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Ghost Servers Creeping You Out...of Efficiencies and Costs? Face Your Fears with Intelligent Power Solutions

October 30, 2020.

ghost-blog.jpg

Get Rid of the Ghost (Servers) in Your Data Center. First, Turn the Lights On!

  • Data charting of trends:  By easily visualizing trends and occurrences, you can quickly identify problem areas, and optimize site capacity, utilization and security.
  • Power capacity trend and analysis:  Trending power capacity over time can help you forecast power consumption more accurately.
  • Power charge back reporting:  Closely control power consumption expenses with DCIM software that unifies data from various equipment into a simple report. 
  • Failover testing:  Test the failover capability of the data center without having to shut down the power chain. Select a solution that proactively provides information to confirm whether failover capability within any cabinet is being compromised.
  • Active power by month and device:  This feature helps data center managers quickly identify spikes, prevent potential power issues and maximize uptime. Leverage this feature with power monitoring at the server level to identify power consumption by server, which helps in the identification of under and over utilized servers for potential replacement with more efficient devices or virtual servers.
  • Searchable database and easy integration:  DCIM software provides excellent preconfigured dashboard and reporting tools, but access to the data that DCIM collects and stores is also important to create more advanced reporting or for other system integration. Additional insights are possible when combining data from the facility (DCIM) with data from the network and servers or from other asset management tools.
  • Expandable with advanced features:  Your basic DCIM software should provide power monitoring and management, environmental monitoring and access control by capturing data at the cabinet level. It should automate measurement, capture and store data, monitor and alarm thresholds, trend power and environmental conditions, simplify administration of user access rights, and log each access attempt. It should also be able to expand to provide more robust asset management, power chain and connectivity mapping and change and workflow management.

Arm Yourself with Ghostbusting Tools and Equipment. Consider Intelligent Power Distribution Units (PDUs).

  • Phase-balance outlets on three-phase models that simplifies equal loading across all phases
  • Integrated environmental sensors that provide notification on hot spots within cabinets
  • Field-replaceable controller for easy serviceability and upgradeability while maintaining power to critical loads
  • Bistable latching relays for reduced energy consumption and increased service reliability on Switched PDU models

Don't Be Afraid of No Ghosts! 

The best way to install Ghost on your server

How to upgrade your ghost blog to the latest version without breaking anything - part 2.

In part one of this series of articles, we exported everything from our existing Ghost installation and (optionally) applied various fixes to that exported data. This time we're going to get everything installed by running a single command which will download and execute a script I've written to do just that. There's also a fairly lengthy explanation of what's going on behind the scenes, but you probably don't need to read that bit. If you don't already have a blog up and running and you want to set one up from scratch, then you only need to read this article on its own.

  • Part 1: Overview and data export/fix
  • Part 2: The best way to install Ghost on your server [This article]
  • Part 3: Installing and upgrading using a temporary domain and final steps (sorting out redirects, migrating comments, fixing DNS entries, etc)
  • Bonus: How and why you should change your blog URLs to dateless format

Last time, I gave an overview of what I was trying to achieve and it's definitely worth reading if you're upgrading from an older version of Ghost.

The first thing you need to do is choose where you're going to host your blog. I am hosting this site on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS at UpCloud[*] (that's an affiliate link; if you use it you'll be given $25 of free credit once you top up your account with $10 and I will also receive some credit to help pay for my hosting). I have found UpCloud to be extremely good and you can run more than one site quite easily in a VM costing $5 so, if you use my link, the first seven months will only cost you $10 in total.

Another popular host is Digital Ocean [*] (I use them for some of my other projects) and that link gives you $100 in credit to use over 60 days (and then, once you've spent $25, I get some money).

I've tested this script successfully on both hosts using $5/month VMs. I also tested it on a B1S Ubuntu VM on Microsoft Azure.

Not only that, you could host it for free for a year on Azure. If you open a new Azure account, as well as getting $200 to spend in your first 30 days, you also get 12 months free for certain services, including the B1S VM I used to test this installation. Check it out at https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/free/ (I guess I should probably check to see if I can get an affiliate link there; if I do, I'll let you know).

Step 0: Create a DNS entry for your temporary migration URL

The aim here is that we're going to install Ghost using a temporary URL, get everything up and running properly (whilst our existing site is still live) and then switch over once we're happy that everything is working okay.

Since my blog runs at tomssl.com , I created an A record called blog.tomssl.com , pointing to the IP address of my UpCloud server. I didn't want to give it a totally random name as I wasn't sure if the Ghost installation might make some filename choices based on the name that would be difficult to change later.

Once you've created your new DNS record, you should check that your Ubuntu server can resolve it by running a simple ping command. e.g. ping blog.tomssl.com (remember, you need to ping your temporary domain, not the final domain).

Step 1: Install Ghost on your new server

The official guide for installing Ghost on Ubuntu is pretty good and you should certainly consider reading it. However, if you're coming from an ancient version of Ghost, or if you might be going to upgrade an older version later on (remember, you can easily host more than one site on your VM) , you'll need to make a few changes.

I've written a script to do all of this. Once you've logged in to your new server, just run the following command and follow the on-screen prompts:

Install Ghost on Ubuntu with a single command: curl -L -s https://tomssl.com/ghost-install.sh | sudo -E bash

You need the -L to tell curl to follow redirects, as that URL is a pointer to a raw file in my GitHub account. You can check that for yourself by running the curl command without -L :

Here's what happened when I ran curl -L -s https://tomssl.com/ghost-install.sh | sudo -E bash on a brand new Ubuntu server in UpCloud[*] :

After you've done that, you just need to install your blog. The final screen of the install script actually tells you precisely what to do, so let's have a look at it:

Instructions show when installation of Ghost complete

NOTE: When testing on Azure and on Digital Ocean, I found I had to set a password for the ghost user (which I didn't have to do on UpCloud). After installing Ghost with my script, I had to run this command before switching user and installing my blog (where ghostuser is the name you chose when running the script): sudo passwd ghostuser

To install a new blog, just run:

If you're upgrading from Ghost v0.x, then you need to run ghost install --v1 instead, which will install Ghost v1.26.2. Then you need to import your blog and then you can update it to the latest version. This is what I had to do, but it's not exactly onerous.

Here's an animated gif showing me installing a v1 blog.

Step 2: Importing and upgrading your old blog

This will be covered more fully in the next article in the series. In brief, now you can login to your new blog and go to Settings → Labs → Import Content and upload the json file you exported and fixed in part 1 of this series . Then you can upload the images folder that you also prepared in the last article . It will need to go in www/var/[YOURBLOG]/content/images .

Then you can upgrade it to the latest version by going to the home directory for the blog /var/www/[YOURBLOG] and running ghost update , like this:

And that should be it. If you don't want to know anything more about what you did and why, you can stop reading now.

You only need to read this next bit if you want to know what's going on behind the scenes in the install script.

How to install manually

The rest of this article tells you what to do if you want to install Ghost by hand. If you reckon that I might have written this next bit first and then decided to write a script to automate it, then well done you.  

If you've run the single command above and installed Ghost and you really don't care about what it was doing, then you can stop reading. This isn't an explanation of precisely what the script is doing, either, because a lot of the stuff in the script is just me trying to make it nice to use. I might explain some of it another time if anybody's interested.

Here is the stuff the script is doing behind the scenes.

Create a new user and assign their rights

I've included the three commands and all the output (including the fact that your prompt is going to change).

The procedure is, simply:

adduser ghostuser , which creates a user called ghostuser. Give the user a strong password, but you don't need to put anything sensible for the user information.

usermod -aG sudo ghostuser , which adds the user to the sudoers group (i.e. gives them admin rights).

su - ghostuser , which starts a login shell as ghostuser ( su means substitute user ).

Here's the output. Notice how the prompt has changed at the end (and remember that the root user has # as a prompt, whereas other users have $ ).

We can do the rest of the installation as the newly-created ghostuser . You'll know this as the subsequent bash commands will start start with $ prompts.

Update packages

Install nginx.

After installing NGINX, you should install and configure ufw if you haven't done so already. Here are the commands you'll need (don't forget to allow SSH connections, otherwise you'll be kicked out of your server and you won't be able to get back in; please don't ask me how I know this).

Now check the status of your firewall, like this:

If everything is installed, but not enabled, you might see this:

Whereupon you can check to see which rules you've got in place, like this:

Before enabling the firewall by running sudo ufw enable as before.

Install MySQL

Next we need to install MySQL and set a root password (so that we can use it with the Ghost-CLI).

If you ever forget your MySQL password, it can be really tricky to reset it. I should probably write a short article about that and link it here.

Install Node.js

The version of Node.js you're going to install depends on the version of your blog you're going to install initially. Basically, if you're upgrading from an earlier version than v1.0, you'll need to install Node.js 10. The instructions tell you to install Node.js v12, but that won't allow you to upgrade an older blog.

Install Ghost-CLI

Now we need to install the latest version of the Ghost-CLI.

Install Ghost

Now follow the rest of the installation guide, up as far as Install Ghost where it tells you to create a directory and then run ghost install .

It will make your life easier if you name your directory with a name based on your final url, not your temporary one. In my case, this meant that I created a directory at /var/www/tomssl . Since I had created a user called ghostuser (you are advised against calling your user ghost ), that meant I did this: sudo mkdir -p /var/www/tomssl sudo chown ghostuser:ghostuser /var/www/tomssl sudo chmod 775 /var/www/tomssl cd /var/www/tomssl

Is your old installation earlier than v1.0?

At this point, if you're running a version of ghost which is older than v1.0, you're going to have to install v1.0 first, import your blog and then upgrade it (which is a simple procedure achieved with a single command, so don't worry).

If, like me, you're upgrading from a v0.x version, you need to install ghost like this:

If it's v1.0 or newer, just run:

Import your data

Import your data. Copy your files. Set the permissions. Make sure it all looks reasonable.

Update Ghost to the latest version

It will prompt you to view a test page before migrating, but you don't really care about that as we have to do it anyway and it's only a test version until we sort it out and put it live.

Optionally update Node.js to v12

Don't do this until you've updated your blog to the latest version. After you update node, you have to force Ghost to do another update, even though the version will be the same, just in case any of the dependencies have changed.

Update your source list with the version of Node.js you want to upgrade to and then run the install command again. It will install over the top of the old version.

In this article we saw an easy way to install Ghost on a new Ubuntu server, simply by running curl -L -s https://tomssl.com/ghost-install.sh | sudo -E bash . We also (optionally) found out perhaps more than we wanted to know about what that single command needed to do behind the scenes and why.

Next time, we'll import our old blog using a temporary domain and perform the final steps before going live (sorting out redirects, migrating comments, fixing DNS entries, etc).

