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  1. #1
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    thegridlayer.com

    I seeing the new Layeredtech service called "the grid layer" , is the hosting market switch to these kind of solutions?
    Last edited by domotre; 11-08-2006 at 10:28 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by domotre
    I seeing the new Layeredtech service called "the grid layer" , is the hosting market swicht to this kind of solutions?
    I have a feeling this is a gimmick - just like the MT "grid"
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  3. #3
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    I just did some reading on AppLogic - the application they are using for load balancing.

    I think this solution is better then MTs, as they really just have a SAN. At least TGL will distribute the load, however, it is really co-location, not a grid.

    A grid divides a single problem up into pieces in order to develop the answer faster.
    • A cluster is not a grid.
    • co-located app servers are not grids.
    • Grids use MPI.

      It's a shame these companies are turning their marketing campaigns into jokes....
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  4. #4
    Well, I just test the gridlayer from LT, what I can say is that:

    • Looks like a VPS, but with the ability to increase RAM, maybe Bandwidth, etc but without the need to order a physical server or move accounts, etc. You can keep the IPs addresses, and add more ram, more space.
    • I test it, the RAM control feature works great, I have 0.0 load average.
    • No need for raid, because the grid stores your data on multiple machines, so no downtime for you and your customers.
    • I’m not sure if your main account goes down (a), and a server (b) comes in replacement, server (b) will have the ips and the same configuration of server (a)
    • I haven’t seen the web based grid application, but you can add appliances on the grid and just pay for the services that you need. So I guess what you can get 20 packages, and then add appliances that you might need for a small fee. (Just pay for what you use).
    • I see this as a main advantage for the following reasons:
    If you want to provide your customers with 100% uptime without worrying of raid failures.
    I have H-sphere control panel, and doing a cluster is expensive, because I need to buy each server for each process plus raid configuration. It is more expensive to maintain also a cluster. With this option I can build my cluster with a little money.

    People may ask, why us Clustering so important? Well clustering offers you greater uptime, and less data loss, plus you have more control over what your customers is doing. With a cluster you can add a www server without having any downtime, or replace ram with any downtime.

    I am not sure if these grids include load balancing, and firewall services. Plus, since the grid is like a VPS, what happens if the server needs a hard reboot? Well guess what? Since the data is mirrored, there will be no problem with this, if the main server goes down, there will be another server to take care of you data, so the old limitations of the VPS doesn’t apply to this new technology.
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  5. #5
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    Is GridLayer a true grid?

    Quote Originally Posted by utropicmedia-karl
    I just did some reading on AppLogic - the application they are using for load balancing.

    I think this solution is better then MTs, as they really just have a SAN. At least TGL will distribute the load, however, it is really co-location, not a grid.

    A grid divides a single problem up into pieces in order to develop the answer faster.
    • A cluster is not a grid.
    • co-located app servers are not grids.
    • Grids use MPI.

      It's a shame these companies are turning their marketing campaigns into jokes....
    Karl,

    I am the architect of AppLogic. I think you are mixing grids with computational clusters, also called "Beowulf" clusters. Beowulf clusters use MPI to divide number-crunching problems into pieces to develop the answer faster. They are NOT grids. The Top500 site lists the 500 largest supercomputers in the world; more than half are clusters, and they call them so.

    I know Carl Kesselman and Ian Foster, the founders of the Grid Alliance and the authors of the Globus toolkit, since 2001. I have shown them AppLogic several times, and they both agree that it is a new type of a grid system - one that runs web applications.

    I also know the guy who invented the very term "cluster". His name is Richie Lary; he is one of the architects of the original VAX Clusters product and a chief storage architect of Compaq (now HP). Richie advises our team on the storage and high availability aspects of AppLogic. He will be the first to tell you that AppLogic is not a cluster.

    The commonly accepted definition of a Grid is provided by Ian Forster in his article "What is the Grid? A Three Point Checklist". The three points of this checklist are:
    • Computing resources are not administered centrally.
    • Open standards are used.
    • Non-trivial quality of service is achieved.
    The GridLayer grid meets all three characteristics:

    - Each customer can administer their portion of the grid
    - The grid is open and compatible with Linux and most existing software
    - The resulting scalability, high availability and ease of provisioning are non-trivial

    See also Wikipedia, which states: "
    Grid computing is optimized for workloads which consist of many independent jobs or packets of work, which do not have to share data between the jobs during the computation process. Grids serve to manage the allocation of jobs to computers which will perform the work independently of the rest of the grid cluster. Resources such as storage may be shared by all the nodes, but intermediate results of one job do not affect other jobs in progress on other nodes of the grid."

    AppLogic and the GridLayer grid clearly fit this definition as well. This is exactly what happens when you run multiple firewalls, load balancers, web servers, database servers, shared hosting apps, etc. on the same grid.

    So, we are not talking about a marketing campaign here.
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  6. #6
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    Vlad,

    Thanks for taking the time to come visit - my background is Computer Science and theoretical math so I enjoy speaking with people about it. Just as a background, I did my thesis on combinatorics heuristics so am familar with the math behind graph design.

    While we know industry tends to take simple academic problems and create

    Karl,

    I am the architect of AppLogic. I think you are mixing grids with computational clusters, also called "Beowulf" clusters. Beowulf clusters use MPI to divide number-crunching problems into pieces to develop the answer faster. They are NOT grids. The Top500 site lists the 500 largest supercomputers in the world; more than half are clusters, and they call them so.
    Agreed, but when they run benchmarks/applications on those machines, they do not serve webpages - they perform discrete computational tasks. Additionally, grid's like Sun's do the exact same thing, in the exact same mannor, and are recognized as grids.
    I know Carl Kesselman and Ian Foster, the founders of the Grid Alliance and the authors of the Globus toolkit, since 2001. I have shown them AppLogic several times, and they both agree that it is a new type of a grid system - one that runs web applications.
    I appreciate you know them. Though do you realize there are several "Grid Alliances" out there? They are but one of the smaller ones. Appreantly, all the big companies are members of this one.


