Wednesday 53

Virtual private server setup

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A good article, that misses a most crucial point.

First and foremost, I strongly recommend doing test builds of virtual servers on your own hardware.

The ABCs of virtual private servers, Part 2: Getting started

Because of how virtualized host servers are set up, adding more memory or hard disk storage often comes at what seems like a ridiculously high price.

The promised flexibility of virtual servers doesn’t always work out. Crossing the equivalent of a bracket costs. So have some idea of the range of your needs before starting.

Most Linux distributions come with associated update services, […] I had rarely had the pleasure of automated updates. You can get used to it.

The reliable package management and updates provide great convenience and flexibility saving many hours of work and frustration.

If […] things go pear-shaped, you may have to revert to a previously saved image.

Once you’ve set a machine up to your liking, you almost always have the option to save an image […]. A saved image is a precise clone of your server, and can be used at most hosts to launch new instances.

One of the great advantages of virtual machines (your own or on a vps): saving a snapshot.
You can create virtual server images on your own system.
Why pay for service during development?

Soft restart. Press a Web button to push a reboot to the virtual image that halts all processes and acts just like a soft restart on a physical machine.

Try not to restart Linux systems (exact opposite of Windows practice). Linux systems do not get out of ‘alignment’ with time. Restarting might temporarily fix a problem but doesn’t fix the underlying cause and wipes valuable information useful for finding the solution.

A VPS puts all your eggs in one basket. Your files, programs, and OS are on a disk that’s slivered and reachable only through the good offices of the virtualization management software.

Both on the virtual server and at a different physical location, such as your own machine.
Storage has become cheap. Downtime and rebuilding a system gets very expensive.

Don’t start with choosing a vps service provider.
Start with choosing and testing an appliance or building and testing your virtual server on your own system.

Tools available for Linux make this easy.
You can even do it with virtual servers within a Linux desktop system. I do all testing and development work this way.
I use and recommend QEMU. Since the integration with KVM it has replaced VirtualBox for almost all uses. It is fast. And easy. QEMU from the shell goes much quicker and easier than fussing around with VirtualBox’s commands or any visual interface.


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