Upgrading to Junos 12.3 from before 10.4R2 on Juniper EX

October 19th, 2015

In the release notes for Junos 12.3 (http://www.juniper.net/techpubs/en_US/junos12.3/information-products/topic-collections/release-notes/12.3/topic-69605.html#pre-resilient-dual-root-upgrade-ex) on Juniper EX series switches, it says:

Upgrading from Junos OS Release 10.4R2 or Earlier

To upgrade to Junos OS Release 12.3 from Junos OS Release 10.4R2 or earlier, first upgrade to Junos OS Release 11.4 by following the instructions in the Junos OS Release 11.4 release notes. See Upgrading from Junos OS Release 10.4R2 or Earlier or Upgrading from Junos OS Release 10.4R3 or Later in the Junos OS 11.4 Release Notes .

Unfortunately, Juniper don’t list any Junos releases older than 12.3R1 for the EX4200 (and possibly other EX series) on their download site.

After poking around the Juniper support site for a bit, I found technical bulletin TSB16151 (https://kb.juniper.net/InfoCenter/index?page=content&id=TSB16151), which contains downloads for Junos 11.4R8-S1 on EX2200, EX3200, EX3300, EX4200, EX4500, EX6200, EX8200 and XRE-200.

With this and the jloader files from technical bulletin TSB15524 (http://kb.juniper.net/InfoCenter/index?page=content&id=TSB15524), I was able to complete the upgrade successfully.

cPanel 54

October 16th, 2015

Yesterday cPanel laid out the upcoming changes in cPanel 11.54, or just cPanel 54 as it’s now known (see http://blog.cpanel.com/whats-next-for-cpanel-whm). Whilst light on any details, there are at least some interesting tidbits.

The new versioning system
This makes very little real world difference, but I can’t help but feel like they’re following Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox in a race to have the largest possible version number!

X3 being retired
Finally! X3 is an absolutely horrible theme which provides a truly terrible experience for users and I’ll be glad to see the back of it at long last!

Paper Lantern becoming the only choice
Hopefully with Paper Lantern becoming the only cPanel user interface (and dropping the silly “Paper Lantern” name!), it will start to move away from just being a tarted up version of X3 with some nicer icons and towards a more friendly, usable interface which doesn’t just feel the need to dump everything on one page!

cPassword, OpenID Connect and 2FA
I’ve got mixed feelings about this – the new cPassword interface sounds like a great idea, but the OpenID Connect feature sounds like a security nightmare, particularly with the default service being hosted externally on cPanel.com. At least we’re going to have the option of replacing it with our own backend (as well as being able to disable it altogether, hopefully!).
That said, Two factor authentication is a great addition, although I suspect that we are going to see more support tickets as people lose their phones etc. and lock themselves out of their hosting!

IPv6 only
cPanel were massively behind the game when it came to adding full IPv6 support, so it’s good to see them adding the ability to run completely without IPv4 now, particularly given the recent IPv4 exhaustion at ARIN.

Nginx front end
Good to see cPanel finally starting to catch up with Odin Plesk on this one! Hopefully we’ll see support for more complex configurations in future versions.

Directory Syncing
This could be quite useful depending on how it’s implemented. I suspect that it will be some form of asynchronous rsync based system, possibly with FTP and/or inode based hooks. Hopefully it won’t just be a periodic cron job task!

EasyApache 4
Hopefully EasyApache 4 will move towards using the operating system package management (RPM and YUM) for Apache and PHP, instead of insisting on needlessly compiling everything from scratch. This is one of my biggest pet peeves with cPanel at the moment – it adds needlessly complexity to system administration, makes simple tasks like adding an Apache module or PHP extension slow and laborious and even makes installing cPanel pointlessly time consuming. If they have finally caught up with how the rest of the world has been working for the past decade (or more) then it will be great news!

