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A federal judge has ruled out that there’s a big difference between providing hosting for infringing content and participating in copyright infringement. ALS Scan sued basically everybody for copyright infringement after adult images that it owned were posted all over the web. ALS Scan sued Steadfast Holdings, Cloudflare, Juicy Ads, and a number of other web hosting services.

One by one, these defendants have been excused from the suit. The underlying logic for the dismissals is solid. Providing web hosting is not the same thing as contributory infringement, no matter how much ALS Scan wants it to be.

In the Steadfast ruling, Wu said that merely hosting a pirate site does not make the web hosting service provider liable for any copyright infringement actions the site may be guilty of. In its motion to dismiss, Steadfast argued that it did not manage or operate the Imagebam site, and that it only provided computer storage. Wu wrote that:

“The court is unaware of any authority holding that merely alleging that a defendant provides some form of ‘hosting’ service to an infringing website is sufficient to establish contributory copyright infringement. The court would therefore find that the [complaint] fails to allege facts establishing that Steadfast materially contributed to the infringement.”

The judge said that there is more web hosting companies to do, in order to be considered contributory infringers and the hosting companies are doing none of those things. He said that ALS Scan wants web hosting companies to do more than they’re legally obligated to do. But it can’t sue just because it doesn’t agree with their practices. Here is more from the court ruling:

[T]he only allegations specific to Steadfast that are raised in the SAC are that Steadfast “hosts” pirate sites, including Imagebam, and that Plaintiff has sent numerous notifications to Steadfast of infringing content on Imagebam, but Steadfast has failed to implement or enforce a repeat infringer policy by removing Imagebam from its servers.

Beyond that, ALS’s complaint contains nothing that shows evidence of its claims.

Steadfast also contends that the SAC fails to allege material contribution or inducement. The Court would agree. The SAC alleges only that Steadfast “hosts” pirate sites that feature infringing content. It is entirely unclear what services Steadfast provides to Imagebam; what type of infringing activity Imagebam conducts (or even what Imagebam is); or how Steadfast contributes to or facilitates that infringing activity. As such, the Court would find that the SAC fails to plead material contribution.

The same goes for the rest of the allegations. Steadfast (or other web hosts) didn’t produce or contribute to infringing activity at sites hosted on its network, nor did it somehow violate ALS’s trademarks by hosting websites where infringing images could be found.

As Judge Wu’s opinion points out, it’s not up to the court to determine whether sued websites are “responsive enough” to rightsholders’ demands. As websites and web hosts follow the statutory requirements and respond properly to an DMCA request, they’re insulated from most infringement claims.

Cloud Computing in 2017

Posted by The Daw On December - 20 - 2016

This happens each and every year. Various experts, media and corporations feed publishers and crete buzz about each and everything that is about to come next year. This article is focused on Cloud Computing and what to expect from major clouds in 2017. Don’t take it very seriously, it is a suggestion only. However, we will be happy if you bookmark this article and come back next year to find out how good was B10WH’s projection.

Your Cloud Computing Bill Would Increase

Well, corporations love to take more of your money on monthly basis. Most companies who use Cloud computing are under contracts. Upon expiration, Cloud users would expect 3% – 5% increase of their monthly costs. The annual “price hikes” are put into contract and many companies (Equinix in the U.S. for example) would increase your monthly bill in January with few percent. The service will not get better, that’s for sure (I do not mean Equinix, they are good enough).

You Will Be Chased By Reckless Sales Agents

If you are really lucky, you’d might find a way to stop Sales guys and don’t allow them to make you believe that you “need” any Cloud computing service or product you haven’t had an idea about 5 minutes ago. In fact, it is very much about our judgement and the salesman on the line. We must admit that not all sales person are irresponsible and careless, at least not all the time. However, it is a very good idea not to trust them in December (or probably in any 4th quarter) when they are focused solely on the commission and bounced they’d earn. If you need to buy anything at the end of the year or if you just allowed yourself to get caught by one, it is probably the time to get a very, very good deal for yourself. So, just imagine you are a Donald Trump kind of a guy and try to be a tough negotiator. This might get you a very good deal or might ruin your chances to sign one. If you actually don’t need anything a failed deal would be a good deal, it will save you money.

More Public, Private & Hybrid Clouds in 20017

The terms “Public Cloud” and “Private Cloud” sound a bit foolish, especially when you are told that “Private Cloud” mean that the installation, applications and services that run on the virtualized computing instance are created for internal use, while “Public Cloud” is a computing instance build to be accessible for anyone. Whoever, came up with the terms doesn’t have a really bright idea. However, it was a successful one, as the industry adopted those terms.

