VPSDeploy is a new web platform designed to provide users with the ability to “deploy” web based applications to a number of different “cloud” VPS servers.
The system was originally designed to support “Ruby on Rails” application deployments, with an underlying application designed to provide users with a “one click” solution to getting their applications deployed.
Since the popularity of the system has grown, it’s branched out into the provision of a number of other services, including the likes of database provision and CDN integration.
The point of the service is that if you’re looking to utilize the MASSIVE wave of new compute resource that has been provided by way of the “cloud” service providers (Microsoft Azure, AWS, Rackspace, DigitalOcean etc) – you need a way to provision the servers you’re using.
Contrary to popular belief, you’re basically paying for a distributed VPS server running on 1000’s of servers in different data warehouses. The VPS’s you run will still require the installation of an underlying OS (Linux or Windows) and will also need the various libraries / applications necessary to get those systems working properly (typically the likes of web server software etc).
Whilst “deployment” services exist already (from the likes of Nanobox), the big issue they have is they are entirely focused on providing “per app” functionality. This means that you’re basically getting a system that deals with the provisioning of a single application – running on as many servers as required.
It has been created to provide server-centric software capabilities – allowing users to deploy as many apps as they want onto their server infrastructure. It works very similarly to the “shared” hosting we all know and love (which basically has a single server box with 1,000’s of user accounts on it).
How It Works
Its core is a vast API integration system which allows it to integrate directly into the various “cloud” VPS providers. Companies like Microsoft, Rackspace, DigitalOcean and others all provide simple API’s which gives the application the ability to connect to a user’s account on their provider of choice, and set up servers as required.
This capacity gives the application the ability to create, manage and provision a multitude of different servers on different providers. For example, if you wanted to guide UK traffic to an AWS-powered server cluster, you’d be able to do set that up in conjunction to the German traffic’s Hetzner cluster.
To get this working, the system also includes an “endpoint manager” – which basically helps people visualize their DNS setup. The DNS is essentially your domain names – they point users to different web servers.
Whilst the DNS side of things has been taken care of before, VPSDeploy’s endpoint manager is the first to provide a visual experience – backed by the ability to manage the various public-facing “endpoints” that a user may wish to use.
Regardless of how the system manages the various infrastructure you may have, the point is that it actually deploys a “stack” to each VPS you may want to deploy. This “stack” basically installs all the software that gets a server operating for the “web”, and thus means that if you’re looking to deploy applications to your server infrastructure, you’ll be able to tap into the GIT repositories established by the system, and the underlying libraries it will have installed – all via SSH (so it’s able to do it across a number of different providers).
Is It Effective?
The most important thing to remember is that it is not a replacement for cloud VPS provision; it’s a way to manage it.
The way in which the system is able to help you visualize, manage and optimize the various applications & servers you have running is one of the most effective systems that a developer may wish to use to deploy their applications.
Whilst running web based applications / services on “cloud” VPS infrastructure is not a necessity, it’s certainly one of the most extensible and modular ways to get up and running in a production capacity.
Why Would You Need It?
The main benefit of using the system is the way in which it allows you to manage your own infrastructure.
The way the “web” works is exactly the same as your home network (computer systems networked together) – except we have a huge system called the DNS which basically allows us to mask a huge amount of infrastructure behind “domain” names.
Domain names allow us to manage exactly what shows to a client when they want to access a particular service or content. This works well, BUT has a major issue in the sense that if you want to provide your *own* infrastructure (beyond “shared” or “dedicated” hosting), there is presently no way to do it.
The introduction of the many “cloud” VPS providers basically provided us with the capacity to determine exactly what our infrastructure looks like – without having to purchase / rent expensive hardware.
The only problem presently is that if you’re going to go down the “cloud” route, you need to ensure you actually have a way to both manage your infrastructure *and* (if necessary) determine exactly how that infrastructure is going to work cross-provider.
If you are looking at moving (or adopting) to a cloud-centric infrastructure, you’ll be best placed looking at a number of different services which are able to help provision servers across the various providers.
Some of the more pertinent are Nanobox and Hatchbox – the latter being specifically for Ruby on Rails. Nanobox works very similarly to Heroku, except it’s able to deploy to a number of different services, and is very dependable.