Noob Questions: Getting Started With DreamCompute


I just started a DreamCompute and I’m a noob with this. Right now I’m just trying to learn, figure out the volumes, instances, login, set up a test server, do things, etc.

Question 1:
So far, I got 1 instance running, it is called “Home”. It says 80GB disk, but my dashboard Volume Storage pie chart says 10GB of 100GB used.

I have 1 image, which I set to 10GB. It says “Attached to Home on /dev/vda”. This has Ubuntu 16.04 on it. Is this image simply like a space for the OS to run? It says that Ubuntu 16.04 is 2.20GB in size. Should I start over and make an image of 2.20 GB in space (to save space)? Is 10GB overkill or does the OS grow over time? What is the recommended disk space I should use for Ubuntu 16.04 image?

Question 2:
When I first created the “Home” instance, DreamCompute asked me to create the SSH keys and asked me to download the key.pem private key file (it would not be available again). I saved it on my computer, used PuttyGen on the file to create a private key.ppk file also saved on my computer. Then I followed the steps in Putty to upload this according to the DreamCompute guide:

When I click “Open”, the console appears with the words: “login as:” What do I do here? What is my username? Is it simply “ubuntu” with no password (which seems to work)? Does this access my entire “Home” instance/server, or just the Ubuntu 16.04 image?

The command console has the user prompt “ubuntu@home:~$” . Is this the root or sudo username? What do I do next? How do I get everything configured to the point where I can browse unix as root or another user, get LAMP set up, view the unix file system, etc (stuff that I’m a little more familiar with from Dreamhost VPS). Is there a good noob step-by-step guide around for this phase of the process?

Kind regards

Those actually refer to two different disks. DreamCompute has virtual servers we call instances, and those have a disk provisioned for each one. Additionally, there is block storage, and as you’ve seen you can attach volumes to instances. That explains the two volumes, one is the instance, and the other is from your pool of block storage you have available.

Let me add, you probably don’t need to mount block storage for anything. I say that based on your questions, and block storage is for relatively fancy server configuration. I run dozens of servers and can mount a network disk without reference, and I don’t currently use block storage for anything. :slight_smile:

Hey, you are using passwordless logins, and that is very cool! You got that part correct. And the usernames to login are by default the name of the OS, but you already know that because it is working as intended in your setup.

The image you used to create your instance was copied over to the disk for that instance. It is just a template, and as soon as you spin up a server it is its own disk image.

I know this sounds weird, but it is just how it got named. What you need to know right now is that when you log in to your server, you are logging into a single server instance, with your user. This is opposed to shared hosting, for instance, where you may have multiple accounts on one or more servers, but you can’t really change anything on it except your web directory. “Cloud computing” is kinda hardcore that way.

That is the username of the account you are logging in as, and remember it is named after the OS. It will be slightly different in each different OS, but for Ubuntu instances, that user is in the sudoers list. That means it is an admin account, that can use sudo. It isn’t root, but it can be used as root in nearly every way most folks will ever need. Very cool!

DreamCompute is a generalized cloud hosting service. That means it is up to your imagination on what to do next. You asked about information for a lot of different subjects, and you will need to search for them on the web. Hardly anything is DreamHost/Compute specific, and I’ve found the DreamCompute docs cover most of what is needed on that side.

Learning Unix or GNU/Linux is super fun! There are many, many new user-friendly groups and resources online. I’ve been a member of SDF for over half my life, and have learned lots. :slight_smile:


Greetings maiki,

Thanks for the detailed explanation, this really helped out a lot! With your help, I got the username “ubuntu” figured out, even figured out “sudo apt-get update”! Got the normal password-less console set up and got my bearings. I know a bit about Unix and SSH from my VPS and it is indeed fun.

To clarify disk space a bit more: My instance/server gets 80GB by default, plus I get an extra 100GB in block space? Is the 80GB just for server work and OS and the 100GB is for my website users, content, images, etc?

My 10GB Ubuntu image was created on my block space then, and then got copied over to the 80GB server instance when the instance was created? Does this mean I can delete my 10GB Ubuntu image right now and the server instance will still work normally and Ubuntu will still be there on the 80GB disk?

Kind regards

Correct. Here are screenshots from my dashboard, showing those values. I have 5 instance, but am not using any volume storage (what I’ve been calling block storage):

But you can see my instances each have an 80GB disk:

80GB is for the OS and files, anything having to do with the instance. The additional volume storage is for other uses, where it is helpful to add storage to a server. Most servers will be fine with 80GB. Like, if you are running Nextcloud and need more storage space, you create and mount a volume from that 100GB (and that is just the complimentary pool, you can buy more if you need).

My advice to you: ignore the volume storage until you are close to running out of 80GB on an instance. At that point you will have a reason to learn about that tech. :slight_smile:

Maybe. I honestly can’t answer that, as it is outside my personal experience, and if I misunderstand and advice, I could cause you to lose data, and that is not my plan.

I am surprised you interacted with volumes and images at all. I went looking for them, because I’ve used them in other contexts, with other companies. But to create the instances I keep, I basically just launched them after filling out a couple of fields. To provision and attach a volume unintentionally seems hardcore to me, so I’d get someone else to look at it for ya, maybe a dev friend, or search the docs for clarification (they have screenshots, which makes it easier to follow).

I will say this, you should be able to use the server perfectly fine without any volumes attached to it. But that may not be your scenario. Sorry I can’t help on that point.

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Thanks a lot for the help, it is much appreciated. Right now I have no data, this is just an empty test server for learning purposes, so I guess I can delete the image myself and see what actually happens. If things go wrong, I can just start over again.

Eventually, I may go from VPS to DreamCompute as my sites have 500GB of photos and 700GB outbound bandwidth each month, so I’ll need to figure out Volumes or DreamObjects eventually. It will all come down to costs as VPS appears to be much cheaper vs the estimated costs for DreamCompute/DreamObjects. The costs of DreamCompute/Objects resources/disk are excellent, it’s just the DreamObjects outbound bandwidth costs in particular that would really hit me hard.

Kind regards

EDIT: I tried to delete my 10GB Ubuntu volume, but the panel says “Error, you are not allowed to delete this volume”. Instead, I deleted the instance and started over. This time I viewed the “Image” tab and clicked the launch button, then elected not to produce a volume, got my key there, and it launched normally, minus 10GB in volume space this time.

DreamObjects/CDN is a bit pricey, especially for your use case. I’d shop around for a CDN; I am partial to KeyCDN.

The cool thing about a CDN is you can point it anywhere, so if DreamObjects is good for holding all your photos, you can point a different CDN to it, and it will work fine. I do that for a lot of my sites, especially WordPress.

Cool, glad it is working out. If you can, make sure to mark the topic as solved. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the info, it is much appreciated. I looked at KeyCDN and they were charging $0.04/GB bandwidth per month, which is 1 cent better than Dreamhost (still a bit expensive). I saw an advertisement for Highwinds, which (supposedly) was charging $0.009/GB, so I wrote them to ask a few questions, get a real quote, etc.

CDNs are also new to me, I never knew I could buy DreamObjects disk space (affordable price here), and then use a different company with lower outbound bandwidth costs. It looks like a topic I’ll have to read into a bit more.

Kind regards

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