Courier support finally being dropped
Dovecot beats Courier hands down, so it makes sense to stop supporting Courier and move everyone over to Dovecot. There really is little point in spending the extra development effort support two mail servers, so I’m a bit surprised that it has taken this long.
I wonder if we’ll continue to see support for both ProFTPD and Pure-FTPd as well as BIND/named, NSD and MyDNS in future or if they will also move those towards only supporting a single daemon.

OpenLiteSpeed OCSP stapling with Comodo PositiveSSL

September 13th, 2015

OpenLiteSpeed supports OCSP stapling, which helps web browsers check the revocation status of an SSL certificate without having to connect to the Certificate Authority’s OCSP servers and so can speed up the SSL connection process.

In order to enable OCSP stapling, first we need to construct the intermediate certificate chain which OpenLiteSpeed will use to cryptographically verify the response from the CA’s OCSP server.

Take the COMODORSADomainValidationSecureServerCA.crt and COMODORSAAddTrustCA.crt files provided by Comodo when your certificate was issued and concatenate them into a single file

cat COMODORSADomainValidationSecureServerCA.crt COMODORSAAddTrustCA.crt > /etc/pki/tls/certs/PositiveSSL_chain.pem

Now log in to the OpenLiteSpeed WebAdmin console and perform the following steps:

  1. Click on “Configuration” on the navigation bar and then select “Listeners” from the drop down menu
  2. Click “View/Edit” on your HTTPS listener
  3. Click on the “SSL” tab
  4. Click “Edit” on the “OCSP Stapling” section
  5. Set “Enable OCSP Stapling” to “Yes”
  6. Set “OCSP Responder” to “http://ocsp.comodoca.com”
  7. Set “OCSP CA Certificates” to the file containing the chained intermediate certificates created earlier (“/etc/pki/tls/certs/PositiveSSL_chain.pem” in my case).
  8. Click “Save”
  9. Perform a “Graceful Restart” of the OpenLiteSpeed server

If all has gone well, you now have OCSP stapling working. Click on “Actions” on the navigation bar and then select “Server Log Viewer” from the drop down menu or look in /usr/local/lsws/logs/error.log and check that you have a line saying “Enable OCSP Stapling successful!

You can also use the excellent SSL Server Test by Qualys’ SSL Labs at to check many attributes of your server’s SSL setup, including whether or not OCSP stapling is working.

The Zimbra merry-go-round

August 21st, 2015

I’ve been a big fan of the Zimbra email collaboration system for many years, using it since version 4.5 or 5.0 (I can’t remember exactly). However, in recent years the product has been falling further and further behind competitors such as Microsoft Exchange, particularly in the all important area of redundancy and availability.

Email and collaboration are critical to modern businesses and so every effort needs to be taken in order to ensure that they are always available. Microsoft clearly recognise this as Exchange has had Database Availability Groups (DAG) since Exchange 2010 and before that had a number of other High Availability options.

Zimbra however still does not have this as of the current version (8.6). Zimbra were supposed to be addressing this with a 9.0 release scheduled for the second half of 2015, however now that has been pushed back to the first half of 2017 at the earliest!

Instead, we aren’t getting any more releases in 2015 and all we are getting in the first half of 2016 is version 8.7, which will start to bring back the chat feature that was previously dropped! Zimbra aren’t even providing the chat server to start with – just an XMPP client and you will have to run your own server until version 8.8 arrives in the second half of 2016! This will also bring some much needed anti-spam improvements (although it seems that this will be by integrating an as yet unspecified third party product) and two factor authentication. This seems a long time to wait for not a great deal of new functionality!

I can’t help but feel that this is in a large part due to the constant change of ownership of Zimbra. Back in 2007 Yahoo bought Zimbra for $350m (https://yodel.yahoo.com/blogs/partnerships/zimbra-damn-cool-592.html) but then sold it on to VMware in 2010 (http://www.vmware.com/company/news/releases/zimbra.html). The exact amount paid wasn’t disclosed, but it was generally reported to be around $100m.

