Offsite Backups – ExchangeDefender Blog

January 2, 2008

Free Urgent Support Requests Today (VoIP Issue)

Filed under: Offsite Backups — vlad @ 8:38 am

The following was posted on the NOC group site this morning:

Our VoIP provider (IAX-PSTN termination service) is performing routine maintenance on our accounts in order to port some of our numbers from third party services and telcos. We have been advised to expect outages throughout the day as their proxy servers are updated to route new numbers to us, after which we will be programming the proper DID routes in our system.

As a result, our phone systems may not be the most reliable way to reach us today, January 2nd, 2008. If you have an urgent issue, or even an issue that you would like human followup on, please post a support request at https://support.ownwebnow.com.

I understand this may be inconvenient for some of you that need to speak to us, NOW, so to bridge the gap we’ll waive charges on all Urgent cases opened in the system today only, January 2nd, 2008. If you need a callback right away open an urgent ticket with your phone number and extension we can reach you at and we will contact you promptly.

Thank you,
Vlad Mazek, MCSE
CEO, Own Web Now Corp


December 10, 2007

Communications Platform Upgraded

Filed under: Announcements,Offsite Backups — vlad @ 12:00 pm

Over the weekend we completed our communications overhaul with an upgrade to the core of our network based around Exchange 2007 and Asterisk VoIP. We have upgraded our infrastructure to Exchange 2007 Service Pack 1, Asterisk (Trixbox) to the latest stable edition and we have also added the following components: Microsoft Office Communications Server, Microsoft Responsepoint and Microsoft Livemeeting. We are also still in process of finalizing the SIP/IAX2 connectivity as we have brought another provider into the mix.

The above upgrade to our major communication systems was in order to help us connect better with you. These solutions will allow us to provide more personal and direct support, become more responsive and efficient. I hope you can be patient with us over the next day or two while the new phone numbers are programmed in and we get all our voicemails and voice prompts together.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Vlad Mazek, MCSE
CEO, Own Web Now Corp


November 15, 2007

OWN Guide for Advanced Mail Server Settings Options For Shared Hosting Clients

Filed under: Offsite Backups — vlad @ 12:42 am

Long title, short answer: This is how you get around the port 25 filtering/restrictions ISPs enforce. It’s also the most secure way to configure your mail client to send and receive mail from Own Web Now. In short, this is how you should be configuring your mail clients with Own Web Now virtual mail hosting.

Click here to download the guide

In the guide: Walkthrough of SSL setup for SMTP, POP3 and IMAP for Windows Mail, Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Entourage.


November 13, 2007

Response to recent Hosted SMTP issues

Filed under: Offsite Backups — vlad @ 10:01 pm

I wanted to take a moment to offer you an update on what we are doing to address the growing uselessness of hosted pop3/smtp as a means to communication over the Internet. The following is merely a status update, it does not offer an explicit date or implementation at which it may become available, only an indication that we are working on it. Support staff will not be able to give you an ETA.

Not a day goes by that we do not address at least a dozen support tickets with one ISP after another causing traffic interruption via port 25. Whether it is individual providers doing network policing and shaping intentionally, or they are being overloaded and experimenting new policies is inconclusive. What does appear to remain as a fact is that the remote SMTP access is rapidly becoming too unreliable for business use. The current recommendation is to rely on the SMTP server issued by your Internet Service Provider to relay mail.

Most providers outright proxy the port 25 connections through their networks. Bell South (AT&T) for example routes all port 25 traffic through their SMTP servers. Some Internet Service Providers are also enforcing SMTP auth on their users, making you authenticate against their SMTP servers. Some are silently dropping traffic on SMTP port 25. The problem becomes more impactful for mobile workers, mobile devices, etc.

We are working on providing alternate means for secure and reliable SMTP relay. All of the soon-to-be-proposed measures will require client reconfiguration. We hope that the additional services will further provide our client base with a reliable SMTP relay and ability to send/receive mail while roaming without depending on port 25. While we do offer SMTP via SSL, SMTP Auth, SMTP via ports 2525 and 25252 the documentation for those processes needs some work and we intend to provide it.

Note: Above only applies to our POP3/SMTP hosting service, not ExchangeDefender.


September 27, 2007

Offsite Backup Servers Updated

Filed under: Offsite Backups — vlad @ 5:21 pm

Earlier today we completed an upgrade of our Offsite Backup software to AhSay 5.2.2.5 which provides new functionality, flexibility and further breakfix upgrades. This feature has been in beta testing internally for the past three weeks and has shown a lot of promise towards overcoming limitations the previous edition had. The update has been completed for our entire network, affecting all frontend, backend and replication servers.

Furthermore, this edition allows us to provide a more managed service surrounding the offsite backup suite because we have more control over the system and can proactively address issues like quota upgrades, failed backup causes and troubleshooting, etc.

These are the latest, generic clients but are not required, previous agents will work just fine.

Update: 6:25 EST; We have been working with AhSay on some performance tuning fixes for about two hours now. We have decided to shut down a part of the frontend network to optimize the network efficiency. Some of you have also complained about the display of AhSay logos on the frontpage as well as the other identifying marks that we are currently trying to remove. We expect this maintenance to take until roughly noon EST and affect all our customers.


