dediserve news

What goes into a cloud?

We’ve been working very hard over the last few years in ‘perfecting’ the cloud model (as we define it!).

For us, cloud should deliver very high performance (as high as dedicated servers); it should offer availability and uptime and stability better than a physical server too. Resources should be elastic and scalable and pricing should be simple, inclusive and easy to understand. You should have a powerful API, GUI and Apps to get things done simply and effectively from anywhere, and it should come with good 24/7 support as standard!

We think we’re almost there, but there is always more to be done and we love hearing from clients with detailed feedback and criticism that drives us forward!

Our latest Cloud platform has just gone live in New York, in the USA. We’re very proud of the platform and this latest iteration, and would love to share with you some details on it’s construction!

So, here’s a little ‘cloud recipe’!

The Hardware!

First and foremost, here at dediserve we believe in building true, enterprise grade, no point of failure platforms which we -then- turn into clouds. So, we start with the best servers in the world – HP Blades:

Each individual blade runs two Intel Xeon Processors with lots of cores at 2.93Ghz, has 96GB RAM, 2 local SSD’s for boot and Xen Dom0 and 40Gbps of networking capacity.

In addition, the Blade chassis provides extremely redundant, fully hot pluggable power, cooling, and an array of redundant modules around the back for server management, networking and more.

Stacks of these blades, all with redundant multiple 10Gbps connections out to the internet, management networks, backup networks, NFS storage Networks and SAN networks (to name a few!) connect to our SAN Clusters.

With Fully redundant active:active filer heads and trays and trays of SSD drives, our Storage Arrays provide stable, reliable Storage with excellent performance.

On top of the amazing hardware, we run Xen virtualisation, orchestrated by OnApp, a combination we’ve been using for almost 4 years and one we know inside and out!

Changes and improvements we’ve made in New York will allow us to start delivering Cloud Storage as a standalone service soon, as well as introducing a new Flash / Fusion IO based Storage tier, for customers who have massive IO needs. We’ve also modified heavily the networking for backups, meaning that on demand snapshots will resolve much faster, and we’re checking the possibility of being able to allow daily snapshot schedules again.

Dedicated NFS networking means we can offer very high speed, high performance NFS mounts – ideal for easily sharing data between multiple load balanced servers, for example.

We try to innovate and improve constantly and love receiving your feedback – existing customers should check their emails for our Newsletter which outlines how you can win an iPad for doing just that!

What’s more – check out the current offer – you can buy nodes on this amazing cloud for half price!! http://www.dediserve.com/new-york-cloud-special-50-off-for-life/

Move To The Cloud Today!

If you have shared hosting, reseller hosting plans or VPS with websites on them – this is the deal for you!

Shared hosting and legacy VPS are prone to issues and outages – move to the cloud today!

To help with the decision, we are offering this strictly limited special offer including free management, with every sign-up, let us worry about all aspects of your servers day to day management to let you focus on your core business.

Until this Friday 28th September  Only !

What you get!

* 5 Node Cloud Virtual datacentre
* 10 Intel Xeon 2.93Ghz Cores
* 5GB RAM
* 125GB High Performance SAN
* 62.5GB NAS for Backups and Snapshots
* 100Mbps Uplinks with 1TB Transfer per month
* 5 Dedicated Public IPs

* 1 x cPanel / WHM Full License (normally €12.95!)
* 1 x Free Server Management (normally €79.95!)
* 1 x Free SSL Cert (normally €29.95!)

* Automated and On Demand Backups – included free
* Comprehensive Firewalls and Security – included free
* Monitoring and Alerting (including SMS alerts)- included free
* Manage your clouds from your iOS or Android device!
* Our renowned 24/7/365 support team to set everything up for you and migrate your existing websites!

For the amazingly low price of €150 / £134.99 / $198.75 a month for the life of the server!

But wait… there’s more!

Move now and we’ll migrate you for free!

Any shared hosting accounts, plesk, cpanel, hsphere – you name it!

We’ll move everything for you to your new cloud cPanel solution – at no cost!

* Offer expires Friday 28th of September 2012 at 0000 GMT. T&C’s Apply. Migrations do not apply from other dediserve services. Offer open to new and existing customers. Any questions – ask!

Drupal Cloud to the rescue? Servers, Files, CDNs and Fun!

Cloud to the rescue? Servers, Files, CDNs and Fun! from Asociación Drupal on Vimeo.

The above video is a talk from dediserve customer Alex McFadyen and why they choose to move their busy drupal site demotix to dediserve.

Speaker: Alex McFadyen (@a_c_m)

As cloud based systems get cheaper and more robust, how can we take best advantage of them?

Our site needed to upgrade, servers and storage. We are faced with an interesting problem, LOTS of files from all over the world. How best to serve, store and process them using several web servers without breaking the bank, performance or our site.

Our problem was split into two parts. Servers and Storage. For servers we assessed a few providers (Amazon and Rackspace). For storage we looked at NFS, Mountable block level storage (EBS), API based storage/CDN (S3, CloudFiles) and GlusterFS.