VMware then sold Zimbra to Telligent in 2013 (http://www.vmware.com/company/news/releases/zimbra-telligent-071513.html), again for an undisclosed amount, who promptly renamed themselves to Zimbra Inc. (https://blog.zimbra.com/2013/07/telligent-acquires-zimbra-from-vmware/) with the products becoming Zimbra Collaboration (formerly Zimbra) and Zimbra Social (formerly Telligent).

Telligent then acquired Mezeo (https://blog.zimbra.com/2014/07/zimbra-acquires-mezeo-adds-cloud-based-secure-file-sharing-capabilities/) for their MezeoFile sync-and-share technology in 2014, with the MezeoFile product becoming Zimbra Sync and Share, which was then discontinued in 2015 (https://blog.zimbra.com/2015/07/discontinuing-zimbra-sync-share/).

Shortly after discontinuing Zimbra Sync and Share, Zimbra made the wooly statement of (https://blog.zimbra.com/2015/07/register-free-webinar-zimbra-quarterly-partner-update/):

“As many of you know, Zimbra made a few strategic decisions over the past few months in order to ensure the company’s stability and achieve an increase in EBITDA”

Not long afterwards, the Zimbra Social product was sold off to a company called Verint (https://blog.zimbra.com/2015/08/verint-acquires-telligent-zimbra/) and renamed back to Telligent, leaving Zimbra Inc. with just Zimbra Collaboration.

At this point I was naturally wondering if Zimbra Inc. was running out of money and concerned as to what the future holds for Zimbra Collaboration and its customers given all these recent announcements, but I didn’t have to wait long as then a couple of days later Zimbra is sold to Synacor (http://news.synacor.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=253437&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=2080463) for $24.5m. Strangely this announcement seems to be missing from the Zimbra blog…

Back when Zimbra was owned by VMware, their answer to any questions about availability, redundancy or disaster recovery/business continuity was to run Zimbra inside a VMware environment and use their HA+DR technologies, but soon after being sold off to Telligent they started talking about a project “Always ON”. This was mentioned in a number of blog posts throughout 2013, but https://blog.zimbra.com/2013/04/zimbra-judaspriest-release-update-1/ and https://blog.zimbra.com/2013/09/project-always-on/ were the most detailed.

Sadly, over 2 years later we are still waiting for this new “Always ON” architecture and it seems that we have to wait at least another year and a half! I’m not holding my breath that things are going to get any better under the new ownership, but right now I’m just glad that my company didn’t buy into Zimbra Social or Zimbra Sync and Share like we considered!

Missing Junk mailbox in Apple Mail

August 19th, 2014

When setting up a new MacBook Pro recently, I was impressed that all of my mail account settings were synced over via iCloud, but somewhat surprised and confused to find that the “Junk” mailbox for all accounts was missing.

I couldn’t find the “Junk” mailbox anywhere – it wasn’t in the list of special folders (Drafts, Sent, Trash etc.) with the Inbox and it wasn’t in the list of general mailboxes – it had seemingly just vanished.

This is particularly annoying for me as I used Zimbra for my mail server and can train the server side junk mail filters by moving messages in and out of the special “Junk” mailbox.

All of the junk mail settings in Apple Mail were enabled and seemed to match those in the same version of Apple Mail on my old laptop, so what was happening?

It seems that when you have the junk mail setting in Apple mail set to “Mark as junk mail, but leave it in my Inbox”, Apple hides the “Junk” mailbox to start with whilst it trains its filters and then only shows it once they have sufficient data built up to start identifying spam.

A quick work around to get the “Junk” mailbox to show up straight away is to change the junk mail setting in Apple Mail from “Mark as junk mail, but leave it in my Inbox” to “Move it to the Junk mailbox” and back again.

Changing this setting causes the “Junk” mailbox to be shown and the mailbox doesn’t get hidden again when you change it back.

Parallels Plesk hanging on login

June 27th, 2014

I recently came across a strange problem when setting up a new Windows Server running Parallels Plesk 12.

Everything was working fine to being with, and then suddenly Parallels Plesk started behaving strangely. I would select some items in a list and press remove and they would be greyed out as if the AJAX had fired in the background, but they wouldn’t be removed from the list until refreshing the page.

