Bill Beatty joins RackNine

Bill BeattyWe are thrilled to announce that Bill Beatty is joining the RackNine team.

Bill is a highly accomplished, technology & sales savvy professional with over 35 years of experience in IT & Telecommunications sales within both the public and private sectors, who shares our focus on innovation and customer experience.

Mr. Beatty was most recently with Bell Canada in a Client Executive role focused on the Government of Alberta ministries. Prior to this, he was at TELUS for 12 years since 2001 in numerous sales and specialist positions responsible for solutions such as colocation/managed hosting, software as a service (SaaS), Online Backup, Storage Area Networks, Unified Communications & Videoconferencing solutions to his clients. In addition, he has provided network hardware and IT/computer systems from PC’s to larger mid-range configurations with major corporations such as IBM, GE Capital ITS, and Digital Equipment, not to mention starting and managing a very successful ComputerLand store.

Bill’s background plays directly into RackNine’s key infrastructure offerings:

  • Cloud, Dedicated, Shared, and Colocation hosting
  • Fiber-optic and high speed (DSL) Internet service
  • VoIP Business Phone

His exceptional expertise in these fields will be a most valuable addition to our company, and he will have oversight of the strategic direction, expansion and operation to help businesses innovate and save money using our services.

Welcome aboard Bill!

How to set up CloudFlare with RackNine

Cloudflare LogoCloudFlare is a global Content Delivery Network (CDN) and distributed Domain Name Server (DNS) provider, that acts as a reverse proxy for websites by placing itself between your website visitors and RackNine’s web hosting.

By optimizing the delivery of web pages visitors get in most cases faster page load times and improved performance. CloudFlare operates out of 28 data centers around the world, caching your static files at their edge nodes so these files are stored closer to your visitors while delivering your dynamic content directly from RackNine’s web servers.

CloudFlare also block threats and limit abusive bots and crawlers from wasting your bandwidth and server resources, which results in a decrease in spam and other attacks. Once CloudFlare automatically detects a new attack  arising against any website on its network, their software starts to block the attack for both the particular website and the entire community.

Over the last three years, CloudFlare has grown 450% annually, and is currently adding about 5,000 new clients a day. It’s easy to see why, CloudFlare can be used by anyone with a website and their own domain, regardless of their budget, since their core service is free. Adding your website requires only a simple change to your domain’s DNS settings, which makes it as easy to turn CloudFlare off as you turned it on.

CloudFlare integrates seamlessly on RackNine shared Linux servers, and can be installed on multiple aliased sub-domains on the same RackNine server if you are on a Deluxe or Premium hosting plan. After signing up for CloudFlare, these are the steps you need to follow to change your domain’s DNS and point them to CloudFlare.

  1. Log into your RackNine account.
  2. Click on Domains and on the domain that you want to use CloudFlare with.
  3. Click Manage on Name Servers.
  4. Select Custom and then Click Add Name Server.
  5. Enter the CloudFlare Name Servers addresses you’ve been assigned. That information can be found by going to the DNS settings option in your CloudFlare account dashboard (Settings->DNS Settings).
  6. Click OK

As with any other operation involving a change of Name Servers you need to allow for up to 72 hours for the new DNS information to propagate, but your website operations will not be interrupted in any way during this transition process.

If you need further information or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us through our Support page at:

The Cloud becoming a genuine extension of Data Centers

datacenters migrate to hybrid cloud modelA new study examining the ways large companies use computing platforms concludes that the cloud is passing the tipping point between its earlier status as a playground for marketing and dev/ops projects and is becoming a genuine extension of Data Center resources.

During the last 12 months large companies have increased their spending on cloud services by 45 percent and shifted the type of workloads housed on cloud platforms to the point that production applications now account for 60 percent of all corporate cloud usage, according to the 2013 State of the Enterprise Cloud Report, an annual effort from Verizon Terremark – the hosting and cloud-services company acquired by Verizon in 2011.
The report, based on Verizon/Terremark’s own usage data from the past 12 months, shows corporate customers have increased their use of cloud-based storage by 90 percent during the past year and doubled their use of cloud-based memory.

