We’re supporting Ubuntu MATE

I’m happy to announce that Bytemark is supporting the Ubuntu MATE operating system project, which is based on a traditional computer desktop. We’re providing hosting for its community forums & wiki and bandwidth for its very popular Raspberry Pi distribution.

The MATE project’s admirable goal is “to add support for new technologies while preserving a classic desktop experience”. Ubuntu MATE combines this desktop with the well-tested OS base of Ubuntu – which itself builds on our first love Debian . All of that ensures that anyone who wants a simple computer desktop can get one, on any computer, free of charge.

Personally speaking, Ubuntu MATE feels like a great model for a free software community. They run a crowd-funding campaign and write a monthly report on exactly how those funds are spent. After paying direct costs, they pay contributors to work on much-needed features, and also to developers of other projects that they depend on. While the amounts might be small, this is uncommon ambition, and a sign of a well-managed and motivated community.

Naturally Martin Wimpress, the project co-founder, takes charge of hosting and that meant costs that Bytemark could easily absorb.

I am absolutely delighted that Bytemark reached out to Ubuntu MATE and generously offered to cover all our hosting and bandwidth requirements. We now have a resilient pair of geographically separated Cloud Servers powering the Ubuntu MATE websites, community forums and Raspberry Pi image downloads. This will enable Ubuntu MATE to channel far more of the money raised via our crowd-funding into sponsored development of Ubuntu MATE and MATE Desktop related projects. In Bytemark we have found a company whose commitment and beliefs towards free software are aligned with our own. On behalf of the Ubuntu MATE community I extend my sincere thanks to everyone at Bytemark for their support.

Thanks Martin, and good luck for the future.

(written from the MD’s new Ubuntu MATE desktop – give it a go!)

BigV is now called Bytemark Cloud Servers

We’ve just renamed our old “BigV” product to “Bytemark Cloud Servers“, and redirected the bigv.io web site. The documentation has all been moved, but the product is the same reliable hosting that you’ve used since 2012. Hooray! That is all.

But if you like ancient history and bad branding:

In 2012, after 8 years of selling our old VM product, we test-launched our new hosting platform, and we’d called it after its design codename: BigV. It got its own logo, a web site and a whole new brand. It even had a guitar because it was that cool:

bigv_poweredby_landscape_234_x_79

The embarrassing part is: we gave it a different name because we weren’t sure it was going to work. If BigV blew up and ate everyone’s data, we’d retire it without shaming the good name of Bytemark!  Yes, yes, planning a new brand around its ultimate failure was a stroke of marketing genius but let’s never forget the New Coke – or as they called it in 1985, Coke:

We didn’t want to rename the old service “Hosting Classic!” if BigV went wrong. But we shouldn’t have been pessimistic. The design document showed off our work – we’d implemented live migration, where customer servers could move between pieces of hardware without down time. We’d built an API for quick provisioning, and allowed up to 8 discs to be connected and expanded. Just to show off, in 2014 we live-migrated all our customers’ servers from spinning discs to fast SSDs without anyone noticing. It really was working out fine but we held out until 2016 just to be sure.

Bytemark have now got thousands of Cloud Servers online, and it’s the product that British engineers come to us for: high-availability, automatically-provisioned, flexible servers – just what we designed! And the development practice that we built up since 2012 has now become our standard for how we build new services.

So now that BigV has become our new business, and has been our most popular server for years, we’re proud to give it a more obvious, more recognisable, more respectable, 200% MORE BORING name – Bytemark Cloud Servers.

Now you know how good we are at branding you should definitely sign up today and get £10 free hosting for a month.

 

We’re sponsoring RailsGirls

We’re very happy that we’re sponsoring Rails Girls Manchester, a 1½ day workshop at Manchester Digital Laboratory this August 12th. It’s completely free for women to register and attend.

