Posts filed under Control Panels

Professional’s Choice is the Focus of Parallels Plesk Panel 11.5 Preview

 

Today Parallels Plesk Panel 11.5 becomes available in a feature-complete preview. With Parallels commitment towards professional hosting, the 11.5 release is focused on professional aspects of the product, including business growth, upgrading, upsell and ease of operations, for both web hosts and website owners. 

 

Easier to adopt and grow 

Parallels Plesk Panel 11.5 makes it easier to move from previous versions of Parallels Plesk Panel, helping service providers take advantage of the latest technology and security, and rapidly grow their businesses.

 

We understand that professional hosters are growing and need technology solutions that will make that growth possible. In Parallels Plesk Panel 11.5, the ease of switching from other versions has been designed in, delivering a simplified and reliable transfer experience.

 

For example, the updated migration manager is designed to identify possible transfer limitations in advance, allowing you to configure new servers with the correct services, disk space and other resources before starting the transfer process.

 

During transfers, a new and streamlined process will now communicate errors in a way that is easier to identify and react to, and will help with troubleshooting by keeping all relevant logs in a single dedicated folder. For example, everything about recent transfers will be stored in /usr/local/psa/PMM/logs/migration-2013-04-10-19-39-22-557/.

 

At the same time, we are also enabling the transfer of sites with remote databases (avoiding "database already exists" errors) and improving backup compression by using pigz instead of gzip which reduces backup time up to 3x. (pigz = “parallel implementation of gzip” - a fully functional replacement for gzip that exploits multiple processors and multiple cores to the hilt when compressing data)

 

Some of our customers are running a mix of old and new panel versions because of the need to support new and old websites running with different PHP versions. With 11.5 you can mix and match PHP versions on a single server, allowing you to consolidate all websites into the latest version of the panel.

 

Windows hosters will find Parallels Plesk Panel 11.5 to be considerably faster on many backup and upgrade functions. Mail data is backed up and restored differently (not using slow IMAP), and MS SQL backups are sped up significantly by using native MS SQL backups. Additionally, 11.5 introduces deferred file transfer for less traffic and faster response times.

 

With these changes it will be easier for you to upgrade to the latest version of Parallels Plesk Panel, achieve greater security and comprehensive IPv6 support, prepare to grow into a multi-server solution someday, and deliver new services beyond shared hosting.

 

Easier to upsell 

With Parallels Plesk Panel 11.5 you can maximize and control your upsell process with management of panel promotions, notifications, and licenses.

 

With previous versions of Parallels Plesk Panel you had to go outside of the panel to upgrade, upsell or communicate with your customers. With 11.5 and a new License Key Administrator interface called “KA Partner Central” (coming soon – not part of this Preview) you will be able to deliver custom notifications to your users and modify notifications in the panel. Shortly after Parallels Plesk Panel 11.5 releases, we will improve reporting and management of licenses to make it easier to track how and where your Parallels Plesk Panel licenses are used. We’ll also make it easier to add, suspend, or do other typical license operations in a clean, more modern UI.

 

Along with the growth of the Parallels Plesk Panel catalog of both open source and commercial applications, we have also improved the application experience by adding better search and browse capabilities and a quick unattended application installation experience. To support integration of some premium e-mail applications, such as Open-Xchange, Parallels Plesk Panel 11.5 adds support for the APS Mail Aspect.

 

Managing applications is also easier in Parallels Panel 11.5. You can install a specific version of an application (for example, if you expect plug-in compatibility issues), and easily keep applications up-to-date. Users get update notifications and can turn on automatic application updating. Hosting providers can turn on forced updates of all applications on the server - to guarantee security patches are loaded, for instance. 

 

Full Control 

Parallels Plesk Panel 11.5 makes the most sophisticated professional web hosting features available to both Windows and Linux admins in a way that is easy to understand and use.

 

With older versions of Parallels Plesk Panel, some of our partners were frustrated because we did not give them enough control over the system and had to translate your sophisticated system administrative skills into a “Plesk way” of getting things done. We have addressed this concern in Parallels Plesk Panel 11.5 with many improvements for technical users. Parallels Panel 11.5 is more admin-friendly, so less training time is required. Plus, this latest version empowers webmasters to manage PHP and Web Server settings site-by-site in an SEO-safe manner - which includes appropriate configuration of redirects, domain aliases, www-prefix and appropriate suspend to keep sites showing up in search engines.

