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  1. #1
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    What could be better than HSphere for CPanel/Windows hosts?

    I am getting increasingly impressed with HSphere. But I am left wondering... which individual software combinations can CPanel/Windows hosts use to automate their operations i.e. billing, generating warning emails automatically, auto account setup, credit card integration, etc. to attain approximate levels of automation HSphere offers.

    Surely there are CPanel/Windows web hosts out there who offer similar levels of automation without HSphere? (I am willing to ignore HSphere's clustering advantage *for now*.)

  2. #2
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    Modernbill.

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  3. #3
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    cPanel doesn't run on windows.
    Mark Stevens
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  4. #4
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    Tina, I have heard very good things about Modernbill too. However, do you know if Modernbill can be integrated with whm/cpanel to shut down a client's website if he goes over quota OR to send a warning email if he nears his quota?

  5. #5
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    plesk also may be worth your time if your into it
    Computer Steroids - Full service website development solutions since 2001.
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  6. #6
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    hi gilbert, could you please expand on your explanation about using plesk above? does it let you do all that automation that hsphere claims to do? thanks.

  7. #7
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    If you're impressed with H-Sphere, I don't see why you shouldn't opt for that option. Basically, H-Sphere offers complete automation with a single piece of software.
    David

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by officer
    Tina, I have heard very good things about Modernbill too. However, do you know if Modernbill can be integrated with whm/cpanel to shut down a client's website if he goes over quota OR to send a warning email if he nears his quota?
    cPanel does that - no need for modernbill to do it.

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  9. #9
    Greetings:

    H-Sphere provides complete automation. There are a number of "just another control panel systems" like cpanel that do not.

    Yes, you can kludge stuff together.

    But as you add servers, the concept of clustering takes off; and most providers who are in business long enough have more than one server.

    Thank you.
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  10. #10
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    Hi!
    Ugh. Have you ever *used* Mod-dern-bill? I have...and I can tell you...I will never own/rent/lease/whatever it. Ok..maybe it's me...but there is one thing I do not want to make difficult...customers paying bills. Oay. No...I've been forced to use it...and would never force anybody else to use it. No..there to be a better answer somewhere.

    H-Sphere had disappointed me greatly near the start of this adventure..after you use it for awhile...you learn that many promises were not kept with it as well. So much for the promise over redundancy....there is none. You could have twenty servers...and if a customer has pages on server 6 and server 6 goes down...so much for that.

    H-Sphere also suffers from being too complex...and too many things to break...as was demostrated to me both times.

    These are my opinions, though. Your results may vary.

    Bryon

  11. #11
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    I don't think Hsphere claims redundancy like you say. I don't have admin experience with it... only customer level... but... I couldn't help to point this out:

    If server6 goes does, then server6 needs to be fixed. I don't think there is one control panel on the market that could solve this problem.

    This is a hardware issue, not a software one. Software is only as good as your hardware its on.

    If you want redundancy like you speak... you could go for a bladeserver + san solution. This would make server outages almost (almost) a thing of the past.

  12. #12
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    Hi!
    Maybe it was one of those host blurbs I'm_telling_you_this_but_it_ain't_true sort of thing. I was to understand one of the only reasons to ahve several servers in one place is to provide load balancing and/or high availability.

    I did notice the makers never claimed that...but the hosts certainly did.

    Of course, I could've been wrong. I've been wrong once or twice before...

    But not very often- here is a high availabilty claim:
    http://www.cartikahosting.com/Cartik...ting_Solution/

    here's a claim that it load balances:
    http://www.webhostingtalk.com/archiv...d/39237-1.html

    Hmmm..can't find the redundant server claim.

    Bryon
    Last edited by bryonhost1; 07-21-2005 at 12:58 AM.

  13. #13
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    AFAIK most H-Sphere providers take advantage of clustering. While the benefits of this are somewhat limited, it's good when they reboot the control panel server yet the sites remain available.

    H-Sphere apparently also has load balacing capabilities. How many providers (claim to) take full advantage of it is yet to be determined though.

    http://www.psoft.net/HSdocumentation...iguration.html

  14. #14
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    Load Balancing and High Availability are claims from hosting providers using the control panel. Not from Psoft itself.

    There are ways to make a server redundant, there are ways to make diskspace redundant. But again, this has nothing to do with the software it self.

