Category Icon

Web Hosting

Our team have great insight into the web hosting market and often write blogs in this category about the market as a whole and emerging technologies.

Cloud transition: how can you move from over subscription to capacity utilisation?

The journey of many businesses from a heavily over subscribed infrastructure solution to the flexible, scalable world of cloud we are in today is a very interesting one. It is still possible to draw parallels between what is now considered to be a highly inefficient approach to building IT solutions, and the practises we still see from some IT suppliers.

In the 2000s it was incredibly common to find an over subscription of hardware when looking at consumption by real workloads. On top of that there would often be a further over subscription for peak periods, especially in e-commerce. This created a double whammy of very high expenditure levels for a given amount of business. The irony was that capacity and spend are relatively interchangeable due to them being commodity infrastructure items.

In the second half of the noughties there was a shift away from the over subscription of hardware. The reason was virtualisation. This allowed businesses to combine and consolidate all of their work loads onto as little hardware as possible. Unfortunately the fact remained, it was still necessary to maintain an overhead of capacity which meant an over subscription for peak periods.

Read More

Joe Gardiner comments on hybrid cloud on Tech Crunch

Is hybrid cloud the future? What form will the cloud take in business organisations?

The business critical applications with security and performance demands can be hosted on a private cloud. This environment can then be integrated with the less critical services such as web servers, which are at home on a public cloud. Combining these two cloud models leverages cost efficiencies and also builds resilience into a solution. I would highly recommend engaging with a specialist cloud provider to build an effective hybrid cloud.

Read the full article – Is hybrid cloud the future?

Forecasting clouds for 2014

2014 Cloud Predictions Blog Header

2013 has come to an end so it’s time to look to the future and asses the cloud market as a cloud hosting provider.

In 2013 we saw Amazon form a partnership with Eucalyptus in an attempt to encourage Enterprise to migrate their critical applications to the cloud provider; Rackspace handed ongoing management of OpenStack to a multi-vendor organisation; we witnessed G-Cloud continue to grow despite criticism from some market analysts; most importantly at CatN we released version 2.0 of our PHP platform as a Service (PaaS) called vCluster!

How is the cloud market going to develop in 2014?

Read More

Platform as a Service billing explained

In this video Joe Gardiner explains why PaaS is important for reducing cost and waste when compared to dedicated hosting and in particular, infrastructure as a service.

IaaS is held up as an excellent solution for saving money by outsourcing IT requirements to the cloud, however there is still a lot of waste and complexity which can be solved by adopting PaaS. This is a growing market and the majority of IT market analysts agree that PaaS is set to grow over the next few years – Gartner in particular expect the PaaS market to be worth $2.9 billion in 2016.

Five reasons SMEs are not moving to the cloud

Despite the growth in adoption of cloud services there are still plenty of businesses resisting a move. We see a lot about large enterprise having concerns about security and sovereignty of data but what are the reasons SMEs are giving for not adopting cloud?

I have put together some responses to some of the concerns I have heard raised by SMEs.

  1. What will happen if the cloud company I use goes out of business?

    The key thing here is the way an application is developed. It is important to develop an application in a way that allows it to be moved to any cloud provider (PaaS or IaaS) if a serious problem occurs. As the industry standardises it becomes increasingly easy to do this through the use of deployment tools such as Puppet and Ansible. If you find yourself relying on specific features that only your current provider offers then you’re doing it wrong.

  2. Read More

Controlling your costs on public cloud

Saving Money In The Cloud

You may already be using a public cloud service, or perhaps you’ve just decided to take the plunge. Either way it can difficult to control your costs, and often users will see much higher costs than expected, especially in the first few months.

When out in the community we see questions about public cloud costs come up again and again – in my opinion the problem isn’t helped by some of the complex pricing matrices that are out there.

How do I reduce my hosting bill?

Public cloud is all about burst – if your traffic spikes you can add instances as required to buff your app up. This is undoubtedly invaluable and at the core of public cloud’s (in particular IaaS) growth. However, it is important to remember that it is also a turn on, turn off service and for every minute your instance runs you are incurring costs. If you have a consistent minimum resource requirement then it can be cost effective to look at committed services where better rates are available for long term deals.

Read More

95th Percentile Billing – An Explanation

As a hosting provider, one of the most important components of our services is the ability for customers bandwidth to be burstable. Customers will usually commit to a committed data rate (CDR) each month as their baseline level of traffic, enabling CatN to capacity plan our network and customers to be assured of a minimum level of service provision.

In addition to CDR, customers expect CatN’s network to be capable of allowing usage to exceed the CDR for short periods without incurring the cost of paying for blocks of additional CDR which may not be utilised the remainder of the billing period.

Most hosting providers, CatN Included, use 95th percentile billing as a method to charge customers fairly for the bandwidth consumed while remaining flexible to spikes in demand.

Read More

SEO friendly web hosting. How friendly can it be?

One of the many considerations when choosing a web hosting service should be the impact it will have on the SEO of your website or a blog.

Laurence O'Toole - Analytics SEO

Laurence O’Toole – Founder of Analytics SEO

We met up with Laurence O’Toole, the founder and CEO of Analytics SEO, developers of an online SEO management software, to talk about the importance of hosting.

Do you agree with the term ‘SEO friendly hosting’? Is it correct to label some hosting as SEO unfriendly, and what are the signals that hosting alone will have a massively positive/negative effect on the SEO aspect of your online project?

That’s just a marketing ploy. A host could choose not to host dodgy or spammy sites, adult sites or any other type of site that is seen to be negative. In terms of hosting options, they could make configuring the server an easy task, as well as making sure it’s as fast as possible. They could also offer unique C class IPs as standard. But even if all those boxes were ticked, it doesn’t mean to say it’s “SEO friendly” as such. Short answer, it’s marketing fluff.

Read More

Advanced PHP error handling in the cloud

LogPipe is a PHP extension module that extends the default PHP error messages with additional information and allows you to pipe the logs to an external program or write them to a syslog facility.

When a user connects to a PHP website hosted on a cloud platform like vCluster, the response may come from different web servers running on different virtual and physical machines. This introduced the problem of needing to aggregate the PHP error logs from different cluster nodes and then split them up again based on the virtual host. Unfortunately the default PHP error message handler does not provide the information or ability to pipe the error logs to an external program, unlike the CustomLog directive in Apache does.

Read More

Is ‘Metal as a Service’ too heavy for the cloud?

Cloud AnvilMetal as a Service is a new layer in the stack under IaaS and is described by Mark Shuttleworth as, “…bringing cloud semantics to the bare metal world.”

Essentially MaaS supplies bare metal that can be deployed similarly to cloud instances, however you are actually deploying physical nodes. Traditionally deploying hardware is time consuming and technically complicated, MaaS simplifies this and makes it possible to interact with physical devices similarly to AWS instances (with a greater time frame and without automated API deployments).

Canonical invented and were the first to market with an offering like this, and have integrated the JuJu deployment system with MaaS. Using JuJu, operating systems and services can be deployed allowing rapid scaling without the need for a senior engineer or network architect. JuJu is similar to Chef or PXE and in a similar way allows the rapid and simple interconnection of services across multiple physical hosts.

Read More