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Author Topic: SporeStack: Launch VPS servers with Bitcoin. Anonymous, API driven  (Read 2213 times)
sega01
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March 14, 2017, 04:23:27 AM
 #21

I've added top up support to SporeStack, making it more useful for traditional VPS users.

https://sporestack.com/news#2017-03-13

It's pretty straight forward. Every server created has a UUID. You can see that UUID with
Code:
sporestack list
. Then run
Code:
sporestack topup --days 28 --uuid (UUID)
to extend the server's end of life.

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March 14, 2017, 04:27:34 AM
 #22

How can one use this service as an RDP / VPS ?
I know it runs on Linux, but can I have a GUI / SSH mode? (noob here)

Pretty interesting service. I am surprised you haven't had much media coverage yet.

Regards
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April 01, 2017, 03:24:33 PM
 #23

News post: Sporestack increases identity requirements

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April 03, 2017, 12:33:56 PM
 #24


localhost? Cheesy fix the url

identity is required only if you extend duration?

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sega01
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April 12, 2017, 12:56:27 AM
 #25


localhost? Cheesy fix the url

identity is required only if you extend duration?

Oops, good catch! I fixed it.

https://sporestack.com/news#2017-04-01

Note the date Wink

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April 25, 2017, 04:03:35 PM
 #26

Bump.

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April 27, 2017, 04:40:50 PM
 #27

I've made some tweaks so it's easier to have servers buy other servers.

I've rolled this out on go-beyond.org: http://go-beyond.org/post/skynet-0.0.1/

I now have SporeStack servers buying the next set of SporeStack servers before expiry.

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May 08, 2017, 01:17:14 AM
 #28

We've dropped Satoshi prices by 25%: https://sporestack.com/news#2017-05-03

25% more servers for your Bitcoin :-).

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May 31, 2017, 06:34:37 PM
 #29

SporeStack is now being used to enable autonomous computing. You can launch a tor relay, it will publish a Bitcoin address, and funds to the address will cause it to renew itself or even buy another, if funds are high enough.

http://go-beyond.org/post/autonomous-crowd-funded-tor-relays/

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June 13, 2017, 03:57:59 AM
 #30

I now have a script for deploying Debian 9 on SporeStack via iPXE if anyone is interested. Hoping that iPXE deployments can make multiple providers more possible in the future.

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July 14, 2017, 03:54:05 AM
 #31

Bump. Just a reminder that there's a hidden service you can use over Tor: http://spore64zke3ofvbp.onion/

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July 31, 2017, 05:50:22 PM
 #32

Another price drop to bring prices back in line with the current USD<->BTC prices. Hopefully I can automate this in the future.

https://sporestack.com/news#2017-07-28

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August 22, 2017, 12:20:35 AM
 #33

I've added a AUTO region feature so you can specify "AUTO", "AUTO-NA", or "AUTO-EU" as the region (--dcid in the sporestack client). A datacenter with capacity will be randomly selected and used. Can be a better option than just using one datacenter and hoping it never fills up, especially in the case of automation.

https://sporestack.com/news#2017-08-21

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August 22, 2017, 05:01:23 AM
 #34

I really like the concept of a fully API/CLI-driven IaaS platform. This looks to function similar to platforms such as Heroku which allow you to build applications through the command line. My only concern with the way you have built it is the 28-day limit which others have asked about but I still don't understand why it is there as well as the prices for the VPS servers not being visible, or at the very least I could not find them. If I may ask, are these servers built on top of another platform, and if so which? There seem to be quite many different locations that I don't think you would have set up yourself to host the servers on which these VPSs are run. I would like to know about the reliability and uptime of these servers.

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August 22, 2017, 04:12:17 PM
 #35

I really like the concept of a fully API/CLI-driven IaaS platform. This looks to function similar to platforms such as Heroku which allow you to build applications through the command line. My only concern with the way you have built it is the 28-day limit which others have asked about but I still don't understand why it is there as well as the prices for the VPS servers not being visible, or at the very least I could not find them. If I may ask, are these servers built on top of another platform, and if so which? There seem to be quite many different locations that I don't think you would have set up yourself to host the servers on which these VPSs are run. I would like to know about the reliability and uptime of these servers.

Thank you for your reply.

I guess in that way it is like Heroku but this is a couple layers lower, providing just the infrastructure and nothing like a Python app abstraction layer. Of course you could build that on top of SporeStack. I wanted to start with servers as the base layer and build from there.

The 28 day limit is intentional. I've designed it to be ephemeral by default, which is more of a modern practice and takes some getting used to. For the most part rather than upgrading the same server over and over, you'd just replace it with another. This has some advantages on my end as well.