 

Parallels Plesk Panel 11.5 moves to well-understood, standard management practices used by Linux and Windows administrators. For Linux Admins, Parallels Plesk Panel 11.5 significantly simplifies the structure of the user’s home directory, allowing you to put your files where you need them, avoiding confusion with “strange” system folders so you can easily locate what you need. It also makes significant improvements in the CLI (command line interface) for admins who want to bypass the GUI to operate more rapidly.

 

Parallels Plesk Panel 11.5 makes the server administrator and infrastructure provider’s life easier with support of the well-known Atomic and Remi repositories which provide multiple 3rd party updates. To gain maximum performance, our new Hybrid Web Server can send static content and PHP scripts to nginx, while other scripts can still be executed in Apache. Plus, for convenience, database users can access multiple databases with the same credentials for all databases they have access to.

 

We enable multiple versions of PHP on any server, and you can define the PHP version used per website. This can be your custom PHP build or PHP downloaded from an alternative repository. Additional versions are selected per site and work with the FastCGI or CGI handlers.

 

Improved security is addressed through support for additional administrators on Linux (so there is no need to share passwords) and by secure FTP, so you can be PCI compliant and mitigate risks of intercepted user passwords.

 

Parallels Plesk Panel 11.5 is the most sophisticated and feature rich panel product on the market, delivering unparalleled control and professional grade usability and administration. Spending less time on administration and training new admins will drive increased efficiency.

 

With Parallels Plesk Panel 11.5, you are also only a step away from a next-level multi-server professional hosting solution, Parallels Plesk Automation. This solution is a natural evolution of Parallels Plesk Panel, and allows you to centralize mail and administration, manage Linux and Windows web hosting on the same system, and grow into VPS and services hosting over time. Only Parallels Plesk Panel gives you a clear path to growth. 

 

Best Usability for Website Owners

Parallels Plesk Panel 11.5 lowers support and churn by delivering best-in-class usability for website owners.

 

Website and domain management is at the core of Parallels Plesk Panel. Although the prior version 10.x GUI looked attractive, the usability for websites and domains operations required improvement.

 

For Parallels Plesk Panel 11.5 we reworked the user interface to make working with sites more comfortable. Now, the Websites and Domains tab is the home screen with all domains and websites listed prominently on this screen. Our new Active List feature saves time for website owners by giving them more information about their sites and domains along with common tasks in an easy to navigate interface. We are also introducing graphical help screens, built-in operations search, entity search and training videos along with fully searchable documentation.

 

For email in Parallels Plesk Panel 11.5, you will have more choice of webmail clients – including Roundcube and Horde IMP 5.0.

 

Taken together these additions improve customer self-service and satisfaction, lowering support costs and customer churn risks for service providers.

 

You can download Parallels Plesk Panel 11.5 Preview here: http://www.parallels.com/download/plesk/11.5

 

Adam Bogobowicz, Sr. Director of Product Marketing

Posted on April 18, 2013 and filed under Control Panels.

cPanel is Built for Speed?

 

cPanel claims big victory, announces it is now only 3x slower than Parallels Plesk Panel

 

cPanel recently revealed they cut their product install time by an average of 30% and are now able to achieve install times of 50 minutes. This is still more than 3x slower than Parallels Plesk Panel. This less than impressive claim is promoted as the reason one might choose cPanel. If you use install time as a main criteria for choosing a panel you have a clear winner: Parallels Plesk Panel with 15 minutes install time. 

 

I’ve talked to a number of hosters running both Parallels Plesk Panel and cPanel and their non-lab experience confirms these results. They are reporting cPanel 11.36 default installations taking over 2 hours and Parallels Plesk Panel 11 installations less than 18 minutes. With mirror Parallels Plesk Panel repository, local install source, they are installing Parallels Plesk Panel in under 6 minutes.

 

Let me know how this compares with your experience.  

