Big Iron

Note: This entry has been restored from old archives.

Well, I really mean bigER iron – bigger than a VPS at any rate. I’ve had enough of this whole VPS thing, performance is too unreliable (who knows how many VPSs they have on a system?).

So I’m likely to go for getting a dedicated server, since the thing is my primary communications hub (and also for a couple of other people) I think it is time to upgrade for the sake of reliability. I haven’t decided where yet, there’s good old EV1 of course who are fairly solid (though they do have an iffy reputation for getting IP ranges spam blacklisted and they don’t do Debian) but there are many other choices. It’ll either be in the US or UK since prices in these locations are still much better than back home.

It costs a lot more than a VPS of course, so ideally I’d like to share the cost around and form one of these “server collectives”. I have no idea if anyone is likely to be interested in this, but if you are send me an email and if I get any responses we’ll work out what we need and how much it is likely to cost.

The deal would be simple: If the server costs $x then each of ‘n’ users pays $x/n. For your $x/n you get a single shell, root access if you feel you need it (I think I trust almost everyone I know to admin a Linux system without major mishap!) and an equal say in the running of the machine. I’m happy to look after all server administration, my typical setup provides POP3 and IMAP with Courier, Postfix for SMTP, Apache for HTTP, webmail with SquirrelMail and I use ClamAV and SpamAssassin. Debian is the OS, I wont budge on that. And some packages are sourced from for the sake of keeping up to date (for items like ClamAV and SpamAssassin where being up to date is important).

As for the machine, that would be decided by the people involved. As an example, the cheapest EV1 option is US$99 per month (however EV1 only offer RHEL, so they’re actually an unlikely choice) and this is a 1.3GHz Celeron with 512MB or RAM and 60GB HDD. I’d think that having an IP per user would be sensible plus one for the system (for HTTPS use, system IP is for SquirrelMail), IPs are usually cheap (7 for “free” with EV1 for example). I think the basic HW specs with the EV1 example are fine for a fair number of normal users (assuming you don’t have an insanely popular website).

Now we’d (Kat and I would be 2 users of course) be willing to pay a reasonable amount (if nobody is interested then we’re likely to end up getting a dedicated server anyway), so having a small group of people with up to US$40 a month to spend would get us a decent setup – and the more people the cheaper the price is! Using the EV1 example then two extra people would get us the server for US$25 each.

Some dedicated server setups:

Me buying a server from eBay or something and just paying co-lo is also an option (some good options in the UK for around 50 GBP).

It may also be an option to have a cheaper class of user, for just email, FTP and webspace say – but it’d be easier if everyone was equal. An equal share user can have as many web domains and email addresses as they like of course and can provide simple hosting for others (for example I host a domain for my Mum and handle her website and email) but the only login access she has is for email. So long as the setup of a user does not adversely affect others on the system I’m sure everyone would be happy, so really the only restrictions are that only paying users get a shell and root access.

So send me an email if you’re interested!