A New Perspective

Category Archives: Nexcess

Jan 31

  • Created: Jan 31, 2014 1:00 PM

A New Perspective

A New Perspective

Having been given an opportunity at Nexcess a while back, I’ve been able to work with Magento since it was in beta. That experience has given me the opportunity to connect with many ecommerce pioneers, and I’ve often found myself on calls discussing a technical matter with a client, but then found myself engaged in discussions regarding which payment processor or shipping method the client should use. At that point, I would advise the client to do a cost-benefit analysis and evaluate each vendor based on ROI, but I would still find clients insisting I offer an opinion. I would politely explain I’m not an ecommerce store owner, I can run the servers that run the software, but I am not qualified to offer an opinion on such matters. It’s true – we know infrastructure, we don’t know shipping vendors, payment processors, SEO vendors, and so on.

For me (personally), this has changed in the recent months. Read more

Posted in: Nexcess
Jan 15

  • Created: Jan 15, 2014 2:00 PM

Changing The Timezone In CentOS From The CLI

2013 Round Up

Red Hat’s documentation on how to change the timezone tells you to use a GUI to change. As a sysadmin, I’m not going to install a gigantic GUI to change a timezone on a server.

The correct way to change the timezone without a GUI is:

1. edit /etc/sysconfig/clock to be what you want
2. run /usr/sbin/tzdata-update which will update /etc/localtime

There are a million sites telling you to copy or link /usr/share/zoneinfo/herp/derp to /etc/localtime but if you’re on RHEL or CentOS and forget to set the timezone in /etc/sysconfig/clock, you’ll find your clock will be off the next time tzdata updates.

This happens because there is a trigger on glibc-common for the tzdata package to run /usr/sbin/tzdata-update which copies timezone set in /etc/sysconfig/clock to /etc/localtime. If you didn’t update your timezone in /etc/sysconfig/clock you’ll find your server will revert to the old time zone which is annoying.

I was perplexed why they used an RPM trigger to do this (I had never actually seen one used before) so I did some research and its to avoid circular dependencies where the tzdata package would require glibc but glibc requires tzdata. I thought the explanation in a red hat bug was good so I’ll just link to:
Red Hat Bugzilla – Search by bug number
Red Hat Bugzilla – Bug 167787

I also though a symlink would be a good idea but they stopped doing that since the time would be incorrect until /usr is mounted:
Re: Making /etc/localtime a symlink?

Posted in: Nexcess
Dec 9

  • Created: Dec 9, 2013 1:32 PM

Cyber Monday Mobile eCommerce Sales Soar By 55% Year-on-Year

Cyber Monday

According to figures released by IBM, this year’s Cyber Monday sales made it the biggest online shopping day in history, with a 20.6% increase in online sales. The five day period from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday also broke records as the highest five-day online sales period on record.

Everyone in eCommerce knows how important mobile platforms like smartphones and tablets are becoming for online shopping, but the new figures starkly underline just how big a part of the online shopping experience mobile devices have become. Mobile traffic accounted for 31.7% of all online shopping traffic, with 17% of total online sales being from mobile devices, a 55.4% increase on the same period last year. Perhaps surprisingly, almost 20% of that traffic was due to smartphones with only 11% coming from tablets. However, when it comes to sales tablets are in the lead with 11.7% of all online sales taking place on a tablet, more than double that of smartphones. Read more

Posted in: Nexcess
Nov 27

  • Created: Nov 27, 2013 1:35 PM

Firefox and Web Fonts on a CDN

Broken Web Fonts on a CDN in Firefox

If you’ve tried loading CDN-based Web fonts while browsing with Firefox, you may have noticed they don’t always load. This is because Firefox implemented the W3C Access Control specification and it causes Firefox to reject requests to cross-domain resources. To correct this issue, we need to tell the machine serving those requests to specifically allow cross-domain usage of the resource. To do that, we need to use the Access-Control-Allow-Origin header, I’ll show you how to do this in the last step.

Here are a few other things you should do as well to make sure things will load correctly. Read more

Posted in: CSS, html, Nexcess
Nov 20

  • Created: Nov 20, 2013 1:00 PM

Review: The Nexus 5 with Android 4.4

Nexcess+ Banner

Google started off as simply an internet search engine, but has since branched off into several different industries with the seeming intent of creating drastic competition within markets otherwise constrained to mostly fixed prices. The purpose being, with more competition, the consumer almost always benefits. One of the more notable industries that Google has taken a step into has been the mobile devices market with its Nexus lineup.

Google Nexcess 5

While tablets are available with the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10, the most interesting have always been the phones, specifically because the Android mobile operating system is maintained by Google. Thus, the Nexus phones are the closest one can get to the purest Android experience available; the closest to how Google wants Android to be.

The Nexus lineup started with the Nexus One (even though the G1 came before, it was not considered a “Nexus” phone), made by HTC. Samsung then made the Nexus S and the Galaxy Nexus. From there, LG produced the Nexus 4, and as of this past October 31st, the Nexus 5. Read more

Posted in: Nexcess
Nov 6

  • Created: Nov 6, 2013 12:47 PM

MagentoLive UK 2013 Slide Decks are Online!

