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GridVirt.com: in quest of cost-performance

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Solid state of things

Solid state drives (SSD) are changing the entire hosting industry, swiftly and thoroughly. Less than a year ago you could hardly find many hosting providers offering SSD-based hosting solutions. Now there are dozens and hundreds of those.

I will not try to describe the story of SSD technology or unveil myths (there are many). However, higher prices of SSDs is a fact, and thus the task was to find the provider with the best cost-performance and I/O speed, simultaneously. I will mention the whole list of providers I tested in one of the following posts. Atthe moment, though, looks like GridVirt.com is at the moment the leader in cost-performance.

To illustrate, I give the values (capacity, some benchmarks and cost):

  • CPU cores: 4 (x 3GHz)
  • RAM: 1.5 Gb
  • Disk quota: 20 Gb
  • UnixBench score: 3625.0
  • IOPS random read: 74993
  • IOPS random write: 71463
  • Sequential write speed: 568 Mb/sec
  • Cost: 25 USD/month

You are free to open a SSD plans performance chart (see the top menu for links) and do some math for other listed plans. To me, the value/cost ratio of UnixBench unit and random I/O speed is of higher importance, since most of sites I run heavily use databases.

The above refers to so called a node. A node is a quantum of hosting resource at GridVirt.

Note: the I/O performance can be raised by at least 30% (and more), but it's a paid add-on service, 5 USD/month. If you really need that high performance, I suppose the cost isn't overwhelming.

In my case, the optimized benchmarking results were:

  • UnixBench score: 3783.7
  • IOPS random read: 140531
  • IOPS random write: 137939
  • Sequential write speed: 1331 Mb/sec

The first impressions

There's no second chance to make the first impression. In case of GridVirt, the overall impression is very positive.

The thing I really appreciate was the assistance in setting up a virtual machine (often called a VPS). It was the end of a hard day, I was extremely tired after handling a lot of VMs at work and started to do quite absurd mistakes, while setting the server up. It was a good surprise to have all the errors corrected without much hassle, just in front of my eyes.

I prefer to handle all the VMs myself (this is why I switched originally to dedicated servers and later to VPSes). This is why I usually place only one support ticket — to set up rDNS record for a newly created VPS' IP (in case the control panel doesn't automated that process). Other tickets would come to existence only if an outage happens. Thus I can only say the support response is quick and helpful.

By the way, I like the fact their site has no graphical logo. Have you noticed that? The same impression you will have about the control panel you will use to handle your virtual datacenter.

Also...

I do not like migrating my sites from one provider to another. There should be a very good reason, such as higher performance and reliability and high cost-performance ratio.

Also, I should mention I never recommend anything without actually testing myself. I have seen the performance of GridVirt's nodes in case of a real-life site, thus I intend to relocate my sites here, one by one, in the foreseeable future (I am watching the mentioned hosted site's performance, to see how it changes as time passes).

Further reviews will follow — stay tuned!

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