The Big Data Hosting Dilemma: Is Your Provider Solving it?

Big Data Hosting

You’ve probably heard of how data is like the oil of the digital economy. Last century, everyone wanted to invest in petroleum. Today it’s data that is one of the most valuable resource a business can invest in. Once you start drilling, you may find data in limitless volumes. Hence – “Big data”: the field that helps businesses identify and analyze the deluge of data at their fingertips. So that they can put it to effective use. So, what’s this about a big data hosting dilemma?

Big Data Needs Big Web Hosting

Unlike raw crude oil, data itself has no universal value. Therefore, if you have lots of data but no means of processing it and extracting value, it’s pretty much worthless. Big data is gaining wide popularity across many industries. Mainly because of its capabilities of capturing, storing, and processing data which lets businesses gain that competitive market edge.

However, as the name suggests, big data is all about complex functioning, massive data sets, and intricate multilevel processes. And so, businesses can only get as much out of big data as their hardware allows. To complement big data, you also need strong and dynamic servers that can support sophisticated computing, processing, and storage requirements.

That’s why web hosting companies are key in determining the success of a business’s move into big data. Here we’re exploring some of the best options for big data hosting providers. As well as explore how each can help you boost your big data operations.

AWS (Amazon Web Services)

Amazon Web Services AWS - Big Data Hosting Provider

AWS enjoys the prime position (pun intended) in the big data hosting market. Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) for starters is one of Amazon’s most successful products. Clients love EC2 particularly for its exclusive capabilities and flexibility to scale.

The model lets you enjoy the maximum availability of resources to support fluctuating requirements. All without having to fork out package expenses. Because thanks to a PAYG (Pay as you go) approach, EC2 enables seamless scalability. Plus, it covers the two main bases you need for big data: performance and cost-efficiency.

Here’s a rundown of the main features of Amazon EC2 for supporting big data processing.

Amazon Elastic MapReduce:

Purpose-built and architected for massive data processing operations. EC2 and Amazon Simple Storage Services fuel its hosted Hadoop framework.

Amazon Dynamo DB:

A NoSQL (not only SQL) database service that’s fully managed and promises high tolerance against faults. With seamless scalability and independent provisioning capabilities, DynamoDB significantly reduces any need for active human intervention. Uncomplicated administration makes the experience convenient and smooth.

Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3):

Though thin on features, the Amazon Simple Storage Service is especially for high scale performance and massive storage capacities. It supports seamless scalability by allowing you to insert data in buckets. You can also select specific regions for physically storing your data to address speed or availability issues.

Amazon High-Performance Computing (HPC):

This service supports sophisticated tasks with specific needs. High-end professionals like scientists and academics use HPC for its high performance and rapid delivery, along with other industries too. Mainly because of the rise of big data hosting providers. Undoubtedly, easy reconfiguration provisos and high workload capabilities are the main benefits of Amazon HPC.

Amazon Redshift:

The focus of Redshift is to provide extreme storage capabilities to deliver massive data warehousing. Of course, supported by the strong foundation of MPP architecture. With its high-security ecosystem and reliable performance, Redshift is a powerful substitute for in-house data warehousing. Its architecture aligns well with high-end business intelligence tools. Thus, saving businesses significant infrastructure costs and maintenance hassles – and allowing further boosts in performance.

Google Big Data Services

Google Big Data Services - Big Data Hosting - Plesk

Internet giant Google is another major cloud services player that seems to be especially designed for big data hosting. Firstly, as the leading search engine, Google boasts an in-depth and first-hand experience in big data processing. Secondly, it also possesses the most sophisticated infrastructure out there to support big data operations.

Here are a few of the major features you need to know about Google Big Data services:

Google Compute Engine:

Promising a powerful combo of security and scalability, Google Compute Engine is an advanced computing solution. With its energy-efficient model, it helps enterprises to quickly complete complex computing processes with greater accuracy. It also prevents load imbalance with its reliable workload management solutions.

Google Big Query:

As the name suggests, Google Big Query is a reliable solution for data querying requirements. It supports quick and error-free processing of SQL-like queries against massive data sets. Its specific functionalities make it ideal for presenting an impromptu report or seeking deeper analysis. One limitation to note is that you can’t alter your data once it gets into Big Query.

