Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Roswell, GA
    Posts
    192

    SoftLayer 3 Month Review.

    This is now my third month I have been with SoftLayer ever since my blowup with GNAX that ended up with them terminating me.

    I'd first like to follow up with my end at GNAX. I ended up going down to them on the 31st to pick up my colo server and get my refund. All went generally well, except for the "I'll be back in 5 mins" that took more than 30 mins for some sales/billing guy to get me my stuff. Signed some papers, and my money was refunded in full. In the end, a happy ending with GNAX.

    Now, while all that was ongoing, I moved over to a dedicated server at Softlayer quick as I could because I knew with 100% certainty that Jeff would have my service terminated when I posted the chat log of him threatening me - a controversial decision I still stand by for what it's worth.

    First, lets talk about sales with Softlayer. My God - I have never seen anything like this. With GNAX, sales would consist of me sending a ticket and waiting days, or it getting closed randomly, then having to wait more and more. A 48-hour max setup time with GNAX ended up being 5+ days and still no setup. Softlayer. I was doing Live Chat with an agent who was extremely helpful. Too move the process along quicker, I asked if I could call and speak with him, and sure enough, he game me a toll free number and I spoke with him through the entire ordering process. Not only was he extremely knowlegeable and helpful, but he also pointed me to a special I was unaware of where I got double the RAM and a second hard drive for free. I ended up ordering a dual core Xeon setup, but I actually got setup with a quad Core Xeon X3220. No mistake they said, they were just out of what I ordered so they gave me a quad core for the price of a dual core. And all of this happened in less than 4 hours. Yep, that's right. I went from on the phone with sales to having my brand new quad core for the price of a dual core with twice the RAM and HDD for free in under four hours. I was actually shocked. After being with GNAX so long, I had no idea that anything even under a 24 hour wait was possible (which it wasn't with GNAX btw), and they didn't hold my order because of being short on inventory like GNAX did - they just gave me a free upgrade with no delay!

    With GNAX, I have never been able to be in such control of my server as I am now with Softlayer. With GNAX, lets say, I wanted to change or add reverse DNS for an IP, I would have to send a ticket and wait hours and hours and hours for them to do it. With Softlayer, I login to the portal, and click click type, click and it's done and live. All by myself! Their portal is the most powerful thing I have ever seen and it allows me to do and see everything.

    Their support, I'm convinced, is second to none. I once had three days of downtime with GNAX because of a hardware problem (their hardware) they just couldn't fix. The motherboard has gone bad and I had to wait three days for them to find another identical motherboard to replace mine with. Apparently, they don't like to keep hardware on hand in case of emergency. In the mean time, I was faced with a lot of pissed off people who couldn't access the server for three days while all GNAX did was "we're looking, we're trying". Three days downtime is unacceptable, GNAX's support is just horrible. Phone support is essentially non-existent. When, on occasion, people pick up the phone, I'm simply told to submit a ticket and they'll get to it - when it's convenient for them. Support with Softlayer is drastically different, I can call support and pick their brains on technical problems for as long as I need. Recently, something went wrong when I was moving IP addresses around with my servers, and I was able to submit a ticket, call them, and they resolved it while on the phone with me. Some other small issues cropped up, and I replied to the ticket as it was non-urgent, and they had it fixed it about 20 mins. THAT people, is how support. Again, after being with GNAX for so long and having to wait hours, and sometimes days for support, having things fixed on the phone with me or via ticket in under 15 mins really caught me off guard.

    Sales - part two.

    Incredibly impressed with the sales and support I have seen so far, I recently ordered a second server. Again, I did this over the phone and was given an amazing deal - one not even on their site! In the end, it'll save me about $60/month on my second server. Pretty decent I say.

    Other stuff.

    They have a forum! That's not what's cool in itself, but it's cool that its integrated into my portal account. Now, GNAX has a forum too, but you first have to email GNAX and ask for their blessing to sign up there.

    Another nifty thing about Softlayer is their developer API. Their API enables tons of cool things, like I can see my uptime and bandwidth usage from within WHMCS. With GNAX, I would have to go find which one of my logins for their seemingly hundreds of disintegrated services. Having everything being in one place and under one login with Softlayer.

    Basically, if you need a dedicated server provider, choose Softlayer. Leaving GNAX (well, being forced out) and moving to Softlayer is the best thing that has ever happened to me an my company.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Atlanta
    Posts
    4,419
    I am glad everything is working out for you over there.

    just to correct / update a point - we have rdns in our portal now and you are right - its a great function that customers love.
    Dedicated Servers
    WWW.NETDEPOT.COM
    Since 2000

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Roswell, GA
    Posts
    192
    Quote Originally Posted by sailor View Post
    just to correct / update a point - we have rdns in our portal now and you are right - its a great function that customers love.
    Cool, that really is a pretty handy tool.

    With Jeff's post, I should point out that things may have changed since I left them. And apparently, they have changed for the good.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,277
    Dan, after we commented on GNAX when we first came to WHT we were sent an e-mail from GNAX telling us our business was no longer welcome. So while they may take weeks to follow-up on things, I guess they do pay attention to WHT. I love this forum, I wish I started using it a long time ago.

    Softlayer is like Microsoft, you'll see it. When things run good, things will be good. When issues arise your going to have some headaches. Everything at Softlayer is meant to be automated. When problems start the first thing they do is blame you. While it might be your fault they claim to have administrators that can tackle anything, and will of course charge you to take care of some things. I agree with paid service for issues that arise that customers break however with our experiences with them they never appeared to have qualified technicians answering tickets.

