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24
Sep
2014

Limestone Networks: A Buzz-Worthy Hosting Solution Company (by FindMyHost)

Felipe Fleury Still

There are a handful of companies on the Internet that can provide you with adequate hosting solutions, but there is one company in particular that seems to be causing a great deal of buzz among consumers for offering redundant, high-performance hosting solutions that are simple, solid, superior, and quite affordable to attain: Limestone Networks (LSN). I’ve heard of this company for a couple of months now; for that matter, I decided to finally try it out to see if it lived-up to the hype and to bring you the following review.

This company was founded in 2007 in the state of Texas and automatically garnered a loyal clientele. It grew quickly and became the preferred dedicated server host for gaming in Dallas, TX. Limestone Networks popularity was increasing at such a fast pace that they had to move the following year to a new facility, which featured more redundancy and physical security than their previous data center. Their new facility allowed LSN to market enterprise-level dedicated hosting to serve small to medium sized businesses.

Limestone Networks is composed of a staff of individuals who care about every single one of their client’s needs and wants. Their motto is for you to have a simple hosting experience on a solid network that’s delivered with superior customer service.

This innovative company has a great number of solutions, such as reseller hosting services, starting a game server, launching a website, developing applications, and customizable solutions, but their unmanaged hosting support plans and managed support plans are being the talk of the town for the features they include and for the affordable price tags that are attached to them.

Unmanaged Support 

Tech-Support-Group-Photo---Cage-Isle-letterboxed-WEBTheir unmanaged hosting support plans offer as little management as you need. Their unmanaged support covers your server’s network, power, and hardware. They additionally offer per-incident and monthly management in case you require a little extra help with operating system matters or software. Their per-incident plan only costs $5 per management ticket.

There are three unmanaged support plans that you can choose from. There is the Standard Support plan, which has a monthly cost of $0.00 USD and includes one free OS reload per month, standard phone support, and web and mobile control panel. Yes, you read it right; it won’t cost you a penny! This is the plan that I tried out first, and since I was pleased with it, I moved on to this company’s following plan.

There is also the Standard Support with Monitoring plan (my second pick), which runs for $10.00 USD a month; it includes one free OS reload per month, 10 minute uptime monitoring, standard phone support, and web and mobile control panel.

And last but not least, there is the Premier Support with Monitoring plan, which includes three free OS reloads per month, 10 minute uptime monitoring, incident KVM, direct support chat, premier phone support, standard phone support, and web and mobile control panel.

Managed Support

Limestone Networks managed support plans cover a variety of server management tasks. Their managed support plans cover more of your software and OS configuration needs, whereas, their unmanaged support covers network, power and hardware. There are two managed support plans that you can choose from: Routine Checkup or Proactive Management.

The Routine Checkup plan includes 20 minutes uptime monitoring with notifications, 3 free OS reloads per month, free incident KVM for 3 hours per week, premier phone support, live chat support, setup and verify routine backup, application of operation system patches, anti-virus and malware scans, and basic managements tickets for only $3.00 USD each. This plan costs $40.00 USD a month.

There is also the Proactive Management plan that contains everything you obtain in the Routine Checkup plan, instant downtime investigation, unlimited basic server management tickets, proactive analysis, and malware, spam, and hack troubleshooting. You can obtain this plan for the price of $80.00 USD a month.

Limestone Networks has cultivated premium support for both their managed and unmanaged dedicated servers. They provide in-depth hardware diagnostics completely free of charge. Their hardware diagnostics have been modeled after a full-service oil change. If any hardware issue arises, they immediately replace all memory modules and cables within your server.

As you can tell, Limestone Networks truly does offer full-service managed and unmanaged solutions at affordable prices. I’ve been using their Standard Support with Monitoring plan, and I must say that this company totally lived-up to the hype in my book.

For more information on how LSN can help your business, visit www.LimestoneNetworks.com.

Metal LSN Sign - side view

18
Aug
2014

Limestone Networks: Secure Data Center, Superior Network (By FindMyHost)

Rear view of DC new

Since 2007, Dallas, Texas-based Limestone Networks (LSN) has been providing network solutions to many satisfied clients. They stand behind their motto of “Simple, Solid, Superior,” and it is evident in everything they do, from dedicated hosting to cloud hosting, from providing developer tools to their outstanding customer service. They work with businesses that are both large and small, both tech savvy and not, and are devoted to the success of all of their clients.

