Digital Pacific Milestones for 2012 – A year in review

 

 

 

Its been a long time between company posts so I thought I would share some of the milestones that Digital Pacific have achieved in 2012. I would like to thank all of our customers who have supported us over the past 12 months and I look forward to the next 12 months of helping you succeed online.

Here are some of the highlights we achieved in 2012

 

24/7 Support

Over the past few years we have had many requests from customers to provide extended support services and we are proud to announce this year we have officially added 24/7 ticket support to our services. This support is provided at no extra cost and we are working toward bringing in 24 hour phone support over the next 6 months. Implementing such a service was no easy feat and took a long time planning and organising the way shifts would work. We are committed to your online success and understand the need to have someone ready when you need them, whether you want to set up your email at 1am in the morning or when you need to get your website live in time for an urgent deadline.

 

Service stability improvements – Codename “Project Uptime”

In 2012 Digital Pacific grew at an unprecedented rate and so did the requirement to stabilise our hosting platform. From time to time a few servers experienced service issues that resulted in brief outages for around 30 minutes at a time. We took notice and realised that customers needed their sites and applications to be online 24/7 with no exception or excuses. So here is what we did to stabilise our platform.

1. Hardware upgrades – We upgraded the hardware within our shared hosting environment to ensure greater performance for our cPanel customers.

2. Capacity improvements – In order to further improve stability and performance of our servers, we have reduced the number of customers per server within our shared hosting environment and migrated customers to new servers to help balance the load.

3. Service level differentiations – Utilising advanced features of the CloudLinux operating system, we placed resource restrictions on accounts so they could not affect the other customers on the same server if they had an issue.

We are committed to your online success and if you don’t succeed, we don’t. Please understand that having your server online is our number one priority. Keeping a reliable operating platform is an ongoing procedure and we will continue to look for ways to maintain a stable hosting platform going into 2013 and beyond.

 

DNS Management

We have now officially launched our DNS Module which will allow you to manage your own DNS zone files. This is useful if you host mail elsewhere such as Gmail or have another server requiring a hostname to be pointed at.

There is a article on how to do this here  https://www.digitalpacific.com.au/esupport/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/374/7/how-do-i-manage-my-dns-zones

Every customer can use this service, however you need to have one of  the two following services.

1. A web hosting account with us

2. A DNS Hosting account with us.  This is for mainly for customers with a VPS or Dedicated Server.

Domain names registered alone will NOT have access to this, they will need to purchase one of the two above.

 

New Name Servers and overhaul

For many years we were running BIND on our DNS platform and found that we could not scale with this technology so we decided to implement a database driven platform that could. We assigned 2 of our engineers to work on creating a migration script that would migrate all DNS zones on to the new platform. We are happy to say that this went without a flaw and whilst we were working on this project we also decided to set up two more DNS servers around the world to make sure our DNS platform is as reliable as it should be. We have never had a DNS outage in 12 years thanks to the way the platform was engineered. Adding these 2 new servers allows us to be more confident with our growing fleet of servers going forward.

Here are our current nameservers

NS1.digitalpacific.com.au (Sydney)

NS2.digitalpacific.com.au (Brisbane)

NS3.DIGITALPACIFIC.COM (Salt Lake City – USA) NEW

NS4.DIGITALPACIFIC.COM (Amsterdam – Netherlands) NEW

Customers who have not already delegated their DNS to our new namservers should do so from within our billing system or via your domain registrar.

 

VPS Auto provisioning and management

All new VPS accounts ordered will now be set up in real time, in the past there has been a lot of manual work involved to have VPS accounts set up automatically. This integration also is functional in your billing platform where you can perform VPS actions such as rebooting a container and viewing your usage.

 

SAN Storage for dedicated server customers

Over the years we have seen an uptake in the demand for dedicated servers, this has been driven by customers websites or applications gaining popularity, and as they grow so does the demand for storage. In the past the only way to get more storage was to upgrade the hard drives to a larger capacity but the problem with that was the fact that we had to provision new servers and reinstall the operating systems and migrate the website across. This all took a lot of time and resources so we decided to do something about it. Customers may now purchase storage space from one of our Dell Equallogic SAN (Storage Area Network) devices for use as additional, high performance storage or as shared storage for a private cloud. This means that the extended storage does not reside on the actual server where the site is hosted but on another server connected to it via high speed connections. These SAN units are very reliable and provide RAID protected storage to avoid loss of data.

 

IPV6

When the internet was created no one ever imagined what it would become. Part of what makes networks communicate with each other are called IP (Internet Protocol) address’s which look something like 203.19.59.254. These IP address are like phone numbers are to phones,  but instead they identify servers to networks we call this the IPV4 network. The problem with IP address’s is that they are very limited and have almost been depleted, experts say that in the next few years the world would have ZERO IP address’s which means that we can not allocate any more servers to the internet (in layman terms).

