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Server Hosting & Management

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Baaleos
Server Hosting & Management

Since this is a shameless attempt at self promotion, I think it belongs in the Promo forum.

Basically, im in the position to offer an unlimited amount of virtual dedicated servers, for a low low price: of whatever specs you need.

Ideally used for NWN 1 and 2  Server hosting.

 

If anyone is interested, please contact me.

 

 

 

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Rolo Kipp
Disclosure: I am also a member of the Foundation project whose purpose is to create a turn-key base PW mod with inter-server transportation. Foundation, is being hosted here on a Linux server. We are pretty excited about this, actually! Set up was quick and relatively easy. We'll keep you posted.

Rolo Kipp
 
From Dreamguard on Needlespire, The Gemworld of Amethyst
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Baaleos
Thanks Rolo for the reference, and also for being the Guinea Pig for these servers. It's great to be able to provide something for your development needs, while also getting the needed experience to offer these servers to the community in a realistic and yet affordable way. I myself host my PW server on a dedicated box which costs me £96 per month. Depending on the feedback I get from you guys on the performance of your own Foundation Project Server, I might get round to transitioning away from the 96 quid windows server I have and trade it in for a nice comfy $8 - $12 dollar one from Amazon. Am I mad in saying that usage based pricing is the way to go for servers? I don't want to divulge too much info here about your foundation server, but in the last week ( you guys got the server roughly 5 or so days ago), your Disc usage cost has only reached about 8 cents. This is perfect for game servers, it means your costs are down when you have no players, and you only pay for the hours of activity/disc usage. My dedicated box is costing me a flat rate while no one is playing on the server..... Usage based servers sounds to me, to be the future.
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nelak

Disk usage is one thing but Amazon is also billing you by the minute for uptime aren't they? They also aren't providing performance guarentees.

I've used the lower tiered Amazon hosting and while it is cheap - the performance was quite lacking. Of course NWN is quite old so perhaps a carefully scripted NWserver can be hosted without running into too many issues.

Personally I just pay the $120/month for my dedicated server. Sure it's expensive but I have 8 cores, 2TB of storage, 1Gbit upload and download, and 32GB of RAM at my disposal. 1/8th of that server gets dedicated ot NWN, and the remaining 7/8ths I use for my personal projects or perhaps in the future generating some revenue.

I did cost benefit analysis comparing the two options - and didn't really find too much of a compelling case for Amazon. Cost wise or even feature wise. Even their most lauded feature: scalability wasn't all that exciting when you consider that physical servers can also be made to scale quite quickly. Submit the requests to your hosting provider and your physical servers should be provisioned and online in a few hours. Certainly not the few minutes that Amazon can claim - but then you have to consider just how quickly you can alter your applications and configurations for a server farm. Chances are that'll take a few hours to days at the low end. 

eg. Let's consider a few cases with Amazon. I'm going to assume the server will be on 24/7 and that the load will be sporadic and for the sake of the example - 0 disk usage. Also we'll round out to 720 hours per month, and 8640 per year.

Amazon Small Instance: $43.20/month

Amazon Micro Instance: $14.40/month

Amazon Small Reserved (1 year): $24.48/month + $61 upfront

All looks very attractive so far. But then we have to consider what exactly you're getting with a "Small" or "Micro" instance. Amazon reports it as equivalent to 1 compute unit for both the Small and the Micro with the Small having 1.7Gb of ram while the Micro has 613. Its worth noting that Amazon defines a compute unit as being equivalent to a single core 1.0Ghz 2007 Xeon or Operton processor. With the smaller instances your internet connection is also 100mbit or less.

 

Now lets compare it to a dedicated server: Our cost is fixed at $120 (in my case). 

I get 8x 2.4Ghz Operton cores (a 2012 model)

32GB of RAM

2TB of HDD

1Gbit Up/Down

So technically this server is roughly equivalent to at least 16 or more "Small" instances. Your Amazon bandwidth is also metered and quite expensive. 10TB of bandwidth usage would cost you $1200 through Amazon... Or it would be included in the $120 with the dedicated server. If you scaled it up and decided to host 16-32 NWN servers on the same physical hardware your cost per server would drop to $5-$10 compared to the $24-$43

 

So yes - if all you need is a single NWN server with a fairly low player base - Amazon can be cheaper. But their cost advantage vanishes very very quickly as soon as you decide to start utilizing a dedicated server (more nwserver instances, forums, wikis, other websites, databases, file hosting etc).

