OpenShift web hosting – A flexible hosting system based on container virtualization

OpenShift web hosting – A flexible hosting system based on container virtualization

Isn’t it a great feeling when you see new sales orders coming in, after you’ve spent countless hours and dollars on marketing? It’d be awesome if you can convert all of those orders into your actual customers.

However, many web hosts are forced to turn down a few orders because customers request un-supported software or custom server configuration.

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The average web host is often limited by what their web hosting control panel supports. For eg. Percona database (a high performance alternative for MySQL) is not supported in cPanel.

At a time when new technologies come out all the time (eg. HHVM, Node.Js, PHP 7, etc.), web hosts can ill afford to miss sales just because their control panels do not support them.

So, what’s the way out? This is where Platform As A Service (PaaS) technologies can be useful. For a webmaster, a PaaS system behaves just like a web control panel.

The webmaster uploads the site files, and updates the database, and the PaaS system will take care of site availability, updates, performance, and so on as per the subscribed package.

For a hosting owner, an open source PaaS system such as OpenShift Origin offers much more flexibility than a web control panel. The open source community builds new OpenShift add-ons (known as cartridges) as soon as a new technology is available, and the web host can use that to capitalize on a new technology trend.

Today, let’s take a look at how RedHat’s PaaS solution OpenShift Origin differs from traditional hosting systems, and how it can be used for web hosting.

But first, here’s a bare bones overview of OpenShift Origin.

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What is OpenShift Origin?

OpenShift Origin is RedHat’s open source PaaS solution, which is built using Docker light weight container technology, and Google’s Kubernetes orchestration system.

It provides a web interface to create various service containers known as “gears”. For eg., you can make a “small” gear with 1 GB RAM and 10 GB disk. This resource allocation is not hard isolated as in a Xen or KVM systems, meaning, you can oversell the resources.

Services such as “Apache” or “Nginx” or “MySQL” are packaged as something called “cartridges”. Once a customer is allocated a “gear”, they can add the services they want by choosing from a list of cartridges.

Popular apps such as WordPress can be pre-packaged as a group of cartridges and be made available for instant deployment (much like Softaculous in cPanel).


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