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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
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    58

    Rackspace - be wary

    Am I surprised I'm writing this? - you bet

    I have been seriously thinking about using a managed dedicated with Rackspace and trying to discover EXACTLY what their managed services cover. I have just received this reply from one of their sales guys:

    "There is one problem with the plan you have. Initially you will be in a white box, which is not rack mounted. When you decide to get a firewall/loadbalancer you will need to move to a rack mount server, since the firewall/loadbalacer is rack mount. This will change your IP, which seems to be problematic for your situation. I encourage you to plan ahead for this and or go ahead with the rack mount server at the least."

    I wanted one of their Linux Professional servers initially - the fact that this is actually a "white box" is more than disconcerting, and is probably against trade laws when you see how it is described and pictured on their website:

    http://www.rackspace.com/dedicated/...erver_linux.php

    Unfortunately (and I mean that) I am going to find another host.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Posts
    1,593
    So, what exactly is your complaint? The picture looks like it is a generic server logo (albeit a rackmount server), so I don't think they are being deceptive here.

    Besides, since you are going with rackspace, and, with their hardware SLA, a whitebox should not be a concern at all.

    Peter

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    58
    So, what exactly is your complaint?
    My complaint is based on the following issues:

    Hardware swap out takes longer on a white box than a rack mount so that what may take 10 minutes on a rackmount may take 30 minutes on a tower -> more potential downtime (even though covered by the 2 hour SLA ). Downtime is critical for my app.

    Migration path to load balanced infrastructure - rather than just adding more low spec rackmounts there is both a large incremental cost in moving to a rackmount with Rackspace and a change in ip address - again a critical issue.

  4. #4
    maybe rackspace are not the host you should go with then...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    415
    Originally posted by operandi


    My complaint is based on the following issues:

    Hardware swap out takes longer on a white box than a rack mount so that what may take 10 minutes on a rackmount may take 30 minutes on a tower -> more potential downtime (even though covered by the 2 hour SLA ). Downtime is critical for my app.

    Migration path to load balanced infrastructure - rather than just adding more low spec rackmounts there is both a large incremental cost in moving to a rackmount with Rackspace and a change in ip address - again a critical issue.
    If you think this is a problem with rackspace, I would advise you to not consider getting a server altogether. If you are going to be this picky about something like that, you are definetly not going to be happy with the way Rackspace's competition does business. Hardware swap out would probably take less time on a tower server than a rackmount...you have to unmount the server, unscrew the panels, then find some way to get the hardware out, which usually requires tearing out all the hardware in the case because of the way things are packed in so tightly in a rackmount case. You know as well as anyone else that rackmount servers are more expensive, why not just go with the rackmount initially if you are so sure that your app will outgrow a system like that, which is also fairly inexpensive to upgrade compared to buying an additional server plus the load balancing hardware. I just don't see a valid argument here, it seems like you are making something out of nothing just to give rackspace a tarnished name.
    Justin Bachus
    BlastHosting, LLC - Professional web hosting at a low price with
    PHP, MySQL, FreeBSD, and more!
    http://www.blasthosting.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    5,010
    I have personally never had a server with Rackspace but I know a few people who do and I get nothing but great reviews about them.. If have a mission critical operation Rackspace is the way to go.. They have some of the best support in the industry as well as some of the best techs.. If your operation is as important as it seems to be then I would siggest them over anyone.. This is another time when the "you get what you pay for" comes in, here you are getting the best and paying for it..

  7. #7
    I really can't discern what the complaint was. Anyhow, I've had first hand experience hosting with Rackspace, and know quite a few that do. Their network is as stable as a rock, and support as well.

    My motto for Rackspace is: If you like their prices, you'll love their service.

  8. #8
    Greetings:

    "Hardware swap out takes longer on a white box than a rack mount"

    Excuse me, but a rack mount server and a white box are unrelated terms. You cannot equate them.

    You can have white box rack mounted servers, and white box desk top or tower servers.

    The issue you are facing has been faced by other rackspace.com customers. For whatever reasons in the early days of rackspace.com, they did not use rack mounted servers (which generally cost more than the non rack mounted counterparts).

    It has nothing to do with being whitebox.

    Thank you.
    ---
    Peter M. Abraham
    LinkedIn Profile

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    1,210
    Originally posted by OKIHost
    This is another time when the "you get what you pay for" comes in, here you are getting the best and paying for it..

    ...except for the fact that their IPs are blacklisted to hell and back.

