30 day review of Digital Ocean

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When I first started looking at Cloud hosting, I did quickly hear about two services, iwStack.com and DigitalOcean. One month ago I did signup for an account with DO, and have used their Amsterdam 2 DC since that. As always I started with a small VPS plan, to test uptime, network, hardware etc. Here is my review of DigitalOcean.

Product/hardware/price

DigitalOcean is not really a cloud host, but they offer cloud features like pay by the hour, snapshots, templates,  quick deployment, use your credit to create lots of servers, backups, several locations etc. But still, you get a “normal” KVM server. They have no High Availability, no Fail-Over, no Own ISO, no External Firewall with GUI etc like iwStack do.

But still, they have a really good product. It’s super simple to create new droplets, it takes only around 55 seconds before it is online (you get the root password on e-mail). In fact, it only takes around 55 seconds to create a 64 GB RAM, 640 GB SSD disk, 20vCore KVM server! What other host let you do that?

Their prices starts at $5/mo or $0.007/hour. You pay for what you use, and they do only bill by the hour. But they do charge you 100% regardless of your servers is turned on or off. Still, you can create a template, and delete your server, then recreate it later on when you need it, without paying for it. Unlike iwStack.com, they do not charge for template disk space.

I’m normally using a 512 MB RAM , 20 GB disk. 1 TB BW, 1vCore server on their AMS2 DC, paying $5/mo for it. So most of my review is based on this server, with the uptime. But I have done my benchmark test on a 64 GB droplet.

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Service/Support

The first (and only) time I used their support so far, it was a mixed experience. I asked them some really short and clear questions, and got BS replies back. But I had stumbled on a little “trade” secret, that the normal support guy did not know (or wanted to reply on). I did not understand why I could not get any reply, after I had repeated my self for the third time. I then tweeted about this issue, and then it took under 10 minutes before I got a reply, both on twitter and on my support ticket. This time from a Support Specialist. I got a really good explanation on my question, and as a really nice thing I got a credit on my account.

I think this is a excellent proof of a good host. I could easily been a situation there I had been very unhappy, just getting strange replies on my ticket, but it was solved very fast. And with a very good outcome for me. 😀

Their response time on “normal” support tickets is around 14 minutes average from my tickets.

Benchmark

I have done one test on Serverbear.com, but it was not done on the same droplets as my own benchmark. On the Serverbear test I got a really low disk speed of 160 MB/s.

The first test is with a 16 GB 8vCore server, and I got a UnixBench result of 2844. I did then run a test on a 64 GB 20vCore server, and the result was: 4226 points. It currently holds the 5.place on my Top20 list. I could not test their 96 GB RAM 24vCore server, they have disabled it on all locations.

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I get an average of 445 MB/S on my DD test, and thats not so impressive since they offer pure SSD disks on the nodes. Still, 445 MB/s is not bad, but it’s not Ramnode speeds either. I have seen DO speeds up to over 700 MB/s but I’m sure that was on low load nodes.

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Really good connection in the Netherlands, and not so bad speeds all around.

Network/uptime

My monitoring services tells me that I have a 100% uptime the last 30 days with 1 minute monitors. I’m using their AMS2 location for my test server.

Conclusion

DigitalOcean is not a complete cloud host, it lack some cloud features like HA, fail-over, firewall etc, but it still is a really good host. Servers is deployed within one minute, you can choose from several locations, templates etc. You can create templates and backups that you can transfer from EU to US and vica versa.

Their servers is really good, you can resize your servers with one click, and their uptime is really good. (the best).

Signup and do a test for your self, I’m sure you will like DigitalOcean as much as I do.

 

4 month review of Ramnode

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The first time I used Ramnode is around 1.5 years ago (July 2012). They was a new company then, only around 2 months old. But still, they had really good servers with really good disk speeds, and a high Benchmark result. But back in 2012 I did not continue with their service, because they only had US servers then.

4 months ago, I did signup for two Netherlands servers with Ramnode, and have used them since that.

Product/hardware/price

Since they started back in 2012, Ramnode.com has always used really good hardware. When they started with their SSD-cached nodes, and then their pure SSD nodes, almost no other companies could compete on IO speeds.