When choosing a network provider, especially one that provides IaaS, businesses have a choice of many companies who can serve their needs. However, LSN stands out among all of their competitors for two main reasons: their highly secure data center and their incredibly reliable network.

LSN’s Data Center: Like a Fortress 

Security is a huge concern when you’re entrusting a network provider with your data. Your data simply cannot be at risk; your network integrity cannot be compromised. LSN understands this, which is why it is unlikely that you will find a network and hosting company that takes security more seriously. The network itself needs to be secure to protect against outside attacks, of course, but an equally important part of a network’s security is the location of its main data center. You’ll find LSN’s data center in downtown Dallas located in the former Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Think of the amount of security measures in place in a typical bank building, and you’ll have some idea of the security of LSN’s equipment. In fact, it’s the most secure data center in the central region of the country. The well-protected and practically fortress-like integrity of LSN’s headquarters means that servers won’t fall victim to any exterior threats.

For example, power outages are no concern at all to LSN and their network. Since LSN’s data center is on a protected power grid – the same one that Dallas 911 and local hospitals depend on – their clients’ cloud and/or dedicated servers are always available. What makes this power grid so resistant to failure is that it draws power from four different substations. The only way that LSN’s networks will go down is in the highly unlikely event that all four substations are rendered powerless at once.

Other features of LSN’s data center that enhance its security and dependability include multiple water feeds and an 80,000 gallon water reserve, plus SAS-70 Type II and SSAE-16 certifications. For further information about LSN’s highly secure data center, including its exact location, visit https://www.limestonenetworks.com/data-center/locations.html.

LSN’s Network: Reliable and Affordable

Businesses who choose an IaaS provider need reliable and continual access to their hosted solutions. Clients who use LSN’s services don’t have to worry about their data being inaccessible. Their fully redundant set-up ensures network stability. Plus, their infrastructure provides both a public and a private network for clients: the public for connecting to the internet (on fast Tier 1 carriers), and the private, back-end network for individual clients’ own traffic among servers. For full data security, LSN offers free basic DDoS protection, with an upgrade option available.

It goes without saying that their network is fast. Top speeds are essential in today’s competitive marketplace and LSN’s are among the fastest. Customers are welcome to perform a speed test at any time to check how quickly their data is loading. They offer lots of bandwidth too: 10TB of free outbound and free, unmetered inbound.

While LSN stands behind the reliability of their networks, they understand that issues may arise from time to time. That is why they are so passionate about the excellent, personal and attentive customer service that they offer. Clients can call any time or use the live chat function on LSN’s website to quickly connect with a representative. LSN strives for an incredibly fast ticket response time of ten minutes or shorter. This means that client issues are addressed promptly, before they turn into big headaches. And, because LSN is fully committed to providing the best service to its clients, all customer concerns are solved fully before a ticket is closed.

Want to know more about the features of LSN’s simple, solid, and superior network? Visit their site at https://www.limestonenetworks.com/data-center/network.html.


17
Jul
2014

What does Sex Tape, Cloud Hosting and Waffles have in common?

Sex Tape Teaser Trailer, in case you’ve missed it:

-(video obtained from IMDb)

As we await Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel’s latest comedy installment, Sex Tape, let us begin by opening with a quote from the teaser trailer:

*clears throat*

“Nobody understands the cloud, it’s a f$&%^@* MYSTERY!” – Jason Segel.

Thank you Mr. Jason Segel’s character for articulating what is sure to be a deep, plaguing societal issue. I’m only half-kidding. So, it’s pretty obvious from the teaser-trailers Jason and Cameron’s characters don’t know what “the cloud” is… but we do, and I suppose that’s a good thing since we’re a cloud hosting company. All the more reason for us to demystify the issue.

Disclaimer: Read the following cloud explanation at your own risk; it might be to your comedic benefit to bookmark this post and continue reading after you’ve seen the movie so as to better partake in the cathartic confusion that’s sure to take place during your movie experience.

Cloud is still a fairly recent addition to the technology world and the society at-large. Plus, it doesn’t help the average person that the jargon surrounding its explanation can get a bit technical, so I’ll break it down for fellow non-techies out there… because that’s what we do, make things easy for hosting fans out there in the crowd. “crickets”

Ok, moving on then.

