The Rackspace Cloud Control Panel – Why It's Better

If you have been in the hosting business or simply hosting your own web sites for any length of time, you are probably familiar with the most popular commercial control panels on the market: Plesk, cPanel & Ensim. These control panels, while powerful in many respects often introduce more trouble than they are worth in the form of increased resource overhead, buggy implementations, cost, usability, etc.

The Rackspace Cloud has taken a different approach and decided to design and develop their own control panel in house from the beginning. Today, the Cloud control panel is an extremely powerful tool that is built specifically for the three product offerings from the Rackspace Cloud (Cloud Sites, Cloud Servers & Cloud Files). This control panel has many benefits over using a generic commercial CP, for example:

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[VIDEO] Installing JungleDisk Server Edition on Cloud Servers

Just a few weeks ago the JungleDisk team announced their entirely new product lineup including the highly anticipated server edition. For those unfamiliar, JungleDisk develops a custom backup application which can store your local system data in the Cloud on platforms like Rackspace Cloud Files or Amazon S3. It supports many advanced features such as block level updates, compression, de-duplication, AES-256 encryption and much more. There are three different editions available for a variety of use cases including: Personal Edition, Workgroup Edition & Server Edition. The pricing ranges anywhere from $2/month per user to $5/month per user or server depending on the edition plus storage fees ($0.15/GB on Rackspace Cloud Files).

I recorded a video tutorial showing the process of installing JungleDisk Server Edition on a Rackspace Cloud Server. Many customers ask about the best way to do file-level backups on Cloud Servers and now the answer is simple: JungleDisk Server Edition. This is a great supplement to the snapshot based image backups that are already available with the Cloud Servers platform.

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Rackspace Cloud Servers vs VPS Platforms

Lately I’ve found myself in the middle of several discussions about how Rackspace Cloud Servers and other platforms like it (Amazon EC2, Linode, GoGrid, etc) differ from traditional VPS environments. While there are similarities, they are by no means the same thing. Let’s take a quick look at some of the key differentiators and advantages.

A Cloud Server is a virtual dedicated server instance based on our custom implementation the Xen Hypervisor that run on very robust hardware. These server instances offer truly dedicated and protected resources which isn’t the case with a VPS (virtual private server). While you may get a small portion of dedicated memory, there is generally no dedicated CPU allocation, disk i/o, network i/o, etc. In addition, most VPS providers only offer smaller amounts of resources, 256MB-1GB of memory and no options above this. And the largest problem by far is VPS platforms are typically oversold, so one physical host machine is running far too many customers and this turns into a resource allocation nightmare causing server crashes or poor performance (or both). There is no isolation from other customers.

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Reselling Rackspace Cloud Servers

Yesterday my colleague, Mike Mozey, posted a great article on reselling hosting services using the Rackspace Cloud Sites platform. Since then we have received several inquiries about reselling our Cloud Servers platform so I thought I’d post some thoughts on this subject.

Cloud Servers does not yet have built-in reseller functionality in our control panel and it may be some time before we see something similar to Cloud Sites implemented. This leaves you with a few different options:

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[VIDEO] Setting Up Your Cloud Server

If you are thinking about testing the Cloud Servers platform or have already opened an account but are unsure of where to go next, this video is for you. I wanted to take the introduction video a step further and actually login to a newly created server and perform all the initial configurations to show you how easy it can be. If you are not familiar with the command line at all it can be a bit tough to get started, but the Rackspace Cloud offers tons of great help articles to get you going and there are some great books out there to reference as well. Once you get the basics down and do it a few times it will become like second nature.

You can follow along with the video or you can reference this KB article which follows the same basic steps I demonstrate in the video. In this tutorial we are launching a Cloud Server running Debian 5.0 Lenny.

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