Here at Digital Pacific we didn’t like this news and decided to do something about it, so we implemented IPV6 (running alongside IPV4) which is a more sophisticated IP addressing scheme which includes more digits and numbers, which in turn means we will never run out of IP space and can continue to provide hosting services to our customers. The issue with IPV6 is that not all ISP’s have made the move and I can only guess they will once there is no IPV4 space left. We like to be pro-active rather that re-active. We have secured around of 64 million IPV6 address’s which means we have a long way to go before we have a problem.

 

Virtual Private Network (VPN) Service

A VPN extends a private network such as an internal home or office network and the resources contained within the network across the Internet. It enables a host computer to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if it were a private network with all the functionality, security and management policies of the private network.

Dedicated server customers requiring secure remote access to their servers may take advantage of our VPN service.  Combined with our managed dedicated firewall, this service is an excellent way to provide secure administrative access to dedicated servers.

 

Dedicated firewall service

One of the main requests we get from dedicated server customers is the ability to run a hardware firewall, in the past we have provisioned independent firewalls for each customer, not only does not get expensive for the customer its also quite difficult to maintain the software updates for each device. We now offer a managed firewall service utilising a highly-available cluster of Juniper firewalls to our dedicated server customers.  This service ensures an additional layer of security, managed by our network operations team.

 

Increased transit capacity and fail-over

In the world of web hosting, network reliability is key in keeping websites online and business running and there is no other company that realises this more that Digital Pacific. We heavily invest in our network related hardware and make sure our network is as robust as it can be, but from time to time there are problems that are out of our control, we are at the mercy of the companies that provide us connectivity to the internet. We can buy the best hardware but do they? That’s a question that we will never know the answer to so we decided to do something about it. We now have multiple, completely redundant transit links allowing us to provide even greater levels of network availability and increased network capacity for customers. If one provider fails, our network automatically fails over to another network keeping you, the customer online.

In addition to redundant transit, we now have redundant peering links enabling us to provide extremely low latency network connectivity to the majority of Australian ISP’s.

 

Disaster Recovery – Offsite backups

From time to time a customer may lose the data on their website or a server may crash and the requirement to get back online in a short time frame has never been greater. Keeping backup’s is what seems to be standard practice at many hosting companies and the confidence of them actually working in a disaster is paramount, that’s why we have engineered a backup solution that is unparalleled in the industry. We now have dedicated backups of our entire infrastructure located in a geographically separate location.  This ensures that customers of our shared hosting, reseller hosting and VPS services, as well as dedicated server customers who subscribe to our enterprise backup solution have their data safe and recoverable even if our main location happens to burn to the ground.

 

Automatic SSL provisioning

After many years of providing SSL certificates to our customers we are proud to introduce a new way of provisioning SSL certificates and the best part is that it takes less than 15 minutes. Prior to this installing an SSL certificate could take hours and required expertise technical assistance. The new way of installing can be done in 3 easy steps.

Here are the 3 simple steps.

1. You order a new One Click SSL certificate from our website here /domain-names/ssl-certificates/

2. A few minutes later you receive a “Code” or “Voucher” in an email after you have paid for the SSL Certificate

3. You log in to cPanel and enter your “Code” in the SSL section and click submit.

That’s it, no waiting for certificates to be configured or issued. No CSR requests and no more mucking around and waiting for approval emails.

 

Cloud Hosting

About 3 months ago we made a massive investment in hardware from Dell for our cloud hosting platform and, recently in preparation for our launch of a new cloud hosting environment, Digital Pacific migrated its own internal systems into a private cloud utilising the same technology our public cloud uses.  We made this move because our cloud hosting system provides a greater level of redundancy and fault tolerance than a stand-alone dedicated server or VPS while allowing us to reduce the costs of maintaining a large fleet of servers for internal use and reducing our corporate carbon footprint.

Our Cloud offering will be SSD (Solid State Drive) based with the fastest connection available today to the backplane. We expect the public cloud to be launched March 2013 along with the launch of our new website.

 

People and Staff – Working at Digital Pacific

Keeping a web services company running is not just looking after Servers, Networks and Customers, it’s also about looking after the people that work here. Keeping staff happy is a high priority here at Digital Pacific and I know they are the lifeblood of this company. When I started this company over 12 years ago I never imagined it would grow in to what it has become today. We employ 35 staff both here and overseas and continue to hire more every few months. People have come and go over the years (for many reasons) and it has not been an easy ride, but I can now confidently say that all current staff that work for us are committed, loyal and hard working. So I would like to say a big thank you to every staff member because without you we would not be here today.

If you have had a good experience with a staff member be sure to let me know at feedback {at} www.digitalpacific.com.au

Andrew Koloadin

 

Below are some photos of what we have done in our office in 2012 and some other random photos that never made it to the web.

 

Dell Equallogic SAN's installed last week

 

2012 Christmas Dinner
First lick of paint for our new office lounge room
The completed feature wall

 

All done - Now for the Entertainment unit

 

Another Angle
Telly
Facial / Thumb recognition systems we installed recently

 

Our Slush Puppy machine. Ready for summer.

 

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