Google Prediction API:

A powerful machine-learning tool whose advanced features discover and memorize patterns from huge volumes of data. It’s a self-evolving tool, therefore, it gains new, deeper insights about a data pattern each time you use it. Google Prediction API also allows you to use the patterns for purpose-specific analysis. Hence, stuff like customer sentiments and the detection of cyber threats.

Microsoft Azure for Big Data Hosting

Microsoft Azure Big Data Hosting - Plesk

One more major contender in the big data hosting market is Microsoft. Microsoft’s advanced capabilities allowed it to develop sophisticated and sharp big data tech. It’s an especially good option for those who are familiar with its proprietary products like Windows, Net, and SQLServer.

Window AzureHDInsight:

While fully-compatible with Apache, adopting it can connect you with various business intelligence tools as well as Microsoft Excel. You can also deploy In Windows Server.

OpenStack for Big Data Hosting

OpenStack Big Data Hosting - Plesk

As a popular open-source platform for cloud computing, OpenStack is big in Big Data application and processes. It offers clients a choice between public and private clouds. But you do have to follow standard implementation as per the organization’s rules. OpenStack may also limit specific customization efficiency of more sophisticated requirements.

Although not as established as others in our big data hosting provider list, OpenStack has many advantages to offer:

  • A Democratic Approach: OpenStack has a more democratic approach to big data hosting. Once developed, this model could offer huge cost savings to clients.
  • Hardware-agnostic: OpenStack is a hardware-agnostic cloud platform capable of accommodating multiple tenants.
  • In Talks With Leaders: OpenStack is talking to leading computing businesses like IBM, Dell, and Cisco. It’s safe to say that it will spark a revolution in the big data industry.
  • Ubuntu Base: Using Ubuntu as its base, OpenStack is an open-source project that aims to enhance the benefits of big data by making it easier and more affordable to work with.
  • Backed by Rackspace: The project has backing from Rackspace and has Nasa as a partner. Rackspace has plans to launch an OpenStack Hadoop services based on the public cloud.
  • Validated by Hortonworks: The data software company Hortonworks validates OpenStack.

Choosing Your Big Data Hosting Provider

The value of data is growing. And as you would expect, the role of big data is growing along with it.

This innovative field has already helped large global companies achieve a competitive edge in the market. However, due to its heavy and complicated functionalities, a small business’ server is not able to support big data operations. Hence, to get the most out of big data, you need big data web hosting services.

Choosing the right web hosting provider is key in determining the efficiency of your big data operations. Use this guide to get an idea which ecosystem/server is right for your business. Then let us solve the big data dilemma once and for all.

Hidden Blockchain Opportunities (1): Hosters, Cloud Providers & Plesk

Hidden Blockchain Opportunities - Hosters, Cloud Providers and Plesk - Plesk

Cryptocurrencies lost a chunk of their value in the last nine months – and I lost most of my money! Blockchain and legal cryptocurrency issues – Ring any bells? You may have heard about the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto inventing the first cryptocurrency in the world – Bitcoin (more details in this Bitcoin whitepaper). And thus, hidden Blockchain opportunities for hosting and cloud providers.

Being active in global closed Blockchain user groups, like Crypto Explorers and Nextblock, I learned from higher profiles than myself. Now I’m a Chainstack advisor, which is like Plesk for Enterprise Blockchains – a spin-off of our partner, Acronis. And here’s my take on all the Blockchain hype.

Blockchain opportunities across different levels

Blockchain started by solving what any cryptocurrency solves: the “double spend problem”. So if you think about copy/pasting files today, they’re all identical files. With cryptocurrencies – that can’t happen. And there’s more to come.

Like storing in a secure, decentralized (not controlled by a company/person) system that nobody can change. Since they’re decentralized, they’re all open source!

Moreover, the organizations owning the intellectual properties are mostly consensus and direct democracy-based foundations. This is to make sure intellectual property survives any commercial failures a company may have. Here’s a 2-minute video that sums it up nicely:

But that wasn’t enough. Later came Ethereum, based on a more advanced concept allowing a “smart contract” on top of Blockchain. Basically, self-executing computer programs that are legal contracts. But with more dependencies and automatic execution of clauses than possible with a traditional contract. Here’s a 90-second Ethereum overview and how smart contracts work on top of a Blockchain:

This not only changes legal models across many industries, but economic ones too! The following 15 minutes dig into a range of opportunities for kids to experienced adults to experts:

And what about other cryptocurrencies like EOS, IOTA, Tezos, NEO, DASH and more? They’re just different blockchains (decentralized encrypted computing networks and protocols), similar to Bitcoin, but mostly to Ethereum.

