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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    220

    Need Advice from Experienced Hosts, Regarding Colocation / Expansion

    Hey everyone. This question is for the veterans, the people who have a significantly large customer-base with hardware of their own in a colo center.

    Specifically, regarding your switch from reseller / dedi to the colo process. I am starting to look into this, because the move will be soon. I am very curious to know, what approach you took moving into colo. I am going to provide scenarios below.

    Basically, I got off the phone with the datacenter I am looking to host servers in. We got prices down for storage, power, BW, and cross connection.

    What I am looking at, is a 20u cabinet. 20 usable slots for standard 1u rackmount servers.

    Now, here is where the real question remains. Should I get, one extremely powerful server with a lot of space, about 10 servers with lower grade processors and approximately the same amount of space, or a combination of both?

    I need a good idea on what hardware I should use, so I can look at setting up these servers and getting cPanel licenses for each.

    What do standard hosts do? I mean, standard shared hosting doesn't require huge amounts of processing power, so yeah.

    I am still kind of confused about this, some tips / advice or words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated, I'm all ears.

    -Sam
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Rochester, MN
    Posts
    916
    This very much depends on your setup...

    Are you running any special applications? What OS, databases, dns, backup, security, mail, web, etc..?

    You should always seperate your application services/server from your databases, dns should also remain on it's own along with a backup solution.

    How many clients/sites and what type of platform do they currently run on?
    Area51.mn VPS, Dedicated & Colocated Servers.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    24,009
    Quote Originally Posted by HC-Sam
    . . . I am still kind of confused about this, some tips / advice or words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated, I'm all ears.
    You need to crawl before you can walk. You're just starting out and need to build a client base, before you're thinking about this level of supply. You could jump to this level after you've filled a few dedicated servers, and have a nice solid cashflow coming in. Otherwise you'll either waste a lot of $$ on unused colo space, or go broke. I'm not trying to rain on your parade. Just be careful not to get too far infront of your business.

    If you're dead set on colo, then take a smaller space commit. You can start with 4U and that will give you space for a few 1U servers. You might need a switch too, so allow 1U for that. Then you have to keep hardware spares, so allow for that too.
    AussieHost.com Aussie Bob, host since 2001
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    California
    Posts
    132
    Just don't forget to factor in software licenses! 1 big server vs 10 little servers might be able to support the same amount of clients, but which one is more expensive? If you're paying for external cPanel licenses for example thats ~50/mo vs ~500/mo. Throw it all down on paper and figure out what the best combination is to leverage cost/benefits.
    "If life doesn't offer a game worth playing, invent a new one"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    1,134
    Datacenter space is expenisve. I agree with Bob, learn to crawl before you walk. Also, when you assume a # of U is usable make sure to take into consideration the amount of power allocated to it and the type of hardware you're going to put in it. You will be able to fit less dual processor servers in a cab than single processor -- most cabs come with 20amps and thats not that much if you're running opterons or xeons, especially multiple processor machines with multiple hard drives.

    Heating is also an issue, make sure to space them out properly. If you're not experienced in this, it may be best to rent your servers.

    Dan
    ---
    Dan Ushman
    Co-founder & CMO
    SingleHop, Inc.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    7,391
    Quote Originally Posted by midphase-Dan
    Datacenter space is expenisve. I agree with Bob, learn to crawl before you walk. Also, when you assume a # of U is usable make sure to take into consideration the amount of power allocated to it and the type of hardware you're going to put in it. You will be able to fit less dual processor servers in a cab than single processor -- most cabs come with 20amps and thats not that much if you're running opterons or xeons, especially multiple processor machines with multiple hard drives.

    Heating is also an issue, make sure to space them out properly. If you're not experienced in this, it may be best to rent your servers.

    Dan
    Indeed those are some very important factors to consider especially power consumption and heating problems for colocating your own servers. I would seek help from professionals, colleagues or anyone with experience in this field to help you decide on this or maybe convince you to reconsider.

    Good luck
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  7. #7
    one step at a time helps..

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    220
    I am not planning to rush into this RIGHT away, and I am aware that once I have a few dedicated servers full then that is when I should consider actually making the switch.

    I am looking for advice / help, and that is all. That is why I made this thread, I don't need to be critisized about moving in prematurely because I know when I am going to actually do it. I wouldn't move in to a datacenter losing $400 a month, I have been working out the figures with my partner.

    The advice you guys have provided so far has been great, and now I have new factors to consider.

    Also, is it hard transferring customers from 2-3 dedicated servers to your own servers? I assume you would have to have all the same software versions and whatnot on each.

    In addition, heres what I plan on running. CentOS, cPanel / WHM, Bind9, sendmail, php (x.x.x), MySQL (x.x), apache, and a few other things.

    Overall, I think I am going to go with a 4u rack at first (good suggestion ... even if it means changing my datacenter). That will allow me to comfortably fit 2 dual xeon boxes and a switch (if i need it) comfortably in my rack, and that should work for awhile.

    I have realized that the datacenter I was looking towards starting off in is not a beginner datacenter. I need to find something smaller first, which relates to 'you have to crawl before you can walk' saying you guys have been stressing.

    It would definitely be cheaper to get a few expensive servers, rather than a larger number of less-expensive servers in terms of licenses and rackspace. After I fill up a few dedicated, I will look to get 2 servers to replace my current ones, and then one extra for new customers.

    Hopefully that all sounds reasonable. Criticism welcome.
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