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I originally used SliceHost which was acquired and integrated into Rackspace for cloud hosting since 2010. The services is easy use and rock solid with many advanced features. But then again it is a premium service and cost prohibitive. In 2010 I switched to KVM based hosting using vServer Center and still use it today.

Recently, though I still have vServer Center because of the great cost factor, I have started using Microsoft Azure Cloud hosting.

Gen 3 Cloud

Currently (Dec 2016) evaluating cloud services and techniques,

  • Microsoft Azure
  • Amazon Cloud
  • Google Cloud

The key advantage of the cloud services is infrastructure as code, but let's start with just the minimal hardware, bandwidth requirements. Note I've upped the memory requirements having switched to LXC and also now have a sense of bandwidth utilization (but noting that BonsaiFramework is not searchable yet).

Comparison PointAmazon CloudGoogle CloudMicrosoft AzureNotes
Product Name

t2.small EC2 Reserved Instance

Descriptions very unclear.


Virtual Machine Baisc
Calculator Website

Calculator

Useful Links:

Server Details


Calculator

Useful Links:


2 GB of Memory2 GB
1.75GB
1 CPU



50 GB of Disk Space (currently at 33GB)None must buy EBS (Elastic Storage Blocks) but adding 50GB of General SDD did not seem to increase price
70 GB
Bandwidth ~7 GB/Month
UnMetered

$0.09 / GB past 1GB

= $0.54



7 GB/Month without Exposing BonsaFramework website to search engines.
Download at 20mbps



Static IP AddressIP4


Monthly

$13.14


$31.66 (in West Central US)
Yearly Upfront$151



Gen 2 Self-Serve Virtual Hosting

In Feb 2012 I spent some time to look for cheaper alternatives. This is still best bang for the buck despite Gen 3 Cloud services.

Main criteria,

  • 1024GB of memory
  • Allow Ubuntu OS Custom Install
  • Decent bandwidth 2GB or higher / month
  • Allow adding additional IPs
  • Console access
  • Hypervisor based
  • Nice to have ability to do full image backups and restores

Selected Virtual Private Server

vServer Center

http://www.vservercenter.com/
web management: https://vcp.vservercenter.com

support email: support@cybercon.net 

KVM hosting $29.95/Month with life-time discount code WHTVDSKV20A (used Feb 2015) reduced to $9.95/Month,

  • 2 GB of Memory
  • Ubuntu OS
  • UnMetered 20mbps bandwidth
  • 50 GB Hard Disk
  • One dedicated IPv4 IP Address 
  • Web Terminal
  • Allow Custom Installation of number of Linux OS including Ubuntu

Purchased additional IP for $1/Month.

To allow install of your own OS, during purchase select,

Operation System Installation Type: Custom Self Install via vServer Center Control Panel (free)
Operation System: Customer Own KVM Image

Pros,

  • Allows full OS install from scratch!
  • Console has bandwidth graph.

Some cons found so far,

  • No self-serve image backup and restore ability. You must contact support and they will sell you cloud space and you have to call every time for manual backups. When I spoke to the support rep he said they would look into this in the future.
  • No DNS Servers (not a big con, most domain registrars provide this).

Virtualization Technologies

In general, there are two main types,

Hypervisor, which is hardware-based virtualization - Xen, VMWare and KVM

Container (software) based virtualization where the host kernel is shared - OpenVZ, Virtuozzo (based on OpenVZ), Solaris Zones.

The following chart outlines the top level pros and cons,

TechnologyProsConsImplementations
Hypervisor
  • Not using shared kernel
  • More expensive
Xen, KVM and VMWare
Container
  • Cheaper
  • Problems with kernel related software like UFW unless compiled into the host kernel
  • Java out of the box does not play well except in my experience with Solaris
  • One JVM (even with Solaris in 2012) can take out entire system
OpenVZ, Virtuozzo (based on OpenVZ), Solaris Zones and recently LXC
Ephemeral Container (better name find)

Docker

 Java with Container Based Virtualization

At least with Virpus who uses OpenVZ they say Java does not work well.

Here is a good article that explains the challenges and offers a possible solution..
This looks like it has working solutions http://forum.openvz.org/index.php?t=msg&goto=7057.

Considered

Interserver

$8/month per KVM slice 25GB HD, 1GB RAM, 1TB Transfer

http://www.interserver.net/vps/

OS is a scripted install looks to be minimal install

RAM HOST

Experienced performance issues with server.

http://www.ramhost.us/?page=vps/kvm-los-angeles-west

$15.99/month for container OpenVZ with Mem = 1024, BW = 1000GB, Space = 25GB

BuyVM

http://buyvm.net/

$12.95/month for container OpenVZ with Mem = 1024/2048, BW = 3000GB, Space = 60GB
$20.00/month for Hypervisor KVM with 1024MB, 3000GB and 60GB, 2 Core

Only issue seems to be stock.

Positive reviews - http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=1107446

Comparison reviews - http://www.lowendtalk.com/discussion/1238/picking-a-vps...-hostigation-vs.-secure-dragon-vs.-buyvm

JaguarPC

JaguarPC is recommend by one of the review sites hostcult.

$29 for VPS hosting with,

  • 50 GB Disk Space
  • 3,000 GB Bandwidth
  • 1024 MB RAM
  • 2048 MBBurst RAM
  • Equal CPU (1 core min.)

