Contrado Cloud Project Data Centre
I enjoy a side project or two to keep life entertaining. We’ve built a few over the years from Tendo Jobs a search engine to find companies who need your skills, GeezerCloud which is an IoT platform designed initially to collect temperature data for catering establishments to allow them to bin off the manual paper based temperature checks that happen throughout the day on every fridge and freezer, YumInfo which is a search engine containing over 20,000 handy Linux packages and how to use them, an in-progress side project cP Login Logger which will be a plugin for WHM / cPanel to easily view the login history logs (believe it or not, this is painful to do… hence why we’re building this). But one project we’ve not really spoken about much to date is one that has been going on from around 2020 properly, if not slightly before, and one that sparked as an idea many years before then – and that project is Contrado Cloud.
For those of you first reading this, this write up is a work-in-progress and will be periodically updated as/when I get time. This is a long term project so if you want to keep track and follow progress, please do subscribe to our newsletter (footer of website) to keep up to date. We always like comments too, so these have been turned on so you can get actively involved and share your own experiences and challenges.
Background to Contrado Cloud
Over the years I’ve used a lot of different types of web hosting in various forms from hosting basic WordPress websites, through to larger ecommerce websites and various cloud platforms for both my own projects and that of the countless businesses small and large I’ve had the privilege of working with over the years. What has always astounded me within the web hosting marketspace is how different everything is, despite what you read in the marketing material and/or get sold by the sales person. Things get so unbelievably technical the deeper you go down this rabbit hole.
I remember thinking to myself when I got deep into Amazon Web Services (AWS) and realising that so much of the services they offer via their platform is open source technology under the hood, simply re-branded.
So I thought to my self many years ago….. “If AWS is using mainly open source technology on their platform….. How hard can it be to build my own version of AWS…..?”
And that’s when it all started.
And to summarise the journey so far….
Now time to get into the details…..
My Background Knowledge
Contrado Cloud Goal
The goal of Contrado Cloud is to create a platform that gives me, and others, the ability to easily play around with new technologies without relying on own computer/laptop and without having to spend £x,000s on cloud platforms and their services to play around. The ‘free tier’ is never quite as free as one would like when it comes down to it. Technical folk need to play around with things in a safe and secure way which unfortunately most enterprise organisations just don’t give their staff that capability to do. There is a real gap in accessibility to learning and experimenting with these kinds of technologies, so I wanted a platform that I could easily play with and learn.
Internet Support Forums
For learning and acquiring knowledge, but most importantly the emotional and mental support that you need when going down a new path 😂😂😂
Honestly, without the great communities out there full of (mainly) awesome people, giving their time for free to help the world – every one of you makes the world a better place by sharing your knowledge and expertise. Something I aim to do in my own way through the blog posts and content I write on here plus the various projects we build.
Just wanted to give a huge shout out to these communities and people at the start of this write up before getting into the details as all of this to date has been made possible through the various conversations that I have had over recent years.
Home Networking with Consumer Equipment
HelloWorld from IDE
So I need a Server I Guess
What I know now, what to look out for, physical dimensions of things, terminology is extremely nuanced, manufacturers guidelines are garbage and full of mis-truths (marketing lies…?) etc.
Ubuntu, Linux – HelloWorld
OpenStack, CloudStack… oh hell no, too far. Take a step back.
Server Type 1 Hypervisor
ESXi, XenServer, XCP-ng Server
Xen, XenServer, XenCentre, XenProject, XAPI, etc.
Type 1 Hypervisor Virtual Networks
Challenges of plugging things in right and finding what things are etc.
Server Management Software
XenCentre, XCP-ng Centre, XenOrchestra (XO), XenOrchestra Appliance (XOA)
Securely Segmenting a Network Using VLANs
Consumer VS Business grade hardware info etc.
Business Grade Hardware and Physical Networking
Modem + Firewall + Managed Switch + Physical Cabling (home Power Socket range extenders don’t really work that well it turns out…)
Business Grade Firewall – pfSense
Firewall Rules + all other info re. pfSense
Opposite of Security Groups
Inside VS Outside network access, understanding routing is important.
Business Grade Managed Switch and Access Points – Ubiquiti UniFi
Port profiles, VLANs
Time to Virtualise Baby
Time to spin up VMs
Another server / computer / VLAN etc. for ISOs
Current server for Local storage on RAID Array
More and more disks!!
Redundancy via RAID
Info, challenges re. hardware and RAID X support etc.
Backups with Multiple RAID Arrays
Raid is not a backup etc.
Ports, Proxies, Hostnames and Public IP Addresses
HA Proxy, pfSense, SSL Offloading (Let’s Encrypt on VM instead etc.)
Minimal Firewall management (example of one enterprise company where everything needed a firewall change and the enormous issues this caused for everything)
Multiple Public IP Addresses
Easier said than done in the UK (perhaps I’ll start an ISP at some point too…)
Contrado Cloud MK 1
SSL on VMs – Let’s Encrypt
Contrado Cloud MK 2 – Open Stack