Wondering if this was some kind of browser problem as I was using Apple’s Safari, I fired up Mozilla’s Firefox but was somewhat surprised that I couldn’t get past the login screen.

The login page loads, but once I’d entered the username and password and pressed “Log In”, the page would just hang, loading indefinitely until it eventually times out.

The CPU and memory usage on the server were fine. The services were all running correctly. What’s going on?

After a quick look in “C:\Program Files (x86)\Parallels\Plesk\admin\logs\php_error”, it was pretty obvious that the recently installed Parallels Panel Mobile Center extension wasn’t working properly, as there were lots of errors about being unable to access files in “C:\Program Files (x86)\Parallels\Plesk\var\modules\plesk-mobile”.

Deleting the “C:\Program Files (x86)\Parallels\Plesk\var\modules\plesk-mobile” folder at least allowed me to log back in to the Parallels Plesk control panel, however the Parallels Panel Mobile Center extension couldn’t be removed.

After a bit of digging, it seems that the permissions on “C:\Program Files (x86)\Parallels\Plesk\var\modules\” aren’t set correctly out of the box and the “psaadm” user needed to be given write access to this folder in order to create or remove the files and folders for extensions when they are installed/uninstalled.

Once the permissions had been corrected, I was able to remove and then reinstall the Parallels Panel Mobile Center extension successfully.

Citrix XenServer XS62E015 update failing to apply

June 16th, 2014

If you’re using XenServer 6.2, you may have some problems installing the XS62E015 update from CTX140808.

You go through the normal update procedure – download XS62E015.zip from the CTX140808 Citrix knowledge base article, extract it and upload the XS62E015.xsupdate file to the pool, then apply UUID c8b9d332-30e4-4e5e-9a2a-8aaae6dee91a to the pool, which promptly fails with:

The uploaded patch file is invalid. See attached log for more details.
log: error parsing patch precheck xml: expected one of these character sequence: “required”, found “error” line 4

It turns out that Citrix issued two updates for the same issue – one for Citrix XenServer 6.2 without SP1 installed and one for Citrix XenServer with SP1 installed. The slight snag is that both of these updates show up in the list of available updates in Citrix XenCentre and the knowledge base articles don’t mention that the two updates patch the same problem, but in two different version of Citrix XenServer.

If you are running Citrix XenServer 6.2 with SP1 installed, then you need to install the XS62ESP1003 update from CTX140416 (UUID c208dc56-36c2-4e91-b8d7-0246575b1828). Once XS62ESP1003 has been installed, XS62E015 will also show up in the list of installed updates.

Misleading companies – part 3

June 8th, 2014

The final part of my rant (see part 1 featuring ConnetU and part 2 featuring IX Reach as well as euNetworks) is all about C4L (A.K.A. Connexions4London), a company who are trying to take the take the practice of claiming to have PoPs which don’t really exist to a whole new level!

I should start this with a disclaimer. I have been a C4L customer, I have used their network services, I have experienced their technical support and their customer service. Equally, I have had both customers and friends who have used C4L’s services. Between these various experiences over a significant amount of time, I can safely say that I will never be a customer of C4L or knowingly use their services ever again.

Every time I have had anything to do with them, they have managed to reinforce my impression that they are an awful company with an old, unreliable, congested network, unhelpful staff, slow support and non-existent customer service. Suffice to say, I may be considered somewhat biased. Anyway…

On the front page of their web site, C4L state:

C4L is a Colocation, Connectivity, Cloud and Communications provider headquartered on the South Coast, providing access to over 100 UK data centres and more than 300 globally.

Now, this is not the only misleading thing on their web site, or even on the home page, but as the other items aren’t specifically relevant to this rant, I’ve decided to leave them out (for now).

These impressive sounding numbers of over 100 UK and 300 global data centres appear repeatedly on the C4L web site as well as in their email newsletters, press releases and other marketing literature.

