Gandi Kitchen

Cherokee Arrives at Gandi

(Translator's note: Taskigi Sequoyah would be proud! ;) )

A friend had explained to me that he had just finished installing a web server.  Having decided on a change and not to use the mammoth Apache that everyone knows and loves, my friend seemed to have found a decent alternative.  Bearing the name Cherokee, it appeared much leaner and with greater performance than Apache.  See the benchmarks from the project website at the end of this article.

Personally, I had no knowledge of Cherokee, though I had certainly heard the name pandered around once or twice, but I never really paid it any attention at the time.  So to give it a whirl, I decided to install it locally, which to my surprise exceeded my expectations.  On a debian (or derived) distribution, installation is achieved by a simple apt-get install cherokee (or 'aptitude'...)

The web management interface provided is clean and intuitive.  The basic idea is quite interesting;  It is possible to activate the PHP interpreter with a simple mouse click; same for activating different virtual hosts as well as other options.  There are also wizards to assist with the installation of such applications and frameworks as Django, Rails or Wordpress, etc.

I thought that it would be interesting to present this project during a developers meeting at Gandi, especially for those who use GandiAI.  The presentation was well received.  After a few pow-wow, and a glance through the source code, there was nothing really unusual or risky.  This doesn't mean, of course, that there aren't any bugs in it, but at any rate clean code is a good sign!  The core is written in C with the administrator interface written in Python.

Thus is the way in which Cherokee made its appearance at Gandi, and a server image was produced.  In this way you can rapidly test a server with Cherokee pre-installed.

We have also added an "expert" mode distribution with Cherokee pre-installed... You need only to select this distribution during the steps to create your server.  And, just as a reminder, in case you haven't yet tried our service, you can always request a free trial using our online form!

For further information about Cherokee, you can visit the project website.  Additionally, you can find a comprehensive article about Cherokee in the Gnu/Linux magazine France, written [in French] by Carl Chenet in issue number 125.

E-Mail 'Goes Postal' - Gandi Mail Version 2

Okay, excuse the corny punch line, but for those who haven't heard the expression, to "go postal" simply means to go crazy.  Without delving into the origins of the phrase, suffice it to say that the term these days can also mean to go crazy or emphatic in a positive sense as well.. (or so some would like to believe ;-) )

As many may know by now, the Gandi Mail platform in the past couple of years has seen a few recurring instances of performance degradation every couple of months.  As mentioned on the Gandi Bar, our teams have been working to bring you a new and more robust mail platform.  This new platform is the culmination of a considerable amount of resource investment over many months.

I am pleased to say that the new platform is fully operational and all Gandi Mail customers are fully migrated to the new system, with the migration itself taking about six weeks or so.  We decided to stage the migration gradually over a number of weeks to minimise any impact to our customers, and for the most part (with a very small handful of exceptions), the bulk of the migration was completed without anyone even noticing ;)

Anyway, without further ado, let's take a brief tour of the new mail platform and what has changed in Gandi Mail version 2.  Oh.. and before we go on, this article will be at times a little bit technical with the use of some acronyms and other geek-speak.  Don't worry, you'll soon get the gist of what we bearded technophiles blabber on about on a daily basis!  ;)

Gandi 10th Anniversary - The Experience

To celebrate Gandi's 10th anniversary, this hair-brained idea to give away, in ten days, 55000 domains, raise a very practical question.  How, once we open the floodgates on such an operation, to maintain the highest quality of service on the site?  The festive spirit could well have transformed into a nightmare for our customers if they were suddenly unable to access their management interface.

So we took the decision to host the event on a dedicated site.  This was a hitherto dreamed of occasion to put ourselves into our customers' shoes, and use our hosting infrastructure for this event.  We defined the rules of play:  Using only the tools provided to our customers, build an architecture which was easily scalable and didn't break the bank, and to demonstrate our renowned flexibility.

What to do if your server stops responding?

As you probably already know, our platform protects you from hardware failures that might occur on your server.

In the event of a problem on the machine, or if we suspect that a problem might occur (abnormal temperature, corrupted memory, etc.), your “server” will automatically be migrated to another machine. However, if you have an internal problem on your "server" that is not to due to the physical machine, and if it no longer responds, then you will need to take action.

How to turn your website into a "Web Infrastructure"

Many websites start with a single server solution, a box acting as a web server and database server all in one. Simply, easy, cheap. The problem comes when traffic gets too high (a victim of their own success!). Many customers want a bigger box, but the answer is actually changing your architecture from "web server" to "web infrastructure". You can duplicate web servers, use the DNS to load balance them and ramp up your capacity very fast and very far.

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