I'm trying to build a very unique hosting platform. Might be in over my head. What do you think?
Hey guys, so I run a web design agency and we've always hosted our clients on a few different VPS through cloudways. It's easy, but at scale not really valuable at all. Even using a 1 core 2gb VM on a workstation with a 1650 v2 I found the performance was way better than cloud hosting. I always assumed a vcore was a thread, but only just recently learned how easy it is to provision many V cores on one CPU.
I'm a bit of a geek, got plenty of old hardware. And any E-5 platform with SSD storage is more than adequate. Some of the higher end v4 stuff offers performance way beyond what anyone needs. So that leaves me feeling a little ripped off. I've also worked with a lot of end users, and most of these dashboards like the ones on godaddy, dreamhost, cpanel and basically all of them are complete trash for anyone unfamiliar.
I've also been working with docker and kubernetes and looking at a more scalable and customizable wordpress. My team already manages a custom package, and it wouldn't be hard to maintain something that is a little more user friendly and universal.
So i've been running the numbers and planning out the structure. If I was to scale this to something that I could resell, i'd get a full rack with a dedicated 10gbe connection and a burstable 10gbe that can scale. Still testing this but either a vlan or direct connect with AWS VPC or another cloud provider for scalability. I'll also be peering at a Canadian IX and while i know these things aren't guaranteed, we're already doing 5TB a month to cloudflare so i'm sure they'd be happy to peer with us, and my dedicated 10gb connection gets me access to other peering networks that aren't available at my current colo. So I'll still have to have bandwidth caps and likely 100m on small packages.
hardware wise i'm starting with 3 dell R620s as a router, server, and secondary redundant server at another location. Once we launch i'll get a proper SAN for storage, kit the 620s out with 2690 v2s and 384gb of ram. For scaling i'm waffling between the 2u dual node supermicro chassis or some of those Cisco B200 blade servers. Not top of the line, but maxed out ram, SSDs, and 10 or 12 core V4 cpu. price wise I can offer a simple VPS that would compete with any other VPS provider by offering a minimum of 2vcore (dedicated hardware) and various combinations of ram and SSD or HDD space in the SAN as needed. Every node has full duplex gigabit, and servers are on 10G fiber. So spec for spec, I think I can provide good value.
But even if I did choose to host to people that are not my clients, I don't want some basic vps or BS cpanel. Resellers will need a nice dashboard to manage users and billing (and hey if they want to oversell that's their choice.) But it would need to handle easy provisioning, ticketing, billing, and provide an all in one solution. I've found a few good options but if need be my dev team can create one as long as we are focused on core features and not trying to do everything.
For the end user, I basically just want them to have the ability to set up their domain and launch a wordpress blog easily. The basic install would include all the core plugins like yoast, page speed management, a collection of free themes, and the option to automatically install premium themes (elementor, divi, etc) provided they have a license. Simple, easy, and no bs like charging for an SSL certificate. I'd offer 1 ipv4 per user (or shared if a reseller had a package with less than 1 full core) and a block of v6.
Now what I think the killer feature will be is auto scaling with Kubernetes. Things will already be scalable internally if you want to add a core or possibly "burst" additional resources on an undersold server. But beyond the limits of your package I can just have additional load balancers point to nodes in the cloud.
You guys are all technical and there is clearly a demand for $20 a year micro vps. But do you guys think you would use a service like this as an end user, or switch to something similar if you wanted to resell?
I'm also wondering if maybe i'm overestimating the value of this older hardware. A 1u Epyc would be sweet, and when i'm dealing with multiple 10 gig connections i'm really just using Vyos, 1gig switches for the smaller nodes, and lower mid-range layer 3 switch.
I'm pretty technical, but wrapping my head around BGP networking and I know that a simple task on AWS can become a giant headache really quick.
I enjoy this kind of work so planning this out is a fun project for me. But I also get the impression that a lot of the hosting industry is built around deception and misleading metrics. But there is a lot of smart people in this industry so I can't help but wonder why these kinds of services are not more common. Am I underestimating this massively, or is this just something that doesn't appeal to you guys?
Final question for hosts and resellers: how much of an issue is abuse? i'll upsell an SMTP service but I sure as heck aint letting you touch port 25, and if you want to run a massive scrape on google services or host a seedbox then there are other services out there for that.