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Entry 1: Just The Beginning

Topic: Xen Based Cloud VPS   

Created on Fri, 23 Mar 2012.
Last Modified on Fri, 20 Apr 2012.

After tinkering around with my ubuntu home server for a while, I began thinking about getting a VPS with a dedicated IP. My Home server just used a free dyndns (I don't think you can add free dyndns sub-domain names to the free account anymore) account which, in cooperation with my router, kept my dynamic IP binded with the free sub-domain name.

Now, anyone who has gotten any sort of webspace knows that there is almost no use in searching for "hosting". The market is flooded with good, bad and terrible hosts and it takes some probing to feel confident about the perfect (best bang for buck) hosting package. There are the main conglomerates (which are expensive) and the el' cheapo companies who are probably just subleasing out space they got from the big company. Just, do your research.

I'm no ultra expert, so I wanted flexibility. I wanted a chance to play around and figure out if I made a mistake before I sign on to any sort of premium package.

Basic Requirements:

      - Full Root Access with the ability to install anything I wanted.
      - High Availability and low latency; I want to be able to log in and work without lag or disconnects.
      - The flexibity to scale if needed (we all know our apps are going to be that successful, lol)

I am still undecided if I want to use it as my personal everywhere linux cloud. Since most of my focus is web-app based, and backend programming and scripting, I wouldn't need any fancy GUIs. A browser will work just fine Otherwise, the kind of things I want to eventually do with my server is the following:

      - Using openVPN to vpn and see the staging sites though a browser.
      - Create commerical web-app solutions which can only by seen by my client.

So maybe commercial and public apps, but then no personal projects. I will have to ensure secure practices before I put my valuables up in the cloud.

      - Explore differnces between cloud VPS and normal VPS.


      - dig into scala, with play and/or lift.. apache tomcat... JVM
      - host my git repos
      - create jails to allow other users to sftp(ssh) or scp wihtou giving too much access
      - create restriced accounts for people I collab with
      - Host some web-based project management tools (I've tried project-pier, redmine, phpcollab, and more... [will be seen in a future topic]
      - and much more..

Wait, theres one more, and the most important:

      - Uphold very tight security best practices. Sometimes things get going slower, but then I can sleep easy at night.

So, a big wishlist...

But for starters, to solve my basic requirements, I opted to get a cloud VPS. They are all the hype and I hope it will give me some exposure into that world. For high availability, you kind of have to beleive the reviews aboutthe company. For Low Latency, I need to get a server close to home.

I'm in Hong Kong, so I narrowed my selection to a few which came up in my searches:

      - rackspace -
      - Host Virtual -
      - VPS Hosting -

I chose Host virtual because I liked how detailed they talked about their new data center in Hong Kong. They use Xen Virtuallization, which is something I wanted to, but never got around to testing out. And teh deciding factor is... Cancel anytime and package adjustment services. Being my first time, I am able to buy the minimal 256mb,10GB Disk, and 200GB transfer ram for ~$10USD. Unlmited ipv6 addresses (another topic I want to decifer), one ipv4 address and $2USD/ipv4 address. a control panel-like service with the 516mb ram package, and a plethera of other nice admin tools which will make the transiton into l33t linux sys admin easier.

Afterwards, I got a Top Level Domain from which had a special on "whois guard" and ssl certificates... so I'm going to get to use that slick https stuff.

Finally, I created an A record to use namecheaps DNS services and forward everything to my IP. I'm happy with my tld choice but i won;t disclose that just yet. Not until I feel its more secure.

Securing my cloud vps is the next step... I will have my hands full for a while :)

PLEASE let me know if I'm doing something wrong, or if you have any suggestions or requests~

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