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Understanding your New GoGrid Account

March 17th, 2008 by - 13,109 views

For those of you who have already signed up for a Trial or Paid GoGrid account, WELCOME! For those who have not, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? As many of you have already started using GoGrid for a variety of purposes, I felt that it might make some sense to provide some more information and clarification about your new service.

As always, please feel free to contact us should we need to clarify anything, to simply suggest some new or improved feature or to just RAVE about GoGrid in general.

For starters, I definitely recommend reading through the FAQ section of the GoGrid site as there are some answers to your questions there. You can get information on:

  • How to access and update your account
  • Change your billing information
  • Learn about the fundamentals of administering your account and servers
  • …And much more!

However, if you are like me, frequently you pass over all of the “Welcome” emails that you receive when you sign up for things. So, for those of you who have GoGrid accounts, here is a refresher; for those of you who do not, here is what you are missing.

What is the fastest way to get up and running?

While we don’t always recommend diving in head first, you are welcome to do so. It is actually extremely easy! Here are 5 fast steps to set up a simple account consisting of :

  • 1 Load Balancer
  • 2 Web/Application Servers
  • 1 Database Server

All within 10 minutes! Ready? Hold on to your hats!

  1. Review your External IP addresses in the Network Widget. This way you know what IP addresses you have allocated to your account and which ones you can use.
  2. Create 2 Web/Application Servers using the green ADD button

    add_multiple_addserver

    Be sure to use the Public IP addresses for this so that you can connect to these servers once they are active.

    new_app_server

    Do this again with a different IP address for the second Web/Application Server.

  3. Create a Database Server using the same process as in #2

    add_multiple_addDB

    Fill in the server information:

    new_db_server

  4. Create a Load Balancer.

    add_multiple_addLB


    Be sure you have the IP addresses of the two Web/Application servers that you want to balance (e.g., the ones you just set up).

    new_loadbalancer

  5. Access your servers. Use either RDC (Remote Desktop Connection – for Windows) or SSH (Secure Shell – for Linux). Once you have access, set up FTP or install the applications you desire to get yourself going. That’s it!

If you have questions about this, that is completely understandable. Just comment on this article or contact GoGrid Support. What are listed below are some helpful tips on understanding the GoGrid environment.

How many IP addresses do you get?

public_ipsWith your new GoGrid account, you are immediately provisioned 16 static IP addresses as well as both private and public VLAN support. Should you need more than 16 IP external addresses, you need to fill out a “Justification Form” which is handily included within the GoGrid UI.

If you would like to set up a Private Network, you have a block of 256 IP addresses that can be used. Using a Private Network is recommended for ensuring that certain servers, like a Database, are not accessible to the Public Network or only by pre-defined Application or Web Servers.

Also included within the Network Widget are Gateway and Net Mask of the subnets which are used to configure your public and private NICs (Network Interfaces). This widget will soon also include information about which IPs are in use and which are available.

Viewing Server Information

Currently the RAM amount is not displayed within the GoGrid interface after a server is created. We win_serverunderstand that this could be confusing, so we will be adding this data field to the display in an upcoming release shortly. In the meantime, we recommend that you simply put the RAM configuration that you chose in the name field (e.g., “My Win2003 Server – 1 GB RAM”). The External IP address is displayed under the Server Name:

The colored dot in the top right corner illustrates the server state. Green means the the server is currently on. Yellow means that the server is changing states (from start to stop or visa versa). Red indicates that the server is in a stopped state. When a server is created, it will come up in a Stopped (Red) state. You will need to start it in order to access it.

When a server is newly created within GoGrid, a unique server_password_menuAdministrator or Root password is created automatically and stored within the GoGrid web interface. To access the password list, simply right click on a server and choose “passwords” from the menu (or single-click on a server and select “passwords” from the left-hand menu).

