Archive for December, 2010
Time has certainly flown by over the last couple of weeks. I promised a second post in 2 weeks or less and here we are 3 weeks later. It feels like just yesterday I started to outline some of the weaknesses we were trying to overcome when launching our Classic Reseller Hosting platform. There were a couple of great comments and a few questions. I appreciate some of the conversations that have spawned as a result of the post.
We have continued to work hard to deliver a hosting product that you all will appreciate. Our development team has been here in the office visiting for some deserved inspiration and I have been busy working with our Web Design team preparing for some website modification as the launch draws near. All in all, we are making good progress.
A couple of weeks ago, I had described a few of the weaknesses I perceived in the current Reseller Hosting world. A few of you obviously picked right up on what I was getting at and even provided some good suggestions. Your input has been priceless at this point as I was able to take some of it and request added features that will be available at launch or shortly thereafter. In any case, on to my solutions!
As previously described, one of the biggest hurdles in the Reseller Hosting Community has been scalability. Both management and account size tend to become difficult as a Reseller’s lifetime moves along. We wanted to find a solution that would allow for unlimited growth in both cases and I am proud to say we have ;-). We have developed a reseller control panel to replace WHM while still allowing resellers to manage all aspects of their clients accounts that still utilize cPanel. You might ask “well, how does that address scalability.” The answer is simple; it decouples the reseller account from a single server thus, the reseller account is no longer limited to the size or capabilities of a single server.
You might also start to imagine how this model addresses my stability concerns as well. It gives us as the parent the ability to manage our server farm more effectively :-). We are no longer crippled by the standard relationship between WHM and cPanel . As our servers fill up, we can easily stop allocating new accounts to full servers while the resellers continue managing existing accounts creating new ones on new servers that are added to the farm as it grows. This solution also gives us the ability to isolate an unruly account from the “normal farm population” while issues are resolved and all the while the relationship between Resell.biz, Reseller and their client is maintained. As an added bonus all of our Classic Reseller Hosting servers will be running Cloud Linux kernels and Ksplice to all but eliminate instability across the platform.
There is only one more thing to mention here and that is a pricing model to match the flexibility of this platform. I am excited to demonstrate what we have done with our model but I will leave that for another post. Lets just say that we have removed pricing as a roadblock to entry and we have made it just as scalable as our hosting platform!
It has been quite a month! We have been feverishly working on our resell.biz classic reseller hosting offering and I have been engrossed by its soon-to-be goodness. I am extremely excited to debut the platform. So, I thought this would be a good time to talk about why I am excited. To do that I first have to talk about our improvements but to help you understand them, I need to explain what I perceive to be weaknesses in many reseller hosting packages out there. Because I am an opinionated person, this is going to be a long discussion. In fact, this is better suited to be a two part series. Feel free to jump in with your comments where you see fit.
In my opinion, scalability and stability are the two primary problems in most low cost reseller packages you are likely to find in the community. The problem is that, as a reseller, you are likely to be tied to one specific control panel by familiarity (yours or your clients). If you find yourself in this situation you are also likely bound then to the limits set in your purchased reseller package and likely to one specific server (all of your clients being located on the same physical server.)
So you may ask why I see these as weaknesses. First let’s talk about scalability a bit. Let’s say you purchase a reseller package that gives you 100GB of disk space and 1000GB of bandwidth. It is a given that you are overselling (selling more disk space and bandwidth than what comes included in your package). However, you must consider what would happen if your actual consumption reaches the package thresholds. Historically what tends to happen is a reseller purchases a second package and that leads the reseller to managing two separated reseller accounts on two separate servers. Though the frequency of this happening is low, it can be quite cumbersome and can be avoided.;-)
Now that the scenario is described, we can see how this can also impact stability. As resellers you bank on your providers to be stable. However, given that your hosting provider is allocating more than 20 resellers to their servers with the same plan described above, and each reseller continues to grow their client base, you can see that a single physical server would eventually be taxed to the point that it wouldn’t perform well. It would begin to suffer from disk I/O or CPU or RAM bottle necks or a combination of all three simultaneously. My experience tells me that the hosting company would then try to shift accounts around across their server farm to more effectively use server resources. Given the proliferation of cPanel in the reseller hosting community, this means entire reseller accounts start moving around. This can cause instability. Another item that must be considered is what happens if you end up on a server with an unruly neighbor (reseller allocating many potentially unruly accounts) you have no control over.
Now given my long winded explanation to this point you may be thinking that you don’t care and that classic reseller hosting shouldn’t need that much worry. I think it does. I think that this is the type of very granular thinking that the community needs. I think our resellers will benefit from this and it will only trickle down.
As mentioned earlier this is a two part series. I would like to see you guys comment on what you perceive to be weaknesses in the *hosting* product lines in the community. Then I would like to see you back here in the next week or two to see what I have to say about solutions to the weaknesses above. I do have a couple of solutions up my sleeve to the problems I have focused on above and yes, they will be included in the upcoming launch of our classic reseller hosting platform.
This will be a really short post. I have a much more lengthy post about our upcoming hosting platform in the next 24 hours, but I was able to break way for a little while and get the December promotion launched.
This promotion will only be available through the end of December, so take advantage now! Please log in to your control panel and apply the promotion to pass on these saving to your clients!