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We made major upgrades to the infrastructure of one of the biggest e-commerce projects in the Czech Republic and Slovakia: GymBeam. And they’re not just some minor improvements – we exchanged all the hardware in the application part of their cluster and installed the extra powerful servers (8 of those bad boys in total). 

How did the installation go, what does it mean for GymBeam, which advantages do EPYC servers provide, and should you be thinking of this upgrade yourself? You’ll find out all that and more in this article. 

What’s so epic about EPYC servers?

Until recently, we’ve been focusing on Intel Xeon processors at vshosting~. These have been dominating (not only) the server product market for many years. In the last couple of years, however, the significant improvement in portfolio and manufacturing technologies of the AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) company caught our attention.

This company newly offers processors that offer a better price/performance ratio, a higher number of cores per CPU, and better energy management (among other things thanks to a different manufacturing technology – AMD Zen 2 7nm vs. Intel Xeon Scalable 14nm). These processors are installed in the AMD EPYC servers we have used for the new GymBeam infrastructure.

AMD EPYC servers processors

They are the most modern servers with record-breaking processors with up to 68 cores and 128 threads (!!!). Compared to the standard Intel Xeon Scalable, where we offer processors with a maximum of 28 cores per CPU, the volume of computing cores is more than double.

The EPYC server processors are manufactured using the 7 nm process and the multiple-chipsets-per-case method, which allows for all 64 cores to be packed into a single CPU and ensure a truly noteworthy performance.

How did the installation go

The installation of the first servers based on this new platform went flawlessly. Our first step was a careful selection of components and platform unification for all of the future installations. The most important part at the very beginning was choosing the best possible architecture of the platform together with our suppliers and specialists. This included choosing the best chassis, server board, peripherals including the more powerful 20k RPM ventilators for sufficient cooling, etc.  We will apply this setup going forward on all future AMD EPYC installations. We were determined for the new platform to reflect the high standard of our other realizations – no room for compromise. 

EPYC server platform

As a result, the AMD EPYC servers joined our “fleet” without a hitch. The servers are based on the chassis and motherboards from the manufacturer SuperMicro and we can offer both 1Gbps and 10Gbps connection and connection of hard disks both on-board and with the help of a physical RAID controller according to the customer’s preferences. We continue to apply hard drives from our offer, namely the SATA3 // SAS2 or PCI-e NVMe. Read more about the differences between SATA and NVMe disks.

Because this is a new platform for use, we have of course stocked our warehouse with SPARE equipment and are ready to use it immediately should there be any issue in production.

Advantages of the hardware for GymBeam’s business

The difference compared to the previous processors from Intel is huge: besides the larger number of cores, even the computing power per core is higher. Another performance increase is caused by turning on the Hyperthreading technology. We turn this off in case of the Intel processors due to security reasons but in case of the AMD EPYC processors, there’s no reason to do so (as of yet anyway). 

The result of the overall increase in performance is, firstly, a significant acceleration in web loading due to higher performance per core. This is especially welcomed by GymBeam customers, for whom shopping in the online store has now become even more pleasant. Speeding up the web will also improve SEO and raise search engine “karma” overall.

In addition to faster loading, GymBeam gained a large performance reserve for its marketing campaigns. The new infrastructure can handle even a several-fold increase in traffic in the case of intensive advertising.

Last but not least, at GymBeam they can now be sure they are running on the best hardware available 🙂

Would you benefit from upgrading to the EPYC servers?

Did the mega-powerful EPYC processors catch your interest and you are now considering whether they would pay off in your case? When it comes to optimizing your price/performance ratio, the number one question is how powerful an infrastructure your project needs.

It makes sense to consider AMD EPYC processors in a situation where your existing processors are running out of breath and upgrading to a higher Intel Xeon line would not make economic sense. That limit is currently at about 2x 14core – 2x 16core. Intel’s price above this performance is disproportionately high at the moment.

Of course, the reason for the upgrade does not have to be purely technical or economic – the feeling that you run services on the fastest and best the market has to offer, of course, also has its value.


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We all know that backups are important. But what next? Is it enough to simply “have a backup” and be done with it? You can probably tell already that it won’t be that simple. Here top 5 questions everyone should think about as well as discuss with their hosting provider. 

1. How fast would the data recovery be?

An often overlooked but the essential question is the speed of data recovery from your backup solution. If you don’t pay attention to this, you can very easily end up in a situation where the renewal of your project takes 3 days (versus your expectations of 1 hour max). If you are a busy online store, for instance, 3 days offline constitutes a catastrophe.

The speed of recovery depends primarily on the amount of data you’re renewing and on the technology used. The data volume is given by the nature and size of your project – if you run an online business with a huge customer database, you’ll hardly be able to shrink it. However, even if there’s a lot of data to contend with, you can look for a solution that would allow for faster recovery (e.g. snapshot technology is much faster than rsync). Therefore, ask your provider how long data recovery would take in your case and if there are any options to speed it up. 

2. Which backup frequency is best for me?

Another crucial aspect of backups is their frequency. For example, at vshosting~, we include a standard backup package with each managed service that backs up all the data once a day. But if you decide that’s not good enough for you, we can easily provide more frequent backups – say, once every hour (if your production configuration allows for it). 

Of course, the more frequent the backups the more expensive your solution becomes because you need more storage space and infrastructure capacity. Especially if you want to keep all backup versions for 30 days or even longer. So, food for thought – how often do you need to back things up and how many versions do you need to keep stored? 

3. What if the backup fails or gets delayed?

With projects that require backing up a huge volume of data, there’s a risk of the backup not completing within the given time frame. For instance, if you run backups once a day, the backup process needs to finish in 24 hours. If it doesn’t, a delay can occur or the backup can fail entirely. 

At vshosting~, we prevent this from happening by using the ZFS filesystem as the default filesystem for all of our managed services. This filesystem natively supports backups via snapshots, just like the ones you know from virtual server backups. The snapshots ensure that the entire server is backed up as a single file. As a result, the process is super fast – almost immediate in fact. Even data recovery becomes vastly sped up thanks to snapshot technology (compared to rsync for example). 

4. Where is my data stored?

From a security point of view, it is absolutely crucial that the backup is stored in a completely different location than the primary data. Ideally in another data center at the opposite end of town. In the event of a disaster at the location of your primary data, the backups will not be compromised.

It’s actually similar to backing up your computer to an external drive at home. After completing the backup, it is ideal to take the drive to your mother-in-law, for example, in case your apartment catches fire or something.

5. How are the backed up data secured?

Apart from backing your data up to a separate location, it is essential from a security point of view how easily an unauthorized person can access your data. The main defense against this is data encryption and limited access to data. At vshosting~, encryption is a standard measure and the backups of our clients can only be accessed from our internal network. However, you cannot rely on such a standard with all providers.

Don’t settle for having “some backup” from your hosting provider. Be demanding and ask for specifics. Your project deserves the best care.


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There can be quite a few reasons to leave web hosting: maybe you need more setup flexibility, higher web limit, availability, or performance, or you want to use specific software that doesn’t quite agree with your web hosting. Web hosting has simply become too small for you.

On the other hand, web hosting provides a relatively high level of user-friendliness: you control it using a graphic user interface, the provider takes care of everything regarding both hardware and software, and you don’t actually have to worry about much of that behind the scenes stuff. Upgrading to a new hosting solution that would provide the same level of comfort is, therefore, no easy task.

Where to then?

Web hosting alternatives that offer more flexibility and performance are plentiful on the market.  Among the closest ones from a user’s perspective are VPS and managed services. You may also consider a dedicated server or getting your own physical server.

Because reality can be quite a bitch sometimes, each of these options comes with both advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at them. 

VPS

At first glance, the most attractive option is the so-called VPS, i.e. virtual private server. Compared to web hosting, you get complete freedom with a VPS to install whatever software you want and set up everything the way you like. VPS is also quite cheap which proves very attractive especially for projects that are just starting out.

However, full freedom comes with a caveat – you have to take care of everything yourself. And we do mean everything. Installations, updates, security measures, any changes, problem-solving, backups, etc. etc. You’ll need your own administrator to make sure everything works the way it’s supposed to and that your project stays safe.

There are many threats lurking in the shadows that you’ll have to identify and stay clear of when managing your own server.

Own physical server

Another option you can transfer to from web hosting is getting your own server. That way, you’ll get a lot more performance than with web hosting or a VPS as well as a lot of flexibility. On the other hand, this solution has similar disadvantages as a VPS – you have to deal with everything on your own. Which is costly, annoying, and pretty dangerous to boot (unless your administrator is one hell of a guy who works 24/7).

Besides software management, you also have to take care of all things hardware – provide cooling, constant energy supply (not quite as easy as it sounds – aka plugging it in doesn’t cover it). All things considered, getting your own physical server thus comes with the highest risk of outages, cybernetic attacks, and other fun things like that.

Dedicated server

A dedicated server, unlike own physical server, is actually a server as a service, where your provider takes care of all things hardware and sometimes even does the initial installation. The server provider also deals with all hardware-related issues – e.g. at vshosting~, we guarantee solving any hardware problem within 60 minutes, day or night.

Your dedicated server is placed in a data center which tends to be well protected from power outages or intruders. In addition, it has much better connectivity than a server plugged into your own makeshift server room.

Compared to web hosting, a dedicated server offers much higher performance and you can install pretty much whatever you want on it. The software side of things is still on you though, just like with a VPS or an own server. Therefore, you’ll have a hard time getting by without an administrator (and thus extra costs).

Managed services

The most pleasant upgrade from web hosting is, without a doubt, to a managed server or even a more robust managed service. From a user’s perspective, these kinds of services are like web hosting on steroids: the service is equally easy to use and the hosting provider takes care of all operational things (both software and hardware). At the same time, you get much higher performance at your disposal as well as a lot more flexibility regarding settings, software compatibility, and the like. 

In effect, this means you don’t need an administrator, can forget about what’s going on with the server behind the scenes and everything works as it should. And if not, it’s your provider’s job to fix it ASAP. You can focus on your core business.

Depending on the extent of your project and the technologies used, all you need to do is decide whether you’ll go with a managed server, a more robust managed cluster, or e.g. a managed solution for Kubernetes

Cloud or metal?

Cloud or metal?

If you do opt for a managed server, you’ll probably run into the “cloud vs. physical server” dilemma. In our experience, it’s hard to say point-blank that one is better than the other – it depends on your specific situation.

For a smaller but quickly growing online project where high availability and flexibility is key, cloud is what you should go for. Thanks to a lower performance requirement, cloud will also be the more frugal option for you. And if you grow out of it eventually, it’s easy to transfer to a physical solution after. 

However, if your business requires high performance or the storage of large amounts of data, it pays off to jump straight into a physical server solution. That one can pack a much bigger performance punch and becomes much cheaper per unit than cloud.

Not all managed services are created equal 

Managed services have been gaining popularity thanks to their user-friendliness. Unfortunately, not every provider considers “managed” a truly completely managed service and clients can thus become unpleasantly surprised.

Ideally, when it comes to a managed service, the provider handles the initial installation, all of the server monitoring, and operating system updates as well as all of the issues that might arise – be it software or hardware related. That’s how we do it at vshosting~.

Some other providers, however, understand a managed service as only the initial software installation and subsequent care for hardware. Alternatively, they may be prepared to handle software-related problems but charge extra fees for that. That’s why we recommend having a very close look at what your chosen managed service truly encompasses.

The best solution for your project

Have you found your pick?

We know from experience how difficult making this choice can be. Everything is individual and you’ll typically get the best results if you have your hosting solution customized just for your project.

So if you’re still wondering about the best option for you, shoot us an email. Our experts will be happy to advise you on what option is best for you.


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Are you picking out a new dedicated or managed server and wondering which SSD disk would be best for you? At vshosting~, we put great emphasis on maximum possible quality but because the needs of our clients often differ, we offer 2 types of professional SSD disks: 2,5“ SATA SSD and 2,5“ NVMe (both from Intel). Let’s take a look at the differences between each type. 

SATA disk models

2,5“ SATA SSD Intel, S4510 series

– sequential read and write operations in the hundreds of MB per second

– typically up to 500 MB/s, depends on the exact model

2,5“ SATA SSD Intel, S4610 series

– better disks with higher durability than S4510

– more suitable for database servers than S4510

– sequential read and write operations on a similar level as the S4510 series

NVMe disk models

2,5“ NVMe (PCIe 3.1 x4 interface) Intel, P4510 series

– sequential read and write operations in the thousands of MB per second

– typically up to 3200MB/s, depends on the exact model

– this is several times faster than the standard SATA SSD disks

2,5“ NVMe (rozhraní PCIe 3.1 x4 interface) Intel, P4610 series

– better disks with higher durability than P4510

– more suitable for database servers than P4510

– sequential read and write operations on a similar level or slightly better level than the P4510

We design both SATA and NVMe servers so that the hard disks are “hot-swap”, i.e. changeable while the machine and the system are running. Eventual repairs or exchanges are very easy to do as a result. We don’t use NVMe disks with the M.2 PCIe interface that are installed directly to the motherboard and as such are physically inaccessible to the technicians.

RAID on NVMe disks compared to SATA SSD

We mostly configure SATA disks in HW RAID (RAID is managed by a separate disk controller). However, NVMe disks operate with the PCIe interface, so disk controllers of this kind are either performance inadequate or unreasonably expensive. As a result, NVMe disks are directly attached to the motherboard connectors in the server where each PCIe link is served by the CPU itself. We implement NVMe servers on SuperMicro solutions because SuperMicro developed a suitable solution for this situation. 

As opposed to SATA disks, RAID can be solved in two possible ways in the case of NVMe disks. The first option is the installation of an additional hardware key onto the motherboard, which activates the Intel function VRAID on CPU. In the BIOS of the server, we are then able to configure RAID 0/1/10/5 from the NVMe disks, the operating system then works with one virtual disk. The second option is not configuring RAID for the system at all and subsequently, take care of it on the software front with the OS (e.g. using ZFS, etc.).

So SATA or NVMe?

Simply put, NVMe disks are 6.5 x faster than SATA, which is a big plus. On the other hand, they are a bit more expensive so the choice between the two isn’t exactly straightforward. 

NVMe disks are a more suitable solution for someone looking for extreme data throughput on the storage, be it for a demanding database server, web server, or anything else where we expect high load. At vshosting~, we’re able to operate these disks both in managed servers with Linux (Ubuntu 18, Debian) or in dedicated servers using Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2019 or Linux (Ubuntu 18, Debian). In the case of dedicated servers, OS management is up to each client.

However, it is worth considering that we only operate NVMe disks with the current Intel Xeon Scalable CPUs. In contrast, SATA disks can be combined with pretty much any generation of Intel Xeon processors thanks to our disk controllers.


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