What’s Plesk doing in the Blockchain space?

We have a network of 382,000 servers, hyper-decentralized across various data centers worldwide. So we’ve already developed prototypes. Soon you may be able to offer your Plesk server’s spare hard disk space on the decentralized storage network. And vice versa, backup your server or website into decentralized storage.

Soon, we’ll launch a new Plesk Extension: Cloudbric. Cloudbric is a spin-off of Penta Security Systems in Korea, and one of the leading cyber security companies in the Asia-Pacific region. Cloudbric offers an advanced WAF (Web Application Firewall) and is transforming into a Blockchain-based company. Soon available as a one-click experience within the Plesk ecosystem.

Plesk is also an alpha partner of STORJ, the decentralized cloud object storage that’s affordable, easy, private and secure. STORJ is Amazon S3 compatible and will be integrated as a Plesk Extension early 2019 as STORJ goes into production.

Besides focusing on simplifying the lives of web professionals, Plesk will add more useful tools and products on top of the platform. Helping cloud and hosting providers increase their success. Such tools might be extended with Blockchain use cases over time, so watch this space!

Current Blockchain drawbacks we can solve

First of all, you might have heard that operating any Blockchain network requires a lot of power and parts. Bitcoin and Ethereum need mining – computing puzzles that a decentralized network participant needs to solve to append the decentralized leger. The leger is where info is stored, unchangeable and encrypted via “blocks” that build a “chain”.

Bitcoin Mining requires hard-to-get ASIC chips and Ethereum needs scarce graphic cards. This process is inefficient and expensive to operate. However, it’s very secure, and is technically “Proof of Work.” Now, although Proof of Work is an operational requirement for many Blockchains, it isn’t the preferred way.

First of all, it’s expensive and only worth it if prices are high. And because of special hardware requirements, it’s not for everyone and not at scale. This is why other Blockchains and their cryptocurrencies invented “Proof of Stake” – something that Ethereum are still aiming to reach this year or next.

Blockchain benefits for hosters and cloud providers

Proof of Stake would result in being able to operate Blockchains on completely standard infrastructure and hardware – without any special requirements. Basically, making it available for everyone. And this is where hosting and cloud service providers come in.

You have 100s or 1,000s of servers on stock, and many of them idle or not fulfilling full potential. So take this opportunity to join a new world and spend computing power on a potentially more useful concept. Check the market leaders in the field – hyperscale cloud providers Amazon, Azure, Google and IBM – They’re already on it. What about you?

Stay tuned for part 2 of the Hidden Blockchain Opportunities series next Monday where we’ll dive into detailed use cases for hosting and cloud service provides!

Plesk Acquired by Oakley Capital

Plesk Acquired by Oakley Capital

Plesk receives pivotal investment from Oakley Capital and embraces the future of cloud, WordPress management, and DevOps

Today, I am excited to share with you that Plesk has completed the separation from Parallels Holdings Limited, having been acquired by Oakley Capital.

Fully focused and committed to the cloud and hosting industry

As an independent company backed by Oakley Capital’s experience and investment, Plesk will now expand beyond traditional web hosting into the hyperscale cloud. Evolving to become an all-in-one platform, we will offer web professionals push-button access to advanced tools like Docker, support for microservices, and simplified cloud management, and accelerate innovation to remain ahead of the market and our users’ needs.

As CEO, I’m personally extremely excited that, with Oakley’s investment, we are now in a position to further empower our existing channel of more than 2,500 strategic partners and accelerate deployments and go-to-market innovations. We will deliver simplified hyperscale cloud platforms for all businesses related to, and dependent on, hosting services!

Jan Löffler, our Chief Technology Officer, also shared with me his vision to supply the world’s 20 million cloud developers with a WordPress management tool that will enable scalability, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and security that can be deployed from anywhere to everywhere.

For us, this investment marks a step to advance with new acquisitions and engineer the Plesk platform for the future.

