TurnKey Linux Virtual Appliance Library

Announcing TurnKey Hub v1.0 - now officially out of private beta

Hub Front

When we first announced the TurnKey Hub private beta about 9 months ago, we had limited capacity (invitation only) and a modest feature set. Since then we tested, bugfixed, removed bottlenecks and added features, constantly improving the Hub with the help and feedback from our excellent beta users. Thank you so much!

With the release of TurnKey 11 which was tightly integrated with TKLBAM and the Hub, the amount of Hub invitation requests exploded. We were prepared for this and managed to scale the Hub smoothly without any serious issues.

With several months of testing, feedback and bugfixes under our belt we are now confident enough to officially announce, a bit earlier than planned, that the Hub is out of private beta. As of today, the Hub is open to all, and new users will no longer be required to request an invitation.

Existing users can rest easy though. We will continue to carefully monitor the Hub's performance. There should be no interruptions to the service. Worse case scenario, if we start hitting unforseen capacity issues we will temprarily reintroduce the limit on new signups.

Review of notable changes since the initial release

TurnKey Backup and Migration

  • A few months into the private beta we announced support for TurnKey Backup and Migration (AKA TKLBAM), which amongst other uses makes previously difficult tasks such as testing your backups much easier.
  • In response to demand, we've added support for configurable backup retention. Users can specify how many full backups they would like to keep for any given server backup (set to unlimited by default).

TurnKey Cloud Servers

  • Support for TurnKey Linux 11 images (legacy images still available to ease migration).
  • Basic pre-launch configuration: No more having to fiddle with the default passwords after an instance launches. The Hub supports pre-seeding appliance configuration before launch. This makes up for not having console access that would usually be required for first boot configuration.
  • TKLBAM pre-initialization: No more having to cut and paste your Hub APIKEY to initialize TKLBAM. The Hub pre-initializes TKLBAM automatically when the instance is first launched.
  • Upgradeable Kernels: We've figured out how to make it easy to update the kernel via pv-grub.
  • Preset launch region automatically chosen by geo-location of user.

General stuff

  • Performance optimizations, improved stability and error handling.
  • Refined the look and feel with an update to the theme.
  • We now try harder to explain how the Hub works and what it's good for before and after you sign up. For example we've added nice visual tours of the Backup and migration and Cloud servers features.
  • We've added a pricing page answering frequently asked questions. Yes, the Hub is still free. You pay Amazon directly for the cloud resources you use.
  • Improved start page to get you going once you sign up. Once you setup your account, this transforms into a dashboard that provides a high level overview and quick access links.
  • New and improved notifications (growl style).
  • Removed invitation requirement and added support for OpenID signup and authentication.
  • Added functionality to change account email.
  • Full internationalization support (UTF-8).
  • APT archive geo-location API service for choosing the closest package archive.
  • Link to Privacy policy.

As usual, feedback is appreciated. If you don't have a TurnKey Hub account yet, go get one now or try out the demo. If you already have a TurnKey Hub account, go check out the new stuff.

The TurnKey Hub lives at: https://hub.turnkeylinux.org

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Comments

Outstanding!

As usual, this promises to be outstanding work that functions beautifully. There's no question how much work and personal investment goes in to making TurnKey Linux a continuing success. I'm looking forward to exploring the new features.


Liraz Siri's picture

We're quoting you on the Backup & Migration tour

Thanks for the encouragement Rik! Your feedback always brightens up my day. BTW, did you notice we're quoting you on the TurnKey Backup & Migration tour? :)
Don Sanderson's picture

Agreed!

 

A wonderful job.

1000% improvement in usability for new users.


Wow very nice! Congrats

This is a huge improvement,

Does this mean Postgresql, and or LAPP will now work with TKLBAM??


Liraz Siri's picture

Coming right up!

Now that we've finally pushed the Hub out of beta adding PostgreSQL support to TKLBAM is the very next thing on my todo list. Stay tuned.

Really very good news - Postgres Support

You guys are so on target and spot on with everything you touch that I haven't been able to offer productive suggestions very often. Most recently, I found myself wondering when to expect postgres support; I love the blanket of safety and reliability I get from TKLBAM with my other appliances; with the Mahara patch I don't have that and really do miss it daily. And of course, you're on top of it.


