FAQ

Here are some FAQs about Coloclue and its services, also to be seen as the house rules. Each member must understand and endorse what is mentioned below.

If you have any questions around what’s written here, we’d like to hear that. If, for instance, there’s something in the FAQ that makes you think “Wow, Coloclue is dumb! If that’s true I don’t want to be a member!“, please send us an email through our contact form, because there’s a good chance there’s a misunderstanding.

Thanks for your interest!

Placing the machine
What kind of equipment can I host at Coloclue?
At Coloclue you’re restricted to using 19″ rack-mountable equipment. Your server should be able to hang independently form other machines in the rack, so it can’t lean on somebody else’s server. This is easier with rails kits: most of the times you can find them via an auction site (eq. eBay). If you can’t get any rails kit, you can place the server on a shelf, but this should be an exception. The height of the shelve does count for the entire height of your server.
How big are the racks? How should I set my rails?
The racks are 19 inches wide and 120 cm deep. Except for the deepest machines, all servers will fit in the rack. The rails should be able to extend to 74 cm.
I've got all these parts to build a computer, but no rackmount case. How do I get one?
You can buy rackmount cases at a lot of places. For instance at Progress, Procase or Supermicro. Dell also sells entire servers. Sometimes the board has rackmount cases available (usually 4 U). Contact us if you want to become a member and use one of those cases. If you’re going to buy a case, pick one that includes a rails kit!
What should I bring when I place my server?
Besides the server itself (ehm) and your identity card (to be allowed inside the data center) nothing at all. We will supply wires for power, ethernet, and the console, and stuff like cage nuts. The console cable is hooked up to a Cisco or Livingston console server and ends in an RJ45-connector. If you build your own plug from RJ45 to DB9, cable colours should be as below when you look on the rear of the connector (so where you plug in the wires):

 +-------------------------------+
 \ green yellow black orange red /
  \    brown blue white   -     /
   +--------------------------+   

Again, we’ll supply all the cables needed. You don’t have to bring anything, but you’re allowed to.

How do I get access to the server room?
The first time you enter the server room to place your server, you will be joined by a member of the board or of the pluggers committee. You’ll have to bring some identification (ID card, passport or driver’s license) to be allowed inside the data center! We will show you where the rack is and place your server. Should you later need access to your server again, request that through your SSH service menu. Maybe a member of the board will join you, maybe not. In any case, you can enter the server room at any time, 24 x 7, for free, but you need to have registered this beforehand with the data center.
Configuring your machine
Do I need a special ethernet card or certain settings on the ethernet port?
Not really. All ethernet cards that can handle 100BaseTX full duplex, are suitable. You’ll have to try very hard these days to find a card that doesn’t work. Within the association we use auto-negotiation to configure speed and duplex settings. In exceptional cases we can of course statically configure these parameters, but we prefer not to do that.
How does it work with a serial port? How do I get that to work?
That’s not very difficult. You have to make sure there’s a getty running on the serial port you want to use. With FreeBSD for instance you have to change the last line with ttyd0 in /etc/ttys/ to “vt100 on secure”. If you also want to follow the boot process on FreeBSD via the console, create a file /boot.config with -P inside. For other Unix flavors the procedure will be similar. The short version is that you need to start a getty on the serial port.
Do I have to configure my BIOS a certain way?
Yes. With a lot of motherboards meant specifically for server use, you can set ‘console redirection’. When you enable this, all the output of the server, including the BIOS, counting the memory and so on, will be sent to the serial port. That’s very useful, because then you can even edit your settings from home. You also need to configure your BIOS to have it boot up after it loses power. You can test this by starting up your server, pulling out the power cord and inserting it again. Your server should boot up. If it doesn’t, and you’d powercycle it, your machine would stay off, and that’s of course not what you want.
Well, I'd like a server at Coloclue. So I'll just install Windows Server 2012 R2 and then...
Stop. Coloclue only allows Unix-based servers. Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris, Mac OS X — that kind of stuff. Windows isn’t allowed in the network. No, not even if you use VMWare and run Windows in a virtual machine 😉
How do you know which server is mine?
Well, of course we can’t be sure you actually own it, but in any case it’s useful if you put a label on it with your name and your machine’s name before you place your server in the rack.
IP-addresses and domain names
When do I get my IP addresses?
We’ll schedule an appointment to place your server and then we’ll discuss which IP addresses you can use and what the default gateway and the netmask and the like are.
Can I set the reverse DNS of my IP addresses myself?
Yes, of course. When you become a member we’ll give you a username and password that’ll allow you to connect through SSH to service.coloclue.net. One of the options in that menu is configuring the reverse DNS for your IP addresses. You can change this as often as you want.
Do you also have name servers?
Of course Coloclue has its own authoritative name servers where we host coloclue.net and the reverse delegation for our IP space. That’s how you can configure the reverse of your assigned IPv4 and IPv6 addresses. However, for your own /48 IPv6 you’ll have to run an authoritative name server yourself. You can then use our secondary name server, which will automatically host all the zones you send them, according to the ‘supermaster’ principle of PowerDNS.