    The three points of this checklist are:

    • Computing resources are not administered centrally.
    • Open standards are used.
    • Non-trivial quality of service is achieved.
    Anyone can write an article and create a definition; I would disagree with that list.
    Open standards would not allow for a particular vendor to have a competitve advantage, and though it may be nice in a perfect world, there are many examples of closed technology outperfomring open standards. (SGI?)

    See also Wikipedia, which states: "
    Grid computing is optimized for workloads which consist of many independent jobs or packets of work, which do not have to share data between the jobs during the computation process. Grids serve to manage the allocation of jobs to computers which will perform the work independently of the rest of the grid cluster. Resources such as storage may be shared by all the nodes, but intermediate results of one job do not affect other jobs in progress on other nodes of the grid."
    How exactly do the SQL servers fit into the model? according to the above definition, the each discrete node would have to consist of it's own SQL instance and dataset, to be considered a grid - the only way to make each node and request independent. From your collateral, AppLogic does not provide that, or am I missing something?

    AppLogic and the GridLayer grid clearly fit this definition as well. This is exactly what happens when you run multiple firewalls, load balancers, web servers, database servers, shared hosting apps, etc. on the same grid.
    The only way AppLogic would meet that is if:
    • There is a basic unit of work defined in the system
    • Each node has full, independent resources, local to the node, to perform a unit of work.
    Kind Regards,
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  7. #7
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    Bah - vB timed out on me so the last post is "best-effort"
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  8. #8
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    Grids, grids and grids

    Karl,

    Ah, now we have the start of a real discussion. You are absolutely right that the term "grid" is increasingly being defined by the industry rather than by academia. So I agree with you that the old academic definitions are no longer valid (and I have told Ian so).

    Within the industry, the word "grid" has increasingly come to mean "an aggregation of commodity computers that function as a single, easily scalable system". For example:

    - Oracle uses it in this sense in their 10g architecture.
    - IBM speaks about a grid architecture for the WebSphere application server.
    - Data Synapse, ActiveGrid and Appistry use it for scalable application servers
    - Exagrid uses the term for a scalable storage system.
    - Many people have identified the Google architecture as a grid.

    3Tera uses the word grid for a scalable system that runs web applications, both transactional and I/O-intensive.

    The common theme about the modern usage of the word "grid" seems to be:

    - built from commodity servers and networks
    - shares storage/processing/IO resources among multiple parallel tasks
    - scales easily to hundreds and thousands of servers
    - handles hardware failures transparently

    So, in this context, a grid that runs web services and web applications is not even new. The problem with all of the existing grid architectures is that they require you to rewrite or significantly modify your application for the grid. This is very expensive and risky, and so there aren't many takers.

    AppLogic is different in that it allows you to deploy, run and scale existing applications on a grid without modifications. This works for anything from simple virtual servers all the way to complete N-tier applications.

    So, what we have here is a grid that runs and scales the majority of commercially interesting applications right out of the box, handles hardware failures automatically and without losing data, and is easy to manage.

    Looks like something of value to me :-)
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Latin_Carrier
    Well, I just test the gridlayer from LT, what I can say is that:

    • Looks like a VPS, but with the ability to increase RAM, maybe Bandwidth, etc but without the need to order a physical server or move accounts, etc. You can keep the IPs addresses, and add more ram, more space.
    • I test it, the RAM control feature works great, I have 0.0 load average.
    • No need for raid, because the grid stores your data on multiple machines, so no downtime for you and your customers.
    • I’m not sure if your main account goes down (a), and a server (b) comes in replacement, server (b) will have the ips and the same configuration of server (a)
    • I haven’t seen the web based grid application, but you can add appliances on the grid and just pay for the services that you need. So I guess what you can get 20 packages, and then add appliances that you might need for a small fee. (Just pay for what you use).
    • I see this as a main advantage for the following reasons:
    If you want to provide your customers with 100% uptime without worrying of raid failures.
    I have H-sphere control panel, and doing a cluster is expensive, because I need to buy each server for each process plus raid configuration. It is more expensive to maintain also a cluster. With this option I can build my cluster with a little money.

    People may ask, why us Clustering so important? Well clustering offers you greater uptime, and less data loss, plus you have more control over what your customers is doing. With a cluster you can add a www server without having any downtime, or replace ram with any downtime.

    I am not sure if these grids include load balancing, and firewall services. Plus, since the grid is like a VPS, what happens if the server needs a hard reboot? Well guess what? Since the data is mirrored, there will be no problem with this, if the main server goes down, there will be another server to take care of you data, so the old limitations of the VPS doesn’t apply to this new technology.
    Unlike VPS, each grid server has it's own copy of Linux, so you can configure and install software whichever way you want.

    You can resize RAM, CPU and disk size dynamically, w/o migrating or losing data.

    All of your configuration, including IPs, etc. is independent of any specific physical server, and will survive server crash and/or replacement. In fact, TGL can migrate you from one grid to another on the fly and you will not notice it.
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  10. #10
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    It's interesting, nowhere on the site does it give you any indication of what type of CPU performance you can expect.

    I've actually very confused by the pricing, it seems to have the pricing models of normal dedicated servers, but in the features it says that cost is based on usage.
    " * Predictable cost, based on usage"
    but, then is says:
    "Unlimited CPU and server use which means lower cost and greater ROI."

    From the descriptions on the site, it sounds like it would be priced like amazon's EC2, which is based on bandwidth and cpu time, (priced down to the hour of cpu and gig of bandwidth) but, with TGL, it seems I can only purchase "packages"

    It sounds like this is not for me (who runs one large site on 10 machines, which aren't busy most of the time, but need the capacity for busy times of the day) and is more for a hosting company that runs many sites that needs to dynamically partition them as sites grow. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
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  11. #11
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    Hello for anyone interested we will be having a WebEX demo this evening of Gridlayer and its features. Please feel free to join as at the details listed below. There will be a limit of 20 people and we will likely hold another one next week.

    http://3tera.webex.com
    Date: Friday, November 10, 2006
    Starting time: 5:00 pm, Pacific Standard Time (GMT -08:00, San Francisco)
    Meeting number: 804 158 857
    Meeting password: None

    Teleconference
    (800) 977-8002
    Pin # 890517

    We will be able to demo the features of TGL and take questions.

