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Dedicated servers Vs Cloud – What is right for your business?

Dedicated servers Vs Cloud – What is right for your business?

Hundreds of articles on the internet delve into the pros and cons of dedicated and cloud servers, but not many really come to the crux of the question. What is right for ME?

This question gets asked quite often to our server administrators, and we regularly help service providers choose between dedicated servers, private cloud and public cloud, depending on factors unique to their business.

Here we will discuss the most common factors that affect the choice of infrastructure.

 

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Physical Vs Virtual server : Which one should you choose?

Physical Vs Virtual server : Which one should you choose?

Gone are the days where people thought of “servers” as big, bulky machines installed in data centers. Now, “servers” more often mean cloud instances or VPSs.

All that being said, dedicated servers are still a favorite choice for many. Research shows that dedicated server market grows by $237 million each year [1]. So, the question is, what’s the better choice between virtual and physical servers? (more…)

cPanel backup guide – A fool-proof backup policy to safeguard your cPanel/WHM server

cPanel backup guide – A fool-proof backup policy to safeguard your cPanel/WHM server

What all data should I backup? How often should I backup? How long should I keep the backup data? Where should I store the backup data?

These are some of the common questions web hosts have, while deciding on a cPanel backup management system. In our role as Outsourced Tech Support for web hosts, we relieve them off such worries and implement a fool-proof backup system for their servers. (more…)

Hardware vs Software firewall: A brief comparison

Hardware vs Software firewall: A brief comparison

“Google has listed your server as a malware source! Its been hacked into, and is being used to spread malware!”

I’m sure this is a message that you never hope to get in your mailbox. But, how confident are you about your server security?

One of the most important mitigation steps against hacking attempts and malware attacks as proposed by Gartner technology research group is the use of firewalls.

The report shows the necessity to employ firewall as a security layer for our servers. Firewalls come in two broad categories: Hardware and Software. Making this choice is primarily a factor of what your requirements are and what your budget is. (more…)

Configuration management made easy – How Docker and Cockpit was used to reduce deployment errors and delays

Configuration management made easy – How Docker and Cockpit was used to reduce deployment errors and delays

DevOps engineers have come to rely on configuration management tools like Puppet, SaltStack, Chef and Ansible for faster deployments and minimizing errors. However, the quest for the perfect deployment solution is still on. As is the fate of any code, Puppet manifests, Chef cookbooks, etc., are affected by bugs, and requires extensive testing before it can be used in production servers. (more…)

Fault tolerant service logging – How remote logging was made resilient to crashes

Logs from alpha-p3 is missing!

We were responding to an issue raised by an onsite technician for a data center we managed. System logs from one server was missing in the central log server. It looked like the Rsyslog service that was used for central logging had crashed in the source server, leading to 2 hours of lost log information.

Logs are critical to day-to-day server management and missing logs were an urgent priority issue. Rsyslog service was restarted in the source server, and debugging was enabled to identify what had gone wrong. Looking at the update logs, we noted that the Rsyslog package was recently updated, which pointed to a possible bug. A quick stop at the Rsyslog github bug database confirmed that crashes were reported, and a patch was available. An update was done in all servers to fix the issue. But it still left the question, what if a future update causes a similar crash? We needed a solution to ensure the central logging is resilient to failure. (more…)

Reliable, scalable DNS – How DNS clustering and Centralized name servers resulted in fast, scalable and fault tolerant DNS service

The mood was upbeat. It was our weekly business review with a web host we support. Server improvements had resulted in zero service downtimes, and zero customer complaints on service reliability. It was time to figure out how to improve the infrastructure even further, and for that, we looked at the support requests.

Support requests give a gold mine of information on how customers are perceiving the service. Happy customers do not open trouble tickets. So, all support requests are a potential pointer to a system or process improvement. So, we started by looking at the top reasons for support tickets.

Bind Central DNS
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No more “Sorry no backups” – Restore backups from any day using open source and cPanel backup utilities

“It makes no sense!”, so started a tech support chat one Tuesday morning. An e-commerce site had seen a sudden drop in online orders, and the reason was traced to Google branding it as a malware source. The web site looked perfectly normal, and the webmaster was frustrated that Google thought his site was infected. A quick check of the files showed malicious drive-by-download code inserted into all pages in the website. So, Google was indeed right.

For web site recovery, either we could clean all pages, re-upload the site files, or restore from backup. Cleaning the site would take the better part of a day, and re-uploading was not an option as the webmaster had only the files before he upgraded the CMS. We had a cPanel backup taken yesterday, and one from a week back. Yesterday’s backup was also infected, and the week old backup was too old as new products were added since then. With no other option, the week old backup was used, and site updates were applied again for a quick restore.

If only we had an arbitrary-day backup recovery system! This was not the first such issue, and it was time we did something about it.
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