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Thread: Newbie Guide

  1. #1

    Newbie Guide

    Does anyone know of a newbie guide for a 1st time colocator? I have rented HL game servers for years and want to take the plunge and own my own machine. I am at a loss on the mechanics of administering the server remotely, setting up the multiple IP's, just about everything. Does a colocation provider even provide a ftp service or do I need to install a ftp server on the machine myself? Lots of unanswered questions. I am planning on using Win2000 Pro since I already own it. I didn't see any FAQ's on the forums. Thanks and please be gentle

  2. #2
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    Sounds like you'll need a fully managed co-location, one that will handle all of this for you.

  3. #3
    Well I'm in no hurry. I would prefer to learn the ropes. I think I know a lot of peices of the puzzle, just not how to put them all together. If I have to google my butt off to find all the answers I will. I just was hoping someone might have put together a rudimentary summary of the whole process.

  4. #4
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    You may want to get a book on Windows server administration.

  5. #5
    Thanks. That sounds like a great idea. Will do.

  6. #6
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    I think you should start with a cheap dedicated server and learn with it. Or setup a local network at home and try to setup your server. If you choose a dedicated server it will be installed with ftp, web server, etc. If you choose to colocate you need to buy your server and install everything yourself.
    :: Martin Leclair
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  7. #7
    Originally posted by IRCCo Jeff
    Sounds like you'll need a fully managed co-location, one that will handle all of this for you.
    Do you know of any good fully managed colocation solutions? I am in the same boat -- newbie that is considering colocation. I have no prior server management experience, so I really need the colocation company or a third party to provide fully managed services. I was under the impression that only dedicated server providers offered fully managed services, and that colocation meant you are on your own.

    My ideal scenario: I own all the hardware, but someone else provides all the server management support & service, including setup, troubleshooting, replacing hardware failures, adding new servers, etc.

    Any suggestions/references on who can provide this level of service on servers that I will own?

  8. #8
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    My ideal scenario: I own all the hardware, but someone else provides all the server management support & service, including setup, troubleshooting, replacing hardware failures, adding new servers, etc.

    It's a possible scenario but you will end up paying a lot if you have a problem and you will need to ship replacement hardware or store it on site in case something fails. I personally think that you are better to choose a dedicated server since a lot of things you need are included with dedicated servers (hardware support, hardware replacement, physical installation, etc.) As I said, you can choose to colocate and outsource all the management, but I think you will end up paying more than if you go dedicated and get a lot of services that you need included in the offer.

    Regards,
    :: Martin Leclair
    :: Linkedin Profile

  9. #9
    Ok , I did google by butt off yesterday looking for answers. And I came across Windows Terminal Services. And how a "light" version of it comes with XP Pro for remote access. I have a small home network (3 static ip's) and have XP Pro on 2 of the machines. I enabled it and was able to access the machine thru the internet (not the lan). It seemed to me that I would be able to do everything I would need to remotely administer a game server. I would just have to preconfigure a FTP server before I sent the machine off for colocation. Also, I read that Win 2003 Server comes Terminal Service and I that OS would also allow me similar access to the server. But it would be a lot cheaper to pay $200 for a XP Pro upgrade than $600 for the 2003 Server edition. As this machine is only a game server machine, I doubt there would ever be more than 100 people connected to it at one time. My thinking is I could get away with XP Pro for the OS as I have no plans to run a web server off the machine. Comments anyone?

    Btw, I'm impressed with how nice everyone is on this board. Thanks for all the help.

  10. #10
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    The Windows remote administration features are certainly beneficial, but if you are going to co-locate Windows servers I suggest that you do so with a provider who offers KVM-over-IP either attached to your box all the time, or available upon request, in case a configuration mistake or software problem causes the server to be basically functional, but the terminal service is unreachable.

    Few things are more frustrating than walking an inexperienced technician through configuration or trouble-shooting steps over the phone when you are in a hurry.

    Regarding Jeff Lyons' fully managed co-location suggestion, I agree that you would benefit from a co-location shop that has experience with Windows server administration and is willing to put their expertise to work for you (even though there will probably be fees for this when it is needed.) I would not use a vendor that doesn't have their own staff available 24x7, though. If they need to rely on facility remote hands (e.g. Equinix) people or page someone who may need to drive for an hour to reach your equipment, that will undoubtedly be a problem at some point.

    Jeff, does your company have any staff in Los Angeles? I was surprised to see you offering this "managed co-location" service, although it's entirely possible that I misunderstand your service offering.
    Jeff at Innovative Network Concepts / 212-981-0607 x8579 / AIM: jeffsw6
    Expert IP network consultation and operation at affordable rates
    95th Percentile Explained Rate-Limiting on Cisco IOS switches

  11. #11
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    old sneakers,

    I would stay away from the desktop OS's like XP in a server enviroment. The remote capabilities are not very robust..

    I would go with Win 2003 Web edition if anything.

  12. #12
    Thanks for the advice you guys. A lot of good information there. I'm leaning towards atchoooo's idea of getting a dedicated rental to further my education. The more I read, the more I realize I'm not ready for colocation yet.