According to research firm Gartner Inc., the public cloud services market is projected is growing by 17.2% in 2016 to total $208.6 billion ($178 billion in 2015). The projection was released in September 2016. In 2017 more businesses will move their in-house computer tasks and installations into data centers, something which is called “Cloud”.  It makes sense, as any well-secured “Private Cloud” would save financial resources and would add make any business more flexible. It probably means longer work day, which is not that bad in those companies that pay overtime. It also means that many of us would spend less time commuting and more time home with the families.

Providers are pushing for Hybrid Cloud (a Cloud computing instance that works for public use and for internal use), which makes sense for them is it saves them money on Cloud infrastructure and optimizes their production costs. However, in many scenarios a Hybrid Cloud might work great for small businesses and would help pa company to digitalize its business and optimize operations at reasonably low cost.

One thing, which is important is to look forward and negotiate lowest possible pricing on Cloud expansion and resource increase.

Anyone’s ability to negotiate the best Cloud technology service at a reasonably low price is crucial for the internal innovation level for any business. Why?

Cost Savings, Technology Innovation & Agility

High prices and the technology aspect of Cloud computing adoption are the main concerns for most small business owners. People are used to traditional computing and perpetual software license. They are easy to understand and their costs are not hard to project and control.

However, the new computing technologies create innovations. The number of software producers who offer their applications on the software-as-aservice-model, rather than selling perpetual licenses is increasing. many industries are getting to a point where the best business automation tools are available only as hosted subscription services. If our competitors can afford to use the best software products hosted on the Cloud, while we are struggling to find a decent self-hosted alternative, it is very likely that we’d find our business less productive and loose market share.

Look at the price of any Cloud service in comparative way. If it is a bit more expensive that we are willing to pay, we should think about what value it brings for you business.

Cloud Is Regionalizing

it is not a good idea to jump on Amazon, Microsoft, HP, IBM or any other of the “major Clouds”. They are expensive and the value rate, compared to the cost is much lower than their alternatives – smaller, regional Clouds. Unless you represent a big corporation which needs to have specific clauses in the contract and is ready to pay premium for them, going with any major clouds just does not make sense.

It is very likely that we’d discover we’ve signed a bad deal wit any of the large cloud provider when we need support. Being transferred between departments , you ticket being “escalated” a number of time before anyone would bring resolution would kill small or medium size business. So, we’d better find any local, small or middle-sized Cloud infrastructure provider, discuss our project with them and ask for a short monthly or quarterly contract to start with. Contractual flexibility is very important and it prevents any possible disputes or financial losses.

Vendor Lock-in Cloud Platforms & Services

In the pre-Cloud era, companies used to buy equipment and to colocate it in data centers. Most of them still do that. However, within the last few years various experts argue that the total cost of ownership is relatively low for leased computing capacity. This is true in a short-term contracts and project with a time frame of up to 2 years.

Before the introduction of the Cloud computing concept in the IT hosting industry there was a clear division between Infrastructure Hosting providers, Software producers and Managed Service providers. These days there are a growing number of software producers, who offer their apps as hosted Sofware-as-a Service solutions. This means that they build their own IT service ecosystem and control the whole lifecycle: Product installation and configuration, Technical support and troubleshooting of their own application; Infrastructure Hosting  service and Management service (System administration).

Once client moves to any proprietary software platform, it is virtually impossible or at least time consuming and very costly to migrate or change the provider. So it is very important that:

Businesses avoid vendor lock-in Cloud Apps and services or work out a technical scenario on how to migrate their services, operations and whole data to any other platform or provider.

The best section on the Cloud would be to avoid proprietary vendor lock-in services. What dos this mean? In Infrastructure Hosting this means that the company is safe to use VMware, Xen or any other Cloud platform, as long as it is clear that the computing infrastructure could be migrated without hassle and the company would switch to another provider.

Software Defined Infrastructure Services

it sounds a bit confusing to mix software with the infrastructure services, but this is very much what certain part of virtualized environments and Cloud computing is about. We’d expect to use IT services delivered from a software-defined, virtual environments that comprise of integrated compute resources, data storage and networking. It is very likely that in 2017 or in a couple of years a small, but powerful server box would replace all the appliances – servers, switches, routers, firewalls – in the corporate branches and all services they produce would be delivered from software applications that run in one appliance.

