One of the many perks of being a SoftLayer customer is having access to your own private network. Perhaps you started out with a server in Dallas, later expanded to Seattle, and are now considering a new box in Washington, D.C. for complete geographic diversity. No matter the distance or how many servers you have, the private network bridges the gaps between you, your servers, and SoftLayer's internal services by bringing all of these components together into a secure, integrated environment that can be accessed as conveniently as if you were sitting right in the data center.
As if our cutting-edge management portal and API weren't enough, SoftLayer offers complimentary VPN access to the private network. This often-underestimated feature allows you to integrate your SoftLayer private network into your personal or corporate LAN, making it possible to access your servers with the same security and flexibility that a local network can offer.
Let's look at a few of the many ways you can take advantage of your VPN connection:
1. Unmetered Bandwidth
Unlike the public network that connects your servers to the outside world, the traffic on your private network is unlimited. This allows you to transfer as much data as you wish from one server to another, as well as between your servers and SoftLayer's backup and network storage devices – all for free.
When you use the VPN service to tap into the private network from your home or office, you can download and upload as much data as you want without having to worry about incurring additional charges.
2. Secure Data Transfer
Because your VPN connection is encrypted, all traffic between you and your private network is automatically secure — even when transferring data over unencrypted protocols like FTP.
3. Protect Sensitive Services
Even with strong passwords, leaving your databases and remote access services exposed to the outside world is asking for trouble. With SoftLayer, you don't have to take these risks. Simply configure sensitive services to only listen for connections from your private network, and use your secure VPN to access them.
If you run Linux or BSD, securing your SSH daemon is as easy as adding the line
ListenAddress a.b.c.d to your
/etc/ssh/sshd_config file (replace
a.b.c.d with the IP address assigned to your private network interface)
4. Lock Down Your Server in Case of Emergency
In the unfortunate event of a security breach or major software bug, SoftLayer allows you to virtually "pull the plug" on your server, effectively cutting off all communication with the outside world.
The difference with the competition? Because you have a private network, you can still access your server over the VPN to work on the problem – all with the peace of mind that your server is completely off-limits until you're ready to bring it back online.
5. Remote Management
SoftLayer's dedicated servers sport a neat IP management interface (IPMI) which takes remote management to a whole new level. From reboots to power supply control to serial console and keyboard-video-mouse (KVM) access, you can do anything yourself.
Using tools like SuperMicro's IPMIView, you can connect to your server's management interface over the VPN to perform a multitude of low-level management tasks, even when your server is otherwise unreachable. Has your server shut itself off? You can power it back on. Frozen system? Reboot from anywhere in the world. Major crash? Feeling adventurous? Mount a CD-ROM image and use the KVM interface to install a new operating system yourself.
This list is just the beginning. Once you've gotten a taste of the infinite possibilities that come with having out-of-band access to your hosted environment, you'll never want to go back.
Now, go have some fun!