Comments on: The dumbing down of server hosting
Have you ever had this problem?:
- You setup a dedicated server at a major hosting service provider.
- Everything is great for N months or years.
- Then, they start having serious problems... such as timeouts, dropped packets, down-time, mis-routing, etc.
- You contact them, talk with them... and they've gone from being really savvy network experts to... well... complete morons who aren't quite sure what an IP address or name server is.
Over the years, I've seen this pattern happen again and again. Each time, we eventually have to find a new provider. I guess perhaps it's just the nature of the beast.
Back in the old days, we used to joke around that the same 12 OS or language guys did everything. Maybe that's true for host providers too? A few gurus start a company, run it in a smart way, grow the customer base, and become successful. Then, they sell it to the bean counters... the MBAs who only understand the spreadsheet, not the business. Yes, the logo changes, and maybe the website, and especially the web-page background colors and other graphics. (That's when the alarms sound for me.)
From there, it all slides downhill fast.
You'd think they'd realize when they're "in over their heads." But no, they live off their old reputation... at least for a couple years, because many of their customers are not savvy either, so don't really understand why their pages are slow to come up, time-out, etc.
It's a sad note really. The way so much business seems to be done. Smart guys start it, sell it, and then poof, it decays back into the dust.
Oh, and I should mention, I'm not talking about the guys who provide this specific hosting (rebol.com) in L.A. They seem ok. Still. Let's hope that doesn't change.
(I'd add more there, but there are only so many servers I want in L.A... because one day there's going to be a major, major outage. Yes, this is California, the land where mountains are still rising, if you know what I mean.)
Its common that in larger providers that the people that setup the systems move on to new things and the systems get handed off to people with no background and skills. Also during times of recession, the higher paid people get let go and their spot never gets filled. Or in my case after a re-org, people might be placed into roles that they have no background or motivation to learn because its not part of their career plan. But management doesn't really care about the impact on the customer, they only care about following the company line.
So you really have to do your due diligence not only at the beginning but perhaps once a year. You have to know what your provider is up to.
Depending on where you are, self-hosting can be cost effective with SDSL. Running a duplicate offsite on a simpe hosting plan for backup will cover most glitches.
If your bandwidth usage is not too high, some costs can be recovered by leasing it out, say to host small servers or backup services.
Virtualization has made it possible to worry a bit less about the particulars of where you're being hosted.
You can make a Xen image of Debian and shift it wherever you want. You can even download a local copy and test out changes.
Really, there shouldn't be much need for interaction with the people who run the hardware anymore.
I don't know if remote location would be a big problem, but Crosswinds up in Toronto has done well by me and has the and the same group of people since '04. http://www.crosswinds.net/
They have the distinct advantage of being much more geologically stable than LA, while also having the disadvantage of being several hours away by airplane should you need to visit.
BTW, I'm only affiliated to them by way of being a customer.
Carl, by this time you may have gotten an email
CC'd to you regarding my offer to host your mailing
list. cniweb.net is the maintainer of my server and
they have never had an interruption on service in the
nine years I have been using them for all kinds of stuff.
And they were among the first hosters themselves to be
They are in Melbourne Florida, and seem to be pretty-much
hurricane-proof. They have no morons (that I know of) on
staff and they have had the same staff for as long as I
have known them. They owner is Corey Johnson, no relation
to me - although I do have a nephew by that name and
my niece Jessica Johnson used to work for you.
- distribute website to say 20 self hosted servers worldwide
- redirect requests to the moment's least active server
- bandwidth friendly but... maybe(not) Google unfriendly
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