Thursday, December 2, 2010

Enabling Remote Access on your mac mini server via SSH.

During the installation of your Mac Mini server if you take all the defaults, SSH will be enabled. This means you can access your mac though a secure shell client like Putty, or any thing you prefer. Now, for remote access to your servers as if you were in front of it, OS X Leopard has a feature called “Screen Sharing”. Those on Windows and Unix also know this as “VNC”. You can also use a VNC client to view your mac server's desktop.

If you're already at your physical server you can turn on the feature however if you need to do it remotely - Example you mac mini server is hosted in a Data Center; Or for security reasons you have switched the feature off; Or you may have accidentally switched off remote access; This is how you turn it back on.

What should already be in place:

1) A User account with admin access. This account should also have root access.

2) An SSH client on your local computer. For example we use Putty on windows. Linux and MAC OS X, by default, come with SSH.

3) A VNC viewer client on your local computer. We use Tight VNC. For some reason Real VNC just did not work and most users that need to VNC to Mac OS X use Tight VNC.

4) Of course you must have network access to your Mac server through either VPN or public access. If a local firewall is running it must allow remote access as well.

How to Remotely Turn On (and off) OS X Screen Sharing

1) SSH into your server wtih your admin login and password.

2) To enalbe remote desktop - screen sharing with vnc use the follwoing command:

sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ -activate -configure -access -on -clientopts -setvnclegacy -vnclegacy yes -clientopts -setvncpw -vncpw mypasswd -restart -agent -privs -all

3) Login using a VNC client. Again we are using TightVNC. Your password is “mypasswd” (see the -vncpw flag in the above command; you can — and should — change this).

4) When you are done, you can also turn of screen sharing/vnc within the same session. However if you have secure access to your server, i.e. a trusted IP through a firewall, you can leave it enabled if it is used on a regular basis.

sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ -deactivate -configure -access -off.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Shutdown Issue with AVG on Windows XP

AVG is a free antivirus product for Windows clients. This product has found it way to some web servers and while the intent was not for corporate use. There are also known shutdown issues on Windows 2003 Server. Here is a procedure to assist.

Access the interface and disable the AVG LinkScanner and Email Scanner. Since there is no active browsing and you are not running an email client there will be zero impact.

If this does not work on your next reboot we will then try disabling the AVG Network Redirector as outlined below.

Hope this works for you!!

This is an extraction form the AVG forums.


please check the situation (cannot shutdown) with disabled AVG LinkScanner.

Else please check this:
- menu Start -> Run -> enter "devmgmt.msc" and confirm OK
- choose menu View and tick "Show hidden devices"
- now in the list try to find "Non-Plug and Play Drivers" and expand it
- right-click on AVG Network Redirector and choose "Disable"
- restart computer and check it again

These steps disable completely LinkScanner and Personal Email Scanner (and WebShield).


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How to get the most out of your 1U and 2U colo

Sometimes I wish SuperMicro would do a better job of marketing their products so I wouldn't have to do it for them.

Have a look at the 2U and 1U twin.

We have a few of these running in our datacenters. We love them because they're great on power consumption, density and performance. We save a lot of $$$ on space and power, and our clients benefit by getting 4 servers in 2Us.

Check them out. We highly recommend these boxes.


Microsoft to migrate 30 million Windows Live users to WordPress

Well, it looks like Microsoft gave up on its Windows Live platform. It smells a lot like a "if you can't beat them, join them" move.

After failing with their plan to take over the blogging service Microsoft decided to move their 30 million or so users to WordPress.

Users will be prompted to update their service by using the "simple" linking service Microsoft and WordPress put together.

Sounds simple enough. Best of luck.


Does my Hosting Provider offer VPN services?

Ok, I'm not really sure why but I hear this all the time. Does my Hosting Provider offer VPN services? The answer is very simple, YES!!! Even if the provider tells you they don't.

I have been a part of several sectors, health, financial, consulting and for most of my career in the hosting industry. What's astonishing is that I hear it from seasoned IT professionals that know their stuff.

If your hosting provider tells you that they do offer VPN services do your homework as some tend to be well overpriced.

