Most reliable webhosts – February 2010

According to last months Netcraft webhost reliability report, two web hosts in the top 10 run FreeBSD as their operating system.

After an email conversation with one of the guys from RootBSD last month, I realised that these statistics are useless. He writes:

Netcraft is not an impartial source for measuring uptime.  The problems with Netcraft for picking a webhost:

  • Hosts where their data collectors are located are obviously favored due to best latency and reliability — not having to cross over Internet paths
  • Only hosts who pay them 1200 GBP / year are included.
  • They are only measuring the web host’s website, which may not even be hosted on the same infrastructure as customer sites.

You see, I wasn’t aware that only paying webhosters were included. So it’s mainly the big ‘boys’ with big marketing budgets that are willing to pay for this service.

As this is not giving a true picture of the reliability and the use of FreeBSD within the hosting community, I will not refer to the monthly Netcraft report going forward.

RootBSD prefers webhostingstuff.com to show their reliability and uptime.

About RootBSD:

RootBSD was established with one goal in mind: provide reliable, flexible, and supported BSD-based hosting services to professionals and businesses. Originally we were searching for a quality service provider to work with us on providing hosting. A lengthy search yielded many providers that only offer BSD as a haphazard option to their packages designed for Linux or providers who simply don’t meet the business requirements in reliability and stability for which we were looking.RootBSD gives you the power to innovate and scale on top of the BSD operating systems. Our services are rock solid; in fact, you might call us the BSD hosting solution.

Find out more about RootBSD’s FreeBSD VPS Hosting (virtual private server)

RootBSD was established with one goal in mind: provide reliable, flexible, and supported BSD-based hosting services to professionals and businesses. Originally we were searching for a quality service provider to work with us on providing hosting. A lengthy search yielded many providers that only offer BSD as a haphazard option to their packages designed for Linux or providers who simply don’t meet the business requirements in reliability and stability for which we were looking.

RootBSD gives you the power to innovate and scale on top of the BSD operating systems. Our services are rock solid; in fact, you might call us the BSD hosting solution.

Released: FreeNAS 0.7.1

The FreeNAS developers have released a small update/bugfix vresion, version 0.7.1:

Majors changes:

  • Upgrade e2fsprogs to 1.41.9
  • Upgrade istgt to version 20100125
  • Upgrade msmtp to 1.4.19
  • Upgrade transmission to 1.76
  • Upgrade PHP to 5.2.12
  • Upgrade fuppes to 0.660
  • Upgrade rsync to 3.0.7
  • Upgrade inadyn-mt to 02.18.08
  • Upgrade netatalk to 2.0.5
  • Upgrade bash to 4.0.35
  • Upgrade lighttpd to 1.4.25
  • Upgrade proftpd to 1.3.2c

Minors changes:

  • Modify Samba default buffer size
  • Modify Tuning values
  • Add new MIB in System|Advanced|sysctl.conf
  • Add UTF-8 with English menu in File Manager (quixplorer)
  • Restrict NFS sharing directory with alldirs
  • Add serial console support

Continue reading

FreeNAS 0.8 Roadmap

Olivier Cochard-Labbé has added a roadmap page to the FreeNAS website: FreeNAS 0.8 roadmap.

We can already see a positive impact from iXsystem‘s takeover of the  FreeNAS project: “Refactor the build system” and the “one click binary installs”. Two features that PC-BSD (another iXsystems project) already has. PC-BSD has the Push Button GUI installer and iXsystems also provides the hardware for the build servers.

From the roadmap:

Blocking Features

  • Development on FreeBSD RELENG_8. Release, depending on timeframe may be based on a RELENG_8 snapshot or 8.1-RELEASE
  • Migrate off m0n0wall
  • Migrate GUI to django
  • Add support for ada and ahci SATA drivers
  • Add optional SoftUpdates + Journaling support to UFS2 filesystems
  • Migration path/tool for previous releases and configurations
  • Preservation of all existing features of the current FreeNAS release
  • Refactor FreeNAS build system to allow building FreeNAS without affecting the host environment

Non-Blocking Features

  • FreeNAS package support. Binary one click installs that modify the GUI dynamically.

We’re looking forward to the first iXsystems FreeNAS release.