What the talk will cover :
– Our approach, research and conclusions on the servers / storage issue.
– Our testing of the above
– What worked and what you can copy to make your site faster and more scaleable.

What it wont cover :
– Software scaling : Varnish / Memcache / APC – etc, thats a whole talk on its own (barcelona2012.drupaldays.org/sessions/performance-101)
– Server setup (except to say, puppet rocks)
– DB / SQL optimization etc

Spread The Load

Why use Load Balancing?

At its most basic form Load Balancing allows you to distribute requests to multiple cloud servers. This can be web requests for your popular blog, ad network, or social media site or a different protocol like memcache or MySQL. Server Load Balancing automatically provides 2 benefits – increased capacity, and high availability. For increased capacity requests are now sent to an unlimited amount of real servers, instead of being sent to a single machine. Secondly, if one of the application servers is unavailable, the Load Balancer is smart enough to direct traffic to the remaining online cloud servers thereby allowing your website or application to survive individual server failures and deliver high availability.

Dediserve load balancers are based on Layer 4 load balancing which means that requests are distributed at the transport layer such as TCP/UDP transport protocols. You simply specify the port for the load balancer to run on (e.g. 9090, 8080, 9008 etc.)

What’s the cost?

To add a load balancer to your account simply sign up for a half node plan and open a support ticket listing your two web servers and the port on which you want these to be load balanced on.

If you are currently running a single web server, you will need to build out a second web server in order for this to work correctly.

Why Your Server should be in the Cloud

Over the last couple of years, the use of the word “cloud” has been associated with just about every hosting product coming onto the market.This has lead to some real confusion to just what is “the cloud”.

Here at dediserve we define the cloud as simply:

“Spreading your infrastructure needs and requirements across traditional technologies and hardware using virtualisation technologies to provide a higher level of redundancy and availability than was previously achievable”

What that means is “the cloud” is not a re-invention of the wheel, it’s simply a better way ultizing existing technologies in a new way to better suit the modern day needs of businesses and individuals in the internet sphere.It removes the need for your traditional dedicated  server to go down again, whether that be through malicious users or hardware failure or even maintenance, as your actual server information is not stored in a single physical location.

The Cloud as such allows for hardware failure, it even allows for your data centre to completely shut down as your data simply fails over  to available nodes in a completely different data centre.What Cloud technology is actually now providing us with, better than ever before is with true high availability hosting with true redundancy within a price  range that is now available to everyone and every organisation.

Cloud technology is a fast growing sector as more people and organisations start to get to grips on what cloud technology means to them and the financial savings that it brings.The technology itself will continue to improve in terms of how it performs certain actions. But one thing is for certain cloud technology is here to stay and the sooner that organisations and people grasp and utilize its power the sooner they’ll start to see the benefits both in cost and uptime

Talk to us today! about migrating your dedicated server to the cloud.

When do you move to the cloud?

For anyone who runs a website or is looking at running one, there comes a time when you need to decide what hosting package/infrastructure you are going to need.
Getting the hosting set-up wrong at the start can lead to a whole host of issues and problems as your site grows.Whilst shared hosting is fine for most early stage websites, what works for most users now long-term is cloud servers, which gives you the flexibility to simply scale in real time as your site grows.

Basically what a cloud server allows, is instead of having to share your hosting resources with other users, you can get root access to your own server which allows it to be more customizable for your needs, allowing you to make whatever changes needed to optimize your website performance without affecting anyone else or having to verify it with your shared hosting provider before you install any software you might need.

If your shared website is starting to see a lot more traffic or now provides a large part of revenue to your business, you need to start looking at managing that data more closely. With cloud hosting you no longer have to wait for your shared hosting provider to provide back-ups or to reboot the server, to allocate more IP addresses or to manage any aspects of your website hosting, cloud gives allows you to take a proactive stake in a very important revenue driver for your business, for some businesses 100% of your revenue.

It empowers you to take control of all aspects of your site, as put simply:

downtime equals lost revenue

Cloud now also allows you to move away from over reliance on shared hosting companies for your email, why share mail resources with thousands of other users when you can have your own email server, only processing your email ensuring faster response times and better uptime.

And with cloud now roughly same monthly pricing as shared hosting, it now makes as much fiscal sense as it does business sense to start looking at moving your business systems to the cloud.

Building Your Cloud Server With Dediserve

Building your first server is extremely quick and simple. To create your server login to the Dediserve billing portal at https://billing.dediserve.com and select ‘Cloud Machines

On your Cloud Machines overview page, you’ll see your machines listed, these machines are built, they simply represent the products that you’ve purchased. To get started building your server, select your product of choice, in this example – we have two 256MB Cloud machines, we’ll select one of them. On the machine overview page, select ‘Create new virtual machine’ to get started.

Selecting ‘create new virtual machine’ will prompt you for some basic information, such as the servers hostname, the operating system you would like installed, your password, and a range of resource allocation options for system RAM, CPU core allocation and disk space.

In this example, we’re creating a machine based upon CentOS 5.5 x86, using our full 256MB of RAM, 1 CPU Core, and 11GB of diskspace. When you’ve entered the information requested, simply click ‘Create new virtual machine’!