If you need a site to site VPN along with remote user VPN clients you may be billed for the site to site (I have seen this priced at $250 per site to site tunnel), and for each VPN client connection (usually ranging from $15 to $25).

Now if you have 2 remote offices and 5 sales guys roaming around does it make sense to spend up to $625? Hell no!

Approach your hosting provider with these questions:

What VPN gateway do you use?

Chances are that it will be a shared Firewall/VPN gateway. Depending on the provider these can be beefy expensive CISCO or Juniper boxes, or a cheap clone server running OpenVPN or PPTP. Know what you are paying for. Hosting providers reasonably spend hundreds of thousand of dollars setting up Highly available Firewall/VPN gateways to support thousands of servers and clients. But ask yourself do I need a pair of Juniper ISGs for 5 sales guys bumming around? Probably not.

What VPN client do you provide?
IPSEC, PPTP etc. Just an FYI, if it is a PPTP client most likely the Hosting Provider gateway is not very expensive. That does not mean that it is not a stable and secure solution. Most likely an open source package that has little overhead to setup and manage.

So to keep your VPN solution in line with your budget ask your hosting provided to either provide a small dedicated VPN appliance that will do both site to site and remote client VPNs. The average purchase price of these appliances are usually $500 to $800 each. Reference this cost to the quote, keeping in mind that there will be a management fee to ensure the appliance stays up and most likely a small markup.

If your hosting provider refuses to provide you with the custom dedicated service or they just don't provide VPN services, buy a vpn appliance, get a 1U colo with the provider, drop the appliance off and you can save up to $500 of monthly recurring costs.

If you know what you're doing or you have an IT guy that does, there are a lot of good open source solutions that you can deploy. If you know freeBSD than you're golden.

If you need any info on hosting vpn services or suggestions on open source packages to use shoot me an email at

I really don't care if you host with Clarity or not, but please do your homework. If your VPN services quote is more that $150 per month do your research.

Clarity Web Hosting

Friday, October 1, 2010

Clarity's New Datacenters are here

Clarity is excited to announce the grand opening of two new datacenters in Toronto. The first datacenter is located in the downtown core at 151 Front street.

The second datacenter is located north east of Toronto and provides all the benefits of our 151 Front street location as well as disaster recovery services to our existing customers located within our downtown core datacenters.

In an effort to be conscious of the environment and hold true to our "Green" methodology the datacenters feature the following benefits:

Cool Roof: High performance and emissive cool roof with white membrane delivers high solar reflectance.

Cooling System: A chilled water cooling system utilizes the industry's most efficient chillers along with heat exchangers, N+1 chillers, N+1 cooling towers and N+1 CRAC units.

Transformers: Utilizing the most efficient transformers with onsite redundancy.

On-Site Well: The primary source of water for the data centre is from an onsite well with a redundant connection to city water. This provides the best level of redundancy coupled with a reduction of our carbon footprint.

Additionally all trees torn down during development were relocated to other areas.

Check out our services at


Monday, July 19, 2010

Virtual Hosting Solutions

Virtualization is a natural extension of our managed services offering as it strives to provide our customers significant benefits such as cost savings and increased data availability.

Increase IT effectiveness with solutions for server consolidation which will provide your organization with energy efficiency, business continuity, disaster recovery, data protection and enterprise level compliance.

Read more about Clarity's virtualization as a services here:

Follow the link below for our Virtual Machine pricing:

Mac Mini Dedicated Servers and Colocation

Mac Mini's provide an excellent option for anyone seeking a remote office solution which may include a web and/or mail server, DNS, MySQL DB Server, or for off site backup and development.

Clarity provides Mac Mini Dedicated servers starting at $89 per month.

Mac Mini Colocation is also available for $49 per month.

All Mac Mini services include 100 mbps switch port, Remote Power Control, and one Terabyte of traffic.

You can read more about our mac mini services at

New Dedicated Servers Price Sheet

Clarity introduces its Budget Server Line. To accommodate the overwhelming demand for cost effective solutions that are tailored towards small businesses, Clarity has officially launched this Server Line, which will outfit your environment with leading class hardware, and at the same time, provide all the benefits of being hosted out of a Redundant Top Tier Data Centre.Check out our new pricing on the Clarity site