Datacenter Best Practices

Jun 14, 2007

Does anyone have any links to best practice papers or whitepapers on datacenter PHYSICAL construction? I am most interested in rack layout, switch positioning and cable runs etc.

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DNS Best Practices For HSP

Feb 7, 2008

We are starting a new hosting infrastructure.

Starting with:

1 - Linux Plesk server
1 - Windows Plesk server

Each of the above should be a primary DNS server so that customers can use Plesk to manage their DNS settings.

The 'easy button' seems to be to add another IP to each server above and let each also be the secondary.

My understanding is secondary DNS should definitely be on a separate server.

With that said, I was thinking we should have a 3rd server that could be the secondary for either of the above.

The KEY is AUTOMATION. I want it so if someone adds a domain to either of the Plesk servers, the secondary DNS is AUTOMATICALLY added as a secondary to the 3rd server.

I found this tool:

[url]

I think it might work, but we can't be the only HSP using Plesk wanting to keep DNS split across two servers.

What would the best approach be? Seeking something clean and reliable.

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Logwatch Best Practices

Apr 3, 2009

I've been tasked with developing a default Logwatch configuration for a few dozen servers that will email their findings to a ticketing system. I was hoping to find insight here from users who are using Logwatch similarly. If you have Logwatch emailing a ticket system, I'd love to hear about your custom configs...

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Best Practices For My SQL5

Feb 5, 2008

Nowadays My SQL5 installation in Windows seemed a breeze do not even need to edit the my.cnf files etc. But is there anything we can do to optimize MySQL inside a Windows 2003 environment?

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Backup & Best Practices

May 10, 2008

A couple of years ago I was brought on as co owner and admin of a website. Since then we have grown and moved from shared hosting, to a VPS, to a Dedicated Server. Now we are preparing our new website and have a new server configuration chosen.

Currently we run our backups to BQ Internet, who have been fantastic. However the new website will have a lot of videos, currently we have about 14,000 photos at extremely high res (6mb). We have opted for two 500gb HDDs mirrored / raid to ensure we have space for these files and they are backed up.

Now my concern is bandwidth and backing up large amounts of data offsite, would it be beneficial in our case to get a second server locally in the same DC where bandwidth between servers is unmetered?

Is this what most people do? Is it a "safe" option?

What other measures can we take to ensure the integrity of our data, should the server be compromised? Do you on a 3 month or quarterly basis receive backups of your data to your own premesis, or do you just trust it all with your host ?

I'm a bit of a sceptic, so at the moment I have a 150gb per month plan and do a once a month backup locally to my home external HDD, archaic way of thinking yeah?

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Stay Away From 1 & 1 - Bad Billing Practices

Apr 3, 2008

Last year I tested out 1&1 for registering two domains. What a mistake.

DNS propagation takes forever. Namecheap and godaddy propagate within minutes.

My experience with billing has been unnerving.

I moved my domains away from 1&1 before the year was up. I was still billed for the renewal. I phoned 1&1 and received an email that my account was canceled & credited.

Low and behold today I received a notice from NCO Financial Systems, a collection agency that 1&1 uses, stating I owe $6.99 plus $18.95 in fees.

Going back over my records (I save everything) I see that the Credit memo I received (as an email attachment) was for only one of the domains. Yes they had billed me for the two domains even though they had been transfered away.

Thus the $6.99 allegedly still owed them.

Today I phoned customer service and explained the situation. The rep seen the invoice (on my account) for the two domains and only the one credit memo yet could not figure out what to do. I explained the situation to him three times clearly and he would take no action. I asked for a supervisor and none could be found. I will have to call back or have them call me.

He said they would not be able to credit my account for the NCO fees of $18.95 for the $6.99 they BILLED ME IN ERROR!

I am waiting to call back to speak with a supervisor.

In my eleven years of hosting this the lamest company I have dealt with. Even dreamhost had better customer service.

