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The latest updates from the Anchor Cloud Hosting » blog

Anchor is a managed cloud hosting provider for websites and web apps – specialising in online retail.

Anchor Launches Fleet: Magento as a Service

New automated hosting platform takes the challenge out of continuous delivery for e-commerce Sydney, Australia, 11th March 2015 – Anchor, the Australian managed hosting provider behind some of the biggest online retailers, has launched a fully automated hosting platform designed to eliminate many of the hosting headaches faced by digital agencies and e-commerce businesses. The first of its kind anywhere in the world, Fleet simplifies and turbocharges development workflows by eliminating the most common causes of downtime and code deployment issues.Fleet is such a shift from traditional hosting services that Anchor has released a specially produced four minute video to explain how it works—voiced by last week’s star panellist on the ABC’s Q&A program, Miriam Margolyes (Harry Potter, Babe, Blackadder). https://www.anchorfleet.com/#Video Anchor is the first hosting provider in Australia to...

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Anchor launches new managed hosting services on AWS

Collaboration reflects transformation for Anchor’s cloud hosting model Sydney, Australia, March 3, 2015 – Anchor, the hosting heavyweight behind some of Australia’s biggest online retailers, has announced a range of new cloud hosting products and services on Amazon Web Services (AWS). The first new Anchor service to be made available on AWS is a new management tier – DevOps Automation – bridging the gap between operations and software development teams. Static websites have given way to complex, feature-rich web apps that require constant updating and enhancement. Some major retailers are already deploying new code into production at an incredible pace, in some cases up to fifty times a day, compared with just once or twice a month previously. This is due to new development methodologies such as “Continuous Delivery”, resulting in real...

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A Year of OpenStack

In late 2013 we looked around the company and asked ourselves the questions any management team has to ask: what are we doing, where do we need to be, and what’s holding us back from getting there? Because Anchor had grown organically across many years, our internal procedures for infrastructure management were spread across a number of tools that weren’t scalable and efficient enough to keep up with the demands of new sales. Furthermore, they weren’t compatible with a product-based self-serve future. There are a number of pieces to addressing that, but certainly it would be tremendously useful to have API-driven software defined infrastructure. The recommendation, universally, was that we needed to consider OpenStack. We were astonished at the degree of rigour and testing that had gone into vetting changes (since the beginning, there have been no un-gated...

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Magento Fleet Explainer

Over the past few months, we have been developing, tinkering and perfecting a brand new platform that will completely change the way you approach managing a website – Fleet. But what is Fleet? How does it work? We’ve asked Miriam Margolyes to help us explain it. Here’s a sneak peak at the script – stay tuned for the full, animated video! The problem for many online retailers is that web hosting has become far too complicated. It’s easy to see why. If your website goes down, sales go down with it, as well as your brand’s reputation. So, most big websites take a ‘belts and braces’ approach by adding extra everything — just in case. But all of these bits and bobs and extra everythings cost extra money — and get in...

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Merry Christmas from all of us at Anchor!

2014 has been another amazing twelve months for Anchor, as well as our partners and customers. As you can see, there are now more heads than ever in our seasonal cartoon — and that’s before you count the half-dozen wonderful SysAdmins on our US support team! Anchor continues to grow rapidly to support our exciting future plans, and stand ready for an even stronger 2015. We’re continually looking for new ways to improve our services, so I’m pleased to say we have plenty of exciting developments due to launch in early next year, designed to make working with Anchor even more frictionless and rewarding. These include the full release of our OpenStack cloud and the launch of a new automated infrastructure service called Fleet that promises to change forever how...

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AnchorCloud: Thoughts on Pricing Models

The Engineering group has spent much of the last six months developing Anchor Cloud, an infrastructure-as-a-service platform built on OpenStack to offer our customers access to public cloud services in addition to our traditional managed VPS hosting. Instant, on-demand API access to instance provisioning, storage allocation and network management deserves an equally flexible and high-resolution pricing model, and a metering system to support it. Something we’ve been thinking extensively about is how we can best help users assess their infrastructure costs. We think that an invoice detailing (and demanding payment for) your usage over the last month as 256 hours of instance type x and 100 hours of instance type y, while technically accurate, often isn’t the best way of helping users understand where their cost-centres are and how they...

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Making Magento Shine with Varnish – Part 1

Developing for the web can be overwhelming – the stack of technologies involved has only grown over the years, whilst customers demand faster and more responsive websites. Performance is often an afterthought, partly because it can be tricky to define. New features are tangible and easily demonstrated, but it can be difficult to make a business case for performance during the development stage. Yet as studies by Akamai, Google and Amazon have shown, the success of e-commerce sites in particular is closely linked to how they perform. Magento is a popular e-commerce framework that offers a wealth of customisation through an extensible design, though this flexibility can easily result in slow, sluggish websites if you aren’t careful. But what does it even mean for a website to be slow or...

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HTTP Basic Authentication in Snap Framework

Hi, I’m Geoffrey Roberts, one of the web developers at Anchor. I’d like to discuss something I’ve built in Haskell, and hopefully give you some ideas for other things you can do in terms of web development with the language. I’ve been working on some web frontends in Snap Framework lately, and came to a point where I needed to know who was accessing the frontend, and whether they were allowed to use it. Seeing as the application needed to support both human-visible and RESTful interfaces, I realised that I couldn’t really use any off the shelf authentication methods. While Snap does provide you with something out of the box to do authentication, it’s intended for human-usable interfaces only, since it’s reliant on cookie-identified sessions. Also, most of our other...

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If your server is a function, is your company a library?

Our Anchorite, Head of Engineering Andrew Cowie will be giving a talk next week at the Commerial Users of Functional Programming conference in Gothenburg, Sweden. The abstract for the talk, titled “If your server is a function, is your company a library?” This article gives an interesting perspective on some of the cool stuff our Engineering department is up to. ==== Haskell is lauded for being a good foundation for building high quality software. The strong type system eliminates huge classes of runtime errors, laziness-forced-purity aides in separating messy IO from pure computational work, and the wealth of tools like quickcheck mean that individual codebases can be robustly unit tested. That’s fine when your service runs from a single program. Building anything larger requires integration testing of components and that...

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2014 Australian Web Awards

Every year, the Web Awards recognise the best of the Australian web. The awards seek to recognise the highest standard in website design, content, UX and accessibility and each year attract a wide variety of entries from both agencies and company in-house web teams. With the 2014 Web Awards looming, the call is out for entries as well as judges. If you’ve worked on a web project you’re particularly proud of in this last year, or know someone whose high standard of work deserves recognition, get your entries in as soon as possible. Also, if you know someone who would make a great judge, email their name to info@webawards.com.au. We’re looking for accomplished people in each judging criteria; design, content, UX, development and accessibility. Being a judge doesn’t prevent him...

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