Sun 31 Dec 2006
We currently do the majority of our hosting in house. Our Internet connecation and server are pretty reliable. We get into trouble when it comes to power, it seems that we are still on an old rural power grid and we suffer from extended power outages quite often. We have enough battery backup to last an hour or so, but the outages can often last up to 4 hours. God willing we will have a generator installed along with a new server room in the next phase of construction but that is three years away. So we are looking for off site hosting options. Ideally we are looking for a somewhat managed solution where they handle security and backups.
We currently have a OrthdoxSermons.org hosted with 1&1 on a shared hosting plan, they seem to be performing ok – although it is pretty slow at times. I also have some personal sites with BlueHost, but I am not impressed with their management interface. Neither manage security or backups.
Researching on the web I found a few other interesting companies in the hosting space:
Media Temple – “Grid” hosting, advocated on TechCrunch
A Small Orange – Reputation for great support
Mosso – Multiple Server Cluster
What caught my eye about Mosso is that they are a venture of Rackspace. Rackspace is well known in the premium hosting arena, I have used them before and their reliability and support is top notch, but also pricey. Mosso provides shared hosting in a clustered server environment for $100 a month and that included managed security (hardware firewalls) and backup services. They give you 80 GB storage and 2,000GB transfer with unlimited websites. It is designed with the reseller in mind but I don’t see any reason it wouldn’t work well for an organization looking for a host.
One disadvantage for Mosso is that they don’t give root or shell access, which could be problematic with some Linux apps. An advantage is that they do have both Linux and Windows hosting on the same account.
While $100 a month may seem like a lot for hosting, adding managed security and backups is a costly option, usually available only on costly dedicated servers. I decided to give them a try. I was able to setup an account quickly and their interface is pretty straightforward, although it is a little slow.
I decided to call in and ask their support a few questions, I got a tech immediately on the phone (around 5pm on New Year’s Eve). I asked how backups are handled since I didn’t see anything about them in the interface. He said that they manage the entire “disaster recovery” process. All servers are replicated across the cluster and snapshots are taken hourly and if there were any problems they would be responsible for restoring the site.
I will be moving a few of our sites to Mosso over the next few weeks to test, it will be interesting to see if everything runs ok on the cluster. Maybe I can figure a way to test the backups too.
Even with managed backups, I think we will still do our own backups, but hopefully they will only have to be used as a last resort.