FreeMach™ - AlphaVPS - End of Year 1 Report

This is the end of year one report for FreeMach’s EU1 node with AlphaVPS in Sofia, Bulgaria.

FreeMach Overview

FreeMach™ is a free service providing free KVM VPSes to community members that was initially enabled and sponsored by VirMach with a dedicated server in Buffalo, NY. The project has since expanded to an EU node in Sofia, BG, thanks to the wonderful folks over at AlphaVPS.

Here are some example projects that are/have been running on FreeMach –

  • GeoDNS Load Balancing
  • EasyEngine Testing
  • Private File Sharing
  • MariaDB Galera Cluster
  • NodeJS App Development
  • Non-Profit University Organization’s Website
  • Rancher Testing
  • IPv6 HE.net Tunnel Testing
  • Hindi Community Website
  • Control Panel Development
  • Video Encoding Tool Testing and Development
  • Web IDE / Dev Environment for School Projects
  • Automated Build of Android Projects
  • VOIP Module Development
  • Mirror for Open Source Virtualization Platform Distributions
  • Personal Media Server
  • and a quite a bit more…

Quick AlphaVPS Review

@AlexBarakov messaged me at the beginning of last year (2019) inquiring if I wanted to take on a sponsored node in the EU to add to the FreeMach project. He offered up a solid dedicated machine with a block of IPs, helped me get everything set up, and left me on my merry way. The server also was the initial deployment and test of the ProxCP Proxmox-based control panel (also sponsored, review here).

The server has had ~10-15 unique tenants running various projects over the course of the last year. Performance has always been top notch. Here is the uptime status report for the node, thanks to HetrixTools. Since getting the server deployed, I’ve only opened a single support ticket, and that was to update a rDNS record. Network connectivity and speed have been great as well!

Kudos to the AlphaVPS team (Alex & Vesko) who run a tight ship. These guys know what they’re doing and are always very willing and able to help you out whenever you need it. I have other VPS services with AlphaVPS going back to 2017 and have zero complaints. Any and all issues are always addressed quickly and professionally, so I’d definitely recommend their services to others.


Server Usage

Some stats and graphs. Usage for the most part is pretty light. I’ve given the green light for increased usage (i.e. extended CPU load) and have given some additional resources (when asked) to FreeMach users for their projects, but the server takes everything that’s been thrown at it so far. One area of concern may be the single SSD which has to take the abuse from all the VMs simultaneously. As such, I don’t allow extensive disk usage on this node.

Network

CPU

Load

Memory


Conclusion

Special thanks to @AlexBarakov for sponsoring FreeMach’s first and only EU node! The first year has been a great experience and has provided resources for many great learning, community and academic-focused projects that needed a home. I hope to continue this service at this location as long as AlphaVPS is willing to host us, we’ve certainly appreciated their efforts and services, and the great performance of their server for the past year.

Thanks all,
-Mason

FreeMach is sponsored by VirMach (sponsored US location), AlphaVPS (sponsored EU location), and ProxCP (sponsored VM Control Panel).

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what did you learned with this project?

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Looks good. I’ve had a couple services with AlphaVPS for the past few years with no problems either, good to see them helping the community and providing same quality for dedicated stuff :slight_smile:

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Sorry, forgot to respond to this!

I initially started the project to get a glimpse and some perspective with what server providers deal with on a daily basis – both the technical and support aspects. I had only had experience managing my own servers and minimal experience in customer support in the past. FreeMach has taught me how to manage system resources and allocations to ensure smooth performance for all its tenants. Here’s some specific things this project has taught me:

  • Balancing a VPS node
  • Using DHCP for IP assignments
  • Monitoring for system abuse
  • Debugging instability issues (i.e. low disk speed, or poor CPU performance) and identifying potential solutions
  • Customer interaction skills (i.e. alerting of downtime, schedule maintenance, or VM deployments/renewals/suspensions, etc.)
  • Doing basic fraud detective work (using FraudRecord and other online tools helps here to ensure I don’t pick up any sketchy characters on my nodes)
  • Resolving support issues in a timely manner (thankfully, there haven’t been many support requests besides the occasional template request, etc.) (project has “best effort” support, though, but I tend to resolve anything that comes up in ~4-24 hours)

I really hope to keep the project going for a good long while and hopefully pick up more sponsors eventually. At this point, I need to look further in to automating things to lessen the manual burden on myself. ProxCP has a Blesta plugin that I may attempt to utilize for the project and get a cheap VPS with a Blesta license from BuyVM or NexusBytes – I haven’t yet figured out if this is doable with already-deployed/configured nodes and VMs or if the systems need to be fresh.

Regardless, the time spent working on this project has been rewarding and I’ve learned a lot of great skills that I wouldn’t have picked up normally. Plus it has given me more perspective on a fraction of what providers deal with on a daily basis, so that in itself has been beneficial.

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The first 4 technical items above are very interesting… do you think you will ever have time to write a small wiki on what you used to configure, enforce and detect? will be very valuable… Can even be published with a buy me a beer first :slight_smile: ?

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I made a few tools for NanoKVM, to generate DHCP, ndppd and radvd configs.
Can be published if wanted, makes life easier.

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that would be just great Neoon – i might have questions for you both soon.

I would like to thank everyone involved in these projects that give back to the community. You all know who you are.

I wish I could offer more around here than my mostly lame attempts at humour. Fact of the matter is, I’m not that smrt (but smrt enough not to use systemd).

Again, thanks too all of you that keep these communities moving forward on the right track.

Cheers,

Shallow

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Done, it basically has everything included for setting up

  • NAT
  • DHCP v4
  • IPv6
  • Port Forwardings
  • Port blocks (email)

The reason why I started to use generators, is to reduce any type of typo, to prevent that something does not work on a VM. Also it saves a shiton of time.

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