by Dan on December 5th, 2010

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. :-D

11 Responses to “A Glimpse Into the Future, Part I”

  1. Steven Says:
    8:32 am on December 7th, 2010

    There are providers out there are providing “cloud” type reseller service.
    Like Hostnine? If I remember correctly, they offer “RC” system and your sub-accounts are located on different servers. And what they offer is pretty good.
    But I see as a sub-brand of UK2 you have the resouce to do such a system, locate your server in different DCs and reseller can use all locations in one reseller package. Offer a low load and well managed server environment with cloudlinux and such.
    So i think resell.biz can do it well, looking forward for your new product.

    And sorry I’m going off-topic here, back in May, http://blog.resell.biz/sneak-peak/, there is a post about resell.biz’s new system, I am still looking forwarding to it, because LB’s domain management system is such a pain(hard to use, hard to understand for newbies, can’t manage DNS records/url forward in WHMCS and so on… ), could you please share a little update about this?

  2. Dan Says:
    10:49 am on December 7th, 2010

    Hi Steven,
    Thank you for your thoughts. Without “spilling the beans” too much, our platform will be similar to what you suggest, though I don’t know that I like the mention of a competitor in my blog too much ;-).

    To respond to your question about the sneak-peak post in May, there have been some changes to resell.biz from the leadership perspective and inevitably that caused some strategic changes. Yes, we are working on a much improved domain management system that will be completely integrated with our platform. It will be the second phase of our platform development. We follow that up with some other reseller-focused advanced hosting products in the first part of next year.

    Again, thank you for posting your thoughts and being active in the community. I appreciate your dedication to our brand!

    Dan

  3. Steven Says:
    12:19 am on December 8th, 2010

    Hi Dan, you can remove the competitor’s name in my post, didn’t mean to do it, just want to make things clear in my post. No hard feelings please ^_^.

    There is no need to publish this message, just want you know you can remove their name, it’s fine for me.
    Have a nice day!

  4. Dan Says:
    11:13 am on December 10th, 2010

    Hey Steven,
    In no way would I change your post. You said it, your thoughts were spot on, and I can’t ignore what my readers are thinking ;-). Absolutely no hard feelings! There is a lot of value in hearing what your clients have to say about your competition and I want to encourage open communication like that.

    I simply meant that I didn’t like the the door was left open for them to be mentioned, but I left it open. Keep these thoughts and ideas coming in guys, it will benefit us all!

    Dan

  5. Ronald Says:
    3:28 am on December 11th, 2010

    Well, we are using HostNine and deploy accounts to several different servers.

    We have signed up for a backup service that backup all cPanel account based on the WHM hash code previously. However, after moving to H9, their platform doesn’t work with this type of service as we don’t have any access with WHM. Adding each cPanel account credential to our backup system has been pretty tedious, imagine the growth in future and this kind of task will simply take away much of our time. Basically, now we are at the mercy of H9 and I have to trust them to backup the data (1 day retention) + restoration fee. This is a pretty strong weakness that I found. Will UK2 let us resellers have the ability to backup accounts in different servers based on the central system hash code?

    Will the system have all the administrative functions like account restoration, migrating to other server, etc without getting any of your staff involved in this process?

    Another weakness is, we have our staff and we want to give them certain permission to the central system, like checking on the account overusage, migration of server, etc.. without having to give them the master login for security reason.

    Off-topic: Which countries do you intend to implement this and when will this service start? :)

  6. Ronald Says:
    3:32 am on December 11th, 2010

    Just to add on, we find it pretty hard to perform certain tasks like accounts merging (eg. a customer has 2 accounts and want to merge into 1 account). Basically, I have to download their files to my local desktop and upload the files to the server. Are we able to have some form of master SSH access where we have access to our customers accounts only? Well, I am not sure how it is going to be done, its just my suggestion and the thinking part will leave to you guys.

  7. Dan Says:
    10:26 am on December 14th, 2010

    Hi Ronald,
    thanks for chiming in! Several of your thoughts will be addressed by the upcoming platform. We will have a backup system in place for our resellers to utilize, no more needing to purchase a second service from some other provider. We already had many of your suggestions in our road-map but added a few more with your suggestions (merging accounts). Some of these features won’t be available at launch but will be added down the road as time permits.

    In any case, thank you for your comments!
    Dan

  8. Alex Says:
    7:51 pm on December 15th, 2010

    Dear Dan,

    Any eta regarding WHMCS? It is hard to keep using stargate module as is not working proper. Please do something about that.

    Thank you in advance!

  9. Ronald Says:
    11:35 am on December 20th, 2010

    Will there be possibility for us to utilize our own backup service? Well, we have to prepare ourselves just in case that we are being kicked out for some reasons, not saying resell.biz will do that, but just want to prepare ourselves in the event of situations and being booted off from downloading the backup of our customers, this will bring a death nail to our company.

    When will this be expected to launch? And are there any countries to be implemented at the start? :)

  10. Dan Says:
    11:42 am on December 20th, 2010

    Hi Alex,
    Regarding a module for WHMCS, I can’t comment. I can tell you that we have decided against using WHMCS as our included CRM solution in what we will build resell.biz to be. That does not mean we won’t develop a module for WHMCS, it just isn’t currently being worked and I can’t commit to it being developed or when at this time.

    Thanks,
    Dan

  11. Dan Says:
    11:53 am on December 20th, 2010

    Hi Ronald,
    We are actually getting pretty close to being prepared with the new classic reseller hosting platform. Though the platform will launch out of a single data center here in Utah, it is being developed to manage accounts across a diverse geographic area (multiple data centers). Once we have the platform running sufficiently in our DC here in Utah, I’ll work to get it rolled out across a few others.

    To answer your back up question directly, I am not sure that you will or will not be able to utilize your own back up solution. I’ll send you additional information and we can discuss your options. I simply don’t know what the requirements are of your existing platform.

    Next, I want to specifically comment on your concerns about a host simply pulling the plug on a reseller. I can understand how this is a tremendous concern for you. As a reseller you place a significant amount of trust on your provider. I hope that all can see that we are demonstrating our willingness to communicate openly with our clients and visitors. This effort will transcend the blog and the social media we use and we will be open with our clients. Ultimately, I think communication is likely the key solution to your concern and we will be committed to that effort.