Finally, we also offer a recursor. Even though as a member you should be able to run a service like that on your own machine, this is available as a backup name server reachable from all of Coloclue’s IPv4 and IPv6 addresses.

Hey but surely you don't have IPv6, right?
On the contrary: we’ve even got native IPv6 addresses. So you don’t have to go through the hassle of configuring all kinds of tunnels and the like. You can get as many IPv6 addresses as you need. Your server can immediately be ready for the future as well!
Can I also register domain names through Coloclue?
No, Coloclue doesn’t register domain names. We do have members that can do it for you. So you can try and ask people through the mailing list or the IRC channel, and someone might be able to help.
Service menu
How can I access my machine's serial port?
When you become a member, we’ll give you a username and password. You can use those to SSH to service.coloclue.net. When you’re logged in, you’ll see a menu. In that menu you can pick the option “Serial console”, and you’ll be connected directly to the serial port of your machine.
My machine needs to be powercycled! How does that work?
Powercycling can also be done by using the username and password we gave you to open an SSH connection to service.coloclue.net. One of the options in the menu is for powercycling your machine.
I want to send a break via the console server! How do I do that?
We use conserver for the serial console. In this environment you send a break by first sending the conserver escape sequence (^Ec) followed by ‘l0’ for the break.
Payments
How do payments work? How do I know when to pay my membership fees and how much to pay?
Every month the treasurer will send you an email with an overview of your fees. You can transfer the payment to the bank account of the association; the account number is mentioned in that email.
Can I also get an invoice? And will that also mention VAT?
Yes, we send invoices. These invoices also list the VAT amount. You will receive them every month by email.
Don't you have direct debit?
Yes, all members can fill out an authorization form, and the fees due will then be automatically deducted from your bank account.
But won't the board get terribly rich off of all those membership fees then?
Unfortunately, no. The monthly membership fees cover the monthly costs of the racks, the electricity and our uplinks. With the one-time fees we cover the cost of equipment and the rack installation costs. We’d like to make everything even cheaper, but that’s not possible. If you have any ideas for lowering our fees, become a member and come tell us at a members’ meeting 😉
What happens when I don't pay in time?
Most important is that Coloclue is a club – so you don’t harm some filthy rich investor who wants to get even richer through an internet company, instead you hurt yourself and other members. We therefore expect all members to act financially responsible. If you’re behind on your payments, we’ll contact you to solve this. In extreme cases we can take technical or social measures that will limit your membership.
The club spirit
How was the association formed?
Around the end of 2002 and beginning of 2003 three employees at Demon Internet had the idea to rent a rack together and split its cost, to host commercial websites, something not allowed in the staff colo-rack at Demon. During one of many get-togethers in De Beiaard at the Spui in Amsterdam we ended up talking with an employee of the RIPE NCC who told us that if you were a ‘legal entity’, you could get your own IP addresses and even an AS-number. The plan got bigger and bigger, we decided to form an association, and on Friday 13th of June 2003 Niels Raijer, Menno Spaans and An Ramkisoen sat down with a notary to found the association. Because a lot of Demon-staff frequented De Beiaard at the Spui, we quickly picked De Bekeerde Suster at the Nieuwmarkt as the hangout where we would expand on our plans. A rack in Redbus, along with great cooperation of NIKHEF and ProServe, formed the first foundation of Coloclue, and then it grew fast with racks in Schuberg Philis, a move from Redbus to euNetworks, switching to Juniper routers instead of PC routers, and back to PC routers; several new bandwidth deals and the use of new racks in DCG, followed by the membership of the RIPE NCC, the power measurement project, and then the move from Schuberg Philis to new racks in euNetworks. All of that was followed by our own connection to the AMS-IX and later the NL-IX. The past years have flown by for Coloclue.
An association, eh? So the board determines what happens?
No! That’s what’s fun about an association. The members are in charge. At the annual general meeting (and through the informal channels for members) we work out how the association will be run. If you have an idea for a new service, want to change something about the network or find the membership fee system too complicated, let us know. If you can convince enough fellow members, your plan will be actioned. Coloclue isn’t a commercial company where money rules.
How do I contact other members?
The members have access to an IRC channel (#coloclue on IRCnet) and a mailing list (colo@coloclue.net). Both are only accessible to members. On the IRC channel or the mailing list you can ask other members questions, or of course just chat about beer and IPv6. There’s also an official mailing list for announcements from the board, which you’re subscribed to when you become a member.
Since you're an association, can I run commercial applications on my server?
It’s no problem if you offer services on your server that you get paid for (note: except for shell accounts and other ‘interesting’ uses). But: if there’s a problem with the network and your server is hard to reach or unreachable, the association will never compensate you, even if you run super important commercial stuff on your server. So maybe Coloclue isn’t the ideal provider for you if you need solid guarantees.
Are there any other fun events besides the general meetings?
Of course! Members of the association often meet up for a drink. These meetups are often organized on IRC, so make sure you stay in the channel ;-). There is also an annual barbecue organized by the board.
I don't have/need a server! Can I still become a member of Coloclue?
Yes, you can still become a member without colocating a server. You will only pay the yearly members fee. You will have, just like members with a server, access to the general meetings, the ClueBBQ, Coloclue Presents and other activities of the association. You won’t have access to the data centers, but you will get read-only access to our routers.
Abuse
What's your approach when judging abuse complaints?
When we receive a complaint about one of our members we will try to handle it as best as we can. Often those complaints are nonsense and we don’t to anything with them. The abuse policy of Coloclue aims to minimize the number of complaints we get, because handling those takes time. You can do whatever you want, as long as you make sure we don’t receive complaints about it.
Me and my friends would like a machine so we can start selling shell accounts.
That is exactly what we don’t want. Yes, really.
Can I run an IRC server on the Coloclue network?
No, that’s also not allowed. IRC servers are often targets of DDoS attacks and we don’t want that. Running an IRC client on your machine is not a problem.
Can I send spam from the Coloclue network?
The answer is of course: No! Every member is responsible for their machine and has to follow the written and unwritten rules of netiquette. For our association this means that abuse is not allowed. This is important because we all share IP space: If our ranges end up on a blacklist, we’re all affected.

