Archive for the ‘How To’ Category


How To Enable & Manage the New, Free GoGrid Firewall Service

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 by

Security and infrastructure don’t always go hand in hand. In fact, many non-adopters of cloud computing have cited the lack of good security as one of the primary reasons they are not wholeheartedly embracing the cloud and all its glory. In some ways, these naysayers are correct: You shouldn’t deploy a cloud or frankly any type of infrastructure without some type of security, whether it’s software-based controls or a hardware device. At GoGrid, it is this desire to overcome security concerns that compelled us to release our free (that’s right FREE) Firewall Service.

When we developed our Firewall Service, we wanted to do more than simply offer a set of blocking rules or a hardware device. We wanted our solution to be centrally managed, easy to use and configure, fully featured, integrated across all our data centers, reliable, programmatically controlled, highly available, flexible, elastic, self-healing…whew! And did I mention, free? As we did for our new Dynamic Load Balancers, we embraced the concepts of software-defined networking (SDN) when architecting our Firewall Service.

Our research showed that for small environments, software-based firewalls (like IPtables or a Windows Firewall) worked just fine, provided the infrastructure didn’t need to scale. Similarly, hardware-based firewalls were great for enterprise-grade installations (but remember, if you get one hardware device, you typically need another one ready as a failover). We wanted to do it better. You can read more about the theory behind our cloud Firewall Service in this article.

As with my previous How To articles, there are 3 easy steps in the Firewall Service setup:

1. Create a Security Group
2. Define
a Policy
3. Add
a Connection

GoGrid’s Firewall Service is distributed and global. That means that once it’s configured, it automatically synchronizes across all our data centers. If you have multiple web servers in multiple GoGrid data centers, you simply define the Security Groups and Policies, connect the servers, and you’re done. Any future policy changes are automatically synchronized to the connected servers. Simple, right? Let’s see how to set up the Firewall Service. (more…) «How To Enable & Manage the New, Free GoGrid Firewall Service»

How To Create an Auto-Scaling Web Application on GoGrid (Part 1 – Theory)

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013 by

Creating an auto-scaling web application is an ideal use of cloud computing. Although manually scaling your infrastructure is easy in the GoGrid cloud, programmatically controlling your infrastructure to scale automatically is an even better example of the power of the cloud. This scenario–an application that can increase and decrease its server count, and therefore capacity, based on the load it’s experiencing at any given time–makes IT professionals, sysadmins, and application developers alike extremely happy. And it’s also something you can build using out-of-the-box tools in GoGrid.

We’ve divided this topic into two articles:

Part 1 (this article) – The Theory of Auto-Scaling:

  • Background: traditional vs. cloud hosting
  • Programmatically architecting a solution
  • The underlying Orchestration methodology

Part 2 – A Proof of Concept of Auto-Scaling:

  • Do-it-yourself Orchestration
  • Proof-of-concept examples

(more…) «How To Create an Auto-Scaling Web Application on GoGrid (Part 1 – Theory)»

What is Auto-Scaling, How Does it Work, & Why Should I Use it?

Monday, March 11th, 2013 by

When I think about the phrase “auto-scaling,” for some reason it conjures up the word “Transformers.” For those not familiar with the Transformers genre of cartoons, toys, games, and movies, it is essentially about cars that turn into robots or vise versa, depending on how you look at it. When they need to fight or confront a challenge, Transformers will scale up from a vehicle (a car, truck, airplane, etc.) into a much larger robot. Then, when the challenge subsides, they scale back down to a vehicle.

Transformers 4 Movie

Image source:

Scaling Explained

Scaling – in terms of infrastructure – is a similar concept, but applied to the horizontal or vertical scaling of servers. Horizontal scaling means adding (or removing) servers within an infrastructure environment. Vertical scaling involves adding resources to an existing server (like RAM).

Let’s look at an example. An author of a content creation website may write an article that attracts the attention of the social media community. What starts as a few views of the article per minute, once shared by many in social media, may result in hundreds or thousands of requests for this article per minute. When this spike in demand occurs, the load to the server or servers handling the website’s content may experience extreme load, affecting its ability to respond in a timely manner. The results can vary from long page loads to the server actually crashing under the additional peak load. In the past, this scenario used to be known as the “Digg effect” or “Slashdot effect.”

Although this type of success is great publicity for the author, it’s bad for the brand hosting the content. And, if users encounter slow or inaccessible websites, they’re less likely to return for other content at a later point, which can eventually result in a loss of revenue.

(more…) «What is Auto-Scaling, How Does it Work, & Why Should I Use it?»

How To Create a Distributed, Reliable, & Fault-Tolerant GoGrid Dynamic Load Balancer

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013 by

As Rupert Tagnipes outlined in his article “High Availability with Dynamic Load Balancers,” crafting a fault-tolerant, reliable website is critical to a company’s online success. There’s nothing worse than going to a website to do a transaction only to have it either be slow to respond or have an interaction time out. By setting up a load balancer in front of transactional web or application servers, companies can ensure their web presence is resilient, responsive, and gets information to their customers reliably.


GoGrid launched with a free load-balancing service in 2008. This year, we introduced our next-generation cloud load-balancing service on GoGrid. Embracing the software-defined networking (SDN) mantra, we created our load-balancing service to embrace the key characteristics of cloud computing: on-demand, usage-based, and distributed. I encourage you to read more about our Dynamic Load-Balancing service in Rupert’s article.

Although understanding why load balancing is critical to success is important, knowing how to create a new GoGrid Dynamic Load Balancer is equally important. This How-To article will guide you quickly and easily down that path.


As always, I like to boil the process down to 3 easy steps. In the case of the Dynamic Load Balancer creation process, these steps are:

(more…) «How To Create a Distributed, Reliable, & Fault-Tolerant GoGrid Dynamic Load Balancer»

How To Scale Your GoGrid Infrastructure

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013 by

Scalability is one of the biggest benefits of cloud computing. Compared to traditional physical servers, cloud servers offer dynamic elasticity that allows businesses to scale “up” or “out” based on load or demand. Scaling “out” means adding more servers to your infrastructure and scaling “up” means adding resources (like RAM) to an existing cloud server.

Adding more cloud servers to your GoGrid infrastructure is easy, as is creating a GoGrid Server Image (GSI). Just a quick refresher: you would use a GSI to deploy copies of a particular server configuration or setup—this is horizontal scalability: create a GoGrid cloud server, save an image of it, and deploy copies of that server.


But let’s say that you want a particular server to have a little more power. One of the best “upgrades” you can make to any computer or server is to add more RAM. Running applications consumes RAM (as does the underlying operating system). Giving that server more RAM will make it run even more efficiently.

So, how do you add more RAM to an existing GoGrid Cloud Server? Just like the 3-step processes before (Create a GoGrid Cloud Server – Select. Configure. Deploy. & Create a GoGrid Server Image – Select. Save. Share.), this process is equally easy:

1. Select
2. Configure
3. Scale

Before we walk through this process, it’s important to remember that RAM scaling only works on “hourly” GoGrid Cloud Servers. If your server is on a monthly, semi-annual, or annual plan, you won’t be able to scale your server. In that case, you’ll want to create a GSI of an existing server and then deploy a new hourly server based on that GSI. If you do have an hourly cloud server, the process is easy. (more…) «How To Scale Your GoGrid Infrastructure»