Parallels Plesk Automation is rapidly becoming the hosting solution of choice, giving professional shared hosters a new opportunity for efficiency and growth. Now deployed by more than 500 service providers in over 60 countries, Parallels Plesk Automation has been field tested with thousands of users, websites and mailboxes and is proving to be efficient, secure and scalable beyond anything a single panel can provide.
Now Parallels is ready to take Parallels Plesk Automation to the next level. Starting in October, Parallels will be offering a public preview of Parallels Plesk Automation 11.5 that will deliver a series of refinements and new services to the solution. The purpose of this article is to outline what you can expect from the next version of the product and to ask you to consider participating in the upcoming preview.
We will cover the basics with support for the latest technologies. We will support Centos 6 on the management node, ensuring the latest security OS updates and latest OS features. Windows 2012 support will come as a minor update following the 11.5 release. We will also take full advantage of the latest UI improvements, already available in Parallels Plesk Panel 11.5, and will support multiple PHP versions on each web node.
With Parallels Plesk Automation 11.5 you will be able to define your node capacity. This will allow you to control the number of websites/mailboxes. For example, you may want to limit the number of websites to 50 on a particular web node, or the number of mailboxes to 200 on a mail node. You can then distribute subscriptions automatically against these nodes, either loading each node up to capacity before using another or distributing equal load on each node in a cluster. Parallels already offers a utility to move subscriptions around servers for Linux hosting, and this functionality combined with node capacity will give you full control of over your load characteristics. To help you better understand your nodes, in UI you now will be able to see lists of all websites on each web node.
Multiple Domain Support
We will be expanding our subscription capability to allow multiple independent domains in a single subscription. In this context, “independent” means the domain has its own FTP account and IP address.
A web studio, development shop, or small VAR with web services needs the ability to manage customers in a very simple way and does not require account registration or billing. With independent-domains-in-subscription functionality you will be able to provide a node (or a workspace on a node) to one of these downstream service providers. This will allow your service provider customer to support multiple downstream customers on that node but without the unnecessary complexity of full account management functionality. We will also enable selling multiple IPs with this scenario.
Many of our Parallels Business Automation Standard and Parallels Plesk Panel 9 customers were waiting for this functionality before migrating to Parallels Plesk Automation, and we are happy to enable it with Parallel Plesk Automation 11.5.
SaaS and Service Syndication
Parallel Plesk Automation 11.5 will ship with and fully support Application Packaging Standard 2 (APS 2) for external services, enabling reselling of a rich set of applications. This functionality is also a basis for delivery of syndicated services from ISVs and cloud providers, who enable their services following the APS standard. This standard not only opens the door to a new hosting business model (syndication) but will also enable a new level of collaboration between Parallels partners. A good example of this opportunity will be for Parallels partners with highly efficient Microsoft Exchange operations who now will be able to provide syndicated services for resale via the Parallels Plesk Automation enabled hosters.
Ring-fenced Nodes Hosting
Some hosting customers require and are willing to pay for dedicated resources for their service. With the Parallels Plesk Automation 11.1 release, you already could move a customer to a ring-fenced node. To enable this feature as a business scenario in Parallels Plesk Automation 11.5, we will also introduce an alternative licensing option for the product. This alternative licensing method will be based on the total number of hosted websites in the system (and no longer based on number of nodes) and will therefore make the marginal cost of upselling to a dedicated node much more attractive to our partners.
With Parallels Plesk Automation 11.5 we are also making many smaller but critical service refinements based on feedback from our customers.
- +Branded Name Servers option will now allow changing names of DNS servers hosting your domains. This means that NS records in the DNS zones created under a particular reseller account will have the reseller’s branding domain name as the prefix in the hostname of the name server. As a result you will no longer have to use an original server name, and now your customers and your resellers’ customers will see the branded NS records in the DNS screens in the customer panel.
- +We are also enabling an upsell from a shared hosting IP to a dedicated IP (which can be bound to an SSL certificate). This functionality is particularly relevant for supporting users with old browsers that do not support the SNI feature which would allow customers to link certificates directly to IPs.
- +We will support pure DNS hosting subscriptions allowing your customer to purchase or bring a domain and host it on the infrastructure.
- +You will be able to specify which trusted APS applications (itemized list) can be used with a particular service plan, giving you the ability to focus on specific bundles and offers, and to limit potential support exposure from use of non-core applications.
To secure a spot in the upcoming preview of Parallels Plesk Automation 11.5 please e-mail Parallels at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to comment or ask questions about the upcoming public preview of the product you can always reach me at email@example.com
~ Adam Bogobowicz, Sr. Director, Product Marketing, Parallels