MediaTemple recently released a new hosting platform, GridServer, which basically promises to set up your site on a very scalable network of server, where you are not tied down to any specific piece of hardware, and your site can handle large amounts of traffic without hiccupping. (I switched my sites to (gs) last week, almost no problems so far, and the pages are being served very fast).
Ben Rockwood has posted some speculation as to how (mt) may have set up their whole new service offering:
The Grid magic is this: store all use data on NFS so that no matter which system you connect to you can access the data. Then spread your vhost configuration to all hosts in the “grid”, so that any system can serve your data. This system is therefore highly scalable because adding an additional node to the “grid” is trivial and reliable because if one system dies, big deal. But this means that you require two things to make it work: really good load balancers and really good NFS storage. And by good I mean very reliable and extremely fast.
The NFS in this case would be something from BlueArc. Although some people (in the comments and elsewhere) have expressed concern as to the viability of this setup, that doesn’t concern me too much. I am not running anything really mission-critical on the (gs) servers (and even if I was, I do not see it as being any less vulnerable than the traditional shared hosting setup where your site is on one physical box with 2000 other sites).
It does make for an interesting read though.
(Update: right after I wrote this, MediaTemple experienced some more problems with the (gs) service. You can read about what happened and the solution here. Everything seems to be working fine on my end now.)