• FAQ

    FlexiScale gives you the tools you need to grow, with no long term commitment.

General

What is FlexiScale?

FlexiScale is a scalable SSD powered cloud hosting platform providing infrastructure and storage services on a pay-as-you-go and on-demand basis.

When would I want FlexiScale?

FlexiScale is ideal if you’re looking for a powerful highly available resilient platform to deploy computing resources which are available on-demand, on a per hour basis, who want a solution that can instantly scale up and scale down to meet business requirements without long-term commitments and on a platform with built-in high availability and resilience.

Who uses FlexiScale?

Anyone – it’s that simple because it’s so easy to use! Our customers range from technology start-ups, software houses, service providers, System Integrators to companies from all vertical sectors, including gaming, finance and manufacturing.

How do I get started with FlexiScale?

Simply enter your details in the sign up box on the FlexiScale website and hit the create account button and your up and running. Every account comes with 1,000 free units for you to test the platform.

Can I test FlexiScale?

Yes you can test the platform for free with no commitments. Every account comes with 1,000 free units for you to test the platform.

How many servers and terabytes of storage can I request at once?

You can request as many servers as you like. We currently assign a /29 network to customers when they sign-up for a FlexiScale account which means you can immediately provision five servers with public IP addresses. If you require more, you will need to request more IP addresses through the control panel.

You can request storage disks up to 1TB in size. If you need more than this you can add multiple disks. We will be adding larger disk sizes in the future.

What are the benefits of FlexiScale over a dedicated server?

First of all, there is nothing wrong with dedicated servers and there are circumstances where ‘bare metal’ is still the best solution. However, dedicated servers are lacking in flexibility. So FlexiScale is a better bet if you are looking for:

  • A solution that can provision resources instantly.
  • A solution where you only pay for what you really use.
  • A solution that does not lock you into a long-term contract.
  • A solution that that can grow and shrink with your business.
  • A solution that automatically recovers from hardware failure

In these situations FlexiScale is most definitely the answer for you.

Can FlexiScale fully replace a dedicated server?

Absolutely! We have many customers who have replaced an entire multi-tier architecture sitting on dedicated servers and migrated everything onto FlexiScale. It is important to understand that once a FlexiScale server is started, it appears exactly the same as a ‘bare metal’ machine.

What virtualization technology do you use?

FlexiScale supports all major hypervisors including KVM, Xen, VMware, Hyper-V and OVM. If you have a specific requirement, please do let us know and we can provide you with a proposal to suit your needs.

Will all my applications run un-modified?

Yes.

Infrastructure / Security / Resilience

Where is the FlexiScale infrastructure located?

FlexiScale is hosted in secure tier 3 data centres in multiple locations in the UK and additional locations globally.

Is my data located in a secure and well protected data centre?

Yes, all the data is secured in a tier 3 data centre and FlexiScale complies with data protection and safe harbor requirements.

What happens if you detect a hardware node failing? Will you automatically re-start my server?

Our entire FlexiScale environment is fully resilient. Any physical server failure is automatically detected within seconds, removed from the cluster configuration and your deployment will be automatically provisioned on other servers. This process is fully automatic and is completed in a matter of minutes.

Does FlexiScale run over a redundant network?

Yes. All network connections are diverse and redundant, with multiple IP Transit providers to the internet along with connectivity to major internet exchanges.

Can you cope with a sudden increase in Network traffic?

FlexiScale continually monitors network and bandwidth utilisation and uses this information to increase capacity accordingly.

Do you have experience in dealing with Denial of Service (DoS) attacks?

Yes, as a service provider we have plenty of experience with dealing with instances of DoS attacks against our customers and DoS protection is built into our core network.

How secure is FlexiScale?

FlexiScale is very secure as every customer has their own dedicated VLAN and customer data is stored on a secure Storage Area Network.

Can I request my own VLAN?