I would like to assume most people are familiar with the idea of a server as a “storage” place for data and can enable large numbers of users to access that data remotely. However, here’s a simplistic overview just in case. All other readers can skip to the paragraph following the sexy, naked server picture. Data can be a multitude of things from videos (as in the case of Sex Tape), photos, web sites, video games, and just about any digital thing you can think of, which is stored on the server itself. People then get online or on private networks and can ‘visit’ the data on your server when they visit a site, video game, or watch a video. People need servers for several reasons, but three of the most prominent reasons are:

1. Security – a server or hosting provider creates a hyper-secure connection between the data and its recipients to thwart attempts to steal that data. Also, hosting companies provide very secure locations where servers are housed, oftentimes with key card access, biometric scanners, etc.

2. Connectivity – It can be a hassle when you save a document on your work computer and plan to go home and work on that same document only to realize you can’t access it. A server becomes a virtual storage dump for such instances which enable authorized users to access that document or other data from anywhere in the world that has an internet connection. This can be for both private information and public, such as in a web site or application. Due to the robustness of server hardware, it can withstand the onslaught of hundreds, thousands, and even millions of users accessing that information simultaneously, depending on the hardware, etc.

3. Redundancy and failover – Another major component of server hosting is that it provides its users, whether they be application users, website visitors, or company employees, a personal security knowing that their data will be safely stored and protected in case of a power outage or another type of issue. This means that your customers or users will still be able to access the remote data regardless of geographic utility issues.

IMG_2654

 

Ok, we have servers. Now, in order for us to wrap our head around the concept of cloud, let us think of servers as waffles. Everybody loves waffles. For the purposes of this delicious analogy, each square on a waffle represents a server and the syrup represents data in the servers and the server visitors being hosted. The more traditional dedicated servers described above would look something like a waffle with each square having its own lid to prevent syrup from getting into another square. Therefore, as a square becomes filled with syrup, and in order to continue pouring syrup (everyone wants abundant amounts of syrup, it makes everything go down smootherJ), you need to buy another square in which to contain newly poured syrup. Now, I hope everyone is following my sweet analogy, because cloud is about to makes SO MUCH MORE SENSE.

Now for the big “aha!” moment. Imagine a waffle without the containment lid on each waffle square. It’s a regular waffle. Got it? If we pour syrup into one square until it overflows, where does the overflowing syrup go? Well, into the adjacent waffle square of course! And as that one overflows, it goes into yet another adjacent waffle square and so on and so forth. That, my friends, is cloud in a waffle-fied mental contraption. Cloud is the entire waffle. It is made up of multiple virtual servers (waffle squares) housed within a single storage solution (the waffle in its entirety) which can then facilitate scaling to different levels of processing and capacity according to need (syrup spillover). Furthermore, each waffle is connected to a larger array of waffles whilst being backed by cloned cooks with bottomless vats of waffle mix (power) in a building made up entirely of kitchens (networks). Thus, waffles can be offered at high-speeds and are always available! Er… I mean cloud. Cloud is always available! I let that analogy get away from me.

Lovely Waffles

Lovely, LOVEly Waffles

So what’s the big deal about cloud?

You get what you pay for. During any course of interaction between a server and its clients, the processing power required to maintain those connections ebbs and flows. With traditional dedicated servers, it doesn’t matter if you’re using 1% of its capacity or 100% of its capacity, you’re still paying the set amount each month or year to have that allotted amount of hardware set aside for your use. Cloud technology is an alternative to that mentality. It’s a super secure, highly scalable virtual server and you pay for the actual processing resources used. If you’re using 1% processing power then you’re paying for 1% processing power and if you’re using 150% of your designated processing power, not a problem, you’ll just be paying for 150% processing power. Payment arrangements for cloud are usually established by the hour or month. The model of cloud hosting is great for applications and websites that are unable to predict what their user volume is and therefore need the ability to scale from 2 users to 165,000 users in real-time. The same is true for seasonal businesses or businesses needing resources with a high degree of availability in order to scale up or down in the future since, with cloud, it can be done on-the-fly without any downtime.

At a boiled down non-techie version of things, you’ve now graduated from waffle university, where every aspiring cloud guru can get his/her start. Congratulations! If you’ve found this to be helpful, please share the wealth of knowledge by passing this on to someone you know. Thanks for taking the time to read and educate yourself!

If you are enlightened to the point of needing a server, please visit Limestone Network’s homepage or go directly to the cloud solutions, or better yet, speak with an account specialist using the chat box below!

