The End is Nigh

I came into work today oblivious to the fact that today was the IP Welcome Day for the students who will be replacing us in our positions here at Oracle. In fact, I only realised when I went into TVP510 (our main reception building) for a pack of CD-Rs, from the Post room (which also happens to be the principal stationery dispensary). I was just walking back to TVP530 (where we all work) when I noticed a couple of familiar faces from when we joined and a flock of young people…

Having had this sudden realisation I got quite excited about our free lunch (who said there was no such thing?) and, of course, meeting all of next year’s IPs, especially the one who will end up replacing me. (Hi there!) Lunch was, in fact, really nice, despite having to wait for ages so that my burger was cooked to perfection in front of me, and I had a really nice chat with some of the other IPs. After lunch, I showed my successor around our building, met everyone we work with, and had a nice chat—all in the name of being social with a future employee!

This has, however, brought home the fact that my last day is coming up in just over a month—the 1st of July to be precise. It’s been a really great 11 months and I’m going to miss everyone on the team and everyone who I worked with. Hardly anyone has ever made me feel more welcome, and I learned a tremendous amount. And, the best bit was I didn’t have to learn anything non-technical, which suited me very well indeed!

OK, I won’t say any more, I’m not gone yet!

Catching up

As you’ve probably read on Jess’s blog, we’re back from Poland and we had a nice time. On Wednesday I was still tired from getting up at 6:30 (5:30 BST) on the previous Monday so we could get our flight! Ah well, we won’t have to do that again for a long time I hope!

Aram beat me to the post and mentioned on his blog that I’ve found a name for the hosting outfit I’ll be running to try and offset the cost of keeping Baldrick colocated: Fused Networks. The main difference about Fused Networks hosting as opposed to other companies is that in addition to the usual hosting ‘plans’, one will be able to customise them and only include what might actually be useful for them — something I would have killed for a few years back!

As for Baldrick himself (itself?), there hasn’t been a single major problem since it was put into colocation! As Debian Sarge is now frozen there aren’t very many upgrades going on and everything really is quite stable indeed. I’m not working much more intensely on my Cerberus control panel software (see Projects), then I’ll start on the Fused Networks site.

In about an hour we’re off to see Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith! We’re looking forward to this film, despite the previous two episodes being really rather crap. OK, we gotta run now!

The quest for colocation

Finally, the post a lot of you have been waiting for! I must admit I haven’t written as much here as I was originally planning to: I won’t include the name of all the companies I contacted and their responses for example. And I certainly won’t go naming and shaming the companies that didn’t even reply to my queries.

I started by perusing an Ask Slashdot post and the plethora of web sites Google suggests that try to help you answer the question of what to actually ask ISPs… That yielded the rather long list of questions I list below:
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Baldrick, the server that hosts this blog (and quite a few other sites now) was moved to a data centre in London over the weekend. This move should make downtime minimal in the future, since I am paying to have nigh-on 100% Internet connectivity and 100% power availability. Also, fear of having to go into London to fix the server if I seriously muck it up will prevent me from trying out new or dangerous things on the server; I’ve got plenty of machines at home I should be doing that with!

So far, things have been running flawlessly! I am very grateful to my chosen ISP for knowing what they are doing, loving their job, and being technically savvy (something which unfortunately seems difficult to find). I’m still not going to disclose who I’m hosting with until I have my article written up, although I’m sure you can find out quite easily if you’re determined.

Time to update the pages about my machines and network now…

Yet another competition is now on the books: since I’m going to get into hosting to help pay the colocation bills, I’m going to need to name the entity that will be selling these services. If you can come up with a decent name for a hosting company that isn’t already taken, and has a .com and/or domain available, you’ll get some sort of a freebie. Suggestions for that also welcome!

Two weeks away!

I’m now eventually back at work, after having taken a couple of weeks off for holidays and some training provided by Oracle. I’m trying to get used to the routine again, and actually doing some work… The first week we went down to the sunny South of France. Despite adverse weather warnings from the parents, it was actually really nice! We did all the usual things like shopping in Nice, relaxing in the sun, and lots of walking around.

The second week I went on a course in London called Oracle Application Server 10g: Administration I. Unsurprisingly it was about the latest incarnation of Oracle’s Application Server, for running Java and other web applications on. I had to commute to London every day for this (which reminds me I have to claim the expenses…) which wasn’t too bad in the company of my iPod. Unfortunately I had learnt most of the things we did on the course on the job, but it was really interesting to learn how things should be done as opposed to the way things were actually done within Oracle. Very interesting indeed.

During this time I also visited Interhouse Redbus, along with my chosen Colocation provider. I’ll write up a long article about the hunt for colocation once I get Baldrick inserted into a rack and all the kinks smoothed out. Suffice it to say that I was very impressed, and that there is a lot of very expensive gadgetry in that building…

Finally, we visited my brother Jim and his family last weekend, which was really nice. It was great to see the girls, eat some lovely food, go for a couple of nice walks, and the usual outings here and there. Great fun.