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Share Best Server/VPS Security Practices

Apr 28, 2009

develop and deploy a security strategy to make my single dedi and two VPSes (all with similar hardware configuration and running Linux Centos 5.2+ w/DirectAdmin CP and Xen virtualization), as secure ass possible, both internally and externally.

I hope you'll freely share your best practices, recognizing that is the kind of thread multiple members will read for a long time to find out WHO the WHT experts are and what they recommended this newb do. While I hope you'll read the whole post because I may raise issues either you've never thought about or legitimate security issues you've tried to make others aware of but to no avail, I don't expect everyone to respond to every word of this long post. Please feel free to provide solutions-oriented comments and/or constructive direction, based on your area of expertise, only to the specific issues you want to address.

A little background is helpful:

I'm not a reseller nor will I be running anything that needs DDOS-like protection. I'll be running some virtual OS instances, trying out VoIP software and installing and running a virtual Linux desktop from my dedi and creating a mirror for the VPS for my websites, blogs, and email. One VPS will be the slave server to the dedi. I will be running my own DNS, mail and virtual servers on both VPS and the dedi as well. I'll also be backing up data on one of the VPS. All of these activities, I know, present security issues I need to confront.

I'm looking for primarily open source solutions to protect my small server network since first, it fits my budget and, second, I find most proprietary software restrictive and easier to exploit with backdoors, etc. I'd prefer an open source alternative that's of the same high quality and security as a proprietary service. But, if you think a proprietary product or service far outstrips anything open source and you've deployed it for clients or used it for your own servers, let me know. (I prefer to hear actual, first person, end-user accounts/suggestions.)

I'm a quick study--in fact, warp speed--so can learn what I need to do if I have good direction, (which is why I came here to ask). But, since I'm not yet an expert, please expect clarification questions.

So, here's what I want to know:

1) I will be logging in via secure, encrypted SSH to run commands and manage software but what's the best secure file and data transfer method/software to use? Can I make SSH more secure? Should I run a VPN from one of the boxes? Is using a secure web interface safe for managing or monitoring my server?

2) What's the best firewall for a dedi and will that firewall work for a VPS?

3) Same question for anti-malware (antispyware/antivirus/antispam) software. I see Kasperky and Dr. Web a lot as well as Spamassassin (which is open source) but what are some other options? Aren't server hackers expecting most servers to have the same protection software and doesn't that make them easier to hack?

4) What are some of the ways my servers can be exploited? For example, can others use my email servers to send spam or other servers to commit illegal acts? (I want to avoid getting my server taken down or my IPs blacklisted for someone else's activities). How do I prevent such exploitation?

5) What's the best and safest way to backup and/or sync my servers? What kinds of encryption should I use for the data on my servers? My internal servers like mail, file and virtual servers and appliances?

6) Other than software, what are some of the best methods for protecting my servers from DNS attacks, spam, viruses, hacking, etc.? Should I write specific commands into certain files or run them on a bash shell?

7) Are their GOOD websites or blogs that cover this subject? I can't afford to buy a library of books and wouldn't have time to read them. Also, by the time I do, the information would be outdated. I need to keep up. Finally, I learn best by doing and need to hit the ground running; information needs to be somewhat noob friendly and definitely actionable.

Also, what about implementing general server privacy practices? For example, I invest in truly private domain name registration (read: privacyprotect.org) and, in addition, private DNS for my website and blog domain names. I will be employing other (legal) techniques that prevent to much info from being revealed in my email headers without getting my email sent to spam. In some case, I use encrypted email.

If I'm taking those steps, so, doesn't make sense to implement a strategy that prevents as many people as possible from physically locating my servers in the first place--to force them to spend significant time (and money if they're serious) trying to figure out where my IP addresses goes by using some kind of stealth DNS?

