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Virtualisation is at the core of all our web hosting products. In this category the CatN team write about the technology and how it is applied.

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.

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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.

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WordPress VIP hosting for the rest of us

As you may have read, TechCrunch, a blog focused on profiling and reviewing internet products, was hacked a couple of weeks ago.

They were using Rackspace’s hosting service, but if you run a traceroute on the TechCrunch domain you’ll see that it’s now pointing to Even more of a giveaway, they have changed the hosting tag in the footer of their site, so it now says, “Powered by VIP“.

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Process list for OpenVZ containers (vztop)

The standard linux task list shows you each process and the resources (e.g. CPU, Memory) that they are consuming. However, if you run top on an OpenVZ host server, it doesn’t show you the container ID of each process.

Fortunately, there is a tool imaginatively named, vztop, which can show you a slightly more useful list of container and host processes, along with their container ID. Read More