What is "The Grid"?

Geoff Pennington, Layered TechThe Grid is a collection of commodity servers that provide a fully functional virtual computing environment.  In this environment, you can use resources which are collected in a pool by AppLogic, to deploy various applications, each containing an unlimited number of appliances.   

How can it help me? 

The Grid offers full control over your entire environment from anywhere in the world on any PC, and can be done from a SINGLE PC.  There’s no need for multiple admins to control your infrastructure.   The Grid also offers on-demand scalability for both you and/or your end user.  You can, on the fly, scale an appliance or application to utilize more resources for your client or you can add another node to your Grid for more overall resources.   

Another feature is the super high redundancy.  With the automatic failover you have no fear of your application experiencing prolonged downtime due to hardware failure.  Any time a server fails the simultaneous appliance that is running elsewhere on the grid is started up to take its place.    

Lastly, let’s not forget about the snapshot feature.  With this, you can simply build a single application, snapshot it, and deploy it for each and every client if you want to, so you only build a setup once and it’s instantly ready for deploy 100 times over.   

Is it right for me? (Yes or No answers) 

  • Are you familiar with Virtualization and creating virtual environments? 
  • Are your 100% Linux based? 
  • Are you 100% comfortable in a dedicated Linux box? 
  • Is your largest file you want to host on the grid smaller than 1TB? 
  • Have you done any of the demos from 3Tera, or attended Grid U?   
  • Do you have a solution budget of $1500+/mo? 

If you answered “No” to any of the questions above, The Grid is probably not a viable solution for you at this time.  Some of the questions do revolve around your knowledge of how to use the product, which can be compensated with help from other consulting companies, but I write this to see if you can handle the grid in a 100% self managed environment, which is what we provide.  

*Note: VOIP is not a solution that can run comfortably on The Grid* 

Terminology You Need to Know 

  • Virtual Private Datacenter (VPDC) is an array of standard servers and storage devices that have been turned into a scalable computing resource you can use to meet the demands of your application. 
  • Appliance = Web server, or Database server, or Monitoring device, or Load balancer, or Firewall.   
  • Application = A cluster of 2 web servers, 1 database, 1 monitoring device, and a firewall all running interconnected with each other.    

I know the grid is right for me, but which one do I pick???  

Below I am going to list each of Layered Technologies’ packages, then offer some categories you might fit into.  The thing to keep in mind:  If you fit 4 examples of the Gold package and 1 example of Platinum package, you NEED the Platinum package.  There is really no way around it.  The examples are based off of the hardware of each grid.  You can’t make Gold pretend to be Platinum.  It just doesn’t work that way.   

Bronze (Starting at $996 monthly fee) >>

  • You are a start-up company who has a few clients who need hosting space. (500 or less)
  • You are starting a SAAS company and you have LITTLE or no need for live production as of yet.
  • You want to develop your Web 2.0 website and test it with friends, but have no intention of running it live on the net for the world.
  • You need to run a small internal network for your small business which is going to store company databases, maybe run the company website, etc. 

Silver (Starting at $1696 monthly fee) >>

  • You have a SAAS company that needs little to moderate coverage out to the world.  Live production in ½ scale.
  • Your hosting company needs to host 1000 or less clients on small setups and no high resource demands.
  • You are ready to start live production of your Web 2.0 site, and at this time you can’t afford anything higher, but have every intention of upgrading.
  • Your business has grown outside the resources provided in a bronze grid, and simply adding more nodes is no longer price effective. 

Gold (Starting at $2496 monthly fee) >>

  • You want to go full steam on a Web 2.0 site, and your files do not exceed the limitations of a single Gold node (4GB RAM, and 750GB HD space)
  • You want to host a vast number of clients of all sizes on a single interface (2000-5000)
  • You want to provide your SAAS products to a large portion of the internet world;  Provided you fit within the resource bound of the Gold, you can simply live off an expanded Gold Grid for a SAAS offering.   

Platinum (Starting at $3996 monthly fee) >>

  • You have a massive infrastructure that needs to be controlled from a single point of administration.
  • You have a file larger than 750GB that must be hosted on your Grid.
  • You need more than 4GB RAM to deliver to a single appliance (i.e. web server or database) 

Note:  If you’re just wanting to “test the waters”, you might want to consider our Developer Core ($499) or Developer Lite ($349) packages as a place to get acquainted with The Grid.

If you’re still not sure, just let me know, and we can discuss best solution that fits your specific needs. 

Upgrading a VPDC Finally, the last topic to cover is… Once you’re in a VPDC, how do you grow?  Well here are the two options: 

Adding Nodes:  If you’re comfortable in your current VPDC and your appliances don’t need any more resources than a node has to offer, then you can simply add another node to your current VPDC.  You would do this simply by emailing sales@layeredtech.com and requesting the addition.  Your node price will be ¼ the monthly cost of your base 4 node purchase.  Just send the email and accept the fee, and we will take care of the rest.  

Upgrading to another VPDC:  If your appliances need more resources than a node can offer -or its’ more price effective to move to the next grid level, as opposed to just adding more nodes then the process is a bit more complex, but not too bad:  First you would place the order for the new package.  (I would recommend at least 1 week prior to your renew date to ensure minimal overlap, but time to get it up and migrated over.) Once the new grid is up, you would just use AppLogic to migrate the data and applications over to the new Grid, then you can submit the cancellation request at least 2 days prior to your renew date.   

I hope this answers all your questions, but if not, feel free to post here or contact any of us directly. 

Take care everyone. ~ Geoff Pennington, LT Sales

1 Response to “What is "The Grid"?”


  • I believe that either they used the term “snapshot” wrong or you got it wrong.
    “Snapshot” is usually referred as “record a state of something” so that you’ll be able to roll back to that state easily or even switch between several system or application states from the past, solving multiple issues that arise on unsuccessful upgrades and application updates.
    File system snapshots are available with different OS’s and file systems for now. AFAIK Linux has that on ext3, FreeBSD has it on UFS (takes tooo loong) and ZFS (almost instant), Solaris has it on ZFS.
    For “deployment to 100 customers” it’s better to use term “cloning”, which is what lazy admins have invented years ago ;) .
    The idea of Grid is good, but “if your budget is over $1500″ makes it wrong choice.
    “Are you 100% comfortable in a dedicated Linux box? ” and “no need for having admins” are controversial. It should not be a big difference in running 2 or 10 servers for a good admin.
    What I personally expected from the Grid is real scalability. Let’s say from $50/month or less to $5000 or more – so that a small project can easily afford a small part of that grid and have that part growing up with the project.

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