Virtualization, one of the buzzwords flying around the Internet today, is a method of running separate servers (guests) with separate operating systems on shared physical hardware (the host). I wrote a quick summary back in February, 2009 that should help give some context.
Here at ipHouse, we have chosen to use VMware for our virtualization products. We chose VMware because of its reliability, great support for many guest operating systems, and integrated set of management tools for both the hosts (the physical servers) and the guests (the running virtual machines). In fact, ipHouse is an official licensee of the VMware Service Provider Program (VSPP), a requirement to sell virtual server services to 3rd parties (and as far as I know, the only authorized hosting provider in Minnesota, though I would love to be corrected).
Dubbed ‘SV’ internally, there are 4 different server editions available.
But before I get into the servers (and their configurations) themselves, I’d like to list the supported operating systems (and Linux distributions), many of which are ready for quick deployment where only the final configuration options need to be entered.
Immediately we support:
- Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard and Enterprise, 32/64bit
- Microsoft Windows Server 2008, Standard and Enterprise, 32/64bit
- FreeBSD 7.x, 32/64bit
- Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron), 32/64bit
- RedHat Enterprise Linux 5, 32/64bit
These systems are available with and without operating system maintenance handled by ipHouse, and if you choose to maintain your own system(s), we have an interface in place to facilitate your needs for a virtual console that will give you the ability to power on, power off, and reset the system, as well as doing recovery in case of a configuration error.
How does this work? Here is a tutorial I whipped up (with editing help from Ben) using the client tools we will supply.
(and it was fun to make, but really needs a voice over)
Starting price is $79/month for the initial version (SV-500), to $219/month for the SV-4000.
- 20GB storage
- 512MB of RAM
- 1 vCPU (virtual CPU), limited to 1.5Ghz
- 80GB storage
- 1GB of RAM
- 1 vCPU (virtual CPU)
- 140GB storage
- 2GB of RAM
- 1 vCPU (virtual CPU)
- 200GB storage
- 4GB of RAM
- 2 vCPU (virtual CPU)
The SV-500 is the entry level virtualized server. This doesn’t mean it isn’t capable, only that it has a few limitations compared to the other editions.
The limitations are:
- SV-1000, SV-2000, and SV-4000 can upgrade the amount of RAM allocated, while the SV-500 can not.
- SV-1000, SV-2000, and SV-4000 can upgrade the size of the disk space at time of order, while the SV-500 can not.
- SV-1000, SV-2000, and SV-4000 have virtual CPUs are running at full clock speed (whatever the clock speed of the physical CPU is), while the SV-500 is limited to 1.5Ghz.
Excepting the above, the SV-500 can run all of the supported operating systems except for Microsoft Windows Server 2008. The memory requirements of Windows Server 2008 are just too high for 512MB of RAM.
Regardless of the edition, the virtual server systems themselves are operating on enterprise level servers (Dell R905 systems currently, you can review the specs here), and storage is utilizing a Compellent SAN.
One additional note, for a slight increase in monthly cost, your virtual server can have high availability (HA) and dynamic resource scheduling (DRS) added.
- HA will give your virtual server some resiliency in case of physical hardware failure, bringing your virtual server back online on another host automatically. In a perfect world this never happens.
- DRS is a tool within the VMware Virtual Infrastructure that constantly monitors the cluster of host servers (and the running virtual machines) and will dynamically move the running instance live from one host to another to balance the load across all running hosts within the same cluster set. As more hosts are added to the cluster, balancing of the load for virtual servers with this service turned on would happen.
The wall of text from VMware is available on their website dealing the features of their Virtual Infrastructure, Not all of the features listed are applicable to a hosting provider and, for that reason, are not included in the service(s) offered by ipHouse.