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Cubedata's SolidCP review and discussion (VPS 15)
#1
SolidCP is the control panel used to manage VPS 15 generously provided by @cubedata

This thread is intended to be specifically about SolidCP - I'll plan to make a review of VPS 15 specifically in a couple weeks, but I hope this topic will be useful in helping me get the most out of it.

My initial thoughts: the UI could use a little work. There's nothing "bad" about it, but I definitely will not accuse the engineers of placing form over function. It's something in my mind more similar to Webmin in appearance, compared to something with a smooth interface like Ajenti or Cyberpanel. It's basic. I'm a bit of a minimalist so I really don't mind this at all.

The backend is a bit slower than I'm used to. Keep in mind that I'm a Linux user for 20+ years, and the slowness that I'm perceiving could be due to the simple fact that Windows is a heavier software than what I'm used to. The backend could actually be incredibly fast for a windows server, I just don't have any experience to compare. What do I mean by slow? VPS functions like reboot and reinstall seem to take quite a bit longer than they do in SolusVM, for example.

The user/account system seems unnecessarily complex - although the complexity may have benefits I'm unaware of. There are different tiers of access: Customers, Spaces, Plans, Addons. While the system is complex, it seems very powerful with a lot of different options. After a few minutes of clicking around and a little googling I was able to create a space for a VPS and create a VPS in it. One thing I really like about this panel is it can manage multiple instances (although with 1 instance in the pool I'm unable to test it). In the plans area you can define quotas and limits for bandwidth, inodes, etc. The addons section has loads of options for different server configurations such as mail server, db server, web server, etc etc. I tried to create a Proxmox addon but was unable to get it working. I'm assuming this is because of the way Cubedata has it configured - I don't think Proxmox is loaded at the host level and nested virt seems disabled - but still very neat that SolidCP can manage different virtualizations (Windows HyperV & Proxmox)

Since I'm a linux user, one of the first things I tried was a CentOS install. Cubedata has Centos 7 & 8 loaded in the DVD drive. Over the console I was able to complete a full install. The process was very much like installing from DVD on a local pc, with the ability to partition the drive, etc. I tried to install both 7 & 8. It should be noted that I had networking problems with Centos 8 when I attempted to configure networking with DHCP. When I installed 7 I manually set networking  using the settings provided in SolidCP and had no issues.

The virtualized performance of Centos on top of windows server wasn't the greatest. I'll share the benchmarks of virtualized Centos when/if  I'm able to get benchmarks of the windows server for comparison.

I reinstalled back to windows to do some more testing, and here's where I've hit a roadblock. My first problem to overcome was keyboard shortcuts. To log into windows console, you have to press ctrl+alt+del - which is my keyboard shortcut for task manager. After I disabled it I was able to attempt to log in. However, windows doesn't seem to be accepting my password. I think maybe it's due to some of the characters I used, so I change password to an alpha-numeric pass with no special characters. The console warns that it may take some time for changes to apply to the vps. After 8 hours of sleeping I still can't log in. I can see 3 possibilities: I am using the wrong credentials to log in(setting my pass at the wrong place) or the password change feature is broken or it's really really slow.

Here is screenshot of the area where I change my admin pass -
   
I don't know at this point if there's something else I can try or if I should submit a support request. Is there a default pass or backdoor?
#2
(01-09-2021, 04:23 PM)fitkoh Wrote: The backend is a bit slower than I'm used to. Keep in mind that I'm a Linux user for 20+ years, and the slowness that I'm perceiving could be due to the simple fact that Windows is a heavier software than what I'm used to. The backend could actually be incredibly fast for a windows server, I just don't have any experience to compare. What do I mean by slow? VPS functions like reboot and reinstall seem to take quite a bit longer than they do in SolusVM, for example.
Welcome to the baroque World of Windows NT kernel!.. Where have you been hiding?.. :-)

(01-09-2021, 04:23 PM)fitkoh Wrote: (..) I tried to create a Proxmox addon but was unable to get it working. I'm assuming this is because of the way Cubedata has it configured - I don't think Proxmox is loaded at the host level and nested virt seems disabled - but still very neat that SolidCP can manage different virtualizations (Windows HyperV & Proxmox)
Nested virtualization is a must for Promox..

(01-09-2021, 04:23 PM)fitkoh Wrote: Since I'm a linux user, one of the first things I tried was a CentOS install. Cubedata has Centos 7 & 8 loaded in the DVD drive. Over the console I was able to complete a full install. The process was very much like installing from DVD on a local pc, with the ability to partition the drive, etc. I tried to install both 7 & 8. It should be noted that I had networking problems with Centos 8 when I attempted to configure networking with DHCP. When I installed 7 I manually set networking  using the settings provided in SolidCP and had no issues.
What kind of errors were generated for the CentOS 8 networking setup?. and did you try to set it manually for CentOS 8 too ?

