I have recently been approached by several potential clients about doing various work to help them migrate to the Cloud. Everything was good until they asked for a control panel such as Plesk or cPanels . They were determined to have some type of web based control panel for their cloud systems. I’m completely baffled by these people, They are trying to use extremely dated crap with cutting edge stuff and then are going to be surprised when it does not work well.
Let me give some history here for the young ones. Web based control panels specifically Plesk and cPanels were designed to run virtual hosting businesses. They became popular in the early 2000′s during the rise of rented dedicated server solutions. Where you wanted to cram 100′s of small sites/customers onto a single server and give them some ability to manage their own setup. Keep in mind you have very limited ability to do non-standard setups so you can meet the lowest common denominator of the systems configuration. This made sense 10 years ago when dedicated servers were expensive and you had to have lots of customers on one just to break even.
Now the cloud servers world today is an extremely different place. When I’m talking about cloud server I’m referring to services like Amazon EC2 or Rackspace Cloud servers. These systems are designed for modular specialized services that allows for fast scalability and redundancy. You spin up a few web servers behind a load balancer, and a couple of database servers and you have your own small server farm. You offload email and DNS to a third party service and your ready to go.
The smartest designs and setups in the cloud today are all about modularity and optimization. The last thing you would want to do is add a layer of additional crap to slow down your system and keep it from working as designed. Control panels by design are all about setting limits and the cloud is all about building without limits.
Over the next couple of weeks I will be writing several articles to explain how you should be developing cloud solutions using various API and automation tools. With these open source tools I have built scripts that allow me to create multiple types of systems within minutes, along with making configuration changes to multiple lives servers with a single command.
- Rackspace API
- Amazon API
- Using Chef for Automation
- Using Puppet for Automation
- Using Fabric for system configuration
If your business is not fluent is using API’s and some type of automation tool such as Chef or Puppet to build and configure your servers you are way behind the power curve of current technology. Leave the GUI on Windows and learn a new skill set that will enable your business and well as your resume.