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  1. #1

    Mission Critical on a budget?

    HI everyone, this is my first post - I'm a bit 'wet between the ears'...Be gentle! Thanks.

    Okay, this is a hypothetical really, but still an important question from my point of view.

    I'm predominantly a 'hobbiest - php programmer'. I run a couple of modified MySQL turnkey applications, like auctions, social networking stuff etc etc etc...It looks like I've impressed someone as I've been asked to modify/create a 'clone' (I won't say what of) application to run in South East Asia. The Investor is convinced it will be a success as the market is largely untapped. Now, it's not for me to say whether he is right or wrong, it is however, my job to try and provide a positive and 'speculative' platform, should the concept take off.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is this: "I'm small-fry, I've only ever ran my SQL stuff on shared servers, with a maximum transfer of, well, not very much. In this case I have to be of the mindeset that the Client might be right, the site may go national, and yes! It may well take three million registrants in 18 months - He's certainly has enough marketing experience to give the project half a chance...I can't afford dual cisco hubs etc, so I'm looking for a good mission critical - load balanced setup, that could facilitate a successful venture...Could you run BEBO on a budget, and if so, how"

    Thanks in advance.

    Kind regards

    Mark
    Last edited by ///MARK; 02-02-2008 at 07:29 AM. Reason: typo

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,108
    Quote Originally Posted by ///MARK View Post
    HI everyone, this is my first post - I'm a bit 'wet between the ears'...Be gentle! Thanks.

    Okay, this is a hypothetical really, but still an important question from my point of view.

    I'm predominantly a 'hobbiest - php programmer'. I run a couple of modified MySQL turnkey applications, like auctions, social networking stuff etc etc etc...It looks like I've impressed someone as I've been asked to modify/create a 'clone' (I won't say what of) application to run in South East Asia. The Investor is convinced it will be a success as the market is largely untapped. Now, it's not for me to say whether he is right or wrong, it is however, my job to try and provide a positive and 'speculative' platform, should the concept take off.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is this: "I'm small-fry, I've only ever ran my SQL stuff on shared servers, with a maximum transfer of, well, not very much. In this case I have to be of the mindeset that the Client might be right, the site may go national, and yes! It may well take three million registrants in 18 months - He's certainly has enough marketing experience to give the project half a chance...I can't afford dual cisco hubs etc, so I'm looking for a good mission critical - load balanced setup, that could facilitate a successful venture...Could you run BEBO on a budget, and if so, how"

    Thanks in advance.

    Kind regards

    Mark
    www.sliqua.com.
    semi-retired

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    /dev/null
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhalpin View Post
    Hey there, try out www.3dgwebhosting.com, i just ordered a dedicate server from them and i also have a vps as well.

    They gave me a wicked deal and customized a package to suit my needs and my budget, PLUS an SLA for the dedicated!!!!

    Check it out or give them a call or email.
    Sorry for hi-jacking this thread but, why do you recommend www.3dgwebhosting.com in every post that you make?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,108
    Quote Originally Posted by vipeax View Post
    Sorry for hi-jacking this thread but, why do you recommend www.3dgwebhosting.com in every post that you make?
    i'd love to know this too;

    Reg: 2007-09-18 and it's domainsbyproxy.
    semi-retired

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Vancouver, B.C.
    Posts
    2,656
    For a mission critical dedicated server, here are some major points to consider:

    1) Server hardware. Some may argue that consumer grade components are good enough. That may be true for CPU's, but you definitely want a very high quality server motherboard, ECC RAM, and RAID (1, 5, or 10). Looking for a server class CPU like a Xeon or Opteron just happens to be the easiest to find all these things.

    2) Data center network. This often gets overlooked, but there are multiple potential single points of failure here. Redundant routers running some implementation of VRRP are a must (e.g. Cisco HSRP, OpenBSD CARP). You'll also want redundant switch ports, with redundant cable feeds.

    3) Upstream provider. A good BGP mix is a must. You want at least 3 Tier 1's in the mix, as they are the largest and have the most global reach.