Rails Girls deliver speedy, practical workshops all around the world to introduce women to programming and design, with a style that cuts through stuffy documentation to reach beginners in the technology industry. They’ve succeeded for 5 years and publish their materials, which allows the community to run the workshops and spread the word.

At Bytemark, we want see more new programmers join the industry and Rails Girls is succeeding in reaching out to this underrepresented audience.

The course is being organised by seasoned Manchester geeks Claire Dodd, Tekin Sulyeman and Ben Aldred. If you’re a looking to get into programming, Rails is an absolute treat of a technology for beginners, and Rails Girls will give you a really valuable new skill to build on.

Go now, and register! The deadline for applications closes in a week.

Bytemark are Hiring !

Customer Service Administrator – Apply Here

We’re looking for customer service representatives who are interested in getting into (or have made a start in) the technology industry.

The ideal candidate should enjoy interacting with both people and technology, and understand the discipline needed in a customer service environment.

We provide in-house training, days at relevant conferences and clear career progression opportunities.

If you feel like you have the enthusiasm and attitude to learn and grow with us, applications can be submitted through our fair and anonymous recruitment process. Read more about how we hire and apply for this position-  Apply Here !

Join us, and be a part of our growing team!

Bytemark are Hiring!

Bytemark are looking for a Software Developer (Ruby/Go)

This role is for an experienced programmer who wants to work with a multi-skilled team of designers, researchers and developers. We’re a growing company — your Rails & Linux knowledge is going to be crucial to that.

Bytemark (York, UK) are looking for a software engineer to join our team of four. We hope that’s you! You’ll enjoy working with high-performance, server-side code on Linux, with a keen eye to performance and detail. We will want to see some record of achievement in programming, though this might be from projects that were personal or not developed as part of your day job.

As always, applications can be submitted through our ground-breaking anonymous recruitment process. Read more about how we hire and apply for this position Apply Here .

Join us, and be a part of our growing team!

A Research-driven Recruitment Story

[It] was initially frustrating to not be able to tell you things about who I am and what I’ve done. But it’s great that it’s a level playing field. By the final interview I was liking the process so much that I was reluctant to share my CV and de-anonymize myself.

– Successful Careers applicant at Bytemark

As many of you already know, the way we recruit at Bytemark is different. This is owing to our meticulously-designed, anonymous, decentralised recruitment process. But it wasn’t always this way. This is our story of what anonymous recruiting means to us, why we bother and how we are leading the way to a fairer, people-focused local tech community. We hope it can inspire others to think about the way they hire and make and share their improvements too.

Our problem with traditional recruiting

For the first decade or so of Bytemark’s history, Managing Director Matthew Bloch took on the role of recruiting staff. He’d put a few adverts out, collect some CVs, schedule interviews, everyone would dress up, and then he’d make a decision about who he felt would be best for the role.

Over time, this method became increasingly problematic. The entire recruitment workload was in the hands of one person. In Matthew’s own words:

I became increasingly aware of how inappropriate biases had influenced our previous process, and how slow we were to spot them. For instance until a few years ago, we used to grill prospective system administrators on the particulars of their home computer network – how many did they have, how complex was the routing and so on. We figured that because we had staff who already built overly complex home networks, this was a good signifier for the kind of sysadmin we wanted. Instead of course, we were testing for all kinds of privilege, a certain size of house, a set of interests we’d shared in college, everything but the work we wanted them to do.

— Matthew Bloch, Managing Director

In sum, we knew that we were missing many great candidates because of our “network-based” process. We treated existing candidates inconsistently, and gave them a poor (and inaccurate) impression of our company.

These local concerns about bias were reinforced by bigger, more global problems in the tech community. Stories of harrassment were gaining publicity, highlighting how toxic the environment had become in some circles. At the same time, new awarenesses surfaced about problems with diversity in tech, the challenges for minority groups to stay in the industry, and the issues surrounding environments where there was minimal to no processes for hiring, e.g. Heddleston’s null process.

These problems necessitated a rethinking of how we do things at Bytemark. We needed to build a better team through better hiring policies.

A new Recruitment Process

Doing some research into the subject, Matthew stumbled upon an innovative solution from an entirely different field. A paper by Goldin & Rouse (2000), Orchestrating Impartiality, had highlighted the positive effect of an anonymous audition process (e.g. where the candidates play their piece behind a screen) on gender diversity in US orchestras during the 70s and 80s. The authors showed that women who auditioned through this method were 50% more likely to advance to the second stage of the audition process compared to when they were visible to the panel.

Taking the idea of an anonymous audition as his cue, Matthew pieced together a technological version of the stage ‘screen’, and in early 2015, careers.bytemark.co.uk was born.

picture of careers.bytemark.co.ukThrough anonymity, the Careers app aims to be fair and inclusive. It provides a focus on skills first and foremost. With help of the entire team, Careers also aims to be efficient and collaborative. The work of recruitment is shared; each job opening has an assigned interview ‘panel’ of 3–5 current employees. With this method, staff gather input from each other, and learn to lead in the process.

Bytemark Careers Today

As of today, we’ve received over 200 applications, hired eight staff through this process, and we’ve retained seven. The roles we’ve recruited for have ranged from Office Manager to System Admins to Developers.

When deprived of information, people fill in the gaps

With new process come new issues. We found that while reducing biases in some areas, we introduced new ones in others. Because candidates had no frame of reference for our process, they started to make (often incorrect) inferences about what we were up to, and how they were being evaluated. A common source of anxiety was about staying anonymous:

I’m always thinking about whether or not I’m accidentally giving myself away.
Answering reveals too much about my background, but didn’t want to be vague either. These questions didn’t let me shine or share relevant things about myself.

– Successful Careers applicants at Bytemark

We also encountered many obstacles which were situational or involved miscommunication of some form. For example, when our (new and not-yet-added-to-our-website) HR Manager, Pam Hinds, responded to candidates by text messages including her name, several of these candidates started to wonder who the mystery ‘Pam’ was — an anonymous person? an acronym (perhaps ‘Personal Application Manager’)? a nickname (a ‘P’ for Patrick or Pete?), or possibly even a friendly chatbot. These are the sorts of findings you can never anticipate, but you must discover and address!

We were filling in the gaps, too. Without research, it’s difficult to know if we’re attracting more diverse candidates. We also recognised that the process doesn’t work well for some roles and needs adapting, but how should we do that? And most importantly, our guesses about the psychological barriers our candidates faced were just that, guesses. We needed to find out what these realities were, how they were affecting people, and then take action to address the unmet needs.

A Research-Driven Recruitment Update

By slowing down and vetting product & design decisions more carefully, you can uncover gaps and weaknesses that would breach your core users’ trust, and avoid costly problems down the line.

— Eric Meyer, Design for Real Life

It can sometimes be challenging to know where to start with a project that may potentially have several important issues that need addressing. However, with a carefully-reasoned approach, some practical empathy, and a supportive team, it becomes clearer not only to see what’s most pressing but how to implement an effective solution for each aspect of the problem.

With this in mind, our Research Manager, Kim Witten, recently led a 6-week development cycle. The research included:

  • 12+ hours of interviews
    • six with anonymously-hired candidates
    • four stakeholder interviews
  • 3-hour data workshop
  • More than half the company was involved in the process in one way or another

What we’ve accomplished

MethodKit activity during research interviewOur research team uncovered many psychological barriers that we’d unintentionally introduced through anonymous recruiting. However, our biggest challenge by far was setting expectations and communicating well with candidates.

This led to us revisiting the entire process and resulted in an extensive re-write of our current recruitment guidance for both candidates and staff. Additionally, the research alerted us to several bugs, feature requests and other issues needing to be addressed. In our 3-hour workshop, we prioritised and sorted these findings. This resulted in over 80 separate issues, all of which we tracked, assigned and completed during the final two weeks of the development cycle.

