Alternative Data Centres
SCCP (Seatle Community Co-Location Project)
Short history: CCCP (California Community Colocation Project) started by pro-capitalist libertarians. Grew fast, had at one point 10 cabinets. Their friends wanted to start one in Seattle. CCCP shrunk later because they didn't have the workforce and they had an all voluntary donation model.
When riseup proposed a cooperative model in Seattle, there was a lot of conflict with the folks from california that thought it must be voluntary.
Other community colocation projects have tried to get started in north america, in NYC, toronto, chicago. There are also radical groups with 1/2 cabinet in vancouver.
SCCP now has 30 servers and two cabinets. Mix of radical/non-radical projects. Finances covered by riseup.net since the SCCP is not a legal entity. 1800$USD/mth switched to 1200$/mth. Should be out of the red by the end of the year. 600$/cab, 20$/mbps. 10mbps for free and $20/mbps for extra. 20Amps per cabinet plus 10$/Amp extra. power is the most limiting factor.
The future is more cabinets, maybe a free an antenna so posibility of connecting to Seatle Wifi. Would bring possibility of very fast and free offsite backups.
Half of riseup's budget is colo, other half is hardware or stipends to people and plane tickets so that elijah can visit the tanneries. Seperate checking accounts for SCCP and other projects, donations coming in thru paypal and by check.
- Q: is centralisation a problem at riseup?
- A: not as much a problem for us as for the movement. our hope is to eventually be more de-centralised and to help other colos to get set up, but it is a lot of work.
- Q: is everyone a volunteer?
- A: about 4 people are paid right now, minimum wage, not enough to live on helps on. the people who work most actively on the colo are not paid, except for elijah.
- Q: what about the physical location of the cabinets?
- A: it's in a corporate facility. Cabinets inside a cage, inside a floor, inside a capitalist building inside a capitalist city inside the empire. A very well connected building. We don't control all the physical access. What is improved is that the place is very secure from ? and the power is very good. Advice: either get really good power and control climate or pay someone else to do that.
Typically 8mbps of traffic. We hope to do more. Streaming means that people will start using the new cheap bandwidth. With the addition of SCCP and Jebba there is more bandwidth for major events.
- Q: how do you work internally?
- A: monthly meetings, all decisions are made by people that are in the colo. in practice, decisions are made by people that work in the datacenter. there's a "colo" and "ops" list. typically, users don't show up that much to meetings.
- Q: when you are communicating about problems with servers?
- A: if there is a problem, people jump on IRC or call us.
Problems have been getting remote management working, like getting terminal servers working, help appreciated.
- Q: who are the users? are there new users?
- A: radical tech collectives, non-profits, and hobbyists. yes there are new people who come to the website and put a request in. there hasn't been any advertising.
no tracking system for the sccp, the job is just rotated
no legal problems since the sccp was instituted.
- Q: how do you work with donations?
- A: we ask a variable fee for servers up to $100/mo (suggest. 50$) , we keep track to try and make sure people are keeping up with donations each month. we use a spreadsheet that lists the groups, their donations, and what their pledge was, so there is peer pressure to make sure people keep up.
photos from the westin:
Created in 2001 by five organisations. So founders were: FDN, Globenet, Gandi, Netaktiv, Placenet. No services by itself, it`s just a structure for network and physical location for its members. It is now:-
- 3 non-profit organisations (FDN, Globenet, Gixe)
- 3 small companies (Cursys, AlternB, Netaktiv)
has a few cabinets in telehouse2 and elsewhere in paris pictures
- globenet runs no-log.org for free mailboxes
- FDN: old ISP. the goal was to give access to newsfeeds. they now provide non-profit net access.
- gixe: structure that is used by non-members of gitoyen to use gitoyen's services
- cursys: set up by one of the gandi founders
- 124 peers
- Average 140 mbps of traffic
- +- 3000 euros of monthly fees for core members (without gixe)
- +- 4000 euros of sold services to outsiders (gixe)
- core services assumed by 1.5 person. a netaktiv person does accounting. a person from each member was supposed to help gitoyen running but it never worked. seeking more orgs to join the core.
- lots of small problems...
- they run their own internet exchange clearing point, pouix.net
- one of the goals is to create more small-scale network operators
- trying to use free software for as much as possible, including replacing propriatary routers
- support for non-profits wanting to do colo
- Q: is it not expensive to link the 3 locations in paris?
- A: no it's beautiful, it is mostly related to the situation with infrastructure in paris a lot of exchange points, network operators, etc.
- Q: are you extending outside paris, if so who with and how?
- A: leasing existing physical networks to bring access to others, we do this with wimax, eg. the old state monopoly are now ready to sell access to the wimax links, in the south of france and others there is also the chance to get fast internet access links, idea to lease lines from paris - amsterdam - london - so we are starting to peer with people in germany and the netherlands (this is a side project, it is not clear how it will all fit together)
- Q: Do you already have contacts in the countries?
A: I think so
- Q: how many servers in gitoyen?
- A: around 60 servers. globenet: 12 own servers, plus 3 colo
- Q: would anyone be interested in a server exchange?