    ATDN, AT&T, Global Crossing, Level3, Verizon/MCI, NTT/Verio, Qwest, Savvis, Sprint.

    Peering is also very good, but more for latency/performance. For that, you would want the upstream to have their own true backbone with locations in all the major Internet hubs.

    4) Out of band management. No provider can reboot your server faster than you can do it yourself, so look for an RPC port for your server. You'll also want KVM over IP in case you make any network/firewall configuration errors, or you need to recover your operating system.


    If you're not comfortable with managing your own server, you will want to find a fully managed host. Not just someone who will perform tasks for you on request, but someone who pro-actively monitors your server.

    You also want a host that has good communication and an honest and open policy. You don't want to suffer downtime because they're conducting maintenance without notifying you, or denying that they have a problem when they do causing you to waste lots of your time troubleshooting.

    Rather than ask what your budget should be, you should perhaps come up with a budget and choose a host accordingly. There's a huge range in pricing between a "good enough" approach, and a top of the line managed provider. As a rough ballpark figure though, I would say you should be looking at $300 and up.

    Quote Originally Posted by ///MARK View Post
    I'm looking for a good mission critical - load balanced setup, that could facilitate a successful venture...Could you run BEBO on a budget, and if so, how"
    Last edited by hhw; 02-02-2008 at 03:11 PM.
    ASTUTE HOSTING: Advanced, customized, and scalable solutions with AS54527 Premium Canadian Optimized Network (Level3, PEER1, Shaw, Tinet)
    MicroServers.io: Enterprise Dedicated Hardware with IPMI at VPS-like Prices using AS63213 Affordable Bandwidth (Cogent, HE, Tinet)
    Dedicated Hosting, Colo, Bandwidth, and Fiber out of Vancouver, Seattle, LA, Toronto, NYC, and Miami

  6. #6
    softlayer.com

    I did my homework and looked at all the big guys...ur not going to get a dual proc quad core xeon Harpertown(12mb cache) proc anywhere for the price they have it +4 gig RAM/2 TB bandwith with only .10/gig overage. Server was up in 4 hours. The same server speced on Dell's website would run around 10,000.

    Tip: ALWAYS negotiate. With SoftLayer I was able to negotiate a pretty sizable discount on top of their great price.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by hhw View Post
    For a mission critical dedicated server, here are some major points to consider:

    1) Server hardware. Some may argue that consumer grade components are good enough. That may be true for CPU's, but you definitely want a very high quality server motherboard, ECC RAM, and RAID (1, 5, or 10). Looking for a server class CPU like a Xeon or Opteron just happens to be the easiest to find all these things.

    2) Data center network. This often gets overlooked, but there are multiple potential single points of failure here. Redundant routers running some implementation of VRRP are a must (e.g. Cisco HSRP, OpenBSD CARP). You'll also want redundant switch ports, with redundant cable feeds.

    3) Upstream provider. A good BGP mix is a must. You want at least 3 Tier 1's in the mix, as they are the largest and have the most global reach.

    ATDN, AT&T, Global Crossing, Level3, Verizon/MCI, NTT/Verio, Qwest, Savvis, Sprint.

    Peering is also very good, but more for latency/performance. For that, you would want the upstream to have their own true backbone with locations in all the major Internet hubs.

    4) Out of band management. No provider can reboot your server faster than you can do it yourself, so look for an RPC port for your server. You'll also want KVM over IP in case you make any network/firewall configuration errors, or you need to recover your operating system.


    If you're not comfortable with managing your own server, you will want to find a fully managed host. Not just someone who will perform tasks for you on request, but someone who pro-actively monitors your server.

    You also want a host that has good communication and an honest and open policy. You don't want to suffer downtime because they're conducting maintenance without notifying you, or denying that they have a problem when they do causing you to waste lots of your time troubleshooting.

