Thursday, October 30, 2008

Most men, so I'm told, are glued to the TV when either the football or Olympics is being shown. Not me. I'm happily fairly oblivious to either. But now... it's the Volvo Ocean... and why do I mention it? Well, my team is currently in the lead. And, to make things even better, they have just beaten a world record.
Torben Grael and the crew of Ericsson 4 swept into the history books yesterday as the first monohull to breach the 600-mile barrier in 24 hours. They’ve been chased by men, machines and the elements in the last 48 hours – and nothing has touched them.
They had been lying fourth behind but battling it with the leaders - Green Dragon, Puma and Telephonica Black. But its pretty dreadful weather they are sailing through as Mark Chisnell puts it:
In their foaming, boiling, 25-knot wake the fleet lies scattered as the devil and the deep blue sea picked off the hindmost one by one – the cold front sweeping over them with a mix of murderous squalls and ugly waves in a pitch black night. We’re almost down to the last man standing.
If you're as gripped as I am you can follow the race online, even through a 3D virtual simulator, where the boat's instruments, when they are working, relay everything via satellite to your computer at home... almost in real time. But they don't always work. In fact, Ericsson 4 have equipment failure now.

So back to reality for me... over the past couple of weeks we have been battling murderous squalls on the technical front. Three weeks ago I wrote about the DDoS attack. One of the outcomes of reviewing this was a decision to upgrade two or more of the servers. They are three years old now and so replacing them is about due. But its not just a case of copy the files and off you go... it will take about three of us at least a month to move everything over and upgrade all the systems on the new servers. A very big job, which is why we only try to do it every three years!

Having decided to do this we brought Raed over from Egypt to help and then ordered the new hardware. We lease the servers rather than buy them, leaving the leasing company responsible for the hardware maintenance. On Monday they will pass them over to us, with a bare operating system on them and we will start the task of checking them and installing all the systems and moving the sites across.

In between all this the attacks have continued - like a cold front sweeping over us. We watch the attackers in real time, and have defense mechanisms set up to rebuff them. But trying to second guess their moves is difficult, so we have set up what is called a 'honey trap' to try and lure them in to showing their methods. This will give us some indication of how much they know about us and why certain sites are more attacked than others.

One of our partners - with a site for central Asia - was online chatting with me today and they want to increase the facilities, to start online broadcasting to their region. Another site - for the Middle East - will have new facilities and a new design before the new year. A further new site - also for the Middle East - should be live before the new year. So it feels like a 'foaming, boiling, 25-knot' race downwind barely in control of what is happening. I am looking forward to Christmas - which I hope will be the end of this leg of our race and the sites and new servers will all be behind me.

No comments: