Enterprise Architecture for Managed WordPress Hosting

What is Enterprise Architecture? and why does Pressidium® Pinnacle Platform implement it?


At Pressidium we're all about making things as simple as possible for our partners. However we've realised when talking about the Pressidium® Pinnacle Platform, our enthusiasm for the technical nature of our work has got the better of us. We often refer to the term Enterprise Architecture - the core aspect of our design but we now realise this can be a challenging concept to wrap your head around, if you're unfamiliar with the terminology.

We're sorry about that and we want to put things right.

Today we're going to explain in plain English what we mean when we say 'Enterprise Architecture'. We'll explore why we use this model for delivering managed WordPress hosting that's fast, reliable and secure. We'll also delve into how this can help you and the benefits it will provide you and your ongoing projects.

 

What Is Enterprise Architecture?

To understand Enterprise Architecture hosting, we first need to look at the conventional hosting solutions already available on the market. It's likely the case if you own a website or blog that you use one of these solutions already and are familiar with how they set out their plans. The more space, bandwidth and websites you need, the further you need to go up the package scale.

As an example you might begin on a shared hosting plan that costs a few dollars. As your site gains traction, you'll likely upgrade to a plan that affords you more space. If you really make it big, you'll expand to a Virtual Private Server (VPS) or a dedicated server and so on and so forth.

What you might not realise with your standard hosting package, is that everything is bundled on to a single layer low end server. You're sharing that small chunk of space with thousands of other websites, making things pretty crowded. Even as you scale up, you'll still be sharing space with others, leaving your site vulnerable to performance and security issues. It's not until you make it to the very top solutions (which are also eye-wateringly expensive) that you start to experience web hosting whereby you are the sole user on that server, and what happens when you surpass the capabilities of that and still need to scale?

It's a flawed system and it's something we're trying to change by introducing Pressidium's Enterprise Architecture to the market.

Enterprise Architecture hosting is based around what's known in the industry as n-tier architecture. It's a model whereby instead of hosting websites on a single server (which is usually not even a server, but more like your bog-standard PC), they're hosted on multiple servers with multiple layers.

 

Engineering requires a lot of late night brainstorming and a load of whiteboard cleaner! (above: drawing-board images of the "MK-I Alpha" design)


Each Tier or Layer in this architecture performs a different function, meaning a request from say a webpage needs to go through multiple layers of security and verification in order to deliver the information required. An example of what's in each tier may be:

  1. Presentation Tier: This tier's role, which is often called the DMZ (demilitarized zone) or Front-End Tier, is to deliver all of your website's pages along with your content back to the web browsers of your site's visitors over the internet. It often contains multiple servers which perform load-balancing and caching functions for your website and which are secured behind a screen of front-end firewalls which protect against malicious activity.
  2. Web App Tier: This is the first backend tier and is often called the 'Logic' or 'Application' tier. This tier is where your website application 'lives', it is where WordPress & PHP runs and where your code resides. It performs all the magic required in-order to dynamically render your website into beautiful html pages. It is the 'brains' of your site and it is where most of your site's processing is carried out while data is moved between tiers.
  3. Data Tier: This tier is where data is stored. It is the last of the backend tiers and it is where your website's content & database reside. Sensitive information such as passwords and usernames are stored in the data-tier, and are safely protected from the outside world by being hidden behind multiple layers of firewalls, abstraction and private networks.

However that's just the tip of the iceberg. Pressidium's Enterprise Architecture goes beyond this by including additional layers with multiple functions that further enhance the overall user experience. These layers include additional security, adaptive caching, load balancing and clustering functions.

When a request is issued from a Pressidium® Pinnacle Platform hosted WordPress site, it instantly faces two firewalls from the offset. One is a network firewall, while the other is a web application firewall - something that's not regularly used with conventional hosting.

Next the request will hit a load balancing layer before reaching Pressidium's adaptive caching layer. It will then meet the WordPress application cloud. Sensitive data is further buried behind this layer in the database cluster & secured distributed storage, ensuring malicious requests never gain access to it.

 

Pressidium Enterprise Architecture Mark I - Initial Concept - Private Cloud Version
Here's a taste of what actually goes on under the hood (our initial MK-I private cloud design, a precursor to Pressidium Pinnacle Platform v1.0).

 

Of course all of this happens in nanoseconds. As a user trying to login to a webpage, you won't notice anything other than the confirmation or failure of your username and password, which is the beauty of Enterprise Architecture hosting. Despite the many functions going on behind the scenes, your own experience will be a simple, fast and pleasant one.

In addition to the above, our enterprise architecture also delivers another critical design advantage, that being fault-tolerance. This means that all components in each tier are fully redundant and there is no-single-point-of-failure in our design. If any single component should fail (for example a server), no problem, your website will continue to be fully functional, your content will continue to be delivered and you will experience no downtime.

It's important to remember that conventional hosting by rule of thumb does not have any of the tiers & layers described above, and all of the logical components which make your website work are usually 'packed' on one single server. If it goes down, your website goes down.

Pressidium® Pinnacle Platform Enterprise Architecture

DMZ Firewall Layer

This Network Based Firewall layer is the first line of defence against malicious activity and Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. It is a low level deep packet inspection layer that filters and inspects each incoming & outgoing packet for malformed requests and monitors the sanity of connections. If something isn't right, it will immediately take countermeasures to protect your site.

Web Application Firewall Layer

The WAF (Web Application Firewall) Layer is a high-level application layer firewall which inspects actual http requests and filters web content to and from your WordPress site. It will, for example, pick up SQL-Injection attacks, bad-bots, brute-force attacks or malicious cross-site scripting activity. If something is detected as out-of-order, the malicious attempt is stopped here, protecting your website from any further penetration. This is also where SSL termination & acceleration takes place.

Dynamic Load Balancing Layer

This layer performs intra-datacenter dispatching and load-distribution of requests to your site. This is where real-time and dynamically responsive Load Balancing of web and network traffic is performed. The layer ensures that delivery of your site’s content is accelerated, as each request is intelligently dispatched to the least busy server. If traffic on your site peaks, our Total Traffic Management solution will evenly distribute load across our server farms eliminating the pitfalls of slashdot effects, while further enhancing security by abstracting inner-layers of the internal private network.

Multilayer Adaptive Caching

We've built on the best. We've taken Varnish as a building block for our http cache and have created our unique multilayer adaptive caching platform. In the Web-Cache tier, a farm of dedicated caching servers simultaneously perform 2 layers of caching. The Hot-Cache layer which stores all frequently accessed content in dedicated RAM, and the Warm-Cache layer which uses SSD disk-arrays for less frequently accessed 'cold' content. This increases overall cache-hit ratios and results in your site performing significantly better over standard caching. Finally we have taken it one step further, we have created our own adaptive caching mechanism which will profile your site's traffic to enforce the most efficient caching rules for your site.

WordPress Application Layer

This tier consists of a farm of servers running the latest WordPress version & PHP 7. This is where your site's code resides, a copy of which is located on each server in the farm so your site is delivered simultaneously by all servers. Combined with our php object cache and php opcode cache which are all stored in RAM, this tier performs all the magic required in-order to dynamically render your website into beautiful html pages. This layer is the 'brains' of your site and it is where most of your site's processing is carried out while data is moved between tiers.

Database Cluster Layer

The database layer consists of synchronously replicated and clustered triplets of Master-Master databases which are based on Percona XtraDB Cluster. Percona XtraDB is a Galera MySQL cluster and is an active/active high availability and high scalability open source solution for MySQL® clustering. We use a three node per cluster topology for maximum parallel write-performance and efficiency. Combine this with the huge amounts of RAM we dedicate to the db query cache and your site's performance is accelerated to the highest possible levels.

File Storage Layer

HA web-scale SSD-based storage for simultaneous parallel access to files from multiple application nodes. Our file-system utilizes a hybrid mixture of synchronous and asynchronous replication. This results in read operations at local SSD based access speeds, incredibly faster in comparison to conventional network attached file systems. The file system automatically replicates content across all servers in a 2N+1 mirrored design and allows simultaneous read & write access for any node. We also asynchronously replicate all content to off-site storage, and offer continuous point-in-time recovery coverage, in-case disaster strikes.

Operations Layer

This layer is where our OSS & BSS systems reside. It's built upon Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and we have developed our own Enterprise-Service-Bus with BPM workflow orchestration, asynchronous messaging (+ queuing) and Web-Service APIs for all operations. Provisioning, billing, monitoring & alerting are all performed in this layer. For around the clock health & performance monitoring we also use NewRelic and Nagios/Icinga to monitor every component of our platform, from low-level infrastructure up-to each and every PHP process. We also constantly monitor the latency of each website and check it's overall performance score, in-case of any deviation or drop, an alarm is instantly raised.

Customer Portal

The Customer Portal provides customers full management via out-of-band and abstracted access to the Ops-Layer. Through its clearly designed web interface, traditionally complex and technically demanding management tasks have been made fast and simple. The portal takes full advantage of Pressidium® Pinnacle Platform’s extremely high level of automation and built-in intelligence and gives full control of an enterprise-grade platform without requiring any technical know-how.

Click on the diagram above to see a detailed description of each layer

Why Do We Take This Approach?

The reason why we take this approach is a simple one. As engineers who are passionate about WordPress we believe everyone, regardless of their WordPress hosting plan, should have access to the very best in security, speed and performance. We think this should be standard across the industry and not limited to those who can afford to pay for it - unfortunately this is not the case yet.

enterprise-hosting-available-to-everyoneMore conventional hosting has a habit of penalising its customers, without them even realising it. They keep their best services for those with deep enough pockets and even then those customers are paying for solutions they're simply not receiving. What this means for you, is that you're often left with poor security, slow speeds, unreliable hardware and you're bundled onto servers that are too crowded. It really is a ticking time bomb for your website and it's a sub-standard service where you're not getting the quality you deserve.

