When I decided to take the route of running Scalr on our own servers to manage our Amazon Web Services farms one important consideration was Scalr’s use of DNS servers to change records. I made the choice of hosting our own DNS infrastructure in order to keep initial cost down. But also to allow us the flexibility to change and control our DNS internally. So now onto my approach to doing this most effectively. Firstly two separate DNS servers were chosen of the self-managed dedicated server form. One server was chosen in a west coast location while the second was on the east coast. Being that more of our traffic come from the western states the NS1 was selected accordingly. Now I used two non-Scalr managed AMIs to run our NS3 and NS4 servers. Each in a separate AWS datacenter. The idea being that the internal custom bundled AMIs for Scalr I built would use the NS3 and NS4 for their internal DNS. I find this to be an excellent mix of using AWS and old fashioned dedicated servers to manage our DNS.
I am a Linux guy. But I am also a big lover and user of OpenBSD and FreeBSD. This got me to thinking of BSD and it’s place in Cloud Computing. In terms of Amazon Web Services EC2 I have yet to see it. When checking the FreeBSD and OpenBSD projects I have yet to see it at all in a Xen form. There are a few posting regarding getting it to sort of work. There is a wiki page for FreeBSD project dedicated to a Xen port. I believe this lack of Xen support will not help BSDs to compete with Linux flavors. I would love to be able to use BSD for certain roles.
I have been using Amazon Web Services for some time now and decided to use the Open Source Scalr Project to manage my farms on AWS. After overcoming many hurtles to getting Scalr running successfully I have been using it to manage my farms for about a month. Compared to the initial outlay required my RightScale the time it took to get Scalr running was nominal. Plus I like the ability to have a developer tweak the functionality of Scalr to fit our business requirements. There is an active Google Group for Scalr that I have used to solve most of my issues. People also have the option of using Scalr.net as a pay per month solution to manage their AWS farms. I chose to host my own instance of Scalr since we are doing large scale hosting and the previously mentioned need to customize it. I do enjoy the ease Scalr provides in bundling new custom roles I build for our various application servers. It allows you to simply press a button to save a new role for future use. Along with its ability to auto-scale as traffic dictates those are the two biggest pluses for me in using Scalr.
I will be adding more on my experiences with Scalr in coming days. If you are installing on CentOS5 I have some install notes I posted here.