Ramnode offer OpenVZ and KVM servers, both plans comes with pure SSD and SSD-cached options. Ramnode offer so many different plans on three locations, as you can see on the screenshot below, their prices starts so low as $2/mo. On top of that they often have coupons out there (just now they have a 25% off coupon) so you can get the price even lower.

I’m using a OpenVZ SSD-Cached VPS (CVZ-E5) – Netherlands – 512MB CVZ-E5 server with a Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2630 0 @ 2.30GHz CPU, 512 MB RAM, 120 GB SSD-cached disk, 2 TB BW and I’m paying $4.87/mo for this after a LEB special.

I’m using my Ramnode server to store Virtualmin backup files, that I also have used several times to restore sites on test servers around EU/US, and their servers works really good.

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Service/Support

I have not used their support yet, or they contacted me because of really high CPU load on one of my servers. I got an e-mail telling me that the VPS was suspended since it used a mining script. They gave me the option to start the server, and find out what the issue was. I quickly found out that one of my sites (using Status2k) was hacked, and someone had uploaded a bitcoin mining script and started it.

The day after the first “attack” my CPU load on my other Ramnode server was going into the roof, and I found out that I had only deleted the script, but not removed it from RAM, so it still could be started and used. They shutdown the server, and notified me. Also this time with details the script that was abusing my CPU.

They also advised me to maybe rebuild me servers, since they had been compromised. And that started the process there I got rid of almost all my old servers, changed hosts, and got a completely new setup for both my main servers and my backup servers.

Under the whole situation Nick was very professional and I never got accused for abusing their service on purpose. And of course, it was my fault that my servers got hacked, and the best advice was to rebuild my servers to be 100% sure.

Benchmark

Since my plan just comes with 2 cores, my UnixBench score is 1256.8. Have not used UnixBench on small VPS plan before, so don’t know if the result is over or under the average for a such plan.040214ramnode4

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Good/decent network speeds from most locations. Of course, best results from the other NL locations.

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I just using a really cheap OpenVZ SSD-cached node, but still I get decent disk speeds with a avrage of 468 MB/s.

Network/uptime

My monitoring services tells me that I have a 99.942% uptime the last 4 months with 1 minute monitors. Ramnode has a 99.9% uptime guarantee so no problem there.

Conclusion

Ramnode is not a just 4 month old company that I first used back in 2012. They have become one of the most liked companies on both WHT and LET/LEB. they have won the Q3 2013 and Q4 2013 poll of the Top Providers on LEB.

They have really good hardware, good network, really good disk setup, good offers, good prices, three locations (EU/US) etc etc.

And @Nick_A use lots of time both on WHT and LET to satisfy his customers. They are a unmanaged host, but you still get the feeling they are something more then that.

60 days review of INIZ.com

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I have used INIZ for 60 days now, after I got a good deal on LEB. My first plan was to use the server for my DNS failover service, but I later on decided that I would only use one host for that, reducing the number of hosts and servers I use. So I paid for a year. 😀

Product/hardware/price

INIZ provides unmanaged service in three locations: Los Angeles, New York and Amsterdam, Netherlands. They offer OpenVZ plans, pure SSD plans and KVM plans. They have plans from $4.93/mo (256 MB) to $19.72/mo (2 GB)

I’m using a LEB special and have a OpenVZ, 4vCores (Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2650 0 @ 2.00GHz), 2 GB RAM, 100 GB disk, 2 TB bw plan that I’m paying $46.50/year for ($3.85/mo). I’m using their Netherlands node.

Their prices is not very low, almost $15/mo for a 1 GB OpenVZ server with no SSD is actually some expensive. But, INIZ is a active member on LEB, and often has very good offers, like what I’m using. So always take a look at LEB and the VPS offer section of WHT before you order from them.

I have seen some high load on the node from time to time, but I’m sure INIZ has it all under control, since the load is not seen for any long time.

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Service/Support

Not much to say about their support, have not tried it all the last 60 days. But since they made it to place number 3 on the Q4-2013 (and Q3-2013) poll on LEB, and they must have a good support team.

I have not used the server for any live site. I used it for a month or so as a backup server on my DNS failover service. So I replicated my sites every hour to my INIZ server.

Benchmark:

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My plan is “only” a RAID-10 plan, but I get some good disk speeds here. I must say that I have also seen speeds down to 250 MB/s, but I get speeds over 500 MB/s most of the time.

