Welcome to the MSP Forum

Discussion in 'Plesk Automation Suggestions and Feedback' started by Andrew Andriatis, Oct 19, 2011.

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  1. Andrew Andriatis

    Andrew Andriatis Odin Team

    Dear Partner,

    We are starting this forum to invite you into an open discussion about a new Parallels Panel product that we are codenaming MSP for Multi Server Panel. This product has no official name yet.

    We want to introduce the product to you in its early development stages, so you can provide feedback, input, and suggestions while we have the flexibility to address your input before shipping our final offering. We hope your feedback will help us to develop a panel that meets your expectations.

    What is the MSP project about?
    Historically Parallels has delivered two core hosting panels – Plesk as a single server panel and Parallels Operations Automation (POA) as an enterprise scale hosting solution. The only choices in between “entry level†and “enterprise scale†have been acquired panels such as H-Sphere and Helm, which have largely received support to maintain them, but not sufficient development to modernize and extend them. Currently Parallels is preparing two solutions that allows us to close this gap for small to mid-size hosting configurations where managing multiple servers from a single management node is important.

    The first Solution will be Plesk 11. It will be a Plesk instance that runs some or all of the Plesk services locally, plus allows you to attach so-called ‘Service Nodes’. These Service Nodes will be able to run one or more of the Plesk services (Web/DNS/Mail/Database) – allowing one to set up servers with dedicated workloads and benefit from aspects such as centralized mail or centralized DNS services. The product will support an integrated Web Presence Builder (site design tool) and can be used with an integrated or external billing system. This product is probably ideal for those that will have ~10 or less Service Nodes. Like Plesk, it is intended to be sold on a per-server licensing basis.

    Separately, we’re working on a new product targeting the mid-market (~10-to ~100 Service Nodes) that will feature similar architecture to that discussed above, but be much more scalable and include infrastructure management functionality to keep up with the greater number of Service Nodes. The code name for this product is MSP. Tentatively, we plan to price this on a per-account basis, which should be good for growing hosters, since it creates a “pay-as-you-grow†pricing model.

    MSP is not entirely brand new code, but rather seamless integration of several Parallels products into an end-to-end solution. It runs on POA as a platform providing centralized infrastructure management – physical and virtual nodes registration, installing and updating software on them, managing IP addresses and IP pools, etc. POA is also responsible for provisioning tasks queues, their asynchronous execution and failed tasks diagnostics. MSP also will use Parallels Automation virtualization technologies, which run on the POA platform.

    The Customer Panel in this solution is provided by the Plesk Panel. Unlike Plesk – a product that you might be used to - the Control Panel in MSP operates multiple service nodes, which may be Apache or IIS web servers, a mail server, etc.

    Billing for MSP is provided by Parallels Customer and Business Manager (CBM) normally included into Parallels Panel Suite. A Reseller Tier is added, and thehoster or resellers can manage service plans, customer accounts and subscriptions through this component.

    Why was this combination of components chosen?
    First of all, these two solutions (Plesk 11 and MSP) provide smooth hosting business growth from a single server driven by Plesk panel into several servers, and then into multiple servers under the control of MSP. With these upgrades, the customer experience stays untouched. Customers are always exposed to Plesk interface as the hosting panel.

    Second, POA as platform delivers a variety of services that a provider can offer to the customers. The first release of MSP will deliver traditional web and mail hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated hosting. Going forward, we are planning to offer other services available through the PA platform, such as SaaS, Hosted Exchange, etc. So, MSP 1.0 is the start – but it establishes a very interesting growth path for ambitious hosters on the PA services platform.

    What is in the first preview?
    The first preview of MSP demonstrates integration of POA, Plesk and CBM with just one service available – Apache web hosting.

    You can experience:
    - installing the management node and attaching service nodes to the system;
    - service plans creation;
    - registering customer accounts and subscribing customers to the plans

    You’ll see how provisioning goes from billing (CBM), through POA, and into Plesk. When logged into the system as a customer, you’ll be still exposed to the Plesk panel only.

    Further plans
    By the second preview (tentatively mid December) we will add IIS hosting and mail hosting. The Management console for MSP 1.0 will run under Linux, but Windows hosting will be supported at the node level.

    Then, around the time of the Parallels Summit in February 2012, VPS hosting based on PA technologies will be added to the list of services. Finally, we’ll provide reseller functionality and provider/reseller branding capabilities. This will constitute the MSP 1.0 release.

    We invite you to participate in the Preview of MSP now, and previews of Plesk 11 that will begin in February.

    We appreciate your time spent on examining the product previews and providing your opinion about the products while they are still in development, and we have maximum flexibility to address your input, suggestions, and concerns. Thanks very much.
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