How Difficult is DreamCompute Administration? - I have no experience

dreamcompute

#1

Greetings,

My background: I have no experiencing in administering or updating my own VPS, I’m used to Dreamhost managing everything and then I use sudo to tweak a few variables in the Apache Configuration (this sudo edit is absolutely necessary for my server)… I managed to install one 3rd-party software “bolted” onto MySQL, and wrote a few small shell scripts. I have very basic Linux/Shell experience. I currently have a VPS and MySQL VPS plan with an SSL on one site. I have a lot of programming and web development experience, but I have a major lapse in this Server/Network/Apache/Linux backend type stuff…

Dreamhost Changes: sudo access is about to be removed from VPS and they are now charging $120/mo for 240GB disk space, which is too small for me and that alone costs 5x more than what I’ve currently been paying. It seems that my only realistic option is DreamCompute.

This is what Dreamhost says about DreamCompute:

[quote]DreamCompute is almost completely unmanaged. We do give
you the option of launching an instance with one of a few different Linux
operating systems that we’ve setup for you, but beyond that, you’re on
your own for updates.[/quote]

Questions: How difficult it is to actually manage and administer DreamCompute on my own if I’ve never done it before? What do I have to learn and how many security updates are necessary and were do I find these security updates? If you have MySQL VPS, do you pay for that separate server, or do I have to set up my own MySQL VPS on DreamCompute? What other stuff is involved here? Is it fairly easy to figure out or do you need a software engineering degree?

Concerns: I don’t want to move to DreamCompute and have all of my websites and business fall apart because I don’t know what I’m doing.

Thanks


#2

Hi peppy

I am writing a more comprehensive guide but to start here are some of the tricks I use to keep my servers up to date. First, I only use Ubuntu LTS releases and I never build custom packages. This means that either the package is available on Ubuntu LTS or for me it doesn’t exist. Similarly with package version: I only use what’s shipped with Ubuntu LTS. I don’t mess up with custom PPAs and backports (only rarely I do and after careful determinations): I use what’s available in the official repositories, or I don’t use it at all (I look for alternatives).

So the first thing I do when I boot a new machine is to install and configure Ubuntu’s unattended-upgrades https://help.ubuntu.com/lts/serverguide/automatic-updates.html this way I don’t have to login into the machine to install security fixes and other stuff.

I also have learned to use Ansible to manage my servers’ configuration and deployment. On all my DreamCompute servers I apply the playbook newserver from https://github.com/jbarratt/ansible-pb: basically I put on all of them automatically automatic-updates, fail2ban and logwatch.

Ansible may seem like a lot to learn but for a developer it’s very easy to grasp and has the great advantage to make your installation replicable, kept in source control so you don’t have to worry about configuration options anymore.

I keep different roles and playbooks for LAMP servers, all via Ansible. Ansible modules for OpenStack can be used on DreamCompute making things even more easy: http://docs.ansible.com/ansible/os_server_module.html

This should give you a headstart for DreamCompute… Regarding your MySQL VPS, I think you can keep that but I’m not an expert in that product and I don’t know how the connection to MySQL VPS works, if it allows IP connections from any network, for example.

I’m happy to guide you through more detailed examples if you want to share more details about your applications.


#3

Greetings smaffulli,

Thanks for the details, I think this will be very helpful information for getting started with a server.

My major sites are heavily dependent on MySQL. I remember that Dreamhost said their MySQL VPS wasn’t actually located at Dreamhost, but they were using a different datacenter or service somewhere else. I don’t know if that has changed or not or if this is still a requirement. Do you think I can set up a MySQL “VPS” on a DreamCompute and if it would run just as fast and efficient as it would my current MySQL VPS (assuming I use the same memory allotment)? I could combine my Web VPS and MySQL VPS into 1 DreamCompute?

I have about 60 websites, 15 MySQL databases for multiple domains and 20 different users (SFTP/SSH users). Do I still set these up and manage them from the Dreamhost control panel? Or do I have to re-create all of these users, domains and databases and manually put these into DreamCompute? if so, how is this done, or is there a way to transfer them from my current VPS to DreamCompute? Can all of this (including MySQL) be set up on a single IP address, or do I need more than 1 IP?

I also have HTTPS (SSL) on one of my sites, I will probably need an additional one for another site. When I purchased it 3 years ago, I was told that I had to buy a unique IP address in order for it to work. Now I’m hearing that a unique IP address is not required unless you need HTTPS for very old browsers (IE 8 is about as old as my current sites support). Do you think I still need that unique IP, or will very few people have old enough browsers to make use of it. How would I set up HTTPS on DreamCompute for 1 or more domains? Do I have to buy an SSL for each and every domain, or can SSL cover multiple domains?

Thanks
Kind regards