    Well... maybe to an extent, when it comes to actual software/hardware compatibility.

  15. #15
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    Speaking as someone that also uses hSphere, the clustering options are there. And I know how Andrew has his clusters set up. Trust me, he could theoretically lose three of his servers and people would not know about it.

    He could lose his primary DNS, ConPan and Email servers, and the backups would kick right in. No outtages for anyone, no slowness.

    While I don't run the same getup as him, I do have redundent DNS servers. Trust me, that's been a lifesaver for me.
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  16. #16
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    hi bear! btw who is andrew?

  17. #17
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    Hi!
    Bear...if he has true fault tolerance, load balancing and fallover...it has nothing to do with HSphere. I'm not going to argue the point...even P-Soft doesn't claim any of this.

    Hsphere didn't even support a secondary control panel server for awhile...and I'm not even sure it honestly does yet.

    I know many people who found out the hard way that there was no fallover at all...by being down. Content was on server 5 and server 5 is down..no website.

    Here- have a look:
    http://www.psoft.net/promo/index.html

    Nice big list of H-Sphere features:
    No fallover
    No fault tolerance
    No high availability
    No load balancing

    Bryon
    Last edited by bryonhost1; 07-21-2005 at 01:54 AM.

  18. #18
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    Bryon

    If a cPanel server goes down... you go totally offline.. neither email, nor DNS nor web nor database are available..

    However with Hsphere, a server going down would affect only one aspect of your service. In the hsphere setup, DNS is fully redundant (2 DNS servers) while email is partially redundant (relay mail servers - will prevent loss of email in most cases).. No other CP solution even offers any sort of mail redundancy

    Its the responsibility of the host to maintain their servers as to ensure good uptime and a certain amount of redundancy to meet the stated uptime goal..

    The main advantage of HSphere is that its fully automated, clustered and multi-platformed... It is the only such solution on the market and really gives resellers the abilityto sell hosting on different platforms with so many features, and fully automate almost every aspect of it..
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  19. #19
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    Originally posted by bryonhost1

    Hsphere didn't even support a secondary control panel server for awhile...and I'm not even sure it honestly does yet.
    Does cPanel have a secondary control panel server? HSphere doesn't have a secondary CP server and nor does it need one. A CP server is probably the easiest and quickest to restore and is the least critical aspect of HSphere hosting. if the CP server goes down.. all aspects of your hosting service could continue to function. You simply wouldn't be able to access the Control Panel while the CP server is down
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  20. #20
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    Hi!
    True...but it is less than perfect. Remember the email problems we had? I do. Remember the web server downtime/problems others had? I do. Remeber the VPS provisioning problems? I do.

    I'm just saying I came into with certain expectations..and those expectations were not met...it wasn't even close.

    I'll also add that Cpanel is not only easier to setup...it has many more features than H-Sphere does.

    Anybody can have redundant DNS..I do. It doesn't require a great amount of expertise to pull off.

    I can do load balancing through Ultra DNS..and other ways too..that's the next phase.

    I even have Plesk and Helm on Win 2003 to add to the fun.


    Bryon
    Last edited by bryonhost1; 07-21-2005 at 06:55 AM.

  21. #21
    Greetings:

    "H-Sphere had disappointed me greatly near the start of this adventure..after you use it for awhile...you learn that many promises were not kept with it as well. So much for the promise over redundancy....there is none."

    You are right and wrong at the same time.

    You are right that there is no redundancy unless you use load balacning and a netapp or netapp-like solution.

    You are wrong that H-Sphere promises redudancy.

    "H-Sphere also suffers from being too complex...and too many things to break...as was demostrated to me both times."

    We've been using H-Sphere for three years without many things breaking. If you monitor the forums at http://forum.psoft.net/ you will see most users do not have many things breaking often -- if anything, it is rarely.

    H-Sphere does take an investment in learning. But I would rather climb a 10 mile hill that's at a 90 degree angle and coast down 90 miles having fun rather than walking 1,000 miles on a flat surface.

    Thank you.
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  22. #22
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    Originally posted by bryonhost1
    Hi!
    True...but it is less than perfect. Remember the email problems we had? I do. Remember the web server downtime/problems others had? I do. Remeber the VPS provisioning problems? I do.