- A: maybe
Established before 95 (background with CCC chaos computer club and anti-fa), when lots of groups didn't know what was going on with "the web". In 97 when there was a wave interest in the internet this had the effect of nadir becoming an internet service provider, there was a decison to rather break the gap between tech and political. So since have been a broad group involved in direct involvement with the movement.
- servers SeaCCP, xs4all, other (with wireless, hard to find link)
- webhosting, mail accounts, wikis
- physical location in Hamburg
- small wireless network in Hamburg connecting squats and activist centres
development of software for the needs of activists (gpg tool for group communication (schleuder), mir cms http://mir.indymedia.org/)
- highlighting issues, courses for local groups, rfid workshop, writing articles about opensource, etc......
- "governance" nadir as a group have their own principles of how to do things - weekly meetings, working online
- if a new group wants to join, then a message about them goes to a list of all the other members. if any existing member objects, then the new group is rejected.
- stroemungsuebergreifendes ? : there are different streams of a movement and nadir should be accessible for different political groups in the movement, so that a bigger part of the movement feels that nadir is their 'own' project: an approach to politilize the technical issues instead of just having different sites of different groups (that might not talk to one another) on the same server
Side discussion - background of people running autonomous servers
- Q: Is nadir run more by technical people or by activists?
- A: "we living in both worlds", for example when we joined the "no border" campaign we were activists.
The poltical theme, and the working with groups from different - sometimes opposed - backgrounds has come up with other groups (nodo50 mentioned this explicitly). asking for intros of new groups with the possibility that they could be rejected should make groups aware that their own site is not simple hosted somewhere, but hosted with nadir.
"this is not promoting a particular technology", turning the question round so activists find the tools appropriate for them, not necessarily helpful promoting the latest tools
A theme previously was: Organising political defence of autonomous servers we need to be more accountable to users. So users will help to defend them.
By elijah's experience, most groups here are more activists coming to the technology. Some indymedia people were techies first, but mostly became more and more activists. other people were activist first and now nearly only do technical-acttivist work . elijah sometimes has no more time for doing other campaigns, but he considers everything about the technical work he does to be deeply political in terms of how it is organized and embedded in social movements. The example from MarsNet is that there were activists who knew little technically and got involved with help from globenet and gitoyen.
(Should not be mistaken for free.fr! - Website in german only)
Started before as an ecological campaign - Science Shop? A movement to bring technology to the people, who could not otherwise afford it, and to make technology responsive to the needs of the people. In Germany, there is not a formal organization, but there are in other countries. [science shop: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_shop]
They have a self managed house in Dortmund.
A full ISP including dialup. Supplying dialup, hosting, mail.... as much as they can. Have 2 cabinets, one full next starting to fill. Not colocated inside a legal space which is owned by the people using it (self-managed). No one living there anymore. 2 SDSL uplinks (have their own ASN) - 2 x 3 MBit/s. They found two different providers that would provide BGP over SDSL lines. FreeBSD users (historical reason: started in 1993, Linux not ready as that time). 2 people doing core technical work.
Having physical control of the server means more costly bandwith. More than 400 euros a month of bandwidth. A lot of money goes into power and into controlling temperature, with the added problem that the building is under monument protection, and therefore they cannot install an airco.
Giving on-line space to campaigners, cultural projects...
Current projects: a wifi mesh network, as an autonomous system, is connected to the internet (using cheap consumer flat rates) in multiple places using tunnels. Could be a way that other wifi mesh networks that are autonomous systems could tunnel to one another. Mesh networks are more interesting when they have *real* IPs.
Wifi net at: http://www.durchdieluft.net/ (tr:"throughtheair") Routing info on: http://www.durchdieluft.net/tiki-read_article.php?articleId=8
money is a very serious issue: 1500/mo uplink space current dial-in costs. Some commercial projects, also donations from users which improved when checked who is there. LDAP for mail and ftp admin giving chance to find out who is there and write to them and ask if they can donate. Admins don't get any money out of it. Bank accounts in Germany have no secrecy anymore. So transfers from users must not have any content that relates to any specific mail box or account. Would be better without even the knowledge of admins knowing who donated, but time to develop this, maybe more collectives would be interested in an anonymous payment system?
Because of repression problems, would be interested in moving websites (or jails/vservers) easily. This was mentioned in earlier session by other server collectives as well.
- Q: How was made the connection to the 2 uplinks? A: Just asking two different providers for a custom solution. Q: What is BGP? A: the internet consists of autonomous networks. BGP allows the routers exchange the information which determine the next router that should reiceive a packet for a particular network.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Border_Gateway_Protocol Q: When you say admins get no money out of it, do you mean there is only the admins in the collective. A: there are roughly 3 technical, 2 administrative people involved
Note made: Conference call was made to system administrators, it makes it sound like autonomous servers were only run by technical admins. Running server has relationship with the user, docs, finance... We need the movement to come along and help us There is too much emphasis on the sys admin task, there is much need for the other roles when running isp. The sys admin and the money is the basis. We would like to do more, documenting and helping, just there is shortage of time. Conclusion agree that both are important.
proposal: instead of (another) presentation about riseup.net we could do the rescheduled talk from yesterday morning on ssl, certificate authorities etc. It would also fit fine with the ongoing working group on security protocol.