non existent in other hypervisors.
  • Citrix XenServer is based on the industry standard Xen hypervisor which is an open source virtualisation platform.
  • There is a large community backing Xen and it is a well documented system.
  • It has a small memory footprint which makes it less resource intensive on the server.
  • It is stable, easy to deploy and is supported by Citrix Systems which is a leader in virtualisation technologies.

Now that we have done the heavy lifting in putting our virtualisation infrastructure in place, we would like you to benefit from our VPS offerings, which is available in both Linux and Windows platforms. Checkout our Linux VPS and Windows VPS plans which are specially developed considering the requirements of the Indian market and are available from a low monthly cost of Rs. 1999 per month.

We would be putting up more resources, howtos, offers and updates highlighting our VPS services over the next few months so watch this space!

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RAID Hosting – RAID Types, Features and Benefits

Monday, April 5th, 2010

For businesses considering our dedicated server options, one of the questions you’ll need to answer about your server configuration is whether to utilize a RAID disk configuration or not.  For our shared hosting customers, all of our shared server hardware utilizes a RAID disk configuration as a measure to help ensure maximum server uptime. With a single hard disk, you cannot prevent a significant downtime against a disk failure, which includes:

  • The time required to obtain and install a replacement disk
  • Reinstall the operating system
  • Restore files from backup locations and
  • Restore all the data entry performed since the last backup was made.

With multiple disks and a suitable redundancy scheme, your system can stay up and running when a disk fails, and even while the replacement disk is being installed and its data restored.

An Overview of RAID

RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks.  The purpose of RAID is to provide redundancy for hard drives in the event that a hard drive is lost due to mechanical failure.  Hard drives are the most susceptible component in a server to fail, just by the nature of it’s design.

RAID solves this problem by copying data from one drive to another in real time.  For every bit that is written to one drive, it’s also written to it’s “mirror” counterpart.  So, in the event that one drive is lost, the other drive is available to continue reading and writing data without any interruption to the server.

RAID 0 (Striped Disk Array without Fault Tolerance)

A non-redundant disk array, or RAID level 0, has the lowest cost of any RAID organization because it does not employ redundancy at all. This scheme offers the best performance since it never needs to update redundant information. Surprisingly, it does not have the best performance. Redundancy schemes that duplicate data, such as mirroring, can perform better on reads by selectively scheduling requests on the disk with the shortest expected seek and rotational delays. Without, redundancy, any single disk failure will result in data-loss. Non-redundant disk arrays are widely used in super-computing environments where performance and capacity, rather than reliability, are the primary concerns.

  • Does not provide fault tolerance
  • Minimum number of disks required = 2
  • Usable storage capacity = 100%
  • This is the fastest of the RAID configurations from a read-write standpoint
  • Is the least expensive RAID solution because there is no duplicate data
  • Recommended use for temporary data only

RAID 1 (Mirroring)

The traditional solution, called mirroring or shadowing, uses twice as many disks as a non-redundant disk array. Whenever data is written to a disk the same data is also written to a redundant disk, so that there are always two copies of the information. When data is read, it can be retrieved from the disk with the shorter queuing, seek and rotational delays. If a disk fails, the other copy is used to service requests. Mirroring is frequently used in database applications where availability and transaction time are more important than storage efficiency.

  • Fault tolerant – you can lose multiple disks as long as a mirrored pair is not lost
  • Minimum number of disks required = 2
  • Usable storage capacity = 50%
  • Good read performance, relatively slow write performance
  • Recommended for operating system log files

RAID 5 (Block Interleaved Distributed Parity)

Consists of three or more hard drives.  RAID 5 requires a minimum of at least three (3) drives.  Redundancy is provided by “striping the parity” across all drives.  This means that any one drive contains the “redundant” information.  If one drive is lost, the other two drives continue reading and writing data without any interruption to the server.

  • Fault tolerant – can afford to lose one disk only
  • Minimum number of disks required = 3
  • Usable storage capacity = subtract 1 whole disk from the total number in the array (i.e. 3 60Gig hard drives would provide 120Gig of usable disk space)
  • Generally good performance, and increases with concurrency – the more drives in the array the faster the performance
  • Recommended for operating system files, shared data, and application files

RAID 10 (A Stripe of Mirrors)

RAID 10 uses more disk space to provide redundant data than RAID 5. However, it also provides a performance advantage by reading from all disks in parallel while eliminating the write penalty of RAID 5. RAID 10 requires a minimum of at least four (4) drives In addition; RAID 10 gives better performance than RAID 5 while a failed drive remains unreplaced. RAID 10 offers faster data reads and writes than RAID 5 because it does not need to manage parity. Under RAID 5, each attempted read of the failed drive can be performed only by reading all of the other disks. On RAID 10, a failed disk can be recovered by a single read of its mirrored pair.

