Our new-look (and considerably faster) online shop now has a new range of dedicated servers available. They are faster, bigger and cheaper than the old range, and with the exception of the entry-level T400 they now all come with a remote KVM ability which should make supporting customers with servers that have become unavailable a lot easier. Customers also have access to the console via the KVM themselves of course.
A long-overdue update.
Since my last post in September many good things have happened. Virtual Hardware Firewalls are now available in the Tagadab control panel. We have a new range of VPS servers (called Standard VPS). We have a much-improved dedicated server backup system which in particular makes restores a lot quicker. The control panel has been re-organised so it makes sense. Everything is now fully IPv6 enabled and IPv6 addresses are automatically allocated to every service we provide.
Next up will be virtual hardware load balancers (they are already available in beta to resellers). After that we plan to make available SAN storage. And after that …
After that, I’m not totally sure. That will conclude the list of products we originally intended to provide when we launched but the world has moved on since 2008 and a new list needs to be drawn up. I’d be interested in hearing from customers what they would like us to provide that we currently do not: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I see it’s been months since I posted anything on this blog. I’m afraid there hasn’t been an awful lot to shout about in terms of new things for a while, but today we launched our Italian subsidiary.
This turned out to be considerably more tricky than we anticipated and I won’t bore anyone with the details other than to say that the Italian domain registrar (who use the curious domain nic.it) seem not to like anyone being able actually to register domains.
Since my last post here we’ve continued to grow nicely, have a few more staff on board, have established ourselves in the new datacentre and spent a lot of time converting existing services to IPv6. The serious business of making new products available can continue now and we’ll have Virtual Hardware Firewalls up in the control panel very soon.
There’s plenty going on at Tagadab Towers at the moment but nothing so far this month that warrants any fanfare to customers. Here’s a quick update.
We are gearing up to launch our services in Italy in April. This will be our first step outside the British Isles and presents some interesting problems, mostly of a linguistic nature. We have hired native Italian Anna Scapin, formerly support manager at our parent company Claranet, to handle a support department for Italy and the website is being translated.
A knock-on effect of this is that we are also developing billing integration with Paypal so we will be able to accept payments that way shortly.
Virtual Hardware Firewalls should be available in your Tagadab control panels in the first half of May (they are currently available to resellers through the Olympus provisioning system).
We’re also hiring more support, sysadmin, and development staff. Check our jobs page for more details.
For a long time in the 1990s the above headline was oft repeated by seasoned ‘netizens’ as the media, who still regarded the Internet as a novelty, trotted out doom-laden stories predicting the end of the Internet. Among the culprits suspected of causing the demise were: spam, allowing all college students to have ‘net access, Microsoft, AOL, and the World Wide Web (seriously). Somehow the Internet has survived despite these antagonists, although in the case of Microsoft it was a pretty close run thing.
Last Thursday, the Internet did not die. But unlike the list of potential harbingers of doom of the 1990s, something happened that really might cause the net to contract, if not a serious illness, at least a sniffle. Last Thursday, the last available IP addresses were allocated to Regional Internet Registries by IANA, who until now have been the ultimate IP address authority.
There are about 4.3 billion IP addresses and Thursday saw the allocation of the last 16 million. You can watch it here. So, what happens next?
People get IP addresses from their ISPs. Most ISPs (including Tagadab) are Local Internet Registries (LIRs). They get their IP addresses from the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) which in our case is RIPE, the European RIR. RIRs get their IP addresses from … nobody any more. Once the RIRs run out of IP addresses, there will be no more left for LIRs and therefore no more left for anyone.
Fortunately, this totally predictable event was indeed predicted more than 10 years ago and a solution devised. The solution was to move to a newer version of IP called IPv6 which has way more IP addresses available. That’s the good news. The bad news is that, despite having years and years of warning, most ISPs and companies have not adopted IPv6 yet. This is not just a problem for the customers of those ISPs, it’s a problem for everyone.
Old IP addresses (called IPv4 addresses – what happened to IPv5?) cannot communicate directly with IPv6 addresses. That means that if you buy hosting later this year and get allocated an IPv6 address because there are no IPv4 addresses left, your website will not be visible to people who access the Internet via ISPs that have not allocated them an IPv6 address. That’s bad for the people who can’t see your website but it’s also bad for you.
Tagadab has been IPv6 enabled since it was formed in 2007 (our parent company Claranet got it’s first IPv6 allocation back in 2002 and have pioneered IPv6 adoption in the UK) and automated IPv6 address deployment in July last year. Why is it then that in 2010 less than a twentieth of one percent of Internet traffic is made over IPv6? Why aren’t ISPs scrambling to adopt IPv6?
Well, the answer is that they probably are, finally. All LIRs in Europe received an email from the RIPE this week notifying them that IANA’s last IP addresses are being allocated and that there simply are no more left. But it’s been a very, very hard sell. The bottom line is that companies do not want to do anything until there is an imminent threat to their bottom line. IPv6 adoption has been one of those things that’s been very easy to put off and put off because the problem is merely very, very urgent as opposed to absolutely critical.
Very soon – nobody quite knows exactly when, and it will happen at different times in different regions – there will be no more IPv4 addresses. The existing IPv4 Internet is essentially separate from the new IPv6 Internet. The two cannot communicate directly. That means that if you connect to the Internet with an IPv4 address you will not be able to see content hosted on IPv6 addresses. Right now, there are basically no such websites. It would be stupid to offer IPv6-only content because a tiny minority of people would be able to see it. But quite soon, new content on new servers will have to be IPv6-only because there are no more IPv4 addresses to allocate to them.
The idea, a very sensible idea at the time, was that the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 could be accomplished by people adopting a ‘dual stack’. That means that both hosted content and connectivity could implement both protocols, prefering IPv6 where available and falling back to IPv4 where necessary. The problem is that sites and viewers who have a ‘dual stack’ see virtually no IPv6 traffic because most ISPs and organisations have put off implementing IPv6 for so long. It’s extremely rare that both the website and the website visitor both have a dual stack.
What to do about it? The answer is, right now you need both. Make sure your website has an IPv6 address and a AAAA record (that’s a DNS record for IPv6 addresses, equivalent to an ‘A’ record for IPv4). Make sure your connectivity provider gives you an IPv6 address. If your hosting provider can’t give you native IPv6 connectivity, move to another one, and make sure they know why you’re moving.
This was actually made available several weeks ago but I note that it has not got a mention on here yet. Following the success of the Linux consoles we now have one available for Windows VPS. This means that you can access the console of your Windows VPS even if it has lost connectivity. It’s a clever bit of active-X coding by one of our admins, Leon. Active-X requires you to use MSIE as the browser for this feature.
In addition to the vulnerability testing launched earlier this month, we have now made Port Monitoring available in the standard Tagadab control panel. This feature sends you an email if a port on your server goes down or becomes unresponsive, or in the case of common applications (such as web servers or DNS servers) if the response is one that indicates a problem.
For customers with managed services this feature also notifies our support desk 24/7 so we can fix the problem.
Firstly, apologies for the long delay between posts. This does not mean that we have been doing nothing In the last few months we’ve been busy fitting out and bringing online our second London data centre which went live three weeks ago. This makes absolutely no difference to our customers so it’s not got a mention here but it’s been keeping us very busy.
In other news, we have hired more developers and are finally starting to see products which have been available to resellers for some time get into the online shop for general availability. The first of these is Vulnerability Sweeps. For £10 per month we run regular automated checks of all your IP addresses and report any vulnerabilities found so you can correct them. The overwhelming majority of server compromises occur because the server is running software with a well-known problem that makes them vulnerable to attack. We really encourage customers to take this product and have priced it accordingly: being hacked can be a very serious problem.
Our sweeper is updated with new vulnerabilities every day by respected security firm Tenable. This is the same detection software used to demonstrate PCI compliance of online services.
Traditionally the options for firewalls are:
1. Software firewall on your server or VPS. Cheap, but takes resources on the server and tricky to maintain if you have more than one server.
2. Dedicated hardware firewall. Very secure, easy to maintain, but expensive (typically £250+ per month).
3. Shared firewall. Trust your service provider to maintain a firewall for you. Often very inflexible, no control panel, often expensive, and an attack on another customer sharing the same firewall can affect your service.
Tagadab introduce the Virtual Hardware Firewall. Very cost effective (from £10 per month), total control over the firewall rules via a control panel, protection of all services in the VLAN, ‘cloud’ physical infrastructure – more hardware resources are applied where they are needed, and complete separation from other customers’ firewalls.
It’s available now in the Olympus system for resellers and will be in the Tagadab control panel shortly.
Some of you will be seeing this blog for the first time because, after a delay so long it’s too embarrassing to divulge, our new website finally went live today and includes a link to here. Welcome
The new website also includes two new Dedicated Server products, the DSQ4000 and DSQ8000 – quad core versions of the DSX4000/8000.