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August 2011 Newsletter

Introduction

Have I ever mentioned how wonderful Australia is?

Australia is a beautiful country filled with beautiful people doing beautiful things...beautifully. If you were to ask me "Brett, what's the one country in the world with which you could find no fault?" I would quickly answer, without a moment's hesitation, "Australia."

The music, the people, the culture... All that jazz. MMMPH! What's not to like? They even speak English over there! Fantastic.

You Australians know what I'm talking about, right? You guys have got it GOIN' ON. This should not be news to you.

Did you know that in Australia, motorcycle biker gangs are called "Bikie gangs"? Bikie! Can you believe it? That's so cute and endearing that I want to fly over there right now just so I can pinch their widdle bearded, tattooed faces.

And their television programming? Quality through-and-through. I refer of course to such classics as Farscape, The Upside Down Show, and Hey Hey It's Saturday.

Australia truly is a land of natural beauty, rich heritage, and food paste.

I raise these points because, well...no reason! I just thought you might want to know a little something about me.

"Mister Anderson"

DreamHost's first-ever full-time CEO, Simon Anderson, came on board this month.

We welcomed him into the fold by preparing our offices with a plethora of decorations intended to remind him of his homeland. Which is... Ah, I'm drawing a blank here. Hang on - let me check my notes.

Okay, here it is.

Oh, this is interesting. Simon was born in...Australia?

Huh!

Well there you go.

DreamHost Blog: Simon Anderson Assumes The Position

Simon's spent his first two weeks immersing himself in DreamHost culture, interviewing employees, meeting with partners, makin' connections, and preaching the gospel of DreamHost to any and all who will listen.

And...Uh oh! He's headed this way! Look busy!

Simon Says (written by Simon!)

Hey, I'm Simon, the new CEO of DreamHost. I've been in the role a few weeks now, and I'm sick of it already. Yep, this stuff is just HARD! Let me tell you a little and you'll understand.

Even before I came onboard, I was subjected to the most humiliating, fault-exposing, geek-designed testing known to man or woman kind. Things like being asked to recite [shout] the names of the Fellowship while undergoing a horse riding skills test on some beast dressed up to look like a unicorn. I was doing great 'til some Perl hacker corrected me that Merry and Pippin's names are really Meriadoc and Peregrin. How's a guy who despises New Zealanders supposed to know that?! Then just when I'd thought I'd outrun the others fighting to join this crazy band of dreamers, I had to prove my ping pong skills against probably the most scary looking dudes I've never wanted to meet in a dark alley. Not happy.

Anyway, for some reason they offered me the job, and like the desperate guy at the company holiday party at 1am I accepted their proposal. I was under the influence of course. No excuse, but I somehow believed that DreamHost was a civilized place of discussion and debate. A place of grand vision for the Internet and enabling peoples dreams. Well I was wrong.

Instead, I found a place where people are *obsessed* with shiny new toys. Like the latest high performance servers and network gear. A place where developers are constantly in my office harping on about optimizing WordPress installs and all this cloud computing stuff with vainglorious names like OpenStack, Ceph, Nova and so on. It's driving me nuts. And the support team actually COMPETES to get to customer messages first, hacking each others email accounts to grab the toughest questions and spit out answers in a nanosecond. Unbelievable.

I thought this would be a cruisy gig, but boy was I wrong. And now I'm stuck. Integrated into the team. Even forced to play softball at the company picnic....I guess I'm just going to have to ride it out. See where this wild bunch of open-source, automation-obsessed, change-the- world through cool and inexpensive web services junkies lead me. Maybe it won't be so bad. Maybe I'll learn something. At least I'll get to play Rock Band.

-Simon

Ceph, Crowbar, and OpenStack!

Okay, I'm back. Whenever Simon walks anywhere his feet tend to leave ripples in the fabric of space-time, and you and I both know that plant on your desk wasn't there a minute ago. So I think he's gone. For now.

At O'Reilly's "OSCon" open-source convention last month Dell officially took the wraps off of a little something they're calling "Crowbar".

Crowbar is a major open-source contribution from Dell to the OpenStack project.

It's effectively an installation framework for OpenStack, but it's one that aims to get service providers and IT departments up and running with an OpenStack cloud in under two hours by automating as much of the process as is programatically possible.

So...big whoop. It's a software installer. What's the big deal?

The big deal is that Crowbar handles tasks that are far beyond the scope of most software installers. It'll analyze and configure things as specific as BIOS settings and RAID configurations - operations that traditionally have required manual intervention from datacenter admins.

When you're dealing with thousands of servers you just want to rack 'em and run 'em. Crowbar steps in to automate the more tedious parts of server deployment AND it works with you to maintain and update your fleet of servers as needed.

So where does DreamHost fit in?

DreamHost Blog: DreamHost, OpenStack, and Crowbar

We've been working with the Crowbar team to develop what they're calling a "barclamp" - a code module that extends and enhances Crowbar's core capabilities. Our Ceph barclamp will enable anyone to quickly and easily deploy an OpenStack cloud with Ceph storage at its heart.

Learn about Ceph

That's kind of a big deal.