10
Jun
2014

From Magento to Minecraft, Limestone Networks brings high performance application hosting to the cloud with OnApp

Combines enterprise-grade infrastructure with pre-configured cloud application instances, customizable cloud servers and cloud reseller services running on OnApp

 

LONDON – June 10, 2014 – OnApp today announced that Limestone Networks has launched a new range of pre-configured cloud instances for popular business, e-commerce and gaming applications, as well as customizable cloud servers and cloud reseller services running on the OnApp platform. The new Limestone Networks Cloud (LSN Cloud) now offers ready-to-run cloud instances for WordPress, Minecraft, Drupal, Magento, SugarCRM and other applications, as well as vanilla cloud servers for users to customize as they wish.


lsn_box_largeSince its inception in 2007, Limestone Networks has established a reputation for exceptional performance and customer service in the dedicated server hosting market. The company chose OnApp to develop a new range of cloud services that would meet growing customer demand for redundancy and scalability for high-performance application hosting. Limestone cites OnApp’s complete cloud management feature set, integrated high performance storage system, reseller support through WHMCS, and the ease of integration with its existing OnePortal control panel as reasons for its decision.

“We have always built our dedicated hosting services for maximum reliability and performance, and moving to the cloud with OnApp enables us to add even greater resilience and scalability, while maintaining that performance for our customers’ apps,” said Kris Anderson, Limestone Networks’ Business Development Director. “Applications running on our OnApp cloud can scale and failover automatically to other servers in the event of an outage. Combined with the full hardware redundancy we’ve built into our network, we can now deliver the best performing, most resilient hosting services for our customers’ applications, on cloud and dedicated servers.”

OnApp’s integration with the WHMCS client management system enables Limestone Networks to offer turnkey reseller cloud packages. As a result, web hosts, gaming server providers, VPS providers and traditional dedicated server providers can resell Limestone’s high performance cloud infrastructure with operating systems and applications packaged and ready to run for their own customers. 

“Limestone has created a unique offering with OnApp, which focuses on what end users really care about – getting the best possible performance and support for their applications,” said Kosten Metreweli, OnApp’s Chief Commercial Officer. “Helping providers like Limestone extend their service offerings beyond dedicated hosting and into the cloud, and providing new ways to add value to customers and resellers, is exactly what OnApp is designed to do. We’re excited to be working with Limestone, helping them build a more lucrative reseller program, and providing a cloud platform that does justice to their investment in infrastructure, to deliver the performance, scalability and resilience their customers need.”

The LSN Cloud offers extremely high performance and resilience, with hypervisor servers running a minimum of dual 6-core Intel Xeon E5-2620v2 CPUs, hosted in racks offering a minimum of 20Gbps bandwidth as standard, and all-SSD/RAID 10 distributed storage that uses OnApp’s “VM-aware” technology to ensure a local copy of data is held on the server hosting each VM. This accelerates data read times dramatically, while automatically distributing copies across other storage nodes for increased resilience. 

Additionally, all LSN Cloud hypervisors and application templates running on OnApp are based on KVM virtualization technology, for the additional performance benefits offered by its closer integration of kernel and hardware. Limestone also offers full redundancy for every hardware component of its cloud, which is hosted in a Dallas datacenter.

Limestone Networks will soon look to expand its OnApp capabilities with new smart servers, which combine the single-tenant performance of dedicated hardware with the automatic provisioning, scaling and failover of cloud servers. Limestone also has plans to expand its datacenter footprint with new locations in the U.S. and use the OnApp Federation to extend its reach to 170 locations worldwide. 

About Limestone Networks
Limestone Networks is a leading IaaS provider of on-demand cloud, dedicated and enterprise hosting services. LSN has an advanced data center which includes multi-layered security, N+1 and 2N redundancy and premium bandwidth carriers. Limestone Networks features an industry-leading reseller program, robust client management portal and end-user panel, with 24/7 passionate support. 

About OnApp 
OnApp provides a complete Infrastructure-as-a-Service platform for hosts, telcos and MSPs, with one fully automated control panel for cloud services, dedicated servers, CDN, storage and more, and an easy way to expand using the world’s largest federated cloud. More than 800 service providers in 87 countries run on OnApp. onapp-logo

12
May
2014

DDoS Attacks are Getting Larger and More Frequent

Guest Writer : Debbie Fletcher

DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks are the bane of online businesses around the world. Are you vulnerable? This article will teach you where and why these attacks occur, and how you can stop them. 

Battle Horse

The Battle for Cyberspace

 

The Villains

So what are you up against? There are several kinds of DDoS but they share the goal of slowing, or taking down target servers by sending overwhelming amounts of bot-generated requests. For example, in DNS amplification DDoS attacks, the hacker requests are in a sense legitimate, but there are so many that the server cannot keep up with the demand. Regular user requests may not get through, and thus they are denied service to the website.

Various types of troublemakers choose DDoS as their method for causing chaos. Attacks often come from rivals in the marketplace, extortionists, or upset ex-employees. Those without the technical know-how will seek hackers-for-hire to execute strikes. Another recent development in the global market is cyber “hacktivism” with DDoS. The Cyber fighters of Izz Ad-Din Al Qassam, one of the more noted hacker collectives, have brought down various U.S. financial institutions with calculated DDoS assaults.

The Protagonists

Where does DDoS come from, and who are the targets? It’s time to introduce the characters in this story of good and evil.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAU.S. and South Korea Susceptible?

A few of the most powerful institutions in the world–the Korean Government, the Whitehouse, the Pentagon—were stunned by a DDoS attack that used over 150,000 malware-controlled computers.

Spamhaus Reversing Roles

Sometimes the peacekeepers need their own protection from no-goodniks. Spamhaus, a well-known Dutch spam blocker, was the victim of the largest DDoS attack to date (over 300Gbps!). The attack was ordered by Cyberbunker, an unhappy host placed on Spamhaus’ list of banned websites. And the evil-doer behind the scenes? None other than a British 16-year-old on his home computer. It’s a DDoS attack; do you know where your children are?

Bitcoin Under Pressure

BTC China, the third largest Bitcoin exchange in the world, was hit in September with a DDoS attack that weighed in at 100 Gbps. This particular strike used a SYN flood method, rather than typical DNS amplification described earlier. In this case the attack was blocked by Incapsula, a cloud-based security service designed to prevent SYN floods, and other types of DDoS attacks. Without a 3rd party security service, BTC China surely would have lost connection to their demanding clientele.

Just the Beginning…

The average DDoS attack now hits at 2.64 Gbps, nearly an 80% increase from 2012. This growth is no surprise considering the rise in Ecommerce. In other words, there’s more to steal, more to disrupt in cyber space than ever before, and most website owners are not protected. Hackers are also aided by faster network speeds, more network resources, and cheaper methods to assemble botnets.

Contrary to popular belief, hackers are not just going after mega-websites, who are typically equipped with high-level security systems. Nowadays hackers are more attracted to mid-size businesses that believe they can fly under the radar without taking proper security measures.

The battle for Cyberspace rages on. DDoS is here to stay. It’s time to take responsibility for your website’s security. Limestone Networks‘ DDoS protection uses a heuristic method of detection which can quickly mitigate any deviation from legitimate behavior real-time. This level of protection is always on, and is available in increments of 10Gbps and 20Gbps. Read more about our Enterprise DDoS Protection here and proactively block stifling DDoS attacks.

7
Apr
2014

Limestone Networks announces upgrade to standard NAS offering

Limestone Networks, a leading IaaS provider of on-demand, cloud, dedicated and enterprise hosting services, announces upgraded NAS offering.

Dallas, Texas April 3, 2014.

Protecting your critical data with secure backups has never been easier or cheaper. Limestone Networks has upgraded their complimentary NAS storage offering from 5GB to 20GB for their dedicated servers. The Limestone NAS is powered with Intel and Adaptec technology, and is in a RAID 10 configuration for redundancy. Their NAS is also fully equipped with hot spares in case of disk failure.

LSN’s NAS systems are on Limestone’s Private Tunnel which means customers get secure, unmetered transfer between their NAS storage and their dedicated servers. Concerning the upgrade, Ryan Gelobter, IT Manager for Limestone Networks said, “We’re happy to provide our clients with the tools they need to administrate their servers effectively.”

Hard Drive Field

Existing clients can upgrade their current packages to 20GB NAS for a small, one-time $5 processing fee. Just open a sales ticket.

Simple. Solid. Superior.

For more information regarding the NAS upgrade, or for advice concerning any of our enterprise hosting products, contact one of our Account Specialists!

24
Mar
2014

The Latest in High Performance Cloud Computing: Limestone Networks Announces LSN Cloud

 

rack_switchsuperletterboxsmall

Limestone Networks, a leading IaaS provider of on-demand, dedicated and enterprise hosting services, announces their new high performance cloud service – LSN Cloud.