    -Bob

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Ocean City, Maryland
    Posts
    99
    Originally posted by jw


    If you think this is a problem with rackspace, I would advise you to not consider getting a server altogether. If you are going to be this picky about something like that, you are definetly not going to be happy with the way Rackspace's competition does business. Hardware swap out would probably take less time on a tower server than a rackmount...you have to unmount the server, unscrew the panels, then find some way to get the hardware out, which usually requires tearing out all the hardware in the case because of the way things are packed in so tightly in a rackmount case. You know as well as anyone else that rackmount servers are more expensive, why not just go with the rackmount initially if you are so sure that your app will outgrow a system like that, which is also fairly inexpensive to upgrade compared to buying an additional server plus the load balancing hardware. I just don't see a valid argument here, it seems like you are making something out of nothing just to give rackspace a tarnished name.
    When the time comes, he could also just order the new server/package and migrate everything to it in a way that would make downtime 0. I moved a couple hundred accounts from one system to another before and no one noticed, so I know it's possible.
    Darkscape Inc - Web Hosting
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    58
    I just don't see a valid argument here, it seems like you are making something out of nothing just to give rackspace a tarnished name.
    I thought one of the aims of this excellent forum was to help people make informed choices about their hosts through experience and knowledge. I have spent the last few weeks trading emails with a Rackspace sales guy to really pin down what services they offer and the real price of those services.

    Through that dialogue I have found that what I THOUGHT I was getting, is not what I was ACTUALLY getting. I thought that it was important to put something back into this forum to help a potential Rackspace customer in the future make the right decisions by asking the right questions. I have nothing to gain by giving Rackspace a tarnished name and I do not want to.

    If you read my original post again it says Rackspace - be WARY not AVOID or are ****

    I also said in my post this "Unfortunately (and I mean that) I am going to find another host."

    When the time comes, he could also just order the new server/package and migrate everything to it in a way that would make downtime 0. I moved a couple hundred accounts from one system to another before and no one noticed, so I know it's possible.
    I am sure that your move was possible, and done really efficiently by Rackspace Techs. I am afraid my situation is a bit more complex and unusual. This is because our web app monitors network equipment behind corporate firewalls. This means that our customers security staff have to allow secure access through their firewalls and configure both theirs and their customers routers to access our web server.

    If we changed ip address in six months time, we would upset our customers no end as they would then have to reconfigure all their firewalls and routers.

    This news from Rackspace about being hosted from a white box also causes me budgetting problems as a rackmount server costs $100/month more for the same spec. When we move to two servers in a load balanced config we need to find an incremental $2400/year to get something that we thought that we were getting in the first place.

    I have spent a great deal of time discussing issues with Rackspace. They have been very open and efficient in handling my unusual requirements - so much so that they are willing to amend their T&Cs to write a clause about their ip addressing guarantee (which they, unfortunately, would have broken in the move to rackmounts).

    I think they are probably the best hosting provider and I have REAL problems now. I either pay more from our P&L to go with them or find another provider, which is not going to be easy.

    If you think your hosting company can meet my requirements please PM me.

    The whole point of starting this thread is that at least you all know the situation and are therefore better informed about what you are ACTUALLY buying from Rackspace.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Ocean City, Maryland
    Posts
    99
    Originally posted by operandi


    I thought one of the aims of this excellent forum was to help people make informed choices about their hosts through experience and knowledge. I have spent the last few weeks trading emails with a Rackspace sales guy to really pin down what services they offer and the real price of those services.
    ...snip...
    The whole point of starting this thread is that at least you all know the situation and are therefore better informed about what you are ACTUALLY buying from Rackspace.
    No I did the entire movement myself. It's not impossible, you just need to hire a knowledgable consultant to help you out. It's really hard to do if you don't really know what you're working with or what needs to be done exactly. Time to hit the phone book!

    Sorry I thought the point of the thread was you wanted to shift blame for not knowing how to accomplish your goals.
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    58
    Sorry I thought the point of the thread was you wanted to shift blame for not knowing how to accomplish your goals.
    Thanks for being a bit more understanding, now that I have perhaps explained our situation in more detail.

    We actually do know what we want, as we are a specialist networking company, however my problem is how we get it.

    I think there are very few hosting providers that could help. Rackspace is definitely one of them - but now at a very much inflated cost.

    For example we are currently with Host Europe who have been superb in all aspects (zero downtime, great tech support), however one of our beta test customers phoned me up to say "the ip address that you gave us is wrong!" - their firewall had detected that our web server was arbitarily advertising one of three ip addresses, even though we thought that we had a fixed ip address. This is why we have to move host, why I joined the forum, and am hoping that I can find a suitable solution.



    Excuse me, but a rack mount server and a white box are unrelated terms. You cannot equate them
    I believe the "white box" both I and Rackspace referred to is a generic term for either a tower or a desktop rather than a specially designed rackmounted server. You are right, I couldn't care less about its actual colour!
    Last edited by operandi; 09-21-2002 at 06:23 AM.

  14. #14
    they didnt send me t-shirt... dont fill out the form to get it.. they will email with special offers but no t-shirt..

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    2,508
    Initially you will be in a white box
    Rackspace only uses "white boxes"; towers and rackmounts.
    Mike @ Xiolink.com
    http://www.xiolink.com 1-877-4-XIOLINK
    Advanced Managed Microsoft Hosting
    "Your data... always within reach"

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    58
    Rackspace only uses "white boxes"; towers and rackmounts.
    Mike

    Although I am not very sure what you mean here, I looked at your site and saw that you display exactly the sort of information about your services that I am looking for. You state the hardware model for each service level and give detailed descriptions about what you manage and what you don't manage.

