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Having this architecture in mind:

  • server 1: webserver - floating/surges of CPU load and BW consumption
  • server 2: dbserver - floating I/O from webserver and steady/heavy I/O from batch-process
  • server 3: batch-process - steady/low CPU load and steady/heavy BW

What's the best solution for hosting?

Following Ryan's proposed architecture using Amazon EC2 (, I thought about this using Rackspace's: (bear in mind that this is a start-up, zero traffic at the moment)


  • two 256MB servers
  • each server using Cloud Servers API ( to automaticly resize when needed
  • round-robin DNS load balancing


  • one 512MB server
  • also using CS API to auto-resize


  • one 256MB server
  • message queue service (a simple mysql-db)
  • using the API to monitor all the oher 3 servers

Persistent storage and content delivery

  • Amazon S3

For less than the price of 1 Amazon EC2 ($82.8/mo), you get 4 servers with scalability (API auto-resize), reliability (DNS load balancer and auto-rebuild/restart) and monitoring, for $54/mo. Obviously there's more work involved in setting this up at Rackspace: API development and DNS configuration (they have no built-in load balancer) where at Amazon everything is ready-made. But you take smaller steps when scaling: for the price of 2 EC2+CloudWatch I can get 8+ slices, each tailor-fitted to their task (webserver, db or batch-process).

Does anyone have experience with Rackspace's API? they say it's still in BETA.

What are the disavantadges of this approach?

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You should also look at They already have load balancing in place, and seem to have a pretty mature environment. Only problem is they only run solaris.

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Nice tip, it really looks as a mature cloud service. They indeed run only Solaris, we're coming from a LAMP stack that can easily be adopted to Solaris (they already have Apache, PHP and MySQL there). The price is slightly higher than Rackspace's for their low-end product ($16.6/mo - 256MB). But the next step to scale up to is $125/mo - 1GB which is an enormous leap. I still like the approach of making several baby steps up on a stacked Rackspace's VPS solution. Thanks! – Trident Splash Sep 10 '09 at 6:55
I think the big kicker that I found with joyent was their bandwidth. 10TB per month for every host. I find that mind boggling. – Mark Sep 11 '09 at 1:30
yes, they are clearly geared to mammoth sites... – Trident Splash Sep 11 '09 at 17:20

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