Strategic partnerships with the best and brightest

At the core of our growth strategy is to work alongside the best and most innovative in the industry. We’ve forged strategic partnerships with industry giants like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and Alibaba Cloud, and also innovation leaders like Docker, Symantec to provide Encryption Everywhere, and Kolab — the company behind Roundcube, the most popular open source webmail provider — to develop Plesk Premium Email that is focused on privacy.

Earlier this year, we signed a landmark partnership with Automattic, the people behind WordPress.com — the world’s most popular open-source, online publishing platform, currently powering more than 26% of the web — to co-develop the Plesk WordPress Toolkit. With more than 1 million WordPress installations already running on Plesk, our WordPress toolkit has been extremely well received by our users, and within the WordPress community.

In the words of Peter Dubens, Managing Partner at Oakley Capital: “We are delighted to be investing in Plesk, which is a widely used software platform with significant growth potential in a sector we know well. We are excited to be partnering with a strong management team and we believe that our combined experience will support the business as it moves into the next phase of its development”.


About Plesk

Plesk is the leading WebOps platform to run, automate and grow applications, websites and hosting businesses. Plesk is running more than 377,000 servers, automating over 11 million websites and 19 million mailboxes. Available in more than 32 languages across 140 countries, 50 percent of the top 100 service providers worldwide are partnering with Plesk. Plesk has simplified the life of SysAdmins and SMBs since the early 2000s and continues to add value across multiple cloud services.

About Oakley Capital

Oakley Capital comprises Oakley Capital Private Equity L.P. and its successor funds, Oakley Capital Private Equity II and Oakley Capital Private Equity III, which are unlisted mid-market private equity funds with the aim of providing investors with significant long term capital appreciation. The investment strategy of the funds is to focus on buy-out opportunities in industries with the potential for growth, consolidation and performance improvement.

Plesk media contact:

Lukas Hertig, CMO at Plesk
[email protected]
+4179 601 19 89

Oakley Capital media contact:

Oakley Capital
+44 20 7766 6900
Peter Dubens, Managing Partner

FTI Consulting LLP
+44 20 3727 1000

Edward Bridges / Stephanie Ellis

Liberum Capital Limited (Nominated Adviser & Broker)
+44 20 3100 2000

Steve Pearce / Henry Freeman / Jill Li

How to migrate your services to a server managed by Plesk Panel

How to migrate your services to a server managed by Plesk Panel - Plesk

First published on Nov 13, 2017 – Updated on Feb 4, 2019

Nowadays, a server operating system might host some of the following services:

  • Web service and associated applications used by websites
  • Mail service
  • Database services
  • DNS service

Often there’s also an installed control panel software that helps to facilitate the deployment and management of these services. So migration of the data and services from one server to another one is, in this case, the process of transfer of the control panel data and content (such as websites, mail, databases, DNS zones) to the new server.

Disadvantages of manual backup/restore

Disadvantages of manual backup / restore - server migration to Plesk

Generally, the migration procedure backs up some data on the old server. Then, transfers the backup file to the new server and restores it there. For such a complex environment, the transfer of data to another server isn’t the easiest option. You can, of course, move all the data piece by piece using the native backup/restore tools for each server component and file copy. However, it often takes an unreasonable amount of work-time and manual operations.

The other disadvantage is that it’s not possible to make a seamless transition if the services on the old server are active. Some data will be lost in transfer staying on the old server or some services will be down during the transfer.

Migration to a server with Plesk

Let’s now suppose you have Plesk Onyx on the new server. In this case, it will be easier to transfer all the data (web/mail/databases/DNS/Control Panel data). Because Plesk provides a special tool, the Plesk Migrator Extension, which automates the process.

This is the migration tool that Plesk provides for migration to the latest, recommended Plesk Onyx versions. You install it via Plesk Panel like any other Plesk Extension and it has a handy user interface too.

There can be different reasons for migrating services and/or data from one server to another. Let’s go through the typical server migration scenarios and see how Plesk makes the whole process simple.

Moving your services to the Cloud with Plesk and our hyperscaler partners

Migration from another control panel/hosting environment to Plesk

Migration to the new Plesk and Operating System versions

Moving your services to the Cloud with Plesk

Moving your services to the Cloud - Server migration to Plesk

It’s become popular to move onto cloud services and scale your business. You can easily install Plesk on the most-loved cloud platforms, like:

And once you install Plesk, you can migrate to the cloud instance with Plesk from anywhere, in a standard way.