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Recent posts, update plex server on ubuntu automatically, bypassing cloudflare for long-running tasks without exposing your ip address, highlights of 2020. goals for 2021, fixing clock drift in wsl2 using windows terminal, how to keep powershell core up to date using windows terminal.

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Real life: The ghost in the network

When strange -- if not spooky -- network problems kept cropping up, techs went looking for the hidden culprit..

By Lee Ratzan

Computerworld |

This is the true story of a ghost server -- a phantom server that nearly brought down our network. Paranormal? Perhaps not. Simple common sense and a little low tech delivered what fancy equipment couldn't see.

Our current network evolved from massive mainframes to early Windows machines, Unix boxes, dumb terminals, NT and now thousands of smart clients and rooms of powerful dedicated servers. We monitor every facet of their operation. Yet a phantom nearly took us down.

The onset was not ominous. A network printer overran its buffer, and jobs stopped printing. We speculated that it was a hardware failure, swapped out the old printer, configured the new one, rebooted the device, and then it was business as usual.

Then it happened again on another printer. Soon a master console winked out. Just for a moment, but it was definitely gone. Users reported sporadic data header corruption. Strange incidents became more frequent with no set pattern.

A computer virus on a server? A network worm on a shared drive? Not likely. We use a multilevel security approach guarding against blended threats.

NetOps caught some of the signals. They were random but definitely originated from inside the perimeter. We had a phantom server.

TIP: Document what comes in and what goes out

Some of our very old servers had been in operation for many years. They plodded along doing the mundane maintenance tasks for which they were originally assigned. New hardware came and went. Many of the older devices could no longer be traced except by anecdotal memory.

TIP: Scan your entire IP range periodically

Most modern operating systems monitor a wide range of activity. But beware! They cannot detect what they cannot see. Very old hardware can lie below the radar. Our phantom server with no name was undetectable by normal means.

Program consoles can display their clients, but not every machine runs every service. We suddenly realized that we did not have a single, simple comprehensive method to detect everything that was out there on our network, no matter what it was.

The humble ping command came to the rescue. It detects connectivity and lets you capture IP addresses and machine names as it traverses your network.

TIP: Use an informative standardized naming convention

Cute server names may be amusing, but cute names can be problematic when trying to locate a specific item in a hurry. Encoding the location and functionality into the device name saves both time and aggravation. You should label every server with a tag bearing its name and IP address in a conspicuous location when it enters service. This technique may be low-tech, but it saves valuable time when trying to find a box amongst its colleagues.

TIP: Read your logs

A log file can be quite informative. If the data content is overwhelming, then export it to a spreadsheet or database and view it in sorted order. Old machines pressed into service a long time ago probably have nonstandard names.

A ping, a log file and a sort revealed our phantom server. The network segment suggested its approximate location in the building. Systems people didn't remember the precise location, but lab people remembered some equipment being moved, and with their help we finally found it.

It was sequestered in a closet barricaded by buckets of spare parts ,and it ran a dialect of SCO Unix that was several operating system versions behind. No one knew the device was there. It had been moved when a former manager renovated the UPS, and he retired before taking it out of service. Staff from that time were long since gone.

The device was a clinical lab server monitoring communication with data acquisition equipment. It ran silently performing its routine task and periodically issued a LAM (Look-At-ME!) alert when it was in distress. The LAM messages passed through the network unheeded until they collided with other server message blocks. These collisions appeared as system aberrations.

The lessons learned? Know your network. Document your resources. Scan your range.

Sometimes a little low-tech common sense will resolve an unusual ghost in your network.

Dr. Lee Ratzan is a systems analyst at a health care agency in New Jersey and teaches technology at Rutgers University. Contact him at [email protected]

  • Computers and Peripherals

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

use of ghost server

How to Self-Host and Install Ghost on Your Linux Server

Ramces Red

Ghost is an open-source content management program that allows you to easily create a blog and a newsletter service. You can choose to subscribe to the Ghost(Pro) service to use the CMS, or, if you are more technically inclined, self-host it on your server. Here we show you the latter – self-host Ghost on your Linux server.

Why You Should Self-host Ghost on Your Server

Installing ghost on your server, running ghost on a local machine, using ghost the first time, frequently asked questions.

One of the advantages of a Ghost blog is that it provides an integrated, feature-filled platform that works right out of the box. This includes the ability to track analytics, monetize posts, and create automatic newsletters for your subscribers.

A screenshot of the Ghost dashboard.

Installing Ghost on your server allows you to be a publisher without relying on a third party to manage your data. This can be helpful if you are a journalist who is putting out critical articles about controversial topics.

Lastly, Ghost is easy to deploy and maintain, even for non-technical users. Unlike traditional CMS platforms, Ghost provides an all-in-one solution that you can “set and forget” on your hosting machine.

Good to know: Learn how to host a web archive on Linux using Archivebox .

Assumption : Before we start, we assume that you already have a Linux server available and a domain name to host your Ghost installation. If you need to rent a Linux server, we recommend DigitalOcean or Linode .

Since we will be using Docker, we will need to install Docker on the server first.

1. Install the Docker project’s repository public key:

2. Create a new repository file in your machine’s apt config directory:

3. Paste the following line of code inside your new repository file:

4. Refresh your system’s repository listings and upgrade the existing binaries in your machine:

5. Install Docker and Docker Compose along with their dependencies:

6. Add your user to the Docker group

7. Set Docker service to run on startup:

8. Reboot the server.

Setting Up Gmail for SMTP Delivery

Ghost doesn’t come with its own email delivery client, so we need to hook it up to Gmail for email delivery.

1. Open a web browser and login to the Gmail account that you want to link to your Ghost instance.

2. Click the Profile Icon of your account, then click “Manage your Google Account.”

3. Select the “Security” category, then click the “2-Step Verification” option under the “How you sign in to Google” subcategory.

A screenshot highlighting the 2-Step Verification process for Gmail accounts.

4. Verify your phone number and enable 2-step Verification .

5. Go back to the “Security” category, then click the “2-Step Verification” option again. This will open a new menu screen where you can set new secondary keys for your account. Scroll to the bottom of the page, then click “App passwords.”

A screenshot showing the

6. Select “Mail” for the first dropdown list, then select “Other” on the second.

7. Write “Gmail for Ghost” on the textbox, then click “Generate.” This will open a window with a yellow textbox containing your custom application password.

A screenshot showing the generated Application Password for Ghost.

FYI: You can also use other external delivery agents to send mail through Ghost. Learn how to create your own email server using Mail-in-a-Box .

Building the Docker Container

1. Create a new directory for your Ghost installation’s dockerfiles:

2. Create a new docker-compose.yml file using your favorite text editor:

3. Paste the following block of code inside your new docker-compose.yml file and save it.

4. Create a “.env” file inside your Ghost docker directory:

5. Paste the following block of code inside your new .env file:

  • Change the value for the “GHOST_URL” variable from “#REPLACE_ME_WITH_DOMAIN_NAME#” to your complete domain name.

A terminal showing the URL for a remote Ghost instance.

  • Replace the value of the “MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD” with a sufficiently random password.
  • Change the value of both the “MAIL_USER” and “MAIL_PASSWORD” with the email address of your Gmail account and its Application Password.

Note: You need to write the Gmail application password with no spaces in between each segment.

6. Build the Ghost Docker container by running the following command:

Setting up a Reverse Proxy

With Ghost running in the backend, we need to set up a reverse proxy to be able to access Ghost publicly. In this case, we will use Nginx’s reverse proxy .

1. Install the Nginx web server package. This will serve as your reverse proxy daemon which will take connections from the internet and redirect it to Ghost.

2. Create a new Nginx site config file using your favorite text editor:

3. Paste the following block of code inside your new site config file:

4. Create a symbolic link for your Ghost site config:

5. Enable the Nginx web server service using systemctl:

Enabling SSL on Your Nginx Reverse Proxy

1. Ensure that the “core” snap package is present in your machine:

2. Install the certbot snap package:

3. Register your certbot installation to your email address by running the following command:

4. Request a new SSL certificate for your Ghost blog:

5. Test whether your new Ghost instance is accessible through SSL by opening a web browser and loading your domain name.

A screenshot showing a working Ghost instance from a remote server.

If you don’t have a server and want to install Ghost on your local machine, you can too. In addition, you can make use of Tailscale to access it everywhere on your browser.

1. Install the Tailscale VPN daemon in your machine and link it to your Tailscale account. Go to your Tailscale Administrator Console and click the “DNS” tab on the console’s top bar.

A screenshot highlighting the DNS tab on the Tailscale Admin Console.

2. Click the “Rename tailnet…” button under the “Tailnet name” subcategory.

A screenshot highlighting the

3. Set your machine’s hostname to “ghost” followed by the new subdomain for your Tailscale network:

Enabling Tailscale Funnel

1. Open the Tailscale Administrator Console and click the “DNS” tab.

2. Scroll down to the bottom of the page then click “Enable HTTPS…”

A screenshot showing the HTTPS option for Tailscale hosts.

3. Scroll back up to the top of the page, then click the “Access control” tab.

A screenshot highlighting the

4. Click the “Add Funnel to policy” button.

A screenshot highlighting the

5. Run the following command to create a reverse proxy between Tailscale and your local Docker container:

6. Enable the Tailscale funnel for your reverse proxy by running the following command:

7. Test whether your new Ghost instance is accessible through your Tailscale funnel by opening a web browser and loading your Tailscale address.

A screenshot showing a working Ghost installation over Tailscale.

1. Open a web browser and navigate to your Ghost installation URL followed by the subdirectory “/ghost.”

A screenshot of a web browser's address bar showing the correct URL for the Ghost setup page.

2. Click the first field and provide a name for your new Ghost blog. Fill in the rest of the fields with details about your admin user, then click “Create account & start publishing.”

A screenshot showing the

Creating Your First Post in Ghost

1. Click the “Write your first post” button on the Ghost onboarding page.

A screenshot showing the first steps onboarding page for Ghost.

2. This will bring up a plain text editor where you can write a simple text post. Click “Publish” once you are done to create a new test post.

3. Check your Ghost front page to see if the new post went through.

Adding a New User to Ghost

1. Go back to your Ghost Administrator Console, then click “Members” on the page’s left sidebar.

2. Click the “New Member” button on the page’s upper right corner.

A screenshot showing the list of members on the current Ghost instance.

3. Fill in the details of your new member, then click “Save” to add them on the blog’s newsletter feed.

Good to know: Learn how to deploy and host your own Twitter clone using Pleroma .

Does Tailscale Funnel have any restrictions?

Yes. By default, you can only expose traffic on Tailscale through three ports: 443, 8443 and 10000 and only using TCP. This means that you will not be able to expose any real-time online service such as VoIP and game servers.

Can I personalize the Tailscale domain name?

No. This is because each Tailscale DNS address is tailored for your specific account. This allows the service to identify your machines from others inside the greater Tailscale network.

Will my Ghost blog stop running when my computer is offline?

Yes. One of the downsides of hosting on your own hardware is that your website’s uptime depends on the uptime of your machine. This means that whenever your host machine goes down, so does your Ghost blog.

Image credit: WORKING OFFICE COMMUNICATION PEOPLE USING COMPUTER BLOG CONCEPT and traditional halloween ghost cookie by 123RF.

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Ramces Red

Ramces is a technology writer that lived with computers all his life. A prolific reader and a student of Anthropology, he is an eccentric character that writes articles about Linux and anything *nix.

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'Ghost servers' can haunt your bottom line

Idle or forgotten pieces of equipment are dead when it comes to improving the bottom line, but very much alive when it comes to eating up it budgets.

By Darrell Dunn

Computerworld |

The problem may not rival the movies "Poltergeist" or "The Amityville Horror" for sheer terror, but CIOs and datacenter managers are still well advised to deal decisively with so-called ghost servers. Like celluloid zombies, these forgotten pieces of equipment are dead when it comes to improving the bottom line, but they are very much alive when it comes to eating up IT budgets.

The unproductive -- and usually undocumented -- servers take up valuable real estate, consume increasingly expensive electricity, and in some cases, absorb ongoing maintenance and lease payments.

"You can find ghost servers in a lot of enterprises," says John Phelps, an analyst at Gartner. "And the larger and more diverse the company, the harder it can be to have a single group or technology platform that provides control over all corporate assets."

Sun Microsystems, through case studies of two large corporate datacenter operations and anecdotal analysis of efforts with many customers, believes that 8 to 10 percent of all servers in large corporations have no identifiable function. In the two datacenter studies, 150 ghost servers were found in an installation of 1,800 servers, and 354 ghost servers were found in an installation of 3,500 servers.

One of the companies studied was Sun itself. Sun used system performance tools to monitor CPU utilization and I/O and network traffic, collecting the data over the course of a month, and sorted out machines with zero utilization.

Sun removed the questionable servers from operation for 90 days to determine any impact. At the end of the period, it found that 60 percent of the servers could be permanently decommissioned, says Mark Monroe, director of sustainable computing at Sun. The company now conducts quarterly reviews of utilization rates.

"It's hard to get people to admit they have unused infrastructure," Monroe says. "It's expensive, wasteful, and having a CIO admit he's got millions of dollars of idle assets lying around could get a guy fired. I think we can remove some of the stigma by talking about the facts, and having people realize it's worse just to leave them lying around."

Corporations need to admit "they are like everyone else" and try to reduce the number of idle machines to 3 percent or less, "which is three times better than the industry average," he says. The cost of running a server for three years exceeds its original acquisition cost, so keeping the ghost servers around has an easily measured effect in energy savings. Identifying and eliminating wasted resources are key components of green or "eco-computing," Monroe says.

The good news: Advances in asset management and configuration software can help businesses find and shut down these useless machines. And more companies are being proactive when it comes to adopting policies in this area. A survey of more than 300 businesses in the United States and Europe conducted by Gartner in 2006 found that 74 percent of respondents said they have a formal software and hardware asset management program.

More advanced autodiscovery capabilities and more efficient, effective, and accurate search engines mean "there has recently been more focus on discovering the lost and unidentified equipment, especially in industries where security concerns are growing," says Richard Ptak, analyst at Ptak, Noel & Associates. "Every major company I've ever dealt with has had the problem to some level."

When BlueCross BlueShield of Florida (BCBSF), which provides insurance services for nearly 9 million people, decided to build a new datacenter in 2005, the company also felt it was time to get a comprehensive look at its asset inventory, says Paul Stallings, senior manager for provisioning services. In addition to the new and existing datacenters, BCBSF also has about 10 smaller server rooms in various locations around the state.

The server room equipment was being managed by different departments within the insurance provider, and each had a different way of tracking and documenting assets, Stallings says. Using Aperture Technologies' VISTA tool beginning in late 2005, BCBSF began documenting its IT resources under a single umbrella.

"There were definitely undocumented assets," Stallings says. "When you have seven or eight teams managing the hardware, each using a different process, there was really no way to get a systemwide understanding of what we had in our various datacenters."

By getting a complete view of its asset inventory, BCBSF has been able to create a formal decommissioning process. When a system needs to be retired, a workflow ticket is automatically generated. The IT department can then start to reclaim floor space, remove cabling, and place old servers in pool of equipment that can be either redeployed or completely removed from the environment.

As one of largest IT services providers in the world, Fujitsu Services operates seven Fujitsu-owned datacenters in the United Kingdom with more than 200,000 square feet of floor space, and manages 11 customer-owned facilities.

As a result of its outsourcing business, the company has acquired datacenter facilities and IT equipment from a variety of sources, and much of the equipment came with no asset or configuration management process in place, says Mark Scott, global datacenter delivery manager at Fujitsu Services.

The company had previously used a configuration cataloging system that recorded only the location of equipment on the floor, but it did not provide any insight into specific use of the equipment.

In attempt to get a comprehensive inventory and create an asset management strategy that would allow it to maximize existing datacenter space and continue to grow, Fujitsu Services began working with Aperture to deploy its VISTA datacenter resource management system in 2005, and the company began to see a variety of issues that were wasting resources.

"We found we had IT equipment on the floor that people within the company had thought we had gotten rid of years ago," he says. "We looked deeper and found out we were also still paying lease and maintenance on the equipment. We even found that we were paying lease and maintenance on equipment that been removed from our datacenters."

By extending the asset management systems across its entire U.K.-based datacenter operation, Fujitsu Services has reduced its operational costs and then passed the savings on to customers, Scott says.

Since customers are generally charged for the floor space they use within the datacenters, the removal of unproductive equipment has allowed Fujitsu Services to reduce specific hosting charges for those customers. So, for example, if Fujitsu can reduce the footprint by 10 percent, Scott says that 10 percent savings can be passed along to the customer. The company is also developing the ability to invoice for the actual power required by individual customer installations, versus the current practice of invoicing for power based on the floor space used by the servers.

"We also found lots of badly installed equipment," Scott says. The poor installation processes had led to what he characterized as vulnerabilities that meant his company had difficulties meeting customer uptime requirements. "The result was really that we had actually built vulnerabilities into the operation. It was a real wake-up call. We now have a complete vulnerability check and can control installations from the beginning to end."

Alticor, the parent company for such businesses as Amway, Quixtar, and Access Business Group, handles IT demands for affiliates all over the world, says Randy Gast, supervisor of server technology at Alticor. The company uses a combination of management tools to keep track of its software and hardware assets, including BMC Software's Remedy service management and Hewlett-Packard's Systems Insight Manager.

Using the software, Alticor early last year found that more than 200 servers, or about a third of its 650 x86 processor-based servers, were running at utilization rates of 10 percent or less, Gast says. Even scarier, these underused servers had accumulated without IT knowledge, over the previous three years as new equipment was bought to handle individual applications or affiliate requirements.

Working with virtualization specialist VMware, Alticor has embarked on an effort to consolidate the unproductive system and increase overall utilization rates to between 60 and 70 percent, Gast says. To date, Alticor has consolidated 150 of the unproductive servers onto seven servers using virtualization software.

Alticor has donated the majority of the servers it has taken out of operation during the consolidation effort to charitable organizations. Servers that were too old to be used by groups such as local schools and churches have been sold for scrap.

"Using Remedy, we can track the lease agreements for our hardware, when they start and expire, and use it to have automatic triggers that let us know we need to consider replacing certain equipment," Gast says.

That said, there is generally a great deal of inefficiency regarding how customers get rid of old gear. "A lot of businesses don't have a disposition strategy, primarily because it's easier to buy" new servers than dispose of the old ones, says Daniel Ransdell, general manager of IBM's Global Asset Recovery Solutions business unit. "Even if you've unplugged the equipment and stuck it in some closet or corner, the business is losing the opportunity to recoup value. Servers aren't like fine wine. They don't get better with age."

Energy cost is the major issue that is changing attitudes inside corporations. In August, the Environmental Protection Agency published a report that documented datacenter power usage. According to the report, datacenters in the United States consumed about 60 billion kilowatt-hours in 2006, or about 1.5 percent of total electricity consumption in the country.

The EPA points out that datacenter energy use has doubled in the past five years, and is expected to double again in the next five years to an annual cost of about $7.4 billion. The EPA says existing technologies and strategies could reduce typical sever energy use by 25 percent, and even greater savings are possible using more advanced technologies.

Rockwell Bonecutter, head of datacenter technology and operations at Accenture, believes that a large percentage of the ghost server problem was alleviated when most businesses engaged in extensive Y2K efforts within their infrastructure. In the intervening years, however, there has been a significant growth of systems that operate at 5 percent utilization or less, often because of poor communication and asset management within the company.

"When it comes to servers that nobody knows about that are sitting for years and nobody has touched, there are probably examples in every IT environment, but it's obviously impossible to measure what you don't know exists," Bonecutter says. "What we have found is that it is not unusual to find that 40 percent of all servers on a floor could be consolidated and virtualized out of the environment."

Consolidation through virtualization has also led to the new phenomena of virtual ghost servers. The ease and quickness with which virtual servers can be created can often leave servers cluttered with numerous poorly documented virtual machines created for short-term or abandoned projects.

With tools allowing businesses to get a more holistic view of their assets and policies in place to guide a formal decommissioning process, businesses can now reduce the risk and associated costs of ghost servers, without the need to call on the aid of another great Hollywood institution: Ghostbusters.

Computerworld is an InfoWorld affiliate.

This story, "'Ghost servers' can haunt your bottom line" was originally published by Computerworld .

Next read this:

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Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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A ghost server, also known as a zombie server , is a server that is physically running but is not performing any useful function. Up to 30% of servers in a data center may be ghost servers.

Common Causes of Ghost Servers

  • Deploying hardware at such a high rate that decommissioning older servers is a lower priority.
  • Building out additional capacity in case it is needed for a new service.
  • Migrating to the cloud but leaving old servers plugged in.
  • Not having data on which servers are not being used or not knowing how to handle the problem.

How to Identify Ghost Servers

Ghost servers consume space, power, cooling , and cabling resources without providing any benefit. As such, they must be identified and eliminated to achieve optimal data center efficiency. And with the right tools, it’s easy.

By deploying outlet-metered intelligent rack PDUs and Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software , you can quickly spot ghost servers and decommission them to free up valuable cabinet space that would be better utilized by more useful equipment.

In an easy-to-understand dashboard chart, you can see the power load of all your servers. This provides an at-a-glance view of which servers have stopped drawing power and can be eliminated or redeployed elsewhere.

Benefits of Decommissioning Ghost Servers

  • Increased capacity. Eliminating ghost servers frees up rack space, power, cooling, and network connectivity that can be deployed elsewhere.
  • Reduced energy costs. Ghost servers needlessly waste energy. Getting rid of them lowers energy consumption .
  • Higher efficiency. By decommissioning ghost servers, you will be able to provide the same services and applications with less resources.

Want to see how Sunbird’s world-leading DCIM software makes it easy for you to identify ghost servers?  Get your free test drive now!

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Identifying ghost servers in data center.

AKCP 12.2022 Blog

Ghost Servers

Ghost servers are a pervasive problem in data centers. They can consume valuable resources and cause security risks. A ghost server is a server that is in the data center but no longer in use. Some may not even be registered in the data center management software. They are often forgotten about or left behind after being decommissioned. They can take up valuable space and resources without providing any value. 

The accumulation of ghost servers in a data center can have consequences to the operations bottom line. They consume power, cooling, and other resources without providing any value. In turn, they drive up operating costs and reduce the efficiency of the data center. Additionally, ghost servers can create security risks if they are not managed. They may still be connected to the network and be accessed by unauthorized individuals. 

In this article, we will discuss what ghost servers are, why they are a problem, and how to identify and prevent them in your data center. Addressing the issue of ghost servers can help ensure that your facility is running efficiently. 

We will look at various methods for detecting ghost servers. This includes checking the physical inventory and using network scanning tools. As well as strategies for decommissioning unused servers to prevent them from becoming ghost servers. Following these guidelines can help keep your data center free of ghost servers. 

The problem with ghost servers

If you have a data center with 2,500 servers, 10% of those are likely ghost servers. These ghost servers can be costly, consume energy, and require space, cooling, cabling, and maintenance. For example, if you have 250 ghost servers that each consume 175 watts at idle, they could cost you $64,000 in energy bills for a year. Identifying and eliminating ghost servers can help reduce energy consumption. As well as improve efficiency in your data center. 

Ghost servers are caused by a variety of reasons, including the following.

  • Deployment of new hardware can cause older servers to be left behind without being properly decommissioned. This can result in the older servers remaining idle and still using power. 
  • When workloads are moved to the cloud, older servers may be left behind and continue to use power. These servers may be forgotten about or considered a low priority, resulting in them remaining idle.
  • Excess capacity may be deployed in anticipation of the need to quickly roll out a new service. This can result in idle servers being powered on and ready but never actually being used.
  • Lack of tools and information can make it difficult to identify potential ghost servers. This can result in ghost servers remaining unnoticed and continuing to use resources. 

Identifying ghost servers in your data center

Here are four steps to identify ghost servers in your data center: 

  • Shine a light on the ghosts. Use an energy management solution to collect and monitor power and temperature data throughout the data center. This will provide visibility into the activity levels and help identify ghost servers.
  • Match assets to demand. Use the collected data to better understand workloads and service levels in the data center. This can help identify servers that can be powered down during periods of lower activity. As well as adjust workloads to offload servers operating close to their maximums.
  • Adjust the ambient temperature. Increasing the ambient temperature in the data center can reduce demand on the cooling systems and result in energy savings. Yet, this decision should be based on the specific equipment in the data center. As well as its ability to operate at higher temperatures.
  • Automate threshold management. Use an energy management solution to monitor and adjust temperature and energy thresholds. This will help you avoid conditions that could lead to outages or other issues. It helps ensure that the data center operates optimally without risking equipment or data.

Ghost servers, also known as zombie servers, are servers that are deployed in data centers but are not being used for any useful function. These idle servers waste valuable space, energy, and money. Using intelligent rack PDUs and DCIM software allows operators to identify and remove ghost servers. This results in cost savings and more efficient use of resources. DCIM software also allows managers to track the impact of removing ghost servers in real-time. As well as make further improvements to their data centers. 

Preventing ghost servers in your data center

Implementing an effective asset management system can help monitor server usage and workloads. Allowing data center managers to identify potential ghost servers and take action to prevent them. Shift workloads to other servers, repurpose underutilized servers or decommission them altogether. 

Monitoring and analyzing energy usage and temperature data can also help identify ghost servers. It prevents the proliferation of this problem in your facility. By implementing a comprehensive energy management solution, data center managers can gain visibility into the power and thermal patterns. Allowing them to identify ghost servers and take action to prevent them.

Energy management solutions have been widely used in data centers to reduce energy waste by up to 40%. Here are some data centers that prove eliminating ghost servers are crucial for your facility.

  • EMC tested a new technology to help manage the power used by their Atmos cloud storage. This technology allows them to monitor how many servers they can fit in each rack and how much energy they use. This technology also helps EMC save energy by reducing the amount of power used by servers when they are not being used. EMC was able to reduce the amount of power used by these idle servers from 50% to 15%. 
  • Korea Telecom did a test for a new energy management solution with the goal of maximizing the number of servers in its data center. The test showed that power consumption could be reduced by 15% with the new conservation policies. Data center workers found servers that were not being used very much. By turning them into lower-power mode, they were able to save $2,000 per year per rack. 
  • BMW found that using virtualization and energy management technologies together can help save energy. Tests showed that they could save about 18% in power. 

Eliminate ghost servers with AKCP

AKCP monitoring solution is here to help you ghost servers in your facility. Data center managers can collect and monitor real-time server inlet temperatures and power consumption data. This information can be used to identify ghost servers. As well as accurately define the optimal number of computing and storage servers. 

Once ghost servers have been identified, the AKCP monitoring solution can be used to automatically power down. As well as repurpose the servers during periods of lower activity. This can help reduce energy consumption and improve efficiency in the data center. 

AKCP monitoring solution can monitor airflow throughout the data center and at computer-area air handlers. This can help identify hotspots and optimize rack densities for more energy-efficient cooling. 

AKCP monitoring solutions can provide data center managers with the necessary visibility and tools to identify and eliminate ghost servers. Improving efficiency and reducing energy consumption in the data center. Visit our website at akcp.com to learn more. 

Photo credit: https://www.akcp.com/akcp-products/akcpro-server/

  • AKCPro Server Central Monitoring Software

AKCPro Server is our world-class central monitoring and management software. Suitable for a wide range of monitoring applications. Free to use for all AKCP devices. Monitor your infrastructure over a wide geographic area, whether a single building or a remote site. Integrate third-party devices with Modbus, SNMP, and ONVIF-compatible IP cameras. 

AKCPro Server 3D Maps

AKCPro Server 3D Heatmaps with Wireless Tunnel thermal map sensors

In conclusion, ghost servers consume energy and resources without providing useful functions. They are common in all data center facilities. The presence of ghost servers can be costly. They waste energy and money, reducing space and cooling capacity. Data center managers can use outlet-metered intelligent rack PDUs and DCIM software to collect and analyze power consumption data. As well as locate ghost servers and create change management requests to decommission them. Using these tools, data center managers can improve efficiency and reduce energy waste in their data centers. 

https://www.sunbirddcim.com/blog/how-find-ghost-servers-haunting-your-data-center?utm_campaign=Partner-Newsletter-10-2022&utm_medium=email&_hsmi=235947534&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8UiqmGdb0zIN2cguAY8872pryOGP0ZXT9v-GbIQ2lWGU_1RjbkqbbZqthlhuoYPuwLeum-UWmgkWrPrJH3Y1yE-m6JQE0O4RQtoEu3iTPiDvUi0Kk&utm_content=235947534&utm_source=hs_email

https://www.missioncriticalmagazine.com/articles/86081-ghost-servers-and-wasted-data-center-power-cooling

https://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2012/10/11/unlock-your-capacity-by-unplugging-your-ghost-servers

Industry Articles and News

Homepage blog 16.

Optimizing Data Center Cooling

Optimizing Data Center Cooling

Proper cooling in a data center environment has always been a critical system component. Computer systems generate heat, and this heat must be removed.

Find out more

Homepage Blog 14

Why Energy Is A Problem For Data Center Growth

Why Energy Is A Problem For Data Center Growth

USA Data Centers consume 90 billion Kwh of electricity a year. Globally, 3% of total energy is from Data Centers.

Homepage Blog 1

 Cold Storage Monitoring

Battery Temperature Monitoring

Why is monitoring battery temperature important? What effect does it have on performance and lifespan of the battery?

Case Study: AKCP Monitors Naivas Cold Storage

Case Study: AKCP Monitors Naivas Cold Storage

Naivas, Kenya's largest supermarket and online grocery delivery service, selected AKCP Wireless LoRa™ based monitoring system for quality control temperature and humidity monitoring of their cold storage environment. Installed at the Naivas Beef Butchery, cold storage and dispatch areas the L-DCIM provided centralized monitoring, graphing and alerting. LBTH, LoRa™ Battery-powered dual temperature and humidity sensors were deployed in key areas. Easy installation with no communication cables or power required.

use of ghost server

How hard to self-host?

I’ve created a droplet on Digital Ocean for using ghost. As many others, I’ve suffered some issues with memory and fixed it with swap memory. I hope that will help. Too early to tell.

Anyways, my question are for those who self host in some way. First, some context;

I have used WordPress for years, both self hosted on a gazillion web hosts and most lately on my own VPS with a few panel software. It went well, until it did not. The server has crashed multiple times, and that led me to going back to WP.com with my blogs. However, that service is not as good as it once was. It’s slower and the free plan does not offer as much as before.

That is why I now host a Ghost blog, and merged all of my blogs onto one site, and I’m using the cheapest plan on DigitalOcean to do so. Besides the memory issues, it’s pretty good.

My question to all of you who self host is: how often do you have servers or droplets crash when you self-host your Ghost blog(s)? Never, once a month, once in a blue moon, or three times per week? You get the gist. The purpose of my self host is to only host Ghost on it, and only stuff that relates to the Ghost install. No other stuff is meant to be there, like a WP install, or other free stuff.

I do not want to pay for managed hosting with my Ghost blog because it’s so darn expensive. When I used to run my WP blogs on web hosts, I could get away with as little as $3 per month, so why pay $9 or more and get so little from it? Or pay $25 or more when I can self-host for like $5! Self-hosting it is, but I would hate to have my server crash on me constantly.

I have nothing against updating stuff myself, connecting over SSH and handle a VPS, but the crashes worry me, if they’re gonna happen. Any advice is helpful.

Btw, I’m a junior developer, so I know code, just not an expert at VPS’s, Linux servers etc, but I’m willing to learn.

I self host Ghost, and used to self host WordPress sites, too.

Nowadays: never.

Since moving to Hetzner from Linode I have had little unplanned downtime, and none since tuning MySQL. I found DO and Linode entry plans unsuitable for Ghost (and WP) with the server falling over when constrained by either memory or CPU.

I use Ubuntu 20.04, and have setup automatic updates for the system, and usually update Ghost via SSH every few weeks unless there’s a security announcement.

Automatic updates send me a notification email, and I monitor this to see if a restart is needed. I then login to the server, do any outstanding updates, and schedule a restart. I don’t run swap.

If cost is important, check out Hetzner. Snapshots and backups are included in all packages, and you only pay for snapshot storage, which for me is currently €0.08 per month. Like for like, Hetzner offers more for the same cost compared to Linode and DO. A cloud server starts from around €4.00 pcm.

Here’s a comparison that I find helpful:

I find it helpful because it lays out all the considerations you should have when making this decision.

:sweat_smile:

I self host, and I have to say that Digital Ocean it’s not optimized for Ghost AT ALL. I needed to spend several days to setup the droplet to avoid it crashing. First of all, you should get a more expensive droplet, with at least 2 or 3 GBs of RAMs, otherwise your droplet will crash even with ZERO visitors. You can solve this even with the basic 1GB Ram Droplet, but you will have to do your research and testing, by following guides like this one: How To Add Swap Space on Ubuntu 20.04 | DigitalOcean

After I followed the previous guide and also this one Fixing Ghost Memory Spikes & Server Crashes I never had any other problem. Also I strongly suggest you to put your droplet on Cloudflare (even the free one it’s good) it makes everything much more lightweight and fast.

Thank you for that information. I checked out Hetzner a little yesterday, and they certainly have good prices. The setup you have seems like what I’m in need of. I just would like to SSH every once in a while for an update to ghost, and basically never think about that I’m hosting on a VPS. Thanks again!

:joy:

Yes, I have fixed swap memory thing, I wrote that in my original post. I have no idea if this will help, because I’ll most likely find a cheap VPS somewhere and try installing ghost on that. If I have to pay for DO droplet with 2GB memory, It will cost me at least $10 and then it sort of loses it’s purpose of having a droplet on DO.

Well, with Ghost the droplets on DO still make sense because it’s one of the few VMs with some kind of “support” for Ghost. I wouldn’t suggest you other stuff to self-host Ghost. It might a bit expensive, but it works very well and there is the possibility to add also many website in the same droplet…

There’s nothing unique with DO necessary to host Ghost albeit they do have a prebuilt image. There are many other service providers that fully support hosting Ghost.

The requirements are documented here:

And build instructions here:

Thank you @block and @mjw for the info. I’ve decided to try out a VPS at Hetzner. Yesterday I tried to install Ghost, but it fails after downloading the latest version and then I’ve gotten the famous “ghost directory not recognized” message. I will try again today, because I don’t know what I’ve missed that has made this happen. I hope it will work.

Either way, the current DO installation seems to work fine after the swap thing, so that’s good. I don’t think my blog will have a huge following. None of my readers have so far signed up to become members, even for free so we’ll see how it goes. I’m just happy to be able to write blog posts and having people reading them.

Thanks again for your help and input.

On that topic, I currently self host with 1-click droplet but I would like to ask another question : how hard is it to self host with Docker in comparison with 1-click droplets ? What are the pro and con of Docker when hosting various Ghost blogs ?

Well, I’m already having an issue with Docker. I posted my topic issue this morning:

Have you tried 1 click Droplet before to compare ?

No. I’m keeping it as cheap as possible by hosting it on one of my servers on my home LAN. True (more challenging) Self-Hosting.

on what machine do you host Docker ?

I host 3 Ghost blogs and Matomo on the smallest Linode size… or at least I did. It started freezing and crashing nearly daily once I added the third blog. Upgrading to the next size up fixed that.

I use a mixture of AlmaLinux 8 and 9 on my LAN. For my Ghost machine, I deployed my first version of 9. The machines on my LAN, as far as hardware, is a mixture of physical and virtual machines, and a couple of Raspberry Pis.

I wanted to come to this topic to add another important point for the self hosting people out there. Using cloudflare is very important if you are at the low tiers on Digital Ocean, even if you have swap memory currently setup. But unfortunately Cloudflare need some time to be understood because it has many settings to customize. Especially the settings for the Cloudflare cache everything helped me to get a 100/100 score on Gt Metrix quite easily. Here’s the tutorial for wordpress sites, which works also for ghost (just change /wp-admin* with /ghost* in the exclusion) Cloudflare Cache Everything Improves Wordpress TTFB By 90%

Do you think proxying A records for both root domain and www would help ? I am currently trying to set it up but modifying my Nginx .conf does not work.

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Ghost Servers

by Quikteks Blog | Jan 18, 2022 | Quikteks Blog , Security | 0 comments

Ghost Sheets

Around the world, every culture has some kind of belief in spirits who live on after death, and everyone has heard a ghost story or two. Of course, not everyone believes they exist, though many swear that they’ve seen them personally. In the world of computer technology, ghosts definitely exist. The good news is that these are ghost servers, not the spirits of the people who used them. The bad news is that they can be expensive and a security problem.

Businesses are increasingly moving their servers to the cloud, and taking advantage of the cost savings and convenience that cloud computing offers. When they migrate, they may leave behind the carcases of the old servers: the ghost servers. These are often allowed to keep running in the background. It may seem like a good idea but under-utilized servers can cost you big, in several ways.

Here’s one IT horror story to illustrate the point. Back in 2006, someone hacked into the Ohio University database that stored the personal details of hundreds of thousands of alumni, including nearly 140,000 Social Security numbers. The security lapse happened because nobody knew the server was still running, so no security updates were applied to it. How the university IT staff didn’t know the server was still active is another story…

Finding ghosts

To exorcise the ghosts from your network you have to find them. It’s a good idea for any company to have regular tech audits of all hardware and software, so you know what you’ve got, where it is and who is using it and when. Taking a tech inventory can seem like a time-consuming exercise but it’s absolutely worth it. If you’re not sure what’s where and what’s doing what, we can provide you with a network assessment that will generate a map of your entire network.

There are all sorts of reasons why companies lose track of the details about their network. Sometimes there aren’t the funds for in-house IT staff or they don’t have the resources to keep on top of everything. This is a problem that can be solved by outsourcing. The outsourced IT services provided by Quikteks can reduce your IT expenses. This will allow you to direct those financial resources to other, money-generating areas of your operations, such as marketing and sales.

Neutralizing the ghosts

If you have ghost servers then you must be sure that they are not accessible to unauthorized persons. If you are going to implement any measures, consider virtualizing the server, which will be cost-effective and time-saving. Quikteks can help with this, and host your data. When we do this we oversee the system for you, so you won’t be troubled by any more hauntings.

You might decide that, with outsourced hosting and management, that your server is redundant. The ghost must go. It’s time to cut off its power supply, wipe any data from the drives and to hold a the funeral, after which it will not return to spook you. When it’s unplugged and wiped clean, it can rest in peace, without disturbing the living.

Do you need help to lay your ghost servers to rest? Quikteks can be there to lower the coffin into its grave. With your data hosted by us, and monitoring of your system outsourced to be managed by our IT experts, you can be confident that there are no spectres still lurking unseen. Who ya gonna call? Quikteks are your IT ghostbusters. Call us on (973) 882-4644 today.

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Comparison of Ghost (Pro) vs. Ghost Self-Hosted which is the best?

image

Enamul Haque 10 minutes read

image

On this page

Choosing the right platform to host your website is an important part of building a successful online presence. When it comes to content management systems (CMS), Ghost has emerged as a favored choice among bloggers, writers, and publishers for its elegant simplicity and focus on content creation. However, within the Ghost ecosystem, you're presented with a crucial choice: Ghost Pro or Ghost Self-Hosted.

In this blog post, I will explain the Ghost hosting comparison , exploring the features, advantages, and considerations of both options. By the end, you'll have a clear understanding of which hosting solution aligns best with your website's goals and aspirations. Let's navigate the   Ghost Pro vs. Ghost Self-Hosted debate and empower you to make the right choice for your online presence.

So, let’s begin the journey to compare Ghost Pro-hosted vs. Ghost Self-Hosted, and find the perfect fit for your website.

Overview of content, In this blog you will learn:

  • What is Ghost and Hosting.
  • Self-Hosting.
  • Managed Hosting.

2. Difference Between Ghost(Pro) vs. Ghost Self-Hosted.

3. What is Ghost Self-Hosted.

  • Benefits of using Ghost Self-Hosting Service.
  • Drawbacks of using Ghost Self-Hosting Service.

4. What is Ghost (Pro).

  • Benefits of using Ghost Pro Hosting Service.
  • Drawbacks of using Ghost Pro Hosting  Service.

5. Pricing of Ghost Pro and Self-Hosting Service.

  • Ghost Pro Pricing Table.
  • Self-Hosting Pricing Table.

6. Which is the right hosting service for you?

7. Conclusions.

8. Frequently Ask Questions and Answer.

What is Ghost and Hosting?

Before we start the comparison, we need to know about Ghost and Hosting.

  • Ghost: Ghost is a free and open-source blogging platform that is known for its simplicity, performance, and security. It is a popular choice for bloggers, journalists, and small businesses.
  • Hosting: Hosting is the process of storing and delivering a website's files to users. There are many different types of hosting, including shared hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated hosting.

When you host a Ghost website, you are essentially storing the files that make up your website on a server. The server then delivers these files to users when they request them.

There are two main ways to host a Ghost website:

  • Self-hosting: This means that you will be responsible for finding and configuring a server, installing Ghost, and maintaining the website.
  • Managed hosting: This means that you will be using a hosting provider that will take care of all of the technical aspects of hosting your website.

Difference Between Ghost(Pro) vs. Ghost Self-Hosted

This is a comparison table for comparing Ghost(Pro) with Ghost Self-Hosting:

Ghost (Pro): Benefits and Drawbacks

use of ghost server

If you want to host your website hassle-free, then Ghost Pro is an excellent choice for you. Ghost Pro is an official managed hosting service for Ghost. It takes care of all the technical aspects and server management of hosting Ghost, so you can focus on creating content. It offers a variety of features, including a fully managed server, weekly security updates and backups, a CDN for improved performance, email delivery, and technical support.

Benefits of Ghost Pro

Here are 11 benefits of Ghost Pro:

  • Managed hosting: Ghost Pro takes care of all the technical aspects of hosting your site, including updates, backups, and security. This frees you up to focus on creating content and growing your audience.
  • Hassle-Free Setup: Ghost Pro takes care of the server setup and configuration, it’s saving time and effort.
  • Performance: Ghost Pro is optimized for performance, so your site will load quickly and reliably, even with a lot of traffic.
  • Security: Ghost Pro is built with security in mind, and it includes several features to protect your site from attacks.
  • More features: Ghost Pro includes several features that are not available in the self-hosted version, such as built-in newsletter email, membership management, regular updates, and backups.
  • Automatic Updates: Don’t worry about updates. Ghost Pro ensures that your website stays up to date with the latest features and security patches, without any manual effort.
  • CDN and Global Load Balancing: Ghost Pro uses a content delivery network (CDN) and global load balancing to ensure that your site loads quickly and reliably, even when it receives a lot of traffic.
  • Scalability: Ghost Pro can handle high traffic, so you can grow your audience without having to worry about your site crashing.
  • Ease of use: Ghost Pro is designed to be easy to use, even for beginners.
  • Customization: Ghost Pro offers a variety of themes and plugins to customize your site to your liking.
  • Dedicated support: Ghost Pro offers dedicated support 24/7, so you can get help with any problems you encounter.

Overall, Ghost Pro is a great option for anyone who wants a hassle-free way to create and manage a high-performing blog or website.

Drawbacks of Ghost Pro

Here are 4 drawbacks of Ghost Pro:

  • Cost: Ghost Pro is more expensive than self-hosted Ghost. The monthly subscription fees start at $9/month.
  • No control over the server: With Ghost Pro, you do not have control over the server that your site is hosted on. This means that you cannot make changes to the server settings or install your own software.
  • The limited number of plans: Ghost Pro only offers a few different plans, so you may not find a plan that meets your specific needs.
  • Not suitable for all businesses: Ghost Pro is not suitable for all businesses. If you need a lot of customization or control over the server, then self-hosted Ghost may be a better option.

Overall, Ghost Pro is a great option for many businesses, but it is important to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. If you are not sure whether Ghost Pro is right for you, then you should contact Ghost support for more information.

Here are some specific examples of how Ghost Pro can benefit you:

  • If you are a busy blogger who doesn't have time to manage a server, Ghost Pro can save you a lot of time and hassle.
  • If you are running a high-traffic site, Ghost Pro can ensure that your site loads quickly and reliably.
  • If you need more features, such as built-in email and membership management, Ghost Pro can provide them.
  • If you are not comfortable with the technical aspects of hosting, Ghost Pro can take care of that for you.

If you are looking for a reliable and easy-to-use platform for creating and managing a blog or website, Ghost Pro is a great option.

Ghost Self-Hosting Service: Benefits and Drawbacks

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Self-hosted means allowing you to host Ghost on your own server, giving you full control over your data, server configuration, and overall website management. It is the perfect choice for those, who are finding complete control and customization for their website. In this way, you have the freedom to manage and host your website on your own server.

Some examples of Self-Hosting services- DigitalOcean , VPSDime , DigitalPress, and A2 Hosting

To self-host Ghost, you will need to:

  • Purchase a domain name and web hosting.
  • Install Ghost on your server.
  • Configure Ghost to your liking.

Benefits of using self-hosting

Here are 5 benefits of self-hosting Ghost:

  • Cost-effectiveness: Self-hosting Ghost CMS can be a cost-effective option, especially if you have a small website or blog. You can choose a hosting provider that offers a low-cost plan.
  • Complete control: When you use self-host Ghost CMS, you have full control over the software and hardware. This means that you can choose the hosting provider, the amount of resources, and the software updates.
  • Scalability: Ghost CMS is designed to be scalable, so you can easily add more resources as your website or blog grows. This means that you can avoid the need to switch to a different hosting provider as your website grows.
  • Security: When you use self-host Ghost CMS, you can take steps to improve the security of your website or blog. This includes things like installing security patches and using strong passwords.
  • Customization: You can customize Ghost to your liking when you self-host it. This means that you can change the theme, integrations, and features of your website.

Drawbacks of using self-hosting

Here are 5 drawbacks of self-hosting Ghost:

  • Technical expertise: Self-hosting Ghost CMS requires some technical expertise. You will need to know how to install and configure the software, and you will need to be able to troubleshoot problems.
  • Time commitment: Self-hosting Ghost can be a time commitment. You will need to regularly update Ghost and its plugins or integrations, as well as monitor your website for security threats.
  • Risk: There is always some risk involved in self-hosting any website. If your server goes down, you will be responsible for getting it back up and running.
  • Cost: Self-hosting Ghost CMS can be more expensive than using a managed hosting service. This is because you will need to pay for the hosting, the software, and the domain name.
  • Backup: When you are using a self-hosting service for your ghost blog, you will keep your content backed up manually by yourself.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to self-host Ghost is up to you. If you are comfortable with the technical aspects of hosting a website and you want to save money, then self-hosting Ghost may be a good option for you. However, if you want a hassle-free experience, then you may want to consider using a managed hosting provider.

Pricing of Ghost Pro and Self-Hosting Service

Now we have to explore Ghost Pro and Self-Hosting services prices. That will help you to understand the costs and make an informed decision that aligns with your budget and website needs.

Ghost Pro Pricing

Ghost Pro offers straightforward pricing plans, making it easy to understand the costs. A price is determined by the number of staff users and the amount of traffic your website receives.

Here is the Ghost Pro pricing table:

When choosing a Ghost Pro plan, it is important to consider your needs and budget. If you are a small business, then the Creator plan is a good option. If you have a larger business or need more features, then the Business plan may be a better fit.

Self-Hosting Pricing

Ghost Self-Hosted gives you the flexibility to choose your hosting provider and manage costs yourself. The cost of self-hosting can vary depending on your hosting provider, server resources, and additional services you might need.

Here is a table comparing the different hosting providers for self-hosted Ghost:

When choosing a hosting provider for self-hosted Ghost, it is important to consider your needs and budget. If you are a small blog with low traffic, then a budget-friendly provider like DigitalOcean or VPSDime may be a good option.

Which is the right choice for you?

Ultimately, The best choice for you will depend on your needs and budget. If you are comfortable with the technical aspects of hosting a website, then self-hosting Ghost may be a good option for you.

If you want a hassle-free experience, then Ghost Pro is a better choice. Now let’s make a decision. When selecting a hosting option, consider factors like performance, security, scalability, support, and pricing to determine which one best suits your website's needs.

Here are some things to consider when choosing between self-hosted Ghost and Ghost Pro:

  • Your Technical Skills: If you are not comfortable managing a server, then Ghost Pro is a better option.
  • Your Budget: Self-hosted Ghost can be more affordable for low-traffic sites. However, Ghost Pro can be more cost-effective for high-traffic sites.
  • Your Needs: If you need more features, such as built-in email and membership management, then Ghost Pro is a better option.

In summary, the choice between Ghost (Pro) and Ghost Self-Hosted depends on your priorities. If you prefer simplicity and expert support, Ghost (Pro) is a convenient option. However, if you value control and customization, Ghost Self-Hosted offers more flexibility. Consider your technical skills and budget to make the right decision, and carefully evaluate your technical expertise, budget constraints, and the level of control you want over your website. Both options have their merits, and the key is to align your choice with your goals and priorities.

Do you have more questions about the Ghost (Pro) vs. Ghost Self-Hosted? We have answers to some frequently asked questions on the topic.

What is Ghost(Pro), and how does it differ from Ghost Self-Hosted?

Ghost(Pro) is a managed hosting service provided by the creators of Ghost. It offers a hassle-free hosting solution that handles server management and updates. Ghost Self-Hosted, on the other hand, requires you to set up and manage your own server infrastructure.

Can I migrate from Ghost(Pro) to Ghost Self-Hosted or vice versa?

Yes, you can migrate your Ghost website from one hosting option to another. Ghost provides guides and tools to assist with migrations.

What level of technical expertise is required for Ghost Self-Hosted?

Ghost Self-Hosted requires a higher level of technical expertise, as you need to set up and maintain your server, install software updates, and troubleshoot issues. It's best suited for users comfortable with server administration.

Post You May Like!

  • How to Make Money with Your Ghost Website
  • How to customize a ghost theme from a ghost CMS dashboard
  • How to install a ghost theme in your ghost admin panel
  • Step-by-Step Guide: Installing Ghost on Your Local Computer

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'Ghost Servers' And Wasted Data Center Power & Cooling

Left invisible, data center energy consumption includes power and cooling for idle and inefficient servers and nas devices..

Ghost Servers

Last month, I wrote an article 1 about three different approaches for gaining visibility and control of energy consumption in the data center : manual metering, modeling, and real-time management. Today, let’s look at why it is imperative that data center managers understand these approaches as they consider adding an appropriate energy management solution to their data center infrastructure management (DCIM) methodologies.

Ghost servers.

This somewhat playful term refers to those compute and storage systems that are idle, yet still drawing power and taxing cooling systems. In reality, there is nothing amusing about ghost servers. They really should scare managers and finance teams because they are partly responsible for the nightmare of skyrocketing energy costs.

The scale of the problem is huge. Based on observing a large number of data centers, I can conservatively estimate that 10% to 15% of servers are idle at any point in time. Idle servers draw approximately 50% of their maximum required power. What does this mean in financial terms? For a 400 W server, the total energy costs are $800 or more per year. The total cost of wasted energy is therefore substantial, and puts a high price tag on energy that generates zero output.

It is time to take ghost-busting measures, while simultaneously taking steps towards greater overall energy efficiency — and cost reduction — in the data center.

STEP 1:  SHINE A LIGHT ON THE GHOSTS

You can’t eliminate waste that you don’t see. That means the first step in slashing up to 15% of your data center utility costs is all about gaining visibility. In my previous article, I explained how a holistic energy management solution can aggregate ongoing power and temperature data throughout your data center. It can give you a complete picture of the data center activity levels and how they correlate with, and impact, power consumption and temperature levels.

The resulting power and thermal maps are critical for gaining insights about the extremes in your data center. Besides identifying hot spots that can degrade reliability and lead to outages, an energy dashboard can put the spotlight on ghost servers. Whether viewed in real-time, or by extracting insights from logged data, ghost servers can be fully characterized over time and in relation to the various workloads and service levels in the data center.

STEP 2:  MATCH ASSETS TO DEMAND

Superior energy management solutions collect real-time server inlet temperatures and power consumption data from rack servers and blade servers in addition to power-distribution units (PDUs) and uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs). Airflow is also monitored throughout the data center and at the computer-area air handler (CRAH) equipment.