We also learned of many encouraging insights about our process, and our successful candidates too! Our anonymously-hired staff were unanimously positive about the anonymous hiring concept, they appreciated the focus on skills first, and they were enthusiastic about research that would improve the process based on their feedback.

What we’ve learned

Design and development are so much easier when you understand people’s needs. Decisions make themselves, instead of an endless back and forth of second guessing. What would have been features distill themselves into tiny text changes. You are not implementing notifications, you are making sure people don’t get ignored.

– Steve Urmston, Product Manager

Bytemark is changing in a lot of ways. We’re maturing as a company, we’re becoming more collaborative, and we’re taking a more research-driven approach across many projects. We’ve found that going from silos to teams is challenging but rewarding. Development is faster with clearly-defined, research-driven features that are born out of specific needs. People accomplish more when work is shared, and they feel better about what they’ve achieved. We’re eager to take on more of this, and to keep making discoveries about how we can do better.

Where we’re going

This is just the start. We are always striving to get better at what we do. There will be new features, bugs, and opportunities to improve the way we communicate. Recruitment is only the beginning.

In the next five years, we hope to grow to a 100-person company. That means that we will not only use and improve our Careers process, but we will focus on advancing the careers of all of those who’ve joined us on this journey. If you want to be a part of this too, we’re hiring now at careers.bytemark.co.uk.

[I] read about Bytemark, about the fresh air cooling and other things — 
a company can say they’re environmentally friendly but is that just words? However, the recruitment process can’t be bullshit, because you experience it, going through the process. This lined up with the 
things I care about.

– Successful Careers applicant at Bytemark


Goldin, Claudia and Cecilia Rouse. 2000. “Orchestrating Impartiality: The Impact of “Blind” Auditions on Female Musicians.” American Economic Review, 90(4): 715-741.

Things Learned From IndustryConf 2016

IndustryConf took place this year on 20 April, at Castlegate in Newcastle. There were 150 attendees, seven speakers (out of 88 CFP submissions!) and was led by Gavin Elliott, Lead Interaction Designer at @DigitalDWP. I’ve highlighted some takeaways from the conference, and have linked to sites, talks and references from each of the talks where possible.


Relationship advice for your app

Jennifer Brook, @jenniferbrook

In Jennifer’s thoughtful and passionate opening talk, she addresses the following questions:

  • How do we create relationships with a new audience?
  • How do we increase engagement?

Her approach answers these questions by applying ideas from the Non-Violent Communication (NVC) framework. One idea from this framework that stayed with me was that sometimes we are unaware of our own needs or how to articulate them. Therefore, we need an examined strategy. She illustrates this point with the following example:

If you want pizza and I want cake, those are two competing strategies and they lead to conflict. However, if we rephrase those strategies into needs, we could say something like, “You want comfort (what pizza represents to you) and I want joy (what cake represents to me), our underlying needs are in harmony and can be more easily met.

She adds further examples, such as the idea that if a community is feeling frustrated, it’s possible that their need for understanding is not being met. Or that if you’re feeling annoyed by ads, your need for calm isn’t being met. The common goal here is to find the need that is not being met. As such, Jennifer made a promise to herself to never work on a project that didn’t start with a need. She found that beginning projects this way — with qualitative research, intrigue, a question, rather than with an answer or a strategy — ensured the project’s success. People’s needs were being met and this fostered better relationships.


Flexing your layout muscles: A pragmatic look at Flexbox

Stephanie Rewis, @stefsull

Stephanie Rewis is the Lead Developer at SalesForce and gave us an excellent look into Flexbox, as well as a insightful peek into how and why they do things the way they do at SalesForce.

She began with a seemingly simple question: “What methods are we going to use for our layout?” I say ‘seemingly’ because there are several options to choose from: position: absolute, float, display: inline block, display: table, display: flex

She made a strong case for Flexbox, taking us through some design challenges and how to get around them. She also highlighted her rationale for these solutions, often citing some inspiring ways that they operate at SalesForce, such as:

  • Holding CSS office hours, where developers can meet and work through CSS issues.
  • Their accessibility mandate, which guides design decisions, e.g., list ordering; visual order should match what is read aloud.

