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Xen Hosting

I’m currently deciding where to get a Xen DomU hosted. It will be used for a new project that I’m about to start which will take more bandwidth than my current ISP is prepared to offer (or at least they would want me to start paying and serious bandwidth is expensive in Australia). Below is a table of the options I’ve seriously considered so far (I rejected Dreamhost based on their reputation and some other virtual hosts were obviously not able to compare with the prices of the ones in the table). For each ISP I listed the two cheapest options, as I want to save money I’ll probably go for the cheapest option at the ISP I choose but want the option of upgrading if I need more.

I’m not sure how much storage I need, I think that 4.5G is probably not enough and even 6G might get tight. Also of course it depends on how many friends I share the server with.

Quantact has a reasonable cheap option for $15, but the $25 option is expensive and has little RAM. Probably 192M of RAM would be the minimum if I’m going to share the machine with two or more friends (to share the costs).

VPSland would have rated well if it wasn’t for the fact that they once unexpectedly deleted a DomU belonging to a client (they claimed that the bill wasn’t paid) and had no backups. Disabling a service when a bill is not paid is fair, charging extra for the “service” of reenabling it is acceptable, but just deleting it with no backups is unacceptable. But as I’m planning on serving mostly static data this won’t necessarily rule them out of consideration.

It seems that linode and slicehost are the best options (Slicehost seems the most clueful and Linode might be the second most). Does anyone have suggestions about other Xen servers that I haven’t considered?

XenEurope seems interesting. One benefit that they have is being based in the Netherlands which has a strong rule of law (unlike the increasingly corrupt US). A disadvantage is that the Euro is a strong currency and is expected to get even stronger. Services paid in Euros should be expected to cost more in future when paid in Australian dollars, while services paid in US dollars should be expected to cost less.

Gandi.net has an interesting approach, they divide a server into 64 “shares” and then you can buy as many as you want (up to 16 shares for 1/4 of a server) for your server. If at any time you run out of bandwidth then you just buy more shares. They also limit bandwidth by guaranteed transfer rate (in multiples of 3Mb/s) instead of limiting the overall data transferred on a per-monthly basis (as most providers do). They don’t mention whether you can burst above that 3Mb/s limit – while 3Mb/s for 24*7 is a significant amount of data transfer it isn’t that much if you have a 200MB file that will be downloaded a few times a day while interactive tasks are also in progress (something that may be typical usage for my server). Of course other providers generally don’t provide any information on how fast data can be transferred and will often be smaller than 3Mb/s.

Also if anyone who I know wants to share access to a server then please contact me via private mail.

ISP RAM Disk Bandwidth (per month) Price $US
Linode 360M 10G 200GB $20
Linode 540M 15G 300GB $30
Slicehost 256M 10G 100GB $20
Slicehost 512M 20G 200GB $38
VPSLand 192M 6G 150GB $16
VPSLand 288M 8G 200GB $22
Quantact 96M 4.5G 96GB $15
Quantact 128M 6G 128GB $25
rimuhosting 96M 4G 30G $20
XenEurope 128M 10G 100G $16 (E10)
XenEurope 256M 20G 150G $28 (E17.50)
Gandi.net 256M 5G 3Mb/s $7.50 or E6

26 comments to Xen Hosting

  • I recently moved from VPSLand to Linode, mainly because they offer a more RAM for not much more money on the basic product.

    However, I seem to get more connectivity issue reports from nagios with this server on Linode versus having it on VPSLand.

    Still, the odd 5 minute unavailability doesn’t really matter for what I host there. Supposedly you can pick the datacenter your VPS should be hosted at, so if it matters, you could try moving the VPS around a bit.

  • JD

    I’d recommend: http://rapidxen.com . The prices are VERY nice (all plans unlimited bandwidth, $11 gets you 128MB RAM 384MB Swap and 10G disk, $20 gets you 256MB RAM 768MB Swap and 20G disk and $30 gets you 512MB RAM 768MB Swap and 20G disk). Also, it’s run by a Debian Maintainer :)

  • I’ve been nothing but delighted by Linode. Your disk requirements don’t quite fit their cheapest plan and their extra ($2/gig/month) add up pretty quickly. I think you get a free 50% extra if you pay a year in advance — and if you’re not happy about the service, they’re nice guys and I’m sure would refund you promptly if you change your mind. You could always use Amazon S3 for storage with the Xen host caching the commonly-used stuff, but that’s probably more architecture than you care to fart around with.

    Seriously, all I hear is moaning from people using other providers. Linode are brilliant. I’ve just made my fourth annual payment, and I wouldn’t dream of moving.

  • James

    A friend runs xenion.com.au Xen hosting, the main selling feature is it’s in Australia (latency sucks for ssh) with unlimited (although shaped if you use lots) bandwidth, although it’s not as cheap as some of the above.

  • etbe

    Cafeuego: I’ll have to publish the code I wrote to make mrtg graph the connectivity of hosts.

    JD: Thanks for the suggestion, does “virtual RAM” mean swap space? What does “unlimited bandwidth” really mean?

    Thanks for the testimonials.

  • etbe

    James: Thanks for the suggestion, but a major purpose of the machine I’m getting is to serve large amounts of data to people in the US and Europe. I already have some machines in Australia for the low latency but low bandwidth use.

  • I’m using xeneurope.co.uk and they’ve been very good to me.

  • jd

    Lost-oasis.fr has cheap price: 30 MBps bw, 256 MB, 10 GB and 1/4 Xeon core for 12 €/month.

    Gandi.net also have some for 6 €/month.

  • I’ve been with linode since the start, they don’t overload hosts, are reliable, friendly and have a open source like community. I think you have a trial period were you can cancel to get your full money back, but you’d have to double check that.

  • etbe

    jd: Lost-oasis.fr has no links on their main web site for English language pages. This suggests to me that even if they do have English-language support it will be of significantly lower quality than their French support. I ruled out XS4all.nl (who had a complete English site until a few months ago) for the same reason.

    Gandi.net seems interesting.

  • I second jd’s option for Gandi.

    They’re historically an awesome domain registrar, and I exchanged a few mails with their boss Stephan in the past… it’s really a “Humans Inside” company based in Paris. Their virtual hosting is still Beta, and slices are roughly a good Celeron + 256MB garanteed + 512MB + 5GB hdd … 6€/slice.
    Gandi even hesitated to offer the .CN extension, but opened the dialog with their clients and might even bundle it with associations funding.

    I don’t know lost-oasis’s products by heart but they’re highly experienced in traditionnal formats, so I bet they’re good here too.

  • Tiago

    I’ve been with SliceHost for a few months now, and I’m happy with their service. I did hear that they support is not the best, but if you know how to fix things yourself that’s not a show stopper.

    +1 for Slicehost

    Tiago

  • […] Hosting to lower costs Russel Coker is looking for a Xen domU to rent for a new project he’s going to start. Using shared Xen hosting […]

  • Another happy Linode user here. I think you can find cheaper, but Linode has great reliability and support. I’m currently in the Fremont, CA datacenter which anecdotally seems to be the best.

    Stop by #linode on oftc if you have any questions. The channel can get a bit off topic, but the Ops are all Linode staff members and very helpful.

  • FWIW, I’m on rimuhosting, and am happy with it.

  • I currently have two virtual machines with Gandi. They have been my favorite registrar for a few years, so their service was a natural choice. You have to keep in mind that their service is currently in beta, so, they may still screw up things. What I like about Gandi:

    – They are very flexible, it’s easy to add resources. They also have something called “Gandi flex”, where you can temporarily add additional resources like bandwidth. Adding/removing disks etc. is also very easy (or moving them between different Xen instances).
    – If you remove a share before the end of the month, they give a refund for the remaining time on your Gandi prepaid account.
    – They offer a remote console through SSH, which I prefer over AJAXy solutions that some other hosters provide.
    – They support Debian financially, at least according to:

    http://www.gandi.net/supports/

  • Oh, I have to add that the 5GB disk space at Gandi excludes the OS. The 5GB space is a volume that can be associated with any virtual machine hosted at Gandi. The operating system is installed on a different volume, which seems to be ~2400MB in size.

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  • I strongly recommend against linode (been there, done that thing), but I really can endorse rimuhosting. I find their service and professionalism somewhat refleshingly unlike others. Also, Bytemark in the UK aren’t bad either.

    Jon.

  • Regarding Gandi. Where does it say about Xen. Maybe its openvz or some other virtualization technology. Have you asked them?

    cheap-vps.co.uk seems to have some cheap offers but they are only offering openvz.

  • Gandi puts Xen at various places in the Hosting subpages of the website (including a few icons):

    Specifically here:
    http://www.gandi.net/hebergement/offre/xen/

  • VPSLand support is bad. I left them long ago. Moved to xelhosting then to linode. I used linode years ago and I’m back to it.

    VPSLand insisted on billing my CC although they canceled the account. I’d NEVER recommend them.

    I used rimuhosting long ago and they were fine. No idea whether they are still good or not.

  • Doomguy

    i tested GANDI’s beta-service xen hosting a few months ago. apparently they hadn’t managed to make the reboot-function work. after a reboot, you had to delete the slice and start from scratch.

    not very impressive…

    so i moved on to slicehost.com and was impresesed.

  • Chuwee

    Try http://www.goekal-it.de – it’s in Germany but the systems are ultra-stable and very fast!

  • I looked around a lot, and my conclusion was that the best linux VPS hosters were linode, slicehost, and gandi (now that they are out of beta). I have currently an account on each to test them. Each has its pros and cons, choose accordingly to your needs, there is no clear winner. (latency from your home, limit on bandwith or amount transferred, limit on disk I/O, timezone…).
    My main account is on slicehost since Jan 08, but I have friends on linode and gandi (and my registrar is gandi because they have the best ethics in the business). You can’t go wrong with any of them, and if you go wrong anyways, it is a breeze to migrate elsewhere with VPS (tip: pay per month at first, and google for promotion codes).