The easiest way to see the price is to just try and spawn a server and see how many Bitcoins it requests. https://launch.sporestack.com/ shows it a bit better, but masks the flavors from you. You can guess the cost by looking here: https://sporestack.com/node/options

There's a base_satoshis_per_day. There's a random amount added onto that of 1-10,000 Satoshis that's used for identifying your payment. It's a very unusual system but you can see how it works here: https://github.com/teran-mckinney/bitcoinacceptor-python

Yes, currently all of the servers are created on Vultr. They accept Bitcoin as well, although I think you have to provide a credit card. They are great to work with. SporeStack adds an anonymous layer and I tend to prefer my API/tooling on top of it. Using Vultr directly is cheaper.

If you want a very traditional VPS and don't mind Vultr knowing who you are, they are a pretty good bet.

That said, you can "topup" your servers with SporeStack. There's a topup command so you can topup past the 28 day mark. Now down the road that may fail for some reasons. Say I start hosting these myself and there's a critical patch I need to apply to the host, say some security vulnerability. As a host you have two options: Take everyone down unexpectedly, live migrate to another host (more on that later), or let all VMs expire from the machine. So in that case I would mark the host to not have new servers built there and to not allow renewals. Once the servers expire (at very worst, 28 days from then), then I can patch it and restart it. Or say the server has to be moved from one datacenter or another, the same applies. You are going to have some unexpected downtime with public clouds unless they employ a lot of behind the scenes live migration. Which is doable but tricky to pull off, especially without any incidents at all. Some people do manage it well and I've never been a fan of it. In my mind, too many moving parts and there are cases where it doesn't work at all, if the host is degraded enough.

I would say the reliability of Vultr is about what I expect normally. Maybe a restart of a VM due to some host issue, once per 12 VM months? Maybe a bit more than that, just kind of a number I threw together. Occasionally there are boostrap issues where a VM does not boot at all the first time, maybe 1 in 80 or so, I'm not sure.

In general, servers will always fail so it's best to make a completely redundant architecture. Say you get to 99.99% reliability per server, adding another makes it almost improbable that you'll be totally down. Whereas adding more nines gets to be quite expensive.

In the future I may add more providers or try to host these myself. But in those cases the servers will only come up with iPXE -- different providers with stock images will just vary much too much and iPXE is probably the best way to make it more of a uniform platform.

Here's an example using self-renewing: https://github.com/sporestack/launch.sporestack.com

And my blog replaces itself every week: https://github.com/teran-mckinney/staticator/

I also have an example doing self-renewing and self-propagating: http://go-beyond.org/post/autonomous-crowd-funded-tor-relays/

Those examples are automated and work by sending Bitcoin to a new wallet that the servers use themselves. You an also watch for when the server is about to explore locally and run sporestack topup.

I hope this answers your questions. Let me know if you are curious about anything else.

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August 23, 2017, 01:49:44 AM
 #36

I really like the concept of a fully API/CLI-driven IaaS platform. This looks to function similar to platforms such as Heroku which allow you to build applications through the command line. My only concern with the way you have built it is the 28-day limit which others have asked about but I still don't understand why it is there as well as the prices for the VPS servers not being visible, or at the very least I could not find them. If I may ask, are these servers built on top of another platform, and if so which? There seem to be quite many different locations that I don't think you would have set up yourself to host the servers on which these VPSs are run. I would like to know about the reliability and uptime of these servers.

Thank you for your reply.

I guess in that way it is like Heroku but this is a couple layers lower, providing just the infrastructure and nothing like a Python app abstraction layer. Of course you could build that on top of SporeStack. I wanted to start with servers as the base layer and build from there.

The 28 day limit is intentional. I've designed it to be ephemeral by default, which is more of a modern practice and takes some getting used to. For the most part rather than upgrading the same server over and over, you'd just replace it with another. This has some advantages on my end as well.

The easiest way to see the price is to just try and spawn a server and see how many Bitcoins it requests. https://launch.sporestack.com/ shows it a bit better, but masks the flavors from you. You can guess the cost by looking here: https://sporestack.com/node/options

There's a base_satoshis_per_day. There's a random amount added onto that of 1-10,000 Satoshis that's used for identifying your payment. It's a very unusual system but you can see how it works here: https://github.com/teran-mckinney/bitcoinacceptor-python

Yes, currently all of the servers are created on Vultr. They accept Bitcoin as well, although I think you have to provide a credit card. They are great to work with. SporeStack adds an anonymous layer and I tend to prefer my API/tooling on top of it. Using Vultr directly is cheaper.

If you want a very traditional VPS and don't mind Vultr knowing who you are, they are a pretty good bet.

That said, you can "topup" your servers with SporeStack. There's a topup command so you can topup past the 28 day mark. Now down the road that may fail for some reasons. Say I start hosting these myself and there's a critical patch I need to apply to the host, say some security vulnerability. As a host you have two options: Take everyone down unexpectedly, live migrate to another host (more on that later), or let all VMs expire from the machine. So in that case I would mark the host to not have new servers built there and to not allow renewals. Once the servers expire (at very worst, 28 days from then), then I can patch it and restart it. Or say the server has to be moved from one datacenter or another, the same applies. You are going to have some unexpected downtime with public clouds unless they employ a lot of behind the scenes live migration. Which is doable but tricky to pull off, especially without any incidents at all. Some people do manage it well and I've never been a fan of it. In my mind, too many moving parts and there are cases where it doesn't work at all, if the host is degraded enough.

