Thread: DedicatedNow 1 Yr Review
03-03-2004, 01:10 AM #1Web Hosting Master
- Join Date
- Nov 2002
- Hot, hot Michigan...
DedicatedNow 1 Yr Review
Thought I'd toss in a review for DedicatedNow - I've been with them for a year now, and they've been very good to us. They're not currently accepting new customers, however I'll post this for historical reference - once they open for sales, be sure to check them out. Here's a post by Matthew of dedicatednow with alternate ways to get these servers till they open for sales:
Without further ado, the review:
Sales Experiences: 9/10
Sales with dedicatednow has been pretty consistent. The first server that I purchased through them was during a big rush of sales that they had due to another datacenter having uptime issues. The setup of the server lagged a bit because of some cpanel problems that were occuring with that particular batch of installs. Matthew, one of DedicatedNow's sales people, made sure that he emailed us to let us know what was going on, and the box came online shortly after.
Another good thing about their sales is that they offer several items (ram, hard drives, rrp's, etc) as one-time-fees. If you're staying long-term, it's nice to be able to purchase an extra drive or whatever and not have to pay each month.
The pricing is a bit higher than some other budget providers out there - however I do believe that you do get exactly what you pay for. For the extra money invested - I feel that it's definitely worth it. I also have a feeling that they may be retooling their offerings when they reopen sales - not that I know for sure, but I have a feeling about it
When I started, I believe I was on "Nac DJCN". After some problems with that and their growth, they bit the bullet and went to full-on nac premium bandwidth. This bandwidth is *great* - I can't find fault in it. Latency is consistently low, and of the customer base that we have, which includes lots of overseas customers, we get less complaints about latency/PL than we do with other datacenters.
Currently, they're re-ordering their network into individual VLAN's, whereas if you ordered a server before it was not on one. Haven't gone through this process yet with ours, but in the past VLAN customers were not affected by network blips that 'regular' customers were.
One other thing that caused much controversy was the change of allotted bandwidth allowed with each server. When I signed up, it was 500 gigs in+out. This has been changed to 500gigs in + 500 gigs out - this is a non-issue, as we never hit the ceiling with the previous setup anyway. It may be important to those who run streaming services or whatnot through their boxen there, so I thought I'd note it.
For a graphical overview of a 'typical' month there, see the attached graphic. I chose a random month, yet most months are about the same. Last month had some scheduled downtime not noted in the graphic, and this month isn't long enough to make an accurate graph, so I included november as an example. This is as monitored from the ev1 datacenter on 90 second intervals, with 'service warning' meaning latency/pl and 'service critical' meaning downtime.
Server Setup/Hardware: 8/10
When I signed up originally, I signed up for a 1.7 ghz p4 cpu server - this particular motherboard/cpu combo was the reason why they earned an '8'. The chipset that was used for this particular server build was a non-intel chipset. Recompilations of the kernel worked fine for a while, but then at some version of the kernel the disk IO drivers must have changed - the server wasn't really as stable anymore due to this, and I had to revert kernel versions to keep the server up. Later, that started not working as well either - so we swapped the memory on it. That didn't fix it either...
So I upgraded to a p4 2.4 on this particular machine - this one uses an intel chipset, and it's been absolutely flawless since. The server is rock solid, and kernel recompiles work just fine.
The remote reboot port that they've issued to us has worked well too, when it's (infrequently) required. There have been some customers who have reported problems with it, but I guess they're moving to an entire new system with it - so this negative may go away at some point in the future.
One thing that I don't care for is the fact that they do not currently sell dual xeon servers - I hope that they consider selling these in the future, as I believe it'd be a no-brainer to pick one of them up.
They do not sell Redhat Enterprise, which at this time isn't really a detracting point given my terrible past with it ( see http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showth...hreadid=229306 and be prepared to read a novel-length thread for more details )
The single most important thing to us as a dedicated server customer is that the company stand behind us when need-be. They have done that, and done it well.
They bill themselves as an 'unmanaged' service provider - my experience with them is anything but. For most normal day-to-day things, we handle it without an issue - the only things that we need help with are things that cannot be done remotely. However, they have helped us quickly and efficiently during times of crisis, and *did not charge us when they could/should have* during those times. You of course, shouldn't expect that, but it highlights their supportive nature.