Stephanie also shared a wealth of links to tools and sites. Here are just a few of what I was able to jot down:


User Research Challenges and Solutions for the Enterprise

Rian Van Der Merwe, @RianVDM

Rian is a product manager at Wildbit — a friendly, enthusiastic company that creates developer tools for better workflows. In his talk, Rian covers some difficult factors to consider in any enterprise project, such as balancing user needs and business goals. What the company needs often changes as the business grows, which can make it necessary to add user research into the process. However, getting support for user research is usually difficult because stakeholders may feel that it takes too long or that it costs too much. Rian shares several approaches for getting beyond these time/cost hurdles:

  • Ask stakeholders, “What could happen if we don’t do research?
  • Show stakeholders that research often shrinks to fit the project. The key is to start small, use prototypes, and request feedback.
  • Stress that it’s expensive to build products without research, as the time saved up front always comes back to haunt you (i.e., technical debt).

Design like you’re right, listen like you’re wrong.” — John Lilly

The next section of Rian’s talk focused on how to sell the value of user research. He elaborated on the following key ideas:

  • Design-focused companies outperform by 219%.
  • Research results in reduced costs, because changes happen earlier in the process.
  • User research leads to faster development cycles, “If research slows down the development process, you’re doing it wrong.”

In this final section of the talk, Rian focused on how we can improve insight generation for user research:

  • Plan for non-buyers — we might get the first sale, but not the renewal. This is because the person that the product is sold to is not necessarily the person the product is used by.
  • Focus on core methods and don’t get too fancy with it.
  • Measure success; this may include assessment research, surveys, analytics and the like.
  • Lastly, record and document the work.

Lessons learned from building a collaborative video app

Jonah Jones, @jj196

What is usability? Ironically, the ISO definition of usability is unusable. Jakob Nielson’s definition of usability might be more helpful here:

“Usability is a quality attribute that assesses how easy user interfaces are to use. The word ‘usability’ also refers to methods for improving ease-of-use during the design process.”

Jonah stresses that there is more to usability than the pixels on the screen — there is a psychological aspect that we should consider. This can manifest as barriers for users to participate and share. Three of these common psychological barriers were revisited throughout this talk:

  • Audience: who is this content for? who will see this?
  • Quality: will it be good? will it be judged?
  • Context: how and where, when do I present this?

Through their research in developing Rift, Facebook’s prototype collaborate video sharing app, the team found several psychological barriers to users spontaneously creating videos. They learned that many user concerns hindered the process; questions such as What should I create? Should I edit it? How long should the video be? Will it be Likeable? . Then, in 2014 an event changed the team’s perspective on that — the Ice Bucket Challenge. This was a spontaneous meme that easily navigated around the audience, quality, and context barriers, resulting in a huge uptick in video sharing.

Although ‘Rift’ never went public, the lessons learned from their research can be applied to all creative endeavours:

  • Set the tone of the UI: how your app looks gives clues to users about how they should use it.
  • Have a clear purpose: let your users know what it is and what it is for.
  • Remove psychological barriers: be aware of the challenges in engaging with your app and seek to reduce or eliminate them.

Start Using ES6 Today

Wes Bos, @wesbos

ES6 is the newest version of JavaScript and could improve your code. Or, as Wes puts it, “Features that make life soooo much better.”

Starting off, Wes shared two new ways of declaring variables: let and const. Both are block scoped, but const cannot be changed, re-binded or wiped out. As such, you should use const by default; use let if you have to use a variable that can change. And just don’t use var.

Other features covered:

  • Template strings! This makes for easier concatination and means you can run your JS inside ${}, making for much neater, more readable template code. Neat!
  • Function definition using Ruby-like arrow syntax =>. A handy difference being arrow functions not creating their own this value; in an arrow function this is always inherited from the enclosing scope.
  • Also, new array functions, default function arguments, implicit returns and more.