Rejected

YardVPS

Purchased a server. Got no email notification that the server was setup. The console was very confusing, booted and got error. Not bothering as the console was not very good.

This one also looks good with a fast connection speed. Normally $15.95 but with the discount code yardvps it drops down to $12.76. They have a 100Mbit connection,

http://www.yardvps.com/xen.html

$12.76/month for Xen with Mem = 1GB, BW = 20000 GB at 100Mbit, Space = 50GB

Just noticed another coupon, limited sale for today March 1, 2012, YARDLEAP which gave me a 40% discount dropping it to $9.57.

One con, they currently do not offer additional IPs.

Servers are located in Los Angeles, California.

March 4, 2012 - So far not impressed. After fiddling around I found that the system did not notify me it was ready. I booted the system, but so far it's not trivial to get going.

Virpus Networks - Rejected

Xen VPS Hosting - XVM1024 Priced at $24.00 US with a 20% discount for the life of the subscription which gives,

  • 1024GB memory
  • 1000GB bandwidth
  • 40GB disk

There is a much cheaper shared resource hosting option called OpenVZ at $10.00 per month but it won't do Java. Read the comparison chart for more details.

Web chatted with a customer support rep who was quite knowledgeable. Here are the highlights of the conversation,

Web Chat

You can add more bandwidth at $7/mo per 1TB.

$.10 per GB if you went over your max.

cPanel is the more popular option and is feature rich, but uses more memory than DirectAdmin. DirectAdmin uses less memory, however is slightly harder to navigate through. They generally have the same features however.

Can I use directadmin to do a full image backup? Kenneth O [agent] Yes, I believe this is possible - probably on a per account basis It will not do a full VPS image backup But you can use the Quick Backup function which will do this.

Very negative review - http://www.the-best-web-hosting-service.com/virpus-review.php - Virpus wiped their system no backups, downtime.
Another negative review - http://www.hostcult.com/2010/03/review-virpus-hosting.html - Downtime


Consolidated Reviews of Hosting Sites

http://www.web-hosting-top.com/ - reviews from people.

http://www.lowendbox.com/blog/best-low-end-providers-in-2011-q2-its-ram-host-quickweb-and-buyvm-again/ - best low end providers

http://www.similarsitesearch.com/alternative/vpsland.com - lists hosting companies like vpsland.com

http://www.webhostingstuff.com/category/Server-Hosting.html - reviews

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3 Comments

  1. I did some further investigation on the issue and the problem is actually quite complicated. The whole thing is due to different virtualization technologies being used. In general, there are two main types:

    The first is called hypervisor, which is hardware-based virtualization. Xen and VMWare fall into this category. In this model the virtual machine has access to virtualized hardware, and controls all the resources allocated.

    The second is container (software) based virtualization popularly used by Virtuozzo (based on OpenVZ). I believe Solaris “zone” also falls into this category. In this model the host kernel is share with all VMs, thus VMs will not be able to change anything in the kernel. The advantage is that resources (cpu, memory) can be allocated in a more flexible way by the host, increasing burst power for each VM.

    Most small VPS vendors prefer Virtuozzo because they can advertise more (burst) cpu power and memory at a lower price. The cost to them is lower because they can oversell the metrics and there is no way to verify that those metrics can be achieved when VMs are loaded up at same time.

    Back to our original issue of ufw not working on box cubewcm. This server is Virtuozzo based (provided by myhosting.com) . For whatever reason (maybe the debian version they use), the host kernel does not include some modules we need for ufw. Inside the VM we cannot install more module or rebuild the kernel. Basically the only way to work around it is to disable some features in ufw (iptables) so the basic firewall can still function. Here is a link on this: http://blog.bodhizazen.net/linux/how-to-use-ufw-in-openvz-templates/. I gave it a try and it worked by disabling all the features that require modules not installed.

    Rackspace is Xen based. The Ubuntu release includes all the modules we need for ufw. Even if it does not, we can add more modules or rebuild kernel ourselves. The other two boxes (www.infobasesolutions.com and uat.infobasesolutions.com) are from VPSLand. I remember they used to provide both Xen and Virtuozzo based VMs with different prices for customers to choose. Sometime last year they changed business model and wouldn’t tell which virtualization technology they use. But I suspect it is Virtuozzo. Fortunately they provide Ubuntu templates that have kernel modules we need for ufw. So we never ran into problems with those servers.

    I think in the future when we consider new VM providers, what virtualization technology they use is actually a very important factor.

  2. Saw another coupon for VServer:

    Order a KVM Cloud Server for your Cloud VPS hosting needs today: $9.95 per month lifetime.

    ($20/month lifetime discount with coupon code: WHTVDSKV20)

     

  3. Additional Info from ramhost.us site:

    Differences between OpenVZ and KVM plans

    • KVM allows you to use any Linux or *BSD distribution, OpenVZ only allows a few Linux distributions.
    • KVM VPS are limited in their future upgradability. OpenVZ VPS's can be upgraded/downgraded on-demand instantly.
    • KVM VPS's allow you to run your own custom kernel. OpenVZ VPS's cannot modify the kernel, and certain kernel features like ppp, ipsec, and iptables, may not fully work.
    • KVM VPS's can have custom disk partitioning, OpenVZ VPS's store all files in a single partition under /
    • Summary: KVM is hardware virtualization, and operates just like a real server. OpenVZ is containerized OS virtualization and is similar to a chroot or jail environment.