At the same time, the number of virtual machines (VMs) running in the cloud has increased only 35 percent – indicating that the apps running in those VMs are far more resource-intensive than was typical during the previous year, according to Verizon’s analysis.

It also indicates corporate users are consciously avoiding cloud-based virtual-server sprawl by limiting the number of VMs running on public clouds and making better use of the VMs they do launch with more memory and storage capacity, according to analyst Brian Profitt, in a blog at

Enterprises “have moved beyond development and testing and are running external-facing and critical business applications in the cloud,” according to the report, and sixty percent of the corporate apps housed in the cloud are also web-based or Internet-facing, which makes them simpler to run in a virtual environment and manage through the cloud rather than in a physical Data Center, according to the report.

A very different kind of app – back-office applications such as manufacturing, resource planning and other core business software – now account for 23 percent of all corporate apps in the cloud. Back-office applications don’t benefit much from the web-centric nature of the cloud, but do require higher levels of security, availability and industry-specific regulatory or interoperability requirements.

That, as much as the 45 percent increase in corporate spending on cloud services, shows corporate IT managers are using the cloud as a way to extend or expand their existing Data Centers, not just porting their most web-friendly apps to the cloud to get them out of the Data Center.

The conversion isn’t complete, however. Internet-facing production applications are the most common business apps in the cloud, while internal-facing production software is fourth most common. Nos. 2, 3 and 4 in the list are still the development, staging and proof-of-concept apps that have made up the biggest proportion of corporate cloud use until recently.

“Many” enterprises are still just moving low-priority or commodity services to the cloud, according to Verizon’s report, which didn’t note the number it considers “many.” The mix of internal- and external-facing apps and rapid increase in demand for more resource-rich virtual machines to run demanding workloads, however, indicates a genuine shift toward hybrid cloud models in which apps are housed in the datacenter or cloud based on where they’ll run most efficiently.

Even the most virtualized Data Centers are still in the early stages of a migration to a hybrid cloud model, the report admits. Increases in usage and type of workloads running on the cloud don’t mean the corporate world has converted to hybrid computing in toto. It does mean that “IT is done playing around with cloud,” however, and is on the way to turning it into something more useful than a file locker or developer’s sandbox, Proffitt wrote.

Image: Niyazz /

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This article, Datacenters Quit Playing With Cloud; Put it to Work Instead, is syndicated from slashdot and is posted here with permission.


Setting up email accounts with RackNine

In this how-to article we’ll show you how you can create email addresses using the Workspace Control Center in a quick and easy way.

  1. First you need to log in to your Account Manager and click on ‘EMAIL’. Besides our regular email plans, RackNine also provides free email addresses when registering a domain, or when purchasing web hosting from us. If this is the first time you’re setting up an email address you will see all those free offers displayed when you click on ‘EMAIL’.
  2. Click ‘Launch’ next to the account you want to set up the email for or click ‘Set Up’ to select the free account credit you want to redeem, then select the domain or product you want to associate with this email account.
  3. Once set up, the new account will display in the email account list. Click the ‘Launch’ button next to the account (you may need to refresh your browser for the new email plan to display in your list.)
  4. At the top of the email address list, click Create. The Create Account window displays with your most frequently used, available email Plan selected by default. If you don’t have any email accounts, you will be asked to ‘create one now’.
  5. Enter the email address you want to create. For example,, and enter and confirm a Password for the new email address.
  6. Optionally, you can configure additional options by clicking on ‘Show additional options’, where you can select the email ‘Plan’ in which to create this email address, the ‘Quota’ or amount of storage space for the email address, whether to ‘Make this a catch-all account’ that receives all messages sent to any incorrect email address for the same domain, ‘Send copy to’ that sends copies of the messages addressed to this account, ‘SMTP relays per day’ that selects the number of SMTP relays to assign to this address (please note that to prevent spam, we limit our email accounts to 250 SMTP relays per day), ‘Enable SPAM filter’ that selects how spam should be handled for this address, and ‘Enable auto reply’ to configure an automatic reply to any messages sent to this address.
  7. Click Create.

