Spectre and Meltdown: What We’ve Done to Secure the gBlock Cloud

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Friday, January 12th 2018 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Data Center Design, Microsoft, Security

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or aren’t in the IT field at all, by now you’ve likely heard about the widespread Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities affecting an enormous swath of processors manufactured by Intel and AMD, the industry leaders, leading to security vulnerabilities and performance problems.

Green House Data staff have been hard at work patching systems as fixes have come available this week. Here’s a quick summary of the vulnerabilities, their effects on cloud and general computing performance, and what we’ve done to fix them so far. We also provide a few links for users who need to patch their own operating systems or investigate further.

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Data Centers in 2017: The Ultimate Round Up

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Friday, December 22nd 2017 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Colocation, Data Center Design

We have arrived again at that time when year-end lists proliferate for perusal by a workforce distracted by the holidays. The data center industry continued to chug forward in 2017, with M&A activity heating up in particular. Here are the top stories that broke throughout the data center world, plus a list of the most visited posts from our own humble blog.

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A Brief Guide to Smooth Database Migration

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Friday, December 8th 2017 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Disaster Recovery

Moving to the cloud, changing service providers, upgrading your host hardware, consolidating data centers, or switching to new software — they all might necessitate a database migration.

Moving a database is not a task to be taken lightly, but it can lead to more centralized and efficient management, lower storage costs, and/or reduced license requirements. To minimize your risk and downtime, follow these database migration tips.

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Best Practices for Load Testing Cloud Applications

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, November 16th 2017 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Cloud Hosting, Software Development

The holidays are looming, meaning many DevOps teams are about to have their apps take a beating as hundreds of holiday orders and new device users slam them all at the same time. Whether or not your systems are consumer-focused, there will eventually come a time when the overall load on your servers is pushed to the limit.

Load testing applications in the cloud allows development and testing staff to perform scale testing to see at what point virtual machines need to scale, when to add additional resources like storage or bandwidth, and when a failover solution might be necessary.

By thoroughly performing load tests throughout the DevOps process, your organization eventually lowers costs and your team doesn’t have to scramble during a major event. Here are some best practices when performing cloud-based load testing.

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Why Green House Data is Bringing Our Cloud to Denver

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Friday, November 10th 2017 — Categories: Cloud Hosting

As you may have heard, Green House Data has completed our second acquisition of 2017 with the purchase of Ajubeo, a Denver-based cloud hosting provider. While more cloud resources are always beneficial to a nationwide cloud platform, some people might be left scratching their heads — after all, we have our headquarters just 100 miles north of Denver in Cheyenne, Wyoming. So what advantages are to be had from adding a Denver cloud node?

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Clearing Up the Clouds: Public, Hyperscale, Hosted Private and the Best Fit for You

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, November 2nd 2017 — Categories: Cloud Hosting

We thought everyone finally had cloud terminology all cleared up. You’ve certainly seen the countless blogs about IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS; not to mention the ever-proliferating surveys and reports on hybrid cloud being the deployment flavor du jour.

But things aren’t as clear as we might want them to be. For example, tell me what you think of when you hear the term “public cloud.”

Is it a hyperscale provider like AWS, Azure, or Google? It is, isn’t it? If not, you probably work with or for an organization similar to Green House Data, which has a public cloud offering with some major differences from the hyperscale players.

So how can we clear up the cloud? Has public become synonymous with hyperscale and self-provisioning? Has private cloud fallen by the wayside? And what should your business focus on, anyway?

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Is Hybrid Cloud Just a Stepping Stone to Public?

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, October 19th 2017 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Cloud Hosting

Hybrid IT infrastructure seems to be the deployment mode du jour, but some theorize that hybrid is just a stopover on the way to a 100% public cloud environment. With cloud adoption as a whole moving slower than many anticipated, it may be too early to definitively say whether hybrid is here to stay, but in our opinion, hybrid will remain a valuable model for many years to come.

Surveys from McAfee and RightScale both show hybrid cloud and multicloud adoption increasing, with McAfee finding a jump from 19% of organizations using hybrid cloud in 2015 to 57% using hybrid cloud in 2016, and RightScale showing an increase from 58% to 71% over the same period.

But are these increases just because hybrid cloud is the easiest deployment model? Often times a company will add cloud resources alongside their current infrastructure, which is considered a form of hybrid cloud. Or is it because the definition of hybrid cloud itself is shifting?

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Staying on Top of Resource Commitment with VMware High Availability

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, October 12th 2017 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Cloud Hosting, VMware, Documentation

It’s easy to provision additional VMs and increase resource commitment from your overall resource pool using the vSphere web portal. Maybe too easy. If you overstretch your resources, some features like High Availability failover may not function as planned. HA keeps your VMs from failing by pooling VMs and hosts in a cluster, relaunching failed VMs on alternate hosts.

Overcommitting resources can also lead to general performance problems, so it is in your best interest to use Admission Control to keep a close watch on overall capacity. Another reason? You might be trying to power on new VMs, only to run into errors as you exceed your Admission Control rules. Tweaking them can save you from buying additional host resources.

This post will introduce the concepts of slot sizes and configuration of Admission Control to allow more VMs to move between hosts when you have turned on High Availability in vSphere/vCenter.

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Know Your Storage Constraints: IOPS and Throughput

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, September 28th 2017 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Cloud Storage, Data Center Design

Application performance can often hinge on how well your storage can serve data to end clients. For this reason you must correctly design or choose your storage tier speed in terms of both IOPS and throughput, which rate the speed and bandwidth of the storage respectively.

It is vital to plan according to manufacturer and developer recommendations as well as real-world benchmarks to maximize your storage (and subsequently application) performance. Take a look at peak IOPS and throughput ratings, read/write ratios, RAID penalties, and physical latency.

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What to Know About IP Addresses Before Your Cloud Migration

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Friday, August 18th 2017 — Categories: Hybrid Cloud, Cloud Hosting, Networking and Fiber

When planning a cloud migration, don’t forget to plan ahead for IP address changes that could affect your workloads and the way they interact with internal and external network traffic.

Cloud providers and data centers have a limited pool of IP addresses that they own, and they often re-use previously assigned IPs in order to maximize them. You can’t simply move your existing IP addresses along with your services. Rather, you’ll receive a dynamically assigned internal and external IP address.

To complicate matters, you could lose those dynamically assigned IPs if you stop your cloud instance (but usually only if you stop and deallocate the VM resources — most providers will keep your IP assigned to you if your machine is paused/stopped but still reserved within the overall resource pool). Luckily, there are a few ways to keep IPs relatively static in the cloud.

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