Mon Jul 20 20:00:00 2015

A Dream Within A Dream

People tend to look down on shared hosting these days, I find. Which is not entirely unreasonable, because most of it is absolutely terrible.

However, some years back, I discovered the existence of at least one company that isn't - DreamHost. Basic shared hosting packages starting under ten dollars a month as I write (it was more like six when we signed up), complete with ssh access and dynamic FastCGI support.

Now, admittedly, like any hosting company, you'll be able to find plenty of very unhappy ex-customers. What I'm going to say is this - while their uptime and support are not exactly five star service ... you're paying ten bucks a month. What you get is a surprisingly good level of service for the amount of money you're paying.

DreamHost run sites on a single server (though with a shared storage backend with backups and snapshots) - so, yes, if that system goes down, your site is down until they get it sorted. On the other hand, this allows them a simplicity of infrastructure that means that very little else can take your site down, so the sort of structural world-on-fire outages that complex theoretically more resilient loadbalanced setups suffer from pretty much don't happen.

DreamHost support is ... actually quite smart. First line do appear to read your email and think before they reply, and if something isn't sorted after a couple of back-and-forths, they'll escalate you themselves (I don't believe I've ever had to ask for a ticket to be escalated, first line worked out I'd gone beyond the level of answer they could give by themselves, which I have a lot of respect for). Responses aren't immediate, but aren't that slow, and ... again, for how much you're paying, it's actually quite impressive.

Now, better still, I get to thank them on behalf of the Perl community.

DreamHost have recently (as in late last year) introduced Dream Compute, which is, well, basically "rent a chunk of capacity that can be used for a private OpenStack cloud". I've not had a chance to try it myself, though a couple of sysadmins I know have done and reported back that it continues the vein of "frankly, this is better than I expected for how little it cost".

They've been kind enough to let us have access to a chunk of resources too - for values of "us" meaning the perl-qa team, who focus on toolchain and testing related resources, i.e. the stuff that makes your CPAN installations both complete and proven useful. The tally is that we get to play with up to:

  • 20 instances
  • 40 VCPUs
  • 40Gb RAM
  • 10 Floating IPs
  • 10Tb storage

and can basically chop that up however the current needs of the stuff we're working on dictate.

These resources were made available before this year's QA Hackathon and were extremely helpful to multiple attendees during the hackathon - and continue to be useful going forwards.

So, thanks guys! Much appreciated.

Here's to many more years of being a happy customer and a grateful community member.


-- mst, out.