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Archive for March, 2009

8 ways to make data centers less boring

This is a guest post by Zoe Archer from the web hosting company UK2.

Every day, techies around the world are thinking of new ways to make data storage facilities a little bit more awesome.

Whilst some look awesome others are focused on top-notch security, and I wanted to take the opportunity to share some of our favorites with the Royal Pingdom readers.

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No Earth Hour on the Internet – Yet

Last Saturday evening, the Earth Hour organization encouraged people and businesses to turn unused appliances and computers off during one hour. As a global uptime monitoring service with access to 35,000 sites and servers all over the world, we decided to see if more web-connected devices than usual were offline (mostly servers managing websites).

We also issue a challenge to network administrators across the world.

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A cabling clusterfuck

If you’ve seen the movie Burn After Reading, you’ll undoubtedly remember when one of the characters, totally exasperated by the utterly confusing mess that has built up over the course of the movie, simply states, ”What a clusterfuck.”

We stumbled across this picture the other day, suitably named just that: Clusterfuck.

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Just as it did with IPv4, the US Department of Defense has managed to get its hands on a huge chunk of the addresses of its successor, IPv6.

The US DoD has a /13 IPv6 block (the smaller the number, the larger the block). No one else in the world is even close to that. The next-largest block after that is a /19 block (which is already huge). In other words the DoD owns a block 64 times larger than anyone else’s.

But just wait until you see how many IP addresses that really is. (Ok, the headline kind of gives it away, but we’ll expand on that.)

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Five myths about SaaS debunked

Is SaaS (software as a service) a trend that is gaining more and more of a foothold in IT departments, or is it doomed to be the bastard stepchild of traditional software? Jeffrey Kaplan from Computerworld set out to debunk five common myths about the SaaS model. He had several interesting points.

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The most reliable (and unreliable) blogging services

Millions of people who blog don’t want to deal with hosting their blog themselves, so they use a blogging service instead. There are many things that factor into the choice of blogging service, but one of them should always be site reliability. After all, if people can’t access your blog, it won’t get read.

For this survey we have monitored the websites of nine blogging services for a period of four months to see how much downtime they have. The included services were Typepad, Blogger,, Blogster,, Vox, Squarespace, Windows Live Spaces and LiveJournal.

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A handy uptime and downtime conversion cheat sheet

We got tired of not having a good cheat sheet at hand to convert uptime percentages to downtime and vice versa, so we made one. Hopefully you will find it useful (I know we will).

You can download the PDF version here.

Print it out and use it as a reference when you need to quickly check how much downtime in a month 99.5% uptime actually allows for (just an example). It’s very handy. All information on just one page!

You’ll also find a smaller version inside this post, for your convenience.

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Is the Internet rapidly becoming less of a safe, free and open place for our ideas, opinions and communication? One could convincingly argue that it is.

Here is what the situation looks like today, with some countries attempting to control the Internet and many monitoring everything on it. We also discuss what you can (and should?) do about it.

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Digg goes down, people start talking

Digg had an outage today that was most likely the result of the ongoing migration of Digg’s servers to a new data center.

That didn’t stop people from wondering what was going on when the site went offline, as you could see for example on Twitter.

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10 historical software bugs with extreme consequences

One of the latest software errors that had widely noticed consequences was Google’s Gmail outage in February. The problem in that case was, according to Google, a bug in the software that distributed load between its different data centers.

The Gmail outage only resulted in people not having access to their email for a few hours. No one got killed. Nothing exploded. It was an inconvenience, and while it was a significant inconvenience for some of Gmail’s users, it was still just that: an inconvenience.

This article is about some of the more dire consequences of software errors through the years. Incidents that make the Gmail outage seem rather trivial.

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