 

Adam Bogobowicz, Sr. Director of Product Marketing for Service Providers at Parallels

 

 

Posted on April 15, 2013 and filed under Control Panels.

Choose the right tool for the job

by Adam Bogobowicz, Director of Product Marketing for Service Providers, Parallels

 

This Blog is a follow up to a conversation on Parallels Forum. It highlights Parallels Plesk Automation (PPA) architecture options and related hardware and licensing fees. My forum response is reposted here as it may be of interest to a broader audience or hosters considering Parallels Plesk Automation as their next Professional Hosting Platform. The core of the forum question was related to business logic of Parallels Plesk Automation for micro-hosting scenarios. My answer comments on a broader set of scales and architecture options possible with Parallels Plesk Automation.

 

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With the number of Parallels Plesk Automation deployments increasing I am now able to provide an answer to your questions based not only on product architecture but also on experiences from in-production deployments.

 

From what I can see it is quite clear that value of PPA over a single Parallels Plesk Panel deployment increases with the scale of the system. This is consistent with the way PPA is architected. We wanted this product to be the platform for professional hosting and optimized it for hosters for whom hosting is a full time business.

 

This means that if you are running a hosting business with 100 or less customers/domains Parallels Plesk Panel is the best solution in town. It is simpler than Parallels Plesk Automation and with 100 customers, scale and management is still not a problem. It still makes sense to run at this scale with Parallels Plesk Panel Unlimited dedicated license to qualify for free support but if money is short, you can find a discounted Parallels Plesk Panel 100 domain licenses with one of Parallels infrastructure partners.

 

At even smaller scale of micro-hosting you will find an even lower cost solution with Parallels Plesk Panel 10 domain offered for free by many of our partners.

 

Please Note: There are specialized hosting services scenarios, where security or customer requirements dictate isolation and multi-server architecture with low customer counts. If this is of interest to you I am happy to address it separately. 

 

Now the good news is that you do not need to start your hosting business on Plesk Automation to be able to move up to it later on. The transition from Plesk 11 to Plesk Automation is easy so when your business grows you can simply make the choice to move to the professional hosting platform.

 

You should consider Parallels Plesk Automation for the first time at the 300-500 user level or when the number of VPSs and server you are managing starts to be (technical term) “a pain to manage”. Managing more than 4 servers without centralized Management Panel would give me a headache.

 

Here you have a choice of managing a Plesk Automation on a series of VPSs or managing a dedicated server that you provision containers onto. My advice is, if you have the skills, you should go with the dedicated box and run Parallels Cloud Server virtualization on it.

 

I suggest one quad core server with 32Gb RAM and 1Tb hardware RAID 10 storage like Dell PE620, Intel Xeon 2609 2.4 Ghz 4C x 2, 32Gb RDIMM RAM, 300Gb SAS 6Gbps x 8 (1.2Tb available storage), Perc H710 Hardware RAID 10 (Dell offers it for $171/month lease) and run 4 Parallels Cloud Server containers on it.

 

I would run:

  • ·          PPA Management node on container #1 and give it 4GB of RAM and 10GB of storage
  • ·          Apache Web Server and MySQL server on container #2 and give it 4GB of RAM and 300GB of storage
  • ·          Apache Web Server and MySQL server on container #3 and give it 4GB of RAM and 300GB of storage
  • ·          Postfix mail server, Parallels Premium Antivirus, Secondary DNS, Webmail on container #4 and give it 4GB of RAM and 200GB of storage

This system will scale to 600 Users at 1GB storage allocation but can handle 2x of easily depending on type of resource allocation method used and actual resource utilization. 

 

At this scale cost value calculation is very different from your calculation with licensing cost now being a much smaller fraction of the overall system cost. 

 

In fact in this configuration you would only pay (with no partnership discounts) $39 x 4 for Plesk licenses, + $70 for PCS (5CT) and + 6 for Parallels Premium Antivirus = $232 / month. You can lease this server from Dell for only $171/month and collocate it for less than $200/month or lease it directly from one of the infrastructure service providers. Thus your monthly cost would be around $600/month or around $1 per customer in this configuration.