At Pressidium we'd love to give an honest, transparent service to every website owner for free. In an ideal World we would but since the World we live in is far from ideal, we've developed the next best thing where optimized prices are just a by product of the efficiency of our design.

As engineers we understand that our service is vital to the success of your business since we are a critical link in the delivery chain of your online presence, where your success leads to our success. We understand that this can be the only way; a true win-win principle which we abide by (if we fail you, then we all fail, and that is not an option).

It all starts with our partners and our Enterprise Architecture - the people joining our mission to make Enterprise hosting accessible to everyone. Anyone who takes out a managed WordPress hosting plan with us is seen as a partner, we know each customer by name and each customer is subject to the same level of quality across the board - scalable, secure and fast hosting where amazing performance is second nature.

 

How Does This Help You?

Pressidium's Enterprise Architecture is built in such a way, that you never have to see or touch any of the complicated, technical tasks going on behind the scenes. Our team of highly trained DevOps experts take care of this, leaving you with a Control Panel that's simple, effortless to navigate and which allows you to get on with what you do best.

One of the key benefits of Pressidium Enterprise Architecture is the use of fault tolerance within its infrastructure (see above). Since your website won't be hosted on any one single server, but multiple, scalable servers, if there's a problem with the hardware or software on one of our servers, your website will still be available to use as normal. In essence there's next to no downtime while simultaneously the FT design results in remarkably fast and scalable WordPress hosting.

 

The Mark I -  Initial Public Cloud Version
The very first Mark I (Initial Design Concept - Public Cloud Version)


Not only does this mean your WordPress website will be available when you need it, it also means you'll experience incredible speeds conventional hosting simply can't achieve. Further to this, through the use of multiple security layers and firewalls, your information will always be locked behind the best possible defences that only the very most secure WordPress hosting providers can lay claim to.

So what does this mean for WordPress users? How do we ensure the most popular platform on the web works seamlessly with our architecture?

It's an important question, so let's take a look at what you can expect:

  • If you choose to take advantage of our Enterprise WordPress hosting that's fully managed, scalable and secure, we’ll migrate your site to us for free.
  • During the migration process, we’ll also fully optimize your website, fixing any faults, glitches and problems that may cause it to run inefficiently. We want your website to be the very best it can be and so use our knowledge to enhance your user experience.
  • Before rolling out any updates of the core WordPress software, we vigorously test them ourselves. You won’t have to worry about upgrading WordPress and fixing the problems often caused by new updates.
  • We're experts in WordPress. We live and breathe the platform therefore we're able to answer any questions related to the management of your website. We'll even provide suggestions on the best plugins to use to compliment the efficiency of our system.

We're passionate about what we've created and we want you to reap the benefits of that.

 

How Would This Benefit Your Business?About Enterprise Architecture

First you can forget about paying outside agencies to maintain your website for you. Under our fully managed WordPress hosting plans, this service is included as standard. Why should you have to pay extra for something that's a basic requirement of website security? Instead re-invest the amount you'd usually spend on this, back into your business.

The same can be said for paying huge amounts on plugins to backup your data with. We already include this, across all of our plans. Your content, database - everything that makes your WordPress website behave and perform the way you want it to, is regularly backed up and stored safely. Should you run in to a problem and wish to roll back to an older version with point-in-time recovery, our team will do so safe in the knowledge that the information is at hand.

It's often the case that problems occur when you're trying a new WordPress theme or plugin on your live website. Our plans all include comprehensive staging sites that allow you to try out new changes before making them live. You can experiment to your hearts content, knowing your website is safe with minimal downtime, eventually translating as no loss of revenue to you. We'll even suggest the very best plugins to experiment with, all you need to do is ask.

Pressidium is designed to scale, meaning your traffic can grow exponentially without your site breaking. While conventional hosts simply can't deal with influxes in traffic, the scalability of our design means that we can. Likewise we're always up to date with latest technological developments, and what's going on in the industry. We’ll be religiously implementing these updates to our own design, ensuring you have the very latest advancements for your projects, your business and your customers.


Final Thoughts

The Pressidium® Pinnacle Platform with its Enterprise Architecture was essentially built by WordPress users for WordPress users. We're a passionate group of people with a combined expertise in engineering, IT, Media and Telecommunications, putting us in the best possible position to provide you with excellence.

We’re not interested in huge profits and just making money. As mentioned earlier, we'd give our groundbreaking platform away for free to every website owner if we could. Our passion is firmly rooted in offering something genuine, transparent and beneficial to all.

With our Enterprise Architecture, we've created a new dawn for WordPress hosting.

Will you join the revolution?

 

Join The Revolution Now!

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Categories: WordPress Hosting

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