When the passwords menu item is selected, the Passwords section of the Support tab is automatically opened, listing all of your servers and the Administrator/Root users and associated passwords. Your passwords are never transmitted insecurely via email, but rather contained within this secured sections of the site (all of https://my.gogrid.com is secured with 128-bit encryption via SSL). This section of the site can be used as a notepad to store other users and their passwords by simply clicking on the “Add a Password” menu item on the left. If you modify a password on an actual server, it is recommended that you update the password on this list since it is NOT updated automatically. Also, changing a password here does NOT update the password on your server.

Network Interfaces for your Servers

Each Application/Web or Database Server that you create within GoGrid comes with 3 network interfaces (NICs). Two NICs are automatically physically attached to the public-facing network and the third NIC is connected to a private switch fabric. These two networks are completely separate and supported by different switching and routing infrastructures.

It is very important that all GoGrid users understand the configuration and setup of these three NICs. For simplicity, the table below outlines how they are configured, named and their use;

Physical VLAN Configuration Interface Name (Windows) Interface Name (Linux)
Public_1 Public DHCP Local Area Connection 1 eth0
Public_2 Public Static Local Area Connection 3 eth2
Private Private Static Local Area Connection 2 eth1

 

 

 

So that you can access your GoGrid server when it is first added, the Public_1 NIC is configured with DHCP and the MAC address of that NIC is automatically associated with the IP that you chose when you initially configured your server. That means that if you try to “renew” your IP address on that NIC, you will always get the same IP address; it is bound to the MAC address. Note that if you disable or shut down the Public_1 NIC, you run the risk of not being able to access your GoGrid server.

You do also have the option of binding or assigning other IP addresses (public or private) to the Public_2 or Private interfaces at your convenience should you want to create a private network, for example.

Creating and Editing Load Balancers

Load Balancers can easily be created on-the-fly and are extremely easy to configure. Once created, the virtual IP address of the Load Balancer is displayed next to the icon. Currently, the GoGrid web interface limits the possible actions for Load Balancer to Create and Delete only, which means that if you need to make changes (add/remove IP addresses) you will need to delete the existing Load Balancer and create a new one with the correct or updated information.

Any additional questions?

Please feel free to post a comment to this article with any questions or comments that you may have. We understand that while extremely easy to use, GoGrid takes some getting used to. With each new software iteration, new or enhanced functionality will be added so if you add a feature request, most likely it is already on our road map. Any new or improved features will be highlighted within this blog.

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Michael Sheehan

Michael Sheehan, formerly the Technology Evangelist for GoGrid, is a recognized technology, social media, and cloud computing pundit and blogger who writes regularly about technology news and trends.

17 Responses to “Understanding your New GoGrid Account”

  1. Matt S says:

    Hi, a question regarding the private NIC/IP addresses. Let’s say I create a database server, and want to ensure that only my other GoGrid servers can access it. Does this mean I would configure it without a public IP address?

    And if so, how would I get to that server (Remote Desktop or SQL client) at home? Is there a way to VPN in?

    (Windows 2008, by the way).

    Thanks,

    - Matt

  2. Michael Sheehan says:

    @Matt

    The problem with not configuring a public IP address is that you would have to use RDC from another machine on your network to connect to it. Probably a better practice would be to set up some firewall rules on that server to restrict traffic to that server to only allow pre-defined machines.

    Hope that helps. You can also post questions to our GoGrid forums at: http://forums.gogrid.com.

    Best,
    Michael

  3. Matt S says:

    Great, thanks. Any plans for VPN support?

  4. Michael Sheehan says:

    @Matt,

    On what OS specifically? Since you have root and administrator access to your GoGrid Cloud Servers, you can install the software you need (like OpenVPN, for example). I have not personally tried it but do give it a shot and let me know how it goes.
    Thanks,
    Michael

  5. Matt S says:

    Hi Michael, I guess what I was thinking is that I could VPN into my GoGrid VLAN, something like that. One VPN connection which would get me to all my servers.

    I suppose I could create that myself, assigning one server as the VPN gateway and all that. Would be way cool if it were already there at the firewall level.