    Thanks,

    Jeremy
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  12. #12
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    Oh, I'd like to go, but bad timing for me.

    Can someone fill us in how it went?

    I'm still curious about the CPU info on these packages.
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  13. #13
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    This all sounds very interesting, but for me, the average webhoster, very confusing.

    Lets say I currently have a Dual Xeon 2.4Ghz / 2GB / 2*73GB server. CPU load is arround 0.2 at night and 2.0 at peak hours.

    a. What package would I be needing?
    b. What would the total monthly costs be? There are some packages listed, but not 'unit prices'..prices per Mhz, MB ram or HDD. And if I understand correctly, that is the power of this system: Being able to fit your requirements exactly?
    c. How flexible is this? Would I only pay for the exact number of CPU-units I use? In other words: Would I pay less at night than I would do during peak hours?
    Would I be able to 'peak' CPU resources if other people in the grid do not use any? Would it cost extra?
    d. Does the system emulate a physical machine, like a VPS? Would I get access to a server that looks just like a normal machine, to which I have root access, and I can run my own scripts and tools? Would I be able to compile and use my own kernel?

    In a couple of months I need to move a popular website to a new host, and I must say that this sounds extremely well-suited for me. But I do need some more clarity in how it works. Maybe even a demo login, or simple demo movie of the interface or something. Right now it all is very vague
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  14. #14
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    thanks for the con call Jeremy.

    Very interesting...
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  15. #15
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    this is damn interesting. Just hope it is as reliable as Amazon EC instead of the MT Grid
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  16. #16
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by VladMiloushev
    Unlike VPS, each grid server has it's own copy of Linux, so you can configure and install software whichever way you want.
    As for all the stuff about grids it's beyond me but I keep a "play" VPS with a company I have a long history with just to try stuff-break things etc. without utilizing an entire server and I was able to use the *nix flavor of my choice as well as all other software versions, so maybe some people do VPS different than others
    New Idea Hosting NO Overselling-Business-Grade, Shared Only! New-In House Design Team.
    High Speed & Uptime; , DIY Pro-Site Builder-Daily Backups-Custom Plans, All Dual Xeon Quad Intel servers w/ ECC DDR3 RAM SCSI RAID minimums.
    We Concentrate on Shared Hosting ...doing one thing and doing it VERY well
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  17. #17
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    Oh, I found a demo of their virtualization interface

    http://www.thegridlayer.com/images/f...logic-demo.swf

    Looks like you can create some pretty complex systems, but still no word on cpu or performance of the whole thing. To me, it's pointless to have your whole system virtualized and redundant if it's too slow.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by digdugdog
    Oh, I found a demo of their virtualization interface

    http://www.thegridlayer.com/images/f...logic-demo.swf

    Looks like you can create some pretty complex systems, but still no word on cpu or performance of the whole thing. To me, it's pointless to have your whole system virtualized and redundant if it's too slow.
    I don't think making performance claims serves any purpose. You should check the performance yourself - LT is giving out free eval grid servers.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by VladMiloushev
    LT is giving out free eval grid servers.
    Are you sure about that? I mailed for some extra info and a possible demo about two days ago - no word back yet.
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  20. #20
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    I emailed a few days ago, no reply.

    I don't think making performance claims serves any purpose.
    Performance matters a lot for some people. There is a reason people pay more for faster machines.

    Amazon EC2 at least gives a comparable measure for their virtual machines:

    "Each instance predictably provides the equivalent of a system with a 1.7Ghz x86 processor, 1.75GB of RAM, 160GB of local disk, and 250Mb/s of network bandwidth."
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by digdugdog
    I emailed a few days ago, no reply.



    Performance matters a lot for some people. There is a reason people pay more for faster machines.

    Amazon EC2 at least gives a comparable measure for their virtual machines:

    "Each instance predictably provides the equivalent of a system with a 1.7Ghz x86 processor, 1.75GB of RAM, 160GB of local disk, and 250Mb/s of network bandwidth."

    Hello,

    Our current TGL-2400 can provide a equalivent min 2.4ghz CPU to 2.8ghz range of CPU per node with 128MB to 2GB (1.90GB) of RAM per node available (The CPU per node can be cut down to 1/10 per appliance). There is also the ability to have upto a 240GB high availability storage slice on each node. The next TGL grid we release will be able to double this power per host and it should be released in the next 30 days and clients from the first grid will be able to migrate their appliances between the various versions of the TGL as upgrade paths.

    Any appliance can take the full resources of one of the 32 nodes or can be setup to use more then one if properly designed via the editor or other tools. We will be holding another WebEX next friday and I highly suggest you watch it as it will answer many questions and show you the full power of the TGL.

    I am sorry if we did not get back to you quickly via the email request. We have been swamped with people requesting information and demos of the stand alone GSC appliances.

    Thanks,

    Jeremy
    Last edited by Cirrostratus; 11-12-2006 at 02:30 PM.
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  22. #22
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    Some other info. Each host on the TGL is also linked to our front end network with a dedicated 100mb/s and also has a second 1000mb/s link for host to host communication on the TGL. All appliances running on the grid have a default link of 100mb/s to the front end network. The bandwidth throughput can also be scaled per appliance.

    Here is the 'grid info' on one of our current 3 grids.

