What is it
Fred is a 2015 model, tower style, Dell server. It has enough computing horse power to run several virtual machines, which is its job. It is sited in a commercial hosting centre owned and operated by a MAG volunteer.
The machine was bought in the summer of 2015 as part of a general refresh and development push for MAG's online presence. It was loaded with the most recent version of one of the most widely installed enterprise operating families; CentOS Linux version 7. This gives us access to the current stable versions of the same sophisticated server software used by the commercial hosting companies; on hardware perfectly capable of handling our usage for a while to come.
The virtualisation is done using a system called libvirt/kvm. This is the same technology used by Rackspace and others for both their standard virtual hosting and their cloud services; their cloud is built on top of it. This technology would, for example, allow the creation of a mirror of a virtual machine running at one site on another machine, elsewhere, to be fired up in case of emergency. If the plan to repeat this server refresh with a similar machine sited at MAG central comes to fruition, this is exactly what will be done for key services.
Well if you have to ask, then you've not been around MAG for very long ;-)
This machine is named for Fred Hill a riders' rights campaigner who went to jail for his principles and ultimately died there.