Posts Tagged 'Managed Hosting'

November 7, 2011

Global Expansion: Amsterdam is LIVE!

At times, the meticulous planning, logistics and execution around the SoftLayer Amsterdam data center launch has felt like a clandestine military operation. Today, the wait is over! We're finally ready to go "LIVE" with our new state-of-the-art facility, along with network Points of Presence (PoPs) in Amsterdam, London and Frankfurt.

Having a European presence not only gives us proximity to customers but a foothold into the entire continent to help drive more innovation and deliver a better end-user experience. Currently more than 50 percent of our business is done outside North America, so our continued expansion into international markets is so vital to long-term growth.

Amsterdam is our "digital gateway" into Europe, extending our capabilities so customers can deploy, scale and manage their Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions based on SoftLayer's private network. Here's a quick glimpse into what the new data center offers:

  • Capacity for more than 16,000 servers
  • Redundant network infrastructure
  • Fully-automated platform
  • Unique pod design concept

And here's an actual glimpse into the data center (taken last week as we were putting the final touches on the racks ... as you can see by the unbound cables at the backs of the server and the reference labels in the front):

SoftLayer Amsterdam

SoftLayer Amsterdam

SoftLayer Amsterdam

We now have 13 data centers and 16 PoPs worldwide. Each data center functions independently, with distinct and redundant resources, while still being fully integrated into SoftLayer's existing facilities. The end result for our customers is maximum accessibility, security, and control.

Our goal for Europe is to deliver the BEST cloud, dedicated, and managed hosting solutions on the continent ... just like we do in North America and Asia. Ten months of painstaking research, work and preparation are done, and now our customers will get to reap the rewards.

What are you waiting for? Get your first server in Amsterdam! To celebrate the launch of the new facility, we're offering our Triple Double special on servers provisioned in AMS01 for a limited time: Free double bandwidth, double RAM and double HDD!

Now it's time to send our clandestine military operation's "Go Live Crew" to an undisclosed location to start preparing for our next strategic infiltration ...

-@quigleymar

June 8, 2011

MySQL Slow? Check for Fragmentation.

Let's say you have a website and you notice that any calls to your MySQL database take longer to render. If you don't have a Database Administrator (DBA), this can be pretty frustrating. SoftLayer's Managed Hosting line of business employs some of the best DBAs in the country and is one of the only managed hosting providers that offers MySQL and MsSQL DBA services, and I don't just say that because I'm one of them ... We've got the certifications to prove it. :-)

Given my area of expertise, I wanted to share a few some simple tips with you to help you tweak variables and improve the performance of your MySQL server. Given that every application is different, this isn't necessarily a one-size-fits-all solution, but it'll at least give you a starting point for troubleshooting.

First: Get mysqltuner.pl. This is a fine script by Major Hayden that will give you some valuable information regarding the performance of your MySQL server.

Second: Look for fragmented tables. What are fragmented tables? If there are random insertions into or deletions from the indexes of a table, the indexes may become fragmented. Fragmentation means that the physical ordering of the index pages on the disk is not close to the index ordering of the records on the pages or that there are many unused pages in the 64-page blocks that were allocated to the index. The symptoms of fragmented tables can be that table can take more disk space than needed or the results may return slower with more disk I/O than needed. INNODB users need to check the fragmentation often because when INNODB marks data as deleted, it never overwrites the blocks with new data ... It just marks them as unusable. As a result, the data size is artificially inflated and data retrieval is slowed.

Fortunately, there is a way to see your table fragmentation and that is to run a query against the information_schemea to show all tables that are fragmented and the percentage of fragmentation:

SELECT TABLE_SCHEMA, TABLE_NAME, CONCAT(ROUND(data_length / ( 1024 * 1024 ), 2), 'MB') DATA, CONCAT(ROUND(data_free  / ( 1024 * 1024 ), 2), 'MB')FREE from information_schema.TABLES where TABLE_SCHEMA NOT IN ('information_schema','mysql') and Data_free < 0;

Fixing the fragmentation is easy, but there are a few caveats. When defragmenting a table, it will lock the table, so make sure you can afford the lock. To fix fragmented tables, you can simply run optimize table <table name>; to rebuild the table and all indexes or you can change the engine of the table with alter table <table name> engine = INNODB;

I have written a simple bash script in bash to go through, defragment and optimize your tables:

#!/bin/bash
 
MYSQL_LOGIN='-u<user name> --password=<passowrd>'
 
for db in $(echo "SHOW DATABASES;" | mysql $MYSQL_LOGIN | grep -v -e "Database" -e "information_schema")
do
        TABLES=$(echo "USE $db; SHOW TABLES;" | mysql $MYSQL_LOGIN |  grep -v Tables_in_)
        echo "Switching to database $db"
        for table in $TABLES
        do
                echo -n " * Optimizing table $table ... "
                echo "USE $db; OPTIMIZE TABLE $table" | mysql $MYSQL_LOGIN >/dev/null
                echo "done."
        done
done

You'd be surprised how much of an impact table fragmentation has on MySQL performance, and this is an easy way to quickly troubleshoot your database that "isn't as fast as it used to be." If you follow the above steps and still can't make sense of what's causing your database to lag, our Managed Hosting team is always here to work with you to get your servers back in shape ... And with the flexibility of month-to-month contract terms and the ability to add managed capabilities to specific pieces of your infrastructure, we have to earn your business every month with spectacular service.

-Lee

April 20, 2011

An Innovative Approach to Managed Hosting

One of SoftLayer's driving principles is innovation — Our mantra is 'Innovate or Die.' We don't focus on offering the lowest cost solutions; we strive to offer the most innovative solutions, which in turn brings customers the greatest value.

Take as an example SoftLayer Managed Hosting, a new service we're launching this week.

A quick survey of the market tells us a number of key things about managed hosting in terms of the value proposition offered, as well as the challenges that it can present. The value proposition seems clear: Organizations that need their infrastructure managed and don't have the internal resources to do so can either expand their IT capabilities or look externally to a service provider to take on the work. Many choose the second option because it is much faster and more cost effective than building an internal function. Elimination of infrastructure management responsibilities combined with a lower price would seem to deliver significant value.

So where's the downside?

A typical managed services deal comes with a 3-5 year contract, often accompanied by an early termination fee. The end result: customer lock-in. If the service is not up to snuff, it is difficult to move to another provider.

This is great for the provider, but not so great for the customer. To make matters even less customer-centric, these deals tend to be "all or none" affairs. The service provider wants to add management fees to everything versus just those pieces that the customer wants managed. In addition to that, provisioning time can be horrendous. A managed environment typically takes anywhere from 10-15 business days before the customer can access the environment. That's a painful length of time when you compare it with the five minutes it takes to provision a SoftLayer cloud instance and the 2-4 hours it takes to get a dedicated box online and ready for you.

Understanding the competitive landscape, we decided to take a different approach with our Managed Hosting: The innovative approach.

Instead of a 10-15 day provisioning window, we'll have your managed environment up and running within one (1) business day of ordering.

From a contract perspective, we are confident enough in our service to offer a month-to-month terms. If you don't like the service or if we can't deliver, you should be free to find a provider that meets your needs — no penalties incurred. Isn't it time to expect a provider to earn your business each month? This arrangement also makes managed hosting feasible for short-term needs and applications.

Additionally, SoftLayer Managed Hosting is not "all or none." We'll manage only the pieces of the solution that you want managed.

And to top everything off, it just so happens that we can deliver these solutions at a price point lower than anyone else in the market because of the platform's flexibility.

In this case, innovation brings customers the greatest service value AND the best price!

CBNO

-@nday91

P.S. Neovise prepared a detailed report on our managed hosting offering: A New Breed of Managed Hosting for the Cloud Computing Age. If you like white papers (and who doesn't?), it'll be right up your alley.

April 20, 2011

3 Bars | 3 Questions: SoftLayer Managed Hosting

I know you expected to see a video interview with Paul Ford the next time a 3 Bars | 3 Questions episode rolled across your desk, but I snuck past him for a chance in the spotlight this week. Kevin and I jumped on a quick video chat to talk about the Sales Engineering team, and because of our recent release of SoftLayer Managed Hosting, two of the three questions ended up being about that news:

You should be seeing a blog from Nathan in the next half hour or so with more detail about how we approached managed hosting, so you'll have all the background you need to springboard into that post after you watch this video.

If you've heard everything you need to hear about managed hosting and want to start the process of adding it to servers on your account, visit http://www.softlayer.com/solutions/managed-hosting/ or chat with a sales rep, and they can help you get squared away. If you're not sure whether it's a good fit, ask for a sales engineer to consult ... They're a great group with a pretty awesome manager. :-)

Paul, sorry for stealing your spot in the 3 Bars | 3 Questions rotation! I'm handing the baton back over to you to talk about TechWildcatters and the Technology Partners Marketplace in the next episode.

-Tam

September 30, 2010

What is a Cloud?

What is a Cloud? This seems like a simple question that would have a simple answer. If you ask this question amongst your “techie” friends you will find similar yet different definitions on what cloud computing actually is. I can say this because it just recently happened to me and it turned out to be a very interesting conversation. There is no single industry accepted definition as of yet so here is my take on what cloud computing is.

Cloud computing is accessing IT resources that are owned and operated by a third-party provider in one or more data centers such as SoftLayer. They feature on-demand provisioning (as fast as 5 minutes at SoftLayer) and pay as you go billing with minimal upfront investment. It is a great way to deliver cost effective computing power over the Internet. It will minimize capital expense and tie operating expense to actual use. I do think that many cloud offerings are really no more than your common managed hosting being marketed as clouds.

Cloud services can be categorized into different models such as Software as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas). There are also two types of deployment models. You can have a public cloud which is a “multi-tenant” environment. The physical servers are shared among multiple customers of the cloud. The other type of deployment is the private cloud. Only one customer would be utilizing the physical server or servers.

That is my definition of “what is a cloud.” A wise man once told me that cloud computing is really nothing more than another pricing model and delivery model.

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