We were even quoted in Dell's press release:

Dell Announces OpenStack IaaS Solution

Crowbar will, unfortunately, still require a human to unbox and load servers into racks. Someone should make a robot.

Meet @DreamHostCare

When we tweet, we do it as @DreamHost.

When you address your tweets to @DreamHost it can sometimes be hard to figure out who's responding. Might be tech support. Might be a marketing guy. Might be neither! Who knows? Shared Twitter accounts are the gloryhole of social media.

To clear up any ambiguity we've created @DreamHostCare - a Twitter account specific to tech support-related inquiries and the quickest way to get through to a tech support team member in 140 characters or less.

@DreamHostCare on Twitter

Just so we're clear - customer care will now come from @DreamHostCare.

That's us.

It's legit.

Twitter is great for quick questions, but for a more fully-featured technical support experience we recommend you stick to submitting issues through our web panel. It lets you type 141 characters - and more!

Contact Technical Support

Come Out and Play!

We're throwing a party and you're invited!

This year's HostingCon is just DAYS away and we're throwing a little after-hours event for partners, potential partners, conference attendees at large, and - perhaps most importantly - any customers who happen to be in downtown San Diego the evening of August 8th!

CEO Simon and a sizable contingent of DreamHost employees will be there! A team from OpenStack will be there too, including OpenStack's "General Manager & Chief Stacker," Jim Curry!

The party starts at 8pm and goes till whenever. There will be pool. There will be games. There will be refreshments.

There will also be about a dozen DreamHost employees mingling through the crowd, saying things like "HI! THANKS FOR COMIN'! YOUR HAND IS EMPTY, DID YOU GET A DRINK? OH HEY THAT'S A GREAT JACKET! DID WE GO TO HIGH SCHOOL TOGETHER? YOU TOTALLY LOOK LIKE THIS ONE...HEY DID YOU GET A DRINK BECAUSE YOUR HAND IS...HEY, DID WE GO TO HIGH SCHOOL TOGETHER?"

Then they'll slap you on the back before toasting your good looks and our "wonderful business relationship."

It might just be me that ends up doing all that, though. We'll just have to wait and see on that one.

We'd love to see you there! We'd love it even more if you would take a minute to RSVP for the event right now. You'll need to do this if you want to get in the door because we'll be emailing you the secret password to get in 24 hours before the party begins.

If you'd like to be there, please RSVP!

Game On With DreamHost - RSVP!

And please leave your shanks at home. I'm allergic.

Take a Survey, win a JackBack!

This month we're doing a follow-up to a survey we did a few months back. We're curious to find out how you feel about E-Commerce and what your general experiences in that realm might be!

We'll select one lucky survey participant at random to receive a handsomely-crafted, Apple-enraging, warranty-obliterating back cover replacement for an iPhone 4! That or a free year of shared hosting. Up to you!

What makes this back cover better than the factory-provided glass surface you're already using?

It's made out of wood - real walnut! And it just so happens to have our logo laser-etched across its face. Only a handful of these beauties exist IN THE WORLD. They will fit a GSM, not CDMA iPhone 4, and can be installed in literally 30 seconds with the removal and replacement of just two screws. We'll even provide the screwdriver!

Take the August survey now!

Take the DreamHost August 2011 Survey!

We've got a few of these iPhone backs to give away and will be doing so throughout the month of August. Check out photos and learn about more chances to win on our blog:

Announcing the DreamHost Phone!

DreamHost 101: Credit Card Autopay

The best bills are the ones that pay themselves. Am I right or am I right? Eh? Eh?

By storing a credit card on file with your DreamHost account you're doing a few things.

First and foremost you're ensuring that a missed email from our billing robot while you're on vacation won't result in a suspended account.

Secondly, you're freeing yourself up from the monotony of bill paying! In the time it takes to pay your bill manually you could instead be enjoying a cool, refreshing glass of milk.

And finally, you're affirming to yourself that your credit is, at worst, decent.

Set Up Credit Card Autopay

Just click the 'Credit Card AutoPay' signup link to get started.

You can even set a limit to the amount we'll charge your card on any one day if you're the not-trusting type.

Paying your bill has never been easier!

It was pretty easy already, though.

DHSOTMs

As voted by you, the winners from JULY are as follows...

The winner in the ORIGINALITY category is:
I'm Shaun
"Original WordPress theme portfolio site"

http://im-shaun.com/

The winner in the CONTENT category is:
Association for Tarot Studies
"official site"

http://association.tarotstudies.org/

The winner in the STRUCTURE category is:
Backyard Nature Center
"Home of Backyard Nature Center. Connecting children and adults with the wonders of nature!"

http://www.backyardnaturecenter.org/

The winner in the OVERALL and DESIGN categories is:
iCodeLabs
"iOS developer"

http://www.icodelabs.net/

Congratulations to the winners!

Don't forget to cast your votes (and enter your own site) for the next round of DHSOTMs at

https://panel.dreamhost.com/index.cgi?tree=home.dhsotm

See ya next month!

See ya next month!
Brett D!

P.S. - I will not honor in-person requests to unsubscribe. Just do it on Twitter in all caps like everyone else. Or go here:

https://panel.dreamhost.com/id/?tab=contact