Jonathon

Head of Infrastructre

Jonathon is responsible for miles of cable and thousands of lines of code which, combined, keep Fubra and CatN both online and at the cutting edge of web technology.

CatN’s Network Time Protocol Network

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Time is important, especially when it comes to computers serving time-sensitive data. There is of course a very well established means of keeping computers in-sync with each other, indeed it’s one of the oldest protocols still in use on the Internet — Network Time Protocol (NTP).

One of the services CatN provides to our customers is a reliable time service. In order to do this we run a network of stratum 2 NTP servers which derive their time from diverse stratum 1 servers either directly on our network or maintained by organisations which we peer directly with, and these in turn are synchronised via a mix of GPS and PPS stratum 0 time sources.

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On-load Generator Test

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On Tuesday the 6th of November 2012 we will be performing an on-load generator test at our Manor Coach House Aldershot facility.

This will involve isolating our data suite from the national grid and operating solely on generator and UPS power. This will run for an hour as we test generator operation and increase the temperature and pressure of the engine to test generator function.

This work is considered ‘at risk’ as there is a very small chance that there may be adverse affects from the test, however this is extremely unlikely. Carrying out tests of this manner are an important of site maintenance for any data centre and ensure that all equipment is operating correctly.

You can follow further updates about this test on our @CatNNOC Twitter account.

Explaining the vCluster Timeline

The parent company behind CatN, Fubra, has long had aspirations of providing a web hosting service. As the company has grown over the past 12 years it has had to overcome a multitude of hosting related problems and has always thought it was well positioned to help others when they found themselves navigating the same twisty road. Various versions of Fubra’s hosting product reached different levels of maturity; some never making it out of the conceptual stages, some never quite having the development resource to make a polished product. None ever made it to market. In 2010, however, the idea of the CatN vCluster was born. Fubra required a platform which could cope with the traffic levels it’s own sites were generating while being cost effective — they had outgrown traditional hosting offerings and therefore began to develop a new web hosting platform.

The first version of the CatN vCluster was built from an engineering point of view: it was feature rich but hard to maintain, stable but not designed for customers to interact with day-to-day. A team of web developers were brought into the project to develop a control panel which made a large part of the backend engineering code accessible to users and it was this which was launched as the vCluster public beta. This is the system which the majority of CatN vCluster clients currently use. However, while this system proved a large number of the key vCluster technologies, there were still a number of problems with the system which needed to be ironed out. Firstly there was a large amount of  duplication in the management layer of the system and, while users didn’t see it, a number of settings were stored in multiple locations requiring each to be updated when any changes were requested. There were also speed issues with the control panel, as well as a number of other technical problems meaning the system required quite frequent maintenance. So in March 2011 a second round of development work started. Read More

Atmospheric pressure graph tweak

I’ve just made a small improvement to the atmospheric pressure graphs displaying information from our weather station.

The shorter period graphs were often having their y-axis auto scaled from 1,000 – 1,200 millibar. This wasn’t very helpful when the pressure was varying by only small values just above the 1,000 millibar mark (as isn’t uncommon on the 24 hour graphs) — it left a lot of empty graph space at the top. The change forces the graph to display the fixed range of 900 – 1,100. This places 1,000 millibar in the centre of the plot, making these small variations much clearer.

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