    Grid Name : GridLayer01
    Grid Description : Layered Technologies TGL01
    AppLogic Version : 1.2.3
    Total Servers : 32
    Servers Running : 32
    Servers Enabled : 32
    Applications Running : 16
    Total CPUs : 32.00
    Free CPUs : 23.86
    CPU Load : 1.13
    Allocated CPUs : 8.14
    Total Memory : 60384.00 MB
    Reserved Memory : 687.00 MB
    Free Memory : 42481.00 MB
    Allocated Memory : 17216.00 MB
    Total Bandwidth : 64000.00 Mbps
    Free Bandwidth : 63972.70 Mbps
    Allocated Bandwidth : 27.30 Mbps
    Total Disks : 32
    Total Storage : 7113507.70 MB
    Reserved Storage : 1600.00 MB
    Free Storage : 6273620.52 MB

    Thanks,

    Jeremy
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  23. #23
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    Thanks Jeremy, that already clears up a lot

    Say I would go for the '60' package, install a webserver and run my site off it. That should run fine with 2.4Ghz / 512MB ram.
    However my site gets slashdotted...it would require a lot of extra CPU and memory resources. How would I proceed, and what costs are involved?
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  24. #24
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    Performance matters

    Quote Originally Posted by digdugdog
    I emailed a few days ago, no reply.



    Performance matters a lot for some people. There is a reason people pay more for faster machines.

    Amazon EC2 at least gives a comparable measure for their virtual machines:

    "Each instance predictably provides the equivalent of a system with a 1.7Ghz x86 processor, 1.75GB of RAM, 160GB of local disk, and 250Mb/s of network bandwidth."
    Sorry, Digdugdog, I did not express myself clearly. Of course performance matters. What I meant was that performance claims have little value - better to get an eval and test it yourself.

    Vlad
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  25. #25
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    I think there are two ways to use LayeredTech's Grid system. First is like a traditional VPS where a generic AppLogic "container" runs an OS and a control panel. One can SSH into that container and install / customize software (Apache, MySQL, email MTA etc) within it. In this case the VPS container only runs on one grid server, and its maximum performance is limited by that particular server's resource (CPU, RAM, etc).

    The second (and better) way is to "tear apart" the traditional VPS and put individual web components into different AppLogic containers. For example, there should be multiple Apache servers that run on different grid servers. Another container will run the MySQL server, and yet another run the email MTA. Then the entire system could be scale up or down as needed. This is probably the intended use for the grid, and most suited for large-scale projects.

    For someone who already has 100+ clients on a traditional VPS or dedicated server, switching to the grid using the first way is easy - no different than moving to a new dedicated server or VPS. The second way (in which the VPS is "teared apart") might be more difficult. I imagine with so many clients, some PHP scripts will need to be coaxed into working through multiple servers (MySQL on a different server than Apache, for example).

    I also noticed the small memory allowance given by the GridLayer packages. The 10 and 20 packages only have 256MB RAM. If I split off a minimum Apache-MySQL setup into two Apache containers and two MySQL server containers, then each will have only 64MB of RAM. That is not enough to run an OS plus an application (Apache or MySQL). Perhaps those two packages are meant to run everything within one single container like a traditional VPS.

    Please correct me if I am mistaken.
    Last edited by Yikes2000; 11-13-2006 at 02:19 AM.
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  26. #26
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    How to use The GridLayer

    Quote Originally Posted by Yikes2000
    I think there are two ways to use LayeredTech's Grid system. First is like a traditional VPS where a generic AppLogic "container" runs an OS and a control panel. One can SSH into that container and install / customize software (Apache, MySQL, email MTA etc) within it. In this case the VPS container only runs on one grid server, and its maximum performance is limited by that particular server's resource (CPU, RAM, etc).
    Correct. This gives you a familiar VPS-like system, but one that is highly available. It will come back online automatically in 3min or less after a server fails (less than 2 min in the case of a software crash). It is also easy to scale in RAM, CPU and disk space.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yikes2000
    The second (and better) way is to "tear apart" the traditional VPS and put individual web components into different AppLogic containers. For example, there should be multiple Apache servers that run on different grid servers. Another container will run the MySQL server, and yet another run the email MTA. Then the entire system could be scale up or down as needed. This is probably the intended use for the grid, and most suited for large-scale projects.
    You are thiking in the right general direction - but it is way simpler than that. Instead of "tearing apart" the traditional VPS, AppLogic allows you to assemble discributed clusters from prepackaged infrastructure. For example, last week, 3Tera demonstrated on ISPcon the first scalable cPanel cluster. It consists of a firewall, load balancer, static content cache, up to 8 Apache web servers, a NAS box and a MyQSL database appliance. All of this is running on the grid and is controlled by a single cPanel instance. So you can manage the whole cluster exactly the same way you manage a single server today. This is now in Beta, and should be available from Layered in a few weeks.

    Once it ships, you will be able to order from TGL a prepackaged cluster like this the same way you order a grid server today. You will be able to start using it immediately to host existing sites. It will run on the same grid, side by side with grid servers, with the same high availability, but it will also load balance and scale up to about 10 servers (in the first version). If there is enough interest, we can get this to 32+ servers pretty soon.

    We are working with Layered to bring other pre-packaged "on-demand clusters" into TGL. Stay tuned...


    Quote Originally Posted by Yikes2000
    For someone who already has 100+ clients on a traditional VPS or dedicated server, switching to the grid using the first way is easy - no different than moving to a new dedicated server or VPS. The second way (in which the VPS is "teared apart") might be more difficult. I imagine with so many clients, some PHP scripts will need to be coaxed into working through multiple servers (MySQL on a different server than Apache, for example).
    Nope - scripts work without modifications. You can migrate your existing accounts from a VPS to a cPanel cluster exactly the same way you migrate them from one server to another today. However, once you have them on the cluster, you will not have to migrate them any more (more about this later)

    Quote Originally Posted by Yikes2000
    I also noticed the small memory allowance given by the GridLayer packages. The 10 and 20 packages only have 256MB RAM. If I split off a minimum Apache-MySQL setup into two Apache containers and two MySQL server containers, then each will have only 64MB of RAM. That is not enough to run an OS plus an application (Apache or MySQL). Perhaps those two packages are meant to run everything within one single container like a traditional VPS.
    This is not a problem. The 10 and 20 packages are entry packages for those on a tight budget. Keep in mind that you can start with a 10 package and upgrade it all the way up to a 100 or even 200 package without having to touch your accounts - AppLogic will just add RAM and CPU to your existing grid server on the fly. You can also resize your disk volume dynamically and get more storage without having to copy files.