FreeBSD and the GPL

Every so many months the never ending discussion about the BSD vs GPL license heats up. Supporters for either license have their thoughts and opinions to why one license is better than the other. Some say that these discussions are a waste of time. Whichever license you defend/promote, if you’re interested in reading (and joining in) the discussions, have a look at these two sites:

1 FreeBSD and the GPL (IT Pro – itpro.com)

Linus Torvalds has said Linux wouldn’t have happened if 386BSD had been around when he started up. We trace the history of FreeBSD and how it’s affected the open source world.

The first free Unix-like operating systemavailable on the IBM PC was 386BSD, of which Linus Torvalds said in 1993: “If 386BSD had been available when I started on Linux, Linux would probably never have happened.”

386BSD was a direct descendant of Bill Joy’s Berkeley Software Distribution, which was the core of SunOS and other proprietary Unix distributions. 386BSD and the patchkit for the port to the Intel chip formed the basis for FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD, which have carried the torch for BSD and open source Unix to this day.

Read the whole article (BSD history and BSD/GPL license)

2 osnews.com dissussion

Read the discussion

BSD Router Project: New Kern, New Protocols

The BSD Router Project (BSDRP) has released version 0.32 of its free embedded router distribution (previously mentioned here)

BSD Router Project (BSDRP) is an embedded open source router distribution based on FreeBSD with Quagga and XORP that fit on a 512Mb Compact Flash/USB.

Based on FreeBSD 8.0-Release-p2, the release comes with the new options ”show memory” and ”show traffic”, RCS revisioning for the configuration file and upload/download of data via SCP. Further new features include DHCP relay, NetFlow probes, the Link-Layer Discovery Protocol, (in OpenLLDP) and the Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol (VRRP). A Userland variant has replaced the CARP implementation in the kernel and the Quagga routing software has been updated to version 0.99.15 (source)

Images for the BSD Router Project 0.32 will fit on a 512Mb Compact Flash/USB. The router distribution under the BSD license is available for download on the BSDRP homepage.

BSDRP Project Website | Features | Download

iXsystems team and new office (fotos)

A few months ago iXsystems (the corporate sponsor behind FreeNAS and PC-BSD) moved into a new and larger office.

Time for some pictures of the building, the team and the assembly halls.

See the rest of the pictures here

iXsystems is the all-around FreeBSD company that builds FreeBSD certified servers and storage solutions, runs the FreeBSD Mall, and is the corporate sponsor of the FreeNAS and the PC-BSD Projects. We also provide FreeBSD Hardware Support and Professional Enterprise Grade FreeBSD and PC-BSD Support.

FreeBSD HAST project completed

Pawel Jakub Dawidek was awarded a grant by the FreeBSD Foundation last year to implement storage replication software that will enable users to use the FreeBSD operating system for highly available configurations where data has to be shared across the cluster nodes.

The HAST (High Availability Storage Project) is now completed. Pawel reports:

I’m very happy to report to FreeBSD users that the HAST project I was working on for the last three months is ready for testing and already committed to the HEAD branch.

I’ll describe what HAST does in few words. HAST allows for synchronous block-level replication of any storage media (called GEOM providers, using FreeBSD nomenclature) over a TCP/IP network for fast failure recovery. HAST provides storage using the GEOM infrastructure, meaning it is file system and application independent and can be combined with any existing GEOM class. In case of a primary node failure, the cluster will automatically switch to the secondary node, check and mount the UFS file system or import the ZFS pool, and continue to work without missing a single bit of data.

I must admit the project was quite challenging, not only from the technical point of view, but also because it was sponsored by the FreeBSD Foundation. The FreeBSD Foundation has a great reputation and is known to select the projects it funds very carefully. I felt strong pressure that should I fail, the FreeBSD Foundation’s reputation might be hurt. Of course, not a single dollar would be spent on a failed project, but the FreeBSD community’s expectations were very high and I really wanted to do a good job.

During the work a number of people contacted me privately offering help, explaining how important HAST is for FreeBSD and giving me the motivation to soldier on.

I hope that HAST will meet the community’s expectations and I myself am looking forward to using it

The final commit notice from Pawe? Jakub Dawidek briefly describes the project. A detailed discussion of the project is available form the FreeBSD Wiki.

This is a good example of how the wider FreeBSD community can financially support further development of FreeBSD, and it also shows the value that the FreeBSD Foundation brings to the community. To see more of these sort of projects started, funded and completed, why not support and donate to the Foundation so they can continue sponsoring more projects. (disclaimer: I am not affiliated with the FreeBSD Foundation)