The analogy that comes to mind is using a correctly configured, encrypted and anonymous VPN, SSH tunnel or proxy server to mask the IP address that leads to your home ISP and, ultimately, to your house. Not to protect yourself from law enforcement because if you're doing illegal stuff online, you SHOULD be caught. But to protect myself from nefarious individuals, nosy neighbors, stalkers or ISPs logging your every internet move. Is there a way to do this with my dedi and VPSes, prevent unnecessary location thus targeting, logging, sniffing, etc?

What other things should I be thinking about? Tell me what I'm missing but please don't just share potential nightmare scenarios without telling me HOW to avoid them.

Again, the advice that's most helpful to me focuses on constructive, actionable solutions; what I CAN do, use, implement, deploy, etc. to develop and execute a strong security strategy for my servers. Again, if you share a negative scenario, please share a positive, effective solution. Tell me how I CAN effectively implement best security practices, even as a noob (since we ALL start as noobs, right?),

I already know this won't be easy but I'm up for the challenge and like the control I'll have managing my own servers. So, I'm also not looking to pay anyone else to manage my digital assets (including my DNS) or for average end-user (retail) solutions designed for truly non-technical folks but ineffective for power users. Been there, done that, lost a lot of data, especially lately.

Finally, though I won't totally cheap out, I don't have thousands of dollars to invest in enterprise level services I don't need for just one dedi and two small VPSes. To me, in terms of scale, this is not unlike securing my home network of a couple of laptops and a desktop workstation from drive by hacking and other threats. In addition to open source software, if I can do something myself, I'd rather, than paying someone else.

If I can rebuild my Windows desktop from bare metal (more than once, in fact) and install a home network and secure both as well as any service can, I can do this.

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Buyer? Seller? How Can To Do Fair Practices?

Apr 12, 2009

Buyer? Seller? How can to do fair practise?

I often sees that when a buyer want to buy something or hire someone, they will be asked to deposited certain amount prior to the work started. I know that this is one way of insurance against scammers and fraud and I have no problem with that.

BUT, what about the buyers? What if they committed to hire a company, given a timeline and when the time comes, the work is still long way to finish or worst, getting a full refund just because the provider decided that they can't deliver the results as promised.

Let's say a buyer hire a company to do custom work. I am pretty much sure that he will not hire another developer as a backup in case the work he's currently outsourced failed. BUT, what if the developer decide to backed out from the deal? What will happened to the buyer's time? He will have to start searching for someone else and start over again. So, by the time he got the job done, he already wasted huge amount of time.

So, I think it would be fair to both parties that a provider should place a TOS stating what will they do if they decided to back off from an ongoing deal.

Yes, this rant came from disatisfaction of my recent fallen deal. I am now way behind my schedule. This is me sharing what I felt right now and no pun intended.

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Buyavps.com Shady Business Practices

Jun 2, 2008

Last September, I subscribed to a VPS from buyavps.com to test how WHM and some of our accounts behave if we upgrade from PHP 4 to PHP 5. This was concluded towards early November, but I left the VPS subscription active, thinking later on we might have other cases where I would rather test a server-wide software upgrade in a VPS first.

A couple of months later, in January of this year, I indeed had such a case where I wanted to test something again. After a couple of unsuccessful tries, I opened a support ticket about accessing my VPS, thinking maybe I wrote down a wrong password or whatever.

Imagine my surprise when support told me my VPS account does not exist and asked me whether I have been actually paying for one, then asked me for a transaction ID. This although I had an active subscription at that time, paying monthly for the service.

Actually the subscription just billed again right while support sat on the ticket, writing me this response. After that shock, I went and cancelled the subscription, but I already lost another month's payment. I demanded the money back for a period I was charged for at a time when there was clearly no service any more, plus the period before at the end of which there clearly was no service any more either. Support said they'll forward my ticket to billing, and that was the last I heard.

Still having faith in the company, since it was to my knowledge Tina's company (she was the reason I went with buyavps.com in the first place), I decided to wait for a few weeks for the refund.

After that came months where I forgot about this issue, recently noticing only the e-mails again. Still having faith in Tina, I sent her a PM here on WHT so that she could look into this issue. To which she answered that she sold her part in buyavps.com to another company months ago.