    More importantly, as you move from a on-demand server to an on-demand cluster, you gain the ability to scale well beyond a single physical server. For example, with the cPanel cluster I described above, you can scale all the way until EACH of the Apaches and the MySQL server are 2GB or RAM/100% CPU, and so on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yikes2000
    Please correct me if I am mistaken.
    You are not mistaken - you are just not allowing yourself to think freely about what you want and need :-) The technology is ready for this. Unfortunately, the few infrastructure vendors who have the expertise to build things like this are addicted to selling $100,000 boxes to Fortune 500 enteprises. Google did it smart and using commodity hardware and open source software, but they don't want to share their technology with the rest of the market. We started 3Tera two years ago to make this kind of grid technology available to everyone.
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  27. #27
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    So, basically, this is a control panel for xen vpses? Please let us know when you have anything up on virtuozzo performance other than your visio control panel.

    I have my dns hosted on a different box, am i on a grid too? I've got sites hosted on plesk expand with external mysql/mail boxes.

    Your 'discributed' descriptions are implying 'from prepackaged' answers that this is a vps system and nothing more.

    Correct. This gives you a familiar VPS-like system, but one that is highly available. It will come back online automatically in 3min or less after a server fails (less than 2 min in the case of a software crash). It is also easy to scale in RAM, CPU and disk space.
    not a grid. even with the most draconian 'grid' definition available, it should just assign further incoming requests to other independent resources. This sounds like when a vps company does disaster recovery.

    AppLogic will just add RAM and CPU to your existing grid server on the fly. You can also resize your disk volume dynamically and get more storage without having to copy files.

    More importantly, as you move from a on-demand server to an on-demand cluster, you gain the ability to scale well beyond a single physical server. For example, with the cPanel cluster I described above, you can scale all the way until EACH of the Apaches and the MySQL server are 2GB or RAM/100% CPU, and so on.

    You are not mistaken - you are just not allowing yourself to think freely about what you want and need :-) The technology is ready for this. Unfortunately, the few infrastructure vendors who have the expertise to build things like this are addicted to selling $100,000 boxes to Fortune 500 enteprises. Google did it smart and using commodity hardware and open source software, but they don't want to share their technology with the rest of the market. We started 3Tera two years ago to make this kind of grid technology available to everyone.
    blahblah. welcome to virtuozzo and sun containers and xen (which your control panel is slapped upon) and uml and vserver features from years ago.
    Last edited by shango; 11-14-2006 at 04:41 AM.
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  28. #28
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    Shango, thanks for the posting. It is obvious that you have deep knowledge in virtualization and grid computing. Let me see if I can address your issues in a concise way:

    Let's start from Sun containers. Rich Green was the VP of Sun in charge of Solaris until two years ago, when he did a short stint at Cassatt. Rich is now back at Sun running all their software products. A few months ago, Rich did due diligence on AppLogic for Bill Coleman, and gave me the following quote: "This is the most exciting thing I have seen in the last 10 years". Apparently, Rich missed something that is obvious to you.

    Next, let us turn to Virtuozzo. In May of this year, I spent most of a perfectly good weekend with Serguei Beloussov, who owns and runs SWsoft, comparing the two products and deciding if we should consider each other competitors or potential partners. We concluded that while both Virtuozzo and AppLogic use virtualization, the two products target mostly different customers, provide different values and are not really competitive (although there is some overlap). I will let Serguey know that we should have asked you and spare ourselves the embarassment.

    Let's talk about Xen next. As you know, the two major contributors to the Xen project are IBM and Intel. The guy responsible for Xen at Intel is Richard Wirt, VP and head of Intel's Software Group. Richard has 40 full-time software engineers working on Xen. Don Ferguson is the Chief Architect of IBM's Software Group. Both Richard and Don are enthusiastic supporters of AppLogic and consider it the first of the next generation of datacenter infrastructure. Don, BTW, is one of the 100 or so IBM Fellows, which is the top engineering title at the Big Blue. I will let both Richard and Don know that their jobs are now in danger - a real expert is in town.

    I wonder why you did you spare us the most obvious comparision: VMWare. You know, THE golden standard in virtualization? The company that receives 70% of all dollars spent on virtualization products? The one that Xen and the others emulate? In fact, hosting providers and enterprises who have tried to implement grids based on VMware are our best customers -- they seem to understand without many words exactly how AppLogic is different.

    Could it be... you haven't heard of it? No way!
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  29. #29
    This looks very promising. Once the cpanel setup you referred to is released that will be a huge hit. I have been waiting a long time for something like this.
    Eleven2 Web Hosting - World-Wide Hosting, Done Right!
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  30. #30
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    PostgreSQL?

    Hi Vlad,

    Can PostgreSQL be used in place of MySQL in AppLogic?

    I'm not sure how you're doing high-availability MySQL...

    How do you implement storage access? Is it a SAN or a distributed/parallel FS, or something else? Does fsync() work as it should?

    Thanks.
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  31. #31
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    Vladimir,

    Don't mind the ignorant. Some people will open their mouths to remove any doubt that they don't know what they are talking about. :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by VladMiloushev
    ... For example, last week, 3Tera demonstrated on ISPcon the first scalable cPanel cluster. It consists of a firewall, load balancer, static content cache, up to 8 Apache web servers, a NAS box and a MyQSL database appliance. All of this is running on the grid and is controlled by a single cPanel instance. So you can manage the whole cluster exactly the same way you manage a single server today. This is now in Beta, and should be available from Layered in a few weeks.
    Is CPanel the only control panel right now that works with on-demand clusters? TGL currently offers CentOS plus CPanel or DirectAdmin on their grid servers. Will the on-demand cluster further restrict it to CentOS plus CPanel? It also appears to me that a control panel is required to manage a cluster, otherwise it would be too cumbersome (reloading Apache config or monitoring Apache).

