Zippy New dual-Westmere VPS for Xmas

» Notice anything different? I bet the site is loading snappily for you. More responsively. Zippier. That's cuz we're sitting on a new server. Our VPS has been transferred to a new (and improved) "parent node". Nice way to start the new year. Merry Christmas to us.

Ferrari horse logo - rear grilleRadified is still hosting with the same provider » WiredTree .. since Feb. 2008. (Four years ago, our old server was new.)

A month ago, WiredTree upgraded their servers to the latest version of Virtuozzo, the virtualization software made by a company named Parallels (.. as in » parallel universe).

Virtuozzo makes it appear (virtually speaking) as tho Radified is/were sitting on its own private "dedicated" server [ "Mine! All mine!" ] ..

.. with all the freedom-of-configuration and power that is associated with low-level control (.. the kind that is normally hidden from users of Shared web hosting).

In other words, a VPS provides you with the advantages of a Dedicated server [ "Mine! All mine!" ] without the cost (« ~$150-to-300/month).

More complicated, sure, but after you ascend the learning curve, you wonder how you ever lived without it.

Virtualization is a very cool technology. It represents the 'V' in VPS. And it's what provides the VPS with its 'Privacy' (.. or, at least, makes it appear Private).

Note - tho totally unrelated, you may find it intersting (as do I) that the FILE SIZE of the black-n-crome stallion just above is much larger (35-KB) than all other graphics used on this page. These cars are so beautiful it seems a crime to heavily encode the photos. Arent they gorgeous?

Notice all the small HOLES in the photo above. That is what makes it so difficult to encode as a jpeg. I cropped this from a photo somebody took of the rear-grille of a Ferrari parked on the street. This way I didnt have to scale. Max quality.

The huge size is why I dont use this image on the home page, which I constantly struggle to keep light.

» Frustration after Virtuozzo Upgrade Problems

Anyway, something went awry with the Virtuozzo upgrade and it seems like we had one problem after another .. interspersed with dreadful periods of laggy performance. Perhaps the upgrade itself was problematic.

Realize that I am sensitive to site latency, so I tend to exaggerate any problem.

Not surprising tho. To have problems upgrading something as complex as Virtuozzo. I'm sure it's much easier to load onto a clean, virgin server.

'57 Ferrari 250 Testa Rosa BlackBut once you start loading accounts (containers). An upgrade, especially a major one, seems .. fraught. I applaud them for trying, and having the confidence to pull it off.

I like the techs at WiredTree (some more than others) and have much respect for their skills. Some of them are laser-impressive.

Most of all I like how they dont feed you crap about problems. I never feel like they're trying to blow sunshine up my butt .. like all my other hosting providers used to do.

But after a month, I started to get frustrated. When you pay $10 a month for hosting, you dont expect much. But when you pay $50 .. well, you expect more.

So I finally said, "This has been going on a while. If you cant fix the problem, maybe you should move me to another server."

» Moving Suks (Generally Speaking)

Which they did. "Would now be a good time?"

Black Ferrari F30 on roadAs everybody knows » moving suks.

And moving your site is never a pleasant experience. I put it right up there with a root canal.

There are always problems and unexpected glitches to work thru. Always staying up late. Long past tired.

But when THEY do it for you .. well, that's much nicer .. cuz they have the servers right there (downtown Chicago), and they have access to the server mojo .. cuz they know the mojo.

Sure, we still had some problems (like always), but nothing major. Mostly problems with upgrading cPanel/WHM, but I dont spend much time there.

[ They currently have a ticket open with the cPanel-folks .. to see why the upgrade wont take (even when "forced").

Cpanel update failure during updatenow file sync

cPanel/WHM is a server-configuration utility/program that makes it easy for you to host other web sites yourself (via Web Host Mgr) and administrate the server (via cPanel) without knowing the Shell (« powerful but dangerous low-level text-only command-line interface).

But I only have Radified on this account, so WHM is not a big deal to me. And the server is already configured just how I want.

