Steadfast Blog

Comcast Links Now Live

Posted in Networking on August 15th, 2008

I am happy to announce that our direct links to Comcast are now live. This gives us direct connectivity to the network that is most frequently accessing our network, as Comcast users alone currently counts for over 15% of our total network output. Comcast had also served as a trouble spot, where we would often get odd BGP routes broadcast, etc. but now that we have a direct contract with Comcast, and thus a direct line to their commercial transit NOC, we are hoping that such issues are an issue of the past. Comcast users, enjoy your new, faster speeds to our network!

Note: We currently have 2 Gbit/sec of capacity to Comcast, but will look at expanding that as our traffic to Comcast grows.

The New Unified Network

Posted in Networking on August 14th, 2008

After the very successful network maintenance last night, we now have a single unified network. There is no more performance or standard network, it is just the Steadfast Networks network. Overall, this has greatly decreased the complexity of our network and gives us more flexibility overall. Already, this change has increased our internal network capacity and greatly improved our resiliency to DDoS and similar attacks.

Now that we have a single network, we are establishing a single group of carriers, to provide the same high level of service our performance network customers have come to expect. Over the past year we have been greatly expanding our own peering relationships, and once Comcast peering is added in the next couple days, we will be peering off nearly 50% of our traffic, greatly reducing our demand on full Internet transit. Since the demand for full transit is greatly reduced, we will be reducing the total number of carriers, though we will still be utilizing top quality providers and still primarily based on the two Tier 1's we have stuck with since the beginning, Level(3) and Savvis. Level(3) and Savvis will be supplemented by nLayer, who gets us Global Crossing routes, and TeliaSonera and all network traffic will still be optimized by our InterNAP FCP.

As for a timeline, the network are already unified, nLayer and TeliaSonera 10 GigE lines are up and running and our various GigE's to private and public peers will be complete when our connection with Comcast is fully configured, which should be today or tomorrow. All that is left then is adding our Level(3) 10 GigE, upgrading our Savvis circuit to a 10 GigE circuit, and finishing configuration changes on the InterNAP FCP, as it still hasn't caught up from all the changes last night. We are hoping to have all of these things completed by this time next month.

New Blogging Software

Posted in Steadfast in the News on August 12th, 2008

As many of our customers and visitors noticed (and were kind enough to let us know about), we had a lot of problems with our blog being redirected and modified through WordPress exploits in various versions of the software. Upgrading didn't seem to help and the exploits would occasionally render WordPress unusable or substantially modify its behavior. As this appears to be a common occurrence with WordPress, we decided to replace it with b2evolution to see if things run any smoother. Please let us know if you identify any problems with the new software. If we continue to have issues, we'll look into other alternatives.

Forced Network Changes

Posted in Networking on August 1st, 2008

This afternoon, one of our bandwidth contractors, who provides us with a number of connections, terminated our links with them, a breach of their contract with us, due to a minor contract dispute. We had not been given proper notice of this termination, and as this termination was in a breach of our contract with them relations will not be continued with this reseller.

The network failed-over properly during the event, but as we were not properly notified we had not been able to gracefully take down the BGP sessions, which did cause issues over various routes as the new routes were propagating. There should have been no complete outage of any kind. We do apologize for any issues experienced during this event. In addition, I can say for certain that we had tried our best to resolve this conflict with the contractor, but the contractor had been uncooperative and unwilling to follow the terms of their own contract, which has been shown by the improper termination of our circuits. As we have selected the contractor we chose to do business with, we accept all responsibility for issues experienced by our customers and are working to reduce the amount of connectivity purchased through such resellers.

This sudden change is also serving as a catalyst for further network changes. We had been planning to combine the networks into a single network this month, but we are now scheduling this change to occur next Wednesday, the 6th. There should also be no concern over overall network performance/reliability, as we do have adequate network diversity and capacity to survive this issue, but will still be working on expanding our carriers and connectivity to compensate for this loss. We are hoping to have additional connectivity Level(3) and Comcast this month, the contracts are already in place. Further announcements regarding the network change and scheduled maintenance will be made when the full details are determined.

cPanel VPS Pricing Increases

Posted in Software, The Cloud on July 18th, 2008

Today cPanel has announced a price increase on their VPS licenses. This price increase is forcing us to raise the pricing for cPanel on VPS accounts from $5 a month to $8 a month. The price increase is not because of any changes on our side or in our policy, but strictly the price increase passed down from cPanel directly. If you would still like to only pay $5 a month we would highly recommend using Interworx or Plesk, both of which are fully capable control panels on the VPS platform.

Note: This pricing change will only affect new orders for cPanel. Existing cPanel based accounts will not be affected, as we are dedicated to providing consistent pricing to our existing clients.

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