Awful experience ordering a PowerEdge R415 from Dell

On the 25th of Novmber 2010 we placed an order via our Dell account manager for an R415 server. The specifications for the price looked too good to be true. Sadly, it was actually the case.

At the time of order we mentioned it was urgent and required delivery within about 1 week. No problem our account manager told us, it should be with you by Friday the 3rd.

Friday passed – no server.
Weeks passed – no server.

Numerous attempts to have the issue escalated with Dell completely failed. From e-mails “forgotten” to calls never returned we were getting nowhere. At one point we waited 2 weeks for a reply from our account manager before firing off an angry e-mail. The response?

I was under an impression that the server has been delivered which is the only reason why I did not bother to call you again after I received your previous email

Many e-mails were exchanged between ourselves and different departments of Dell. Throughout the process it was clear the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing.

Server finally arrives today, 08/02/2011. Over 2 months late!

Now, at the time of order we specified a requirement for 1x 8GB stick of RAM. Not 2x 4GB or 4x 2GB but a single 1x 8GB stick. Our proforma invoice confirms this.

Open the box today and what do I see? 4x 2GB sticks of RAM. NOT WHAT WE ORDERED.

Needless to say the machine will probably be going straight back to Dell. What a complete was of time. Never again.

UPDATE 09/02/2011 00:35 GMT
I just found this:

Dell sent me six replacements for my defective monitor and then a notebook


Dell made good and compensated us for the error.

Posted in Hardware, Servers | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

DGTeam website appears to be back online

Our friends at http://dgteam.ilbello.com/ appear to have brought their website online at some point during the last 2 weeks.

However no sources are released with DGTeam anymore which is a little disappointing (and perhaps a GPL violation?).

With no access to the forum it is still unclear what the future holds for the project. Hopefully it moves forward and the sources are made public once again!

Posted in ADSL, Networking | Leave a comment

UK 2011 VAT increase: Have we correctly understood the guidelines?

As everyone should know by now UK VAT increased to 20% from 04/01/2011 onwards. Having received an invoice (tax) dated 01/01/2011 at 20% which is before the increase I immediately thought to myself “This invoice cannot be correct?”.

The supplier in question has stated this is in line with what they have been advised by HMRC.

Having done a little digging around on the HMRC website my understanding of the tax increase is as follows:

  • In the case of services invoiced with a point before 04/01/2011 then the supplier may choose to either:
    • Invoice at 17.5% VAT for the period of services before 04/01/2011 and 20% for the remainder
    • - OR -

    • Invoice entirely at 17.5% if this works out easier for the supplier.
  • Otherwise for invoices of tax point 04/01/2011 and later charge 20% VAT.

Having had a closer look at the invoice with the supplier, the invoice dated 01/01/2011 is for services in February so I believe it is correct. However, the previous invoice with tax date 01/12/2010 invoices for services in January at 20%.

Now, I am aware there are some special circumstances where the suppler can(or must) bend the rules but having read through the guidance none of these seem to apply so surely the supplierĀ is wrong? Or is my interpretation of the guidelines wrong?

About a week or two later other sources have blogged about the same issue and their understanding is in line with mine.

It was time to take the issue to HMRC. Having described the invoices to a HMRC support representative she confirmed our supplier can charge at 20% if they wish to. Ok, so fair enough our supplier may have been advised they can invoice at 20%. However, what I was advised still does not seem to tally up with the guidance HMRC provide!

So I ask YOU, THE INTERNET, what is correct?!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Another VPS Control panel development update

Yet again I have been neglecting to post updates to our control panel on this blog so here is a big mash up of some of the updates since my last post(newest changes first):

  • Added: –vmlinuz –initrd and –kernelversion parameters select Kernel based on database entries rather than guessing a default based on Distro version
  • Added: Ubuntu 10.04 and 10.10 guest support for Xen
  • Added: Optional secondary block devices for Xen domUs
  • Added: Automatic fixing of udev issue for CentOS, Debian, Fedora-Core and Ubuntu OpenVZ containers
  • Added: Edit hostname for Xen
  • Added: Recovery consoles for OpenVZ are working! Recovery console info will show for all OpenVZ accounts on next update.
  • Added: Recovery consoles for Xen are working! Recovery console info will show for all Xen accounts on next update.
  • Added: Recovery console information hidden for accounts where it does not yet work.
  • Added: E-mail Communication preferences
  • Added: Notice of invoices due and invoices upcoming
  • Added: Per-IP Bandwidth usage statistics now available to all
  • Added: Gentoo guest support for Xen
  • Added: Partial Pygrub support
  • Added: Arch Linux guest support for Xen – uses Pygrub with Arch+Xen kernel
  • Added: Auto suspend + notice of bandwidth quota exceeded
  • Added: Edit Hostname for OpenVZ containers
  • Added: Power User flag can now be enabled by end-users
  • Added: OpenVZ and Xen specific controls now only show where applicable
  • Added: Per-IP Bandwidth usage statistics now available in admin section
  • Added: OS Template selection now available during OS Reload process
  • Added: OS Templates now distributed by rpm/yum repository
  • Added: VPS Control panel back-end now distributed by rpm/yum repository
  • Added: FTP(S) Back-up facility for all VPS accounts
  • Changed: Complete redesign of order form. Fully automated by SOAP requests, shows invoice summary, displays payment page.
  • Changed: Power user mode is now replaced by “Auto Configuration” allowing each individual task to be toggled. Refined controls for end-users will be implemented shortly; In the mean time power users have the “modules” autoconf option permanently enabled while non-power users have “modules,fstab,tty,network,hostname,hosts,resolv.conf” enabled.
Posted in OpenVZ, Virtualisation, Xen | Leave a comment
Thanks for the firmware

