Friday, April 30, 2010

HowTo Set Up Your Own Cloud Server

Every average linux geek needs some server to manage. Why? You ask me why? It's simple. For fun :). It's great to admin my own svn repository for my will_be_next_killer_app code, benchmarking new cutting edge webservers, experimenting with new web frameworks, having acces to some spare computational power for scientific (1/1*4%5+1=? :)) computations or cracking my own security settings. Small server connected to the Internet can be small lab or playground for your geeky mind. So, you still haven't one? It's time to get one. Today it is really simple and quite cheap to hire such a server from the one of the available cloud hosting services. For myself I had considered these two options of the on-demand cloud server hostings (both were the cheapest offered):
  • Amazon EC2 (0.085$/hour) - Small Instance 1.7 GB of memory, 160 GB of local instance storage, 32-bit platform
  • Rackspace Cloud Servers (0.015$/hour) - 256 MB of memory, 10 GB local storage, 64-bit platform
My experimental purposes have better suited the Rackspace offer. I've also read this performance analysis that made me definitely think only about the Rackspace option. It's about 11$ per month and it means lot of fun for funny budget. And as bonus to my new server I can explore new possibilities of the cloud like scaling (both horizontal and vertical), fooling around with loadbalancing techniques, observing the unlimited file storage service and thinking about how could I use the Rackspace CDN (Content Delivery Network) infrastructure. I'm fascinated with all these possibilities which doesn't go with an ordinary dedicated server, that would be probably far more expensive to hire.

How To Get Your Cloud Server Running

Well, first you have to sign up. Don't worry, you will pay nothing until you start your first server. In less than 15 minutes you will receive a confirmation call on your mobile phone (See, it's a part of their trademarked Fanatical Support(tm) :)). After that you can have your own cloud running in less than 3 minutes. I created a video to show you how simple it is to start new cloud server, connect to it via ssh and than delete it.

The perfect thing about the cloud is that you can start these on-demand servers in such small amount of time and scale your infrastructure very quickly. It is useful when your infrastructure for whatever reason doesn't meet your varying needs (for example traffic peaks on some web site). You simply scale up, wait till the traffic/load falls down, and than scale down. It's very effective because all the time you only pay for resources that you really need (pay as you go). Hope it helped you and maybe encouraged you to explore the world of cloud computing. If you've liked my video, it should be easy for you to start with cloud computing with Rackspace Cloud Servers. Stay tuned for more videos and howtos. 

If you have any question or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment.


  1. why you were logged in as root on your local system when you can do the same easily from normal user :P
    ssh root@IPaddress

  2. The only sound that came out was some music and the lyrics didn't explain what was being done. So I have no idea what this product does.

  3. thank u sev, very useful cool vid. its building in seconds... i thinkin about starting my own cloud provider.

  4. what are the procedures when setting up a cloud server?