[svlug] Sheevaplug ?

Luke S Crawford lsc at prgmr.com
Wed Oct 21 20:33:53 PDT 2009

Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> writes:
> 200 Watts / 1000 watts per kilowatt = 0.2 kW    
> 0.2 kW * 24 hours/day * 31 days/month = 148 kWh per month
> 148 kWh per month * $0.25974 extra cost / kWh = $38.65 per month extra
> cost
> ...or about $40.

Hm.  well, even half that, $20/month, really should get you a very nice
VPS.  (It doesn't right now.  the market is, as far as I can tell, not 
rational in that regard.  if I was 4x larger, I could cut my prices in
half (or rather, double my cpu/ram allocations) and be pretty comfortable, 
and my processes are probably some of the least efficient in the industry.)

amazon ec2, when you pay yearly, provides a better deal than I do, though
they are not suitable for 'always on' servers unless you subscribe to 
elastic block storage or the like to get reliable disk, and then you
are paying more.   A small instance, after the 70% off for paying yearly  
(is that right?  that's what people are telling me.  I am probably going 
to have to do something to compete with that eventually.  EC2 has 2005 
prices if you pay by the month, but with the 70% off for a year, they 
are competitive.)  comes to $21/month.   

That's for 1.7GiB ram, I believe.  I only give you 1GiB ram for $20/month,
and charge $36 for 2GiB  (and paid yearly, I only give you 20% off, meaning
the 2GiB image is $28.8/month, and the 1GiB image is $16/month, to make
a fair comparison with the amazon yearly prices.)   

So would a VPS on modern hardware in a co-lo with between 1 and 2 GiB ram
compete with your ancient home server?  it could in terms of cost. 
in terms of power, well, maybe? You could certainly cram more ram into
the home server without trouble.

There are some security benefits to having the server under your bed,
certainly, but there are some connectivity benefits to having the server
on a gigabit pipe, too.    Also, personally, I think there are benefits
to having more control, so having the old server under your bed
is certainly competitive, I mean, until the VPS market becomes a bit
more rational.  

But, like I said, speaking as someone who pays his rent by renting VPSs, 
I believe the VPS market is massively and irrationally overpriced right 
now. [1]  The irrational bit is that the cost per gigabyte ram, at most 
places, doesn't seem to go down as you buy a larger instance;  this is 
irrational because the hardware and power and bandwidth are really quite 
inexpensive, and support costs, from my experience, are not any lower on 
the smaller instances.  (often, in fact, they are higher on the small 
instances, as you've gotta deal with jokers who think they can run some 
massive, modern webapp on a 128MiB server.)  

[1]  This will change.  If you are interested in competing with me, 
and it is within the capability of many people on this list to do so, 
go download the chapter of my book on the subject:

It is only a matter of time before the market is flooded with cheap
VPS providers;  Sure, it requires more hardware per customer, and a 
more skilled SysAdmin than doing shared hosting, but in many ways,
supporting a VPS is less work than supporting a shell user. 

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