Dallas, Texas / March 24, 2014

High Performance

Designed with enterprise customers in mind, LSN Cloud was built to provide high availability, performance and scalability. Using technologically advanced network equipment and hardware, including Intel SSD drives for speed, Juniper rack-level switches, Cisco core routers, Supermicro chassis with redundant power and dual Intel Xeon E5 series hypervisors LSN Cloud is a ready for the most demanding business applications.

LSN Data Center

LSN Data Center

LSN Cloud is located in a Tier 3+ state-of-the-art data center where it uses Tier 1 fiber carriers for optimal data transmission.  Located in the former Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, the data center is a stone fortress with government-grade security features and maximum failover.

“Our core principles when designing LSN Cloud were high availability, performance and scalability. These principles extend not only to our network, but also to our hardware,” said Ryan Gelobter, IT Manager. “We are utilizing stacking features from Cisco and Juniper to provide the high level of redundancy that LSN Cloud demanded. Every switch has at least 20Gbps of capacity to our core routers which is easily upgradeable to 40Gbps. 100Gbps is possible in the future. We use only Intel Xeon processors and Intel SSDs in our hypervisors which gives us fast and reliable performance.”

Limestone Networks’ setup is also a step above competing products. Using KVM virtualization and distributed SSD storage the cloud instances deploy in under five minutes.

LSN Cloud Support

Limestone Networks is passionate about customer support. To this end, they take customer service very seriously and strive for 100% customer satisfaction, no matter what it takes.

“Our support team has trained rigorously with LSN Cloud and is looking forward to assisting clients,” Kris Anderson, Director of Support, commented. “With response times less than 10 minutes, our clients have come to expect superior customer service, and the support for our cloud hosting will be just as quick.”

Aggressively Priced

LSN Cloud is priced more economically than any other major cloud hosting service providers, such as Rackspace or Amazon AWS EC2. In some cases, they offer a more attractive price for storage when compared with competitors. Additionally, unlike other providers, they offer gigabit port speeds with their standard cloud package.

“We’ve priced LSN Cloud very reasonably,” said Matt West, Director of Sales. “Like our dedicated servers, you’ll not find a better value in the industry. This is a high-end, rock-solid service and my team is eager to help clients onto this platform.LSN Cloud Price Compare 2

Summary

In summation, Limestone Networks has taken the best of cloud computing and assembled a scalable, high performance offering designed to meet the challenging demands of customers for many years to come.

About Limestone Networks

Limestone Networks is a leading IaaS provider of on-demand cloud, dedicated and enterprise hosting services. LSN has an advanced data center which includes multi-layered security, N+1 and 2N redundancy and premium bandwidth carriers. Limestone Networks features an industry-leading reseller program, robust client management portal and end-user panel, with 24/7 passionate support.

For more information concerning LSN Cloud, contact an Account Specialist.

###

7
Mar
2014

Most Important Dedicated Server Features

I’ve been in the hosting industry many years and it has been my experience that the purchasers of dedicated servers are usually more reactive than they are proactive. Although the services required to be proactive cost more, the headache, upset clients and lost revenue will be more costly in the end.

Which services should you use to be proactive? 

DDoS Protection

No one likes latency or, if the attack is strong enough, downtime. Being as client-centered as we are here at Limestone Networks, we hate it even more because we want only what is best for our clients. The fact is DDoS attacks are becoming more abundant and costly to mitigate. Looking for a way to help our clients stay online and running smoothly, we developed tiers for our DDoS Protection that would allow us to provide enterprise protection options. It is extremely common for me to see tickets from upset clients because their server is offline and their customers are complaining, however they haven’t added DDoS protection. This is why I would say this is the #1 most important dedicated server feature that is overlooked.  Hard Drive Field

RAID Hard Drive Redundancy

Hardware failure happens. We do everything in our power to keep it from happening to our clients in several ways: pulling hard drives from circulation that are getting old, testing every hard drive after each cancellation, and testing again when we provision a server. No matter what we do, hardware failure will still happen. If you don’t have RAID setup for redundancy you can lose your data. This is another sore point for our Support team. Delivering the bad news of a hard drive failure to a person that doesn’t have RAID is extremely difficult. Hardware RAID allows the technician to simply replace the disk that has failed and bring your server back on immediately. Your original hard drive will then re-clone to the new drive while your server is online and serving your employees or customers.

