A server can be a constraining environment. As we’ve discussed many times on this blog, a server is a finite machine. It’s possible to scale a server vertically by adding more resources and it’s possible to move applications and services from one server to another, but neither is ideal and both are limiting. Horizontal scaling is by far the most efficient solution: by clustering lower powered servers together, we create flexible platforms to which resources can be easily added or swapped out — we’re not limited by a single server environment.
InterWorx was built with horizontal scaling in mind: it’s the only popular server management application that is capable is true high-availability load balanced clustering, and it does it at a fraction of the cost of enterprise load balancing solutions.
But there is another horizontal scaling trick that InterWorx has up its sleeve, and which, once again, neither cPanel or Directadmin have been able to offer: remote MySQL servers.
It’s entirely possible to run InterWorx, a web server, a MySQL service, and a file server on the same machine. It’s a configuration that’s used by lots of web hosts. But in many scenarios it’s not the most efficient way of doing things for the reasons I’ve just stated. Databases can easily grow beyond the confines of a single server, and often it’s better to run a database or databases on their own servers.
Ideally, hosting providers would be able to split their MySQL databases across as many external servers as they need, and assign each server to hosting accounts as required.
InterWorx makes this quite easy. It’s simply a matter of setting up the MySQL server, letting InterWorx know about it and its credentials, and you’re good to go. SiteWorx accounts can then be directed to use the external server upon creation, rather than the local server that InterWorx is running on. This facility allows for much more flexible and scalable database configurations.
And while we’re on the subject of scalability, InterWorx offers yet another useful feature that’s missing in legacy server management applications like cPanel: the ability to use external file servers. In much the same way that the ability to use external MySQL databases helps hosts grow their networks organically, external file servers allow for storage allocation and management to be significantly more flexible.
Remote MySQL Servers and external file servers are just two of the many ways that InterWorx allows system administrators to shape their networks according to their needs, rather than forcing them to comply with a predefined notion of what a web hosting environment should look like.
This article is one of a series in which we compare InterWorx to other server management applications. You can see more details on our comprehensive feature comparison matrix.
Image: Flickr/Bob Mical