Parallels Plesk Automation is rapidly becoming the hosting solution of choice, giving professional shared hosters a new opportunity for efficiency and growth. Now deployed by more than 500 service providers in over 60 countries, Parallels Plesk Automation has been field tested with thousands of users, websites and mailboxes and is proving to be efficient, secure and scalable beyond anything a single panel can provide.
Guest blog by Ehsan Mirdamadi, CEO at Cirrus Tech Ltd. (http://www.cirrusone.ca/)
Web hosting companies today live in a world where our clients are looking for solutions to their business problems, not just a bunch of raw technology. But providing a broad variety of solutions and tailoring them to each client’s needs creates management inefficiencies, drives up costs, and drives us crazy. If only there were a way to seamlessly automate and manage all these components…
Integrating Parallels Business Automation Standard and Parallels Plesk Automation has been a crucial component in helping us to manage this complexity. Parallels Business Automation Standard automates our billing and business processes, while Parallels Plesk Automation does the same for hosting and related services. We think that Parallels Business Automation Standard and Parallels Plesk Automation are probably the most comprehensive solutions out there, and, while they are effective individually, bringing them together was a vital part of our strategy to enter the era of solutions.
Using these two systems together has enabled us to take control of our services while giving our customers an unparalleled level of flexibility. Our customers are thrilled. We’ve even heard from people who didn’t know this amount of flexibility existed. Suddenly, there’s less of a need for expensive IT consultants, because our solution makes it possible to build a service like CirrusOne, our cloud server offering, independently.
Our CirrusOne scalable cloud platform is powered by Parallels Cloud Server, and uses Parallels Plesk Automation to automate services for customers, which are in turn billed through Parallels Business Automation Standard. We feel that this integrated approach delivers a better experience for customers.
Here are five reasons we like using Parallels Plesk Automation and Parallels Business Automation Standard together, and why we think they’re the right answer for our customers. Using these products together allows us to:
1. Deploy services faster and create natural upgrade paths to new services
2. Easily add services such as MightyCall from Infratel and SmarterMail
3. Establish greater control over a large service range
4. Secure data by separating administration from customer servers
5. Reduce expenditures on server licenses
Before the Parallels Business Automation Standard and Parallels Plesk Automation integration project, many of our customers had to use three different platforms for three different service types. Closing the gap between traditional shared hosting and enterprise class hosting has meant using more services, and spending more time managing them. But now, with the help of Parallels products, we can deploy services fast, and administer them from a convenient place. It’s made our business more flexible, more efficient, and more profitable.
For Cirrus Tech, bundling services together from different platforms was a complex task. In some cases, customers were asked to use three different platforms for different service types. The company required a way to bring a wide service range together, making management more efficient.
Cirrus Tech discovered Parallels Plesk Automation, a solution that could bring automation of web hosting, emails, domains and more to a single management node. Even as services continue to expand and the number of servers in use continues to grow, administration remains convenient. Parallels Plesk Automation was integrated with Cirrus Tech’s existing Parallels Business Automation Standard implementation, creating a highly automated system that was more flexible for administrators and customers alike.
Q&A with Joe Alagna, VP of Channel Development at 101domain.com
101domain.com was one of the first registrars to launch a scaled implementation of server nodes using Parallels Plesk Automation. The platform allows web hosting providers to manage tasks asynchronously, including provisioning and infrastructure updates, adding hosting accounts, and managing multiple servers from a single access point. It is also designed to be more secure and to limit vulnerability to attack by isolating production workloads.
The project was managed by 101domain.com’s Hosting Services Manager, Rodolfo Elias. We wanted to learn about his experience and tracked him down for some Q & A.
Q. Now that you’ve had a chance to work with Parallels Plesk Automation what are your overall impressions?
A. The product gives us the ability to separate services, making it a lot more efficient for us to balance accounts and provision servers as necessary. The centralized management of accounts and resellers allows us to track usage more efficiently.
Q. As an early adopter, what advice would you give someone getting started on Parallels Plesk Automation to help them do it better?
A. We took advantage of every one of the features the product offers. Our integration was a bit complex. I’d suggest that they acquaint themselves with the documentation ahead of time so they can understand better how to provision and manage the software within the platform. Use the resources that Parallels Plesk Panel provides and work closely with their team. They’ve been very supportive to us.
Q. What are some of the benefits that the platform offers to clients?
A. The client interface is exactly the same as our previous Parallels Plesk Panel interface (Parallels Plesk Panel 11). This was a big advantage because those clients didn’t see any difference at all. We also consolidated all of our clients who used previous versions of Parallels Plesk Panel (versions 8 – 10) so now our entire customer base is on a single platform as we move forward. Future upgrades will be much easier because everything is centralized.
Q. But what about other clients? Will they see any other benefits to this?
A. Surely. With the separation of services, there will be less of a load on each server. Their websites will respond quicker. That’s the biggest benefit. The platform is more secure because one service doesn’t affect another. Apache, email, MySQL and web services are all independent. We can monitor the servers better and separate the impact of each service on a server. That makes our client’s websites and email hosting more reliable.
Now our clients can host all of their domains without worrying about overages. They get centralized management of all domains in one place. They also get unlimited email boxes at a very low price. We’re really proud our revamped hosting services platform and we think it’s a great value for our clients.
Q. What about resellers? Are there any important benefits for them?
A. Yes, a lot. Our new hosting reseller program will allow us to provide resellers with a branded solution for their hosting ventures. We’re still working on that piece but it will be coming out soon. It’s going to be really nice.
Structure Research, an independent research and consulting firm with a focus on the hosting and cloud segments within the Internet infrastructure market, recently released an opinion piece titled “Shared hosting transformation and the control panel.”
The blog article provides fresh insight into the future of shared hosting with single-server panel technology vs. multi-server technology, such as Parallels Plesk Automation. Structure Research shares how management tools have not kept up with growth of many hosters. Check out Structure Research’s insights on why hosters’ ability to “scale through operational efficiency will be paramount.”
As you consider the next steps in growing your hosting business, Parallels recommends to start centralizing your mail and spam management, and consider offering both Linux and Windows web hosting from the same integrated hosting system. Our new Parallels Plesk Automation enables you to do all of this from a central management node/administrative control panel with easier updating. Because this server architecture separates your automation and panel from your hosting nodes, Parallels Plesk Automation delivers superior security and uptime.
Parallels understands that fast problem resolution and uptime are both critically important to professional hosters. So, to prove this, we’re offering free support with Parallels Plesk Automation. This support offer covers all of your nodes (each of which require Parallels Plesk Panel Unlimited Dedicated licenses). This means Parallels will provide support for your Management Node as well as your Web Hosting and Mail nodes.
But, we also recognize that self-help and the ability to identify and reduce problems before they happen are big factors in maximizing your uptime. We have tried to streamline Parallels Plesk Automation to make it simple to install, configure, and run. When you add a new node, you can select one of many pre-configured workloads to install on it. When you want to attach an existing Parallels Plesk Panel server, we give you the choice between assimilating it – where no website settings are touched – or transferring it, where it moves into the new cluster but can be reverted back out. If you do encounter a problem that requires troubleshooting, you will be able to easily find the tools to help you do so on this dedicated support site here.
Parallels has made a strong commitment to improving the usability of our software, self-help tools, and support experience. As you contemplate adopting Parallels Plesk Automation, we hope you’ll consider all of our new enhancements and free support offer. We are trying to provide the best growth path forward in all of our next gen hosting systems, and our commitment to an enhanced support experience is a central part of this value.
Thanks for considering the new Parallels Plesk Automation. We look forward to growing with you.
All the best,
Vice President Panel Products, Parallels