Server Management

Managed_bkgrd1Some companies are not large enough to hire an IT staff to manage their server. Our unmanaged support team assists clients within 10 minutes of opening a ticket with matters such as operating system reloads, hardware issues, network issues, and power issues. However, if you’re needing work done within your operating system like spam troubleshooting, software installation, virtual machine maintenance, and more then you need management. In my years of running Support departments in the hosting industry I’ve seen some experienced server administrators utilize our server management services simply so that they can focus on other things that are more important to them. For larger companies, our management team acts like an extension of their internal Information Technology department– performing routine maintenance and management tasks upon request.

So to sum it up, by adding these three services to your dedicated server hosting you are making steps to be proactive and provide the most stable service possible for your user-base or customers. DDoS Protection, RAID hard drive redundancy and Server Management.

16
Jan
2014

Limestone Networks Doubles Bandwidth offering on all Dedicated Servers

Limestone Networks, the Dallas-based, on-demand dedicated server provider, is pleased to announce they have upgraded their standard bandwidth offer for all dedicated servers to 10TB.

Dallas, Texas January 15, 2014

Limestone Networks, the Dallas-based, on-demand dedicated server provider, is known for offering premium services at affordable prices, and now with greater bandwidth allowances on base server configurations, those prices are even more attractive.

NW EquipAs a result of the growing diversity of computing devices, an increase of advanced multimedia and video traffic, faster and more widely available broadband accessibility, and many other contributing factors, global IP traffic is forecast to be 1.3 zettabytes by 2016 (Cisco). Consequently, Limestone Networks has also experienced significant hikes in overall bandwidth usage.

“In just 12 months, we’ve experienced a 38% increase in bandwidth usage,” said Ryan Gelobter, IT Manager for Limestone Networks. “In order to help resellers and other clients compensate for the new normal in bandwidth usage, we’ve upgraded standard bandwidth allowances by one hundred percent.”

For more information concerning this announcement, please click here.

Simple. Solid. Superior.

About Limestone Networks

Limestone Networks is an enterprise hosting provider in Dallas, Texas.  Limestone Networks has an advanced datacenter which includes N+1 and 2N redundancy, multi-layered security, precise HVAC cooling and premium bandwidth carriers.  LSN features an industry-leading reseller program, robust client management portal and end-user panel, and 24/7 passionate support.

9
Dec
2013

Automated Migration Tools – Do They Really Work? (WSM)

The following article, from the brilliant minds over at WSM, offers great insight regarding the effectiveness of auto-migration tools. 

WSM – Website Movers International provides a ‘real world’ assessment of automated server migration tools. If you’re considering automated server migration, you will want to read this first.

There’s been some recent buzz about automated migration tools like those offered by AppZero and Racemi, among others.

As the industry pioneer and global leader in migration services, WSM is often asked how well these types of automated migration tools work – or if they work at all – to effect a successful server migration process. First, let’s explore the types of automated migration tools, and what each are designed to accomplish.

Server Imaging Tools

Server imaging (also referred to as server mirroring or server cloning) are terms that are often used in the same context with server migration. While that may be relevant in some cases, it’s important to realize what a server imaging tool does, and does not do.

Most server imaging tools are simply designed to make a complete virtual image of a given server, and allow you to restore just that image on a new physical and virtual server. Putting aside any security or other policies your hosting provider may have against bringing over a foreign host operating system and supporting services (assuming the goal is to migrate from another web host into a new destination hosting provider) this type of tool can accomplish the basic imaging task in some scenarios.

It’s also important to note that most of the tools available today function only with specific Linux and Windows-based operating systems. Occasionally the imaging tools do not function well on dissimilar hardware and a restored image of an operating system may not be stable enough for a production environment.

So, let’s say the imaging process was a success, and you’ve been able to restore the image of the data restored onto a new server. In most all cases, there is still much work to be done if you actually need the image to be put into live production state. Let’s identify some of these tasks:

  • Re-configuring all of the websites/applications configured in IIS with the new hosts IP addresses (websites, databases, email, etc.)
  • Testing, Testing Testing! Make certain to thoroughly test your websites/applications functionality on the new server, to ensure you don’t run into any critical errors after the go live
  • Data/Database Synchronization. After testing and error resolution, you’ll probably want to synchronize any data or databases that have been updated during the migration process. Usually we recommend placing ‘maintenance’ pages on any dynamic sites during this final synchronization, to ensure no dynamic data is lost during DNS propagation.
  • DNS Changes. After the final data synchronization, for website/application migrations you’ll have to change the A records on your domains to point them to the new server. If you don’t have third party DNS services, you’ll have to create new DNS zone records at your new hosts domain name servers, and then change name server records on each domain to point them to the new server. It’s recommended that you lower TTL values 24 hours in advance of your planned go-live event to the minimum value allowed at your current DNS provider, to ensure faster propagation.