Once your new email account has been created, you are ready to log in to your web-based email through the Workspace Control Center and start sending and receiving email messages, but if you prefer to use a third party email client or your mobile device, we can help you out with that as well. We have step-by-step guides for some of the most popular email clients such as:

  • Android devices
  • Apple iPad
  • Apple iPhone
  • Apple Mail
  • Auto-Setup for Apple devices
  • BlackBerry
  • Eudora
  • Microsoft Entourage
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Outlook Express
  • Microsoft Surface tablet
  • Microsoft Windows phone
  • Mozilla Thunderbird

If you are using our Hosted Exchange email Plan which is available with select Personal and Group email plans, you can retrieve email from several Hosted Exchange Email addresses in Outlook. However only one email address can be configured to use Exchange. If you need additional email addresses you can set them up as POP or IMAP accounts.

For more information please read the information posted at our Hosted Exchange email page.

Sentiment Analysis in Social Media

Sentiment AnalysisSentiment forces have always been at play throughout the history of mankind, shaping the course of events, both at individual levels and more persuasively at collective levels, where in many cases they can become almost unstoppable. Take Market Sentiment for instance, that influences the stock market to the point of  pushing the price of stocks upwards when the sentiment of a majority of investors become bullish, or downward when bearish, contrarians notwithstanding. By measuring Market Sentiment using tools such as News Analytics, which include Sentiment Analysis on textual stories about companies and sectors, investors are somehow able to predict market movements, at least to some extent, and invest accordingly, in theory at least.

Sentiment Analysis is conventionally known as the application of Natural Language Processing, Computational Linguistics, and Text Analytics techniques that help to identify and extract subjective patterns and information from a variety of sources. Sentiment Analysis may for example gather data from the attitude that some speakers or writers display in regards to a particular subject. Although that attitude may originate from a genuine desire to provide an honest and unbiased evaluation, in most cases it invariably ends up reflecting the emotional state of the author when writing, and indirectly the emotional effect the author tries to embed on the reader, making the whole affair rather subjective, or sentimental if you prefer.

Sentiment Analysis on a large scale is still in its infancy and most of the academic research is being done by several teams in universities around the world, who presently are mostly focusing on trying to understand what are the underlying sentiment dynamics behind today’s Virtual Communities. The CyberEmotions project, for example, recently identified the role of negative emotions in driving social networks trends, which could provide clues about why certain online communities such as MySpace are deserted by their members, while others such as Facebook keep attracting such large number of users.

It’s easy to see how Sentiment Analysis has become such a valuable tool for businesses looking to advertise their products, identify new markets and manage their reputations. By using data from reviews, ratings, recommendations and other forms of online evaluation and applying advanced Data Mining algorithms, business can now effectively filter out the noise, get a better understanding of online trends, and identify content that is relevant to a particular product or service.

Social Media applied to politics is another obvious field of expertise where Sentiment Analysis is indispensable, and has become part of the arsenal of most political candidates who know what a big difference it makes to act timely upon the appropriate set of mass feelings on Social Media outlets.

However, the larger the scope the more difficult it becomes to translate a chunk of written text into a positive or negative sentiment. To the variable that states that humans often disagree on most sentimental issues we need to add other factors such as cultural backgrounds, linguistic nuances and different contexts that illustrate how big of a task it is for computers to get all this data properly analyzed and provide meaningful results and accurate predictions.

If you wish to investigate further on the subject of Sentiment Analysis you can try the following resources:

  • IBM’s Social Sentiment Index
    A very useful discovery tool that reveals public opinions and trends by distinguishing subtle traits like sarcasm or sincerity, and that applies machine learning to identify which social media commentary is important—and which is just background noise.
  • We Feel Fine
    A database of several million human feelings, harvested from blogs and social pages in the Web. Using a series of playful interfaces, the feelings can be searched and sorted across a number of demographic slices. Web api available as well.
  • CyberEmotions
    The CyberEmotions project focuses on the role of collective emotions in creating, forming and breaking-up ecommunities. It makes available for download three datasets containing news and comments from the BBC News forum, Digg and MySpace, only for academic research and only after the submission of an application form.