Feeds

Rackspace cloud prepared for WAR, but Google AE chokes

Cloud providers leave Damon frowning over mirrors

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Webvisions

I already host in a couple of locations in AsiaPac with Webvisions, but have in the past had to abandon hosting in Singapore and Beijing with them because the traffic was too small to justify the costs. Maybe, with some more cost-effective "cloudy" solution I can spend less money and target more locations, or better justify my current locations ...

Webvisions provides a simple monitoring service which in the first instance sends an email when a server stops responding, but Webvisions follows up with a phone call if need be; I've been impressed by their general level of service.

Webvision's calculator indicates that I'd probably need to spend something like £50/m for a small 1GB/1GHz Linux mirror (their prices are in Singapore dollars):

Virtual Machine 1: $50 Setup

  • Base VM with Processor(s) (1 Ghz, 1 VCPU) – $70.00 Monthly
  • VM Memory (1 GB RAM) – $25.00 Monthly
  • SAN Storage (RAID Protected SAS - 10 GB) – $12.50 Monthly
  • IP Addresses (0 Additional) – $0.00 Monthly

  • _________________________________
    Total Setup Fee: $50.00
    Total Monthly Price: $107.50

Note that the set-up charge effectively requires a longer-term commitment than the pay-as-you-go AWS and Rackspace models, where if you're not actually using resources you needn't pay anything. You can provision a new server at any time without delay once the account is open.

The demo/trial system set up for me was the next notch up in most dimensions (faster CPU, more RAM, more disc, more bandwidth) and was definitely nippy.

  • VM Resource Reservation: 1 vCPU, 2 GHz CPU, 2 GB RAM, 50 GB SAN Storage
  • VM Operating System: CentOS 5 64bit
  • VM Bandwidth: 10 Mbps (Shared/unmetered)
  • VM Applications: Tomcat 6, JDK 1.6

As the Webvisions configuration already includes a Tomcat and JDK, I did not install my own as I usually would, but in any case the setup was quick and essentially the same as usual.

I directly logged in via SSH to do everything I needed, no web console required.

The Webvisions install pulled in the least traffic (10GB/m), as expected, though not bad compared to the AWS instance, and at maybe one-third the cost of a dedicated Webvisions Linux host. The shared bandwidth isn't burstable, but for its low fixed cost I can live with that. This is definitely the most enticing from a business point of view.

Management wishlist

What I'd really like is for one simple operation to update/upgrade several mirrors as opposed to me manually working through error-prone steps manually as root for each location. With four or five servers, my current mechanisms are OK, and I don't always update all mirrors with every new micro-version (indeed I effectively beta-test some stuff on quieter mirrors before rolling out elsewhere), but if I was to continue running the eight servers during this test, or even more, I'd really benefit from a semi-automated approach.

Conclusions

I really could cut costs (and possibly energy/carbon footprint) by two times or more if I switched my mirrors to the services investigated above.

Webvisions is the best so far from a business perspective, and Rackspace (UK) did better than expected, though the Webvisions model is slightly less nimble than the pay-as-you-go and online provisioning of AWS and Rackspace.

In any case I'd expect to keep my mirrors spread across several providers ("cloud-of-cloud" style) as Tim Worstall suggests: to be largely immune to events like the recent AWS downtime at the cost of a little more management complexity for me.

What's next

Offloading to cloud storage, when in environments that support it, should (for example) make my systems more robust across restarts and give better performance to end users.

It may also be worth tweaking my code, especially for AWS, to work well with multiple instances behind a load balancer on a single URL. That might at least mask some of the instability issues I was seeing with AWS. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Object storage bods Exablox: RAID is dead, baby. RAID is dead
Bring your own disks to its object appliances
Nimble's latest mutants GORGE themselves on unlucky forerunners
Crossing Sandy Bridges without stopping for breath
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?