There will practically be no difference as it doesnt depend on where Plesk is installed (cloud instance, virtual container/ machine or a physical server). You always migrate to Plesk using the Plesk Migrator Extension (this is the number one tool for Plesk migration).

Migration from another control panel/hosting environment to Plesk

Migration from another control panel/hosting environment to Plesk - server migration

If you have any control Panel you would like to leave for Plesk – check out our list of supported Panels. We might already have implemented the support of migration from it.

Your Panel not on the list yet? No problem. Plesk has a dedicated migration assistance team who can prepare the scripts for migration or do a full, paid migration service for you, if needed. Do not hesitate to contact us so we can help you implement the migration method from your server environment to Plesk.

You can even do this from your Panel (one that is not yet supported) on your own, using our custom migration framework.

Migration to the new Plesk and Operating System versions

Migration to the New Plesk and OS systems - Server Migration to Plesk

Another common reason to migrate to a server managed by Plesk is to update the old Plesk version and/or Operating System. Please check the Plesk EOL policy. We recommend that you migrate to the latest Plesk version (Plesk Onyx, since 2017) on a supported operating system.

You can check what upgrade/migration options are available for your OS/Plesk version in the Migration Process Guide.

More common migration scenarios

  • Joining and migrating services from several Plesk servers, one by one, to a new, bigger, more powerful server.
  • Migrate part of Plesk subscriptions to a new server.
  • Shift to the Plesk Multi-Server product.
  • Moving data to a server in another datacenter.
  • Switch to a server with upgraded hardware.
  • Transfer from a physical server to a VM/container.

In any case, the Plesk migration process is the same – you always migrate to Plesk using the Plesk Migrator Extension on the target Plesk server.

Common questions around migration to Plesk

Common questions around server migration to Plesk

Usually, when the migration planning has started, the following questions appear.

  1. Which tool should I use to migrate?
  2. What should I configure/check/install on both servers?
  3. Are there any ports that need to be opened on the servers?
  4. Will be there any services downtime during migration?
  5. How do you sync outdated data on the old server during migration?
  6. How much disc space do both servers need for migration?
  7. Is it possible to keep IP address of the old server instead of changing the domains’ DNS records?

You can find the answers and more details about the migration process in the Migration Process Guide document.

In most cases, Plesk migrator will warn you about the problems which need to be solved when it does automated pre-checks. Also, it will warn about problems when it does automated post-checks on migrated objects. Based on the warnings you can always do required corrections and repeat the migration of the problem customers/mailboxes/websites/databases any time.

Typical Plesk migration steps

Typical Plesk server migration steps

A short overview of the migration steps (more in detail in the Migration Process Guide)

For steps 1 and 2:

  • Install Plesk on the destination server.
  • Install all 3rd party components/software that your services use on the source server.
  • Make sure to install all products licenses.
  • If you plan to migrate databases, make sure that you install and register database servers on the Plesk Panel. Do this in the destination server of the same or higher version than the source server.
  • Install all available PHP versions via Plesk Panel installer on the destination server.
  • For Windows – Install the latest .NET framework version on the server.
  • Then, you can just install the Plesk Migrator Extension on Plesk Panel in the destination server.
  • Start the migration to Plesk from there.
  • Follow the hints of the automated pre-check/post-check procedures.

For step 3 and 4:

This will not interrupt your services on the source server. It will merely copy data from the source server and will validate them on the destination server. It will warn you if something is missing or if you need to configure something.

When you are satisfied with the migration result, you can sync data in step 6 from the source server to update it and switch domains’ DNS (or move IP addresses) to complete the migration in step 7.

Deploying Plesk Onyx on Microsoft Windows Azure

Cloud computing provides businesses the ability to quickly scale computing resources without the costly and laborious task of building data centres, and without the costs of running servers with idle capacity due to variable workloads. To simplify dynamic provisioning in the Cloud for infrastructure providers (including service providers who offer dedicated servers, VPS or IaaS), Plesk now provides ready-to-go images for deploying on Microsoft Windows Azure.

What is Windows Azure?

Quite simply, anything you want it to be.

