by, Adam Bogobowicz, Director of Product Marketing for Service Providers, Parallels
This Blog is a follow up to a conversation on Parallels Forum. It highlights Parallels Plesk Automation (PPA) architecture options and related hardware and licensing fees. My forum response is reposted here as it may be of interest to a broader audience or hosters considering Parallels Plesk Automation as their next Professional Hosting Platform. The core of the forum question was related to business logic of Parallels Plesk Automation for micro-hosting scenarios. My answer comments on a broader set of scales and architecture options possible with Parallels Plesk Automation.
With the number of Parallels Plesk Automation deployments increasing I am now able to provide an answer to your questions based not only on product architecture but also on experiences from in-production deployments.
From what I can see it is quite clear that value of PPA over a single Parallels Plesk Panel deployment increases with the scale of the system. This is consistent with the way PPA is architected. We wanted this product to be the platform for professional hosting and optimized it for hosters for whom hosting is a full time business.
This means that if you are running a hosting business with 100 or less customers/domains Parallels Plesk Panel is the best solution in town. It is simpler than Parallels Plesk Automation and with 100 customers, scale and management is still not a problem. It still makes sense to run at this scale with Parallels Plesk Panel Unlimited dedicated license to qualify for free support but if money is short, you can find a discounted Parallels Plesk Panel 100 domain licenses with one of Parallels infrastructure partners.
At even smaller scale of micro-hosting you will find an even lower cost solution with Parallels Plesk Panel 10 domain offered for free by many of our partners.
Please Note: There are specialized hosting services scenarios, where security or customer requirements dictate isolation and multi-server architecture with low customer counts. If this is of interest to you I am happy to address it separately.
Now the good news is that you do not need to start your hosting business on Plesk Automation to be able to move up to it later on. The transition from Plesk 11 to Plesk Automation is easy so when your business grows you can simply make the choice to move to the professional hosting platform.
You should consider Parallels Plesk Automation for the first time at the 300-500 user level or when the number of VPSs and server you are managing starts to be (technical term) “a pain to manage”. Managing more than 4 servers without centralized Management Panel would give me a headache.
Here you have a choice of managing a Plesk Automation on a series of VPSs or managing a dedicated server that you provision containers onto. My advice is, if you have the skills, you should go with the dedicated box and run Parallels Cloud Server virtualization on it.
I suggest one quad core server with 32Gb RAM and 1Tb hardware RAID 10 storage like Dell PE620, Intel Xeon 2609 2.4 Ghz 4C x 2, 32Gb RDIMM RAM, 300Gb SAS 6Gbps x 8 (1.2Tb available storage), Perc H710 Hardware RAID 10 (Dell offers it for $171/month lease) and run 4 Parallels Cloud Server containers on it.
I would run:
- · PPA Management node on container #1 and give it 4GB of RAM and 10GB of storage
- · Apache Web Server and MySQL server on container #2 and give it 4GB of RAM and 300GB of storage
- · Apache Web Server and MySQL server on container #3 and give it 4GB of RAM and 300GB of storage
- · Postfix mail server, Parallels Premium Antivirus, Secondary DNS, Webmail on container #4 and give it 4GB of RAM and 200GB of storage
This system will scale to 600 Users at 1GB storage allocation but can handle 2x of easily depending on type of resource allocation method used and actual resource utilization.
At this scale cost value calculation is very different from your calculation with licensing cost now being a much smaller fraction of the overall system cost.
In fact in this configuration you would only pay (with no partnership discounts) $39 x 4 for Plesk licenses, + $70 for PCS (5CT) and + 6 for Parallels Premium Antivirus = $232 / month. You can lease this server from Dell for only $171/month and collocate it for less than $200/month or lease it directly from one of the infrastructure service providers. Thus your monthly cost would be around $600/month or around $1 per customer in this configuration.
And of course you can mix in an IIS Web Server and MS SQL server node into the system and for that I would add a virtual machine with 8Gb RAM and Windows 2008 R2 using Parallels Cloud Server.
From what I see in deployments of Parallels Plesk Automation next scale level comes from hosters running PPA on multiple physical servers and dedicated backup node.
For example, let’s say you are running two production boxes with 32Gb RAM and 1Tb RAID 10 storage running Parallels Cloud Server (PCS) and one backup box with 8 Gb RAM and 1Tb RAID 10 storage and running Parallels Cloud Server.
On the first box you can run
- · PPA Management node on container #1 and give it 8GB of RAM and 20GB of storage
- · Web server on container #2 and give it 4GB of RAM and 200GB of storage
- · Web server on container #3 and give it 4GB of RAM and 200GB of storage
- · MySQL on container #4 and give it 4GB of RAM and 200GB of storage
- · Primary DNS server #5 and give it 1GB of RAM and 20GB of storage
On the second box
- · Secondary DNS server on container #1 and give it 1GB of RAM and 20GB of storage
- · Web server and MySQL Server on container #2 and give it 4GB of RAM and 200GB of storage
- · Web server on MS SQL Server container #3 and give it 8GB of RAM and 200GB of storage
- · SmarterMail Server on container #4 and give it 8GB of RAM and 200GB of storage
A third backup server would be dedicated to the backup role.
Again you can mix and match, extend with Windows hosting and sell to 2000+ users
At full Parallels Plesk Automation scale, hosters usually go into fully dedicated server roles and scale up to 6+ physical servers with at minimum two 32 GB RAM and 1Tb RAID 10 storage servers dedicated to the web server role. At this scale you will be able to support thousands of users.
Please let know if this answer was useful and if I can answer any additional questions.