March 13, 2014 | Written by: David Cox
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My team and I recently migrated to the SoftLayer environment and I’ve been very impressed with the new capabilities it provides. This blog post will review what we have found in our journey to SoftLayer.
VPN access: SoftLayer provides a free VPN, allowing any company to connect to its servers. I’ve used the capability for servers where we hide the Internet interface. All servers are initially created with an Internet interface and a secondary interface. The Internet interface is nice if direct access to the server is required. In some cases, this interface can be a security concern and is then disabled or hidden behind a firewall. Access to the server is then restricted to the internal interface. To access this interface, SoftLayer provides a VPN, which grants access to all of your servers. This readily available VPN saves a lot of initial setup time as opposed to creating a dedicated connection to your company’s network.
Elastic scaling: SoftLayer provides an easy interface to adjust the number of cores, RAM and disk. From the CloudLayer Computing Instances screen, users can easily modify the resources of existing systems.
Updates to the configuration can also be scheduled to meet the organization’s change windows.
Monitoring: SoftLayer offers a vast array of monitors using Nimsoft. A full list of the monitors can be found on the SoftLayer website. These monitors are broken into three sections: basic, advanced and premium. The basic monitoring is free and comes with a standard Ping Monitor, CPU, disk and Memory Monitoring Agent. The CPU, disk and Memory Monitoring Agent is very robust and provides email alerts along with historical data on your server. The advanced monitoring is $5 per server and includes monitors for specific functions including LDAP, file and network. The premium agents runs $10 per month per server and centers around database and web server monitoring. Notification of monitoring alerts is limited to users set up in the SoftLayer account.
Backup: SoftLayer provides the straightforward eVault backup solution. Each server will have its own eVault and must be configured separately. Within eVault, the user can view and select which server directories to back up. Scheduling is then set up for the selected directories. I’ve used multiple schedules to back up some directories every four hours and others only once a day. Restores can be done from any of the backup versions (the number of stored backup versions is configurable). Notifications of backup status can be sent to any email address, but you must provide your own SMTP server to route the emails.
Ticketing: An integrated ticketing system is provided by SoftLayer. I’ve found SoftLayer to be very responsive to all tickets that I’ve posted. Tickets are addressed around the clock. They have been able to resolve a broad range of topics for me including passwords, networking, monitoring and backup configuration. Tickets are kept in your instance for future reference.
I only had room in this post for a high level overview of each of the topics. Let me know which of these topics you would like to see additional blog posts on and I can provide more details in the future. I’ve enjoyed my journey to SoftLayer and hope you join me. See you there!