Lastly, Wes gave a quick run-down of tooling; what you need to start using ES6 today. And then an array (sorry!) of the more advanced features in ES6 — destructuring, anyone?

As you can tell, this was a fairly technical and code-focused talk — something that is always welcome, and gets us thinking about what we do best and how we can do it better.


Emotional Intelligence in Design

Beth Dean, @bethdean

Beth is one of those incredibly productive superhumans who seem to be able to do it all effortlessly and to talk about it in an engaging and hilarious way. She makes and designs comics, toys, user experiences, t-shirts, posters and likely much, much more. Her talk at IndustryConf addresses one aspect of this that flows through all of her work — the relationship between software and feelings.

She begins by pointing out various ways that people don’t stop being human when they go online. May seem like an obvious point, but we all can cite examples of how easy it can be to forget. Through her witty and insightful retelling of her work and life history in tech, she advocates the following themes:

  • Practice practical empathy
  • Try to amplify voices with people you work with.
  • Ask yourself, “How would [x] work for someone experiencing [y].”

“Stop saying ‘edge case’. When you say edge case, you’re really defining the limits of what you care about.” — Eric Meyer


My Favourite Form, Really

Caroline Jarrett, @cjforms

Caroline Jarrett loves forms. She really loves forms. In this talk, she uncovers some hidden pitfalls in form design, taking use through several layers of the process. A great form works well across all of these:

  • Interaction design: Looks/works like a form and is easy to use and read.
  • Content design: Asks questions, expects answers and is easy to understand and answer.
  • Service design: Allows someone to achieve a goal and forms a relationship; it is easy to get it done and move on.

Stressing points made in previous talks, there needs to be an overlap between user needs and business needs. The value of personas in empathising with user needs is crucial. Using the example of a college application form, the audience broke into small groups to imagine scenarios for a fictional ‘Jennifer’. By making assumptions about who she is and why she’s applying to college (e.g., “because her parents are making her do this and it’s the last day of registration”) we were able to see areas of concern in the form design that we otherwise wouldn’t have uncovered. From there, it allows us to ask, “What’s the most important thing needing fixing?”

“If you’re a dolphin, are you more like a rhino or a shark?” — Caroline, on problems with binary categories (e.g., gender) in forms


The excellent day ended with a Q&A Roundtable with the day’s speakers, led by Gavin.

Q. What is design becoming?

  • “More inclusive.”
  • “We’re designing things that don’t have a look to them.”
  • “The next billion users are going to be different than the first billion.”
  • “As designers, we haven’t always been good at linking what we do to business results.”

Q. Is design hard?

  • “It’s harder than we think.”
  • “Bad design is super easy. It’s really easy to polish the wrong thing.”
  • “We master our tools without understanding the full context around that.”

Thoughts on hiring:

  • “We need a much better method of recruiting, of writing job descriptions.” — Stephanie Rewis
  • “The most important thing is believing in the mission of what you’re trying to achieve” — Jonah Jones
  • “The best thing you can have in your portfolio is your biggest failure” — Beth Dean

Thoughts on business culture:

  • “It really needs to be everybody’s problem if you want to make a great product.” — Jonah Jones

Sadly, this will be Industry Conference’s 4th and final year. Gavin has clearly poured his heart into this event and it is evident in its overwhelming success time and again. However, he shared with us that he felt that he needed to put his energy toward other things. It will be a shame to not be able to attend IndustryConf again next year, but I’m excited for whatever lies beyond.

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS on Bytemark Cloud

Ubuntu lovers rejoice! The final stable release of Ubuntu 16.04, code named Xenial Xerus is now ready to fire up using Bytemark Cloud (BigV).

What’s new?

