Happy Holidays to all!
As 2009 comes to a close I would like to take a moment to review what has been a challenging year. As 2008 was nearing an end we saw a huge storm on the horizon and decided to take everything indoors and batten down the hatches. Fortunately this ended up being the right decision as 2009 forced us into survival mode with the economy tanking... The storm that came, and is still rampaging about, is similar to the Dot-Com bust in early 2000 for which we had to take similar efforts to ensure FutureQuest's longevity.
2009 was also a very demanding year where spam levels rose and malicious botnets were increasing expotentially. A lot of time was spent dealing with these two unsavory issues to keep both our Mail and Community Servers online. From the mail side, close to 95% of all inbound mail we handle is spam, and spammers are getting more and more clever every day. From the Community Server side, there are thousands and thousands of rogue zombies ripping through sites to harvest every email address they can find. The worst is when they hit heavy dynamic sites using WordPress, Movable Type, Drupal, etc etc etc... This quickly sends the server loads skyrocketing and we have to quickly jump into action to hold back the tidal wave. Throughout 2009 we dedicated a large effort to the huge task of identifying rogue zombies and blocking them from our network.
As we roll towards Christmas, FutureQuest, Inc. has tried to make every penny count. One of the things that we invested in was increasing our bandwidth capacity and now we can pass these increases along to you at no additional cost! All of our lines have been upgraded to 100Mbit lines, and we currently have a baseline 300Mbit of transit with a burstable transit of 500Mbit.
So with no further delay, we are pleased to present the following
Bandwidth Allocation Increases:
- 15 GB has been increased to 25 GB!
- 30 GB has been increased to 40 GB!
- 45 GB has been increased to 60 GB!
- 60 GB has been increased to 75 GB!
- 75 GB has been increased to 95 GB!
- 90 GB has been increased to 115 GB!
- 150 GB has been increased to 175 GB!
- 250 GB has been increased to 300 GB!
These increases will be automagically be available to you on January 1, 2010.
IMPORTANT NOTE: You need do nothing but enjoy these increases! All of this bandwidth allocation increase will be automatically added to all of the Full Packages FutureQuest currently services. We will also automatically adjust the Extra Bandwidth and billing for Extra Bandwidth, for those that currently have Extra Bandwidth added to their packages.
The 2nd package we find under the tree:
CNC (v4.0) User Interface Overhaul
- new sleek modern look
- better readability
- better accessibility
- hooks in place for future use of custom style sheets to create your own look and eventually creating your own templates
- helpful hints can be turned on/off
- speed boost for Email Manager
- various small improvements in the Email Manager, such as the display
of the DomainKeys status on the main page
- improved File Manager, new toolbar, new file viewer with full syntax
highlighting for more file types
- improved Mailing List manager - easy editing of text files, easy
editing of subjects, support for different character sets, better
- support for digest lists
- various larger and smaller internal and external changes preparing for
- MySQL Manager can now update the IP address for those that have External MySQL Connections
On a separate note, the CNC has received the following new capability:
MySQL Manager now has an option for creating and downloading backups of databases!!!
The 3rd and final package under the tree is the official 2010 announcement of
Genesis: our newest (beta) 8th Generation server core.
I cannot even begin to express how excited I am about this one!
The Genesis project has been underway for a long time as we foresaw that our current RedHat based server core was running out of steam. Attempts to implement advanced functionality were continually thwarted because of the older glibc libraries in our current core, plus unavailability or compatibility issues with support tools required to build and maintain these features.
The Genesis core is based on the Gentoo
Hardened release and we have already ported many of FutureQuest's enhanced features to this new core. The most exciting thing about the Genesis core is that it can be perpetually updated and we will not find ourselves backed into a corner like we did with RedHat. Gentoo is an extremely capable and flexible OS that will usher in many architectural changes to our own FutureQuest Community Server core.
Initially, the Genesis Core will be available to Managed QuestServer (MQS)
packages as a Beta offering in early 2010. Although we still have a few items to work out, Genesis has proven to be stable in internal testing. Once the Genesis Core has proven itself in good operation on a few MQS packages, we will begin deploying new Community Servers with the Genesis Core. These new servers will be available to new accounts as well as clients wanting to upgrade from the older Phoenix and Enigma Cores. A final decision has not been made as to whether we will retrofit the older servers with the Genesis Core or replace them with new server hardware. This will depend heavily on how the economy goes in 2010. It is an expensive endeavor and we will do the best we can with what we have...
On the topic of Disk Space...
I was unable to find a way to increase Disk Space allowances at this time, as all the tricks I had up my sleeve were exhausted to achieve last year's increases. We looked at this from multiple angles, but it is cost prohibitive to upgrade all of the older servers with new larger hard drives.
Looking forward, we do see Disk Space increases coming in 2010. We will be migrating to 15K SAS hard drives in the new Genesis Class Community Servers, which will provide for more disk space on the new servers. Unfortunately SAS is not compatible with our older servers, so as new Genesis Class servers are brought online and enough accounts migrate off an older server, then we can retire the older server itself and repurpose its SCSI drives into other compatible servers that are still in production, effectively doubling their capacity... This will be a time consuming process and our goal, economy willing, is to deploy one to two new Genesis Class servers a month and migrate/consolidate older servers onto them.
We are looking forward to 2010
as we look at ways of bringing forth and leveraging the latest advancements in server core technology
For now, a wish from the entire FutureQuest Team for a very happy and safe holiday season and for a very prosperous and optimistic New Year!
Terra and The FutureQuest Team