  13. #13
    Join Date
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    If you are not keen on spending $600 on Windows 2003, you could also look for a SPLA particapating colo provider that could rent you a license on a monthly basis.
    Jay Sudowski // Handy Networks LLC // Co-Founder & CTO
    AS30475 - Level(3), HE, Telia, XO and Cogent. Noction optimized network.
    Offering Dedicated Server and Colocation Hosting from our SSAE 16 SOC 2, Type 2 Certified Data Center.
    Current specials here. Check them out.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
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    Originally posted by Jay Suds
    If you are not keen on spending $600 on Windows 2003, you could also look for a SPLA particapating colo provider that could rent you a license on a monthly basis.
    can you buy Windows Small business server 2003 standard for webhosting? ($499)

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    California
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    Yes, SBS 2003 standard includes web hosting. The Premium edition adds SQL, FrontPage, and ISA.

    I recommend a strong firewall on a web server. Bad guys like to use good guys' servers to attack other servers, so proper security is important.

    Ordinarily, if a client wants to use SBS to host web pages, I recommend the premium edition, so they have the added layer of ISA (Internet Security & Acceleration) protection, along with proper Windows lock-down. In your case, securing the system properly may be more than you're ready to do just yet.

    I agree with other posters - it's best to get a dedicated rental while you learn the ropes.

    Good luck!!

  16. #16
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    old sneakers,

    It'd probably help more if you could let everyone know what you planned to do with either your own server as that would influence which option and colo or dedicated provider would be the best fit for you.

    In addition to the consideration of a unmanaged, semi, managed colo, or dedicated provider, if you plan on using your server for hosting games again at some point you'd want more emphasis on a low ping backbone as well.

    Also a good server can run you a easy $1k-2k out of pocket, vs. $100-300/mo for a dedicated which also includes all the services you need such as support/bandwidth/space/power/licensing. Your colo costs for a single server often are much higher vs a single dedicated where you're paying more of a premium for your 1mbit of bandwidth and space.

    Colo is generally where you need absolute control over you're server, a certain config that isn't often available from a dedicated provider, or certainty of the servers specs/quality (ie. a true $2-3k Dell 1850 with full redundancy and not a $299 Dell Special stuck in a breadrack). It can also make some sense if you plan on keeping the equipment long term as a purchase, rather than dedicated which is similiar to a lease where you're money is simply gone at the end of your term with no equipment, only the services to show for it.
    Last edited by sshepherd; 05-10-2005 at 07:27 PM.

  17. #17
    Join Date
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    Originally posted by jt2377
    can you buy Windows Small business server 2003 standard for webhosting? ($499)
    No, if you are selling hosting you need a license under the SPLA.
    Jay Sudowski // Handy Networks LLC // Co-Founder & CTO
    AS30475 - Level(3), HE, Telia, XO and Cogent. Noction optimized network.
    Offering Dedicated Server and Colocation Hosting from our SSAE 16 SOC 2, Type 2 Certified Data Center.
    Current specials here. Check them out.

  18. #18
    Thanks for the help ssheperd. Yeah I am expecting to spend $1-$3k for a machine once I feel confident I can handle the thing. I was looking at a building up a Tyan Transport GX28 Barebones Dual Opterons system. And you hit it right on the head. I do plan on keeping the thing long term and would like to have something other than memories to show for it.

  19. #19
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    Windows hosting is actually very easy. Since you already own Windows 2000 Pro, you can use it for practice. I think Remote Desktop is available on W2k pro too.

    This is the list:
    0. You will need to figure out whether your license allow you to host websites. I think if you are hosting your own site only, you won't have a problem.
    1. Fresh install of Windows. Enable Remote Desktop, and you can do everything below through RD.
    2. Get all the updates from MS installed.
    3. Get the book "IIS Security". It happens to be for IIS5 so you can follow the book easily (easier than W2k3/IIS6 users). Also, search for "IIS hardening", "IIS security" in google to get more information. Be careful, don't block the TCP port for Remote Desktop if you do TCP filtering.
    4. Setting up HTTP is very easy in IIS.
    5. Setting up FTP is NOT intuitive at all. Read the help file carefully. I couldn't get this to work until I read the help file. However, once you read the help (and it is not very long), it is easy.
    6. Use a third party email server. I use MailEnable Pro ($200). Their standard edition is free, but you need the pro version for anti-virus.
    7. Install a anti-virus software which is compatible with your mail server.
    8. Install MySQL. I don't even remember how I installed it. (If I had trouble installing it, I would have remembered)
    9. Install PHP. I use the latest version 4. You may consider version 5.
    10. You may want to install a web stats package.

    The most time-consuming part is #3.

    If you end up with Windows 2003, #3 is even harder because the book was written for IIS5, so there will be some differences between the book and IIS6. Do not depend completely on the book. Search the web and read everything about hardening.

  20. #20
    Thanks riverpast. Thats a nice summary. I will print it out and save it. It's a small world. I bought your Video Cleaner software recently to convert my camera's .mov files to wmv's. It's a very nice program.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    Oz
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    Hey Oldsneakers,
    Heres what you should do,
    Once you've found where you are colocating, go to dell and lease a machine from them. Then get their on-site (4 hour) tech support. That way, if your CPU fails Dell will go and repair it.
    Thats what I would do...

  22. #22
    Lol, that's a clever idea. I bet they have some type of clause in their user agreement that won't let you do that. It seems like its too good of an idea for them to allow it.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    Oz
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    Who, Dell or the colocation company?
    I'm betting most colocation companies will let Dell come in and service your server. Think about it, thats one less problem they have to deal with.
    But I could be slammed in the face with a dell clause in the next post

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