There is a term for this “Hyperconvergence”, it is quite perplexing t say something like “We can expect more hyperconvergence in 2017, but complete solutions are still some distance away”, isn’t it?

That’s it. There are many other things to be said about the development of Cloud computing technologies and services in 2017, but this has never been planned to be very detailed. I hope that 2017 would bring you success with or without Cloud computing.

Time For Cloudware

Posted by hosttycoon On April - 10 - 2009

The first one to publicly utter the term “Cloud Computing” was Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt. That was almost three years ago, back in 2006. The first article about “Cloud Computing” in Wikipedia was published on March 3, 2007. Since then, more than 500 versions of the same article have been submitted. A long line of references have also been added to Wikipedia’s “Cloud Computing” page. It took me 216 hours to read them all, and 1 hour to forget almost everything I had read. But let me start by offering two different definitions of “Cloud Computing.”

The good definition – “Cloud Computing is a new, networking model of developing and using computer technologies. It is a paradigm in computer science in which tasks are assigned to a combination of connections, software and services accessed over a network.”

The bad definition – “Google, IBM, Salesforce, Amazon, Microsoft, Yahoo and other corporations found another way to get even richer.” The above mentioned corporations were the first to utilize a major change in computing technologies. They began producing computer systems and platforms that are recognizable by high availability, scalability, load balancing, and the use of a large quantity of computer resources connected through a network.

Why We Need Computer Clouds

I met 24 year old Peter at an IT community event in Bulgaria. He and his partner founded a small dotcom startup company called Clixpy. Clixpy provides a web usability service that tracks everything visitors on any website do such as mouse movements, clicks, scrolling, form inputs and more. We discussed various aspects of online business and when we got to web hosting, I asked him what made him choose his web hosting provider. He said that he chose a specific web hosting provider only because the company offered scalable VPS Hosting and promised him that he can increase the account resources by a single click in his control panel.

When I asked him why he needs a scalable service for a startup project, he answered, “Well, Just imagine that a blog such as TechCrunch, for example, decides to post a review of us. We must be ready to handle the load and ensure that we will be online!” As you may guess, Peter’s company is one of the reputable grid hosting providers. His company doesn’t say it provides Cloud Hosting on its website, but promotes its services and products as “Grid Hosting,” with high availability and scalability among its features.

We obviously need to use more and more computer resources and it is getting harder to put them in a self-contained hardware system. There are several predecessors to the computer Clouds, such as Clusters or Grid systems. All of them represent significant efforts to consolidate hardware and software resources in order to power applications that require tens of thousands, and sometimes even millions of computing processes to be handled within a very short period of time.

Consumers increasingly demand the hosting of large files and web-heavy applications. This forces web hosts and providers of Internet based services to implement significant innovations in the IT infrastructures and the platforms behind them. These innovations may include building more sophisticated networks, setting up new data center architectures based on load-balanced systems, and utilizing various virtualization methods (platform virtualization, resource virtualization, application virtualization, etc.).

Let’s not forget to say a few words about virtualization because Cloud computing is unimaginable without it. For those who are not familiar with the term, “Virtualization” is a technology which refers to abstraction of computer resources. It is a very broad term, but when using it most people refer to “Platform Virtualization” techniques. These techniques include “Full Virtualization” (a complete simulation of the underlying hardware), “Hardware-assisted Virtualization” (simulation of a complete hardware environment using hardware capabilities such as host processors), “Partial Virtualization” (partial simulation of the physical computer), “Paravirtualization” (a software interface to virtual machines, similar to that of the underlying hardware), “OS Virtualization” (method where the kernel of an OS creates multiple isolated instances, instead of just one).

The virtualization technologies mentioned above make possible the transformation of computer clusters, the grid computing infrastructures wе use, into “Computer Clouds.” Some important keywords which are associated with the terms “Cloud” or “Computer Cloud”, include: “efficiency”, “lower costs”, “redundancy”, “modularity”, “low latency”, “Quality of Service (QoS)”, “virtualization”, “Software as a Service (SaaS)”, “Platform as a Service(PaaS)”, and “Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)”. Any computer platform or service that corresponds with most of above keywords can be defined as a “Cloud” type.

The technologies bridging the gap between computer Clusters we have known for years and new Cloud computing architectures, can be summarized with one phrase, “Platform Virtualization.” It is a technology concept which allows an operating system (OS) to be separated from the underlying platform resources.

The New Rivalry. Who Will Win?

