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2016 October – 2017 August Roundup: Feature Improvements

August 16, 2017
| Articles

While we had good times and bad times during Q4 of 2016 up until now we are constantly working hard on our service improvements and optimization.

Find out what we learned from our November blackout — and how we are improving Host1Plus services to prevent future outages.

Hardware and performance improvements

Since November 2016 we have started working on various performance improvements. We have started out by removing our distributed storage (CEPH) software caching layer. Previously the CEPH objecter handled where to place the objects and the tiering agent determined when to flush objects from the cache to the backing storage tier. The Ceph caching tier logic is not an easy, nor very optimal feat – roughly 10 thousand lines of C code running in Linux user mode – and so each time an I/O happens this code path had to be traversed. This ultimately increased I/O latency for the end user. Not to mention it was somewhat fragile and sometimes downright buggy.

It is a pretty well publicized fact that data in our world is growing at an overwhelming rate. Due to the data increasing at an enormous rate, the battle to do more with less is on and we chose NVMe based caching as our way to go. We have placed this layer closer to our cold data and used Linux kernel mode drivers to do the work.

The NVMe based caching implementation provides reduced overhead and lowered latency. The optimization now allows a faster access to data for us as well as our clients and further enhance scalability, end-to-end data protection and stability.

In addition we swapped all SATA HDDs to SAS HDDs and as a result it doubled IOPS, throughput, increased speed and availability, moreover we have doubled the available RAM in each of our locations, improved Cloud Servers backup creation speed and capacity, upgraded bandwidth access in the largest IX in the Europe and unified network equipment across all locations.

Hot Plugging

In March, our Cloud servers were improved with addition of new feature – RAM and CPU Hot Plugging. This feature was oriented to make RAM/CPU upgrading of a Linux Cloud server more convenient. Since earlier if you wanted to upgrade RAM/CPU of a Linux server you would need to reboot it in order to see the effect of changes. Technically now anyone can add RAM/CPU to a running VM without disturbance and see the effect instantly.

Custom ISO

Another useful feature for Cloud servers appeared In October 2016, and it’s Custom ISO. It allows you to escalate configured image on your instance and run through the boot and setup process as you would on a bare metal server. Custom ISO provides you the ability to test OS deliberately. If you ever wanted to try a certain community developed and driven OS, but you didn’t have an opportunity to do that, now with Custom ISO you certainly do. You can make your own customized OS template and use it as you please: projects, business, personal use etc.

cPanel templates

Continuing with Cloud servers improvements, in February we announced the launch of Pre-installed Templates for Cloud Servers βeta. Our company offers cPanel along with CentOS 7 for Linux Cloud Servers. This feature was meant to bring convenient server deployment and greater usability. Thus the main purpose of these templates is to save time for our customers and prevent human-errors that often occur during the installation.

Automated OS & Apps template build process

While we have been busy working on Cloud Servers features and improvements VPS hosting was not left out. Since April all available VPS templates as well as Cloud Servers Windows, Linux and App templates are updated and revised each month in order to provide the latest patches and stability. Prompt upgrades will guarantee a secure and more stable environment to our clients, as well as increase client environment setup speed on our systems.

Windows Server R2 2016 introduction

Our company strives to fulfill our client needs and due to increased demand for Windows Cloud Servers in January we introduced Windows Server 2016 R2 Standard in addition to Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard for Cloud Servers ßeta. The customers could either choose between Windows Server 2016 R2 Standard and Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard licenses, or even an empty VM box and set-up their own license.

Introduced 24/7 Multilingual Support

Your satisfaction is our goal. We aim to empower our clients, help them to take everything they can get of our services. Thus for the sake of our customers in June we introduced 24/7 Multilingual Support. Since on the other side of the world everything’s a little bit different than here, we’re happy to be able to assist our clients in a timing that suits them best. You can now contact us at any time of the day or night to get support you need in both English and Portuguese.

Feature requests page

We hear you! And now we can prove it, since in April we introduced our Feature Requests page. We appreciate and value your feedback, furthermore we’re interested in your ideas and requests, and thus we’re glad we can get it straight from you all. Our Future Requests page is pretty simple to use, so if you have some creative, innovative ideas and would like to see that implemented, suggest a new feature to us. Or if someone outrun you, just click vote on the feature you like, we’ll see what we can do about it.

Summary

We went through a lot of meetings, interations and hours of hard work so that you would get the best features and performance out of our services and we can guarantee you that it is not the end so far!

We are constantly working on new innovative and technologically advanced solutions to deliver high quality services to all of our customers.

Our CTO Aistis Zenkevičius believes that “We remain strongly committed to provide the best-in-class service for SMBs and individual clients. We are on target this year to complete the major compute and networking hardware overhaul in our Frankfurt, Sao Paulo and Johannesburg data centers, as well as set the grounds for Los Angeles. It is a complex transformation of which only part is visible for the end-user. In addition to hardware, we are investing in human resources and training, optimizing our processes. All of which will allow deliver our goal – Hosting Your Success!”

Hold on tight, while we are working on exciting new features for our VPS and Cloud products and something extra that we’ll announce when the time is right. Please do not forget to visit our Feature Requests page if you have something up your sleeve and would like to see us implement it for everyone!

By Marta Krikščionaitytė
Categories: Articles
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