Network/uptime

My monitoring services tells me that I have a 99.949% uptime the last 2 months with 1 minute monitors.

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Conclusion

INIZ.com is a good provider with good hardware and network, with great offers from time to time. I have got really much value for my money with them. They do not have much downtime and they are holding their promise of 99.9% uptime.

I have changed my rating system, and INIZ gets 8 of 10 points in this review.

 

18 month review of Soladrive.com

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SolaDrive.com it’s my second fully managed services, and one of the host I normally recommend. I have been using them for over 18 months now. Read more in my review.

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Product/hardware/price

SolaDrive.com has really good hardware. They still are number 1 on my Top20 benchmarking list. You get at least a 16 core server (fair share), but they also have 24 cores servers. I’m currently on a Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2620 @ 2.00GHz server
on their UK node using their OpenVZ business plan with 1 GB of RAM and 40 GB RAID-10 HDD.

SolaDrive has three fully managed OpenVZ VPS plan to offer from 1 GB to 4 GB of RAM and three XEN plans, see the above picture for specs and prices. For a fully managed service, their prices is pretty good.

They also offer three locations, Los Angeles, Scranton and the UK.

Service/Support

SolaDrive has excellent service, and are know for it on forums like Webhostingtalk.com. They really takes cares of their customers. They say on their page that support tickets normally is replied on after 10 minutes, but no longer then 60 minutes. I have checked my  last three tickets, and the response time was: 23 minutes, 3 minutes and 4 minutes. Thats a average of 10 minutes, so they don’t lie on their site.

Benchmark:

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Network/uptime

My monitoring services tells me that I have a 99.796% uptime the last 12 months with 1 minute monitors. Most of my downtime has been a result of DDoS attacks on the node or DC. They do promise a uptime of 99.9%, so in this case they have not held their guarantee. 13 hours and 53 minutes of downtime is allot in a year.

Edit: They have changed their UK Data Center around 7 months ago, and after that they have only had 1 hour with downtime. Just wanted you to know that.

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Conclusion

The only negative thing about SolaDrive is that they have had allot of downtime on their UK node the last year. (they have later on changed DC, and there has been only one hour downtime since that) But their service is still excellent and their support is really fast. and they have a great product. So I have no problems at all recommending SolaDrive to people needing a fully managed host in the US or in the UK. So I give them four+ stars (of 6) this time.

First impression of Digital Ocean

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I just started playing with cloud hosting, and after I moved all my main sites to iwStack.com, I wanted to see if there was any other good cloud host out there, that don’t charge you lots of money. After reading on LET, I quickly found out that DigitalOcean was next in line for me.

DigitalOcean is not really a cloud service like iwStack.com, but they charge by the hour and you can create “droplets” in several location, and it only takes around 60 seconds to create a VPS server. They uses KVM.

You can create VPS servers from 512 MB RAM up to 96 GB of RAM.

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You pay hour by hour, and you can see both the hourly price and the monthly price when you create a new droplet (VPS).

You can then select location of your new server, currently DigitalOcean has 5 locations to choose from, three in the US and two locations in the Netherlands.

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After you have chosen a location, you can select what kind of OS you want on your server. You can also create a new server from templates you have creates, backups or destroyed servers.

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Then you click on Create Droplet, and 60 seconds later your server is online. You get your root password on e-mail.

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Their billing system is simple. You pay by the hour for any droplets (VPS) servers you have created. You pay full price if the server is on, or off. The only way to not pay is to destroy your server, or/and make a template of it, and then destroy it. (you will get a new IP if you restore it).

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The uptime has been 100% so far, after I started monitoring the uptime. I played with the server at the beginning, so I rebooted it some times, before I started monitoring it.

I have done some easy benchmarking, checking connection speeds and IO:

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I have not tried their support yet (but it’s a unmanaged host) so I can’t tell how good they are.

I still like iwStack.com better then DigitalOcean, but it’s not a bad choice. At iwStack you have to pay €30 to get access. At DO you only have to pay $5 to create your first server.

Take a look for your self, and find out how DigitalOcean can make your hosting more easy.

