As internet marketers the most important weapon in our arsenal is our web server. A crappy server that’s constantly going down is a liability that WILL cost you money. The typical options that you had in the past were shared server, VPS or dedicated server. Any serious marketer that is BUYING traffic is probably on a dedicated server. I have multiple hosting accounts including all of the previously mentioned. One dedicated server in particular was constantly having issues. The server housed an installation of Prosper202 as well as a few landing pages. As soon as a huge influx of traffic would come in, the server would start not resolving pages. Redirects also didn’t work so I would just lose money when the server went down.
At this point I was seriously considering buying a much more powerful server at another hosting company but Liquidweb convinced me to try their “Storm On Demand” cloud offering. The salesperson that they had call me gave me a bunch of misinformation. What I want to do is tell you how Storm On Demand cloud hosting REALLY works so that you can decide if it’s right for you:
What Is It?
Storm On Demand claims to be a cloud server provider. There is debate on web hosting forums whether they are a TRUE cloud or not a true cloud. Honestly, I don’t really care and neither should you. What Storm On Demand allows you to do is provision a server (or instance) and get billed hourly for that server rather than a flat monthly fee. You pay 3 fees with each server instance.
1) The Server Instance Itself – You can choose how much CPU power you want, how much ram you want and even what hardware is in your server using the “storm bare metal configurations.” Pricing starts at $50 or $0.07 cents per hour for the lowest server specs and more as you add more resources. If you only use the server instance for 15 days then that’s all your billed for.
2) Management/Software – If you want the typical Cpanel/WHM & Full Management that you are used to with a dedicated server it’s going to cost you $20 per month. If you want to manage it yourself then no charge for this.
3) Bandwidth – Your typical dedicated server comes with a bandwidth allocation per month. Storm servers do not come with ANY bandwidth included. Bandwidth is charged in one of two ways. You can either pay as you go for bandwidth at the rate of $0.15 cents per GB outgoing / $0.08 cents per GB incoming or you can pre-buy an allocation of bandwidth at cheaper rates.
This setup allows you to scale your server up and down at a whim (without contacting customer support). What happens is you hit a button which scales the server either up or down with the specs you specify and then the StormOnDemand backend system “syncs” your data with another server instance that meets your specifications. You are then billed at the rate of whatever the new server instance costs per hour. Your resource use is billed similar to a utility company and is totaled up at the end of the month for your bill. It also shows you what you are going to owe as you go.
For the lowest level Storm On Demand server you are looking at the following pricing (over the course of 1 month):
Server Instance: $50 (2GB Ram, 150GB Disc, 1 CPU)
Bandwidth: $0.15 cents per GB
Total: $70 + Bandwidth
If you get a more powerful instance setup it will probably cost you about what you pay for a dedicated server now but you have the ability to scale up and down much more easily.
Why Would You Want This?
Depending on the type of traffic you buy, you may experience that you get huge volumes of traffic in spurts. Maybe even only certain days of the week or even certain months. Storm On Demand allows you to cut the waste and make sure you always have the resources you need. Let’s say you don’t run any traffic on the weekend. You can scale down from a super server on Friday night and scale back up on Monday morning to save some cash. The possibilities are really endless (especially if you can write some scripts because they have an API).
- Scale your server up and down to account for traffic spikes and dips
- Pay about the same as a dedicated server for a better server only when you need it
- Deploy additional servers and load balancers if you need them
- Store images of your server so that you can restore to a previous state any time you need to
- Super fast
- Flexible billing
- Works exactly as your dedicated server does with the same Cpanel setup
- Anything you can run on a dedicated setup you can run on this
Disadvantages & Needed Features
- In my experience the resizing process takes 35-60 minutes with a few minutes of ACTUAL SERVER DOWNTIME towards the end of the process. The process ends with a reboot of the server which completely takes it offline. The sales guy DID NOT tell me this, so I am telling you. If Storm On Demand could figure out how to complete this process without ever actually causing downtime, it would be way better. If the resizing process could take closer to 5 minutes that would also be helpful.
- There is no scheduling. Let’s say every night at 8pm you want to re-provision your server resources. You can’t without logging in or writing some kind of script.
- Bandwidth on the pay-as-you-go plan is too expensive. The whole point of cloud based servers is to be able to adjust with the flow of traffic. Requiring you to pre-buy a package of bandwidth in order to get a better price kind of defeats the purpose of the flexibility.
- There are no email alerts to tell you when you have reached a certain bandwidth limit. This would be helpful so that you can monitor what your bandwidth is costing you if your not the type of person who wants to login to their server control panel often. Also, i’m not sure how Storm On Demand would catch an issue like a DDOS that would suck your bandwidth and cause you to get a super costly bill at the end of the month. An email alert at a predetermined GB usage would help.
- A way to setup server rules would be helpful. For instance, “If my server reaches 80% of it’s resources, resize to the next level automatically.” With the current system you have to monitor this yourself and choose the appropriate settings.
Overall, I suggest you giving Storm On Demand a try. I think this style of offering is the future of web hosting. My new setup i’s the smoothest i’ve ever seen my Prosper202 run, my landing pages are serving up faster and redirects are noticeably quicker as well.
Have you tried Storm On Demand or any other Cloud based servers? Share your thoughts…
Note: No compensation was received for writing this post. All points made are Ad Hustler’s opinion.