Need for Dedicated Server Management APIBy Angsuman Chakraborty, Gaea News Network
Sunday, August 12, 2007
One of the main challenges of managing multiple dedicated web / database servers is the ability to centrally monitor and manage them, automate tasks which requires out-of-band access like rebooting the server or find out if the server is dying and arrange for replacement ahead of time etc. Unless you are a very big web service provider, chances are you are using dedicated servers from one or more of dedicated web hosting providers. For example, I use two dedicated web servers from LayeredTech (not recommended) & EasySpeedy.
Many of the dedicated web hosting provider will provide you with a way to remotely reboot the server, soft reboot and preferably even hard reboot. This is a very convenient and IMHO a must-have feature for choosing a dedicated web hosting provider. The new EasySpeedy server which I recently purchased provides that, unlike LayeredTech. This can be a life-saver when your server suddenly and inexplicably hangs or goes down for any reason. Most often a reboot is all that it needs. However it would be much more advantageous if I could have an API / Web service which allows me to reboot the server from my program. The same program can monitor the server and and request remote reboot should the server is unresponsive for any reason. Similarly it would be very useful to be able to programatically access bandwidth usage and load balance appropriately to stay within usage limits. The possibilities are endless and so are the opportunities for dedicated web hosting providers.
Dedicated server resellers, specifically managed dedicated web hosting providers, will be tremendously benefitted as they can can use a comprehensive API to easily automate order management and provide service like reboot.
I think in future the key differentiators of dedicated web hosting providers will not only be in providing good support like Rackspace but also the services they expose through their web interface and also through API or web services.
EasySpeedy today does an impressive job through its web based control panel which allows me to soft and hard reboot the server, (re) install any of the comprehensive list of available operating systems, manage IP addresses etc. Many providers will charge you 50$ or more for a re-install. However it doesn’t provide an web services interface yet.
Softlayer is probably the first dedicated web hosting provider to provide a rich API to manage dedicated servers. You can use the Web Services using SOAP or XMLRPC API to:
1. Get bandwidth image
2. Get bandwidth summary data, sorted by server
3. Get IPMI sensor data for a server on CPU, system, VCORE, voltages, fan etc.
4. Get server details like hardware specs, software and network details
5. Get server hardware details like CPU, RAM, HDD etc
6. List of servers
7. Server network details
8. Server software details
9. Reboot server (soft as well as hard reboot)
Few additional features I would like exposed by any dedicated web hosting provider is the ability to purchase a server (taking into account discounts etc.), ability to install or re-install any supported operating system, ability to install standard software like Apache, WordPress, MySQL, Tomcat etc., ability to pay the bill and finally ability to backup the whole server or specified sub-directories.
Tags: Hard Disk Crash Recovery, support