    Without knowing more about your company, I would be interested in discussing things with you, apart from the fact that you are using W2k rather than Linux/PHP/MySQL etc.

  17. #17
    Greetings Operendi:

    "I have found that what I THOUGHT I was getting, is not what I was ACTUALLY getting."

    What did you think you where getting?

    "Hardware swap out takes longer on a white box than a rack mount"

    Maybe I would understand you better if you used the right language ;-)

    You keep stating "white box" and "rack mount" as if they are related.

    You can have white box rack mounted equipment and non-white box rack mounted equipment.

    Chances are high you rented one of their lowest ended servers for which they used desktop, mini-tower, or tower boxes to keep your costs and their costs down.

    Now you need a firewall solution, and almost all firewall solutions at Internet service companies are rack mounted solutions. So they need to have your box in a rack.

    If they stuck with only rack mounted equipment, which some hosts do, then you may not have the problem. However, your monthly payment from day 1 would most likely have been a lot higher.

    Thank you.
    ---
    Peter M. Abraham
    LinkedIn Profile

  18. #18
    Greetings:

    FYI:

    It is extremely important as a customer to ask questions.

    -- "Is my server rack mounted?"

    -- "What happens if I need a fire wall solution? A load balancing solution? A virtual local area network (VLAN)?"

    -- "When you state managed hosting, what does managed mean?"

    -- "What is not included in managed hosting?"

    -- "Does your support handle abc software? def software? ... xyz software?"

    -- "When you answer yes to handling, does that also mean it is included in my fees? Or are there separate charges?"

    -- "When you state 'sometimes there are charges,' what do you mean? What are those sometimes?"

    -- And so on....

    There are a lot of articles in the trade papers that using the word "managed" is overused and abused.

    And one should not take for granted that a company whose name includes "rack space" would mean that any equipment contracted / rented would be rack mountable.

    Thank you.
    ---
    Peter M. Abraham
    LinkedIn Profile

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    58
    What did you think you where getting?
    I thought that I was getting a rackmounted server, even though it is Rackspaces's base level dedicated server (picture on the web site, descriptions, discussions with the sales rep, not neccesarily the company name). I was pleased that I could get a rackmounted server from Rackspace for about $250/month (even though it is a low spec) as I wanted to add more servers of this spec as we moved to a load balanced infrastructure in the future.

    It was only by drilling down with detailed questions to RS's sales staff that I found that I was not getting a rackmount for this price, but this so called "white box".



    Maybe I would understand you better if you used the right language ;-)
    I am getting lost in this discussion about "white boxes" and it is a side issue anyway. I am not a hosting pro so I am sorry if my understanding of what a "white box" is wrong. All I care about is that it means that we have to migrate to another ip address if we move to a rackmounted server in the future and that to go to a rackmounted server now means an additional, and hidden, cost of $1200/year, increasing to an incremental $2400/year if we use two servers in a load balanced design

    It is the fact that I discovered this hidden cost and lack of clarity about what I was actually being sold that I wanted to alert other WHT members to this, hence my post. Hence be wary.

    Your suggestions about questions to ask hosts is welcome. By the way, I am not a Rackspace customer, I was in the pre sales cycle with them.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    12,121
    OT: The 'whitebox' issue is only that a rackmount or a non-rackmount server could be a 'whitebox'. Nothing to get overly confused about. In the picture, the white server is actually not a whitebox server, it is a Gateway. The whitebox is the black 1U.

    No biggie... just a bit confusing.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails a_whitebox.jpg  
    HostHideout.com - Where professionals discuss web hosting.

    Chicken

  21. #21
    Greetings:

    "All I care about is that it means that we have to migrate to another ip address if we move to a rackmounted server in the future and that to go to a rackmounted server now means an additional, and hidden, cost of $1200/year, increasing to an incremental $2400/year if we use two servers in a load balanced design."

    How are the costs hidden if you know the costs?

    "By the way, I am not a Rackspace customer, I was in the pre sales cycle with them."

    In that case, what's the fuss about?

    Thank you.
    ---
    Peter M. Abraham
    LinkedIn Profile

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    58
    The whitebox is the black 1U
    Ahhh - you learn something new everyday - Whitebox is a make of server as well as being a generic term for a stand alone, non rackmounted server. Thanks!

    I think the point about Rackspace has been made - lets close this thread (please!)

  23. #23
    Greetings:

    "Whitebox is a make of server as well as being a generic term for a stand alone, non rackmounted server."

    This is incorrect.

    White box stands for any server that is not made by a brand name manufacturer. It can be rack mounted or not.

    Thank you.
    ---
    Peter M. Abraham
    LinkedIn Profile

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