Chris Wells Speech at Magento Live UK 2013This past month, Nexcess was in London, England for MagentoLive UK 2013. We were honored to sponsor such an amazing event that brought together so many incredible minds. Those in attendance had the opportunity to see enthusiastic and informative presentations by a variety of authorities from the Magento community, including our own, Chris Wells.

We realize that the majority of Magento users around the world were probably unable to make it to London for the event, so we’ve uploaded the slide deck of Chris’ presentation, The Importance of Site Performance and Simple Steps to Achieve It to SlideShare. Read more

Posted in: Magento, Nexcess / Tagged: , ,
Oct 17

  • Created: Oct 17, 2013 3:40 PM

ExpressionEngine Conference 2013 Slide Decks are Online!

Earlier this week, Nexcess was in Portland, Oregon for ExpressionEngine Conference 2013. It was two days packed with the best and brightest minds from one of the most passionate communities out there. EllisLab put on an amazing event that we were proud to sponsor, and Chris Wells, the CEO of Nexcess, was humbled to have the opportunity to speak.

Since most ExpressionEngine fanatics couldn’t make it to Portland, and knowing that Jeremy Sloan and Mark Croxton gave some great talks during the same time slot for those that could make it, we’ve uploaded the slide deck of Chris’ presentation titled:

ExpressionEngine Performance & Optimization – Laying a Solid Foundation to SlideShare. Read more

Oct 16

  • Created: Oct 16, 2013 2:00 PM

How Does a Server Know it Needs an fsck?

Shutdown uncleanly

If you’ve ever had to hard restart a Linux server, you know when it starts up you’ll see a message about your system being shut down uncleanly and it will do an fsck. But, how does it know you shut it down uncleanly?

The short story is, if the server finds a file at /.autofsck on boot, it knows you didn’t perform a clean shutdown. The /.autofsck file is put there by a startup script and removed when you do a clean shutdown using a commands such as halt, poweroff, shutdown, or reboot. When you perform an unclean shutdown, the shutdown scripts are never run and the /.autofsck file is never deleted, thus an fsck is initiated due to the unclean shutdown. Read more

Posted in: Linux, Nexcess
Oct 2

  • Created: Oct 2, 2013 2:00 PM

The Troubleshooter’s Perspective: Advice from a System Administrator

It can be fun to solve problems. Luckily for me, working in Nexcess support, I am given the opportunity to do this every day. I get to dig into a problem, find a solution, and then fix the issue and hopefully make you, our customers, happy. Sometimes an issue arises where the fix is not obvious, and that’s when troubleshooting skills come in handy.

Troubleshooting is a mindset. You have to believe that you have the ability to fix the problem and stick with it, even when you feel like you are getting nowhere after hours of frustration. If you don’t believe in yourself enough, you may give up too quickly. As you troubleshoot, tap into your existing knowledge base, rule out possibilities, isolate variables, and track down leads.

Don’t be dismayed when you feel SO HAPPY when you think you’ve found the problem…but then realize, no, that wasn’t it, back to square one. Eventually you’ll get there. You may need to read documentation or ask a colleague for help. Maybe you just need to step away for a moment and grab some more coffee. That’s always when the answer hits you, right? The instant you are no longer searching, then suddenly BOOM! Ultimately, it might be that the customer comes back with new information that inspires a breakthrough. Read more

Posted in: Nexcess
Sep 17

  • Created: Sep 17, 2013 1:32 PM

Nexcess Magento AMA!

Magento Reddit AMA

Magento and Reddit?!

We’re pleased to announce that members of the Nexcess team will be participating in a Reddit AMA in the Magento subreddit!

Head on over to the AMA page now to get your questions in early! Here’s the link to where the AMA will be held:

Submit your questions or click here to visit the AMA!

We will have members of the Account Management team as well as the System Administration team on hand to answer your questions! The following people will be available to answer your questions:

Chris Nassouri - Lead Account Manager

Chris Nassouri
Lead Account Manager

Ben Nugent - System Administrator

Ben Nugent
System Administrator

Brian James Hill - Lead Technical Account Manager

Brian James Hill
Lead Technical Account Manager

Jamie Alquiza - System Administrator and Virtualization/ZFS fanatic

Jamie Alquiza
System Administrator and Virtualization/ZFS fanatic

Alex Headley - System Administrator and the developer of Nexcess' Varnish extension for Magento: Turpentine!

Alex Headley
System Administrator and the developer of Nexcess’ Varnish extension for Magento: Turpentine!


Feel free to ask us questions about (but of course, not limited to):

  • The technology behind our Magento stack
  • Varnish and Turpentine, how do they work?!
  • Our whitepaper on Magento performance and best practices released during Magento Live 2013 in Las Vegas!
  • Questions about hosting Magento? Let us at ‘em! It doesn’t matter who you host with, we’ll give you hosting-agnostic information to make sure your store is running as fast as possible regardless of who you’re hosting with!
  • Questions about our Magento hosting plans!

We’ll also be giving out schwag and free hosting packages randomly during the AMA!

Spread the word!