One definite selling point for them is that while they sell unmanaged solutions, you can pay them by the hour to repair whatever needs repairing. This makes for an excellent backup solution, knowing that with a quick charge of a credit card they'll do what's necessary. I know that those that those looking for a 100% managed solution for rock bottom prices don't like that kinda thing, but system administration time costs in either quality of service or monetarily - make your choice.
Network outages and maintainence announcements are handled with their forum software. Whenever they can, they announce any scheduled downtime ahead of time in their forum. While I'd prefer a regular email list service for this function, the forum works. You have to 'subscribe' to their forum to get the updates.
Communication is something that I feel is important from any provider, and this is where dedicatednow loses a point. They've always been communicative, but in the recent past with the sales halt and VLAN deployment, they've been conspicuously silent. They have always been very open in the past, and I'd like to see them return to that regarding the service affecting issues such as the vlan deployments. The locking of said topics in their forum is sometimes a bit overzealous (in my opinion) on these two topics, but I'm sure that they'll update us when new information is to be had.
The billing is nice and easy to work with, and was even understanding when we had some bank-related problems and had to switch. I do however wish there were an easier way to obtain invoices for the services rendered - it does not appear as though there's an easy way to get the full thing online.
Abuse Issues: 8/10
Much ado has been made recently about nac.net and abuse issues in the recent past. My experience with the abuse team has been good - they've simply forwarded the information necessary to stop the spam/spamvertized websites to me, and let me handle it. They have a well-defined process for it, where they'll take action only if we do not. Compared to providers who yank the cat5 at the slightest notice of any sort of abuse before contacting the customer - this is a welcome feature of the service.
However, they've lost 2 whole points off of this for one main reason - they had some issues with spews, in that they didn't report that the spammers had been removed in the newsgroup for some time - so their listing grew and eventually started affecting email. This has since been resolved, and we've noticed no email issues since. They've been attacked unfairly because of this at several large news sites - but my direct experience with them is different.
Total (sum): 53/60
In summary - I'm quite happy with the service, support, and hardware I've recieved from these guys. My dream is that I can order a new, shiny, dual xeon from them soon, so I hope that they get their sales ramped up soon and take that suggestion into consideration. If they don't, I guess I could just colo it
To matt, jay, and crew - thanks for the good year, and we look forward to continued business with you.
<edit> forgot to attach the graph - see it here
03-03-2004, 01:13 AM #2Web Hosting Master
- Join Date
- Apr 2002
03-03-2004, 01:22 AM #3Web Hosting Master
- Join Date
- Nov 2002
- Hot, hot Michigan...
03-03-2004, 01:29 AM #4Web Hosting Master
- Join Date
- Feb 2003
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Wow, very detailed review and I'm sure they earn every single praise you have got for them because I'm very happy with their efficiency.
03-03-2004, 05:19 AM #5
Excellent review. Wish more reviews on WHT were as detailed as this one.█ SERVSTRA | THE HIGH BANDWIDTH SERVER SPECIALISTS
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03-03-2004, 05:36 AM #6Aspiring Evangelist
- Join Date
- Nov 2000
- Dayton OH
thedavid: Very detailed account of your experiences! I am inclined to agree with just about every single point you made, except I was lucky enough not to have any hardware issues. I am looking forward to when they are going to be accepting new sales, as I find them one of the bext providers in the industry today.
Good job Matt, Jay, and Everyone else that has a hand in this fantastic company !!Nathan M.
A decade of professional hosting !
03-03-2004, 06:56 AM #7Junior Guru Wannabe
- Join Date
- Dec 2001
- United Kingdom
03-03-2004, 12:58 PM #8Web Hosting Master
- Join Date
- Oct 2002
- In a house
Just wanted to say what a very nice and well thought out review of our company, and honestly, David hit the nail on the head with each of his points IMHO. I've posted something on our internal forums, to better open up communication with our existing clients, but will just post a "thank you" to David and everyone else who commented. It's only through criticism that one can truly gauge where they stand with regards to public opinions, and I'm happy that ours continue to be thought of as a well rounded company.
