How to Protect Your Business from Cloud ‘Overselling’
Cloud hosting can be hit or miss regarding reliability, speed, and uptime.
In reality, most Cloud Hosting Providers (CHPs) are overselling resources. By overselling, CHPs are compromising the performance of consumer applications. A direct result of overselling is application slowness and even outages.
Many CHPs use the buzzword ‘Cloud Hosting’ to sell the idea of reliability. Most consumers have the opinion that cloud hosting is easily scalable and can handle just about anything. Further, most CHPs are not transparent and hide the underlying architecture and resources available. With that in mind, it is important to note that no cloud environment has unlimited resources. For this reason alone, you must do all that you can to protect your business.
Due to overselling, it is not uncommon to read about outages in the news from major CHPs like Amazon and Microsoft.
The truth is, most clients never use the full capacity of their hosting resources. This allows the CHPs to pack a lot more customers into a cloud environment.
To shed some light on cloud hosting transparency – and why transparency is mission critical for your business – I have asked Superb Internet CEO Haralds Jass to discuss how you can protect your business from overselling.
What is the single biggest challenge that Cloud Hosting customers face?
HJ: Comparing different providers objectively and finding out what level of performance (processing power, IO speeds, etc.) they will get. The cloud industry is highly obfuscated: no Cloud Hosting Provider discloses the actual processing power – such as, for example, amongst how many customers is a CPU core shared, what % of it, if any, is guaranteed to each customer, based on what CPU it is, what is the actual performance to expect, and so on. Comparing three providers simple headline specs is practically useless, as Provider A may outperform Provider B several folds over in real life, even though “on paper” the Provider A specs appear to be less. Doing actual performance: cost based objective comparisons is impossible due to the massive lack of transparency and information, and even just running some short-term tests on various providers and finding the undisclosed actual performance indicators is of little use, as most CHPs’ actual delivered performance varies many folds – often 10+ fold – over time. That’s right, most CHP’s performance graph looks like a rollercoaster.
The cause of all this? Massive and rampant overselling, which no CHP wants the customers to know about, or even think about. Since not everyone is using all their resources all the time, all CHPs oversell – some to staggering double digits massive degree. So when just one of your many neighbors starts actually using the resources that they are paying for, then you and everyone else assigned the same CPU core(s) and memory suffer and the performance drops, massively. Therefore, there is highly variable (peaks and valleys, rollercoaster-like) performance with most CHPs.
In short, buying cloud hosting service these days is like the purchase of a mystery box of chocolates: you have no idea of what you’re getting.
How does Superb Internet go about solving this challenge for customers?
HJ: No overselling and full transparency.
We do not engage in the rampant overselling that practically all other CHPs do. In fact, we do not oversell our cloud service at all. Instead, we provide fully guaranteed, unshared resources, which are secured and dedicated to each customer (for example, one client per core for our dedicated core cloud accounts). As a result, our cloud performance is consistent and predictable – quite unlike the other CHPs.
We are also fully transparent: we disclose the exact CPU processing power, expressed in objectively measurable and verifiable passmarks, that each core and each cloud account gets – which is always fully guaranteed and dedicated to each client, and we likewise disclose the actual real-world performance of the other components, such as Disk, RAM, and Network. All the CPU power, RAM, and disk that a customer buys are theirs, and theirs alone – guaranteed, unshared, dedicated. In fact, it is theirs two-fold over, given the built-in High Availability.
Therefore, with us, there is no “mystery box of chocolates.” Instead, with us every customer knows exactly what they are getting and exactly the consistent performance that they can expect – and that will be delivered to them – each day in and out, consistently and unvaryingly so. In short, we take the obfuscation out of the cloud and replace it with full disclosure, openness & accountability.
Oh, and did I mention that we also have, by far, the industry’s strongest and most stringent cloud SLA? I am very proud of the fact that no other CHP comes even close to our cloud SLA – which is again not just a guarantee, but what we deliver. Check out the executive summary of our SLA here: http://nsssc.superb.net/information/sla.php
How many years has Superb Internet been involved in Cloud Hosting?
HJ: We were the very first web host worldwide to bring the predecessor of cloud, the Virtual Private Server (VPS) service, to the commercial hosting market back in 1999 – back 18 years ago. Even today, what some mistakenly call cloud is just a VPS. (Keep in mind that the main difference between VPS and Cloud is High Availability. VPS is single server based and thus with a single point of failure, while a proper Cloud is running on a distributed architecture with no single point of failure and with multiple layers of high availability built in.)
18 years is a long time for the Internet world. Can you tell me the differences in reliability between 1999 and 2016?
