Some exciting news from RIS Technology, the hosting company I used to work for. They changed their name to Reliam, which stands for Reliable Internet Application Management. And I think it's an appropriate name, because RIS has always been much more involved into the application stack than your typical hosting provider. When I was there, we rolled out Django applications, Tomcat instances, MySQL, PostgreSQL and Oracle installations, and we maintained them 24x7, which required a deep understanding of the applications. We also provided the glue that tied all the various layers together, from deployment to monitoring.
Since I left, RIS/Reliam has invested heavily in a virtual infrastructure that can be combined where it makes sense with physical dedicated servers. The DB layer is usually dedicated, since the closest you are to bare metal, the better off you are in terms of database access. But the application layer can easily be virtualized and scaled on demand. So you can the scaling benefit of cloud computing, and the performance benefit of dedicated servers.
Here are some stats for the infrastructure that RIS/Reliam used for supporting traffic during the recent Miss Universe event (they host missuniverse.com and missusa.com):
* 135 virtual servers running the Web application
* 9 virtual servers running mysql-proxy
* 1 master DB server and 5 read-only slave DB servers running MySQL
* 301.52 Mbps bandwidth
* 33,750 concurrent users
* over 150K concurrent sessions per second
An interesting note is that they used round robin DNS to load balance between the mysql proxies and had all proxies configured to use the master and all five slaves. They managed to get mysql-proxy 0.7.2 running with this patch.
So...what's the point of this note? It's a shout-out to my friends at RIS/Reliam, and a warm recommendation for them in case you need a hosting provider with strong technical capabilities that cover cloud/hybrid computing, system architecture design, application deployment and deep application monitoring and graphing.