DGTeam is dead? Download latest DGTeam 1018 for DG834GT here

I learned some sad news today. The DGTeam project seems to be dead. Visiting the usual DGTeam website simply shows the following with a PayPal donate button below.


It will be rare to see another.

Luckily I have mirrored a copy of 1018 I had floating around.

DGTeam 1018 for DG834GT

If anyone happens to have other versions or more importantly the sources I will happily mirror them in honour of the DGTeam project.

It goes without saying ‘Thanks for the firmware!’ to Stev-o and the rest of the team for such a great firmware. It will be missed.

Posted in ADSL, Networking | 1 Comment

VPS Control panel development update

Hi All,

It has been a while since I’ve had time to post on here as I have been very busy as of late. As I am still very busy, I’ll keep this post brief.

Various additions/fixes have been made to the VPS Control panel since the last update:

  • Added: Completed per-IP bandwidth monitoring for Xen!
  • Added: TUN/TAP enabler button for OpenVZ users
  • Added: Ability for user to clear lock files
  • Added: Alpha version of VPS traffic graphs in admin section
  • Changed: Tweaked OpenVZ quota algorithms
  • Changed: Billing system has migrated to new server/subnet – Reverse DNS servers now accept connections from new IP
  • Bugfix: Fixed bug in bulk mailer causing blank subject under certain circumstances
  • Bugfix: Bandwidth was not being collected for some OpenVZ servers due to PATH not being set correctly
  • Bugfix: Output buffering during various actions
  • Bugfix: OS Reloads for OpenVZ failed when powered off by SSH

We have many exciting new features planned for the future – stay tuned!

Posted in OpenVZ, Virtualisation, Xen | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

VPS Control Panel: Instant OS Reloads now available!

Automated OS reloads are now complete! Features include:

- Provide big warning notice that all data will be wiped
- Only perform OS Reload if user types “I AGREE, ERASE MY DATA”
- Only perform OS Reload if user has shut down VPS
- Upon completion, display VPS name, new root password, primary IP address, E-mail

In the future we will add an option to select a different OS and re-send the user a welcome e-mail.

UPDATE: OS Selector done

Posted in HyperVM, OpenVZ, Virtualisation, Xen | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment
VPS Control panel update: Auto suspensions + New screenshots

VPS Control panel update: Auto suspensions + New screenshots

We have now added automatic account suspension/unsuspension on overdue payments. Users VPS will be powered off and access denied to our control panel with an error message. Upon receipt of payment, the VPS will automatically power on and access to our control panel is restored.

A new screenshot our our system is also available:


Posted in HyperVM, OpenVZ, Virtualisation, Xen | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment
VPS Control panel: Reverse DNS controls now 100% complete

VPS Control panel: Reverse DNS controls now 100% complete

Reverse DNS has now been completed!

Updates to Reverse DNS on IP addresses are now queued for processing upon the client submitting the PTR record via the control panel.

Currently, the queue is processed every 5 minutes in order to ensure the system works as efficiently as possible.

Posted in HyperVM, OpenVZ, Virtualisation, Xen | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment
HyperVM replacement VPS control panel update: End-user IP management + Reverse DNS now available

HyperVM replacement VPS control panel update: End-user IP management + Reverse DNS now available

More progress has been made on our XenVZ VPS control panel:

  • Fixed bug where additional IPs would not bind when VPS powered on/restarted by non-admin user
  • Add IP address management
  • Add Reverse DNS management

We fixed a bug where additional IPs would not bind when VPS were not powered on/restarted by non-admin users.

IP address management has been added for end users. This will allow the user to list their IP addresses and add IPs if their quota allows. When adding IPs, users can select from a list of upto 10 available IP addresses. Justification for IP use it also gathered from the user during this process.

Reverse DNS manager is now in place. This allows the user to list and edit Reverse DNS for their IP addresses. Please note that at this stage only the frontend + database structure is in place: we do not actually set the PTR records. We will have PTR records in sync with our Reverse DNS database very shortly.

Posted in OpenVZ, Virtualisation, Xen | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment