New York DNS Server Brought Online

We have improved the resilience of our DNS services by bringing online our own secondary DNS server. It’s located in New York, USA to provide greater disaster protection, in case there is an unforeseen event in our London data-centre that prevents us from serving DNS records.

This new server has our innovative adaptive firewall technology that constantly monitors activity for abnormal behaviour and shuts down connections to the offending party before it becomes an issue.

It’s also monitored 24/7, like all our other servers, to ensure that we maintain our 99.999% uptime record.

Virtco Mailbox Cleaner – Coming Soon…

If, like us, you’re fed up of spam and you’re also fed up of services that should block or remove spam not doing a good enough job then you need our Virtco Mailbox Cleaner service.

Using the advanced spam filtering technology we developed when we first started the Virtco Hosted Email service, we have developed a new, and innovative approach to scan your mailboxes hosted with other service providers. So if you have an account with someone else and it’s getting bombarded with spam, or worse, then we can clean it out for you on a regular schedule.

With our simple console you enter in the login details for all your IMAP email accounts and our server then encrypts your passwords and stores them in our secure database. The service then accesses your email mailboxes and scans them for spam, phishing emails and viruses every few minutes. You can configure the system to remove the messages, quarantine them in a folder or flag them with a subject line tag that you can then use to filter in your own email software. You can opt for daily, weekly or monthly email reports of what the Virtco Mailbox Cleaner has blocked.

To register your interest please complete the form below.

Your name (required)

Your email (required)

Your phone number

Approximately how many mailboxes do you require cleaning?

Nominet Registrar Review

We’ve recently been reviewed by Nominet for our Accredited Channel Partner compliance. I am proud to announce that we had no issues found, and that our Nominet Accredited Channel Partner status has been extended.

Nominet_ACP_Port_RGB_Teal
If you you are interested you can download the full copy here: DGC-NMS Registrar Review Report.

VirtcoERP Accounting System Launches

We have the great pleasure to announce that our VirtcoERP service and customer portal launch today. VirtcoERP is a fully functional ERP system based on the Frappe ERPNext platform, providing advanced ledger based accounting and business management functionality in a fresh, new and innovative way. We use it ourselves for our business operations, and are fully versed in its operation.

We provide the solution on a low rolling monthly cost on a per-company basis.

Virtco Services Update

You can now read about all our Virtco hosted services on this website. Each service has a full description under the Virtco menu, and from each service description you can make contact to request a callback.

The newly published service catalog is

There will be more services being launched soon, so keep an eye on this section of the site.

Compute as a Service Launches

CaaS DiagramToday we have the great pleasure to announce our Compute as a Service (CaaS) suite of services has launched on time. CaaS is the next step in business computing, are you ready to take the next step.

It’s been 18 months in the making, we first mentioned it on this website back in May 2013, and we think you’re going to love CaaS. It’s the perfect business partner.

Together with our chosen technology partners ASUS, GoogleHP, Microsoft and Ubuntu we can now bring you a fully integrated and functional platform to help you manage and grow your business. Whether your business is a one-person micro entity or a 250 person medium sized business, we have an outstanding range of products and services to ensure that all your business computing needs are met.

CaaS is a new concept in providing computer technology to small and medium sized businesses, we supply, support and maintain all your computing devices. Whether they’re desktop PCs, CAD workstations, laptops, Chromebooks, tablets, phones, printers,MFDs, plotters or servers (on-site or cloud). You pay a small monthly fee for each device and user – freeing up your capital to run your business.

Click here to take the next step… 

Compute as a Service to Launch on 1st December

Our Compute as a Service (CaaS) offering will launch on 1st December 2014.

CaaS is a new concept in providing computer technology to small and medium sized businesses, we supply, support and maintain all your computing devices. Whether they’re desktop PCs, laptops, tablets, phones or servers (on-site or cloud). You pay a small monthly fee for each device and user – freeing up your capital to run your business.

Services like this have been around a while now, but they’ve been almost exclusively for the largest enterprises. The difference we are bringing to this concept is that a fully managed IT solution is now available to businesses of all sizes from one-man micro entities up to medium sized businesses.

CaaS reduces your total cost of ownership (TCO), removes the need for in-house technical support expertise and frees up your capital to re-invest in your business. With short contract terms it also makes you more agile and able to respond to market needs quickly.

ASUS Approved Dealer

As part of the preparations for our new Compute as a Service (CaaS) offering launch we’ve received ASUS Approved Dealer status. We chose ASUS because they’re one of the most innovative OEMs in the industry, with a good quality record and competitive price point.

Our CaaS offering will be providing selected models from throughout the range of great ASUS products.

New gTLDs Available This Week

The following new Generic Top-Level Domains are available for registration week beginning 8th September 2014:

.YOKOHAMA 2014-09-09
.LONDON 2014-09-09
.GLOBAL 2014-09-09
.ACCOUNTANTS 2014-09-10
.DIGITAL 2014-09-10
.FINANCE 2014-09-10
.INSURE 2014-09-10

If you want to register any domains with these extensions please contact us and we will be happy to register the domain for you. We provide full own-domain DNS, Web and Email hosting services.

Nominet Accredited Registrar Status

D. Grant Crawley Ltd is pleased to announce that we have been awarded Accredited Registrar status by Nominet (the .uk domain name authority).  To date there are only 135 of 4,689 Nominet Registrars who hold Accredited Status. This status is only awarded to those registrars who demonstrate that they meet the highest standards set by Nominet. This is an exceptional achievement for us as most Accredited Registrars are the “big” companies in the domain name industry.

Accreditation-mark-March-2014-200w

New Webmail Client Launch

It’s live and available right now, just go to https://mail.hostedemail.com and login with your Virtco mailbox email address and password. You may find you like it even more than your installed email software.

Top 10 new features

  1. A brand new look and feel: The new webmail is modern looking, faster and a lot more intuitive.

  2. Mobile sync for calendar and address book: The most awaited feature. Webmail now supports mobile sync.

  3. Conversation threads: conversations can now be grouped together. You have the option to display conversations as lists or threads.

  4. Cloud storage for files: A simple way to manage files. Share, password protect and set an expiry date for the links you share.

  5. More robust RSS reader: the RSS reader is easier to use and manage.

  6. A better HTML mail editor: the new editor offers users more options to format messages.

  7. Identity management with HTML supported signatures: manage multiple profiles and create HTML signatures for each profile.

  8. Extensive address book fields: more fields for you to keep your contacts organized.

  9. Extensive domain and user management capabilities: you can do a lot more when using the admin features.

  10. Ability to reorder columns: You can move columns around to customize your inbox.

New gTLDs Available Now

The following new Generic Top-Level Domains are now available for registration:

.DIAMONDS
.ENTERPRISES
.TIPS
.VOYAGE

If you want to register any domains with these extensions please contact us and we will be happy to register the domain for you. We provide full own-domain DNS, Web and Email hosting services.

New gTLDs Available Today

The following gTLDs open for registration today:

.LAND
.TODAY
.TECHNOLOGY
.CONTRACTORS
.DIRECTORY
.KITCHEN
.CONSTRUCTION

Should you be interested in registering any domains with these extensions please contact us and we would be happy to advise on the best course of action to take in order to secure the domain for you.

UK Computer Services Association Member

As of 18th February D Grant Crawley Limited has become a member of the UK Computer Services Association, a brand new association for the promotion of computer services organisations in the UK.

Member of The UKCSA

The UK Computer Services Association code of conduct can be viewed by clicking this link.

New Generic Top-Level Domains

The new Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) schema will add hundreds of new domain extensions to the Internet in the course of the coming years. ICANN, the organization who coordinates gTLDs, has received nearly 2,000 applications from organisations interested in managing their own gTLD.

Applied-for extensions range from geoTLDs such as .london, .berlin or .nyc,  and broad generic terms such as .online or .web, to those targeting more specific uses or communities such as .bike, .wiki or .kiwi. While most of the new gTLDs will be sold to the general public just like .com, several hundred organizations have also applied to use their brand name as a private gTLD exclusively within their organizations or by the customers or members who use their services.

The following gTLDs have already opened for general registration:

.BIKE
.CAMERA
.CLOTHING
.EQUIPMENT
.ESTATE
.GALLERY
.GRAPHICS
.GURU
.HOLDINGS
.LIGHTING
.PHOTOGRAPHY
.PLUMBING
.SINGLES
.VENTURES

Over the next 4 months the following domains will also become available for registration:

.academy, .africa, .agency, .bargains, .berlin, .bid, .boutique, .builders, .buzz, .cab, .camp, .careers, .center, .cheap, .club, .codes, .coffee, .company, .computer, .construction, .contractors, .cool, .diamonds, .directory, .domains, .education, .email, .enterprises, .expert, .farm, .glass, .holiday, .house, .institute, .international, .jetzt, .kitchen, .kiwi, .land, .limo, .management, .marketing, .menu, .photos, .recipes, .repair, .ruhr, .sexy, .solar, .solutions, .support, .systems, .tattoo, .technology, .tienda, .tips, .today, .training, .uno, .viajes, .voyage, .watch, .wien, .wiki, .works, .zone

Should you be interested in registering any domains with these extensions please contact us and we would be happy to advise on the best course of action to take in order to secure the domain for you.

SaaS, PaaS, IaaS etc… What are they?

You’ve probably been seeing these acronyms in the business and IT media for the past few years; but what are they and what do they mean to you? I’ve seen lots of different definitions over the years, some right and some wrong. Let’s start by stating what the acronyms actually stand for…

  • SaaS – Software as a Service
  • PaaS – Platform as a Service
  • DaaS – Data as a Service
  • BaaS – Backend as a Service
  • IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service

Just about everyone understands what software is these days, it’s the applications you install and run on your computer, laptop, tablet, smartphone etc. SaaS is software provided to you as a service, you may have seen Google Apps, Microsoft Office 365 or Adobe Creative Cloud. They’re mainstream office software that’s provided as a service, you subscribe for £x.xx per month and get the latest version to run on your computing devices. Our virtco.com webmail and email service would also be described as a SaaS product.

PaaS, or Platform as a Service is a bit more abstract for the business person or end user, but put simply a platform would be something like a web server, or a set of application platform interfaces like the PayPal payment gateway system. Our virtco.com web hosting product provides our primary PaaS offering, and we are also about to launch a private cloud storage product within the virtco.com portfolio.

DaaS, or Data as a Service is the provision of database services, such as a SQL server. Our DaaS product offering from virtco.com is based around the MySQL database and is replicated across the network to provide high availability and resilience.

BaaS, or Backend as a Service is the provision of behind the scenes services to web and mobile application developers to enable integration of the other as-a-service concepts.

IaaS, or Infrastructure as a Service is the provision of the infrastructure to run all the other as-a-service layers on, so it’s the backend server hardware, network infrastructure, mobile phone networks, wireless networks etc that your equipment needs to communicate on and with.

I would like to introduce you to a new concept that D Grant Crawley Ltd has been working on, and that’s CaaS or Compute as a Service. The concept of CaaS is to provide all your business computing needs as a service. That’s everything from desktop pcs, laptops, tablets, software, Internet connectivity, website, email, cloud storage, cloud servers and all the infrastructure in-between that enables it all to work seamlessly and reliably.

caas

The advantage to businesses is that it allows them to budget their IT spend accurately, by only paying for what they use. Giving the ability to scale up and down as required. CaaS also provides businesses a ready-made best-practice driven IT environment which ensures that systems are always up-to-date. The concept is to align the services provided to the business strategy, enabling the business to forge ahead without having to worry about whether their IT systems will cope.

Web Server Security Hardened

Today we have installed a new technology on our primary web server, it automatically detects hacking attempts and then dynamically modifies firewall rules to block the hacker, bot or malware that is trying to break into or exploit the services we provide to our customers.

The benefit to our customers is that the server will no longer be being bombarded by a continuous stream of unwanted network traffic and can serve your web pages faster and without hindrance. Customer web pages are also less likely to be vandalised or exploited by malware or spam bots.

We already have class leading uptime, the server hasn’t needed to be rebooted for the last 311 days, but this evening we did reboot to implement this change and some updates. The server was out of action for less than three minutes, but these changes should mean that the server can resume it’s normal duties of serving our customer’s web pages (and this one) without interruption for at least the next 311 days.

Agile Software Development

Agile is an iterative process of software development, it’s not related to the programming language or the type of computer it’s going to ultimately run on.  The software development project is broken down into sprints or timeboxes that deliver usable functionality at each iteration.

Each sprint comprises of 8 phases, starting with determining the user requirements, from there it moves into a design-test-develop-test-integrate-test loop until the requirements are met. From there the deliverable code is demonstrated and feedback is received from the stakeholders, which is then used to help generate or modify the requirements for the next sprint.

During each sprint process the requirements are crossed off as they’re met on what is referred to as a burndown chart. This gives the team a strong indication of how the sprint and the overall project is progressing.

The process creates a very rapid delivery of useable software that meets the most important user requirements first.

Solar Websites Launched

We’ve recently developed a series of websites for the Goldfield Partners EIS companies. Each site is based on OSCommerce technology and all provide either solar energy products or complimentary energy saving products. The full list of websites we have launched are:

 

Computer Hardware

Supply of computer hardware is not really as simple as just going down to PC World and buying something off the shelf if you really want to get some work done. It needs to be an integral part of your business IT strategy so you can keep control of the hardware you operate. As a result, our customers have come to us for years to specify, recommend and procure their mobile, desktop, laptop and server hardware for them. We take everything into account, including the initial budget, ongoing support costs, and future expansion of your business.

Network Infrastructure

DGC Ltd have been installing computer networks since the days of Thick and Thin Ethernet, a coaxial based network ring topology. The networking world has moved on considerably, and we now use the latest technologies and fit the best possible solution for your business. Whether that’s CAT6 structured cabling, fibre optic links, microwave point-to-point bridges, or even laser line-of-sight systems.

No project is too small or too big for us, we can pull in resources as required to ensure that your project is delivered on time and within budget.

Customer Website Launched

Recently we completed and launched a website for a brand new customer, Carminé Wines. Design and development began on 3rd November and was completed in under 6 days, and the web site went live in time for the BBC Good Food Show at Kensington Olympia on 9th November.

Carminé Wines import and distribute fine artisan wines from Sardinia.

Comment from the owner of Carminé Wines:

“looks beautiful… well done
best rgds
Alessandro”

The Carminé Wines website is based on Zen Cart™ technology.

UNFORTUNATELY DUE TO SUPPLY ISSUES CARMINÉ WINES HAS CEASED TRADING

The Agile Manifesto

We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it.

Through this work we have come to value:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

Kent Beck
Mike Beedle
Arie van Bennekum
Alistair Cockburn
Ward Cunningham
Martin Fowler
James Grenning
Jim Highsmith
Andrew Hunt
Ron Jeffries
Jon Kern
Brian Marick
Robert C. Martin
Steve Mellor
Ken Schwaber
Jeff Sutherland
Dave Thomas

© 2001, the above authors this declaration may be freely copied in any form, but only in its entirety through this notice.

The 12 Agile Principles

We follow these principles:

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customerthrough early and continuous deliveryof valuable software.
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  10. Simplicity — the art of maximizing the amount of work not done — is essential.
  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.