Every customer automatically gets their own VLAN. This is included as standard within the platform. You can add additional private VLANs via the control panel.

What happens to my data when a server terminates or stops?

All our physical servers are diskless and all customer data is stored on a redundant centralised Storage Area Network. When a server stops or even aborts, all your data is safely retained and will be fully available the next time your server boots up again.

Do you provide an SLA?

Yes. You will find it here

Boot images

What boot image formats does FlexiScale support?

FlexiScale servers will boot from any bootable image with an appropriate boot loader. That includes ISO9660 format CDs and hard disk images.

What OS golden images can I get directly from FlexiScale?

FlexiScale supports all common versions of Windows and Linux based OS images which are readily available in the control panel. Please sign in to the FlexiScale control panel for the complete list.

Can I create my own golden images?

FlexiScale gives you the ability to create your own golden image. You can create an ISO with an operating system of your choice on (either 32 bit or 64 bit) and boot from that image. You can also convert a snapshot of a disk into a golden image using the images tab on the control panel, or upload your own image.

What applications will FlexiScale support?

Any applications that run on the supported operating systems. If you have any concerns about the suitability of FlexiScale for a very specific type of application, please feel free to talk to our support team on 0845 862 0757 or +44 (0)115 824 0770, or by e-mail at support@flexiscale.com

Once I have created a server, will you be maintaining my OS patch level?

You must maintain your patch levels yourself via windows update or via the standard Linux repository that’s applicable to your Linux distro.

Can I change my Linux kernel version?

Yes you can. However, we advise you to contact our support team on 0845 862 0757 or +44 (0)115 824 0770 or by e-mail to support@flexiscale.com and we will provide you with a step-by-step guide to ensure a successful upgrade.

Can you take snapshots of an existing server?

Yes, you can take a snapshot via the FlexiScale Control Panel. We suggest that you always shutdown your server before taking any snapshots.

Do you support golden image cloning?

Yes, you can create an image from a snapshot using the image pane in the Control Panel. Once again, we strongly recommend you only perform a snapshot when your server is in a shutdown state.

Do you provide golden images with fully configured LAMP or IIS setups?

No, this is currently not offered. However, once you have configured the LAMP stack or IIS to your satisfaction, you can shut down the server, make a snapshot, and then convert that into your own image.

Performance / server specification

What performance can I expect from my server?

The FlexiScale platform is built with performance in mind. All our infrastructure is based on the latest generation servers which have been highly configured and optimised for performance and attached via a 10 GigE resilient network to a redundant high performance Storage Area Network, using SSD fast storage.

How quickly does a server boot up?

A typical server boot up time is around 15-50 seconds.

How much bandwidth in/out of a physical server do you provide?

Each physical server is connected at 10GB/s to the internal network. Each FlexiScale server you create can use up to 1GB/s of network bandwidth.

What kind of Network does FlexiScale attach to?

The FlexiScale core network is a 10 GigE highly resilient network with diverse connections to all major T1 carriers.

What processors does FlexiScale run on?

Minimum of Hex-Core CPUs ranging from 2.0 GHz to 3GHz.

Can I have multiple CPUs?

Yes you can. These virtual CPUs will be presented to the host OS as physical CPUs.

How much memory do you offer as a maximum?

We offer a maximum of 64GB of RAM per server.

Billing

How does the FlexiScale billing model work?

FlexiScale uses a unique unit based billing model. We charge you only for the resources you use. There is no minimum term commitment, and no minimum monthly fee. Simply credit your account with FlexiScale units which you can purchase through the control panel and use them on the computing resource you need, as you need them. Recharge your account only when necessary.

What can units be used for?

Units can be spent on four main types of service: servers, disk, network and software images. Each service is priced in units on a per hour basis. Note, if you use a service unit for part of an hour, you will be billed for a hour.

What is the minimum contract commitment?

None. There is no minimum contract period. The minimum billing period is 1 hour.

