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BlueVM: KVM April offer

BlueVM

BlueVM: really inexpensive KVM plans

You might hear about BlueVM, a known OpenVZ/KVM VPS provider from Colordao Springs, CO, USA.

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cloudive.com and I/O measurement

Cloudive logo

SSD rear guard

IOPS, or input-output operations per second, is a popular parameter, good enough to feel exceptionally proud about. Of course, hosting provider but rarely manufacture storage devices, in order that proud mentioned be authentic. Yet these magic numbers are always posted and referred to. In the VPS benchmarks (see links above) on this site, these benchmarks are measured by performing that many input-output operations, each handling 4kB of data (4096 bytes).

Cloudive.com's contacted me to run a series of tests: how would SSD disk behave when placed into RAID of different types. Note that unless RAID controller recognizes SSD and can perform specific commands like TRIM, it's actually doesn't provide any specific advantages when utilizing RAID.

The testing performed has provided to me that well-known SSD Guard is, in fact, of little real use when talking about boosting disks operations I/O. To those not familiar, I cite manufacturer's explanation.

SSD Guard™, unique to MegaRAID, increases the reliability of SSDs by automatically copying data from a drive with potential to fail to a designated spare or newly inserted drive. A predictive failure event notification, or S.M.A.R.T command, automatically initiates this rebuild to preserve the data on an SSD whose health or performance falls below par. This new feature will greatly benefit users employing a RAID 0 configuration due to the added data protection.

When enabled in MSM, SSD Guard will protect any and all logical volumes built using SSD devices (figure 6). In figure 7 and figure 8, we see a MegaRAID adapter with a RAID 0 volume built from two solid state disk drives. Should one of these drives fail, data loss would occur. However, since SSD Guard is enabled, the MegaRAID adapter is actively monitoring the status of both SSDs. Should a failure appear to be eminent, the MegaRAID adapter will automatically begin rebuilding data onto a third SSD hot spare. If a hot spare is not present or not assigned to the RAID 0, MSM will recommend that the user insert a hot spare drive into an available slot. Once the drive is inserted, copyback will begin.

Now let's talk about I/O measurements.

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Good-bye, BlueLightHost - welcome, Contabo

Contabo

BlueLightHost/iCloudHosting

I started using VPS/cloud services of BlueLightHost in late April, 2012. Since I am now leaving their hosting facility (more about that below), I suppose it could be fair to provide review.

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AWS uptime: measured in years

AWS logo

Five minutes to year

When I started composing this post, the uptime count of one of my Amazon EC2 instances, the one I keep my private repository on, was 364 days, 23 hours and 55 minutes.

So, cheers to the longest VPS uptime I have at the moment. No, that's not an idle VPS. There is a very busy repository running there. There are very CPU-intensive tasks running there from time to time. Development occurs, as well. However, that didn't prevented the instance from running for a year without becoming inaccessible for even 5 minutes.

To those interested, I have ordered another reserved instance (subscription, to make hourly costs lower). Let's calculate: $100 for three years, $0.005 hourly. Given there are 365.25 days in a year, it makes an average of $6.43 a month (traffic not counted; the VPS is low-traffic anyway).

None of VPS/cloud hosting providers I tried were able to provide that high stability and close cost-performance ratio. That's very strange to me. I read about redundancy, high availability blah-blah-blah, but not even 2 months of uptime, in most cases. With Burst.net I had sometimes up to 4 months. And that's all.

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To be, or not to be: no support is best support

NoSupportVPSHosting logo

Good support is...

...dead support, perhaps. I do not assume we are talking about dreams of vengeful customer that gets actually no support when he assumes to have one. The examples are many. Search on a popular hosting forum for something like «bad support» and you will get thousands of threads.

No, I am speaking about companies that build their business model on limited or virtually absent support.

If you wish to see examples, visit No Support Linux Hosting or 10gi.gs. Both are solid, reliable Web hosters with good reputation.

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VPS as a high-risk hosting

JaguarPC

What's a good hoster?

True friends are those who stay with you in a time of need.

True hosters are those who do everything possible to keep you as a customer. First of all, of course, by keeping high uptime and preventing disasters.

It grieves me to say a server hosting some of JaguarPC's VPSes went down on 30-th of September, 2012. Today, almost 17 days after that moment, the situation isn't fully handled. You can read further on this WHT thread, and on JaguarPC forum as well. I sympathize with everyone, hoster included. Hardware will eventually break down. The scale of disaster can't be predicted in most cases, even though the first traits of the upcoming failure should have been seen long before.

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A challenge of uptime, or Who would stay longer than Amazon?

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Uptime or no uptime, that is the question

Boasting of higher uptime is kind of, politely speaking, battle of egos. However, in this give case the uptime and ability to stay available (i.e., no connectivity interruption) is what I expect from hosting providers.

Personally, I continue moving my resources onto cloud servers/VPS or similar type of hosting wherever possible, and, wherever available, choose SSD-powered hosting.

For obvious reasons, I suppose.

My current VM at Blue Light Host, where this very blog is hosted, is up for 94 days, with no global connectivity interruptions within that interval.

My VM at AWS (Amazon Web Services), where I host my Subversion repositories, is up for 281 days — as well, no connectivity interruptions.

It grieves me to say no other hosting provider I tested so far can't offer uptime history of that length. The previous provider for my sites, Joe's Data Center, had once more than 300 days of uptime (and unless maintenance works be scheduled, that could last longer).

Could you name any hosting provider that can offer the uptime for the services matching or more than those mentioned?

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SSD Nodes: clone your servers

SSD Nodes logo

It becomes hard to select the optimal type of host from the variety of SSD VPS providers (new ones are appearing literally every day). Naturally, I prefer choosing those that take into account customers' suggestions.

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Do you need a VPS?

Sisyphus

VPS as a magic wand

Do you really need a VPS for your hosting needs?

The more posts I see on hosting forums — posts that can all be titled «I have a VPS — now what?!» — the more I think people consider a VPS (cloud server, dedicated server — all of them) kind of a magic wand. Just move your sites over a VPS, and all sorts of wonders happen. Sites will become quicker, more popular and so on and so forth.

However, I know several rules I follow sternly, rules that have never failed. One of them: «The better is a foe of the good». If you are satisfied with your current shared hosting (the one most of us start with), if site's stable, data are not lost, uptime is acceptable — do not move. If it works, don't fix it.

OK, something isn't satisfying you on the shared hosting. Try investigating what it is. Perhaps your site requires some clean-up? Perhaps you need a system administrator, a Web designer — an expert that can handle your problems without changing the hosting provider?

If you are still sure the VPS can be the optimal choice, read below things that you might not know about VPS (and its mentioned kins) first.

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Adding list of budget VPS plans

You can see a new link in the upper menu, «Budget VPS plans».

Generally, it's a list of low-price VPS plans. Most of them are taken from WebHostingTalk's VPS offers forum. Some of them are plans I personally used or use. In this case, you will find personal remarks on the corresponding plan's page.

Note that the quickest means to inform me of a plan worth placing into the chart is to contact me via site contact form (see in the navigation menu).

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