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IP.Nexus 1.4 Dev Update: Hosting

Following on from our first blog entry on IP.Nexus 1.4, one of the areas we wanted to focus on in this version is hosting integration.
IP.Nexus integrates with CPanel and WHM to allow you to sell and manage hosting services to your customers.


Anyone who sells hosting services knows that it is important to always have a eye on your servers and you need to know as soon as one of them goes down. With version 1.4, IP.Nexus has you covered. We're including monitoring features to keep watch on all of your servers.

Here's how it works: every 5 minutes, IP.Nexus will call gateway script which will in turn call a monitoring script which you'll upload to each of your servers, the response from this tells Nexus that the server is online and healthy. If Nexus does not receive a response from the monitoring script, it does one of three things:
1) It can check with a backup gateway script (which you'll locate on a separate server) to ensure the issue isn't with Nexus' communications. If that script can get a response, the server is online and everything is okay.
2) It will give the server a grace period. You can configure how many times Nexus should allow a server to not respond before sending out notifications - this allows the server, for example, 10 minutes to recover before sending out notifications.
3) It will send an email to the list of people you have configured to be notified.

Once that notification gets sent, all those who received it can reply to it and their replies will be sent out to all other people in the list - this is helpful if you have more than one person that's going to be being notified and need to keep them all in the loop.
Any person receiving the email can also acknowledge the notification (more on that in a moment) or reset the monitoring back to a default state (which they'll do once they've fixed the problem).

If nobody acknowledges the notification, and the server is still down after a period of time you specify, additional emails will be sent out to remind all that the server is still down.

The system also has a plan for if Nexus itself goes offline. On the server where your gateway script resides, you can set up a cron for a script which checks the last time Nexus called it. This script will email everyone in your notification list if Nexus has not called it in over 15 minutes. You don't even need to configure this script - Nexus will keep it up to date with any changes you make to the list of people to notify.

You can at any time view the status of your servers in the Admin CP - a green tick indicates that everything is okay, a red cross means the server is reporting offline:

With this of course, you can now create servers which are not integrated with CPanel/WHM but are monitoring only.
There are also of course hook points so you can add your own code to run when a server goes down or comes back up.

Every sysadmin knows that when a server goes down to expect a flood of emails, phone calls, etc. from customers reporting the issue. Now that IP.Nexus knows when a server is offline, we've added a little notification which appears if a customer goes to submit a support request while one of the servers they have an account on is down, notifying them you are already aware of the problem:

Server Cost

When creating a server you'll now have the option to provide the monthly cost of the server. IP.Nexus takes this information and along with it calculates the monthly revenue from that server (based off the information IP.Nexus already has). This allows IP.Nexus to show you a monthly profit/loss for each server.

Dedicated Servers

Those selling dedicated servers in IP.Nexus are used to creating simple custom packages to represent dedicated servers. In IP.Nexus 1.4 we've added a special kind of custom package which represents a dedicated server. This allows you to make use monitoring and viewing the monthly profit/loss while maintaining all the flexibility of custom packages.

Little Changes

We've also made a number of small changes to the hosting features in IP.Nexus:

  • As you may have noticed from the first screenshot, the server list is now separated by tabs into server queues. For those who prefer the traditional all-in-one layout, there is an "All" tab which will show all servers in the system.
  • When cancelling a hosting account, Nexus currently terminates the account on the server. In IP.Nexus 1.4 you'll have the option to suspend or terminate the account.
  • IP.Nexus now retains the domain and previous server of a hosting account even once it's been cancelled, this allows even cancelled accounts to show up in search results.

We still have a couple more blog entries planned for IP.Nexus 1.4. In the meantime, if you have any feedback or suggestions unrelated to this blog entry, as always, please post them in the IP.Nexus forum :smile:

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