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Posts by: Monthly Archives: February 2012

Magento Enterprise and Memcached

February 24, 2012 15 Comments RSS Feed

Magento Enterprise and Memcached

I recently worked with one of our Magento Enterprise Cluster clients who wanted to improve the performance of their site. This client was using our Content Delivery Network to offload the serving of static assets, and was following all of our recommended Magento Optimization best practices. They were also using Memcached as the fast-backend in their Magento configuration. Despite doing everything right in terms of optimization, we managed to shave considerable time off their time-to-first-byte by leveraging multiple instances of memcached and Magento’s terrific use of the Zend Framework for caching. Here’s how.

Two-Level Caching

Whenever you configure a shared-memory type of caching backend — e.g. memcached, xcache, or apc — Magento will enable the Zend Framework’s TwoLevel cache type. The basic idea behind the two level cache is that you have a fast, limited-sized cache for the initial lookup and a slower, larger-capacity cache for when the fast cache lookup misses. The benefit of this is that you get the speed of a memory-based caching backend plus the capacity of a disk- or database-based backend. That is, when the two-level cache works as it should. Fabrizio Branca has an excellent writeup about the problems with Magento / Zend TwoLevel caching, along with a patch that can be used to fix some of them. I have implemented this patch on a few sites now and have seen significant improvement in first-level cache hits. Read more

Posted in: Magento

The DMCA Process (Infographic)

February 22, 2012 0 Comments RSS Feed

In the wake of possibly the largest online protests in Internet history over SOPA and PIPA, copyright on the Internet remains no small topic on the public’s collective Internet-linked mind. Amidst this controversy, it became quite clear that the average person possesses an incomplete or even total lack of understanding in what typically happens when claims of online copyright infringement are made in the United States.

As a web hosting provider, we see no shortage of DMCA notices for content appearing on our clients’ sites. With this in mind, we felt it only fitting to be the ones to create the following flowchart that shows, in no uncertain terms, exactly what happens when a copyright claim is made under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

DMCA Process Infographic

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Posted in: Nexcess


What Customer Service Means to Me

February 17, 2012 4 Comments RSS Feed

There was a time when you could Google my name and see an entry titled “Greg Swaney is what customer service should be”. That was the coolest thing I’d ever seen the first time I came across it. It told me a couple things. 1) I seemed to be doing things right in our help desk. and 2) Someone cared enough about the help that I gave them to write an article on their personal blog about it. I was amazed. In addition to the article, this particular client, Robbi Behr, also created a card especially for me and sent it to me.

The way I looked at our help desk wasn’t just a job that I reported to, but an experience. Granted, this was many years ago when we were smaller and I was one of the only techs responding to support tickets, but my job was to help people. It wasn’t just to fix someone’s site, that was merely a byproduct. Someone was in trouble and as far as I was concerned each ticket in the help desk was another call to the bat phone – another signal in the sky and it was off to the rescue. I loved what I was doing and it only drove me to be the absolute best I could be at it. You never see Batman scoff when he sees the bat signal in the sky or hears a damsel in distress. He was on it as fast as he could be and he wasn’t doing it for the reward but rather because he was bent on helping people. That’s just one of the few things Batman and I have in common but we’ll save that for another post.

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Posted in: Nexcess

Nexcess to Sponsor 2012 Magento Imagine Conference

February 14, 2012 0 Comments RSS Feed

Nexcess to Sponsor 2012 Magento Imagine Conference
Ann Arbor, Michigan, Feburary 15, 2012 – Nexcess, a leading provider of superior web hosting services and a Gold Magento hosting partner, has announced participation in the second annual Magento Imagine eCommerce Conference in Las Vegas, NV.

Acquired by eBay in 2011, Magento is the fastest growing eCommerce platform in the world, featuring over 250 solution providers and 110,000 merchants from across the globe. As a Magento Gold Hosting Partner, Nexcess provides clients in the U.S. and in the U.K. a variety of Magento web hosting options that are uniquely optimized for speed, stability and security via the Nexcess Secure Isolated Platform for Magento (MAG-SIP).
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Posted in: News Releases

Blue Hummus

February 10, 2012 2 Comments RSS Feed

When I was first approached to write a blog post I said to myself, this can’t be yet another technical article. Yes, the technical posts we write are informative; after all we are a hosting company! A hosting company that prides themselves in the quality of service we give. I wanted to emphasize that the Nexcess team is a particularly diverse group. Our teammates come from all walks of life. Some of us enjoy the outdoors and all it has to offer, while some prefer the rush of an intense Modern Warfare match, the energy of a live DJ set in front of a bunch of fans, or simply the novelty of a cosplay meetup. I personally love to cook; I find it to be quite therapeutic. Also, I love to feed off the smiles and complements I receive from my amazing friends and family that enjoy the fruits of my labor!

In case you are not familiar with hummus, it is a vegetarian dip made from chickpeas, lemon, tahini (Sesame Paste) and a touch of sumac. Chickpeas are rich in protein, iron and vitamin C and are a good source of fiber. You can thank wikipedia for that bit.

So lets get a few things straight, blue hummus? Really? Is this hummus coming from James Cameron’s Avatar? Well, if you are familiar with Nexcess, you’re familiar with our obsession for everything sky blue, and the idea of making sky blue Nexcess hummus sounded like an amazing treat for the office! The question is, how do you take a delicious golden paste and turn it in to a blue delicious paste while using only natural ingredients? Well, it’s much easier said than done. It’s hard to find anything edible in nature with a blue hue to it. That is, unless you want your hummus to taste like blueberries. After some research I discovered Blue/Purple potatoes. Naturally, I came to the conclusion that if I were to cook a blue potato and add it to a batch of home made hummus it would turn the paste blue.

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Posted in: Nexcess

Good-bye Ubuntu. Sort of.

February 3, 2012 1 Comment RSS Feed

Good-bye Ubuntu. Sort of.
I started using Ubuntu in 2009. By the following year I had dropped the dual boot with Windows XP and was completely Ubuntu. When I hit a glitch during an update in 2011, I figured I would re-install with the latest version – 11.10 at that time. Unfortunately, I didn’t know about the major change they had done to the desktop environment by the name of Unity. Sorry Ubuntu, you lost me.

There are a number of “Unity hate” posts out there and that’s not the point of this one. I’d like to share with you what I eventually did as an alternative to Unity in the hopes that it may be a good choice for you too if you’re looking for one. Read more

Posted in: Nexcess