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Thread: VPS co-ops?

  1. #1

    VPS co-ops?

    I'm currently paying $107.50/month for an Intel Duo E4400 2GHz
    dedicated server (8G RAM, 1T disk) w/ vmware installed.

    I'm not using most of this CPU/disk/memory, and have considered
    leasing out VMs on a cost-to-me (no-profit) basis.
    Has anyone created a "coop" VPS server like this? In other areas (eg,
    banks vs credit unions), coops are often less expensive than commercial equivalents.

    I know about tech.coop, but their VPSs start at $10/mo for 64M/5G,
    which seems steep.

  2. #2
    That is steep. Though VZ and VMware is 2 very different technologies. You can find OpenVZ dedicated 512M with 15+ HD for $10.

    How much were you thinking about selling @?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Rather than leasing out parts of the server, have you considered if a VPS would meet your own needs? It could be an effective way to save money and simplify management.

  4. #4
    I would go with a VPS,
    Leasing out space from your server will just make your VM's slow.
    only 1 TB drive is not enough to run multiple VM's
    You need atleast 4 drives in a RAID for performance reasons.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by kellyterryjones View Post
    leasing out VMs on a cost-to-me (no-profit) basis.
    But how do you value your own time? Make no mistake, if you offer something like this you will need to support your clients / members.

    I'd also agree with jbvps - you won't be able to share a single SATA(?) drive with many others.
    Chris

    "Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent and well informed just to be undecided about them." - Laurence J. Peter

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by UnixCabin View Post
    How much were you thinking about selling @?
    I'm just looking to cover my cost, so if someone wanted 10% of my disk
    and memory, I'd want 10.75/month (10% of what I pay). My main concerns:

    % Creating a VM and installing an OS I've already downloaded is fairly easy, but what if someone wants an OS I don't have and/or special configuration requests?
    % Should I give "customers" limited access to my VM server directly? If so, how do I limit their access?

    % How should I handle "customer service", billing, collection, etc?

    % How do I avoid legal issues if the entire VM server goes down, I
    decide to stop renting it, I want more space/memory for myself, etc.

    Basically, I want to avoid hassles that could end up costing me more
    time/money than it's worth to recover a portion of the server's cost.

    Real co-ops have ways of dealing with these issues, so I was hoping someone was already doing this "the right way" (member-owned and cheap, but organized enough to avoid the issues above)

    NOTE: I wrote the above after seeing your post, but before seeing the
    other posts (WHT only sent me an email for your post), so others have
    already made some of my points above.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Guspaz View Post
    Rather than leasing out parts of the server, have you considered if a VPS would meet your own needs? It could be an effective way to save money and simplify management.
    I already have 4 VPSs (I'm trying to build a redundant cluster of
    inefficient VPSs), but it's nice having a VM server to play around with:

    % I can do kernel tweaks and get things like fuse/sshfs working on my
    VMs (many VPS providers have that disabled + are reluctant to tweak
    kernels)

    % Most VPS providers offer fixed disk/memory combinations: w/ a VM server, I can do my own odd combos.

    % I can bring up unusual OSs (like FreeBSD, which many VPS providers don't offer, or even Windows 7 RC, Mac OS X [experimental!], etc).

    Basically, it's really great for experimentation and gives me way more control than renting a commercial VPS.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by kellyterryjones View Post
    I already have 4 VPSs (I'm trying to build a redundant cluster of
    inefficient VPSs), but it's nice having a VM server to play around with:

    (snip)

    Basically, it's really great for experimentation and gives me way more control than renting a commercial VPS.
    A good VPS doesn't have many of those limitations. I'll address them individually, using Linode as an example:

    % I can do kernel tweaks
    This is only a limitation is OS-based virtualization. Hypervisor-based stuff like Xen doesn't much care what kernel you load. pvgrub allows you to use whichever kernel you'd like by enabling the VPS to tell the host what kernel to load for it. If you want to compile your own kernel and use that, you can.

    and get things like fuse/sshfs working on my
    VMs (many VPS providers have that disabled + are reluctant to tweak kernels)
    This is only an issue on OS-based virtualiation. Xen doesn't suffer from this problem, and you can do any sort of file system mounting or TUN-based networking that you please without talking to your host.

    % Most VPS providers offer fixed disk/memory combinations: w/ a VM server, I can do my own odd combos.
    While you're always going to get fixed offerings, Linode lets you define your own disk images and memory allotments. If you rent a Linode that has 1080MB of RAM and 48GB of storage space, and you want to define two profiles, a 10GB Ubuntu config with 768MB of RAM and a 30GB FreeBSD config (loaded via pvgrub), then you can.

    You can only boot one at a time (or get multiple Linodes on your account to allow simultaneous booting), but you can configure each however you'd like. You get an allotment of RAM and disk space on a given node and can create configurations and disk images as you please. A good bunch of screenshots: http://www.linode.com/features.cfm

    % I can bring up unusual OSs (like FreeBSD, which many VPS providers don't offer, or even Windows 7 RC, Mac OS X [experimental!], etc).
    As I mentioned earlier, FreeBSD isn't impossible. It may be slightly involved, but if it can boot under Xen without VT (Linode seems to use a layered approach that has their hosts using VT) and can be loaded by pvgrub, then it's fair game (http://www.linode.com/wiki/index.php/BSD_Howto).

    By default, Linode provides a set of Linux kernels that you can assign to a configuration (via a nice dropdown list). You can pick from their latest stable 32-bit or 64-bit kernel, the latest in-testing 32-bit or 64-bit kernel, the 32/64 pv-grub kernels, Finnix (recovery distro kernel), or a variety of deprecated ones. pv-grub would be the opportunity to get whatever you want.

    Windows isn't possible, though, since it requires VT to run under Xen.

    There's also an API for automating deployment of all this stuff rather than using the control panel. So if you had a cluster and wanted to dynamically deploy systems, or move Linode images between hosts, or whatnot, that can be done in code.

    It's not as flexible as having a copy of VMWare and going nuts with it, but it does take care of a lot of stuff for you, and potentially costs less if you don't need the extra performance.

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