Hey guys, it’s been a while so I thought we’d give you a quick update on some of the stuff we’ve been working on.
Just a note that we’ve stopped doing the monthly updates & will do a yearly update in July I didn’t feel like the amount of effort in writing such a detailed post every month was worth the return.
We feel like ServerBear is a community, we have a lot of people who are passionate about comparing & testing the performance of their hosts. However, we’ve never really had a way for members to communicate with each other or see any of their past benchmark history.
On Friday we released the first iteration of our community platform (built on the awesome Discourse project).
Linode have played a huge part in defining the VPS industry, founded in 2003 & launched in the Softlayer Dallas, Texas Datacenter. 6 Datacenters, 75,000 customers & a few INC500 awards later Linode has announced the launch of their NextGen platform – increasing bandwidth, CPU allocation, RAM & significant network upgrades.
ServerBear took some time out to have a chat with Linode Founder Christoper Aker (@caker) & COO Tom Asaro (@tomasaro).
Linode has been around since early 2003. Can you tell us a little bit about how the company came about?
Chris: I was living in Nashville and decided to leave my day job and take a shot at starting my own business. I gave myself twelve months for it to become self-sustaining. I was already running a small shared hosting business on the side, but as I looked at the industry, I saw that virtualization was going to be the next big thing. Little did I know it was going to be this big, or that cloud computing was going to be such a big deal. So that’s how it started. A month after I came up with the idea I came up with the Linode name, and I knew I had something good.
Tom: Don’t forget how much time you spent writing our platform infrastructure. And from the day before you launched, you were getting at least one new customer every day.
Chris: I came up with the idea and the name, got to work developing everything, and seven months later, on June 16, 2003, Linode opened its doors to immediate success. The initial deployment was two servers with 3 GB of RAM each, a remote serial console box, a remote power controller, and a used Cisco FastEthernet switch I bought off eBay. Soon I was spending all of my time trying to get new hardware online.
Tom: Linode was before its time. We pioneered the VPS industry.
What’s the culture like at Linode?
Chris: Benevolent dictatorship.
Tom: Yeah. Linodians in the Kingdom of Linodia.
Chris: I’m kidding.
Tom: I still feel that even after 10 years it has a family-like, startup-like atmosphere. We’re able to remain agile and make changes. We don’t have meetings about meetings. We’re all a bunch of technology junkies and geeks.
Chris: What I see is that everybody really cares about what they do. I always say, if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, you shouldn’t be here. And I think that resonates with everybody. This isn’t just a job, it’s fun. Not only are all our employees happier in what they’re doing, but they do a better job at it.
2013 is here & we’re excited for what the hosting industry has to offer in the coming 12 months. We had the chance to catch up with Seann & Lorne from GridVirt over the holidays to chat a little about their SSD offering & some thoughts on the industry.
How did the idea for GridVirt come about?
Seann: I registered GridVirt Inc. in early 2010 and I’ve had the domain since 2008-2009. The idea was to build a service that excluded as many single points of failure as possible. Though I’ve worked extensively with both clustered storage as well as HA-SAN (iSCSI & FC), both have their faults. I decided the best path for both performance and reliability was local storage with remote replication in a HA-AF (high availability w/ automatic failover) setup.
Last year when SSDs really became main stream I knew it was the right time to start GridVirt. SSDs offer a level of performance and reliability that I’ve never seen with HDDs. Mission critical high performance hosting goes hand in hand with SSD storage.
Lorne: I had posted a thread in WHT looking for a partner to start a VPS/Cloud based Hosting company. I was contacted by 7-8 people over the course of a month and none of them really struck me as people I wanted to get into business with. Seann contacted me about 5 weeks after I made the post and we got along well, and it immediately became clear he really knew his stuff when it comes to the many different facets of building, maintaining, and running a hosting company.
This months update comes a lot later than usual, one of our new features got pushed out by quite a margin (which I talked briefly about last month).
We were prepared for the stats decreasing a little this month, they always do when the previous month was a viral success. But, it’s important to keep pushing forward regardless – one decent month doesn’t make or break a web business. The graph on the right dubbed “The Startup Curve” was drawn on a white board by Paul Graham from Y Combinator – it highlights the ups & downs of running a startup. Our aim with the site is to make it the goto place for all the information you need to make a decision about a particular web host, the only way to do that is to keep improving the amount of data points we have, we can’t just be another “me too” web hosting review website.
That being said lets kick off the stats for November:
It makes it quite hard to look for patterns in the data when you end up aggregating 3 sites together in the one Analytics account. Technically we have the main site, the blog & server porn all reporting together, this isn’t normally how we’d set things up but we wanted to keep things simple.
BuyVM are a Canadian based hosting company with servers located in San Jose, California & Buffalo, New York. Francisco took some time to sit down with us & provide what is probably the most interesting interview we’ve done to date, grab a cup of coffee or a beer for this one ^_^
Tell us a little bit about how BuyVM started?
After our move to Fremont our Frantech brand was more or less sold out within a couple months. Workloads were pretty low since there wasn’t much to break with vmware.
At the time I was talking with the owner of 123Systems, Andrew, and he kept going on about lowendbox and how the budget market is thriving and a cash cow. He had the BuyVM domain spare (he tried to sell it but surprisingly no one wanted it) so I took it off his hands.
We put together some prices for what we thought was fair (given it was unmanaged) and posted things more so as a test of the market than anything else. Within our 5 days we sold well over 100 units which is pretty good for a brand that only started a couple weeks prior.
From there we got up to 5 nodes and then made the decision that our focus should change from Frantech to BuyVM as it was not only more profitable but a lot more enjoyable too.