We’re taking a long weekend off

Filed under: Offsite Backups — vlad @ 8:37 am

Everyone deserves a break after a hard week of work. Last weekend was the most intense maintenance cycle for us ever and after a few all-nighters the 7/24/365 needs a bit of a break. Our offices will be closed this weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, September 28, 29 and 30th and all project, maintenance and most low tier support will be suspended. Regular activity will resume on Monday, October 1st.

All urgent and high priority cases will still be handled under the promised SLA.

This notice does not apply to our enterprise-grade client base.


September 19, 2007

Huge Maintenance Cycle Announcement

Filed under: Alerts,Offsite Backups — vlad @ 1:33 pm

Three times a year Own Web Now Corp conducts a global network maintenance cycle. These maintenance cycles are meant to double-check the equipment, swap out aging infrastructure, improve cable management as execute a disaster recovery procedures. In plain terms, we take the network down at an announced time and work on it during off-peak hours so it doesn’t crash unannounced in the middle of the day.

Our global network maintenance cycle is scheduled for this Sunday, September 23, 2 AM – 5 AM Central (GMT -5).

All networks, all services, all customers will be affected. We will literally be shutting the NOC down and restarting it from scratch.

We will also have a minor ExchangeDefender Policy Engine upgrade during Saturday afternoon, the services should not be affected beyond perhaps a few minutes without control panels while we swap out the switches and nodes.


July 18, 2007

Scaling Up and potential latency issues

Filed under: Announcements,ExchangeDefender,Offsite Backups — vlad @ 9:14 am

As we prepare for the massive upgrades coming this weekend we are obviously testing systems and making intermediate changes to the network. As a result, over the next 48 hours you are likely to see some latency in DNS query results which virtually impact all other services such as backups, ExchangeDefender, virtual servers and everything else thats being brought online.

While you are unlikely to notice any of these changes directly, if you do see slight performance issues they are probably related to the maintenance work being done on our end.


June 27, 2007

DNS and Time Infrastructure Overhaul

Filed under: Offsite Backups — vlad @ 11:49 am

As our network grows even the most optimized of services need to scale. While its unlikely that you may have noticed an issue with DNS services, we have decided to both increase its capacity and reduce the scope of that service. We have also added the ability for you to sync with reliable internal time servers. Both modifications are nearing completion but you can take advantage of them right now as they prepare us for future growth.

DNS Modifications

Going forward our DNS servers will only answer authorative requests for the external network (ie, Internet) and full answers including caching will be provided to internal servers (ie, hosted networks, ExchangeDefender, colocation customers, infrastructure partners). More specifically, we will not provide “recursive lookups” for external users and will only answer authorative requests from the Internet.

Background:  DNS servers resolve friendly hostnames such as www.ownwebnow.com into IP addresses such as 65.99.192.50. The DNS server, in our case ns1.ownwebnow.com is said to be authorative for a zone (in our case ownwebnow.com) if it is the official provider of the information that matches the hostname to the IP address. When you use a DNS registry such as Network Solutions to register your domain, you enter a set of name servers (ns1.ownwebnow.com and ns2.ownwebnow.com) which will provide resolution, or be authorative, for that domain. Clients, including remote networks, computers, servers and more use their own DNS servers to resolve hostnames into IP addresses so computers can locate one another over the Internet. When a remote server requests a lookup from their local server the local server checks if its authorative for the domain (ownwebnow.com) and if it is not authorative it starts the recursion process – it first looks at its root hints to find the top level domain (.com) and eventually receives an answer from the authorative server (ns1.ownwebnow.com) which it sends back to the client. By disabling recursion on our name servers we stand to reduce the load and increase performance on our network because we will only be providing the DNS service to our customers, not everyone on the Internet.

Time Server Modifications

As of late there have been many issues with the public pool of NTP servers that help computers and networks around the world syncronize their clocks. To make matters worse, there are many issues with virtual machines and the horrible drift (difference between real time and time in the virtual machine) in time thats introduced with new technologies.

If you are Internal to the Own Web Now network you can use time.ownwebnow.com as your time server. It should (and so far statistically it has) answer the time syncronization requests 100% of the time. Our previous time.ownwebnow.com was a round-robbin implementation that simply aliased time.ownwebnow.com to the various military and research organizations that had public time servers. Over time, that infrastructure has become less and less reliable so we’re providing the time sync for you if you’re on our network. Just use time.ownwebnow.com and you’re all set.

That is all for now, we expect all time and DNS related work to be complete by July 15th but you are welcome to use them now to improve your performance. This will be a very seamless and transparent implementation for our entire user base but we wanted you to be aware of what we’re doing to keep up. As always, thank you for your business.


June 12, 2007

Offsite Backup Troubleshooting

Filed under: Offsite Backups — vlad @ 6:24 am

As blogged here previously, our offiste backup maintenance is complete. Not only do we have the storage to sustain the growth for the forseeable future but things are running near flawlessly.

If you are still experiencing issues please open up a trouble ticket and we will help you get to the bottom of it. One problem some customers have reported is that backups do not seem to work automatically, namely, you receive an email saying “Reminder: Scheduled backup missed > Username > Backup set name”

If you receive this error please try following these steps (click) as they are the first thing we will try to do once the ticket is opened.

If you receive any other error, please open up a trouble ticket in our support portal.

We have seen a remarkable improvement in performance for backups and restores since the maintenance interval, and will shortly be announcing some additional services related to the offline backup service, mostly around the management, support and DR crisis management.


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