Is there a sign-up cost?

No. On sign up your account is automatically allocated with 1,000 free units.

How do I buy more FlexiScale units?

You can purchase additional units through the control panel using your credit card. We may check your credit card is valid by authorising a £1 charge to it, then de-authorising it. Note this is an authorisation, not a charge, so it won’t appear on your statement. However, you won’t be able to start any servers until you have bought additional units. For further information see the pricing section here

How often do you debit my FlexiScale unit balance?

The FlexiScale billing engine will automatically deduct your consumed units from your FlexiScale account on an hourly basis.

Where can I find my billing details in my FlexiScale account?

If you login to the control panel, you will find your billing details under the billing menu.

Will you warn me before I run out of units?

Yes. We will warn you once a day when your credit level drops below around 20% of the number of units you last bought. Once you hit the threshold, you will be sent a daily warning, or to be safe you can configure automatic top-ups so your account never runs out of units.

What happens if I am running out of FlexiScale units?

If your unit balance reaches zero, we will automatically shut down your server(s). All you need to do is top up your account and you can start your server(s) again. After a 7 day period, we will delete your servers and data if no top up is received.

Will my data be deleted if my units balance is zero?

No, your data will be stored for a period of 7 days. Please note that whilst you have a zero balance, units will still be consumed for the storage of your data which will result in your account running into a negative balance which will still be chargeable should you not wish to continue with the service. This negative balance will continue to accrue until you delete all your data.

How can I top up my FlexiScale unit balance?

Simply select “Buy units” from the billing section of the control panel. If you buy a package with automatic top up, you won’t need to do this.

I want to avoid having my server shut down due to lack of credits, so can I set automatic top-ups?

Yes. Buy a package of units with automatic top-up, and when your credits are running low, another package of units of the same size will be bought automatically. It is essential that you keep your card details up to date to ensure this works reliably.

What happens if an automatic top-up fails?

We will try again the next day. If you reach zero before a card transaction goes through successfully, your servers will be stopped.

Instead of using credit card based top-ups, would it be possible to be sent a monthly invoice?

Yes, depending on credit status. Contact our accounts team on 0845 862 0757 or +44 (0)115 824 0770 or by email at billing@flexiscale.com.

What happens if I stop my server?

Whilst your server is stopped, you will not be billed for CPU or for bandwidth (except in respect of images or disks you upload through the control panel) or for disk I/O. However, your disk storage costs will not stop because we have to retain your data regardless of whether your server is running or not. If you want all charges related to a server to stop, you will have to delete your data.

How long can I put a server to ‘sleep’ before you delete my data?

As long as you have enough credit in your account to cover the monthly storage costs, you will keep your data forever. However, if you run out of credit and don’t respond to our reminders to top up your FlexiScale account, we will delete your data after 7 days.

Why is a Windows server more expensive than a Linux one?

Linux is an open-source operating system and therefore does not require customers to pay for licensing. This is not the case for Microsoft Windows server. FlexiScale takes care of the OS licensing of Microsoft Windows server and allows the customer to license on an hourly basis.

Can I license Windows myself?

You can run any operating system on our servers that is lawfully licensed. Note, however, that a standard Windows license is unlikely to cover running it in our cloud environment.

Control Panel

How can I access the FlexiScale control panel?

https://mycloud.flexiscale.com/application.php?action=login

What does the control panel let me control?

The control panel provides a lot of functionality. Amongst other things, it allows you to:

  • Create or delete servers;
  • Start or stop a server, or kill it if it is unresponsive;
  • Reconfigure a server (when it is stopped), including change its memory or CPU configuration, and the disks and network interfaces attached to it;
  • Open a console session to the server through your web browser (if the server is running);
  • Create, delete, or resize disks (when they are not attached to a server);
  • Take snapshots of disks, and manage your snapshots;
  • Clone a snapshot onto a new disk;
  • Make a new image from a disk that can be used for deployment of new servers
  • Change your firewall settings;
  • Add and remove VLANs and IP addresses;
  • Change your password, email address and contact details;
  • View your usage and recent billing;
  • Buy more units; and
  • Change your credit card details.