    Quote Originally Posted by VladMiloushev
    Once it ships, you will be able to order from TGL a prepackaged cluster like this the same way you order a grid server today. You will be able to start using it immediately to host existing sites. It will run on the same grid, side by side with grid servers, with the same high availability, but it will also load balance and scale up to about 10 servers (in the first version). If there is enough interest, we can get this to 32+ servers pretty soon.
    Question - once a cluster is running, could I add more appliances without restarting it? From the TGL demo I saw, it looks like the number of appliances will be fixed after the design stage. Also, could a cluster self-monitor the system load and increase resource (CPU, memory, or number of Apache appliances) as needed? That would be the ultimate flexibility.

    Quote Originally Posted by VladMiloushev
    Nope - scripts work without modifications. You can migrate your existing accounts from a VPS to a cPanel cluster exactly the same way you migrate them from one server to another today. However, once you have them on the cluster, you will not have to migrate them any more (more about this later)
    Hm... Some of my scripts use file locking and shared files between Apache child processes, they will have to be re-written unless the Apache appliances in a cluster can share a network volume with full write access.

    Quote Originally Posted by VladMiloushev
    This is not a problem. The 10 and 20 packages are entry packages for those on a tight budget. Keep in mind that you can start with a 10 package and upgrade it all the way up to a 100 or even 200 package without having to touch your accounts - AppLogic will just add RAM and CPU to your existing grid server on the fly. You can also resize your disk volume dynamically and get more storage without having to copy files.
    High availability is nice, but it comes at a cost. Most dedicated servers and VPS in use today probably are not mission critical enough to justify the price premium. In other words, TGL will attract companies who are already spending $1,000+ per month for server costs, instead of those who spend $150/mo or less on a dedicated server or VPS. However, I am still intriqued by this new cluster technology because it not only brings down the cost significantly for clusters, it makes them easier to create and manage.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by patrick.barnes
    Hi Vlad,

    Can PostgreSQL be used in place of MySQL in AppLogic?

    I'm not sure how you're doing high-availability MySQL...

    How do you implement storage access? Is it a SAN or a distributed/parallel FS, or something else? Does fsync() work as it should?

    Thanks.
    Anything that works in a Xen VPS works in the grid, for the most part...(at least from my testing)
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by patrick.barnes
    Hi Vlad,

    Can PostgreSQL be used in place of MySQL in AppLogic?

    I'm not sure how you're doing high-availability MySQL...

    How do you implement storage access? Is it a SAN or a distributed/parallel FS, or something else? Does fsync() work as it should?

    Thanks.
    Patrick,

    You can use any database engine that runs on Linux, including PostreSQL and Oracle (if you so desire :-)). At this point, AppLogic does not come with a standard Postgres appliance, but you can build your own by branching one of the existing ones (MySQL, or just standard Linux) and installing Postgres. I am sure we will have a standard one not too far in the future...

    High availability in AppLogic is handled in three layers: (a) universal high availabiliy (UHA), (b) clustering, and (c) failover groups. Here is how they work:

    - UHA. In AppLogic, an application is assembled from appliances such as firewall, load balancer, database engine, NAS box, mail server, etc. Each appliance has, in turn, one or more storage volumes, e.g. a boot volume, a data volume, or a log volume. Each of these volumes is fully virtualized and mirrored across multiple servers (e.g. 2-3 or more). When an appliance crashes, it is automatically restarted on another server of the grid. When a physical server dies, all volumes remain available, and affected appliances are restarted on other servers. The process is fully automatic. The result is that ANY application is back running within 3min or less, and the data remains available at all times (unless, of course, you kill more servers than the # of mirrors set up on the grid) If your app uses database transactions correctly (e.g. MySQL w/ InnoDB), the only thing you will loose is incomplete transactions.

    - if UHA is not enough for your app or database engine, you can set up a cluster of appliances within the application. This is similar to the way you would do it with physical servers, except that once you get it running, you can package it into a "composite" appliance and reuse it in many applications. In the case of MySQL, we do the standard master/slave replication. More advanced clustering is possible (e.g. with a SQL load balancer in front of multiple servers) if there is demand.

    - finally, you can take multiple appliances (e.g., the master and slave MySQL servers), and make them members of a "failover group". This tells AppLogic to schedule them on the grid in such a way that if a server dies, no more than one member of any failover group can be affected/restarted. The result is that your cluster continues to run w/o interruption.

    I already started describing the storage architecture above. There is no SAN. AppLogic takes over the hard drives of the servers and converts them into a shared pool of storage. On that pool, you can create volumes. Each volume has a name (the namespace is hierarchical, just like in an FS), attributes and other metadata. Each volume is mirrored across multiple servers. You can create volumes at will, and you can resize them dynamically. Any appliance running on any server can access volumes located anywhere on the grid. Due to various built-in block-level caches, performance is usually about 5% - 10% better than what you can see from a local HDD

    The way you access a volume is from inside an appliance or grid server. There, each AppLogic volume appears as a separate /hda device, so everything that works with physical disks works with AppLogic volumes. For example, you can set up RAID between volumes in an appliance (not that it will do you any good), or you can set up RaiserFS in a box to concatenate multiple volumes under the same FS space, use standar/custom backup tools, etc.
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yikes2000
    Vladimir,

    Don't mind the ignorant. Some people will open their mouths to remove any doubt that they don't know what they are talking about. :-)
    Thanks, Yikes. Well said :-)



    Quote Originally Posted by Yikes2000
    Is CPanel the only control panel right now that works with on-demand clusters? TGL currently offers CentOS plus CPanel or DirectAdmin on their grid servers. Will the on-demand cluster further restrict it to CentOS plus CPanel? It also appears to me that a control panel is required to manage a cluster, otherwise it would be too cumbersome (reloading Apache config or monitoring Apache).
    CPanel is the first control panel we've integrated in a cluster. The challenge was to make it manage multiple servers without modifying code (reloading Apache config with 8 Apaches is a good example of the issue. Generally, the ability to do this depends on the particular control panel. We will be looking at DirectAdmin next...