At that point, I sent off another support ticket to buyavps.com, where several people asked the same questions all over again, just to say in the end I am not entitled to any kind of refund. At which I got pissed and told them they stole my money and do I really have to come to a public place to tell the story?

Well here I am - knowing the industry I am not very surprised at how they took my money and provided no service for it. For this, they deserve to be named here and serve as a warning for potential new customers of buyavps.com.

However, I am extremely disappointed in how you can't trust even prominent people of this industry with good reputation any more. I signed up to this service because I trusted the person who ran the company, all payments went to her Paypal account, and at the time this whole fiasco happened she was still (part-)owner of the company. Shrugging it all off is not what I expected.

p.s. I have a number of e-mails for proof and further details if desired, just wanted to keep the size of this post within limits.

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How To CHMOD? Sever Security Best Practices

Jan 3, 2007

I have my web server hacked several times and I am beating my head against the wall trying to find the problem(s).

Way back when my sites have been defaced and CHMODing my *.html files to 744 seemed to have done the trick

Now someone has put a phishing site somehow, which by the way I'm not able to remove still, I can't help but to think that I may have more CHMODing to do, I have recursevly set my site to 755, shoud this do the trick? I know I need to chmod .htaccess and alike files to 644, but what about...imagesCGI/PHP?cssetc?

What other steps can I take to secure this thing?

it's a shared host, limited access, but I do have SHELL.

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ThePlanet / Other Hosting Providers - Unethical Practices

Nov 11, 2008

I am posting here my experience with Theplanet and also looking to gain insights into unethical practices by hosting providers who are turning into practices of utility and credicard companies. I have been a loyal customer of Serverbeach for 4 years, I have been a loyal customer of Theplanet for more than a year .. I outsource my server administration to admins who setup , configure and manage my servers. Recently Theplanet disconnected our server as our credit card on file expired which I beleive is the right thing to do .. What ticks me off is the fact that they are charging a reconnect fee - FOR WHAT - to click a button? Just Ridiculous. THese dedicated companies are following the path of utility companies and credit card companies which slap various fees on their customers and milking customers .. sure a reconnect fee is understood if the account is not in good standing and such incidents are common on the account . What surprises me is this is the first time in 1+ year and they refuse to waive the fee , it is not the question of fee but the ethics and practices is what I am concerned about. NOw a reconnect fee , what next ? a server restart fee ? which direction are these hosting companies moving towards?

Well I explained the situation and that email is not always the best communication a phone call could have helped. Who would not agree that that single email might have stuck in a junk folder? THey had my full contact information if only they are genuine , they would call and understand what is the issue , have at risk management practices in place so their sales rep could contact me right after 3 days of non payment. But NO they rather wanted me to contact them as they take it for granted that I have been their customer for more than a year and It is not easy for me to move out to a different provider I would not have any option but to pay considering the time and effort involved in migrating to other hosting provider.

ThePlanet - Sorry but on the ethics issue I would not mind spending 100 x the reconnect fee to move to other provider who understands customers.

I am reaching out to all the individuals who sign up with these companies and respond to this post any such experiences.. HIdden fees charged by these companies ? Have you noticed how credit card companies change their billing cycles and you received the bill only to know you missed the payment due date .. ..

That said please let me know which is the best dedicated server company which I can sign up with which does not enforce hidden fees such as these and is ethical and understands and listens to customers.

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Company Exchange Server & Linux Exim Best Practices

Apr 3, 2009

On of our clients use an MS Exchange 2003 SBS server, with exchange for their internal email. We provide them with a domain, ADSL (which uses dynamic DNS) and POP3 email. They don't have an spam filter program on the exchange server itself due to costs, so I have setup each user on the Exim server, which runs ASSPX for anti-virus / spam filter / etc.

Then I setup the SBS 2003 server to pull the email via POP3, but this doesn't seem to work too well, cause the exchange server doesn't always download the POP3 email, and then the users often sit without email until I go there to manually download the mail again.