This cloud platform from Microsoft provides a wide range of different services, to help you build, deploy, and manage solutions for almost any purpose you can imagine. In other words, Windows Azure is a world of unlimited possibilities. Whether you’re a large enterprise spanning several continents that needs to run server workloads, or a small business that wants a website with a global reach, Windows Azure provides a platform for building applications that can leverage the cloud to meet the needs of your business.

In addition to traditional cloud offerings, Azure offers services that leverage proprietary Microsoft technologies. For example, RemoteApp allows for the deployment of Windows programs using a virtual machine running Windows, OS X, Android, or iOS through a remote desktop connection. Azure also offers cloud-hosted versions of common Microsoft enterprise solutions, such as Active Directory and SQL Server.

Questions about Windows Azure?

There are two great places you can go online to ask questions about Windows Azure and get answers from the community:

  • The Windows Azure forums on MSDN.
  • Get involved with the Azure Community on Stack Overflow here.

The best way to keep up with new features and enhancements in Windows Azure is by following the official Windows Azure Blog. If you use a newsreader, you can subscribe to the RSS feed for this blog and get the news as it happens.

Microsoft Windows Azure Dashboard
Image: Microsoft

What is Plesk Onyx?

It’s what Web Professionals like Developers, Designers, Agencies, IT-Admins use to simplify their work lives.

Plesk is the leading WebOps platform to build, secure and automate applications, websites and hosting businesses. Available in more than 32 languages across 140 countries in the world, 50% of the top 100 worldwide service providers are Plesk partners. Our WebOps platform is designed to help infrastructure providers create targeted solutions for Web Professionals, Web Hosts, and Hosting Service Providers.

Key solution areas include:

  • Unlimited domains
  • WordPress Toolkit
  • Developer Pack
  • Subscription Management
  • Account Management
  • Reseller Management

The new Plesk Onyx for Windows and Linux (WebHost) also includes a tightly integrated set of mass-management and security tools that can be used to protect and automate WordPress. All Plesk-powered systems come with built-in server-to-site security, promising more reliable infrastructure and reduced support costs.

Plesk Onyx at Microsoft Windows Azure Virtual Machines Marketplace
Image: Microsoft

Here’s the good news: Plesk Onyx now runs on Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure to provide the scalability, security, and performance that customers depend on.

Better news yet, Plesk provides a variety of virtual machine images with the most popular configurations. So no actual installation is required. You’ll just need to create a virtual machine from the appropriate image. All available images for virtual machines can be found in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace.

 

Which virtual machine images are provided?

The new Plesk Onyx images are shipped in three editions and are available for both Windows and Linux.

The ‘Bring Your Own License’ (BYOL) instance of Plesk Onyx allows you to purchase your own license directly from the Plesk Online Store or from a Plesk reseller. For Plesk Onyx WebHost images, the cost of your license is included in the hourly charge for the instance. Plesk Onyx licenses are available for two platform types: for Dedicated Servers and for VPS.

License and OS version:
Plesk Onyx images at Microsoft Windows Azure

Now that you’re familiar with the Windows Azure platform and Plesk, you’re ready to take the next steps. And there’s no better way to experience the powerful capabilities of Windows Azure than trying out the platform for yourself.

 

Getting started with Plesk and Windows Azure

Microsoft is currently offering a free one-month trial of Windows Azure that provides you with $200 of Windows Azure credits you can use for whatever you want. You get full access to the platform with no strings attached. Just sign in with your Microsoft account and fill out the form.

Tutorials

These tutorials by Cynthia Nottingham, Technical Writer at Microsoft, shows you how easy it is to create a Windows virtual machine (VM) from a Plesk-published image by using the Azure portal.

 

Quick Start Guide: Create a virtual machine

Log into the Azure Portal and on your Dashboard, select New> Compute. Search for the Plesk virtual machine images and select the appropriate Plesk configuration.

Microsoft Windows Azure - Plesk Onyx images
Image: Microsoft

When configuring a virtual machine, you will be asked to specify the following settings:

1. Basic settings: virtual machine name, disk type (SSD or HD), username and password, your Azure subscription and resource group.

Note: The root username cannot be used during the VM creation. You may grant the root user access to the VM later from the console.

For Linux VM, you can choose the following authentication types:

  • SSH public key. In this case, you should specify your SSH public key. You can find information about creating public and private SSH keys here.
  • Password. In this case, you should specify and confirm the password that will be used for connection to the virtual machine.