    We gave them two shots, one server about a year and a half ago then another about 6 months ago. With both of them the quality of the hardware and the network is always great. However the support is another story. While I don't claim to be a FreeBSD or Linux guru, im pretty decent and I know when something I do is the fault of my own and usually how to rectify it.

    I guess this is the same for LayeredTech also, since we had a few bad experiences with them. Network/Hardware good, tech support stinks. I'll take good support over good hardware anyday!
    James Paul Woods
    Operations Manager
    HostKitty Internet Services

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Roswell, GA
    Posts
    192
    Quote Originally Posted by woods01 View Post
    Dan, after we commented on GNAX when we first came to WHT we were sent an e-mail from GNAX telling us our business was no longer welcome. So while they may take weeks to follow-up on things, I guess they do pay attention to WHT. I love this forum, I wish I started using it a long time ago.

    Softlayer is like Microsoft, you'll see it. When things run good, things will be good. When issues arise your going to have some headaches. Everything at Softlayer is meant to be automated. When problems start the first thing they do is blame you. While it might be your fault they claim to have administrators that can tackle anything, and will of course charge you to take care of some things. I agree with paid service for issues that arise that customers break however with our experiences with them they never appeared to have qualified technicians answering tickets.

    We gave them two shots, one server about a year and a half ago then another about 6 months ago. With both of them the quality of the hardware and the network is always great. However the support is another story. While I don't claim to be a FreeBSD or Linux guru, im pretty decent and I know when something I do is the fault of my own and usually how to rectify it.

    I guess this is the same for LayeredTech also, since we had a few bad experiences with them. Network/Hardware good, tech support stinks. I'll take good support over good hardware anyday!
    Seems to me like GNAX will just terminate anyone who doesn't like them or feels fit to reveal their weaknesses. Real shame that any company does that, it shows an extreme amount of arrogance on their part. Only caring about their big guys and not seeing us little guys are equally valuable customers. So sad.

    As for Softlayer, I haven't noticed anything negative so far. While I'm not going to say they are immaculate, they have been pretty darn good for me so far.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    1,027
    woods01:
    My experience of their automation is if you point out what the issue is they fix it. I had an issue with SWIP not being able to process some portable IPs becuase they were for some reason split up onto lots of servers as smaller subnets.
    I reports it on a ticket, they raised it to the next level, they contacted development and it was resolved the next day.

    What exactly the automation could do, to harm a system I dont see. Yes it can logon and reimage the box, but then you've got to get it to do that.

    I think like any unmanaged hosting outfit you have to spellout what the issue is. Networking is one thing, but when we're talking about hardware and software one needs your own skills.

    Yes I've hoested with places which appear to have better low level support but arent those the kind of outfits which only have a few employees and as such good ones?


    My opinion is Softlayer has to be one of the best unmanaged providers out there
    Damien

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,183
    Nice order a dual core receive a quad...

    Hmmmm sounds very nice Happy for you

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,277
    djorgensen: When we were Softlayer clients we have several incidents that arouse that weren't related to the automation as much as it was related to the technicians not knowing what products they are working on.

    For instance, our very first purchase, we ordered a Linux server (redhat) with a hardware firewall, therefore not selecting the software firewall. We were new to linux and weren't expecting a software firewall to be installed since we chose the hardware not software firewall option. It ends up redhat came with a software firewall installed and we couldn't run services. We contacted the support staff about the issue and apparently they didn't think there was a firewall either. We watched them login to the server and issue several commands (ones that we previously ran to try to dissolve the issue) and none of them fixed anything. This was only a few hours into us having this server and we were eventually told "This is beyond our realm of expertise and we cannot help you".

    Is this kind of issue partially my fault? Yeah I guess, but I look at it this way. Everyone knows having more then one firewall would create an issue. It also create double the work for when you need to make modifications. The general server does not have more then one firewall. If softlayer is going to sell servers with the hardware firewall option, then it would be in everyones best interest to not have the software firewall installed.

    Where this issue actually took a turn for the worst was when we said ok, we'll pay the fee to softlayer to fix it, after all the fee service said they could fix virtually anything. After opening up that ticket, the techs tried to act smart on us and posted us debug logs from the application that we wanted the ports opened on. Trying to say it was actually the applications fault and that it had nothing to do with a firewall or port being blocked.

    It turned out it was a firewall on the server and it was a very very easy fix to turn it off. We actually kept the service after this since at the time it wasn't a big issue to us, it started however to tell us how smart these technicians actually are. If turning off a software firewall is beyond their realm of expertise what exactly is their realm of expertise?

    We don't do business with them anymore and have absolutely no intentions of ever giving them another shot. As im sure they feel the same way about us, with Softlayer it's all about the number of servers they sell a month, it's not about keeping customers happy, it's a company ran on volume. We'll see how far this has gotten them in 10 years, after all Softlayer is a pretty new company.
    James Paul Woods
    Operations Manager
    HostKitty Internet Services

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    5,083
    Woods01 out of curiosity, is there any unmanaged provider that you do like? What I mean is who are you using now and are you happy with them?

    Perhaps I misread it but it seems you didnt like Gnax, Softlayer or Layeredtech. Usually people are happy with one of them.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •