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10-02-2010, 09:20 PM
is cute and cuddly
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Vegas, Baby
It's definitely possible; I didn't have to invest that much because we don't offer the service publicly, it's an in-house solution for our clients and the clients of three other business associates.
Hardware is only running us $350/mth per box for an AMD Opteron with 2 cpus/16 cores/16gb ram (one running the webserver and mail server, the other runs our database); you could easily start out on a much smaller machine though, a single quad-core with 2gb of ram could handle a few hundred accounts with proper configuration. Our bandwidth is about $70 a month for the first terabyte, easily upgraded if we need to handle more, backups are $0.10gb, IPs are a buck a month per, our monitoring service is only $40 a month, and our accounting is $49 a month for up to 500 customers (through chargify.com, excellent service).
We're running RedHat Enterprise Linux, which I personally have no love for (I've supported Debian since well before the IPO), but to run WHM/cPanel the only two choices we had were RHEL or CentOS. Plesk runs on Debian, but the licensing fees for cPanel hit the spot on our budget - we had no intention of setting this service up until next year, but we had to rush into it when we got approached by three separate people to make it a reality.
Drop the second box, lower the stats on the single box (if you go with the right service, it should be easy to burst upgrade if it becomes necessary), only get as much bandwidth as you need to start and run your own backups and you can cut that cost *considerably*. I prefer handling our accounting through a service, but this is something you can also do yourself, or purchase a system such as WHMCS which can cost a few bucks less a month. I would highly recommend a monitoring service - no matter the setup you choose, VPS, Dedicated, Cloud, or Colo, everybody is going to promise you 99.99 to 100% uptime. Unless you're a deity, there's always the potential for something to go wrong though and you want to know immediately when its other folks sites on the line (especially if those folks have lawyers). Facebook just recently incurred outages. If they can, anybody can. Get service monitoring. :)
uʍop ǝpısdn sı ɹǝʇndɯoɔ ɹnoʎ sıɥʇ pɐǝɹ uɐɔ noʎ ɟı
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