The thing is, that C4L don’t have anywhere near that many Points of Presence (PoPs). If you take a look at their network map (http://www.c4l.co.uk/resources/data-sheets/Network-Map-Connectivity-Data-Sheet-C4L.pdf), then you can very quickly see that the actual number is much smaller:

  • Telecity Reynolds House
  • Telecity Williams House
  • Telecity Kilburn House
  • “Manchester 1” (probably the M247 Ball Green data centre)
  • “Birmingham” (god knows)
  • “Derby” (Node4 Derby DC1 and DC2 – basically the same building)
  • “Enfield” (Virtus London1 Enfield)
  • “Milton Keynes” (Pulsant Milton Keynes, formerly BlueSquare MK)
  • “Slough” (Virtustream)
  • Telecity Soverign House
  • Level(3) Goswell Road
  • Telehouse Metro
  • City Lifeline
  • InterXion
  • “Brick Lane” (probably Easynet)
  • Global Switch 2
  • Telehouse North
  • Telehouse East
  • Global Switch 1
  • Telecity Meridian Gate
  • Telecity Harbour Exchange 6&7
  • Telecity Harbour Exchange 8&9
  • Telecity Bonnington House
  • “City Reach” (Tutis Point City Reach, formerly owned by QiComm, now Docklands Data Centre Ltd – DDCL)
  • “Greenwich” (the former BIS Anchorage Point data centre, now owned by 6dg)
  • “Bylfeet” (4D Data Centres Sirius II)
  • “Park Royal” (probably Telecity Powergate)
  • “Maidenhead” (Pulsant Maidenhead 1-3, formerly BlueSquare House and BlueSquare 2-3)
  • “Bournemouth” (C4L’s own data centre with their offices at County Gates)
  • Evoswitch Amsterdam
  • “Isle of Man” (Either Netcetera or Wi-Manx)

Now, that is still a fairly impressive PoP list, but at 31 data centres it is a lot less than the 100 that they are claiming in the UK, let alone the 300 that they are claiming globally – particularly when you consider that there’s only a single international data centres on there, and that is Evoswitch in Amsterdam!

This all comes back to my earlier question – what is the point of climbing more PoPs than you actually have? What do you stand to gain from it?

If you do somehow manage to deceive a customer into taking services from you at a datacentre where you don’t already have a PoP, then the likelihood is that you won’t be providing any kind of useful service – you’ll just be buying a single rack from the data centre, adding a markup onto it and passing it on to the customer. Now the customer has to go through you for access requests and remote hands, slowing them down and adding an unnecessary layer of complication.

Likewise with connectivity, you probably aren’t going to be able to build out a full scale PoP for a single customer, so you’re just buying a circuit from someone who does actually have a PoP in that data centre and then backhauling it to somewhere on your existing network. This adds a potential point of failure as well as complicating any troubleshooting as now three (or more!) parties are involved in any investigations.

In both instances, the customer could have got the same (or better) service from going direct and it would have cost them less. So all you have done is made it more expensive and less reliable for your customer!

There is no problem with reselling services, as long as you are adding some value to them. In these cases however, it seems that the only value being added is to the reseller’s bank account!

Misleading companies – part 2

June 8th, 2014

In part 1, I wrote about my experiences looking for IP transit services in Telehouse West and an annoying encounter with ConnetU over a phantom PoP.

Part 2 of this rant covers a second requirement from the same project – this time for a pair of 1Gbps layer 1 (wavelength) or layer 2 (MPLS pseudo-wire or VPLS) circuits between two data centres – London Data eXchange’s LDeX1 in North-West London and Telehosue West in the London docklands.

This shouldn’t be such a hard task as both data centres are carrier neutral (with the Telehouse docklands campus being one of the most highly connected places in the UK, if not the EU!) and so have pretty good carrier coverage.

With LDeX1 being the smaller, newer site I decided to start with their carrier list (http://www.londondataexchange.net/connectivity/carrier-list/) as there was a good chance that any carriers on this list would also be present at the Telehouse docklands campus.

