my friend is in the web design business for about 6 years or so and after me pushing him to go into hosting as well, he started a small hosting company 2 years ago or so.
He has now asked me to join him so I'm looking into ways of doing the best I can while keeping the cost as low as possible, without being cheap of course.
Right, so the server we have is a rather powerful one from www.fasthosts.co.uk
. I've heard not so good things about their support, but so far after 2 years they are quite ok. We use a dedicated server with 8 gb ram and we are hosting around 75 websites using Win2008 web edition, the sites are developed in asp, php and Coldfusion (CF is my friend's expertise). This has been achieved with minimum to no advertising so when we start ads hopefully more customers will come.
The server costs around 250euros each month.
We use Plesk, and are currently configuring WHMCS to automate some processes, since so far everything was done manually, believe it or not quite a few people actually crave for personal communication with their hosts and this was so far the niche we were targeted at!
But like I said we now want to acquire more customers.
However ram usage is approaching the 6,5gb mark and with only 1,5gb left remaining, I'm considering what the best options would be in terms of data integrity and limited downtime in the future.
So my question is how do you think I should proceed? What are my options here? I've heard about moving towards cloud computing, how do I do that? I have no problem to have nodes in the same datacenter, so how do I take advantage of the Virtualization options available?
What I want to achieve is to have as less downtime as possible, so I was thinking of having 2 dedicated servers, but how do I synchronize all their data and make them appear as one?
Having ONE dedicated server with really good specs and running 2 virtual machines in them, each of them being an exact copy of the other (apart from the IP of course) is not really helping my downtime, because it will help it only in terms of having to restart the server for updates, it will not help me in hardware failure cases.
Should I get 2 dedicated servers (A and B) and having them run synchronized? So if I want to restart server A, all clients will be served from server B, and when A comes online again all data will be synchronized. But how do I do that?
We're not aiming to become a big web hosting company because the competition is huge even in our country, however we want to make sure that the user experience is as smooth as possible without downtime for security updates etc.
I have small experience with the entry level VMWare products (Workstation, Server and Player) so if you think VMWare can help me, go ahead and let me know what my options are.
I forgot to say that our customers' payments make up for around 2,5 - 3 times the costs of running the server, most of the real money comes from web site development so far.
Thanks for your suggestions and your time!!!