 

Also: It's important to note that NWN likely has very low disk usage even when you have lots of players on. Most resources that NWN requests - it only requests them once and then keeps them in memory. But NWNX and Scripting can change this behavior quite drastically.

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Baaleos
Hi Nelak, Good points there, but the thing that should be noted is the usage based pricing. Paying a flat rate for a server that may not even be busy doesn't seem cost effective, but a model that scales your costs to your player population and bandwidth usage, potentially gives you dips in price, With the spikes during busy play times: which, if the purpose of the server is play- then it's a justified expense. It's not actually that expensive based on the two servers I'm now hosting. Been hosting them for a week, both use nwnx, and so far they have accumulated less than 40 cents of I/O charges between them. It's charged at $0.10 per million I/O requests. As noted- since Nwn loads them all into memory- I/O usage is minimal. The DB type being used is probably going to be a factor too. Eg MySQL DB would be less I/O than SQLite. Especially if it was hosted off site. As far as bandwidth goes, Amazon gives me about 15 GB free transfer per month- (savings of which are passed onto each server hosted with me) And even when that runs out, it's only really charging per GB per month of data that is sent inter-region in the AWS. Essentially meaning- any data you send to other Servers in other amazon regions. Looking at my statement: I can see that they have the price for normal Internet bandwidth set at 0.00 $0.000 per GB - data transfer in per month 13.702 GB 0.00 Something that you touched on - was making use of the reserved instances. These are good, but I've also found that the Spot Pricing is potentially better, depending on what region you go for. I've been running a Large Windows server, with 7.5GB Ram, 800GB storage (Ephemeral Storage- which has increased Performance) up to 4 ECU (Effective Compute Unit), across 2 virtual cores: Been running this for last day- on a spot instance. The normal price on 'on demand' would be $266 With Spot Instances I've got it at a variable rate per hour, and I can tell it the max price I am willing to pay. Also - it shows me the price history for last 3 months. So I can see any of the price spikes, and see how long they lasted- helping me to gauge what is the safest max price per hour to run it at. Of course the risk with spot instances is that if the price goes over the max, then the instance automatically turns off. But if you intelligently set the max price- you can account for those temporary spikes. The current Large Instance Spot Price is about 0.066 per Hour. This does fluctuate, but only for periods of an hour or so: so I have mine running at an hourly limit of 0.50 per hour, meaning it won't turn off unless it goes above that price. This turns an Amazon Large Server : from 266 dollars per month, into about 56 dollars per month. I've tested these large servers out with NwnServer: the startup times are improved immensely when run from the ephemeral storage drives. My PW that would normally take 2 minutes to start up (go to .Running status) only takes about 56 seconds on the ephemeral storage. On the note of bandwidth: Amazon only seem to charge for data that goes out of the server. 200 GB coming in, and 200 going out- it only shows price for the outbound data. 22-23 dollars for 200 GB of outbound data. http://calculator.s3.amazonaws.com/calc5.html This being the case- the only real way I can see for anyone to run up a huge expense in the outbound data- would be for them to be running torrents- which I expressly won't allow. (It's me amazon will chase for the money- not the person doing the file sharing) Spot instances are also good for short term server hosting: as it lets you set an automatic start time and end time: allowing someone to pay for a few days of server usage: in case they want to host their server just for a weekend etc? Many people who are new to hosting servers might have hassle with setting up firewalls etc: and want to setup a game with their friends for a weekend. They could have a large server at 0.066 per hour : less than 5 dollars for a whole weekend. And they would get a static IP too. Amazon offers a lot of features, and while some of the prices are marginally intimidating, they are however manageable and become reduced depending on the usage intended for the server. If you download a few TB of data- then yeah- big bill- But I don't know any NWN server who would use 200 GB per month, let alone a TB.
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