2. VM size. You can choose one of available standard sizes provided by Azure.

3. Storage and network settings, including virtual network, subnet, public IP address, network security group (firewall). It is OK to leave the default values for most options.

Note: By default, your machine will have a dynamic IP address, so that the IP address will be changed each time when the virtual machine is restarted. If you want to avoid this, click Public IP address and then select the Static option. The virtual machine will be created with a static IP address.

4. Deployment. When you’ve dialed in all the settings, you’ll be presented with a summary. Confirm these settings for your new VM and click OK. Finally, your offer details will be generated and you can now purchase your virtual machine by clicking the Purchase button. The deployment process will start, and you will see its progress on your Dashboard.

5. You’ve created a VM. Your new VM will deploy in a couple of minutes. Once your virtual machine is deployed, it will be automatically started and the setting page will be displayed. You also can view and manage your virtual machine settings by going to Virtual Machines and selecting your virtual machine name.

Of course, you will be able to see the Public IP address of the machine.

Microsoft Azure - virtual machine configuration
Image: Microsoft

Access Plesk Onyx on your virtual machine

Connect to the virtual machine.

  • If you’ve created a Windows Virtual Machine, you can connect to it via Remote Desktop. Go to the Azure Portal Dashboard >Virtual Machines, choose your VM, and click Connect. This will create and download a Remote Desktop Protocol file (.rdp file) that acts like a shortcut to connect to your machine. Open this file and connect to your virtual machine using your login and password.

  • If you have a Linux VM, you can SSH into its public IP address that is displayed in the virtual machine’s settings. Depending on your selected authentication type, you may either use a login and password, or your SSH public key.

  • From a Mac or Linux workstation, you can SSH directly from the Terminal. For example:

     ssh -i ~/.ssh/azure_id_rsa [email protected]
  • If you are on a Windows workstation, then you will need to use PuTTY, MobaXTerm or Cygwin to SSH to Linux. For details, see How to Use SSH keys with Windows on Azure.

 

Get a one-time login for logging in to Plesk

  • On the virtual machine, run

     $ sudo plesk login

    to get a one-time login for logging in to Plesk. You will receive two links: based on the virtual machine name and based on the IP address. Use the link based on the IP address to log in to Plesk.

login via ssh to Plesk Onyx

Note: You cannot use the link based on the virtual machine name the first time you log in because Plesk has not passed the initial configuration and the full hostname has not been created yet. You should use the link corresponding to your public IP address.

 

Running the Installation/Configuration wizard

1. When you log into Plesk, you will see the View Selector page. On this page, you can choose the appearance of the panel as per your requirements.

Plesk Onyx configuration wizard
Image: Plesk Onyx

Once your purpose has been identified, a second drop-down menu will emerge asking you select your preferred layout. This can be changed later.

2. Then comes the Settings page. Here you need to fill in your hostname, IP configuration, and admin password.

  • New hostname: Fill in your primary domain (i.e. testdomain.com).
  • Default IP Address: Leave the IP as default.
  • New password: Change the default administrator password.

Plesk Onyx Settings
Image: Plesk Onyx

3. Next is the Administrator information page. Just fill in the information asked and proceed to the next page.

4. Then comes the License key install page. Your Microsoft Azure instance is billed on an hourly basis, starting when it boots up and ending with the instance termination.

  • If you have a Bring Your Own License (BYOL) Plesk Onyx image, your hourly charge for the Microsoft Azure instance will be lower but you need to purchase and install the Plesk product license yourself. You can order, retrieve and install a 14-day full-featured trial license from this page. Since you have already purchased a license key, proceeding with installing the license key.
  • If you have a non-BYOL Plesk Onyx image, for example, Plesk Onyx on Windows 2012 R2 (WebHost), the cost of the license will be included in the hourly charge for the instance.

5. On the Create your Webspace page you can specify the domain name of your first subscription, and system user account username and password that you will use to manage it. This will create a subscription for hosting multiple sites.

6. Woohoo! Plesk is now configured!

Plesk Onyx - Administration dashboard
Image: Plesk Onyx

Thanks to the Microsoft Windows Azure team for co-authoring the introduction to this article and for providing feedback and technical insights on Windows Azure.

Be well, do good, and stay Plesky!