    Quote Originally Posted by Yikes2000
    Question - once a cluster is running, could I add more appliances without restarting it? From the TGL demo I saw, it looks like the number of appliances will be fixed after the design stage. Also, could a cluster self-monitor the system load and increase resource (CPU, memory, or number of Apache appliances) as needed? That would be the ultimate flexibility.
    You are right, in the current version of AppLogic the structure of a cluster is static at run time. However, you can get pretty close to what you want by creating many appliances at design time, but leaving most of them in "standby" mode untile they are really needed. A standby appliance is properly configured, connected, etc. at start time, but consumes no resources except for storage for the boot volume. You can start and stop appliances on the fly. So, define a cluster with 64 Apaches, make 62 of them standby, and you can scale it up dynamically from about 1/3 of a server up to 64 servers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yikes2000
    Hm... Some of my scripts use file locking and shared files between Apache child processes, they will have to be re-written unless the Apache appliances in a cluster can share a network volume with full write access.
    Shared files are supported. I need to check on the locking - NFS is not known for its good support for locking :-(

    Quote Originally Posted by Yikes2000
    High availability is nice, but it comes at a cost. Most dedicated servers and VPS in use today probably are not mission critical enough to justify the price premium. In other words, TGL will attract companies who are already spending $1,000+ per month for server costs, instead of those who spend $150/mo or less on a dedicated server or VPS. However, I am still intriqued by this new cluster technology because it not only brings down the cost significantly for clusters, it makes them easier to create and manage.
    I may not have expressed myself well here. The whole idea of what we call "Universal HA" (UHA) is that it is an N+1 availability on the grid as a whole. So, if the hosting provider sets up a 32-server grid, and provisions it only up to 31 servers, if ANY of those servers dies, any affected apps will be up and running in 3 to 5 minutes.

    What this means is that for a roughly 3% increase of the cost (1 standby server for every 31 provisioned), ALL applications on the grid are now highly available. You don't need $1,000+ per month to get it - EVERY server and cluster running on the grid has this level of HA.
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by VladMiloushev
    I may not have expressed myself well here. The whole idea of what we call "Universal HA" (UHA) is that it is an N+1 availability on the grid as a whole. So, if the hosting provider sets up a 32-server grid, and provisions it only up to 31 servers, if ANY of those servers dies, any affected apps will be up and running in 3 to 5 minutes.

    What this means is that for a roughly 3% increase of the cost (1 standby server for every 31 provisioned), ALL applications on the grid are now highly available. You don't need $1,000+ per month to get it - EVERY server and cluster running on the grid has this level of HA.
    I meant right now, if a customer spends $1,000+ per month to fund a cluster of servers that isn't used 100% of the time, then they will save money by moving to TGL's on-demand cluster. For example, an online retailer who encounters 10 times its normal web traffic during December could save a bundle by decreasing their cost from $1,000 per month down to perhaps $500 per month at TGL for 11 months (minus December). Even if the cost remains the same each month, the HA benefit alone warrants the move.

    On the other hand, for a company that has only 2 dedicated servers at two different DCs for a total cost of $300 per month, moving them to TGL cluster is probably not cost effective. Unless the servers' resources (CPU, RAM, disk space) are mostly underutilized and the company is willing to trade them for HA. I haven't seen the pricing for TGL cluster, so all of this is merely a guess based on TGL's current pricing for grid servers.

    You mentioned NFS. Some scripts will definitely need modification to work around NFS. It's not an impossible task (converting all file-based semaphores and data sharing to database-based), but still a big pain in the rear. :-)

    Finally, there is the issue of maturity. The AppLogic paint on CPanel is still wet. Touting HA with AppLogic in "beta" right now is almost an oxymoron. Please don't take it the wrong way. I am not knocking TGL or 3tera. You are indeed offering something that is unique and evolutionary. I have no doubt the venture will be very successful - eventually, when all bugs are worked out and more OSs and control panels are offered.

    Congratulations and thank you for bringing the concept to market!
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  36. #36
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    We'll see how good AppLogic really is

    We have a sun compute cluster (34 v20z dual opterons, 16gb ram) sitting idle that I'm about to put app logic on. If it's 1/2 what the marketing "hype" says it is. It's well worth the money spent.
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  37. #37
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    LayeredTech has been very generous in providing a test account for me, a basic CentOS server. I have been testing this for some time and it's been working very nice so far.

    Test results show that the overall speed is indeed a little higher than my P4 2.4Ghz servers, about 10-20%. HDD transfer speed however is a little lower, ~24MB/sec. (hdparm test).

    I must say that in this form the system already works great. It does not 'feel' like a virtual server at all, it is blazing fast

    Quote Originally Posted by VladMiloushev
    The way you access a volume is from inside an appliance or grid server. There, each AppLogic volume appears as a separate /hda device, so everything that works with physical disks works with AppLogic volumes. For example, you can set up RAID between volumes in an appliance (not that it will do you any good), or you can set up RaiserFS in a box to concatenate multiple volumes under the same FS space, use standar/custom backup tools, etc.
    How is an appliance different from a Grid server? Is an appliance build from a simple server installation (and thus running an OS) with specialized software installed? Does that not give a lot of overhead?
    For example, Webserver appliances. Do they have a small OS installed plus a piece of software like Apache or Lighttpd?

    You were talking about volumes before. To create redundancy one will need to use multiple aplliances, ie webservers. But these webservers will need to be able to all access the same data. How would it be possible to achieve that? Would it be possible to map one single volume to multiple GridServers or webserver Appliances?

