Being a ColdFusion company, we obviously like to stay as up to date as we can with the product, and we upgraded to ColdFusion 9 on the day it was released (the upgrade was actually performed whilst attending Adobe MAX).
Since it's release, we've also become a Rackspace partner, which was primarily due to the relationship we have built up with their team as part of a co-support agreement we have with one of our largest clients.
With this new partnership it made sense for us to move our platform to Rackspace from our existing hosting company. Additionally, with ColdFusion 9 being the first version to officially support the Cloud, we decided to migrate to Rackspace's cloud platform.
Rackspace have a number of options for the Cloud, including Cloud Sites and Cloud Servers (in addition to Cloud files, which to simplify things, is for storage purposes).
Cloud Sites is a "load and go" solution, whereby you upload your site, and it automatically scales by default. So if demand increases, you can set your account to automatically handle growth, at a cost of course.
Starting at $100 a month, this will get you either a Linux or Windows hosting account with enough oomph to get you going. Should you require additional power, you can pay for what extra you need. Full pricing can be found http://www.rackspacecloud.com/cloud_hosting_products/sites/pricing
At this time, Cloud Sites do not support any kind of Java technology, which includes ColdFusion (although hopefully this will change soon). However, that's where Cloud Servers come in.
If you've used virtualisation software such as VMware them just think of Cloud Servers as the same thing, only instead of paying a normal hosting fee, the price you pay for your server depends on how much memory you want, starting from 512mb and going up to 16GB.
Right now, only Linux is supported with Cloud Servers, though Rackspace currently have Windows servers in beta.
As we're a Linux shop, we just needed to choose which distribution we wanted. Rackspace currently offer:
- CentOS 5.2
- CentOS 5.3
- Gentoo 2008.0
- Debian 5.0
- Fedora 10
- Arch 2007.08
- Ubuntu 8.04 LTS
- Ubuntu 8.10
- Ubuntu 9.10
- Red Hat EL 5.3
Out of those distributions, the only one you have to pay extra for is Red Hat.
In regards official support from Adobe, only Red Hat is covered (Adobe support Ubuntu 9.04 but that's not available as an option). However, we've been running ColdFusion on CentOS (and previously Fedora) for a long time and we've never had an issue.
So our flavour of choice is CentOS 5.3, which we then upgraded to 5.4.
For memory we chose 2GB. Normally we'd run with more, but Rackspace only support full image backups (at this time) on Cloud Servers with up to 2GB of memory. Support for all memory sizes is coming soon.
So, for the servers that are business critical to us, we have pitched for the 2GB versions. For other servers, where a full image backup isn't as important, we've pitched for 4GB.
We can easily increase the memory allocation in the Cloud Management Portal, simply by choosing an increased amount of memory, and we'll do so when the additional backup support goes live.
Building the Server
Once you've picked your memory allocation, your operating system and provided your credit card details, you're transferred into the Rackspace Cloud Management system, where you can watch the progress of your server build. It maybe took a minute or two for the system to build our servers.
Once your server is built, you'll be provided with the root username/password to log in and configure your server. From this point on, it's just like managing any Linux based ColdFusion server.
You get your firewall up and running, lock it down, block remote root logins, etc, etc.
Next, you install ColdFusion.
So in about 20 minutes, we had a Rackspace Cloud server running ColdFusion.