  6. Michael Sheehan says:

    @Matt,
    That is an interesting idea. I haven’t tried it myself but may try it out. VPNs can be pretty daunting for some (I have tried personally implementing OpenVPN on an open source router firmware…worked for a bit but upgrade blew away my configuration).
    So, is your idea that you set up a VPN gateway on one server and then network your other servers using private LAN and then use RDC with VPN to connect to other servers within that network?
    -Michael

  7. Mike says:

    How can you give me a “LAMP web server” with no FTP access enabled by default? You don’t even include the vsftpd application in usr/sbin by default! What a pain in the neck–how am I supposed to transfer files?

  8. Bryan Levine says:

    @ Mike,

    We leave FTP disabled as a security precaution. Not all users will want FTP installed running on their machines (for instance, you don’t need FTP access with a WordPress blog like this one), and it can cause a security threat to have FTP enabled and running by default with no permissions based access when a server is deployed. FTP needs to be set up properly and according to a user’s preferences, so it’s not something we can predetermine.

    I do understand that many of our users do require FTP services and I will be putting a request in to our Development team to add the VSFTP package to our LAMP stacks, but it will still need to be set up and configured by the end user or our Support teams.

    -Bryan

  9. Scott Jangro says:

    If I understand the network configuration setup correctly, there are three interfaces that I can use however I want to, but cannot add more?

    So the maximum number of external IPs that can point to a single machine is 3? (2 if I want that machine connected to a private network.)

    thanks.

  10. Michael Sheehan says:

    @Scott,

    While there are 3 interfaces, you will only need 2 of them. 1 is for your LAN (private network) and 1 is for your WAN (public network). The other is used by the system to help if there are issues connecting to your server (e.g., if our Support or Professional Services Groups need to access your server or in case you munged up the other interfaces).

    In terms of the maximum number of external IPs, you can point many to a single interface, it is not just limited to 1 IP per interface. The setup depends on the server type you are using (Linux/Windows).

    Thanks,
    Michael

  11. Ishu says:

    I understand that FTP access is left due to the security reason. But i think that you guys should put default FTP iptable rules on your blog for the users who want to configure.. As a web developer shall i spend my time on stablising my application or i keep messing with these silly things such as Default FTP support.
    Providing iptable rules will save this pain in the neck.

    Thanks.

  12. Scott Micale says:

    I am really curious about your service and have signed up for a trial. What I am looking to do is setup 2-3 windows servers and use them stricty as file servers. I want to then create a cloud storage and then have that cloud accessable to my gogrid servers and also have the cloud accessible to my clients here at my office so they too can use that cloud for their storage. Is that possible and if so how would I make that connection from my local network to my gogrid.com network. I would assume a VPN would be needed. I use a Cisco ASA here so I need to figure out how I would accomplish this with a go grid windows server and my cisco firewall. If you know how to do this I would be really interested in testing this out.

    Thanks
    Scott

    • Michael Sheehan says:

      @Scott,
      Interesting scenario. So, you can mount the Cloud Storage on each of your servers within GoGrid. They would all share the same storage. You could, conceivably set up a VPN from your office to GoGrid (static IPs help with that). From there, though, I’m not sure about mapping the Cloud Storage drives via VPN. I have a feeling it might not work, but you could do a test with one server and Cloud Storage with a VPN config.
      I’m intrigued so please let me know how it goes and if there is anything I can do to help. I will bounce this around some folks here too.
      -Michael

  13. Yoav says:

    Hi Michael,

    You were saying here that it's possible to add multiple ip's to the same interface( LAN connection 1) on windows instances?
    how is this done when the first ip is defined my DHCP ? (the "add" button is disabled in the tcp/ip properties->advanced->ip addresses)

    • Well, this post is a bit stale now, I guess. However, for the most part it remains true. For the public NIC, you can't, from my understanding, assign multiple IPs to it. However, I believe that within IIS, you can associate IP addresses to various sites therein (similar to what you can do on Linux with vhosts).

      If you have specific questions, I encourage you to open a support request and someone can point you in the right direction.

      Sorry for the confusion.

  14. vina says:

    Are you allowed to use multiple IPs? So how can you specify the IPs you will use from the given IPs?

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