I currently host a B2B web application on a Windows server with PoundHost. They've been great and the prices are some of the best I can find for UK hosting.
We're now growing and it's important that we have some redundancy. Ideally, automatic failover. PoundHost don't really want to help in setting up failover or supplying a load balancer. I guess it's not their business model.
Ideas I've had are
- Move everything to Amazon EC2. £160/month for less performance
- Get another PoundHost server and 'make do' with DNS failover
- Host a HAProxy instance on a PoundHost cloud server, point to the public IP of two dedicated servers. Each request now requires an extra hop though.
- Two dedicated app servers and two HAProxy server configured with Heartbeat. I have no idea what I need to ask a webhost in order to set this up.
I've personally done the DNS Failover for load balancing, and having www records to multiple IPs with TTL of 0 so it always loads the quickest responding server and it works pretty well and very easy to setup.
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as a first step, I'd recommend HAProxy, with two dedicated instances (dedicated server, high end VMs, ...) sitting behind. If the topology is well chosen, the additional hop should not make much of a difference. Adding HA/heartbeat of course adds to resilience, thus I concur with this being a good idea.
While DNS failover is very easy to set up, you give up some control over what large providers and organisations do with their own DNS caches irrespective of what you want to make their DNS servers believe in terms of TTL and which A records, etc. are the "correct" ones right then.
From what you wrote you already asked the right questions IMHO, any provider you go for (or any company you invite to help you) should be able to advise you on the pros and cons of the respective choices. But it isn't anything that most providers deal with on a run of the mill basis, it is a custom and bespoke solution, so it will cost a bit I presume.
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