FAQ - Cloud Hosting info for VPS customers
Posted by Alan Bowman on 25 March 2011 11:39 AM
FAQ by customers of the eApps VPS service when considering the VM in the Cloud service(You can find the original blog post here: Virtual Machine in the Cloud Frequently Asked Questions)
Rick Lingsch, CEO of eApps Hosting, answers Frequently Asked Questions from customers using the VPS hosting service . . .
Questions and Answers
We began offering the VPS service in June of 2004 using a vendor’s virtualization technology, after using an open source virtualization technology previously. Since 2004 we have made continuous, but evolutionary, improvements to the service. A few years ago Cloud computing came on the scene. Now, many hosting companies claim that they offer Cloud hosting, but it often is more marketing than substance – same old wine, new bottle. We realized that the advent of Cloud Computing was a genuine paradigm shift, offering real improvements in how computing services can be delivered. We therefore undertook a major effort to restructure our entire hosting offering from the ground up. The architecture is now in place, thanks to the efforts of our team and several key vendors. Our first major offering to use this architecture is the Virtual Machine in the Cloud service. We believe that it is a compelling offering for customers of hosting services and is also the “next generation” platform to grow our business.
No. The eApps management team led the entire project to offer Cloud hosting services. We are a stable, profitable, and self-funded private company. One of the key goals for the Cloud project was to implement a new foundation to support the next stage of growth for the company.
Yes. As long as you choose the CentOS OS template that includes “Control Panel (eApps)” in its name you will have a very high level of functional compatibility. We do offer other OS templates for the VM service, but there is no mapping from these since the VPS service only uses CentOS templates.
Yes, the Application Repository is available in the new VM service. You must choose one of the CentOS 5.5 OS templates that contain “Control Panel (eApps)” in the name. The CentOS templates have the ISPmanager control panel that allows you to use and manage the applications we support. Also, applications are offered in 32 or 64 bit.
No. The control panel for the VPS service is provided by the same vendor that provides us the virtualization technology. They can not be separated and since the VM in the Cloud service uses a different virtualization technology we could not carry this control panel forward. To ensure backward compatibility we include the ISPmanager control panel to provide the required functionality.
This is a little more challenging because with the new VM service you can select the quantity of each resource a la carte, cafeteria style. This gives you great flexibility, but does require that you make a choice. To help you with this decision we show you common “bundles” of resources as a starting point and allow you to tweak individual resources. Our user guides provide advice concerning how much RAM (memory) you need since this is usually the most important resource factor. Generally the sources for the application software you use provides guidelines. The best news is that you can adjust your resources at any time, without delay and without penalty. In any case, if you have questions, ask eApps.
Everyone has heard the phrase, “your mileage may vary.” To an extent this is true with all hosting services and our VM service is no different. However, we performed many tests and conducted many hours of analysis and concluded that most customers will pay less for an equivalent VM service than they did under the VPS service, even considering the cost of adding the Backup Space service add-on, which is required to retain backups. There are two primary reasons for this. First, the prices of each individual resource are lower due to more powerful and higher capacity hardware. Second, you can customize the plan to fit your resource allocation needs and therefore are not paying for resources that you do not need.
Yes, it clearly is. This opinion is based on some generalizations. If you buy a product with a fantastic new feature that you never use, you could argue that it is no better than the prior model. Our VM in the Cloud services is not always superior for all customers in all situations. However, it does offer significant features that are broadly applicable. Several of the key improvements are as follows:
1) 64 bit – the new environment provides a choice of 32 or 64 bit versus only 32 bit implementation used for the VPS environment. Benefits of 64 bit vary on an application by application basis.
2) better insulation – the Xen virtualization technology used in the VM service offers much better insulation than the virtualization technology used in the VPS services, as currently implemented. This significantly reduces the possibility that resource over-usage will impact other customers on the same physical server.
3) self healing – the Cloud system will detect when a physical server is down, and automatically restart the virtual machines on a healthy physical server. This can be done because all data is stored on a high speed, high capacity, highly redundant disk storage array.
4) quickly adjust resources – the VM in the Cloud service allows you to immediately change resources, up or down, without approval by our staff. When you increase resources, you do have to make payment, but the resource changes are immediate, allowing you to adjust to changes in demand at any time.
5) speed – our tests demonstrated that in most cases, the VM outperformed the VPS service for processing speed and web page rendering.
Yes, the new VM service uses Xen which uses paravirtualization (hardware). The VPS services uses Virtuozzo which uses OS-level virtualization (software). Xen behaves more like a dedicated server and generally outperforms Virtuozzo. The Virtuozzo technology allows for a higher number of virtual servers per physical server. http://www.wikivs.com/wiki/Virtuozzo_vs_Xen offers a good starting point for further analysis.
No. Customers are responsible for backups with the VM service. We offer a reasonably priced backup service, which when added to the cost of the VM is still generally less than or equal to the price of the VPS service for most customers. Customers are free to implement their own backup schemes, and we will be offering additional backup options in the future.
No, our VM in the Cloud service does not provide access to the Cloud API nor does it scale automatically. We can work with you to provide scalable solutions which might include load balancing and other services, but you will have to anticipate the need for more processing resources and make adjustments to your VM in the Cloud plan. The positive side of this is you will have a predictable billing cycle. Most customers get the best of both worlds – a cloud architecture with predictable pricing. We do have plans to offer a usage billing model, which provides maximum freedom by opening up the API for you to programmatically control your cloud resources. Customers that want extreme granularity of control will want to go with the usage model when available.
No, with the exception of data transfer overages (data transfer in excess of your selected allowance), you will pay a fixed price per month based on the quantities chosen for your custom plan. Data transfer is a little different. You can choose your allocation at a discounted rate, and pay a slightly higher rate for overages. We do not want to cap or suspend your site as a result of a selection of data transfer that is less than what you need.
Yes. We have plans to offer a usage billing model which will give the customer full control over their environment using both an interface and an API. This model is for customers that need to programmatically adjust resources to meet demand, or who need full control of the computing resources.
The vendor of our Cloud system selected a widely used Billing and Hosting management system as their first choice for integration. They made an excellent choice, but it is a new system to us which has been implemented specifically for the Cloud system.
No. We have migration guides and procedures if you want to move to the new VM service. Our policy is also that we will not “double bill” you for a reasonable transition time.
A new account and Virtual Machine need to be created. Our staff will assist you with this, including selecting the quantities of resources for your VM plan. We will also send you instructions on how to do the migration. It will require that you install any application services you need, move or copy your files and program code over, and configure required settings. Our staff will be there to assist you as needed.
Yes, absolutely. Our 24/7 support department staff are trained on the VPS and the VM in the Cloud services and are ready and able to assist you at any time.
The VPS service will be supported for the foreseeable future. We have no plans to discontinue the service. Customers using the service can purchase additional VPS instances from their control panel, or from a store link at http://signup.eapps.com. We will continue to provide maintenance improvements to the applications and VPS environment. However, most of our development efforts are focused on the Cloud services.
Yes, definitely. We now have a Cloud infrastructure in place. We will build on this platform and have many exciting new services planned, including but not limited to additional backup services, security services, applications, network services, system tools, OS templates (including Windows) and much more.
Yes and No. We have introduced a new SPAM filter service from SpamExperts. This is an in-house filter so all email that is filtered through SpamExperts remains inside the eApps network. SpamExperts is a very good quality SPAM filter and they have an excellent road map for improving the service during 2011. The first five domains in a VM that use SpamExperts are free, with each additional domain costing $1 per month regardless of the number of mail users. We will continue to offer Postini as an option. Postini is an excellent SPAM filter. It is a third party solution that requires all inbound emails to be routed through Postini before they enter the eApps network. For the VM in the Cloud service, Postini SPAM filtering will cost $.30 per mail user per month. Your SPAM filter options are available in the DNS manager when you set up your domain.
No, not at this time. Your VM in the Cloud will be assigned a new IP. However, if you have special needs please contact us and we will do our best to assist you in a transition.