Fantastic

A truly excellent service -- much more useable now! Thank you for all of the hard work.

Congrats!

Turnkey is living up to its name!  The Hub site looks very nice!

Derek Schwartz's picture

Very polished, compared to the beta that I've been using!

At this time last year I knew very little about Linux administration and nothing about Drupal.  Now, I have my employer's web site (http://rowlandconstructors.com/) running on the TKL Drupal 6 appliance in EC2, backed up by the TurnKey Hub.  It works great and takes most of the irritating Linux configuration out of the picture, allowing me to concentrate on other projects.  I would have never achieved this without TurnkeyLinux removing the barrier to entry, and we'd probably be running the site on something far inferior.

Just last month, I migrated everything to appliance version 11.1 .  I was amazed at how much easier it was to create backups on the new version.  The Webmin module was also a nice touch!

Thanks for creating a reliable and efficient process to deploy Linux-based applications to the cloud.

-Derek

P.S.  Sorry about removing the TKL footer.  My employer wanted a very clean appearance and it had to go.  I'm trying to make up for it by telling everyone I know about TKL appliances...

Liraz Siri's picture

Thanks!

Thanks for the positive feedback Derek. It means a great deal to hear from happy users. Speaking of testimonials, we're featuring an earlier quote you made in the Hub's cloud tour page.

PS: Don't worry about the footer. There are many ways to spread the word.

Jeremy's picture

Once again, nice work guys

Looks awesome! As I've come to expect from TKL, it looks very professional with lots of info to make it more accessable to newbs. Great work.

Congratulations guys!

Sorry for this late reply, this is a really important milestone and it's very nice to see it finally out of beta. The design is very clean, I really like it. 

You've made great efforts to acomplish this goal, you both well deserve a vacation... (but please don't take it as we are all waiting for part two of TKL 11 ;))

Keep the good work! 

edward's picture

seemless!

We just deployed TKL LAMP Stack thru TKL Hub and it so easy to use especially the backup system TKLBAM.

Guys you really did a great job! you make our life easier.

Attention: TKL Developers

We have the old TKL appliance from one of your hosting partner XLS hosting. the VPS image is not the updated version, it runs on Ubuntu 8.0.4. and not sure if this is compatible to use TKLBAM.

My concerns are:

How can we upgrade the VPS image to latest release?

Did you guys support you partner to use the latest release?

Jeremy's picture

I can't speak for TKL devs but...

I'm really glad to hear that TKLBAM is serving your purpose and making life easy.

As for your questions: Yes TKLBAM works with legacy TKL appliances (v2009.x) but it isn't installed by default. This means you will need to install it yourself:

apt-get update
apt-get install tklbam webmin-tklbam

From there you can use the TKLBAM Webmin module to configure it.

As for getting your VPS provider to host the newer images, you'll probably need them to contact one of the TKL devs so they can work it out between them. Once they have access to the new images you can also use TKLBAM to migrate your data from the old to the new. You may need to make some tweaks to get it to all work nicely but mostly it should be pretty straight forward.

edward's picture

Thanks for the good advice

Thanks for the good advice and will try to install TKLBAM.

BUT Amazon is so extremely unreliable - it even kills your data!

Great idea - but are you really basing all your service on the well known unreliability of Amazon Cloud? I do not want to loose my data, so it would be better to build this service in a way that it could be used with multiple private clusters / servers / whatever and would not have to rely on a company that fails that hard. I think the days of Amazon Cloud are gone after 1) showing us what they do with services they politically do not like (wikileaks) 2) failing hard with customer data lost forever.

Amazon is not an option anymore for anybody who needs 1) freedom and privacy 2) reliability.

Please rethink this otherwise great project - should be opened up to some kind of general cloud api and definitely not bound to one company.

Good Luck!

Liraz Siri's picture

We plan on supporting all clouds eventually

We have limited resources for development, but we believe in choice and we will eventually support as many cloud platforms as feasible. The big ones will come first, others will come after.

Note that no cloud platform is going to be totally resistant to failure. For example, Rackspace suffered a famous outage a while back when a truck slammed into a datacenter, taking out the power system.