Like any other type of computing, the Cloud concept creates competition of IT services and products in different markets. Those who succeed in producing comprehensive platforms and delivering them as online services (PaaS), will become global IT leaders in the new era of Cloud computing. Google, Amazon, Salesforce, Yahoo and Microsoft are now ahead of others in developing and delivering Cloud computing generation platforms. In the world of computer Clouds these companies, followed by a few other major corporations, are conquering the consumer markets by offering various IT services and products over the Internet. However, they will face tough competition from traditional telecoms, owners of the computer networks, and ISPs. Anyone who wants to provide Cloud computing based IT services must have unlimited access to a very stable, redundant network, which has to be reliable enough so endusers will be able to access remote hardware and software resources. The boom of Cloud based services depends on the development of the IT networks. And their owners will definitely try to grab as big a share of the emerging Cloud market as they can.

Cloud as Infrastructure & as Platform

The first ones to benefit from the above described major transformation in computer technologies are Infrastructure providers. Companies which produce computer infrastructure, computer systems and components, like Intel, AMD, Cisco, IBM, HP, and Apple, might team up with telecoms and networking providers to deliver computer infrastructures as a service (IaaS). To better compete as major Clouds, the above mentioned companies, telecoms and networking providers need to either invest millions in developing their own infrastructures and platforms, or partner with software producers in order to deliver Cloud based services. This is good news for software companies because it creates a huge market for Cloud computing platforms. Teaming up to compete with Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Amazon and other dot-com giants, competitors will need to adopt different kinds of platform virtualization environments. That’s the reason why many producers of hardware and infrastructure services are now spending a lot in building new generation computer platforms.

Here is the chance for companies that deliver platform virtualization, such as VMware, Oracle, Parallels, and Citrix, to take control of the Clouds. They deliver Cloud computing platforms (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS) on top of underlying hardware architectures. They are the ones who really make it possible for businesses and end users to move to the Clouds.

I’m not sure how to categorize some of the above major corporations – place them among IaaS producers, to put them under the “SaaS label”, or to classify them as computing platform (PaaS) providers. Companies like IBM, HP, and Apple, for example, will continue to be IT entities that could deliver “everything as a service.”

I’m sure that in real life all the above mentioned IT giants have to partner with other smaller IT companies to survive, especially in times when the world economy is shrinking. I think that the partnership is natural in the Cloud generation of computing. It is a rule, not an exception. The new Cloud partnerships might give birth to new mighty technology brands, or force the closure of companies that have been around for decades.

Cloudware

Today, anyone knows the meaning of “hardware” and “software.” Tomorrow, people will have to make themselves familiar with a new computer term – “Cloudware.” Cloudware refers to computing by building, delivering and using web applications and services through the Internet. A Cloudware provider is anyone who can create and deliver a computer platform as a service (PaaS).

PaaS providers will be the pearls in the Clouds. I predict that Cloudware providers will become the backbones of the technology industry within the next two decades. I have a reason to make this prediction: Cloudware providers will provide all of the facilities required to support the complete cycle of building and delivering web applications and services, entirely available from the Internet, with no software downloads or installation for businesses and end-users.

Cloud Hosting

“Cloud Hosting” can be defined as a web hosting service delivered from a system of servers. The term is not precisely defined, yet. However, it can be very simply explained as a combination of computer clusters and a specific software platform running on top of it. Any hosting service can be considered as Cloud Hosting, when delivered from a fully redundant cluster server system, in which the resources are dynamically scalable and often virtualized. Of course any Cloud Hosting service also has to utilize a computer platform allowing all the services to be delivered and billed on a “pay per use” model.

Linux or Windows Clouds

Without being a software expert, I can see a few companies who are creating standards in Cloud computing. When it comes to Linux based Clouds, the first name that comes to mind is Red Hat. The Amazon web service is built on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). Red Hat provides the standards that developers of Linux based Clouds need to build and host applications such as compute capacity, bandwidth, and storage. The Open Source operating system platform – RHEL to be included, of course.

In a white paper titled “Linux: The Operating System of the Cloud”, Amanda McPherson, Vice President of Marketing and Developer Programs Linux Foundation, says: “The dominance of Linux within the current crop of Cloud computing vendors is eye opening. Virtually every Cloud player of any significance features Linux in either primary or supporting capacities, and this adoption is increasing. Google’s recently launched App Engine and Amazon’s competitive EC2 product both leverage the Linux kernel, as do Cloud offerings from vendors such as 10gen, 3Tera, Media Temple, Mosso, and Zimory”.