    Bryon
    These problems have nothing to do with hsphere..
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  23. #23
    I was to understand one of the only reasons to ahve several servers in one place is to provide load balancing and/or high availability.
    there are several reasons to configure your environment with several servers - highly available clustered services is one of those reasons - load balancing is a very effective method of increasing availability, however, load balancing is not a requirement for increasing availability. In a properly configured cluster, you gain availability through redundancy and load sharing of internet resoures (control panel, dns1, dns2, http, email, database, etc) - there is an obvious and distinctive difference in availability if you host all of these services off of a single server, vs clustering them across multiple servers.

    I did notice the makers never claimed that...but the hosts certainly did.

    Of course, I could've been wrong. I've been wrong once or twice before...

    But not very often- here is a high availabilty claim:
    http://www.cartikahosting.com/Carti...sting_Solution/

    here's a claim that it load balances:
    http://www.webhostingtalk.com/archi...ad/39237-1.html


    Load Balancing and High Availability are claims from hosting providers using the control panel. Not from Psoft itself.

    There are ways to make a server redundant, there are ways to make diskspace redundant. But again, this has nothing to do with the software it self.
    One of the key features of hsphere is the ability to achieve "higher" availability through clustering services - this is most certainly a claim and a reality of the control panel itself.

    Load balancing is possible in hsphere and utilizing the NetApp appliance, can load balance hsphere itself onto slave servers

    http://www.psoft.net/HSdocumentation...p_servers.html

    As is the norm with hsphere throughout its development, look for countinued automation around load balancing - with plans for fully automated load balancing characteristics in the next release (or shortly thereafter)

    AFAIK most H-Sphere providers take advantage of clustering. While the benefits of this are somewhat limited, it's good when they reboot the control panel server yet the sites remain available.
    The benefits of clustering are in no way limited, as you are pretty much guaranteed to never have a full outage. Inherent redundant DNS, control panel service separated from other services and the ability to have reseller end user clients spread across multiple web servers. As someone indicated, if "web3 is down, then its down" - this of course is entirly correct (unless of course the web server is load balanced) - however, if you are a reseller client you are hosted on web3 in a cpanel environment, what is the impact to your business? answer: everything is down until that server is brought up. If you are a reseller client in an hsphere cluster and web3 goes down, what is the impact to your business? answer: well email, DB, control panel and dns would all be up and any clients not hosted on web3 would also be fully functional (since you would have accounts spread across all web servers) - this is exactly how hsphere increases availability and is the most significant difference between the other control panels available.

    Speaking as someone that also uses hSphere, the clustering options are there. And I know how Andrew has his clusters set up. Trust me, he could theoretically lose three of his servers and people would not know about it.
    Originally posted by officer
    hi bear! btw who is andrew?
    That would be me

  24. #24
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    The benefits of clustering are in no way limited, as you are pretty much guaranteed to never have a full outage.
    Which, in a funny kind of way, is why I consider the benefits to be limited. Say the database server is down, then my forum would basically be down as well. No big advantage there after all. It's good that things are separated, don't get me wrong, but the benefit of that is still limited to certain scenarios.

    Load balancing and complete redundancy would be far more impressive and I would consider that a huge step forward, but they would come at a cost of course.

    That said, clustering, multiplatform capability and high automation levels do give H-Sphere an edge when it comes to competing with other control panels out there. Yes, you'll say that H-Sphere is not just a control panel, but, IMO, in the eyes of most end users and resellers, that's what it is.

  25. #25
    Greetings Dan:

    Yes, to end users, H-Sphere is just another control panel.

    But to Hosting providers and resellers (who also benefit from the automation), it allows you to completely automate your hosting business.

    At the year 2000 Washington, DC Hosting Exposition, it was brought up time and time again that if you want to survive in shared hosting, you must be completely automated.

    That stated, you can take the easy road (though tough initial planning, research, and learning) with H-Sphere or you can take the hard road creating a patch work quilt.