Armed with this fine-grained energy picture and historical data, data center team members can identify ghost servers and accurately define the optimal number of compute and storage servers. This information may result in the reduction of the number of servers, but more typically helps IT make adjustments and better use existing assets, including:

• Some servers or storage devices can be powered down during periods of lower activity.

• Workloads can be shifted to offload servers that are operating close to their maximums, and driving up temperature in the data center as a result. Cooling can be reduced as hotspots are eliminated.

• Racks and rows can be reconfigured to more evenly distribute workloads and lower overall ambient temperature without taxing CRAH systems.

• Rack densities can be optimized for normal operation as well as operation during disaster recovery (DR). Maximizing rack densities allows for more energy-efficient cooling solutions.

STEP 3:  ADJUST  AMBIENT   TEMPERATURE

After identifying ghost servers and making adjustments to align assets to demand, data center managers can use the same real-time energy and temperature data to make decisions about the possibility of increasing overall operating temperature in the data center. Proof of concept testing has shown that turning up the thermostat by just one degree — which lowers the demand on the cooling systems — can result in savings of 4% on the overall utility bill.

The industry buzz about high-temperature ambient (HTA) data centers includes headlines about mega-savings achieved by some of the biggest names in the technology industry. Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, and others are leading the heat wave, operating their data centers at temperatures up to 80°F.

Equipment vendors are specifying and warranting data center hardware for operation at temperatures up to 40°C (100°F). 2 These higher temperatures are also reflected in current industry standards for data center efficiency, including those published by ASHRAE, Green Grid, Code of Conduct on Data Centres Energy Efficiency, and others.

Decisions about HTA operation must take into consideration your exact data center equipment, including legacy systems. Ultimately, it makes financial sense to follow these trendsetters. With accurate, real-time views of your data center temperature and energy patterns, IT and facilities can consider changes in ambient temperature, taking minimal risk.

STEP 4: AUTOMATE THRESHOLD MANAGEMENT

The just-mentioned “minimal risk” deserves elaboration. Whether evaluating or validating some energy-related change or just trying to avoid conditions that could lead to outages, data center management teams should broadly employ threshold alerts. As they relate to ghost servers, threshold alerts can also be used to flag under-utilized assets.

Holistic energy management solutions automate threshold setting and detection features. The simplification of this protection and visibility feature frees IT to try out changes and evaluate them over adequate periods of time including days/hours of peak data center demand.

STEP 5: ADJUST DISASTER RECOVERY RULES

The aftermath of a major outage or natural disaster could be when ghost servers are the biggest problem. Data center managers should include many of the previously mentioned steps for identifying and avoiding idle servers as part of their disaster recovery plans.

For example, during any outage, real-time monitoring should draw on previous logs of energy and temperature patterns to quickly identify any under-utilized server. Then IT can intelligently prioritize servers and resources, as well as reallocate workloads as needed to optimally use the available back-up power or the assets available in a collocation facility.

The same solutions that can help you avoid ghost servers also give you another DR tool: power capping. This feature lets you adjust power consumption as a function of server performance. Lower-priority applications can be shut down or configured to operate at lower performance levels, which in turn reduces the power draw. Power capping essntially increases the operating times for back-up power supplies by up to 25%, based on in-field measurements.

EXAMPLES OF ACHIEVABLE RESULTS

Having been broadly deployed over the past several years, there is a wealth of published results relating to energy management solutions. The best-in-class energy management solutions are helping data center managers achieve 20% to 40% reductions in energy waste.

Here are some examples of published results achieved by data center teams trying to root out ghost servers and similar data center energy inefficiencies:

• EMC carried out a proof of concept 3 for its Atmos cloud storage offering, including evaluating 13 different use cases for power management solutions. The capabilities EMC validated included monitoring node history and using it to maximize number of nodes per rack for power and cooling efficiency. The EMC team also determined that power management technology will allow it to reduce idle power consumption from 50% down to 15% for server appliances.

• Korea Telecom carried out a proof of concept 4 for an energy management solution with the goal of maximizing the number of servers within its data center constraints (space, power, and cooling). The POC proved that power consumption could be reduced by 15% with the introduction and monitoring of conservation policies. Furthermore, data center team members were able to identify under-utilized servers, and by putting those into a lower-power state, save an additional $2,000 per year per rack.

• BMW 5 determined that it could use a combination of virtualization and energy management technologies to optimize CPU utilization for maximum energy efficiency. Tests showed that the achievement of power savings was approximately 18%.

CONCLUSIONS

Energy has become a significant operating cost, putting extreme pressure on both IT and facilities teams to increase efficiencies and demonstrate measureable results. Identifying waste — such as ghost servers that are left to consume the same amount of power as an active server — should be one of the first steps of an energy management initiative. The same technology that helps identify and trim waste also equips a data center team to further optimize power and cooling for all of the compute and storage servers in the facility.

Perhaps just as important as the monitoring and control capabilities are the historical logging and reporting features of energy management solutions. Having a knowledge base, extracted from real-time actual energy use, greatly improves energy-related decision making, data center planning, and justification of changes and investments related to energy. Look for a holistic energy management solution that lets you check off all of these boxes, and that includes features that elevate the transparency and accountability relating to energy behaviors in the data center. 

CITED WORKS

1. Klaus, Jeff. “Myth Buster: Energy Management Models & the Quest for Power Efficiency.” Mission Critical Magazine . September/October, 2013.

2. Whitepaper. http://www.eni.com/green-data-center/it_IT/static/pdf/ASHRAE_1.pdf. 2011 .

3. EMC/Intel proof of concept. http://download-software.intel.com/sites/datacentermanager/atmospoweropt1_3c.pdf. 2010 .

4. Whitepaper. http://software.intel.com/sites/datacentermanager/KT-WhitePaper-How-High-Temperature-Data-Centers-and-Intel-Technologies-save-Energy-Money-Water-and-Greenhouse-Gas-Emissions.pdf. 2011 .

5. Joint Whitepaper. http://software.intel.com/sites/datacentermanager/node_manager_white_paper_bmw.pdf. 2009 .

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As general manager of Intel® Data Center Management Solutions , Jeff Klaus leads a global team that designs, builds, sells and supports data center software products through an extensive distribution network. Since joining Intel in 2000, Klaus built and maintains the largest global distribution ecosystem of middleware solutions through Server Hardware OEMs, Software Infrastructure Management Providers and Cloud Service Providers.

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Configuring Connectivity Between Ghost Server and Client Across VLANs

What is ghost casting.

Ghost imaging , sometimes called  Ghost casting (or cloning)  is a software based data backup process where contents of a computer are copied and into group of files called as an image. The ghost image copies the entire contents to another server or machine including configuration information and application

The purpose of the ghost image ( Ghosting or Ghost casing ) is to expedite process of cloning from one system onto other systems, or to enable a quick restore of a system. It enables migration from one disk or PC to another.

Ghost Casting Across VLANs

Example scenario: configuring connectivity between ghost server and client across vlans.

Below is a scenario where  Ghost Server  in Vlan 10 (IP address of ghost Server = 192.168.10.10). There are two  DHCP  servers also in vlan 10 with IP addresses 192.168.10.11 and 192.168.10.12.

The  Ghost clients (workstations)  are in Vlan 20 (IP address of Ghost clients = 192.168.20.10 and 11 respectively).

CONFIGURING CONNECTIVITY BETWEEN GHOST SERVER AND CLIENT ACROSS VLANS

Pre-requisites:

Requirement is to have Ghost client in vlan 20 to be able reach both unicast and multicast (ghost casting) sessions to the ghost server in vlan 10.

To do this the following is required on a cisco Layer 3 switch with cisco IOS –

interface vlan 1ip igmp snooping querier

interface Vlan10

ip pim sparse-dense-mode

interface Vlan20

ip helper-address 192.168.10.10

ip helper-address 192.168.10.11

ip helper-address 192.168.10.12

Key considerations here –

1 – The ip pim spare-dense-mode needs to go on each VLAN that ghosting will be used on.

2 – “ip helper-address” command is used to forward the broadcasts for DHCP addresses to the DHCP servers and also required if we want the ghost session to automatically detect where the ghost server is without needing to enter the IP address manually.

Continue Reading:

Managing Cisco DHCP Client Identifier

Understanding Dora Process in DHCP

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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I am here to share my knowledge and experience in the field of networking with the goal being – “The more you share, the more you learn.”

I am a biotechnologist by qualification and a Network Enthusiast by interest. I developed interest in networking being in the company of a passionate Network Professional, my husband.

I am a strong believer of the fact that “learning is a constant process of discovering yourself.” – Rashmi Bhardwaj (Author/Editor)

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How to Use OpenPubkey to SSH Without SSH Keys

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Lucie Mugnier

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Ivan Pedrazas

This post was contributed by BastionZero .

What if you could SSH without having to worry about SSH keys? Without the need to worry about SSH keys getting lost, stolen, shared, rotated, or forgotten? In this article, we’ll walk you through how to SSH to your remote Docker setups with just your email account or Single Sign-On (SSO). Find instructions for setting up OpenPubkey SSH in our documentation .

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What’s wrong with SSH?

We love SSH and use it all the time, but don’t often stop to count how many keys we’ve accumulated over the years. As of writing this, I have eight. I can tell you what five of them are for, I definitely shouldn’t have at least two of them, and I’m pretty sure of the swift firing that would happen if I lost at least one other. What on earth is “is_key.pem”? I have no idea, and it sounds like I didn’t know when I made it.

There’s rarely an SSH key that’s actually harmless, even if you’re only using it to access or debug remote Docker setups. Test environments get cryptojacked and proxyjacked frequently, and entire swaths of the internet are dedicated to SSH hacking. 

When was the last time you patched sshd ? The tool is ubiquitous yet so rarely updated that those threats are not going away anytime soon. Managing keys is a hassle that is bound to lead to compromise, and simple mistakes can lead to horrible outcomes. Even GitHub exposed their SSH private key in a public repository last year. 

So, what can we do? How can we do better? And is it free? Yes, yes, and yes. 

Now, there’s a new way to use SSH with OpenPubkey. Instead of juggling SSH keys, OpenPubkey SSH (OPK SSH) allows you to use your regular email account or SSO to log in and securely connect to an SSH server with a quick, one-time setup. No more guessing which keys get you fired, and no cursing your past self for poor naming conventions. No keys.

OpenPubkey SSH is the first fully developed use case for OpenPubkey , an open source project led by BastionZero, Docker, and The Linux Foundation. It will continue to grow and improve as we enhance its features and adapt it to meet evolving user needs and security challenges. Read on to learn what OpenPubkey is and how it works.