 

Entering cloud hosting – with iwStack.com (Prometeus)

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I have finally moved my main sites from “old” KVM based servers to the cloud, and luckily I did not have to leave my favorite VPS provider, Prometeus.

I have used Prometeus.com as my main host for almost 1.5 years now. And I have to say it, they are really good. Their hardware and network is very good and stable, so I have almost had no downtime at all past 1.5 years.

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Some days ago I decided to try out Prometeus cloud service, iwStack. And I have to say it, I love it. You get a “pay as you go” account, and can start creating VPS servers, private networks, firewalls, load balancing, snapshots (both manual and automatic) etc etc right away. And you only pay for what you use. They charge for the hour, so if you only use a VPS server for an hour, thats whats you charged for. I really like that I can create new VPS servers within minutes, and using them for whatever I want, then close them down (or destroy) them and not paying for them. And also the option to create a new Linux or Windows VPS at anytime I want, not having to order something a wait for it.

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You can get a price estimate using this price calculator…

The price is not to bad, in fact it’s one of the cheapest I have seen. Before I had four KVM servers with Prometeus. 2 x 512 MB (25 GB) servers, 1 x 1 GB (35 GB) server and 1 x 1.5 GB (35 GB) server. The total price without any discount was €30.5/month

With iwStack I have created three servers that do the same. 1 x 512 MB (40 GB), 1 x 1 GB (10 GB) and 1 x 2 GB (20 GB), with a CentOS 6.5 template (20GB), and two snapshots (2x20GB) I pay €0.777600 per day = €23.4 per month. So I save €6.5 per month.

I also have a Windows 2012 R2 server that I only start when I need it, and then stop it again. The only cost on it when it not run is for the storage, and thats €0.057600 per day, thats righ €0.05 per day. When I run it it costs me €0.006000 per hour = €0.144000 per day. (€4.32/month)

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The price is not the most important thing for me (but it’s not bad either), the best thing with iwStack is the endless opportunities, the freedom of creating as many VPS servers you like, whenever you wants. And of course, the possible to upgrade (and downgrade) servers as I need. And of course, the fact that you only pay for used resources is really nice.

Iwstack – creating a new VPS in the cloud. (my guide)

I will make a review sometime after 30 days but here some disk and network speeds from one of my cloud KVM servers:

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Benchmark – natcoweb.com – Golden plan

I have dome my benchmark test on a Golden VPS plan from natcoweb.com. They just released a new SSD based VPS line. The results can you see in this test, they have really good disk speeds and IO. Not so fast CPU. Still, read the test and look for your self.

Server location: USA, Clifton, NJ
*Golden* –$45.95/ mo
Plan info:
KVM – 1024 MB RAM, 30 GB HDD , unmetered bandwidth.
Disk info: RAID 10 array

Continue reading

70 day review – Ramnode.com

I have got a new five star host..Ramnode.com. Read my 70 day review here.

Product/hardware/price

Ramnode.com has expanded a lot the last 70 days. They have added new powerful hardware, several new VPS lines, including pure SSD and SSD cached VPS plans. They have added KVM. They have a new DC in Atlanta etc etc. I have tested most of their new servers and Ramnode.com gets high results, and currently has four places on my Top 20 list.

Their plans goes from 512 MB RAM up to 4 GB of RAM, and the price starts at $7.50/mo up to $60/mo. They do also have a small 256 MB RAM plan for $15/Quarterly.

Service/Support

Their service is really good. They are active on WHT, they do send out info mails about scheduled maintenance or other things. One day I got an mail about a DDoS attack on the node I used, but I had not seen any issue, and did not know about the attack. So good info from Ramnode.

I have not opened one support ticket since I signup, so I can’t say anything about their response times etc.

Network/uptime

Their network seems very good, fast speeds and my server have 100% uptime. It can’t be any better.

Benchmark

Read my latest Benchmark – Ramnode.com – KVM SSD-Cached VPS

Read my Benchmark – Ramnode.com – Atlanta 1024MB plan (pure SSD)

Conclusion

Ramnode.com has got a new DC, new servers, new technology (KVM) and SSD Cached plans. You get allot for your money. You have the choice between really fast pure SSD plans with up to 966 MB/S disk speeds (DD) and slightly slower SSD cached plans with lot more disk space and disk speeds around 7-800 MB/s.