(01-09-2021, 04:23 PM)fitkoh Wrote: The virtualized performance of Centos on top of windows server wasn't the greatest. I'll share the benchmarks of virtualized Centos when/if  I'm able to get benchmarks of the windows server for comparison.
I've always said that VPS-15 was an enigma till I was sent these specs:
System Info
-----------
Processor       : Intel® Xeon® CPU           L5520  @ 2.27GHz
CPU Cores       : 1
Frequency       : 2266.746 MHz

At that point, it appeared to me that VPS-15 will constantly suffer CPU-wise whatever you're running on top of it.... especially if it's a Windows system.

A headless Linux system will still run okay though!
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#3
(01-10-2021, 10:54 AM)fChk Wrote: Welcome to the baroque World of Windows NT kernel!.. Where have you been hiding?.. :-)

I haven't been hiding. I've been living in a world with no locked doors.

Quote:What kind of errors were generated for the CentOS 8 networking setup?. and did you try to set it manually for Cent-OS 8 too ?

Networking errors:
"Failed to synchronize cache for repos" when trying to run yum update -attempted fixes listed here
unable to connect via ssh
unable to download via wget or curl - they just stated "there's nothing to do"

I did not attempt to manually set networking in Centos 8. I may try again but the installation process is a bit time consuming.
Quote:At that point, it appeared to me that VPS-15 will constantly suffer CPU-wise whatever you're running on top of it.... especially if it's a Windows system.

A headless Linux system will still run okay though!

The disk ios were also low: in the kb/s range at 4k block size. I'm hoping I can find a way to get into the base system and run some benchmarks for comparison. 

I may try to reinstall with some different addons and see if I can yield any success.
#4
(01-10-2021, 03:58 PM)fitkoh Wrote: I haven't been hiding. I've been living in a world with no locked doors.
Yah, I know!.. It's far better, when it's the other way around; ie when one discovers Linux/Unix after having gone through M$$'s hell for sometimes :-)

(01-10-2021, 03:58 PM)fitkoh Wrote: Networking errors:
"Failed to synchronize cache for repos" when trying to run yum update -attempted fixes listed here
unable to connect via ssh
unable to download via wget or curl - they just stated "there's nothing to do"
A couple of possible causes that come to mind :
> as root, try running these commands to rule out CentOS repository cache issues:
# to purge dnf cache
dnf clean all
dnf repolist
dnf update -y


> Rule out DNS issues:
Make sure the /etc/resolv.conf has at least 1 public dns in it; ie, 1.1.1.1 or 9.9.9.9 etc... Sometimes, it can be blank!

(01-10-2021, 03:58 PM)fitkoh Wrote: The disk ios were also low: in the kb/s range at 4k block size. I'm hoping I can find a way to get into the base system and run some benchmarks for comparison. 
I would say that's to be expected for a standard(/not in a RAID setup) HDD block device in a random read/write test. The values I get for a local HDD of mine are:
fio Disk Speed Tests (Mixed R/W 50/50):
---------------------------------
Block Size | 4kb           (IOPS) | 64kb          (IOPS)
 ------   | ---            ----  | ----           ----
Read       | 402.00 KB/s    (100) | 7.66 MB/s      (119)
Write      | 425.00 KB/s    (106) | 8.06 MB/s      (126)
Total      | 827.00 KB/s    (206) | 15.73 MB/s     (245)
          |                      |                    
Block Size | 512kb         (IOPS) | 1mb           (IOPS)
 ------   | -----          ----  | ---            ----
Read       | 25.98 MB/s      (50) | 30.22 MB/s      (29)
Write      | 27.75 MB/s      (54) | 32.90 MB/s      (32)
Total      | 53.73 MB/s     (104) | 63.12 MB/s      (61)

Hence, why I did react when I saw VPS-14 disk I/Os in its review thread; those values are the ones that are atypical for HDD.
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#5
(01-09-2021, 04:23 PM)fitkoh Wrote: My first problem to overcome was keyboard shortcuts. To log into windows console, you have to press ctrl+alt+del - which is my keyboard shortcut for task manager. After I disabled it I was able to attempt to log in.

I believe, if you're using VNC Viewer, they have a button for CTRL + ALT + DEL. Therefore you don't need to disable your own shortcut. Just need to click that one button and you're good to go.

For the problem I suggest to hit support. The only person that know this is Cubedata since they're the one that configuring the panel (and server).
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#6
(01-11-2021, 07:55 AM)tiwil Wrote: I believe, if you're using VNC Viewer, they have a button for CTRL + ALT + DEL. Therefore you don't need to disable your own shortcut. Just need to click that one button and you're good to go.

For the problem I suggest to hit support. The only person that know this is Cubedata since they're the one that configuring the panel (and server).

I was using the console provided by solidCP rather than a VNC viewer, but a nice tip. I just changed my shortcut to ctrl+alt+backspace.

As for the problem, I created a topic in private VPS support, as well as a topic at the solidcp forums
#7
SolidCP is not our own custom panel, it is the stock publicly available SolidCP, eventually we will get around to making the custom control panel for VPS's like was planned.
but will take time to build from scratch though.
Sadly there was no and still is no alternative for SolidCP for Hyper-V Vps's, all other panels for Hyper-V cost too much, so eventually CubeData will make our own custom panel for Hyper-V to replace SolidCP With.


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