freistilbox Blog

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Welcome to DrupalCon Dublin!

You’re coming to DrupalCon, right? We’d love to see you at the Irish Community Welcome Party on Tuesday night! It’ll be right outside the Convention Centre — on the MV Cill Airne Boat Bar!

Although we had already maxed out our modest conference budget to represent freistilbox at DrupalCon with a booth and our Happy Hour on Wednesday, when the local community team called and asked if we’d like to support the Irish Community Welcome Party, we immediately searched the couch cushions for some cash and joined our customers Annertech and iterate as well as fabulous Dublin Drupal Meetup host dara creative as sponsors.

Come and party with your fellow Drupalistas to celebrate the start of a fantastic DrupalCon week in Dublin! (If you meet Jochen, ask him about the secret venue of the freistilbox DrupalCon Party!)

And yes, THIS BOAT IS REAL.

When scalability becomes business-critical

It’s what we at freistilbox call Suffering from your own success: the debacle when your web application can’t cope anymore with the number of motivated visitors flooding in. Sometimes, you create this traffic artificially with a promotion; sometimes it’s due to a mention by an influential source (the classic Slashdot effect). And in the best of all cases, it’s because your offering simply hits the nerve of your audience. That’s what happened to Niantic, the creators of Pokémon Go, who are urgently looking for somebody to help them fix the servers:

Niantic can use the help — as the company scrambles to keep up with the continuing influx of demand, the game’s servers have been unreliable since launch, and certain features flat-out aren’t working.

Just when you’re generating peak interest is unquestionably the worst time for your hosting infrastructure to give in under the load.

The effects of not being able to deliver your content to your visitors even go beyond image and financial damage. It can also prevent you from building upon your current success:

At the San Diego Comic Con, Niantic CEO John Hanke announced that the company wouldn’t be adding any new features to the game until the server situation stabilizes.

Now, building a scalable IT infrastructure is not trivial. The kind of person Niantic is looking for should be familiar with real-time indexing, querying and aggregation problems at massive scales of hundreds of millions of events per day, all on a single, coherent world-wide instance shared by millions of users. Building a scalable web hosting platform requires expertise in topics such as web protocols, distributed computing, caching technologies, database optimisation, and many more.

It’s exactly what we at freistilbox specialise in. Our team members have experience in operating web portals with millions of users, oversaw the backup service for a data centre with 50,000 servers, and ran the billing infrastructure of an international ISP. We know what it means to suffer from website downtime and how to prevent it. That’s why we’ve built the freistilbox hosting architecture with scalability in mind from the start.

Does website downtime hurt your business?

Talk to us!

Meet us at DrupalCon Dublin!

DrupalCon Dublin is only a few weeks ahead and boy, are we busy with preparations: We’re about to launch our new hosting plans, Jochen is going to give a talk at DevOps Summit, we’ll have our own booth, and there’ll even be a freistilbox party!

With DrupalCon coming right to our front door, we’re going to make as much of this opportunity as possible with a small team.

First of all, we’re going to launch new hosting plans in September. We’ve been working hard to make freistilbox a great hosting platform for all kinds of projects (as long as they’re based on Drupal or WordPress, of course). The feedback we get from prospects and customers tells us that one size doesn’t fit all, though. Young startups and brochure websites have low demands; global brands require massive infrastructure and services. So, where there is today only one kind of freistilbox, there will soon be three!

Would you like to be the first to try our new plans for free?

Sign up

We’re also trying our hands at (deep breath…) marketing. Since we’re a company run by techies, we’ve decided to take baby steps onto the DrupalCon business floor. Instead of choosing one of the big sponsor packages that would require us to build and staff a booth for the whole conference, we’ve decided on a Drupal Love sponsorship. This way, we can both support the community and have a freistilbox booth on September 27. Let’s have a chat over in the Drupal Village; you really should not miss it!

At the freistilbox booth, you can ask us anything you’d like to know, and we’ll tell you more about the freistilbox Happy Hour! In Ireland, getting together for some savage craic is par for the course. That’s why we’ve booked one of the best pubs in Dublin for 28 September. Sign up and we’ll let you in on the secret location!

Want to arrive early and grab one of our free drink vouchers?

Sign up

It’s great to see that DevOps practices have become important enough that DrupalCon now has its own DevOps Summit. And we’re proud to announce that Jochen will give a DevOps Summit presentation on Developing resiliency under relentless pressure. While this is a non-technical topic, it’s an enormously important one. In today’s IT organisations with their long backlogs and rapid pace, mental health is an issue we just can’t ignore.

Wow. It’s great fun to announce all these news. But making them happen is going to be a real challenge for our small team. There’s so much stuff we need to get done with only a handful of people. For the new hosting plans, our ops team is working on improvements that will enable us to scale the freistilbox infrastructure faster than ever. At the same time our back office team is getting all the preparations on the sales and marketing side sorted, for example booking the pub, getting drink vouchers printed and preparing gear for the freistilbox booth. We’re many things, but bored isn’t one of them!

Fortunately, the huge efforts we put into systems automation, project management and customer self-service over the last year are finally paying off. Focusing on the important things for us has never been easier than today. And our most important goal is defined in our business vision:

Providing world-class hosting services to customers who mean the world to us.

We’re terribly excited to be a part of DrupalCon, and we hope to meet you in Dublin!

Are you going to be at DrupalCon?

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freistilbox secured against httpoxy attack

Today Drupal security advisory SA-CORE-2016-003 was published, announcing a highly critical security vulnerability affecting Drupal 8:

Drupal 8 uses the third-party PHP library Guzzle for making server-side HTTP requests. An attacker can provide a proxy server that Guzzle will use. The details of this are explained at https://httpoxy.org.

In order to mitigate this vulnerability, we have applied specific changes to our freistilbox infrastructure. Our Edge Routers will now remove any malicious HTTP header trying to inject external proxy server addresses.

Despite these security improvements in our hosting platform, we recommend that customers upgrade their Drupal 8 web applications as soon as possible. Drupal 8.1.7 is already available and fixes the vulnerable library.

Update alert for Drupal

The Drupal Security Team has released Drupal Security Advisory PSA-2016-001 today. They urge Drupal users to update a number of 3rd party Drupal 7 modules immediately when new versions are released on Wednesday, 13 July. Because of possible remote code execution, the advisory classifies the risk level as Highly Critical .

There will be multiple releases of Drupal contributed modules on Wednesday July 13th 2016 16:00 UTC that will fix highly critical remote code execution vulnerabilities (risk scores up to 22/25). These contributed modules are used on between 1,000 and 10,000 sites. The Drupal Security Team urges you to reserve time for module updates at that time because exploits are expected to be developed within hours/days. Release announcements will appear at the standard announcement locations.

We highly recommend freistilbox users to check their websites for the affected contrib modules and to update them as quickly as possible.

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