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 Drupal 6 on Cloud Sites

Yesterday I posted a video tutorial covering how to install WordPress on the Rackspace Cloud Sites platform. This video was a huge hit so I wanted to put together another one showing another extremely popular platform deployed onto Cloud Sites, Drupal.

I’ve used Drupal personally for many years on various projects and it is by far my favorite CMS platform for a variety of reasons, most of which revolve around the massive community. Watch the video for a step-by-step walk through with some quick performance notes as well which will ensure your Drupal site runs and scales smoothly within the Cloud and uses as few resources along the way as possible.

If you have any feedback or ideas for other video tutorials please leave me a comment or drop me a line on Twitter (@ckeck).

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UPDATED: Adding A Site To Rackspace Cloud Sites

A few of my former video tutorials for the Rackspace Cloud are slightly out of date due to new releases of the Cloud control panel. So I decided to record some new videos so no features are left out. Enjoy this short clip that walks you through the process of adding a new domain to the Cloud Sites platform.

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Rackspace / Mosso Cloud Sites Demos

I’ve posted video demos for Cloud Servers and Cloud Files from The Rackspace Cloud, now lets take a look at Cloud Sites, which is the flagship cloud platform from Rackspace.

Cloud Sites is a fully managed platform-as-a-service hosting architecture which makes it unbelievably easy to provision new web sites and web applications on enterprise grade hosting infrastructure. Because the entire infrastructure is managed by the Rackspace Cloud team up to your application/code there are some limitations in the level of access that you have to the environment and the amount of customization that you can achieve, but the benefits of the platform FAR outweigh any inconvenience caused by this. Essentially, my general rule is that if what you are looking to host will work in the Cloud Sites environment, RUN IT ON CLOUD SITES.

No platform offers greater levels of scalability and redundancy out of the box. From the moment you provision a site/app onto Cloud sites it is load-balanced across multiple physical web servers and specialized database clusters as well. All centrally managed with the best hosting control panel in the industry, business class email from Mailtrust (a sister company), and direct file-system access via FTP/SFTP. Cloud Sites can also easily be used in conjunction with Cloud Files and Cloud Servers.

For $100/month there is simply no other compelling offer in the market, especially when you factor in the 24x7x365 LIVE Fanatical Support delivered by the Rackspace Cloud / Mosso team.

I posted some video demos showing the functionality of the control panel as well as performing some basis tasks within the platform (FTP, database management, etc).

Adding A New Site

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Creating & Managing Databases

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FTP

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Mosso Cloud Sites & Media Temple GS – Put To The Test

Strong web site performance, reliability, and uptime – these are all traits you would expect from an enterprise-class Cloud hosting platform, right? That is exactly how I feel now – and exactly what I expected almost three years ago when I started looking at the very early cloud hosting platforms of the time.

My name is Chad and today I am a Mosso employee. Long before I joined the Mosso team, however, I enjoyed (sometimes) hosting many of my own web sites and those of friends, colleagues, family, etc. Back in late 2006 I was looking for a better platform for the sites I hosted. I was tired of trying to manage my own solution, and I was frustrated with the downtime and poor support of all the VPS providers I had used over the years. Cloud hosting was a very new concept and, in fact, I don’t think it was even referred to as “cloud” just yet, but there were two main providers in this space at that time: Mosso & Media Temple. Like many, I was concerned about the initial concepts but very intrigued with the technology so I splurged and purchased hosting accounts both with Mosso and with the Media Temple Grid platform. I decided to do some testing on two basic fronts: response time & uptime. As you may have figured by now, one platform excelled in comparison, and I was so intrigued that I ended up coming to work for Mosso!

So now, in early 2009, I thought, “Why not duplicate those same tests and see what the results would be?” And that is exactly what I did. I set up identical static web sites serving a 100KB image and identical dynamic sites, a vanilla WordPress 2.7.1 install on both platforms (Cloud Sites from Mosso and Grid-Service from Media Temple). Next I decided to leverage Pingdom for all the testing, as they have a wide variety of testing locations around the world. These tests for uptime and response time were performed via a full HTTP check (not ping) and occurred in 1 minute and 5 minute intervals on different copies of the static and dynamic sites. I set the test to run during the middle of a typical business week and collected roughly 72 hours of data.

The results were very impressive. Uptime percentages for Mosso Cloud Sites were a solid 100% compared to about 99.0% on average with Media Temple GS, and downtime stuck solid to zero seconds, while Media Temple was down 1-5 times across the different test sites resulting in almost 30 minutes of downtime on average per site. Average response times for Mosso Cloud Sites were at least half of that of MT GS, with Cloud Sites sometimes operating almost as much as five times faster!

This test is easy to duplicate if you would like to try it firsthand. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Please see the results below and you can see the direct Pingdom reports here: http://www.pingdom.com/reports/ndv2m2bh6fnw/