‘Snap Packages’ – They’re a new application format, the ‘snap’, which can be installed alongside traditional deb packages. These two packaging formats live quite comfortably next to one another and enable Ubuntu to maintain its existing processes for development and updates.
The snap format is much easier to secure and much easier to produce, and offers operational benefits for organisations managing many Ubuntu devices, which will bring more robust updates and more secure applications across all form factors from phone to cloud.

‘LXD’ – the pure-container hypervisor that delivers 14x the density and substantially greater speed for Linux guests compared to established traditional virtualisation.

‘ZFS-on-linux’ – It’s a combination of a volume manager and filesystem which enables efficient snapshots, copy-on-write cloning, continuous integrity checking against data corruption, automatic filesystem repair, and data compression.

‘CephFS’ – a distributed filesystem that provides an ideal platform for large-scale enterprise storage for cluster computing on open technology.

This will provide support until April 2021.

How?

Log into the Panel , and select “Ubuntu 16.04 (xenial)” from the Operating System section – It’s as easy as that!

ubuntu

Why?

Ubuntu roll out an LTS (Long Term Support) release every two years, the last being in 2014. Most releases of Ubuntu have support for around 9 months, an LTS release will continue support for 5 years, meaning you don’t have to worry about having to upgrade the whole Operating System to continue getting security updates.

 

If you have any questions, issues or perhaps want to upgrade  – email the support team and we’d be happy to talk you through it.

Julia Gronnow is Bytemark’s new Finance Director

Peter and I are pleased to announce that Julia Gronnow is joining Bytemark as our new Finance Director.

Julia was Finance Director at Yorktest Laboratories for 5 years, building both strategy and a strong finance team while managing the spin-off of two subsidiaries. Previously Julia was the in-house Management Accountant at Gamestation, the national video gaming retail chain founded in York. She helped Gamestation grow from 30 to 350 stores nationwide, built the finance team up from 3 to 25 staff, and oversaw its sale to Game Ltd. in 2007.

Julia’s technical focus and executive experience is a great fit for Bytemark’s expansion, as we’ve always been driven by what we can achieve from a technical standpoint. We’ll need her more than ever as we continue to fill out our YO26 data centre, and onboard more and more users (revenue from our cloud services grew 57% last year, and we added 25% to our user base).

Speaking for the whole board, we’re very much looking forward to working with her.

Let’s Encrypt with Symbiosis

We’ve been testing the latest release of Symbiosis Jessie over the last few months with Let’s Encrypt and we’re proud to say it’s now packaged with Symbiosis!

What is Let’s Encrypt?

Let’s encrypt is a free, open certificate authority (CA) that launched at the end of 2015. It provides SSL/TLS certificates via an automated process in the hope of eliminating the current complex system that other CAs use.

How do I get it?

Symbiosis Jessie will come with Let’s Encrypt already set up – This means any hosted domain setup within Symbiosis will automatically be covered without any intervention needed.

Don’t I need an extra IP per domain?

It’s setup using SNI (Server Name Indication) so it’ll all work through your primary IP address. No additional IP addresses are needed no matter how many sites you require a certificate for.

I installed Symbiosis Jessie months ago, do I still get it or do I need to upgrade?

No need to upgrade, thanks to Patrick, he’s pushed this to all Symbiosis Jessie builds. If you already have another SSL provider – you may need to make a change – If not, it’ll just work.

How do I know what version of Symbiosis I’m running?

You can use the following to work it our via command line:

:~# cat /etc/debian_version

This will give a numbered output, 8 = Jessie, 7 = Wheezy, 6 = Squeeze.

I’m not on Jessie, how can I upgrade?

We’ve also included further documentation on how to upgrade from Wheezy . Upgrading from Squeeze (which is no longer supported by Debian) will need to be done to Wheezy first and then to Jessie. If you’re a Managed customer and would like our support team to action this for you – email support@bytemark.co.uk and we’ll arrange the upgrade!

 

You can see all the Symbiosis Jessie documentation regarding Let’s Encrypt here.