Thanks everyone !
03-04-2004, 01:11 AM #9WHT Addict
- Join Date
- Oct 2003
9 Month Review
Sales Experiences: 8/10
Setup was quick, I got my server quickly and everything worked fine. It would be a 10 if this was all that was tabulated into the score. However, I did have problems with ordering additional services because the additional server order page only liked passwords that were up to 10 characters long, and my DMS password was 11 or 12 -- so it wouldn't let me order. However, after Ross and Matt looked into the problem, the upgrade was done very quickly -- within a few hours. I didn't like that I wasn't notified when the upgrade was about to begin or when it was finished. I connected to the server the next day and was shocked to see the different memory amount displaying in top.
I like that they're prices are inexpensive, but yet not so cheap that they'd be classified in the fly-by-night budget host category. The fact that cPanel is extra, they do charge setup fees, it makes me feel a little more secure than the "$55, no setup, free ____________, 6 months free trial!" type host.
Upgrades are expensive. I understand that a RAM upgrade requires 5 minute's of a tech's time, plus added paperwork and so on -- but $125 for a 512mb upgrade seems a bit steep. You can get a 512 stick at BestBuy for $75 on sale. Yet, with you buying (I'm guessing) OEM ram in bulk, brings that down to $50 a stick. When these prices were written, 512mb sticks cost much more than they do now (now that 1gb sticks dominate), so I think the prices need to be modernized a bit.
Same thing goes for hard drives. BestBuy has Maxtor, Western Digital, and Seagate 80GB 7200RPM HD's with 8mb cache for $100, you probably get them for $80ish. $120 for the few minutes it costs to add an extra hard drive seems a bit much.
Urchin for free, Fantastico and XController for $20, and cPanel for $9.90 (now $12 -- but I'm under a price lock) is quite nice.
DN is extremely reliable, and if this review was from December, chances are you would have a 10/10. However, in the past couple of months, there has been quite a few minor downtimes, routing issues, latancy, and so on. No big problems, but still enough to be frustrating.
I've been with hosts who gave 1-2 months advance warning for them to do all of their maintence at once -- not little upgrades here and there. I'd rather just get it all over and done with at once. If you have future upgrades planned, give at least a month's noticed (some of these servers are used for web events and chats that are planned to be a certain day. if you notify them the night before, they're totally screwed and are going to lose a lot of money. If they're notified a month earlier, they can find a temporary server elsewhere to handle this.)
Server Setup/Hardware: 10/10
I haven't had any problems with the hard drive. At one point I was recieving some weird harddrive errors, but the unix guru fixed them for me -- some misconfiguration with the kernel or something, I forget exactly what it was -- this was 6 months ago.
I'm one of the lucky ones that have functional rrp ports. I'm very grateful for this. I feel bad for those that don't have working ones -- those people deserve refunds.
I'd like them to start looking at newer OS choices and create an upgrade plan for those with obsolete OS versions, but with Fedora Legacy updates, that isn't a huge concern right now.
Most of the time, their support is incredible. Sometimes I get the very unexperienced tech who will ask you a series of questions instead of actually examining themselves. All in all, they're pretty good. They go way beyond the limits of "unmanaged".
Even though I don't have a VPS, I really feel for those that did get it. The support for this product is close to non-existant. Anytime there's a problem, the core server is rebooted -- as it seems without examining the real cause. Also, communication for the VPS clients seems to be very bad -- their tickets are ignored as most techs don't have adequate knowledge of the technology. The 24+ hour downtime a couple of days ago still hasn't been justified by anyone but the tech using cookie-cutter answers.
Abuse Issues: 8/10
While I have recieved no spam complaints, I know DN is very good about getting the complaints fowarded to clients. The main problem here is that many times complaints are reported directly to NAC, and NAC doesn't always foward them to DN in the timeliest matter... if at all.
There's the problems with SPEWS, and it seemed that they weren't really making efforts to clear their name with SPEWS. But, it seems that they've changed now and make an active attempt to get removed from blacklists.
Attatched is my bandwidth usage for February.