I would say the reliability of Vultr is about what I expect normally. Maybe a restart of a VM due to some host issue, once per 12 VM months? Maybe a bit more than that, just kind of a number I threw together. Occasionally there are boostrap issues where a VM does not boot at all the first time, maybe 1 in 80 or so, I'm not sure.

In general, servers will always fail so it's best to make a completely redundant architecture. Say you get to 99.99% reliability per server, adding another makes it almost improbable that you'll be totally down. Whereas adding more nines gets to be quite expensive.

In the future I may add more providers or try to host these myself. But in those cases the servers will only come up with iPXE -- different providers with stock images will just vary much too much and iPXE is probably the best way to make it more of a uniform platform.

Here's an example using self-renewing: https://github.com/sporestack/launch.sporestack.com

And my blog replaces itself every week: https://github.com/teran-mckinney/staticator/

I also have an example doing self-renewing and self-propagating: http://go-beyond.org/post/autonomous-crowd-funded-tor-relays/

Those examples are automated and work by sending Bitcoin to a new wallet that the servers use themselves. You an also watch for when the server is about to explore locally and run sporestack topup.

I hope this answers your questions. Let me know if you are curious about anything else.

Ah, I see. So it is more for the redundancy that the 28 days limit is implemented? Does that mean that topping up can be done *up to* the 28 days since the original creation date or the time is reset so that the VPS stops 28 days after the top-up date?

Furthermore, I see you manually update bitcoin prices to follow their price in relation with fiat. What fixed USD prices are you trying to follow, to compare with Vultr's stock prices? I do have  a Vultr account but I do want to try out SporeStack because of how much simpler the command line looks to scale and automate my server applications. Looking forward to trying this out.

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August 23, 2017, 11:35:39 PM
 #37

Ah, I see. So it is more for the redundancy that the 28 days limit is implemented? Does that mean that topping up can be done *up to* the 28 days since the original creation date or the time is reset so that the VPS stops 28 days after the top-up date?

Furthermore, I see you manually update bitcoin prices to follow their price in relation with fiat. What fixed USD prices are you trying to follow, to compare with Vultr's stock prices? I do have  a Vultr account but I do want to try out SporeStack because of how much simpler the command line looks to scale and automate my server applications. Looking forward to trying this out.

Eh, kind of for redundancy. It's a long discussion for why I use ephemeral servers, but there's so many ways servers can fail past the hardware. You may erase something accidentally, it may be hacked, you may upgrade it and something may break. Which is why I make sure I can recreate servers without having any loss in functionality, at least for the most part. So rather than configure a server by hand I have configuration management do it, either shell scripts or Saltstack. And ideally you when you create a new server you update it at the same time. If there are failures you can still rely on the current server until you address whatever issues there are.

You can topup past the 28 day mark. There's actually kind of a bug that lets you topup indefinitely, but only in 28 day intervals. So I can spin up a server today with a 28 day lifetime and buy 28 day topups one after the other until my money runs out. With Bitcoin in general top up and prepay works better than postpay since you can't force someone to pay from an address, it has to be done before hand. I would still recommend automating topup if you choose to use it, so you don't buy a year's worth of hosting and then forget what to do next year (it seems silly but it happens, it's like SSL certificate renewal that way).

I agree, I need to add in price pinning to USD. That'll be one of the next features that come along.

I think I've been trying for a 100% margin, maybe a little less. But Vultr's 1GiB server is only $5 a month so that's $10 a month which I think is pretty reasonable. However the Bitcoin price keeps going up so I'm probably well over that now, and of course there are TX fees which are definitely more expensive paying per server than rather credit based for the account. I have surprisingly few complaints about cost and no time soon will I try to be the cheapest provider, only the most automated.

It really is a niche hosting service. There's a lot of unusual things you can do like launch servers that end up completely autonomous and self-sustaining. I did this with Tor relays: http://go-beyond.org/post/autonomous-crowd-funded-tor-relays/

One of the other cool next things you could do is have the servers try to mine cryptocurrencies and convert to Bitcoin to keep themselves alive longer. It may save you 10, 20, 30% in the long run depending on what you are mining.

Thanks for trying out SporeStack! Let me know if you have any more questions.

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September 13, 2017, 05:24:35 PM
 #38

Just a bump.

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October 05, 2017, 06:48:58 PM
 #39

Another bump.

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November 04, 2017, 02:31:39 PM
 #40

Finally, prices are now automatically pinned to the dollar: https://sporestack.com/news#2017-11-03

This means the cost should be a lot more reasonable even when Bitcoin goes up some incredible amount in a single month. Unfortunately, sending transactions under 10,000 Satoshis can be tricky so there is a "price floor" there. You'll see much better rates at 7-28 days than 1-2 days. Not to mention TX fees as well.

-Teran

https://sporestack.com/ (Launch servers with Bitcoin, anonymously)
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