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