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DNS Failover questions


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#1 Leah2

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 08:22 PM

In light of the DDoS attack on Fresco today & then the server crash I'm sure I'm not the only one looking to mitigate personal & client losses due to website & email being down. DDoS looks like it has been striking everywhere lately & someone pointed out that Fresco has been hit 3 times recently. So I'd rather take my lumps today & implement a new disaster plan for the next time.

Someone mentioned that they used DNS failover through dnsmadeeasy. I quickly looked over the website & had a few questions. I am not familiar with this concept so any & all info / recommendations would be helpful.

1. Does dnsmadeeasy do the site mirroring? Or would I need to setup a webhosting account to support the mirror?

2. If I do need to set up a new webhosting account... can I set up the mirror on another MDD server? I would prefer to stay with MDD if possible.

3. How is email handled? I saw that the DNS failover is an add on to the Managed DNS package, is email included?

4. If email is included - can I / my clients send receive email normally or do we have to change our email client (outlook)?

5. Does anyone have another service recommendation other than this one.



Thanks for any answers /info you can give me.
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#2 Scott

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 09:28 PM

1. Does dnsmadeeasy do the site mirroring? Or would I need to setup a webhosting account to support the mirror?


I'm not familiar with their service, but I am fairly sure you would need a 2nd hosting account from someone. You would need to check with them to see if they offer that as a service.

2. If I do need to set up a new webhosting account... can I set up the mirror on another MDD server? I would prefer to stay with MDD if possible.


You can mirror it with us on another server, however our DNS clustering setup will make that difficult. You also wouldn't be protected in the event of a network/internet wide outage or other problem.

3. How is email handled? I saw that the DNS failover is an add on to the Managed DNS package, is email included?


You can check with them to see if they offer email service. I bet that they just have you setup the proper MX records for whatever how you want to have your email with. You could look into hosting your email w/ the Google Apps service, which is generally pretty bullet proof. You could also leave your email hosted with us, but it would be interrupted when your other services are interrupted.

4. If email is included - can I / my clients send receive email normally or do we have to change our email client (outlook)?


This depends on how your email is configured. I wouldn't suggest going with a route that requires changing your client configurations.

5. Does anyone have another service recommendation other than this one.


CloudFlare offers an interesting service that can provide some assistance when part of your site is down. They have a variety of other features, and last I checked it was free. It's probably an easier way to start with what your looking for.
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#3 Leah2

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 11:30 PM

Thank you for your quick response Scott... with everything you have going on... :D

#2. Makes sense. I was not sure if your clustering was IP isolated or not.

#3. I will definitely look into the Google App's - Michael recommended it earlier ~ I thought it was basically using gmail for business mail ~ it looks like it could be a decent solution.

#4. Any solution that does not require teaching en mass how to reconfigure their email client is a good one!

#5. I've been looking over CloudFlare ever since someone mentioned it earlier.

Thanks for the help!
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#4 Kevin

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 01:02 PM

I'm not sure if you are checking back at this since it has been a few days since you posted but I will throw in a couple thoughts as I am a current DNS Made Easy customer that is using the failover service.

My current setup is fairly complex I think, but it has been well worth it. I have been on a great web host and failover only kicked in two times in two years...I had very little down time. DNS Made Easy only monitors the servers and switches the traffic, you have to do all the mirroring setup and such...below is some of my experiences

Anyway, my setup was in the VPS environment so I am not sure it would necessarily work in the shared environment because of the things I had to set up. I had my website completely mirrored, meaning I was running MySQL replication and also used RSYNC to transfer files over to my mirror server. I set the RSYNC interval at 20 minutes, so every 20 minutes, new files would transfer and it would delete any files I changed on the main server. MySQL replication was instant.

On a shared server, I would probably just put a static page on another server somewhere that says the main server is down and then maybe provide some contact info. Then I could also provide updates on that page.

A couple things to consider, any changes made on the mirror server will not get made on the main server. So, if you do anything on the mirror, you would have to transfer files back to the main server manually. In the DNS Made Easy system, you can specify whether you want to have the DNS automatically switch back after the main server comes back up or if you want to manually switch it back.

In my setup, I had it switch back automatically. However in my admin section on the site, I had a setting that would check the current IP of the server. If the IP was the mirror, I locked out the admin area and would not allow changes to the database. The reason I did that was because setting up MySQL replication is fairly painful so I tried to avoid making any changes because otherwise I would have to set it up all over again.

For your question about email, I believe it can be done but I have a concern with that. If your main server goes down and it switches over to the mirror, and your email starts going there, when the main one comes back up, the emails won't be on that one. If your clients are pulling messages off the server with POP, then it probably is less of an issue and that might work great. But, if they rely on having the emails stored online, that would be a problem.

Another thing I would recommend for the mirror is being on a different host (not setting up a second account with MDD). This will help insulate you from network issues or other issues at the data center. I was lucky enough to be with a host that had servers in both Washington DC and Los Angeles. It was great because they had the same server setups at each location and I could manage everything (billing, support, etc.) with one host. It was also nice because their networks were inter-connected cross country which made it super fast so when running RSYNC, things transferred really fast...the data transfer was not counted as used bandwidth either because it was considered within their network

Anyway, so overall while I highly recommend DNS Made Easy and failover in general, it is not something I would jump into unless you have the right client. It will double your cost (since you need two server) and system setup and monitor can take a lot of time. So, if you have that special client that really needs it, then I would do it but it will be costly (especially if you have a complex setup with MySQL replication and such). If it is an ecommerce site, then that is going to require even more...SSL certificates at both locations, not to mention billing concerns and a whole boat load of other things I really can't totally grasp. However, if you want to do a setup that is just a static page with updates of what is happening, this would be fairly painless.

I hope this helps you understand a little more. If you have more questions, feel free to ask and hopefully I can help
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#5 Leah2

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 01:46 PM

Kevin - Thanks so much for your information! I will look into DNS Made Easy's failover service to see if it is possible to use it in a shared hosting environment. I'm sure the additional cost will be worth it to not have to experience the outages ever again.
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#6 jackshobs

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 03:53 AM

DNS Made Easy’s monitoring nodes constantly check (every 2 to 4 minutes) to make sure your primary system is responding. If your data gets out of sync, then browsers might get one version of a web page on the first hit and another when they hit reload.
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