Tag Archives: Operating System

Xen vs. OpenVZ & Shoelaces vs. Velcro, Part 2

 

Xen Topology
Xen Topology (Photo credit: lindztrom)

At Superb Internet, we have virtual private servers (VPSs) as an alternative to dedicated or shared hosting. As you may be aware, the VPS solution lies between dedicated and shared. Essentially, it allows you a plot of server soil to call your own while not causing you to have to bear the upfront cost and maintenance expenses of an entire independent server.

In this article, we are looking at two potential platforms you can use to establish and run a VPS: Xen and OpenVZ. The comments of Scott Yang (HostingFu), VPS6.net (via HostingDiscussion.com), and Steven (The Linux Fix) all bolster our sense of the subject and provide a well-rounded picture. Note that our company works specifically with OpenVZ – and the reasoning for that is briefly provided at the conclusion of this three-part series.
Continue reading Xen vs. OpenVZ & Shoelaces vs. Velcro, Part 2

Xen vs. OpenVZ & Shoelaces vs. Velcro

OpenVZ

One of the types of hosting we offer is the virtualized private server, or VPS. This three-part series will look at how two different virtualization systems, OpenVZ and Xen, compare. Note that we use OpenVZ for a number of different reasons, which we will cover briefly in the conclusion to the series, but our general assessment will look at the two platforms from various angles.

We will draw primarily from discussion by Scott Yang of HostingFu, VPS6.net via HostingDiscussion.com, and Steven from The Linux Fix. Citing general advice sources will allow us to talk openly about the subject so you can determine what virtual environment makes the most sense for you.

Shoelaces and Velcro create a similar conundrum for business people, so I’ll also cover that debate. Shoelaces, as we all know, are a terrible idea. They are constantly coming untied. Tying your shoe involves making these two loops and twisting them around each other, whether they want to be twisted or not. It’s aggressive, forceful, and complicated – very similar to punk square dancing. Velcro, though, is seen by many key influencers as a more efficient and sophisticated way to tighten your shoes.
Continue reading Xen vs. OpenVZ & Shoelaces vs. Velcro

Many Different Flavors of Linux: A Look at Distros & How They Taste – Part 3

 

Logo Puppy Linux

To quickly review our previous discussion, we are discussing the different types of Linux. Linux, along with Windows, is one of the two basic operating systems used on servers. It’s also used on personal desktops, though not nearly as frequently (meaning it’s a tiny percentage of consumer use). The basis for that is because IT folks appreciate the control, freedom, and security Linux allows – like any open-source software, its source code is accessible and changeable – so they build it into networks.

Because the source code is changeable, it invites experimentation, in a similar way to a chef who learns the basic recipes of other chefs and then elaborates on them to concoct his own version. Linux in this way is unlike Microsoft code, which is, for better (one simple standard) and worse (lack of access and freedom) inaccessible (well, sorta) and unmanipulable (legally speaking). Standardization with Microsoft allows one efficient and predictable taste. Experimentation with Linux allows manifold community recipes.

Linux is delicious—so delicious, in fact, that some people can’t get enough, even if it’s awkward to pull out the OS and get a brief blast to the tastebuds. A key example is when Bill Gates was riding a glass elevator with me in Chicago, Illinois. He suddenly started speaking rapidly into a microsensor on his arm, “Open Linux Mint. Must feel something. Sixteen-year-old virtual reality overlord removing my feeling code. My love for Cinnamon Bun is dying. Sad Bill. Where are my pills?” Though Cinnamon Bun was his dog, it did not appear that his arm heard him, or that he was the real Bill Gates.
Continue reading Many Different Flavors of Linux: A Look at Distros & How They Taste – Part 3

Many Different Flavors of Linux: A Look at Distros & How They Taste – Part 2

 

Tux, the Linux penguin
Tux, the Linux penguin

As we discussed in the first installment of this series, deciding on an operating system for your server is one of the most important decisions you make when choosing a hosting environment. Your options get broader when you are using dedicated servers (in contrast to shared hosting) or virtual private servers (VPSs – the middle ground between dedicated and shared hosting in which your chunk of the server is partitioned into its own unit).

Windows is simple. You obviously want the most up-to-date version; but other than that, it’s Windows, and that’s it. That is kind of nice for simplicity’s sake, but if you are interested in open source environments (access to the source code) and general computing freedom, Linux is probably the way you want to go. Linux comes in a wide variety of flavors, so choosing between those options is your first challenge.

It is widely acknowledged throughout the Linux community that the different versions of Linux smell pretty much the same but taste very different. “It’s hard to explain,” said Bill Gates to me in a glass elevator overlooking the Chicago shoreline, “but there is a way in which you can feel different distributions of Linux on your tongue.” Bill (or it’s possible it was his doppelgänger) straightened his unitard, gave his dog Cinnamon Bun a piece of bacon from his breast pocket, and continued: “Some are sweet, some are sour, and some are bitter… I hate eating.” Then the elevator stopped between floors for an hour of maintenance.
Continue reading Many Different Flavors of Linux: A Look at Distros & How They Taste – Part 2

Firewalls 101: Hardware, Software & Web Application Firewalls – Part 2

English: This picture describe the engine of t...

Let’s continue our discussion of firewalls. In the first part of this series, we talked about firewalls as a general concept. Today we will discuss hardware firewall and software firewall technology. Then in the next post, we will look at web application firewalls (WAFs).

For this three-part series, we are reviewing the following articles: “Hardware Firewall vs. Software Firewall” (Michigan Cyber Initiative); “Best Practices: Use of Web Application Firewalls” (Open Web Application Security Project); “What You Should

Know About Firewalls,” (PCWorld); and “Better Protection – Hardware or Software Firewall?” (PChuck’s Network).

In the last post, we also reviewed furwalls – walls of genuine animal fur or a synthetic alternative that are quickly becoming more popular than wallpaper or fake wood paneling in home and office environments. Today, in addition to discussing hardware and software firewalls, we will look at how to make sure live walls of fur are adjusted frequently and best used to properly motivate your employees.
Continue reading Firewalls 101: Hardware, Software & Web Application Firewalls – Part 2

cPanel vs. Plesk vs. Bobby Lou’s CP Extraordinaire

 

Image representing cPanel Inc as depicted in C...

When you look into control panels, the first two options you will see with almost any hosting company are cPanel and Plesk. The third most successful control panel, Bobby Lou’s Internet Control Panel Extraordinaire, is popular in the cockfighting industry but not widely accepted by the general web administrative community.

Assuming you use cPanel or Plesk, either one will serve you well, but everyone wants the best solution out there. Let’s take a look at how each of the two control panels compares, and where one or the other has advantages or disadvantages. Extraordinaire will also be examined, just in case you want a solution tailored to underground rooster competitions.

To gain a sense of perspectives on cPanel and Plesk from across the web, we will look at articles by Worth Of Web, Tim Attwood for HostReview, and Claire Broadley for WhoIsHostingThis?. We will also interview Bobby Lou to better understand his niche CP. We will explore these differences in a three-part series.

Comparison: cPanel & Plesk

Let’s look at a basic rundown of how cPanel and Plesk are similar and different. In this post, we will specifically examine OS compatibility, interface usability, and cost.

Operating Systems

As a basic rule of thumb, Plesk tends to be more popular among those running Windows operating systems, while cPanel is more widely used on Linux systems. This breakdown, though, is primarily based on track records. cPanel is the old standard for those using Linux servers. Plesk, likewise, has long been the choice of Windows webmasters.

Plesk has a Linux-compatible version, and cPanel has its specific Windows brand, Enkompass. Enkompass, however, is not as widely used and is not “the real deal” as far as cPanel goes. Though there obviously is crossover between the two systems, there is a strong argument that expertise and focus for each of the two OSs is still sharply divided.

To look at our third option, Extraordinaire, Bobby Lou explained that his system is “designed to be incredibly glitchy on any operating system.” He said that the cockfighting community “loves challenges and doesn’t mind getting their hands dirty trying to figure out why Extraordinaire hates them so much.”

Interface

If you’re looking at both of these control panels for the first time, you will be more impressed with the intuitive and simple usability of Plesk, according to Worth of Web. cPanel, however, is easy to use for those who are familiar with it and have grown accustomed to its layout. For this reason, assumedly, cPanel has not made significant changes to its interface over time.

Plesk, then, is easier for a rookie to understand. The cPanel UI is favored by many veteran system administrators. Note that because cPanel has been used at such great length by the Linux community, and because that community is so tight-knit, finding answers online for any confusion is generally simple. Plesk, though, is more inviting from the outset.

When it comes to switching from one control panel to the other, Claire mentions that the UI is “one of the biggest sources of heartache” (because the design will look, of course, completely foreign initially). She also notes that many custom CPs are built off of cPanel, so understanding the basis of a custom platform may indicate that it is more recognizable than you first might think.

Tim also notes that if you’re using VPS hosting, the cPanel system is often considered easier to use: many people find choosing the task they want to complete or efficiently viewing data simpler than in Plesk. He credits Plesk with having a plenitude of features but a system whose management may seem “too technical” for a VPS environment.

Bobby Lou’s system is based on an intricate graphical framework composed of roosters. He said, “It’s a cockfighting grandmaster’s version of binary code. The black ones are zeros, and the red ones are ones.” Asked how long it takes to set up a typical website, Bobby Lou stated, “Come again?”

Cost of Subscription

Worth of Web notes that the cost will be better between cPanel and Plesk depending how long you intend to use either system. cPanel works on an annual basis, whereas Plesk has monthly subscriptions available. Claire comments that typically cPanel is more cost-effective because, generally speaking, websites will be online for at least a year, and cPanel is more affordable in those scenarios.

When it comes to VPS, both systems have accounts available specifically for that purpose. CPanel’s, again, is more affordable but is not broken down per month like the Plesk service is.

Claire also notes that the licenses for either one is typically included within a hosting package. However, dedicated and VPS environments sometimes require the customer to pay for control panel access in addition to the cost of the hosting package.

Extraordinaire uses a different model for payment. “We work on a bartering system,” said Bobby Lou. “We take roosters of course – but not sick ones – as well as pumpkins and electric crazy-making prods (ECP’s). We also take gallon jugs of moonshine and real Vermont maple syrup, the latter of which should also come with a stack of fresh pancakes.”

Conclusion & Continuation

As you can see, cPanel and Plesk are more similar than they are different. More than anything, it’s a question of what’s comfortable for you. Operating system, though, still is a major dividing line even though the two platforms work on both Windows and Linux. We will continue our discussion in Part 2 of this series.

Oh… Did you know that we offer both of these control panel options for our shared, dedicated, and VPS hosting customers? Yes, in fact, we do. Unfortunately, though, Bobby Lou has not yet convinced us to offer Extraordinaire.

By Kent Roberts