I have tried changing the MX record to point to their DynDNS address, and it works well, but then they get a lot of spam. And the cost of a server-side spam solution is just too expensive, and they also pay for the bandwidth uses when spam comes in. So, I moved their MX record back to the Linux server. But now I sit with the problem of the POP3 connector failing from time to time.

So, I would like to know, is there a way to "push" (not forward) mail from the Linux server, after it has arrived and spam been blocked, to another domain, but with the same email address? i.e. the domain in question is attorneys.co.za and I've setup attorneys.dyndns.net as the dynamic domain, but the exchange serves email for attorneys.co.za Forwarding email doesn't work, since there's no such user as bob@attorneys.dyndns.net, but rather bob@attorneys.co.za.

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Datacenter

Aug 11, 2007

how the inside of a DC is but I was looking at NetDepot's.

I thought that they used rackmounts in datacenters?

Like these:[url]

These appear to me as desktops?

[url]

Am I mistaken?

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Datacenter

Jul 20, 2007

Burstnet
Dednow/Beachcomber
FDCServers
Softlayer

Which one of those datacenters would you choose your site to be hosted at?

I'm leaning towards softlayer, and then FDCServers (especially with the upgragde on august 1).

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CalPop.com Datacenter

Apr 25, 2008

Has anyone ever experienced first hand about CalPop Datacenter i hear they are good wanna see feedback from the WHT members i gotten a really good deal!

I started a poll the poll will be up for 24 hours!

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Joe's Datacenter Colocation

Aug 7, 2009

I'm looking around for a nice, cheap colo place for a Dell PE 2650 I just purchased...

Requirements

* At least burstable to 10Mbit... dedi 10 is nice.. 100 is nicer..

* About 1000GB xfer should be good to start, I guess I can work with less

* Cheap IPs with no problems obtaining more

* Cheap remote hands since there's really not much in the RI/MA area. I will be going to school in upstate NY so I guess something around there would be cool too. I'm willing to ship anywhere though.

* Discounted/included DirectAdmin would be really nice...

* Not going to be selling IRCd stuff unless it's allowed and nice firewalls. I will probably only use it for a personal IRCd and irssi session.

Prospects

* Joe's Datacenter [url]

This company seems too good to be true... they offer great services for great prices and have many good features. I also spoke to an admin who said he will be able to include a DirectAdmin license for free. They include 5 IPs right off the bat. I got about a reply in an hour at like midnight from Joe (or just another Joe) himself.. and I'm not even a customer! They do free reboots. $50 to colo our 2U with 1500GB and 100Mbit. It's 25 extra for unmetered w/10Mbit but I'm sure the admin would be willing to just offer more b/w staying at 100Mbit instead of moving to a 10Mbit port.

* FDC Servers

Great reputation.. Pretty good prices for what I would imagine to be quality service. Not much more I can say about them.. Did not ask them about DirectAdmin.

Conclusion

I think I'm mainly just looking for any input on Joe's Datacenter because I really think I want to start my company there. If anyone has any better offers I'm open to anything.. but DirectAdmin would be really nice... just remember that.

I'm also looking for a solution to HyperVM... LxLabs (to-be LxCenter I guess?) is now releasing it for free.. I'm not sure if it's patched yet or not though. I think I might just start with HyperVM for now since noone is going to target us.. seriously.. we are two kids with like 2 clients right now. We can always migrate later if HyperVM never takes off again.

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Starting A Datacenter

Oct 10, 2009

What if i got a really good connection to this house i have in Sweden and bought some servers there, is it a good idea and would it sell? How hard is it to get a good connection, the house is in a fairly populated area of Sweden and i have partners who could help run it and do support 24 hours.

But its just a thought and we would start small. What do you guys think?

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How Do You Find Joe's Datacenter

Oct 3, 2009

i want to know more about there service.
does any one work with them?
i need more review about them.