Why can’t I change the configuration of a server whilst it is running?

As you can’t alter the configuration of a physical server whilst it is running, the operating system you are running cannot handle changes in hardware configuration whilst running. Therefore you need to reconfigure the server whilst it is stopped (just like a physical server).

API

Is there an API to control and manage FlexiScale?

Yes. FlexiScale can be controlled via the control panel or using a comprehensive API.

Where do I find the API documentation?

You can find the API documentation here.

Am I charged for the use of the API?

The use of the API tools are free and just another way of controlling your infrastructure. You will be charged exactly the same as you would be for the equivalent operations using the control panel.

What standards does the FlexiScale API follow?

Our API presents a SOAP/REST/XML Web Service interface.

IP Networking

Does FlexiScale provide fully static IP addresses?

Yes. All addresses used in FlexiScale are static.

How many IP addresses do I get assigned?

Every new customer can select between a single automatically assigned public IP per server, or a /29 subnet which gives you five usable IP addresses. Should you require more, we can quite simply assign more blocks to you. You are also able to use internal address numbering if you wish.

How long can I keep my static IP addresses?

Your IP addresses will normally remain yours whilst you still have credit in your account; under exceptional circumstances, we reserve the right to require you to renumber your server, but we will provide you with assistance in doing this. If you run out of credit or your account is deleted, we may reuse the IP addresses.

Are my IP addresses on a shared LAN? Can I have a VLAN for myself?

We provide each customer with their own VLAN which provides them with their own Virtual network.

Are all the IP addresses publicly routable?

Yes, as long as you assign addresses from the IP blocks we assigned to you. If you set-up networks with private addresses to create a private network between multiple FlexiScale servers, those addresses won’t be routed.

Can I use multiple IPs on one server?

Yes.

Am I charged for traffic between my servers?

You are not charged for traffic on a private (non-routable) VLAN. If you pass traffic between servers on the public VLAN, you may be charged.

Storage

Do you store any of my data on the node hardware that my server runs on?

No. The physical servers hosting the servers do not store any customer data. All the storage is on a centralised SAN.

How do you store my data? How is it protected?

All customer data comes from a high-end redundant storage back-end and is fully protected.

Can your storage back-end cope with I/O intensive applications like MySQL or other databases?

Yes. The storage architecture was designed to support heavy applications like databases.

Can I mount the same disks on multiple servers simultaneously?

This is not possible with the standard virtual disks we provision with each FlexiScale server. The reasons for this are not related to FlexiScale but rather with file system data integrity if more than one server can write to the same disk. However, if you wish to share data between servers, you can either NFS-mount between your own servers, which takes care of proper file-locking, or you can use a database infrastructure.

I am going to run out of storage space on a VDS, what can I do?

You can mount a second virtual disk, or you can resize your current disk. Note that you are responsible for resizing the filing system within the virtual disk (resize2fs under Linux).

Can I shrink the size of a virtual disk?

No. Your operating system would be unlikely to support it anyway. If you need to do this, create a new smaller disk and copy the data over.

Do you back up my data? Can I request a data restore?

No. Whilst we do operate backup procedures to guard against our own errors and for disaster recovery of the platform as a whole, we do not provide customers with the ability to request a data restore of an individual virtual disk or even a specific file. Data backup is each customer’s responsibility. You can take backups using snapshots, or by installing a backup agent into your server.

What is the best way to import large amounts of data onto FlexiScale?

It really depends how much data we are talking about. In instances where the amount is simply too large to upload via the public internet, you can send us a USB or network attachable storage device and we can locally upload the data into your server. We will charge you an administrative fee for this, but you will not incur bandwidth charges.