    Thank you.
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  26. #26
    Which, in a funny kind of way, is why I consider the benefits to be limited. Say the database server is down, then my forum would basically be down as well. No big advantage there after all.
    Dan, as you know, most of our end user clients are application hosting clients - and frankly put, the worse case scenario you described above is exactly why they choose to host with us. Any application hosting customer will tell you that their application is vitally important - however, if downtime occurs (ie mysql downtime) - they really appreciate and demand the services redundancy offered by hsphere - meaning that email is still up and a temporary "site maintenance" page can be put up (some applications do this automatically) on the web server - the bottom line impact to them is - the application is down - but emails are still getting through and the down for maintenance page is being displayed - meaning - they are still in business - if they were hosted in a non clustered environment, and the server they are on goes down - all business activity ceases until that server comes back up - I would say this is a huge advantage over other control panels and hosting environments - especially for users and companies that consider their web services to be critical to operations.

    Ideally, an hsphere provider would have these sorts of fail point servers load balanced - as several web servers share a single database and email server - and the cost of doing so isnt overly dramatic - as they are shared by multiple servers - however, obviously there are additional costs associated with accomplishing this - I think with future releases of hsphere, you will see more and more providers load balancing services like mysql and email - and I would expect a noticable price difference between clustered and non-clustered providers begin to take shape (I would argue this has already begun).

  27. #27
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    Hi!
    Basic round round robin load balancing is not hard at all and quite affordable..even for hosting. Ultradns.net just gets expensive with extended use...ie: more it's used, the more it costs you. The basic costs are minimal..it's just long term-12 months at a time. You only p[ay for what you use above the $6.00/month...and you can keep an eye on it.

    It's quite simple and I'll share next week if it works as they say it does. I just don't have the time right now tp play with it.

    Bryon

  28. #28
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    Any application hosting customer will tell you that their application is vitally important - however, if downtime occurs (ie mysql downtime) - they really appreciate and demand the services redundancy offered by hsphere - meaning that email is still up and a temporary "site maintenance" page can be put up (some applications do this automatically) on the web server
    Sorry, I don't see that as an example of redundancy. It is though a scenario where clustering has a (limited) advantage over the usual hosting solution.
    Last edited by ldcdc; 07-21-2005 at 03:28 PM.

  29. #29
    Originally posted by Yash-JH
    Bryon

    If a cPanel server goes down... you go totally offline.. neither email, nor DNS nor web nor database are available..
    Totally False. We have clustered DNS on Cpanel. And we have the option of a remote Mysql DB server if we so chooses.
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  30. #30
    It is though a scenario where clustering has a (limited) advantage over the usual hosting solution.
    Lets just leave it at we have different definitions of "limited" advantages

  31. #31
    Originally posted by ldcdc
    Sorry, I don't see that as an example of redundancy. It is though a scenario where clustering has a (limited) advantage over the usual hosting solution.
    To add on, it's has an advantage only if it is the case where the server is totally down. In a Cpanel server, if it is just service down, emails and web continues to function as well.

    But yet at the same time it's a disadvantage. If you have 5 web servers sharing a Mysql db, if the DB server is down, you have 5 server of sites being down. Same thing for emails. Of course if you have proper redundancy, fallover etc in place that's another story. But that's not just a factor of the control panel.
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  32. #32
    To take advantage of H-Sphere in it's best form, you need to first split every service then split it again (mail relay servers or router hotdrops being examples). A truly redundant H-Sphere cluster (dual OS) will have 9 public servers, and 9 private "hidden" servers for the redundancy factor. This is above whatever hardware/network redundancy you put in place. That's 18 machines.. and only one of each service (ns excluded).

    H-Sphere has more possibilities when it comes to redundancy. Unfortunately it's nature and reputation gives providers false hopes when it comes to redundancy. H-Sphere helps with reundancy, but it is not the redundancy-enabling feature.

    He could lose his primary DNS, ConPan and Email servers, and the backups would kick right in. No outtages for anyone, no slowness.
    If you lose the CP server, you lose the CP server, end of story. Sure.. backups and/or fixes can be put in place very quickly if you have good techs and good backup implementation. Saying a cp can drop and another one will come right up behind it is incorrect though.


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  33. #33
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    If you say hsphere offers redundancy, you are overstating the benefits of HSphere. Hsphere simply offers clustering. And if you look at how any enterprise network is setup, clustering is always used to ensure better overal reliability. By dividing tasks among servers, management becomes easier, you are never totally offline and restoration of individual services is easier. Problems on one service wouldn't affect the other service ...