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Datacenter From My House

Aug 4, 2009

I just got a phone call yesterday because my house I just moved into came with a small peice of land about 3 miles away * no clue why* And a company wanted to rent it out for colocation. Is this a scam or should I do it? They said it would only hold 60 servers. The building on the land they would be renting already has backup generators emergency lights etc just no internet leading to it.

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European Datacenter

Jul 24, 2009

My company is about to start a project and need about 100 servers within 3 months. I am looking for a list of afordable and reliable unamanaged server providers from Europe. Can you suggest some? Which datacenter should I contact for such a project?

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Best Datacenter Malaysia

Aug 14, 2009

are there any datacenters in the us that got a good conection to malaysia ??
and are not that expensive like in asia itself ??

i ask it because i know some1 from malaysia and he got a ping of 450 to conect to my server ( a bit high , isnt it )

the other datacenters/company's i found are prices of 200 - 300$ for a dual core

so i was wondering if there are some cheap datacenters with some good quality to those country's

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San Jose Datacenter

Apr 15, 2008

Anyone know which providers have san jose datacenters?

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Datacenter Lanzarote

Sep 2, 2008

any datacenters on lanzarote ? my google searches found nothing (and yes i need it on lanzarote not anywhere else in spanin)

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How Much It Take To Make A Datacenter

Mar 15, 2008

I was just wondering and searching for it but i couldnt find the estimated answer, anyone who have made one or operate one can answer me.

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DataCenter In Toronto

Feb 19, 2008

I want to get a server in Toronto and am looking for some datacenter recommendations for the area. I seen a thread from last May but would like some more current info. Iíve been looking at either ColoHotel or 3z, does anyone have any experience with either of these locations? Also does anyone have any other suggestions on who to look at or who not to?

My requirements are pretty basic 100Mbit would be better then not, remote reboot, 24/7 access.

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Creating A Datacenter

May 4, 2008

I have a old pentium 2 lying around. I was actually wondering if I install a smll linux distro such as DSL linux, is there a way to make it into a fileserver only?

3 comptuers will connect to it.

My main computer and server will use the same internet (ive got a 5MBS line but right now I am just doing an expirment so I dont care if its slow.)

theres a laptop which connects wirelessly using my neighbours (i dont have wireless) so thats a whole different IP and differnt ISP.

and my dads computer which is about 3 KM away.

So I want to do it, store like a couple of word documents

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Picking A Datacenter

Apr 23, 2008

we're in the process of revamping our website and was curious what you, the customers, look for when going to a datacenter's website. Do you like seeing customer comments? Upfront pricing? Facilities' amenities? Which providers' websites do you think are good examples of what a good website should look like?

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NetDirekt.de Datacenter

May 15, 2008

I read a lot of positive comments about Netdirekt.de, his service, his professional and fast support, etc. but I was unable to find informations and (better) some pictures of their datacenter.

Their website come from web 0.1 (alpha) era and there are not information about this. So, if someone has more informations, I kindly ask:

Do you know some more details about datacenter structure, power redundancy, ups and, moreover, diesel generators?

Do you have some picture of this datacenter?

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How To Build Your Own Datacenter

Oct 15, 2008

I am making some business plans and having an independent datacenter is one of them. Certainly it isn't easy as leasing a space, and buy some stuff. Some of the things I have to watch out for are network activity, getting bandwidth support, power supply, get an engineering company to design the facility and a lot of stuff.

Are there any companies who handles all that? What would be the specific steps to accomplish my agenda?

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VPS In Gigenet Datacenter

Dec 4, 2008

Does anyone know of a reseller (as gigenet doesn't sell them directly AFAIK) of VPSs at the gigenet datacenter?

I need a new VPS for a new project and I'm looking at one located in the midwest and Chicago seems a perfect location. My project isn't big enough to require a dedi, but I was hoping to find a vps company who has nodes at gigenet.

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Datacenter In California

Nov 27, 2008

Is there a great webhost with their datacenter in California?

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