[OSGeo-Discuss] FOSS4G Hosting Solutions

Miles Fidelman mfidelman at traversetechnologies.com
Mon Feb 8 05:07:01 PST 2010

There are LOTS of hosting companies out there, ranging from Amazon and 
Google cloud services (as well as various other smaller vendors), folks 
who sell virtual slices of machines, generic hosting on a shared 
machine, dedicated servers, rack space for your own hardware, and 
various combinations.

Cloud solutions give you a lot of flexibility, but you have cost 
exposure based on usage.

The low-end shared hosting solutions are reliable (redundant hardware, 
backup, etc.), but you're generally don't have root access and you'll 
have trouble installing your stuff.

Personally, I wouldn't adequate performance from a visualized or 
low-cost shared solution (hundreds of users per machine).  Which leads 
to two main options:
i. controlled sharing (e.g., a zone on a shared machine, where there are 
limits to how many users on the machine)
ii. a dedicated server - be it owned by the provider or leased/provided 
by you

Budget effects your choices a lot:

- the $10/month services - be they cloud or commercial, probably don't 
offer the performance you need, and you'll have trouble installing the 

- $50-100/month can get you service from a variety of smaller players 
who offer unix shell accounts - the cast of characters changes, so some 
googling and looking at web hosting forums is a good idea

- $100-200/month can get you a low-end leased server from quite a few 
people - again google and web hosting forums are your friend - one 
interesting option might be the growing number of places that provide 
dedicated hosting on Mac minis - some let you ship them a pre-configured 
machine and they stick it on a shelf, others will lease you a machine 
and keep its software up-to-date - not a bad solution for medium traffic 

- $300/month and up will buy you rackspace, connectivity, access to your 
hardware, and someone who can monitor and restart your machine if it crashes

In all cases, you need to think about backup costs - be it extra 
hardware or an online backup service.  Most providers offer a backup 
service, but they're not that cheap.

You can probably start by looking at rackspace.com - they're pretty 
reliable and offer a wide range of options, but they're not cheap.  You 
can probably get comparable service for 60% of rackspace's price by 
doing some serious shopping.

As one data point:  I maintain two dedicated servers as a holdover from 
a small web development and hosting business I used to run.  These days 
I primarily support a bunch of medium volume private email lists, along 
with archives - I expect the traffic volume is similar to hosting a few 
geodatabases (though cpu load is probably lower - not a lot of database 
operations).  Costs:
- 4U of rackspace + 1Mbps of continuous traffic (95th percentile) + 
monitor/restart sys admin support $300/mo. in a local, industrial 
strength data center (multiple backbones, redundant power with generator 
backup, 24/7 staffing and access, etc.)
- 2 dedicated servers with lots of RAIDed disk - about $3000 of investment

A few scoping questions that might guide your thinking, or allow some of 
us to steer you in a more specific direction:

- what's the general application (internal use, a small number of 
external customers, a revenue generating commercial service, ...)
- how big is your dataset
- what kind of traffic volume are you expecting
- what kind of reliability do you require
- what are your peak load and scaling considerations
- what level of sys admin support are you looking for
- if you're looking toward eventual dedicated solutions, are you going 
to maintain your o/s, are you going to need physical access to hardware 
(note that it's pretty hard to do o/s installs without physical access 
to the CD slot and the terminal slot)
- where are you located
- what's your budget

Hope this helps,


Kumaran Narayanaswamy wrote:
> No, we are  looking for shared as well a dedicated hosting solutions
> On 2/7/2010 10:12 PM, Kumaran Narayanaswamy wrote:
> Hello,
> We are in the process of looking out for a best hosting provider to 
> host the FOSS4G Web applications. Can anyone suggest us the best and 
> affordable hosting solutions to deploy MapServer, GeoServer applications?

Miles R. Fidelman, Director of Government Programs
Traverse Technologies
145 Tremont Street, 3rd Floor
Boston, MA  02111
mfidelman at traversetechnologies.com

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