    Originally posted by sprintserve
    Totally False. We have clustered DNS on Cpanel. And we have the option of a remote Mysql DB server if we so chooses.
    Well, I was only presuming based on the standard cPanel setup.

    However email is a very critical aspect of hosting as well.. And the ability to keep email up when a web server is down is something I consider very beneficial.
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  34. #34
    A standard Hsphere setup will be not much different from a standard Cpanel Setup so we shouldn't be selective here should we. We should talk fully about full capabilities.

    In a similar vein, we do have secondary MX configured. Also as mentioned, if you have a mail server for 5-6 web server worth of clients, if the mail server goes down, you have a bigger issue. Of course, if you invest in hardware redundancy etc, that's a different issue and that can be done for any other control panels for that matter.
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  35. #35
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    A new Hsphere host would opt for a 3 server cluster while a new cPanel host would opt for a single server setup (in most cases).. cPanel doesn't offer any true clustering capability.

    The difference between a clustered setup and a single setup in a downtime scenario is that an outage in hsphere would be partial but affecting more customers. In cPanel it would be total, affecting lesser customers.

    But the real benefit of clustered services is not in the downtime scenario (which hosts should avoid using levels of redundancy) but in the actual restoration process and management. Restoration of single services can be much faster.. Management would be simplified and easier. But most importantly, problems in one service won't affect the other service. High email service load wouldn't cause issues on website performance and slow database access. In these terms, reliability of clustering is much better
    Last edited by Yash-JH; 07-22-2005 at 12:22 AM.
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  36. #36
    i like cpanel + fantistio

  37. #37
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    Hi!
    Yes..as do so many customers. The next big thing? Cpanel on Windows...IMHO. It will happen...it's just a matter of when.

    Bryon

  38. #38
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    I would honestly choose Helm over any cPanel for Windows product. It would take years before any cPanel windows version matures.. Just look at some of the first releases of Plesk for Windows and other CP solutions..

    cPanel is definately more popular at the moment, but HSphere is definately more powerful at least for resellers and administrators.. I see Hsphere getting more and more popular in the long run, especially since the end-user interface for HSphere has improved substantially and now Hsphere has a fantastico type feature
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  39. #39
    If you say hsphere offers redundancy, you are overstating the benefits of HSphere.
    Redundancy (definition) - to provide alternative functional channels in case of failure.

    What people are missing here is what redundancy means to clients, not to network administrators. Redundancy doesnt necessarily mean load balanced web servers or mail servers (though this is obviously ideal) - A client purchases a service from you - and this inlcudes http service, email service (which are probably the only 2 they are aware of) as well as dns, db, etc, etc, etc) - providing them redundancy means that they are never completely down - ie - even in case of disaster (server failure) - they are still able to do business

    h-sphere redundancy, conceptually, is very similar to the redundancy offered by RAID (RAID obviously mirrors or stripes data across 2 or more drives - clustering spreads a clients services across several machines - obviously not the same thing - however, it should be fairly apparent how clustering offers a client redundancy on their overall service - ie) - meaning that it protects users from hardware failure - just ask any end user hosted in a single server cpanel environment (which lets face it - is most cpanel enviroments) what happens when they have a hard disk failure with no redundancy in place (no RAID, no Clustered Services) - end result is they are completely down - and down for what? 3-48 hours? Redundancy via RAID and redundancy through clustered services helps minimize the impact of this sort of situation. Obviously clustered services on their own arent going to provide load balanced web, db or email - however, it will help protect a client from hardware failure and will help ensure that clients have at least partial service in case of hardware failure.

    And if you look at how any enterprise network is setup, clustering is always used to ensure better overal reliability. By dividing tasks among servers, management becomes easier, you are never totally offline and restoration of individual services is easier. Problems on one service wouldn't affect the other service
    exactly right - businesses simply cannot afford a complete outage - and by definition, clustering services offers users this sort redundancy for their business

    To add on, it's has an advantage only if it is the case where the server is totally down. In a Cpanel server, if it is just service down, emails and web continues to function as well.
    Of course this is true - however, in a clustered environment - 1) the probability of a service going down is decreased and 2) in case of a hardware failure, the impact is minimized
    Last edited by cartika-andrew; 07-22-2005 at 07:31 AM.

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