For many, many years (well, since 2004 which is a long time for internet things) my web server has been at Rackspace. Well, I say ‘my’ web server but in reality it’s their web server, dedicated to just my use and fully managed by them.
They’ve been great. Small amounts of downtime, answering the phone at 2am to help me fix things I’ve broken, swapping out faulty hard disks, power supplies (twice). They are however very expensive and as my server needs haven’t grown as fast as computing power, I can now save some money moving onto a virtual server. The theory is that the hardware down time wont happen on the Virtual Server. My rackspace server has a single disk, single power supply. Multiple disks and power supplies cost a lot of money so the chance of failure was worth taking. Now though, servers are powerful enough for the resources to be shared across multiple users so we all benefit from RAID 60, multiple power supplies. If my needs change (EG a lot more visitors than currently stop by) then the Virtual Server can be moved to another physical server without any noticeable down time, where it can have more resources (bandwith/processor/disk space etc).
So, this week I’ve signed up for 8 shares on a server with ‘gandi.net‘. They’re a web host based in France so close enough to the UK to retain network speed (all the other good virtual hosts seem to be in America). I was a little concerned about not having my trusty 24hour phone number but I’ve just had my first email support call answered very quickly. I couldn’t get a piece of software to install (IP tables) and it appeared to be an issue with the Xen Vitual host setup. I emailed and the resolution came back within 2 hours. I decided to install the latest Ubuntu 9 server which they only released last week, so I was no doubt the first to come across the problem. After emailing me, they posted the solution in their forum and wiki. Great!
I might write some more on the move later but as you might be able to tell from the lack of posting lately, I’m really busy with other things. At the moment at least, Gandi looks great.