 

And of course you can mix in an IIS Web Server and MS SQL server node into the system and for that I would add a virtual machine with 8Gb RAM and Windows 2008 R2 using Parallels Cloud Server. 

 

From what I see in deployments of Parallels Plesk Automation next scale level comes from hosters running PPA on multiple physical servers and dedicated backup node.

 

For example, let’s say you are running two production boxes with 32Gb RAM and 1Tb RAID 10 storage running Parallels Cloud Server (PCS) and one backup box with 8 Gb RAM and 1Tb RAID 10 storage and running Parallels Cloud Server.

On the first box you can run

  • ·          PPA Management node on container #1 and give it 8GB of RAM and 20GB of storage
  • ·          Web server on container #2 and give it 4GB of RAM and 200GB of storage
  • ·          Web server on container #3 and give it 4GB of RAM and 200GB of storage
  • ·          MySQL on container #4 and give it 4GB of RAM and 200GB of storage
  • ·          Primary DNS server #5 and give it 1GB of RAM and 20GB of storage

On the second box

  • ·          Secondary DNS server on container #1 and give it 1GB of RAM and 20GB of storage
  • ·          Web server and MySQL Server on container #2 and give it 4GB of RAM and 200GB of storage
  • ·          Web server on MS SQL Server container #3 and give it 8GB of RAM and 200GB of storage
  • ·          SmarterMail Server on container #4 and give it 8GB of RAM and 200GB of storage

A third backup server would be dedicated to the backup role.

 

Again you can mix and match, extend with Windows hosting and sell to 2000+ users

 

At full Parallels Plesk Automation scale, hosters usually go into fully dedicated server roles and scale up to 6+ physical servers with at minimum two 32 GB RAM and 1Tb RAID 10 storage servers dedicated to the web server role. At this scale you will be able to support thousands of users.

 

Please let know if this answer was useful and if I can answer any additional questions.

Posted on March 22, 2013 and filed under Control Panels.

Parallels Plesk Automation brings a robust platform solution to SMBs

by Martin Saunders, Technical Director, Myhost.ie

 

Myhost.ie is an established, innovative hosting company based in the west of Ireland. We offer our customers reliable and affordable hosting solutions from personal blogs to busy ecommerce- driven websites.

 

We were looking for a robust and expansive solution to replace our shared hosting platform. We have used Parallels control panels since our inception. When we learnt about their latest offering Parallels Plesk Automation, we setup a test bed and began working with Parallels engineers directly to fix any problems that arose during testing, helping the product move into production.

 

We have been testing now for six months and went into production nearly two months ago. Our new customers are now using the platform and existing customer are being migrated over.

 

Our customers have been very happy with the new control panel, noticeable performance increase, and the new hosting features available to them.

 

The new Parallels Plesk Automation suite brings a new level of control and security to our hosting platform that helps us maintain our belief that 'stuff should just work'.

Posted on March 18, 2013 and filed under Control Panels, Guest Bloggers.

Get Growing with Parallels Plesk Panel – New Marketing Resource Center on PartnerNet

Integrated products from Parallels, such as website building tools and antivirus and antispam solutions provide you the ability to differentiate your services and increase Average Revenue per User – so building consumer preference for Parallels Plesk Panel and related Parallels products can help you grow your business.


Now Parallels is making such growth easier with our new Get Growing with Parallels Plesk Panel – Marketing Resource Center. The center provides a wealth of resources to help you position, promote, and evaluate Parallels Plesk Panel on your own website. These include product messaging texts, promotional banners, data sheets, logos, ready-to-use and customizable point-of-purchase brochures, a hands-on demo integration guide, best practices white papers, and more. The resource center will help you learn more about Parallels Plesk Panel and related add-ons, get to market quickly with ready-to-use marketing resources, and grow your revenues with integrated add-on products. So check it out here – and get growing with Parallels Plesk Panel.   If you have not signed up for PartnerNet yet, register now to take advantage of all these resources.  

 

Let us know if there are other Product or Marketing Resources you need by adding a comment to this post.

Posted on February 21, 2013 and filed under Control Panels, Tips & Tricks.