We hope you will consider evaluating the initial Public Preview of Parallels Plesk Automation (PPA). But, you’re probably asking yourself why is Parallels creating a product like this, and why should I care?
Parallels believes that for hosting companies to thrive and succeed, they must stay ahead of the curve. Because of this, we've invested considerably in technologies such as support for IPv6, nginx for improved server performance, the flexibility of running Windows Server, your choice of a variety of Linux flavors, and even more features and capabilities that are currently available in our Parallels Plesk Panel 11 product. This investment continues to pay off not just for Parallels, but also for our vast ecosystem of hosters and other service providers who continue to build their businesses with us. For several years, we've been working on what we believe will be the leading-edge hosting infrastructure management and control solution for growing professional hosters: Parallels Plesk Automation.
Before I joined Parallels in 2009, the company acquired a number of smaller hosting automation systems. Many people in the hosting industry questioned these moves, wondering if these products would ever enter the mainstream of Parallels’ product line. Whatever the perception you might have had at the time, Parallels Plesk Automation grew out of these technology acquisitions
By working closely with the customers of these hosting systems, Parallels realized that hosting efficiency is important not only to the largest hosters, but also to small and growing hosters. Many hosters who started to centralize IP pool management, e-mail and spam management (not to mention the growing need to manage Linux and Windows Web hosting from a single management node), never wanted to return to the inefficiency of having all hosting services on every single server in their clusters.
Don’t get me wrong: single server products like Parallels Plesk Panel and cPanel fulfill an important purpose. They are easily installed on a server, so they are a great way to manage a server or to start a hosting business. Their simplicity makes them a good business for dedicated and virtual server providers – almost like the “do you want fries with that?” question at a fast food drive-thru. So, infrastructure hosters can easily sell hosting automation software with each server they sell. However, many existing web hosters using Parallels Plesk Panel and other single-server hosting automation software find that after growing to a few servers, they hit an upper-boundary in ease of management and operational efficiency.
The evolutionary challenge in Hosting Automation has been to find a simple, affordable, easily-explained, easily-sold, and easily-bought way to achieve management and growth efficiency. Putting mail, DNS, databases, and web hosting on every single server in a cluster – which has been the norm – is not that path.
By working closely with the vocal and passionate customers of the companies Parallels acquired, we have tried to make Parallels Plesk Automation a unique product that bridges “easily sold and easily bought” with “enables efficiency and growth”. As I said, many hosters who have tried and experienced hosting clusters with centralized hosting roles (mail, web, etc.) will never go back to all-on-one-server systems – and for good reason. But, these same hosters need fair pricing, flexibility, and good, fast support.
Parallels Plesk Automation takes the learnings from our close interactions with these leading edge small to mid-sized hosters, applies it to the evolution of Parallels’ hosting technologies, and packages it in a way that is easily-bought, easily-sold, and comes at a fair price. Then we add free and unlimited support.
To explain further:
- Learnings from leading edge small and mid-sized hosters: Simplicity is very important. Centralized management in multi-server environments must be easy to install and configure, easy to migrate to, and easy to run and manage. Support for third-party and in-house billing systems must be flexible and open.
- Evolution of Parallels Technology: Parallels Plesk Panel is a simplified yet effective Web hosting system which evolves into Parallels Plesk Automation to leverage the “industrial strength” hosting management backbone of Parallels Automation, our flagship software for large service providers and hosters. So, small and growing hosters now have access to the Parallels Automation backbone like our much larger telco and large service provider partners. And, in future releases, this allows hosting businesses to grow from Shared Hosting into VPS, Cloud, and SaaS hosting.
- Easy-to-sell, easy-to-buy, at a fair price: The beauty of single-server hosting systems (such as Parallels Plesk Panel, cPanel, etc) is that they are priced and sold per server. This is easy for the buyer (you know how much you’ll pay) and easy for the seller – typically a datacenter – because it can be attached to each server sold. Parallels Plesk Automation (PPA) will continue to follow this model. Any leased Parallels Plesk Panel Unlimited Dedicated server license can convert into a PPA node. Servers in a Parallels Plesk Automation cluster simply require this same type of Parallels Plesk Panel license – which is sold per server – but DNS and DB Servers require no license. To make it simple, the PPA Management Node software will be a free download from www.parallels.com. If it is installed on a server with valid license (Parallels Plesk Panel Unlimited Dedicated), you are good to go.
- Enhanced Support: Plus, because Parallels now offers Free Priority Support for all Parallels Plesk Panel Unlimited Dedicated licenses, you will experience a level of support you may have never expected or experienced from Parallels before.
So, it has been a bit of a journey for Parallels in creating Parallels Plesk Automation. We believe it is a journey toward the future –and we firmly believe that evaluating and moving to Parallels Plesk Automation is the first step on the path to setting up your hosting company for growth and efficiency (not to mention taking your business to the next level). We’ll explain more of PPA’s growth benefits and plans in the future.
For now, we are proud to be able to offer free Public Previews of Parallels Plesk Automation. This follows four invitation-only private previews, so we’re quite far along on this. We hope this Preview helps you set up a real-world test in your own environment. Also, we hope you’ll give us feedback on what you like and what you don't like, which will positively influence our product direction.
Based on your feedback and the success of our previews, we expect Parallels Plesk Automation to release during Q4 of 2012.
To apply for the Preview, just visit: www.PleskAutomation.com
All the best,
Vice-President, Control Panels and Shared Hosting