CatN unveils next generation cloud hosting service

Cloud hosting company, CatN, has launched a next generation service called vCluster, a cloud hosting platform for PHP applications such as WordPress. The service has been designed to scale automatically so that websites can easily cope with spikes in traffic.

The vCluster Platform as a Service (PaaS), built entirely by CatN, is designed to be incredibly simple to use, allowing websites to scale up and down automatically without any need for manual interaction. vCluster has been designed for a host of users, from beginners to expert PHP developers.

Joe Gardiner, Head of Product at CatN, said:

Our aim with vCluster is to make cloud hosting fast and simple for all; it comes with an intuitive control panel so you only need to load your website or code onto the platform and it just works. No complicated documentation or configuration is required.

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CatN hosts new Esther Rantzen charity

Providing scalable vCluster hosting service free of charge

Web hosting company, CatN, is providing its services free of charge to The Silver Line – www.thesilverline.org.uk – a new charity for elderly people that has been launched this week by TV presenter Esther Rantzen. CatN will host the charity’s website with web tools that have been designed to scale automatically to cope with significant spikes in traffic as awareness of The Silver Line grows.

There are 10 million older people over the age of 65 living in Britain today and 51 per cent of people over 75 live alone. Isolation and loneliness have a dramatically negative effect on older people, shortening their lives, creating depression, hastening the onset of dementia and causing physical effects such as malnutrition.

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CatN announces new service catalogue for G-Cloud 4 to assist government with cloud migration

CatN, a UK based cloud hosting company specialising in Open Source technology, announces the availability of its services on the new G-Cloud 4 Framework. CatN’s entire service catalogue is now available with the addition of several new consultancy services previously only available to private sector clients.

Mark Sutton, CatN Chief Technology Officer said:

Looking at the recent G-Cloud sales figures, it is easy to see that G-Cloud is starting to transform the way that government procures and undertakes IT projects, and to be a part of that is very important.

Joe Gardiner, CatN Head of Product added:

In round 4 of G-Cloud a rewritten version of our Platform as a Service product is now available. We have added more new features and made it even simpler to use applications such as WordPress, Magento and Drupal without any coding knowledge. We are seeing a shift away from IaaS towards PaaS in the IT industry so hopefully we will see a similar trend in G-Cloud 4.

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The CentOS Linux community are headed to CatN’s headquarters for the first UK Dojo event on the 12th July 2013.

CentOS Dojos are relaxed one day events for speakers in the Linux community to talk about advances in the operating system, system administration best practices, and their experiences using CentOS.

CatN are sponsoring the event on the 12th July and providing a venue to support the open source project which is at the core of the cloud hosting products they develop.

CatN Operations Director, Paul Maunders said:

We are delighted to be hosting a UK CentOS Dojo meet up at our offices in Aldershot. The CentOS Linux distribution is at the core of almost all of our operations at CatN. Our vCluster product is built on CentOS, most of our client work involves CentOS as the base OS, and we have 4 Red Hat Certified Engineers on staff, so you can see that we are big fans of the distro.

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Evolution of our product names

What’s in a name? In the theme of explaining about the origin of our names here is a brief history of how we chose the names of our two main services, and how they have evolved over time.

vCluster is the name we use for our Shared Hosting product, the entry level hosting service we offer. The name came about as an abbreviation of the description of the service – a virtual slice of a cluster of servers. The hardware is primarily designed for multi-tenancy and to scale to meet individual sites needs without users needing to allocate resource manually, and is optimised for hosting PHP sites such as WordPress blogs.

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CatN to host UK CentOS Dojo in July

centos-dojo-catWe are delighted to announce that we will be hosting a UK Centos Dojo meet up at our offices in Aldershot on Friday 12th July 2013.

The CentOS Linux distribution is at the core of almost all of our operations at CatN. This website is hosted on our vCluster stack which is built on CentOS, most of our client work involves CentOS as the base OS, and we have 4 Red Hat Certified Engineers on site at Aldershot, so you can see that we are big fans of the distro.

Our CTO Mark attended the last European CentOS Dojo in Antwerp and loved it, so we thought it would be great to host one closer to home. This would also allow us to give something back to the project, on which a lot of our business depends.

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Is G-Cloud selling services or knowledge?

With a revised framework (version 3), a new cloud store approaching launch, and sales figures that are now being described as “exponential”, it is getting harder for industry analysts to continue to claim that G-Cloud is a failure (although they keep trying).

The G-Cloud team proudly tweeted some excellent sales figures for March, and the best thing is that the pool of suppliers making sales is growing and becoming more diverse.

I raise this point because in the early days there were a couple of companies making large sales which bumped the figures up, but this did not necessarily make G-Cloud a success with a core of companies winning all the business.

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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.

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TCPWebLog – Collecting and Aggregating Web Logs on the Cloud

TCPWebLog is a Free Open Source Software system to collect and aggregate Web-type logs (i.e. Apache, Varnish, PHP, FTP …) from multiple GNU/Linux computers running on a Cloud.

When a user connects to a Website hosted at CatN, the response may come from different Web servers running on different virtual and physical machines. This first introduced the problem of needing to aggregate the logs from multiple cluster nodes to a central log server, and then split them up again based on the virtual host. Here at CatN, for each virtual host we used to write on a central place distinct log files for Apache Access log, Apache Error Log, Varnish, etc. These files are then rotated and processed using other software tools which required a significant administrative overhead.

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