By Categories: Service Updates, Tips & TricksTags: , , , , Comments Off on Cloud Hosting vs Legacy Hosting

I hope to cover a few topics in this one post.  First I want to explain what cloud hosting is and why it is different from the traditional hosting you were used to at Goldsboro Web Development and why we must be a stickler moving forward on disk space and CPU usage (which we are usually solely responsible for this).

Traditional hosting consisted of just 1 server to do just about everything.  When we deployed a customer on that server you had that single login and everything about your website was hosted from that server perhaps except for the DNS.  This is cost effective but it is also a single point of failure.

Cloud hosting is different, your website could be running from 100 servers or 2 at any given time and is stored on multiple servers and not just one.  Instead of having 3 servers, say 1TB on each server for your storage, we now have 3 servers where all websites are stored in copies.  Your use of 100GB of storage, just multiplied by 3.  While this may seem a little duplicative, it provides you with a secondary site.

Our infrastructure consists of 4 storage backends that are constantly mirroring each other using SSHFS, and 4 Apache servers that access these servers at random for your website data.  We also have 6 replicating MariaDB servers (1 master), that keep your databases nice and tidy while 6 email servers ensure you never miss another email.

There is a lot of redundancy which means your data is far safer, but that also means we have to keep a watchful eye on disk usage as well as CPU usage.  If one machine is overburdened it’s not as much of a problem, but when one customer is overburdening 50 nodes, that becomes a problem and we would have to take action.

The Tarheel Cloud does run a little differently, though. We have 2 application (apache) servers dedicated just to it’s hosting with the DNS decider running in front of that keeping an eye on the application servers with 19 data back-ends.  2 of which are SSD-based servers that are sitting on the same network that we use for your “hot storage”, which is smaller files that you access frequently.  The other servers are older machines that have been gutted of their hard drives and replaced with more modern, but mechanical hard drives with each reaching storage capacities of over 20TB.  Because this is slower, we use this for your bigger files and videos and call it “cold storage”.  Sitting between the two is 2 old gaming PC’s.  That’s right, 2 old gaming PCs that have had their innards put in a generic U2 chassis and mounted in a rack with AI engines running on the GPU’s to make decisions on what to do with the data that is stored on these storage servers.  These 2 PC’s drive the entire cloud – making arbitrary decisions on whether or not your file deserves hot-storage attention or simply seeing if that file looks malicious in nature.

This allows you to store massive files while at the same time having quick access to your most used files – essentially you notice nothing – but we are able to store more files and process them quicker for you.

Essentially, cloud computing is the future; there is no stopping it.  What we can do is adapt and move in a forward direction.  We hope our changes benefit all our customers.