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The latest updates from the Blog – AWS Managed Services by Anchor


AWS automation, management and DevOps consulting services

The Importance of a CDN: Speed and Security

Many Anchor customers ask us for assistance with getting the best performance out of their website. Website performance is a complex topic to which there are many contributing factors:   from a hosting perspective, these can be as simple as underpowered infrastructure or over-contention, but geographic location and latency can often come into play as well. Having your site hosted in a modern, high-speed environment with world class managed services provides a solid foundation for your website. Utilising a Content Delivery Network (CDN) as well can assist in giving your website an extra boost in speed and performance. Anchor is an official partner with Cloudflare; a global Content Delivery Network designed to optimize security, performance and reliability. Cloudflare offers robust CDN capabilities in addition to other security services including DDoS (Distributed...

The post The Importance of a CDN: Speed and Security appeared first on AWS Managed Services by Anchor.

Maximising site performance: 5 key considerations

Maintaining and managing the ongoing performance of your website or application is an area where ‘not my problem’ can be a recurring sentiment from all stakeholders.   It’s not just a case of getting your shiny new website or application onto the biggest, most highly spec-ed-up dedicated server or cloud instance that money can buy. There are many factors that can influence the performance of your website that you — yes you — need to make friends with. The relationship between site performance and business outcomes Websites today have evolved into fully fledged web applications. They started out as simple HTML, but have today evolved into complex, database driven, ‘rich’ multimedia content, requiring buckets of storage and computing power. Your server needs to run complex scripts and processes, and serves up...

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Free Your Time: Why Outsourcing AWS Management is Vital!

While most drivers are capable of carrying out a few basic car maintenance tasks, the majority wouldn’t attempt to reconfigure the clutch or modify the engine, no matter how many YouTube videos or handy guides there might be. Sending the car to a trusted mechanic not only saves a great deal of time and stress—often worth the fee alone— but also gives us the confidence that it is done RIGHT. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is incredibly powerful, flexible and complex. When a competitive advantage can rely on squeezing every last ounce of performance or uptime from your infrastructure, expert help can make a massive difference that can easily justify—and often more than repay— any management fee. Plus, a certified AWS partner may have access to economies of scale that allow...

The post Free Your Time: Why Outsourcing AWS Management is Vital! appeared first on AWS Managed Services by Anchor.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux & CentOS 5 End-of-Life

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and CentOS 5 reaches end-of-life at the end of March, 2017. This means that maintenance will cease, and there will be no further updates to any software installed via vendor packages. Although this change has no immediate effect on current services hosted by Anchor, it does mean that Anchor or any other hosting provider, can no longer make the same security guarantees. This means that any future vulnerabilities, detected in packaged software or the core operating system, will not be patched. Anchor recommends that anyone still running these, or any previous versions, should migrate to a new machine running a supported operating system, such as CentOS 7, which is the current stable release. This process involves building a new machine, testing and migrating all of the...

The post Red Hat Enterprise Linux & CentOS 5 End-of-Life appeared first on AWS Managed Services by Anchor.

Why your compliance scan keeps failing

At Anchor, a large number of our customers seek various certifications for their hosted properties. These commonly include PCI, IRAP and many others. The business drivers for undertaking a certification programme vary between customers, but often involve the need to meet some form or regulatory or industry compliance requirement. Whilst it may not be the initial driver, the fundamental goal of many of these activities is to reduce business risk by improving security posture. We’ve become accustomed to dealing with auditors to assist our customers in undertaking certification initiatives. Unfortunately, just as in any industry, the quality of service, analysis and rigour that these entities employ can vary wildly. Automated scans Auditors commonly use automated tooling as an initial mechanism when assessing the compliance of a hosted infrastructure against the certification that...

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Avoiding Simple Code Breaks on AWS

Faulty code remains one of the most common reasons for performance issues and unscheduled downtime. Yet, it is still possible for bad code to make its way into the Production environment, even with testing. Your Production environment is most likely a collection of interlinked servers, load balancers and more. Does it really make sense to test your code on a single sandbox server that doesn’t equate in any way to the real world it will need to operate within? Of course your code performs flawlessly within the simplified, unchallenging environment of a single testing or staging server. But that’s no indication of what may happen upon release when it attempts to mesh with the harsh realities of your full Production environment. Instead, code should be tested in a complete and...

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Tips on Winning the ecommerce Game

The ecommerce world is constantly changing and evolving, which is exactly why you must keep on top of the game. Arguably, choosing a reliable host is the most important decision that an eCommerce business has, that’s why we have noted 5 major reasons as to why a quality hosting provider is vital. High Availability The most important thing to think about when choosing a host and your infrastructure, is “How much is it going to cost me when my site goes down”. If your site is down, especially over a large period of time, you could be losing customers and profits. One way to minimise this is to create a highly available environment on the cloud. This means that there is a ‘redundancy’ plan in place to minimise the chances...

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Decide on your backup plan before it’s too late!

Most businesses don’t think twice about taking out insurance policies to protect against various forms of loss, such as workers compensation or public liability. They’re rightly considered a cost of doing business. But what about the cost of downtime? If your website or application is a critical part of your business, you should be taking every precaution to guard against outages in the same way you insure yourself against other forms of loss. The most serious business consequences of downtime are often lost customer registrations, lost sales or frustrated customers. In 2015, one of Anchor’s larger e-commerce customers transacted more than $100 million dollars in revenue through their Magento store. Crunching those numbers means a single hour of downtime equals a potential revenue loss of around $11,415. In reality, the...

The post Decide on your backup plan before it’s too late! appeared first on AWS Managed Services by Anchor.

Is your 2017 cloud resolution to grow your online presence?

If your resolution for 2017 is to grow your online presence, provide a better customer experience or maximising your ecommerce revenue without increasing your workload, then switching your hosting to the cloud is exactly what you’re looking for! Moving your website or web application into a cloud hosting environment means you can take advantage of the latest, high speed, highly available infrastructure to power your application. You can easily ‘scale up’ to meet your growing demands and only pay for what you use, making it more cost effective than the lofty fixed monthly costs of traditional dedicated or virtual servers. One of the biggest mistakes however, is attempting to manage the cloud operations by yourself – highlighted in our Mistakes to Avoid in AWS  EBook. While some car drivers might be...

The post Is your 2017 cloud resolution to grow your online presence? appeared first on AWS Managed Services by Anchor.

AWS Reinvent 2016: Embiggen your business with Amazon Web Services

Three weeks ago, Amazon Web Services ran their annual love-fest in Las Vegas and it was quite a remarkable week. On arrival, attendees (all 32,000+ of them) were given a shiny new Alexa Echo Dot, Amazon’s latest entrant into the growing market for voice controlled, AI-based smart assistants, a segment that includes Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant and Microsoft’s Cortana. Amazon have now made it clear that they’re taking Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning very seriously, with four brand new, developer-focussed AI related services (Polly, Rekognition, Lex and MXNet) announced during the week. The free Alexa Echo Dots yet another incentive for developers to start building apps that make use of (and ultimately contribute to) Amazon’s efforts in this space. The week was brought to a close with a spectacular party,...

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