Getting started with OpenPubkey SSH 

Currently, OPK SSH only supports logging in via Google. If you have a particular provider you’d prefer, come visit us in GitHub or learn more in the Getting involved section below.

OpenPubkey SSH is being offered as part of BastionZero’s zero-trust command-line utility: the zli . Instructions for installing the zli can be found in the BastionZero documentation .

After installing the zli , you’ll need to:

  • Configure your SSH server (<1 minute)
  • Log in with Google (<1 minute)

Test your configuration

Use opk ssh for docker remote access, manage users, configure your ssh server.

The first step is to configure your SSH server. For your first-time setup, we assume you have a Google account and at least sudoer access to the SSH server you’re trying to set up.

Log in with Google

Then, you need to log in. This will open a browser window so you can authenticate with Google:

Now, you can use SSH using OPK. To test that everything configured correctly and access is working via OPK SSH, you can run the following command:

Because we save our certificate at a default location, SSH will always use it to authenticate. So, it is not necessary to specify the IdentityFile after removing your existing SSH keys.

If you’re already using SSH with Docker then you’re all set, you get to keep your existing remote Docker setup with no need to do anything else. Otherwise, you can set your local Docker client to connect to a remote Docker instance by doing one of the following:

Then you can use Docker as usual, and it will use SSH under the hood to connect to your remote Docker instance.

Now that you’ve set it up for one user, let’s discuss how to configure it for many. OPK SSH means that you don’t have to coordinate with users to give them access. Who you choose to allow access to your server is specified in an easy-to-read YAML policy file that might look like this:

Note that principals is SSH-speak for the users you’re allowed to SSH in as.

If you’re flying solo or in a small group, then you’ll likely never have to deal with this file directly; our zli configuration command takes care of this for you. However, larger groups may be more interested in how this works at scale, and we’ve got answers for you. To discuss how OPK SSH can specifically fit your needs, reach out to us at BastionZero . For any issues or troubleshooting questions during the process, visit our guide .

How it works

Docker already lets you use SSH to execute Docker commands on remote containers by specifying a different host either as an environment variable or as part of a context.

For OPK SSH, you don’t need to change any of that. Docker is using your pre-configured SSH under the hood for you. OpenPubkey is a different configuration that’s more secure yet completely compatible with Docker or any other access use case that relies on SSH (Figure 1).

Illustration showing overview of docker client, ssh client, sso, docker host, and opk verifier.

OpenPubkey slides in nicely with how SSH is already designed. We only use integration mechanisms that are well-used and widely deployed. First, we use SSH certificates instead of SSH keys, and second, we use the AuthorizedKeysCommand to invoke the OpenPubkey verifier program. This is all taken care of for you by our zli configure command.

SSH certificates remove the need for any keys. Instead of using them as in a traditional certificate ecosystem, such as x509, our goal is to embed them with a special token that we can verify on the server. That’s where the AuthorizedKeysCommand comes in. 

The AuthorizedKeysCommand allows users to have their access evaluated by a program instead of by comparing it against preconfigured, public keys in an authorized_keys file. Once you’ve configured your sshd to use our OPK verifier, it can grant or deny access for all OPK-generated SSH certificates you give it going forward.

What is OpenPubkey?

OpenPubkey isn’t just about SSH; it is so much more. Docker is using it to sign Docker Official Images and BastionZero is using it for zero-trust infrastructure access. OpenPubkey is a joint effort between the Linux Foundation, BastionZero, and Docker. It is an open source project built on top of OpenID Connect (OIDC) that adds new functionality without impacting any of the old. 

OIDC is a protocol that lets you log into websites or applications using your personal (or work) email accounts. When you log in, you’re actually generating an identity token (ID token) that’s only for the specific application and that attests to the fact that you’re you. It also includes some handy personal information — essentially whatever you’ve given that application permission to request. 

Basically, OpenPubkey adds a temporary public key to your ID token so that you can sign messages. Because it’s attested to by trusted identity providers like Google, Microsoft, Okta, etc., anyone can verify it anywhere, at any time.

But OpenPubkey isn’t just about adding a public key to your ID token; it’s also about how you use it. One issue with vanilla OIDC is that any application that respects that token assumes you are you. With OpenPubkey, proving that you’re you isn’t just about presenting a public token, but also a single-use, signed message. So, the only way to impersonate you is to steal your public token and a private secret that never leaves your machine.  

Getting involved

There are plenty of ways to get involved. We’re building a passionate and engaged community. We discuss things at both a high level for those who like to architect and at a fun, gritty, technical level for those who like to be a different kind of architect. Come to hang out; we appreciate the support in whatever capacity you can provide.

If you’d like to get involved, visit our OpenPubkey repo. And if you’re ready to try OPK SSH to SSH without SSH keys, refer to our documentation’s comprehensive guide.

  • Watch the on-demand webinar How to use OpenPubkey to SSH without SSH keys .
  • Read How to Use OpenPubkey with GitHub Actions Workloads .
  • Signing Docker Official Images Using OpenPubkey
  • Get the latest release of Docker Desktop .
  • Vote on what’s next! Check out our public roadmap .
  • Have questions? The Docker community is here to help .
  • New to Docker? Get started .

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KB5034441: Windows Recovery Environment update for Windows 10, version 21H2 and 22H2: January 9, 2024

This update automatically applies Safe OS Dynamic Update ( KB5034232 ) to the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) on a running PC to address a security vulnerability that could allow attackers to bypass BitLocker encryption by using WinRE. For more information, see  CVE-2024-20666.

Known issues in this update

How to get this update.

This update is available through the following release channels.

Prerequisites 

The PC must have 250 MB of free space in the recovery partition to apply this update successfully.

Restart information 

You do not need to restart your device after applying this update.

Verify the installation of this update

To verify the installation of this update, use DISM /Get-Packages to ensure Safe OS Dynamic Update package is present on WinRE. For more information, see  Check the WinRE image version .

Removal information

This update cannot be removed once it is applied to a Windows image.

Update replacement information 

This update does not replace any previously released update.

Learn about the standard terminology that is used to describe Microsoft software updates.

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  1. Definition of ghost server

    What does ghost server actually mean? Find out inside PCMag's comprehensive tech and computer-related encyclopedia.

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    Ubuntu 16.04, 18.04, 20.04, 22.04 LTS Docker Community image Local install MacOS, Windows & Linux Install from Source For working on Ghost Core Cloud hosting Ghost (Pro) Official managed hosting Digital Ocean Pre-built VPS image Linode Virtual private servers Everything you need to know about working with the Ghost professional publishing platform.

  3. Are Ghost Servers Haunting Your Data Center?

    What are Ghost Servers? No longer of use to business; End-of-Lease or End-of-Life; Applications migrated elsewhere; 15% of data center servers qualify as ghost servers. Ghostly Problems. Rising sustainability costs; Security risks; Wasted space; Potential profits going to waste; Ghoulish Costs. Companies spend more than $24 million a year on ...

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    Step 1: Install Ghost on your new server The official guide for installing Ghost on Ubuntu is pretty good and you should certainly consider reading it.

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    This is the true story of a ghost server -- a phantom server that nearly brought down our network. ... We use a multilevel security approach guarding against blended threats. ... Cute server names ...

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  10. How to Find the Ghost Servers Haunting Your Data Center

    Ghost servers are servers that are deployed in cabinets and powered on but are sitting idle without performing any useful function. They're so scary because they drain you of space, energy, and money like a vampire. How Much Energy Does a Ghost Server Waste?

  11. Hosting a Ghost publication

    Docs / Hosting Hosting Ghost A short guide to running Ghost in a production environment and setting up an independent publication to serve traffic at scale. Ghost is open source software, and can be installed and maintained relatively easily on just about any VPS hosting provider.

  12. 'Ghost servers' can haunt your bottom line

    The cost of running a server for three years exceeds its original acquisition cost, so keeping the ghost servers around has an easily measured effect in energy savings.

  13. Ghost Server

    Noun | Sounds like: "ghost serv-er" A ghost server, also known as a zombie server, is a server that is physically running but is not performing any useful function. Up to 30% of servers in a data center may be ghost servers. Common Causes of Ghost Servers Deploying hardware at such a high rate that decommissioning older servers is a lower priority.

  14. Identify Ghost Servers

    A ghost server is a server that is in the data center but no longer in use. Some may not even be registered in the data center management software. They are often forgotten about or left behind after being decommissioned. They can take up valuable space and resources without providing any value.

  15. Configuration

    In a typical Ghost installation, the MySQL database will be on the same server as Ghost itself. With cloud computing and database-as-a-service providers you might want to enable SSL connections to the database. ... Note that this adapter requires Redis to be set up and running in addition to Ghost. To use the Redis cache adapter, change the ...

  16. How hard to self-host?

    I use Ubuntu 20.04, and have setup automatic updates for the system, and usually update Ghost via SSH every few weeks unless there's a security announcement. Automatic updates send me a notification email, and I monitor this to see if a restart is needed. I then login to the server, do any outstanding updates, and schedule a restart.

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  18. Ghost Servers

    Quikteks can help with this, and host your data. When we do this we oversee the system for you, so you won't be troubled by any more hauntings. You might decide that, with outsourced hosting and management, that your server is redundant. The ghost must go.

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    Ghost is a free and open source publishing platform written in JavaScript. Plans & Pricing All Ghost Hosting Plans Include FREE Full Weekly Backup Unlimited Server Migrations Full Root Access FREE 24/7 Fully Managed Support Ultra-Fast NVMe Storage Optional Control Panels Available Highest Quality Servers by Dell® 100% Uptime SLA with 10x Money Back

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    Ghost servers. This somewhat playful term refers to those compute and storage systems that are idle, yet still drawing power and taxing cooling systems. In reality, there is nothing amusing about ghost servers. ... For a 400 W server, the total energy costs are $800 or more per year. The total cost of wasted energy is therefore substantial, and ...

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  25. How to Use OpenPubkey to SSH Without SSH Keys

    Configure your SSH server. The first step is to configure your SSH server. For your first-time setup, we assume you have a Google account and at least sudoer access to the SSH server you're trying to set up. 1. zli configure opk <your Google email> <user>@<hostname>.

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  27. ankicommunity/ankicommunity-sync-server

    You signed in with another tab or window. Reload to refresh your session. You signed out in another tab or window. Reload to refresh your session. You switched accounts on another tab or window.

  28. KB5034441: Windows Recovery Environment update for Windows 10, version

    To verify the installation of this update, use DISM /Get-Packages to ensure Safe OS Dynamic Update package is present on WinRE. For more information, see Check the WinRE image version. Removal information. This update cannot be removed once it is applied to a Windows image.