    If I understand correctly, only the typical (almost 'static' in resources) Server-Appliance is being sold by GridLayer right now, correct? The product that allows to use other Appliances, and variable CPU/RAM/disk resources will be introduced later on?

    This reminds me of another thing I was wondering: How does a server OS (Or appliance) react when the RAM size is increased or decreased? Will it need to reboot first, to recognize the new RAM?
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xandrios
    LayeredTech has been very generous in providing a test account for me, a basic CentOS server. I have been testing this for some time and it's been working very nice so far.

    Test results show that the overall speed is indeed a little higher than my P4 2.4Ghz servers, about 10-20%. HDD transfer speed however is a little lower, ~24MB/sec. (hdparm test).

    I must say that in this form the system already works great. It does not 'feel' like a virtual server at all, it is blazing fast
    Thank you . The HHD speed you are seeing is a bit lower because of the mirroring across multiple servers. This is what you pay for high availability.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xandrios
    How is an appliance different from a Grid server? Is an appliance build from a simple server installation (and thus running an OS) with specialized software installed? Does that not give a lot of overhead?
    For example, Webserver appliances. Do they have a small OS installed plus a piece of software like Apache or Lighttpd?
    In AppLogic terms, you have applications and appliances. Applications are assembled from appliances. When you order a service, AppLogic provisions one instance of a given application for you. Your application may consist of one or more appliances connected together.

    The Grid server is the simplest possible application. It consists of a single Linux appliance. The Linux appliance has a single volume from which it boots. It has standard CentOS installed, and nothing else special in it (there may be a small user-mode agent and a few scripts in a single directory, but they are completely trivial).

    The idea behind AppLogic appliances is very simple. Around 6-7 years ago, I noticed that many companies were happily buying hardware "appliances" like NAS, firewalls, load balancers, email filters and even app servers (remember Cobalt?). People were willing to pay a lot of money for what looked to me to be just an Intel server with some pre-installed software. In many cases, the software was available separately from the same company that sold the appliance, and yet people still preferred the box.

    So we started asking customers why they were buying these appliances. To my surprise, almost everyone we asked gave us roughly the same answer: "when I get an appliance, I hook it to the network, configure it through a web page and I am usually up and running the same day. With a software package, I first have to assign a guy to it, and two weeks later he would still be fighting configuration issues, performance problems, or both".

    It became very clear to us that the value of appliances is in the integration: people liked the fact that the appliance is all pre-integrated, pre-tested, and you can treat is as a "black box", without having to care what exactly runs inside. The problem is, packaging software into a hardware box is pretty expensive, and it changes the whole business model of the vendor - you need to raise more capital, keep inventory, deal with returns, etc.

    So when we started 3Tera two years ago, our thought was "what if we could give customers all the benefits of an appliance, but without the cost and overhead of a hardware box? What if you could pre-integrate software in a "black box" that is easy to hook with other such boxes and configure through a simple visual interface?"

    Back to your question. A web server appliance is just that - it is a pre-integrated software stack for serving static content and php scripts. It has Linux, Apache and some other stuff inside. It is not intended to cover 100% possible uses of Apache - rather, the intent is to make the typical use cases that cover 90% of the everyday applications VERY EASY to set up and use, without having to install and configure anything. If you need the remaining 10%, you can always make yourself a specialized appliance by branching the standard web server and modifying it.

    Each appliance has it's own copy of Linux and everything else that it needs. The overhead of this is actually quite small - the memory foortprint of the code is actually much less than the memory used to cache and process content and data. As you see yourself, the performance overhead is acceptable, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xandrios
    You were talking about volumes before. To create redundancy one will need to use multiple aplliances, ie webservers. But these webservers will need to be able to all access the same data. How would it be possible to achieve that? Would it be possible to map one single volume to multiple GridServers or webserver Appliances?
    Yes, you can map one volume to multiple appliances. You can also use a NAS appliance to store shared data and access it from multiple servers. I personally prefer the combined approach - a shared volume for things that are mostly read, such as static content and scripts, and a shared NAS box for things that are written often.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xandrios
    If I understand correctly, only the typical (almost 'static' in resources) Server-Appliance is being sold by GridLayer right now, correct? The product that allows to use other Appliances, and variable CPU/RAM/disk resources will be introduced later on?
    Everything we are talking about is available today if you order a dedicated grid. I think LT requires a minimum of 4 servers for that. Jeremy told me that they have already sold quite a few of those.

    The shared grid now offers only one application - the Grid Server. AppLogic can adjust CPU/RAM/disk on the existing Grid servers. I believe that if you ask Layered to upgrade you from one plan to another, this is exactly what they will do, so your data and setup will not have to be migrated. Other applications are in the pipeline, as is what we call the "shared grid", where you can build your own infrastructure like on a dedicated grid, but run it on a large shared system.

    For more details on the GridLayer service you should ask them directly - I am just the software guy :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Xandrios
    This reminds me of another thing I was wondering: How does a server OS (Or appliance) react when the RAM size is increased or decreased? Will it need to reboot first, to recognize the new RAM?
    Yes, you reboot the appliance. This is a limitation of Linux, so there is nothing we can do about it at this point wihout changing the OS. You can reboot it the same way you reboot a physical server.
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  39. #39
    VladMiloushev, do you know when will be available the cPanel cluster?
    honesting.es honest european provider
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  40. #40
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    Thanks Vlad

    Each appliance has it's own copy of Linux and everything else that it needs. The overhead of this is actually quite small - the memory foortprint of the code is actually much less than the memory used to cache and process content and data. As you see yourself, the performance overhead is acceptable, too.
    How about security, if they are based on Linux? Would they need to be managed, updated and patched? Are they accessible from outside? (SSH/telnet).

    Everything we are talking about is available today if you order a dedicated grid. I think LT requires a minimum of 4 servers for that. Jeremy told me that they have already sold quite a few of those.

    The shared grid now offers only one application - the Grid Server.
    Ah, that is the difference. I had missed the difference in Shared/Dedicated grid before. That surely clears things up. Thanks a lot
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