I contacted several of the carriers on this list, however this rant is specifically about euNetworks and IX Reach as both of these companies replied that they aren’t actually present in LDeX1.

IX Reach

IX Reach specifically list LDeX1 on their own PoP list (http://www.ixreach.com/wp-content/uploads/PoP-List1.pdf) as well has having put out a press release in August 2012 (http://www.ixreach.com/news-events/press-releases/ix-reach_partners_with_ldex/) saying:

IX Reach, a layer 2 Ethernet carrier, is pleased to have become a partner of LDeX and added LDeX1 – a state of the art, network independent 22,000sq ft London data centre – to its PoP (Point of Presence) list and is able to offer their full range of services; capacity from 100Mbps to multiple 10Gbps over Point-to-Point/Multipoint connection, full colocation options and also a Direct Connect into the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud platform.

Now, I don’t know about you, but to me, that says that the PoP is open and services are available to order, so I was somewhat surprised when I got a reply back from IX Reach saying:

We are at Telehouse West but would need at least a 10Gbps/10GE requirement to consider to PoP London LDeX1 which is also quite a distance away.

I sent them a link to the LDeX carrier list, as well as IX Reach’s own PoP list and press release, but all they came back with was:

I’m afraid our PoP list and the LDeX1 carrier list has not been updated, we are currently not in LDeX1.

Eh? Why would the IX Reach PoP list and the LDeX carrier list had to be “updated”? I pressed the point and asked for clarification. Had the LDeX1 PoP been closed for some reason?

As far as I’m aware, IX Reach were intending to PoP LDeX1, for some technical reason this did not happen.

All very vague and noncommittal. Suffice to say, IX Reach now join ConnetU on my list of companies who can’t be trusted to tell the truth!

euNetworks

euNetworks particularly annoyed me, as they stung me along a took quiet a bit of time before eventually deciding that they weren’t going to be able to provide any services.

euNetworks had previously announced back in March 2013 that they were establishing a Point of Presence in LDeX1 (see http://www.eunetworks.com/pdf/5397/euNetworks_LDeX_FINAL.pdf) and I had spoken to them at the time about the specific fibre route that they were using as I was interested in enhancements to redundancy and diversity that this might enable.

At the time, euNetworks had told me that they weren’t using the existing Geo (now Zayo) or Virgin Media fibre connections, but were instead digging their own fibre in, so I got in touch with them again on the 22nd of May 2014 to ask if this was live yet (as it had now been over a year since it was originally announced) and they eventually got back to me on the 27th of May 2014 to say:

Unfortunately euNetworks aren’t digging in to LDex, the dig is a large one which is financially big and the customer have taken a decision to not pop the building.

We will be able to provide a quote like from our 3rd party team.

This was somewhat disappointing, but at least it looked like they would be able to help in some way, I mean, they must have some kind of presence in LDeX1, otherwise they wouldn’t have announced that they were providing Amazon Web Services (AWS) Direct Connect services in LDeX1 only a couple of months ago (http://www.ldexgroup.co.uk/ldex-group-expands-colocation-offering-aws-cloud-services/) in April 2014 surely?

I followed this up on the 29th of May 2014, only to be told that they were still waiting for their partners. I then chased it again on the 5th of June 2014, only to be told that they weren’t going to be able to provide any kind of quote at all:

Unfortunately, we are not going able to provide this service. We are finding it hard to pin down a supplier for managed services from LDeX and consequently the pricing we are receiving is just not competitive.

Sigh! Two weeks of waiting, only to be told that they’re not going to be able to help at all. So much for an LDeX1 PoP!

So, there we go, two companies who can’t seem to decide whether they have opened a PoP or not, but apparently that doesn’t stop them putting out press releases about it and getting themselves featured on carrier lists…

Now, on to the third and final part of my rant – C4L!

Misleading companies – part 1

June 8th, 2014

Something that I’ve never understood is why some companies feel the need to lie on their websites. I’m not talking about ambiguous marketing twaddle about being “a leading provider” etc. but flat out deception. This seems to be particularly prevalent in the hosting/network/data centre industry for some reason.

