Insights to Web Hosting Industry &
Roadmap for the Systems Engineer
by Edwin Lee
The web hosting industry is constantly evolving and changing.
A Global industry which offer multitudes of opportunities and challenges.
Keys of Success :
Relies on leveraging technologies, marketing strategies and staying up to date on
latest industry trends.
Builds custom solutions and branding with products and services.
Maintains reputation, reliability and providing good customer services.
Building Blocks :
The hosting company is only as stable and reliable as their infrastructure.
The workforce consisting management, operations, technical and support.
Through this presentation, the primary focus will be on the working areas of web
hosting infrastructure with open source solutions.
1. Configuration Management :
On an infrastructure with numerous server nodes and services to maintian.
Administration and configurations of systems can be prone to errors and time
Effeciency relies on the skills and knowledge of the systems engineer.
Centralise configurations change and policies to standardise the environment.
To ease the process of repetive tasks and lighten workload.
Faster turn around time in provisioning, deployments, system breakage and
ITIL implementation of Change management and Change request.
CFEngine / Puppet / Chef / Salt
Monitoring, Alerting, Responses & Analysis :
An effort for sustaining infrastructure backend and compliance to industry best
Enterprise products come with premium pricing which does not combine all-in-one
Provides the visibility layer to key asset’s state and conditions.
Notifications for network, servers and services outrage.
Deters attacks to known and weak services.
Nagios / OpsView / Zabbix / Munin / Monit / SmokePing / Splunk / Ossec HIDS /
Iptables rate limiting / Shell scripts
Monitoring (Centralised mailbox demo) :
Consolidation of email notifications and alerts to a centralise mailbox account.
Access to shared folders, managing of alerts from a common user account.
Monitoring (Nagios demo) :
Montoring of Hosts avaliability and Services status.
Notify when conditions meets Critical, Warning, Unreachable by methods
» Email, SMS, Twitter, iPhone Push and integrates with Full cycle escalation process.
Monitoring (Munin demo) :
Performance graphs and metrics. (CPU, Memory, Disks, Bandwidth)
Aiding optimization of consumption bottlenecks and spikes.
Monitoring (Ossec HIDS demo) :
Real-time monitoring of log files and system files.
Periodic System Integrity checks and Rootkit scans.
Alerting via email and Daily report for user logins, file changes.
Block brute force attempts with Active responses. (SSH, IMAP, POP, HTTP)
Centralize Master node and agents model, Customizable rules, alerts and responses.
Monitoring (Splunk demo) :
Dashboard providing analytics and overview of Splunk apps module.
Indexing of log files and data rentention for reporting and searching.
Helpdesk and Ticketing :
An effective support system is vital to the business and operations.
Point of contact to cater queries, issues and requests.
Managment in staffing, resource usage and allocation.
ITIL is a framework of best practices to manage IT operations and services.
Provides the schematics for Service, Incident, Problem and Change scenarios.
Maintains SLAs, quailty of service and customer relationship.
Support channels - Hotline, Email, Website, Chat
OTRS / Request Tracker / OsTicket
Helpdesk (OsTicket demo) :
Routes inquiries created via email, web-forms and phone calls into a simple,
easy-to-use, multi-user, web-based customer support platform.
Pooling various sources from discovery, assessment, reporting, monitoring, data
classification and automation. Infrastructure Optimization introduces competitive
advantage, growth, ROI and customer loyalty.
Failover / High Avaliability
Heartbeat, keepalived, DRBD
Load Balancing / Reverse Proxy / Caching
HAProxy, Nginx, Varnish, Memcache
Filesystem performance gains
Convert Ext3 to Ext4, XFS
Optimization (NginX Load Balancing demo) :
Custom compile Nginx from source code with added customizations for scaling of
resources intensive and demanding web applications.
Performance gains from distributing load with Nginx web clusters to PHP preprocessors
and replicated MySQL databases.
Apply security measures to OS and Applications (OSI Layer 7), creating proactive
defences against threats and minimize risks.
Customize builts of applications from Source code with added security mechanisms.
Subscribe to Security Advisories and Alerts List.
Sercurity updates and patches
Kernel hardening, tunable sysctl
Netfilter Iptables rules, Xinetd, Tcp wrappers
Partitioning, Filesystem Quotas, Mount
Limits, Chroot, Jail, Cron
DNS threats – Open recursive, Hijacking
DNS security – chroot, rate limiting, DNSSEC
Mail threats – Open relay, Brute force
Mail security – chroot, Anti-virus, Anti-spam
Web threats – SQL/XSS/SSL vulnerabilities, Brute force
Web security – chroot, ModSecurity
SSH threats – Brute force
SSH security – ssh_keys, iptables rate limiting
Sercurity (ModSecurity: Web application firewall) :
Web Frameworks and Stacks :
Designed for supporting the development of dynamic websites, web applications,
web services and web resources.
Web Application Frameworks
PHP – CakePHP / CodeIgniter / Symphony
Python – Django / web2py / Zope
Ruby – Ruby on Rails
Web Solution Stacks
LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) / WISA (Windows, IIS, SQL, ASP.NET)
Email Collaboration Stacks
Zimbra / Horde / EGroupware / Microsoft 365
Web Frameworks (Virtual Appliances) :
Avaliable as Turnkey Virtual Appliances - Frameworks
Backups and DR :
An essential process for business continuity planning and disaster recovery plan.
Combinations of backup, data retrival / recovery and disaster recovery options for
mission critical applications and data.
Control measures to include on premise, offsite and cloud based soltuions.
Backup and Retrival
Duplicity / Rsnapshot / BackupPC
Data Protection and Disaster Recovery
Zmanda / Bacula /Bacula4hosts
Backups and DR (Zmanda Solutions) :
Backups and DR (Duplicity + GnuPG + Amazon S3 bucket demo) :
Ongoing progress to achieve growth and increase revenues on the competitive market.
Deriving of Case studies from hosting businesses footprint and niches.
Keynote of Revenues :
Value added services, Excellent support services, CRM, Customer refferals and
Sales, Marketing, A&P and Loyalty Campaigns, Reselling and Partnerships Packages.
Integration with new Technology and Products. (Virtual Appliances, Mobile Apps)
Outlook (Cloud computing) :
Full report here.
Outlook (Linux jobs) :
Full report here.
We have reached the End of the presentation.
The Systems Engineer, the magnifying glass for the business life cycles and advisory for
Systems Engineer = Designer + Implementer + Administrator