Of course it’s possible something occurs occasionally, we’ll then ask you to take action as quickly as possible to prevent further abuse. If we receive a lot of complaints about a particular machine, the association reserves the right to disconnect that machine from the network until the issues are resolved.

The network
How do I know how much power my machine uses?
You can login on our monitoring system: https://nms.coloclue.net. Use the login details from service.coloclue.net. You can find your own power and network ports via the top menu.
Can I use IRC at Coloclue or did you block the ports just like $different_provider?
Here you can use the network for what it’s intended. So also for IRC. No ports are blocked. You are of course responsible for making sure our network (yes, our network, it is after all your own network too, since we are an association) keeps functioning, so don’t do anything foolish. Don’t fight on IRC, don’t install open mail relays, and so on.
With which other providers is Coloclue connected?
The overview of our network can be found in the dedicated page.
Coloclue is connected to Atom86, Fusix, TeliaSonera, Fiberring, True, and Level3. That’s quite the collection. They are the transit providers that send our routes to other destinations in the world. Atom86 also provides the primary connection between the two data centers and Fusix the secondary connection.
We are a member of the AMS-IX, the NL-IX, and Astroid where we peer with a lot of other parties. The most up-to-date list can be found here: https://github.com/coloclue/peering/blob/master/peers.yaml. This list is frequently read by our routers to build the correct BGP sessions.
I noticed an 'AMS-IX' button on your homepage! So you're on the AMS-IX?
Yeah, Coloclue is on the AMS-IX since July 16 2014. We have an open peering policy and don’t distinguish between downstream, peering and transit for routing preference. We do however apply strict RPSL filtering to all sessions. If you want to know more about RPSL (Routing Policy Specification Language), feel free to ask the network committee.
If the network breaks, will you refund my membership fee?
No. How would the association pay for that exactly? Our monthly obligations to our suppliers do continue. So even if the network breaks, you don’t get any refund. The association doesn’t have a Service Level Agreement with its members. We’ve said it here before: If you’re looking for solid guarantees, Coloclue isn’t the provider you want.
Does Coloclue have a secondary MX server I can use?
No. The association doesn’t have that. There are members who can offer you a secondary MX server. You can contact members for this through the mailing list or the IRC channel.
Will network outages be solved or will I have to chase after those myself?
What’s most important is that our own servers are hosted by Coloclue too… So if something’s wrong, we’ll notice that very quickly. So we think everything will be fine outage-wise. If there’s a problem, you can of course reach board members via IRC, email and by phone (the phone numbers can be found in the RIPE database).
How do you know everything is still functioning?
The network committee has set up a monitoring system for this purpose that informs us via email and IRC messages about problems with the network or with services. In the spirit of ‘quis custodiet ipsos custodes’ we have, outside of our own network, a second monitoring system that watches everything from there.