This specific rant was triggered by a recent project which required an IP transit connection in Telehouse West.

This shouldn’t be such a hard task – Telehouse West is carrier neutral and the Telehouse docklands campus is one of the most highly connected places in the UK, if not the EU!

I did a bit of Googling for companies claiming to have network PoPs in Telehouse West. One of the companies which came up was ConnetU, who I’ve heard of, but never had actually any dealings with before now.

On the front page of their web site (http://www.connetu.com) ConnetU state:

With over 15 London data centres on our network, we cater for a full complement of project requirements including location, cost and performance, from being in the heart of low-latency Internet to high-density computation.

and if you follow that link, then you get to a page talking about their London network that contains quotes such as:

Enterprise metro Ethernet spanning 15 London data centres

Now, if you click on the network map, then you actually find 19 data centres (although I didn’t bother to count them at the time):

Telecity Harbour Exchange (HEX) 6&7
Telecity Harbour Exchange (HEX) 8&9
Telecity Meridian Gate
Telecity Sovereign House
Telstra London Hosting Centre (LHC)
Tutis Point City Reach (formerly QiComm, now Docklands Data Centre Ltd – DDCL)
Global Switch 1
Global Switch 2
Telehouse North
Telehouse East
Telehouse West
Telehouse Metro
Level(3) Goswell Road
City Lifeline
InterXion London
Croydon (I’m guessing Pulsant’s Croydon data centre)
Greenwich South London (I’m guessing the former BIS Anchorage Point data centre, now owned by 6dg)
London Bridge (I’m guessing the former Safehosts data centre, now GSDV)
West Byfleed (I’m guessing 4D Data Centres Sirius II)

Now, Telehouse West is clearly listed on there as a network PoP with 10Gbps fibre/wavelength connections to Telehouse North and Telehouse East. If you click on the IP transit link, Telehouse West is listed again under “Available PoPs” with a link to it’s very own page (http://www.connetu.com/london-data-centres/telehouse-west) detailing a few key facts about the data centre as well as a list of which services are available there (“IP transit” and “Interconnects”).

So, from all this, it’s fair to say that ConnetU are clearly advertising that they have a Point of Presence (PoP) at Telehouse West (THW) are are able to provide IP transit services there. So, I filled out the “Request Quote” form on the IP transit page, which again feature Telehouse West on the drop down “Delivery in” list

Now, imagine my surprise when I receive an email from ConnetU saying:

we’re still looking for a decent reason to PoP West as there hasn’t been much demand in there to date.

This seemed somewhat odd based on the description on their web site, so I queried this and they replied with:

We’ve been waiting for a good excuse to break-out West – it’s a fibre run away, which can be done fairly quickly upon order. However, enquiries to date have been so small they’re just not worthwhile.

So basically, they don’t have a PoP in Telehouse West, but they’re listing it on their site anyway and if they get a big enough order for it to be worth their while, they will have Telehouse run fibre from their existing PoPs in order to service it…

Not only is this completely misleading, but as someone looking for services in a particular data centre it’s also utterly frustrating as it makes my job so much harder and just wastes my time.

I don’t understand how companies think that they will benefit from this sort of behaviour. Surely it’s pretty obvious that all you are going to end up doing is annoying prospective customers because you won’t be able to provide the services as the requirement is too small for it to be worth you while building a PoP, or the price will be too high because you’ll pass all the costs of building the PoP onto the client or the lead time will be too long because you need to order space, connectivity, equipment etc. and get it all set up.

I would certainly think twice before considering taking services from ConnetU at any of their other locations due to this experience. Why waste my time getting in touch with them again? Who knows how many of their other PoPs don’t really exist? Plus, do I want to do business with a company which behaves in such a misleading manner publicly?

Owing to the size of this rant, I have split it up into three pats so that it is easier to read. Part 2 focuses on IX Reach and euNetworks whilst part 3 is about C4L.