Aug 2012

Liquid Web's Smart Servers

by Steve Wortham
I've been using a Liquid Web dedicated server for the past couple years to host BucketSoft, Regex Hero, and SilverlightXAP. It's been dependable and I've been happy with their service.

But in March 2011 they rolled out a new service called Smart Servers that's pretty clever. Basically, they provide dedicated and virtual dedicated servers with added provisions for imaging and easy upgrades. So with a click of a button you could for example upgrade a low-end single-CPU virtual dedicated server to a monstrous dedicated server with 96 GB RAM, 4 CPUs / 32 cores, and 8 hard drives in RAID 10.

They of course have a lot of other options in between. But it's neat how they're able to automate all of this. They don't go into a great deal of detail on the site, but I'm assuming that there's a virtualization layer even on the dedicated servers which makes these migrations/upgrades possible. So when you click the button to upgrade, an image is created of your server and copied over to another server in the datacenter. I know Windows Azure has similar capabilities but I like how Liquid Web was able to retain the simplicity and flexibility of a dedicated server while accomplishing all of this.

Yesterday I migrated ContractEdge over to one of Liquid Web's Virtual Dedicated smart servers because I liked this model so much. It was quick and painless to setup. I'm thinking that before long I'll do the same with my own sites.

UPDATE (September 5, 2012)

On Monday I migrated all of my sites, including,, and over to a new virtual dedicated smart server with Liquid Web.

The basic specs are as follows:
And then I'm using MozyPro for off-site backups as I always have.

This was sort of a downgrade and an upgrade at the same time.  It was a downgrade because I went from a dedicated server to a virtual dedicated server and this could hurt the I/O potential of the server.  But at the same time, I also upgraded from 2GB RAM to 4GB RAM.  Having the extra RAM is really nice and it means that I don't even need to hesitate about employing more server caching strategies on my websites.  In any case, it handles the current load with ease.

The new server is cheaper than the old one too at $210/mo vs $269/mo.  All in all, a pretty good deal.  And it's good to know I have an easy upgrade path from here.