    Rather than ask what your budget should be, you should perhaps come up with a budget and choose a host accordingly. There's a huge range in pricing between a "good enough" approach, and a top of the line managed provider. As a rough ballpark figure though, I would say you should be looking at $300 and up.
    Thank you very much, you are a credit to this board.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    188
    Quote Originally Posted by ///MARK View Post
    HI everyone, this is my first post - I'm a bit 'wet between the ears'...Be gentle! Thanks.

    Okay, this is a hypothetical really, but still an important question from my point of view.

    I'm predominantly a 'hobbiest - php programmer'. I run a couple of modified MySQL turnkey applications, like auctions, social networking stuff etc etc etc...It looks like I've impressed someone as I've been asked to modify/create a 'clone' (I won't say what of) application to run in South East Asia. The Investor is convinced it will be a success as the market is largely untapped. Now, it's not for me to say whether he is right or wrong, it is however, my job to try and provide a positive and 'speculative' platform, should the concept take off.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is this: "I'm small-fry, I've only ever ran my SQL stuff on shared servers, with a maximum transfer of, well, not very much. In this case I have to be of the mindeset that the Client might be right, the site may go national, and yes! It may well take three million registrants in 18 months - He's certainly has enough marketing experience to give the project half a chance...I can't afford dual cisco hubs etc, so I'm looking for a good mission critical - load balanced setup, that could facilitate a successful venture...Could you run BEBO on a budget, and if so, how"

    Thanks in advance.

    Kind regards

    Mark
    If I had a dollar for every potential client that counted their chickens before they hatched, I'd stop working. What you should do is really just by three VPS's, run all the same software and serve the same information synced with the third server which both acts as a round-robin dns server and as the backup that maintains the information without serving it unless one of the other two VPS's go down. Alternatively, a few companies offer an complete, guarenteed solution. Voxel.net, rackspace, & servercentral come to mind. Consider asking a few other companies (steadfast, gigenet, softlayer, crnc, nac/15minuteservers, peer1, webnx, pacificrack, tailormadeservers all have good reputations; I have experience with 3 of them.) for a quote for the desired services.

  9. #9
    I'll second scapeish's comments about counting chickens before they hatch. If you're really concerned about "Mission Critical" then concern yourself with high availability - which is not the same thing as load balancing. Look into DRBD, Heartbeat (linux-ha), etc.

    "Mission Critical" dictates operational concerns that I daresay you haven't given consideration. It's pretty easy to fall in love with the problem of scaling before you have a scalability problem. I personally wouldn't consider Bebo mission critical...

    If you do need to scale there are lots of great tools: pound, puppet, etc. The hardest thing to scale will be the database and there's no shame in doing some vertical scaling (with HA). When you're as successful as the investor thinks you are going to be you will have more brains to help with horizontal scaling.

    Cheers

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    188
    Quote Originally Posted by hhw View Post

    2) Data center network. This often gets overlooked, but there are multiple potential single points of failure here. Redundant routers running some implementation of VRRP are a must (e.g. Cisco HSRP, OpenBSD CARP). You'll also want redundant switch ports, with redundant cable feeds.

    3) Upstream provider. A good BGP mix is a must. You want at least 3 Tier 1's in the mix, as they are the largest and have the most global reach.

    ATDN, AT&T, Global Crossing, Level3, Verizon/MCI, NTT/Verio, Qwest, Savvis, Sprint.

    Peering is also very good, but more for latency/performance. For that, you would want the upstream to have their own true backbone with locations in all the major Internet hubs.
    Another thing to consider regarding redundancy is that putting two redundant routers on the same power strip is not redundant from the power standpoint. Sure, in terms of software/hardware failure it's redundant, but it still is a single point of failure if the power strip is turned off / unplugged.

    Also, I believe you overlooked the importance of peering in building a network, especially a network for a high availability application. I also fail to understand your comment regarding "peering being very good, but more for latency/performance." Isn't having a wide variety of peers more redundant than transit from a multitude of providers running along the same route where a fiber cut would bring down all your providers? Peering is overlooked and it is the key to providing a solid, redundant, high quality (in terms of latency & performane) network. Having a ton of great transit doesn't suffice.

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