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Dedicated Server with/without TCAdmin


ChrisOlver

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Question really,

 

While we are not the biggest provider here by any means but our dedicated server client base is well over the double figure limit and I was wondering if someone could give me there experience concerning what they do with Dedicated servers they sell to clients with a dedicated server tcadmin license stuck on.

 

I am very paranoid (from previous experience) of giving my dedicated server clients Desktop access to the server when our TCAdmin license is also on there. I normally either sell the server to them with a control panel (plus no desktop but Ventrilo server support) or no control panel but desktop access and no ventrilo. I think im more worried of my Enterprise license going walkies and finding that someones getting a free ride. 95% of our clients totally understand and only wish for Desktop access to see the console working, the rest need the desktop and don't require the control panel full stop.

 

When I eventually do give someone Desktop access (without TCAdmin) I always get a little worried that there going to wack Bittorent on there and that im going to have a nice 95% overages bill from our transit providers :-s

 

Thoughts anyone?

 

-Chris

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Hi Chris,

 

I'm afraid there is no good answer for you. If you sell dedicated servers most expect full access and with that you will always have the ones that try to take advantage but that shouldn't sway you from offering it. I would recommend being vigilante and if any problems pop up to handle them quickly. That's really all you can do.

 

I can tell you we get a few complaints every month on our dedicated packages, Everything ranging from ebay phishing scams to distibuting copyrighted material. The only thing you can do with that is investigate the issue and do whatever your Terms of Service calls for and whatever pleases your upstream. ;)

 

I don't know of any way for a customer to take advantage of your enterprise license since everything is encoded and they would need your reg key at a minimum to do anything.

 

Please explain if I'm missing something.

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Rich,

 

Do you give clients access to a Dedicated Assigned TCAdmin setup as well as Desktop? Isn't the license key in the remote's config file? Is it stupid to be worried about your Microsoft SPLA key to go walkies as well? I mean we have always offered dedicated servers since day one (about 3 years now) But with the amount we have, its time to stream line the setup.. When you give clients access to the Dedicated server, do you retain any form of access to the box?

 

When a customer signs up, I try and persuade them to take a fully managed dedi with TCAdmin Assigned Dedicated rather than giving them desktop. I guess its also a way to prevent them breaking Windows and I have to reinstall it.

 

Another added problem is overages, if they sign up with there card via our processing thats fine. I can charged them the due overages in a worst case scenario, but if they use PayPal and they get overages I can see there reply will be one word f and the other word off. In the end of it, it leaves me with a horrible bill.

 

ECF,

 

I am talking about giving a client both a user assigned dedicated server and giving them desktop access.

 

-Chris

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Hi Chris,

 

We give full desktop access to all our dedicated's. I don't like to limit customers to what they can install, That's the whole idea of having your own box right? ;)

 

We also have quite a few GSP's using our boxes and as you can imagine they need full desktop access to support their own clients.

 

We don't generally log into customers servers unless they specifically ask us to. In the event they need to be turned off for non-payment etc. the server is turned off with the pdu,

 

We use the datacenter edition of tcadmin since we host over 100 machines so I'm not sure what the differences are with it compared to the version your using. The keys should be encrypted in either version though.

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The datacenter version works differently than the user assigned servers Chris. The client gets their own panel install basically with options to change numerous things such as the template, mods, maps and even tie their own Modernbill system into it.

 

As far as remote desktop access, that would be up to you. The license key for our software is only viewable by loggin into the panel as admin. It should not be on the remote server at all.

 

As Rich said, if you rent a dedicated box, you should have access to do whatever you would liek with it, unless you sell them to the client and make them aware they do not get RDP access.

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At the current moment, we do clearly say that its either a control panel or RDP option mainly as i'm more worried of TCAdmin going missing from the server or nicely configured Rar files with our installs disappear. As you can guess I am a little bit of a security/worrying type, been screwed over before so its natural for me when I give out access to a user at a click of the fingers.

 

"I don't like to limit customers to what they can install, That's the whole idea of having your own box right?"

 

Yes, but we give them the control panel to install what they want :) Many customers want a dedicated server because they want to host multiple servers rather than paying for each one.

 

ECF, so if we give them access to the server assigned to them in TCAdmin as well as give them Desktop access via RDP to do as they please there shouldn't be a problem or a security risk to the fact they can see the TCAdmin Program Files and that own servers config file?

 

-Chris

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There is always a risk of allowing RDP access. Most times you will find that clients will mess the box up beyond repair, and it will require an OS reload. And as Rich stated above, you have people that may use them for illegal purposes etc...

 

To be honest I would simply give them access to the panel to install what games they need, and if by chance they want to run something else then you could install it for them?

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I find a decent percentage of customers really don't want to play around with configuring things on the machine or simply don't know how which is fine but it brings up other issues such as who's running the security updates on the machine and who fixes the game servers when they require someone to login remotely to do it? So yes, I like the idea but it opens up another can of worms.

 

Consider this for a random example. Clan 'A' rents 4 shared servers for say $200/mo. You do all the support for their servers and fix them when they are broke. Time goes by and Clan 'A' decides to cut costs by renting a dedicated for $150/mo to run their servers so they can save $50/mo which works well financially for them but they don't know anything about fixing the servers and expect you to continue offering the same level of support you were giving before for less money per month but now instead of 4 servers you are supporting 9 servers, TS, ventrilo and a few websites + an FTP server and a firewall that is badly misconfigured..

 

Now.. You can probably see where I'm going with this.. ;)

 

There is a give and take here. It cannot be both ways. You either save $$ and do it your way or spend the extra to have it managed. If you pull RDP access from your clients dedicated servers you are now required to fix everything they install which as we both know can often be a huge mess and usually in the end they cancel citing your servers suck and support sucks.. ;)

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There is always a risk of allowing RDP access. Most times you will find that clients will mess the box up beyond repair, and it will require an OS reload. And as Rich stated above, you have people that may use them for illegal purposes etc...

 

To be honest I would simply give them access to the panel to install what games they need, and if by chance they want to run something else then you could install it for them?

 

Thats basically what we have been doing for the last few years. Its worked great but as you have to in this industry, you have to always look around the corner for a better solution for the customer otherwise they just piss off for another company who is a few pound cheaper.

 

In reply to Rich, we have tried to automate as much of the management as possible. For Security Patches (such for Windows) we use WSUS which works a treat, for Monitoring we have a nice Cacti with Threshhold mod setup and for game patches/updates, we just include it when we update every other server. While yes it does increase in server support when they are installing tons of games and they call on us to repair it but it can only look good to the customer when most don't have a clue and your on within minutes and there services are back up.

 

You would laugh but the majority of our problems with customers on Dedicated servers are either:

 

Customers who cannot setup SVDownloadURL from there servers correctly

or

Server Uptime goes past 30 days and all MOHAA/Quake server's rcon fail because of the stupid bug within the server build. A reboot just sorts that :)

 

Rich, you final comment can go both ways. Sometimes looking at a customers server who had desktop and your trying to work out why a certain server wont work can take a while but if everything is in a standard setup (such as the way TCAdmin stores it all in certain folders etc) you cant go very wrong. Either way if a customer still somehow thinks your at fault (as we all know its never the customers fault :s) they will still call you shite no matter what.

 

Oh just to add, not giving them access can leave certain customers to accuse you off running other stuff on his server :) When we give them access to prove it was all lies, it was still some how still our fault. Don't you love customers!

 

I think ill be leaving it as a managed option.

 

Thanks for all your comments guys.

 

-Chris

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