  • Fault tolerant – you can lose multiple disks as long as both are not part of a mirrored pair
  • Minimum number of disks required = 4
  • Usable storage capacity = 50%
  • Generally good performance, and increases with concurrency – the more drives in the array the faster the performance
  • Recommended for operating systems, shared data, application files, and log files

We would recommend RAID 10 to all dedicated server owners for performance, uptime and disk redundancy. You do lose 50% of the total cumulative disk capacity, but the performance, redundancy and security of data makes up for it.

To know more about our RAID Hosting services and how your business would benefit from it, visit our RAID Hosting Services page.
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How to report spam from Google, Yahoo and Hotmail email ids

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

The big boys of the free email world, namely Google, Yahoo and Hotmail have zero tolerance towards users who abuse their mail accounts and use it to send UCE (unsolicited commercial email) to other email users. Here are a list of links which can be used to report such spam incidents so that their accounts can be permanently disabled by these providers.

Updated on Sep 1, 2012:

Feel free to share any other resources which can be of use to report spam to other such providers of free email services.

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http port 80 redirection

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

If you want to redirect all incoming TCP traffic on port 80 to a custom port say 8089 on the local machine, then xinetd is a good option. Xinetd, the Extended Internet Daemon, is an open-source super-server  daemon which runs on many Unix-like  systems and manages Internet-based connectivity.

Follow the below steps redirect to the 80 port.

Login to your Linux server as super user i.e. ‘root’.

Create a file under /etc/xinetd.d/ folder as http_redirector

# vi /etc/xinetd.d/http_redirector

Now add the following entries in the files.

service http_redirector
{
type = UNLISTED
disable = no
socket_type = stream
protocol = tcp
user = root
wait = no
port = 80
redirect = 127.0.0.1 8089
log_type = FILE /tmp/httpredirector.log
}

Restart the xinetd service.

# service xinetd restart

That’s all you are done.

Mail Spam Prevention with RBL/DNSBL

Friday, March 5th, 2010

RBL stands for Real-time Black-hole List, this is a term for DNS based systems designed to assist in the prevention of email abuse. The first such system was created by Mail Abuse Prevention System (MAPS) LLC. The generic name for such services is DNSBL.

The RBL usually lists server IP addresses from ISPs whose customers are responsible for the spam and from ISPs whose servers are hijacked for spam relay. The DNSBL consists of a DNS based system containing lists of IP addresses whose owners refuse to stop the proliferation of spam whether this is by running their mail servers as open relays, or by allowing their users free outbound access to port 25.

In the case of E-mail there are distributed projects on the Internet which monitor where spam mail is originating from and add these to a real time list which can be checked when deciding whether to accept or deny mail.

Most spam on the Internet originates from two places:

  • Virus/Trojan infected machines which appear to be running normally to a user but are also sending spam out to the Internet at large after being fed a list of addresses/spam e-mail from a remote operator.
  • Professional spammers. Who send spam out from their own systems up to any limits by ISP or any compromised mail server.

The RBL identifies these machines by their internet address and adds them to a list that can be checked in real time by an e-mail server. If a server has been listed as a spam host the mail will be refused immediately. This means less overhead on e-mail systems and a lot less spam for end users. It also generally means less “fake” bounce messsages that users receive when spam is forged to come from them.

As subscribers to the DNSBL, ISPs and companies will know from which IP addresses to block traffic. Most traffic blocking occurs during the SMTP connection phase. The receiving end will check the DNSBL for the connecting IP address. If the IP address matches one on the list, then the connection gets dropped before accepting any traffic from the IP address.

Below are the lists of few RBL/DNSBL sites.
SpamCop – http://www.spamcop.net/
The Spamhaus Project – http://www.spamhaus.org/
Mail Abuse Prevention System LLC – http://www.mail-abuse.com/
The Spam and Open Relay Blocking System – http://www.sorbs.net/
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