The single installed version of cPanel/WHM is shared by all Containers on the node. Same goes for Virtuozzo and the Operating system (RedHat-ish CentOS). Unlike Apache, MySQL, PHP, Perl, etc, you cannot control the version of cPanel. I just learned that today.

The reason is because » "They require different versions of certain system libraries, which would cause all sorts of conflicts."

Update 15.Jan - they have cPanel techs working on it now. Copying me on the exchange between/with WiredTree techs (.. cuz it's my ticket). Very cool. Interesting to see how they approach the problem. ]

So! We are now sitting on a new dual-Westmere Xeon beast. Each Westmere comes with 4 processors. Dual Westmere's = 8 CPU's per server. (I am drooling all over my keyboard.)

••• today's entry continues here below •••

Ferrari on a curvy road» Westmere Runs Like a Ferrari

I am so stoked! (Such a geek.) Because this thing is so much zippier .. so much more responsive.

Remarkable how much computing power is available to the average Joe Computer-User today, compared to only a decade or two ago. Wielding the power that we take so for granted.

When I use the phrase Nuclear Grade Technolust, this is what I'm talking about.

[ Maybe the homies at Wiredtree will add more accounts. I dont know. They wont tell me.

Accounts are called » containers in VPS lingo. The physical server/box that your VPS container / account / files sit(s) on is called the » parent node.

Outside of that, the physical server is connected to WiredTree's own Network, which is itself connected to the Internet.

Seems that WiredTree has a separate group of techs/engineers that supports the Servers themselves (I love servers.) and another group dedicated solely to the Network (.. which grows increasingly complex as you add more servers). The technology they have sitting there in Chicago must be very cool.

Yellow Ferrari shown with doors openWhen I first got the VPS back in 2008, it was blazing-fast. But then it slowed (less responsive) as they added more accounts. It was still fast, compared to Shared hosting, but not blazing-fast.

WiredTree claims that adding more accounts to your parent node shouldnt result in a noticeable slowing .. seeing that each account has its own dedicated resources (kinda/sorta, cuz it's configurable) .. but that has not been my experience.

It must be a great temptation for a Web Hosting provider .. to put more accounts on every parent node .. thus increasing revenue per server.

Biggest problem you have with a VPS is some other container chewing up the disk subsystem, thereby causing your own site to respond sluggishly. CPU and memory resources can be walled off & measured per container, but not so easily with the disk subsystem (RAID-10).

One time, when this was happening, I told the WiredTree tech, "Next time you see that guy, smack 'em for me." =) Feels like somebody in your apartment building playing the drums (inconsiderately) at 2AM. ]

Ferrari logo - yellow & black» Heaven = When Moveable Type Runs Well

Anything you do/use for 10 years (.. including a web server) gives you a feel for it. An intuitive feel.

The #1 way I can gage site/server performance .. is by running the Moveable Type software .. which is loaded on the server, and consists of a big Perl script attached to (that makes use of) a MySQL database.

For the past month, Movable Type has been painfully slow. I'm talking about the server-side creation interface, not the resultant, pre-created web-pages that get loaded into your browser. (You might've noticed no new entries were posted for 3 or 4 weeks.)

But now .. even Movable Type is zippy. Woohoo! So I know the whole site is responding well .. seeing I consciously optimize web pages (.. by making them smaller) .. even tho sometimes it might not seem that way.

After you get a server with the goodies you want, the #1 thing most Web Meisters want is » responsiveness. Because a laggy (high latency) site suketh much. I submitted more-than-one ticket for support titled » latency.

I use the freeware version of PingPlotter to "trace" the route between where I sit (in SoCal) and the server (in Chicago) to see where the problem lies. And I use WinSCP (also free) to connect to the sever via Secure Shell (SSH) and upload files.

Another interesting question would be » how well does TypePad run? .. since it is based on Movable Type. Perhaps they can tweak some Perl-specific optimizations, such as FastCGI.