This week Joe from SecureDragon took some time out of his schedule to chat with us, they have just gone through a complete rebrand of their services splitting their main brand Secure Dragon out into 3 sub brands. So those of you that may be familiar with the Secure Dragon name those services now exist as ServerDragon. We use one of the ServerDragon backup plans (BU25) to store some of our own redundant backups.
SecureDragon is a few years old now, tell us a little bit about how the company came about?
Back in September of 2009, I was using a backup service and one day the service went offline (hardware failure). As I was waiting for it to come back online I searched around for an alternative but couldn’t find one in my price range. I stopped looking and started crunching some numbers and working out some rough plans for my own backup service. I brainstormed with a friend of mine and on September 28th I purchased BackupDragon.com, a few months later my current partner (and dad) Steve joined us. After a few months of development (and lots of meetings), I found LowEndBox.com and took an interest in it and caught the LEB addiction.
We finally got our backup service out of testing and into the real world when I brought up the idea of offering LEBs on our backup server since we have terabytes of extra storage, a CPU that was way overkill for a backup server, and lots of RAM to spare. After a few days we worked out the plans and logistics and purchased ServerDragon.com and SecureDragon.net. We listed our backups on BackupDragon.com, our VPSs on ServerDragon.com, and our control panels on SecureDragon.net (and being the central site we decided on Secure Dragon LLC. for our business name). To avoid confusion we dropped BackupDragon and ServerDragon.
Another month flies past like a distant memory & here I am writing our 3rd update post for October. The last month has had its fair share of ups, downs & frustrations but we’re definitely moving forward at a good pace – to give you some perspective we increased our traffic in October by 311% compared to September.
At the start of September I stumbled across a Tumblr blog called Free Cabin Porn, whilst I’m not particularly an avid outdoor adverturer at this stage of my life I used to be in the Boy Scouts so the outdoors always holds a special place in my heart. I found myself incredibly engaged & addicted to the content, before I knew it almost 20 pages had scrolled past & there was no sign of me slowing down.
In the back of my mind I thought ‘I wonder if there’s something like this out there for servers or data centers?’ which to my surprise there wasn’t. There’s a sub-reddit, which is awesome but no blog that provides something new for you to look at daily. Within a few hours I converted our blog theme over to Tumblr & Server Porn was born. If you look at last months update post you will see that I had already posted 21 posts, literally just after I posted that blog update things started to go a little crazy.
DigitalOcean are a New York based start-up that has been making waves in the VPS community with a simplified approach to spinning up Cloud VPS servers (or Droplets – as they call them) starting at just $5. We took some time out to have a chat with one of the Co-founders, Ben Uretsky.
Where did the idea for DigitalOcean come from?
All of the founding members had experience either in managed hosting or building other cloud providers. The idea to build DigitalOcean originated when one of our founders needed to get a rails app online easily and quickly. The experience was so frustrating, and we figured that there had to be other developers out there looking for a simple cloud provider, with great pricing, that would quickly allow them to get their servers online.
What are some the challenges starting a new cloud hosting company from the ground up?
The challenges of building a new cloud hosting company really originates from having to create market awareness in a crowded space. There are a lot of competitors in the cloud hosting industry, and it is a challenge to get your name out there and gain market position. We have put a strong emphasis on our differentiators, namely simplicity and price.
You use KVM to power your Droplets, tell us a more about the decision to use that particular type of Virtualization?
KVM is taking over as the leading virtualization engine and has full kernel level support. The entire Linux community is rallying behind it. We love the feature set that KVM provides over Linux, especially that it gives us a full birds eye view of the Hypervisor’s performance.
Welcome to part 2 of our WordPress Hosting Guide, in the last part we delved into the various ways that you can find a web host to suit your individual needs. Assuming you’ve already done that, we’re now going to get our server setup so that it’s primed for our WordPress install.
In this guide we’re going to setup WordPress on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 64-bit using Nginx, PHP-FPM, Percona Server for MYSQL, Memcache (Which WP Super Cache will be using as the data store) & MaxCDN to serve static assets.
The actual installation of WordPress itself will be in the next part, here we’ll purely be looking at how to install everything we need on the server. We’re using the WSWD SSD VPS 1, you can do this on any server with SSH access.
Logging Into Your Server
Firstly you’ll need to SSH into the server, to do this you can use Terminal on OSX or Putty if you’re on Windows.
You’ll then be prompted for your root password, which you should have received (or set) when you signed up to your VPS plan.
When you log in successfully you’ll see the shell, which looks something like this:
In the last month we’ve really been trying to push our coverage of benchmarks for cloud hosting, since Atlantic.Net offers a free trial it was easy for us to get good benchmark coverage across all of their plans. They currently outperform the majority of other providers in our Cloud IO Benchmarks so we were intrigued to learn more.
Marty Puranik, the CEO & Founder of Atlantic.Net took some time out of his busy schedule to ask a few questions & get into a bit of detail about their cloud offering.
Atlantic.Net has been around for a long time in Internet terms (since 1994). Tell us a little bit about the company.
Atlantic.Net was founded in 1994 and started off providing Internet access. We’ve obviously changed and re-invented our business model several times, morphing into a high-speed DSL provider, Colocation provider, and now a Cloud hosting provider. We’re passionate about technology and trying to do big things.
What’s the culture like at Atlantic.Net?
Atlantic.Net is a company focused on trying to do the best we can. Our hope is that even if it’s for a split second, we’ve pushed humanity forward in some way or done something no one has done before. Every day we try to improve what we do, even if it’s an incremental change. We also try to use reason and logic to make our decisions, and in that sense we are pragmatic. Overall, I would say we’re reaching for stars, trying to pioneer new ideas. We’re basically looking for the romance and fairy-tale of building an amazing business.
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