Upon clicking ‘Create new virtual machine’ you’ll be returned to the server overview page with confirmation that ‘Virtual machine has been created successfully’ at this stage, the machine has been sent for provisioning and the deployment will take approximately 5 minutes. During this time the status will remain ‘Pending’ and the lightbulb indicator icon will show inactivate.

Once the machine has been built, the status will indicate ‘on’ and the icon will be lit.
Click on your servers hostname to view advanced controls for the machine.

Restoring Your Back-Ups Using R1SOFT

Following Feedback from the last post on our R1Soft Special Offer I am going to outline the ease of which you can easily restore individual files from your R1Soft server.

First Login to your R1Soft backup server and select the server you wish to restore files from.

After you see all the restore points (the ones with blue cylinders next to them), choose a restoration date (the dates are in the names next to the blue cylinders) and click the “+” sign next to that as well. It will open up /home. Do the same for /home, and you should see the structure of your entire site as it was at that restoration point. Browse using the “+” signs into the different folders to find what you want to restore. Click the checkmark box next to any folder or files you want to restore, and click “restore selected files” on the top right. All of the above is depicted below and highlighted below. In the following image, we are restoring the “imgs” folder in “public_html”:

You will be taken to the last step:

The highlighted lines are described below:

Overwrite existing files: If checked, it will overwrite your newer files with your older files that you are restoring

Encrypt file data over network: If checked, the data will be encrypted through the server for more security. This should be used if private information including credit card, contact information, etc is being passed through the files. It will not cause too much of a delay in restoring if checked, but it will slow it down a small amount anyway.

You can now proceed to click “OK” on the bottom right.

At this point, the software will automatically start the restoration of your files and folders. When it is done, the progress bar will stop moving and it will say 100% next to it.

How secure is your data in the cloud?

Cloud computing is fraught with security risks, according to analyst firm Gartner, but what does the cloud really mean for the security of your applications and data?

 

Here at dediserve we fundamentally believe in transparency and openness. Most clouds won’t tell you exactly where your data is stored (sometimes not even which country!) or the specification or architecture of their platforms. That in itself presents a risk to the end user!

 

 

There are some key areas you need to be aware of to ensure you can rest easy about the security of your data on the cloud:
– Location and jurisdiction of your data and servers
– Isolation of data and networking from other cloud machines
– Firewalling and security of your machines and data
– Backup and Disaster Recovery plans

 

Let me deal with each in turn from a dediserve point of view:

 

– Location and jurisdiction of your data and servers

 

At dediserve, we let you choose the specific cloud platform you wish to deploy on, right down to the datacentre and city / country. Right now, you can choose Dublin, Ireland; London, UK and Dallas, TX, USA. We commit that your data will never leave these locations without you expressly requiring or wishing it. This allows customers in Ireland to remain compliant with Data protection legislation, or customers in the US to avail of European privacy legislation by locating their data in the EU. You can see our current and growing list of locations after this link: http://dediserve.com/why-cloudlocations.html

 

– Isolation of data and networking from other cloud machines

 

Ensuring that no other customer can ‘swipe’ your IP address (spoofing) or sniff your traffic to see what you are up to are critical requirements for the security of your data in the cloud. At dediserve, since day 1, we have implemented extensive security measures, including platform firewalls that prevent sniffing and spoofing and isolate every single cloud machine on it’s own, isolated, secure private LAN. It’s impossible to detect the traffic of another cloud machine, even if it’s running on the same physical hardware.

 

– Firewalling and security of your machines and data

 

In addition to the default platform firewalling and security, which isolates all machines, we provide user platform firewalls, available via our GUI, API and apps, which allow you to specify detailed, persistent firewall ALLOW/DENY rules on a per ethernet interface basis, per server. Rules can be configured by service, port, port range and from source and destination IPs and subnets with full flexibility. This allows you to lock your machines and data down entirely, even to the point of actually running a server ‘offline’ with access only over VPN or our permanent KVM access.

 

 

– Backup and Disaster Recovery plans

 

Here at dediserve, we provide you with the ability to take a snapshot image of your server at any time. These snapshots can be used to roll back your server, clone it, or replicate it at any time. You can also activate the ‘auto’ snapshot option, which will take a periodic snapshot of your server for your backup. This protects against something nasty happening the server, and we tend to recommend customers take snapshots before performing major changes, software or OS upgrades, etc.

 

In addition to the platform backup options, we are open about using only NetApp Clusters for our SAN. With fully redundant SAN pairs handling all disk storage, we can tolerate drive failures, disk tray failures and SAN failures without customer impact (we would need to lose two full SANs before customers would lose access to them). Additionally, the NetApp devices include excellent snapshot capabilities of their own, allowing us to maintain replicated snapshots across our local SAN infrastructure for disasters. Customers can also elect to deploy additional offsite backup solutions, typically based on R1soft, which will replicate your data to another cloud on a near continuous frequency – for the ultimate DR abilities!

 

We take security and protection and integrity of your data very seriously, which is why we invest heavily on the best in class networking, Servers and SAN and people, to ensure dediserve is the cloud you can trust.

Test Drive Your Cloud Server