The only question/concern I had was with my custom name servers .. cuz I've never had those back with Shared web hosting. But they said » "Not a problem."

Anyway, I am *very* happy with the performance of this new server. Feels like I died and went to heaven. Let's hope it stays that way.

I'll return next month to update this page with my observations. I'm kinda half-expecting this thing to slow .. like the last server did.

Update - 15.January » Never mind a month. It has not yet been a full week and already I am losing that Ferrari loving feeling. Not bad by any means, but no more blazing responsiveness. At least half-way back to the way it was before. (Before it got bad.). I should wait until tomorrow, a week day, to confirm.

I submitted a ticket to Billing to see if powers-that-be will comp me a month .. for the emotional anguish suffered. =)

Black Ferrari F30 on road» Ye Olde Hybrid Server (VPS + Dedicated)

WiredTree has one OTHER type of package available priced betwixt a VPS and full dedicated server. They call it » Hybrid.

A hybrid of what? » VPS & Dedicated? Weird terminolgy, no? .. cuz a more exclusive VPS (limited to 4 or 6 accounts, for example) would still be just a VPS.

In other words » the containers (S for Server) are still private (P) via virtualization (V). So I'm not getting the reasoning for the distinction behind the name 'Hybrid'.

I mean, here is their response to the FAQ » What is a Hybrid? (half-way down the page)

A Hybrid server is a combination of a powerful enterprise-class server with Virtualization technology. We start with a dual processor quad-core Dual Xeon SuperMicro server with ECC Registered Memory and a Hot-Swap SATAII RAID-10 disk array and then use Virtuozzo to partition the server into seperate Hybrid server environments.

Each Hybrid environment is securely isolated and has guaranteed resources available to it which ensures a high level of performance and responsiveness. A Hybrid server combines all of the benefits of Virtualization technology with the Performance of a full Dedicated server.

Ferrari_F430_Red» Hybrid = More Exclusive VPS

That is exactly-the-definition of a regular VPS. Their 'Hybrid' server costs $100 a month.

Even tho, in theory they claim you shouldnt notice a difference (.. unless your current VPS couldnt handle the load).

I still bet the exclusivity would result in better (snappier) performance. (Unless your server-mates are being naughty.)

Maybe some day I'll test that theory myself. =)

A tech once asked me if I'd like a to demo a month on a Hybrid. (Somebody from Sales had obviously been training them.) It was hard to decline. ■

Couldnt help but notice that the TITLE of today's entry (first entry of the new year) contains all the letters that come at the end of the alphabet (» U, V, W, X, Y, Z). Didnt plan it that way. The last shall be first.

Two Clarifications

1. WiredTree is rarely down. Usually not longer than the time it takes to reboot the server (.. 20-30 mins, depending on start-up checks run, 45 max). So when the site was down for hours following the Virtuozzo upgrade, I knew there were big problems.

When there's a major problem, and everybody is freaking out, they say *exactly* what you want to hear (paraphrasing) »

"Dude, we know there's a problem. We're all over it like white on rice. We're on the phone to Parallel right now and Zac is talking to the Marines about providing close air support .. in case we need to go deep with Shock-n-Awe two-point-oh. It'll be back up soon as possible and not a minute later. So help me, god." =) 

2. I've never actually driven a Ferrari. Or even rode in one.

It's just a graphic illustration to complement the feeling I get from this new, zippy VPS. (A server is basically just a powerful computer. It has more of everything & does everything faster.)

But I have driven a Porsche .. for 20 years. Two of them, actually. An '83 SC coupe & an '84 Carrera Targa. Both used. And a friend's 930 Turbo. Scary-fast. So yes, I am familiar with the visceral dynamics associated with world-class-performance autos. =)

For more along these lines, here's a Google search preconfigured for the query » virtual private server vps dedicated web hosting virtuozzo

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This page contains a single entry by Rad published on January 9, 2012 1:09 AM.

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