In the wee hours of the morning today, WikiLeaks went offline. Was it a coordinated DDoD attack? The authorities raiding WikiLeak's servers? Nah, their DNS host just got sick of dealing with all the traffic. Since releasing the newest round of leaked US diplomatic cables, the whistle blower site has been the target of repeated DDoS attacks. Hosting provider EveryDNS said it dropped WikiLeaks to protect the other 500,000 sites under their care. Some have suggested government figures may have influenced EveryDNS.
WikiLeaks was initially only reachable via their IP address, but within hours, had secured new hosting. WikiLeaks is now being hosted in Switzerland at WikiLeaks.ch. This domain name is being served by the Swedish Pirate Party, but the routing is still being done by EveryDNS. So WikiLeaks has now effectively been forced off two hosts in less than a week (attempts to use Amazon cloud hosting failed). Will this site find a permanent home, or is nowhere safe?
Some belated birthday wishes are in order, as the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) announced the 15th anniversary of the Apache HTTP Web Server on Wednesday.
"A triumph for the all-volunteer Foundation, the Apache HTTP Server reliably delivers petabytes of data across the world’s most demanding uses, including real-time news sources, Fortune 100 enterprise portals, cloud computing clusters, financial services platforms, mission-critical military intelligence applications, aerospace communications networks, and more. The server software can be downloaded, modified and installed by anyone free of charge," the ASF wrote in a blog post.
The Apache Web server was launched on February 23, 1994, and represented ASF's first project. After just 6 months on the scene, it became the world's most popular Web server and has hardly slowed since. Today the Apache HTTP Server powers almost 112 million websites.
Any large technology company relies on their server infrastructure to serve their customers. The sort of power that runs Google or Facebook doesn’t come cheap. It's not so much the cost of the hardware, it’s the massive cost of powering that infrastructure that eats into the bank account. Two start-ups aim to change the server game with some new, low-power alternatives to conventional servers.
SeaMicro, from Santa Clara, is putting together servers based on the low power Atom chip seen most often in Netbooks. Those in the know have indicated that SeaMicro will be able to pack 80 Atom chips in a very small chassis. These Atom servers would offer massive reductions in energy costs, but still provide adequate processing power to serve up data. After all, how much power does it really take to push out some Google results?
In Austin, Texas, there’s an even more ambitious server project afoot. Smooth-Stone is working to integrate the ARM chips you’ve seen in smartphones, like the iPhone, into a new server architecture. Smooth-Stone CEO, Barry Evans, accumulated a great body of knowledge working for Intel’s mobile products group. This seems to jive nicely with the company’s apparent goals. Details on this one are scarce, but if the performance is sufficient, the energy savings could be staggering. Could it be that the era of companies running rack after rack of Xeon-based web servers is coming to a close?
Google says that it was high load on the internet giant’s Contacts server that caused the outages of last week. Users of Google Apps could not access their Google Contacts on September 24, from 10 AM to 11:30 AM EDT. Gmail contacts were also unavailable from 10 AM to 1 PM EDT. This also affected Google Voice, as it relies on Google Contacts.
According to the Google Apps team, the solution was to temporarily stop all requests to the Google Contacts servers. A banner was shown in Gmail that informed users of alternate ways of accessing their contacts, but this likely did not lessen withdrawal symptoms for those affected.
On September 25, Google explained that the increased server load was caused by a rare convergence of events. First, an error in a network data center caused additional load on the Contacts server. Also, it just so happened that the server was experiencing higher than average usage that day. Finally, an update to the Gmail platform unintentionally increased load on the Contacts server even more. If they keep this up, their uptime might fall below 99%... the horror.
Microsoft has joined forces with Akamai to provide a consummate high-definition video streaming experience for PCs. The two companies announced that Akamai will launch a beta version of its HD video streaming service christened AdaptiveEdge Streaming for Microsoft Silverlight in early 2009. The beta release will only be accessible to a few of Akamai’s own customers (content providers).
Windows Server 2008 and Microsoft Silverlight will form the skeletal base of the service. Akamai’s service will exploit Microsoft’s new Web server technology, called Internet Information Services 7.0 (IIS7.0) Smooth Streaming, which is aimed at delivering uninterrupted streaming videos – sans any buffering. “Smooth Streaming is an evolution of proven Silverlight technology that has powered global online events,” said Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the .NET Developer Division at Microsoft, in a press release.
Microsoft clearly hopes that high-definition streaming video can help its Silverlight platform turn the tide and gain more traction. Of course, if Akamai’s service finds favor among providers, it will automatically endear Silverlight to all such content providers. The camaraderie between Microsoft and Akamai dates back to 1999, when the two first strung together a similar partnership.
Internet research and security firm Netcraft has released the findings of its June 2008 Web Server Survey. Netcraft pegged the number of websites at a shade over 172 million, an increase of 3.9 million from the preceding month. Although the main objective of this survey wasn’t to perform a headcount of websites but to size up web server usage trends, it still gives a fair idea of the website population.
Click through to find out how accurate Netcraft's census is and whether you need to make a beeline for that proverbial pinch of salt.