McPherson’s got a point. The Linux operating system (OS) looks to be winning the “OS war” with Microsoft’s Windows in the Cloud battlefield. At least until Microsoft comes up with a Cloud computing version of its Windows OS. Having a Windows Cloud in its pocket will allow the Silicon Valley company to take its dominance in the software market to the Cloud level. All the same, I cannot give you an answer to one very important question: “Will the Cloud style of computing fit in with Microsoft’s OS, its applications and the company’s strategy in general? In many interviews, I have seen Microsoft’s officials state that they started thinking of how to prepare their company for any kind of Internet based model of computer use in the late 90s. Microsoft has already launched Azure. They are marketing it as an “Operating system for the Cloud”.

Some analysts say that Azure simplifies and automates the Cloud concept that Amazon started. Azure provides a “compute fabric” upon which developers can run their applications based on Microsoft Visual Studio development environment and the Microsoft .NET Framework. The main advantage of the Azure is that it reaches 100% of computer users thanks to Microsoft’s position in the PC market. It is also supposed to be familiar to all independent software vendors. But Azure also has some disadvantages. Azure was late entering the market and it’s still immature. But even bigger disadvantages are its restriction to .NET, and of course, being in conflict with the general concept of Cloud computing. As an Internet based model of computing it is supposed to be a computing style built on Open Source based platforms and applications. The big question that remains to be answered is whether Microsoft will rewrite the computer history within the Clouds.

About the Author

The author Dimitar Avramov is a founder and CEO of HostColor.com. The original article has been written for Ping!Zine.com Magazine and published there in March 2009.

Thousands Of Web Hosts! Who To Choose?

Posted by hosttycoon On February - 22 - 2009

thousands-of-web-hosts-who-to-chooseThis is not an article that aims to explain consumers “How to choose a web host”. “How to choose?” is a different topic. B10WH editorial team bravely decided to offer our readers even better advice – “Who to choose?”.

Most hosting guides say that it is “critical decision” to pick up web host. Of course this is not true. There are many awful web hosting providers. Some of them respond to your support tickets a day or two after you have invited some of your tech savvy friends at home for the weekend party and they sold your problem with FTP, POP 3 Mail or any other feature.

The truth however is that web hosting, especially in its Shared Class (Shared Hosting) is a pretty standardized service. Most providers power your hosting plan with cPanel, Plesk, Ensim, DirectAdmin or any other web hosting automation software (Control panel in hosting jargon), which usually is in service in thousands of hosting providers. Of course there are some companies (we think the more innovative ones) that power customer acconts with their own proprietary software.

It will not be a mistake if I say most Shared Hosting companies, especially those you most often see in the ads offer similar features. I must admit that if you are inexperienced customer you should will be a real sleuth to distinguish one shared web host, from another. Here comes my first advice!

Don’t Get Unlimited!

Today most Shared Hosting companies offer plans that cost 5 bucks per month (payable up front on annual basis) and when it comes to disc space and bandwidth quotas most of they claim to offer “unlimited”. Although B10WH has featured some hosting companies that offer “unlimited”, and I can assure you that any of them is a reliable provider, but it is still much better decision to find buy web hosting from someone that those not oversell and dosn’t sell “unlimited”.

When you search for web hosting and you are about to get impressed by any hosting company, just go to Google and place its name in the search bar. It is important to see what the search results say about this company. Try to find whether it is socialized and open to the public, does it produce news, content, how often it upgrades its products and services.

It is a good idea to compare a few web hosting providers, but do not do this within “TOP HOSTING” sites, that you can find around. There are tons of them on the web and any single of them wants to make you to click on its ads. Many others are affiliated with any web hosting company. So be careful! B10WH also profits from selling advertising and referring customers to web hosting companies, but we state this very clear on our website and never mislead our readers.

So, the best you can do is to make a comparison chart, to make a fact-check and to compare the services of a few hosting companies by yourself. As a part of your mini hosting survey, you can also try to collect multiple opinions about the picked web hosting companies. If you feel lazy got to Web Hosting Talk, and search for consumer reviews about web host you are about to sign up.

Our advice to any host seeker is to check whether the company they think might work for them answers promptly to support tickets and email messages. Phone support is also important. Never go with a web hosting company that does not provide phone support. No matter if it is tool-free or not the phone support is important. There are many situations when you will really need someone to answer your phone call.

Another thing to do once you have already chosen a hosting provider is to read its TOS. Make sure there are no hidden terms and limitations that apply to the usage of the service. Be very careful with the “unlimited offerings”. Some hosts say that they offer unlimited, but your website is always restricted in usage of services.