Moving On Up To The Cloud

For the last year I’ve been hosting this site on a server running in my basement. While it’s been a much better experience than the $6/month, ‘everything included’, shared hosting plan I was on before, this setup has had its own set of problems. For starters, cable internet is not a viable way to host web sites. Even with a commercial grade, unshared, 10/1Mbps connection the response time to my site was quite high and fluctuated wildly. To make matters worse, we apparently live in a neighborhood that doesn’t have much redundancy on the local power grid – we’ve have numerous power outages in the year we’ve lived here.

While this might be acceptable for a simple blog, I recently started hosting a few sites for others, including our local .NET Users Group and a neighbor’s business site, and the performance and uptime bar needed to be cranked up a bit. I needed something that was on a good, solid internet connection, gave me plenty of control, and was priced low enough to address the wife acceptance factor.

My new home: The Rackspace Cloud

After considering a variety of options, I finally settled on Rackspace’s Cloud Servers. I’d been tinkering with their services for some time and had been very impressed not only by the performance and capabilities, but by the price. For as little as $11 per month you can run your very own virtual Linux server with 256MB of RAM and 10GB of disk space. Need Windows servers? They start at about $29 per month for 512MB of RAM and 20GB of disk space. Need some short-term servers to handle capacity? You pay by the hour and there are no minimums or commitments! Their control panel is incredibly easy to use, and for more advanced scenarios there’s even an API for automatically scaling up and down. I could go on, but instead I’m going to recommend an excellent review at Social Cloud Now.

For my little setup I went with 2 Ubuntu servers and 1 Windows server – total damage is just over $50/month. This gives me an Apache web server, an IIS web server, and keep the database on its own machine. How does it perform? I think my Pingdom response time report says it all.

Pingdom 

Moving up to the Rackspace cloud has cut my response time in half! Before the move my response time averaged close to 800ms, after it’s under 400ms (the brief spike was after I had migrated the database to the cloud but before I had migrated the web server). Those are the worldwide numbers – the US average is only 170ms!

A perfect fit

I couldn’t be happier with my move to the Rackspace cloud. Having great performance and availability, being easy to use, and affordably priced makes Rackspace my cloud provider of choice.

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