August 2, 2006

dreamhost: hot or not?

So as I mentioned, I just moved the site from "that old server under the desk upstairs" to Dreamhost last week. I was pretty psyched, because I got a great deal and it was nice to be out of the hosting business. Unfortunately, I made the switch just in time for dreamhost to Go Down Big Time due to a power failure during that tremendous hot spell we were having, literally the same day I flipped the DNS, which pretty well sucked. No site, no control panel, no email. It made me wonder who I was dealing with and what they were doing to fix up their service level.

Well it turns out there's a dreamhost blog, and yesterday they posted a long explanation of the string of issues they have been dealing with, "Anatomy of a(n ongoing) Disaster". Heh, I think I like these people. However, it's also clear that they have reached a scale where the best efforts of a few dedicated geeks is no longer sufficient. They are hosting about 300,000 domains and growing like a weed, yet they are only in one data center located in downtown LA of all places. Nobody's going to care much if fredshouse goes dark a couple of days a year, but I assume a lot of those 300K domains are real businesses that expect uptime in the 4 nines range (99.99%). Well it's their business, but I hope they are working hard on redundant infrastructure (hello spare core switches?) and remote disaster recovery, because, well, we have spare the air days and earthquakes and fires and such down in the Southland, yes?

Anyway the question is, dreamhost: hot or not?

Hot: 20GB disk, 1TB/month data transfer, LAMP, ssh, unlimited mySQL, perl, php, ruby/rails, lots of other goodies, all for $7.95 a month. Good word-of-mouth. Honest, open bloggers.

Not: Downtime. Sometimes no power, maybe less redundancy than they should have, single data center in a somewhat risky location. These things are fixable, but maybe they should already have been fixed?

Bottom line for me: I'm getting good value for the features I want, and I'm not super sensitive to downtime, so: hot!

Posted by Gene at August 2, 2006 11:16 PM | TrackBack