Putting Domains Infrastructure in the Cloud

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This semester we having been moving our Domain of One’s Own (DoOO) packages for new institutions to Digital Ocean. Up and until now we haven’t run DoOO through cloud infrastructure providers like AWS, Linode, Digital Ocean, etc. for two reasons: price and storage. It has been cheaper for us to run these packages off a larger dedicated server that we could virtualize and partition into 4 or 5 institutional setups. But ever as the financial differences were becoming nominal, the storage constraints on servers at Linode and Digital Ocean made it impossible. We offer 250 GBs as part of our DoOO package, but most comparably specced servers through Linode or Digital Ocean had 100 GB of storage max.
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Recently Digital Ocean announced Block Storage which essentially enabled us to run a server with 60 GB storage and mount another 250 GB SSD drive. Fast, cheap storage to accompany there server made the idea of running a Domains package on Digital Ocean feasible this Fall, so we did it. There are a couple of beautiful things about this development for Reclaim Hosting. First, if a school needs more storage or CPU power we can manage than almost immediately with the click of a button. When we had BYU creeping up on storage and CPU capacity limits we had to move them off our virtual server to dedicated machines, this meant a physical migration of accounts—that would no longer be the case.

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Second, Digital Ocean has data centers all over the world, and we can now offer DoOO packages to schools in data centers physically within Canada, the UK, the EU, and Asia. This is particularly important for schools in Canada, the UK, and the EU who need to comply with stricter regulations around data security and privacy—a process I’ve been learning a bit about this Summer. Who knows, we may even get a school from the UK or Europe running a Domains pilot sometime soon [fingers crossed]. As for Asia, not sure given there hasn’t been any serious interest in Domains infrastructure for schools there just yet, but we’ve already been using a Sydney-based AWS data center to host infrastructure for Charles Sturt University in Australia.

It remains fascinating and truly exciting for me how much simpler managing and scaling ed-tech infrastructure has become through services like Digital Ocean, I would love to find out if and how edtech groups are using these services for smaller projects. Phil Hill’s article about the quiet move to AWS for enterprise LMSs is a good one, but I would love to learn more about the one-off, marginal uses.

 

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