Even after the EBS outage last week, Amazon Web Services is still the most powerful cloud platform. There is a lot of confusion regarding what the extent of the failure. S3 the storage service where TKLBAM stores data was not effected, and it has triple redundancy in multiple physical datacenters so should be very reliable. EBS never promised that level of reliability and in fact did fail occasionally. If you have a storage system with tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of hard drives, you will find that a small portion of them do inevitably fail every day, and that will be true even with multiple redundancy (e.g., RAID) mechanisms, though we should be expect the failure rate to be lower then that. Though in this case what happened was not a physical failure but human error and the ramifications from an inadequately understood massive distributed system. To be fair Amazon recovered all but a tiny percent of the lost EBS drives.

Also keep in mind that TKLBAM supports storing data on your servers in addition to Amazon S3, it just takes a bit more extra work to setup.

Derek Schwartz's picture

Unreliable?

Snaky:

Cloud hosting is designed primarily for high availability and scalability, not privacy.

I've been running a non-persistent TKL Drupal AMI for over 8 months and it's been solid.  When I decided to upgrade to the new TKL version, I had the new AMI up and running and patched in less than 10 minutes with backup data restored from the S3 bucket.  Then, after making sure everything was working as expected, I pointed the Elastic IP to the new AMI, and terminated the old one.

You said "Amazon is not an option anymore for anybody who needs 1) freedom and privacy 2) reliability."  Well, neither is ANY hosting company.  If it's hosted, you have no privacy since the hosting company has physical access to everything.  As for reliability, even on-premises servers and data backups fail.  It's just up to you to make sure that you have a reliable and fast disaster recovery model.  And freedom?...  It's a business, and a business has the right to refuse service if it has the potential to tarnish the business image in the eyes of its investors.  Any independent web hosting company will do the same when confronted by negative publicity or death threats.

-Derek

FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Derek, your answer seems a little bit unreflected to me - are you living in an arab country, in china or in russia? If not - do you remember the difference between these countries and the "free world"?

Are you accepting dictatorship, censorship and suspension of your basic rights with a hosting contract? From what you are writing I understand that the "image" of a company seems to be of higher value to you than Freedom of Speech - if yes, please read this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Consti...

Freedom of Speech is not to be given away with a hosting contract - neither privacy is to be sold, especially the privacy of your customers and / or users. If you believe loosing these basic rights is ok, you are doing exactly what I am warning you of: accepting the dominance of the company-space, overriding your basic rights and finally controlling you like in a not-free country. Because this kind of acceptance seems to be widely spread, it is important to make projects like TKL even more free and unbind them from just one hosting company.

If you trade liberty for business you will lose both.

Derek Schwartz's picture

Freedom of speech, or theft?

@SNAKY: According to Amazon, the WikiLeaks service was terminated primarily due to storage of stolen property which violated Amazon's terms of service agreement, but also to protect innocent people:

http://aws.amazon.com/message/65348/

Specifically:  "when companies or people go about securing and storing large quantities of data that isn’t rightfully theirs, and publishing this data without ensuring it won’t injure others, it’s a violation of our terms of service"

Escape the Company-Space!

Liraz, your arguments lead to the direction of saying "well, shit happens everywhere" - I do not want to discuss the details of Amazon beeing reliable or not, but the most interesting part will be how to FREE this very interesting project - you say it is possible to use it on my own servers - THAT is really the most interesting thing and besides promoting Amazon Services on this site it should be given much more effort to educate people about how to use the great project you created with their own - possibly company-independent - hardware.

Do not get me wrong - I totally agree with you that "shit happens" - exactly this should be the reason not to bind an open source project too strong onto one company. At least open source should be a help to escape the company-space and helpful to built independent infrastructures, we are really behind with this. Easy deployment of Linux systems however is a key part of building such a thing...

BTW I personally give much more weight to the totally inacceptable behaviour of Amazon regarding Wikileaks - if I were an israeli or arab peace NGO - will amazon be a good place to host, if they obey US government orders, closing your site circumventing actual law? If your company does not what US government thinks is good, is Amazon still a good place to put your whole business into? I think the loss of trust is final, there is nothing Amazon can do to correct this enormous demonstration of what happens if things get critical - and this is one more reason for building a really independent global infrastructure - so it would be great to have your projects work everywhere, not only in the US company-space. Good Luck!

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