In summary, server imaging tools can generally be used for migrations from and to the SAME operating system and version, and are most effective only when migrating server environments within the same hosting service provider.

Is this a fully automated, hands-off process? CERTAINLY NOT! Does a tool like this help? Sure, for a very small sample size of migrations. Since most migrations involve version upgrades to operating systems, application versions, server builds, or expanded, load-balanced footprints using hybrid hosting models to leverage cloud and physical servers, a server imaging tool is probably not your best bet for the migration.

The simple fact is that in their current form, server imaging tools are useful only in a very narrow and strictly defined set of migration rules. When the server imaging tool has failed to perform a migration, the tool vendor should refund your costs – and leave you back where you started with an unfinished or unsuccessful migration. Net-net? Do plenty of diligence in advance to avoid the unnecessary delay and expense if you’re considering using a server imaging tool for your migration.

Advanced Migration Tools

Some firms (AppZero and Racemi come to mind) are pitching advanced migration tools that can pick up an application independent of the operating system (very specific operating systems including limited Windows, and very few Linux distributions), and seamlessly move it to a new physical or virtual server. Sounds great, right?

Not so much. The fact is, no two Linux/Windows-based applications and servers are exactly the same build, configuration, version and type – which would be a requirement if you wanted to use a tool like this. Even so, all the manual steps including testing, DB syncs and DNS modifications are still required to ensure a complete, successful migration.

To reiterate, you’re most likely to find that there WILL BE functional errors discovered during testing when moving your applications and/or databases to an upgraded operating system with updated supporting services. These errors will require manual, and often programmatic intervention, that an AppZero or Racemi tool simply cannot and in all probability will not ever be able to do.

That said, these tools can indeed automate the ‘forklifting’ of data from source to destination server, and in some extremely limited and simple use cases, complete an entire migrationEXCEPT for DB syncs and DNS changes.

The most important item to note here is that moving outdated applications to a newer operating system, if it works, leaves you extremely vulnerable from a security standpoint. If you are migrating legacy applications/services, it’s always best to update all your digital assets to the latest, greatest versions of software available.

Use Case for Racemi or AppZero Migration Tools

If you have the technical skills, don’t mind putting in the effort and want to give these tools a try to kickstart the migration process, they’re certainly worth a shot. The process will require quite a bit of manual work in testing, troubleshooting, data synchronization, and of course performing the go-live event. Unfortunately, these tools only work with very limited Windows/Linux OS distributions, and only automate the data migration – which is actually the easiest part of most migration projects. The real time and effort is generally expended in troubleshooting migration related issues, and performing a smooth go-live event.

If you’re a good programmer, and/or have an on-staff technical team at the ready, usually these issues can be worked through manually in order to complete the work that AppZero and Racemi tools cannot.

AppZero and Racemi – The Verdict

When these tools themselves fail to complete a migration, the general policy (even published on at least one of these provider websites) is to simply issue a refund, and then push you into a professional services engagement on either an either hourly or per-ticket paid basis.

Bottom line: While the solutions offered by AppZero and Racemi can perform a full migration in extremely limited and very basic migration use cases, they simply do not fully automate the migration process.

Buyer beware – make sure to read ALL the fine print before trying one of the AppZero or Racemi migration tools.

WSM Migration Automation Tools

While we do use our own proprietary migration automation tools in certain cases to reduce the time required to perform a migration, our scripts are not commercially available for purchase at this time for the simple reason that we choose not to market the concept of a ‘fully automated migration’ – when that concept is far from reality as we’ve proven here.

That said, WSM will soon be releasing automated migration tools that will fill gaps that other providers haven’t figured out yet, at a price point well under what you see today for inferior products. Stay tuned for more details on these tools in future press releases.

In the meantime, WSM is frequently called on to perform a migration for customers who have started off using automated migration tools, but have been unable to complete the migration because the vendor of the tool they bought did not effectively explain its limitations, as well as the level of technical effort that’s required to actually complete a migration.

If you need to avoid the failure risk of automated migration tools on the market today, give WSM a call at 888-899-7940 ext. 1 or email migrations@websitemovers.com. Simply put, our migration process is completely guaranteed – no fine print and no limitations like you’ll find with the automated tools currently on the market.

Would you like to migrate to Limestone Networks? Check out this amazing offer: Learn more. 

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