HJ: The differences are massive. I’ll make no ifs or buts about it, back in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 the VPS service was in its infancy. It was a good option for those who couldn’t afford dedicated, but, it was nothing even close to the 100% uptime that our modern fully distributed cloud platform delivers now. Back then VPS was a viable option for SMBs on a tight budget, but not an option for an enterprise. In fact, the less-than-stellar reliability of the early VPS platforms back then leads us to enter the low-cost dedicated server market in 2002, as we felt that our customers would be better served by a low-cost dedicated server vs. a comparable price VPS.
Still, we persevered with continually improving the VPS service, and back in 2007 set out to embark on what ended up being a six-year path of research and development of our Superb Cloud platform. Our goal, as set out in 2007, was that the cloud service has to be better than dedicated in every way. For us, the Superb Cloud had to have fully guaranteed and dedicated resources like dedicated, no noisy neighbor issues of VPS, have no compatibility< OS or software limitations, and, most important of all, have the true 100% uptime and High Availability of the cloud. We were determined never to release or sell anything less than this, which would be just a VPS, misrepresented as a ‘cloud.’ Essentially, our definition of cloud was – and is – that a single cloud server is equivalent to a set of two redundant load balancers and two redundant servers with real-time replication built in, in an equivalent dedicated environment. That is exactly what one gets with every Superb Cloud VM: fully guaranteed resources with guaranteed and consistent, predictable performance, along with High Availability – true 100% uptime, which in a dedicated environment would take at least four physical devices to achieve.
Doesn’t Superb Internet have a 100% guarantee for resources? How would a customer check that they are getting 100% of the resources they are allocated?
HJ: We invite all of our customers to run performance tests and see for themselves that their resources are always there and available, dedicated to their sole, exclusive use and that their performance is consistent and non-variable. We also publish a benchmarking report online, where we show our cloud sample VM performance vs. AWS, Microsoft and IBM clouds (http://www.superb.net/cloud-hosting/cloud-benchmarking), from data collected over an extended period, and still continually collected each day.
I suppose this Guarantee is part of the ‘Transparent Cloud’?
HJ: Exactly. And it is also a part of our Cloud SLA. So it’s not just a marketing promise, it is an actual legal and binding guarantee. As you can see on http://nsssc.superb.net/information/sla.php, we have, by far, the most comprehensive and complete cloud SLA in the marketplace.
We are calling the Superb Cloud the Transparent Cloud because of our full disclosure of all the performance indicators that a customer will be delivered – and guaranteed.
I know there are a lot of mass market offerings, such as those from AWS, Azure, IBM Softlayer, how does Superb Internet compare against those major players?
HJ: Simply put, we outperform them several folds over, as our benchmarking report (http://www.superb.net/cloud-hosting/cloud-benchmarking) clearly illustrates. Not only that, but we also do it for less. That is, we deliver a higher level of consistent performance for a lower price, thus providing the hands down, best value in cloud hosting. We also guarantee practically everything in our SLA, while others’ cloud SLAs are, let’s just say, rather lacking.
Now, we are not perfect, and in the areas where we don’t beat the others, we readily admit to that in our benchmarking report. We are currently working on Generation 2 of our cloud, which we expect to unveil in the coming few months, and you be assured that in the few areas where we currently do not already beat the rest with our Generation 1 cloud, that we will do so with Gen. 2 of the Superb Cloud.
How can a customer of another host compare their performance against Superb Internet?
HJ: The best way is to buy our popular starter CS1-312 account, where every new customer can get 2 cores @ 312 passmarks, 2GB of RAM, and 20GB of SSD disk space, for only $2 for 2 whole months (http://www.superb.net/anniversary-cloud). There are no tricks, and there is no catch. We make starting in the cloud easy. The only reason we charge the symbolic $2 for 2 months is to ensure the legitimacy of every new order and account.
In fact, the main reason for this offer is to invite all prospective customers to run their own tests and assure themselves of our superior to the competition performance, before they upgrade to a larger cloud account. We believe that the best customer is an informed customer.
Lastly, why should someone choose Superb Internet over one of those big guys?
HJ: In my mind, there’re so many reasons…some of the top ones that come to mind are:
* Our company-wide Customers First policy: in every department, in every discipline and every instance, our customers always come first; it’s as simple as that. That has been one of our core guiding principles ever since day 1 back in July of 1996.
* With us, a customer is more than just a number. We see ourselves as a key partner in success to each and every customer. We succeed when our customers’ business grows and succeeds. Each and every customer has a personal account executive, whose job is to know and understand the customer and their needs and to ensure that we do all we can, in all disciplines, to help the customer reach – and exceed – their goals.
* We operate our own data centers, staffed 24x7x365. All support is provided directly out of the data center, and customers can always talk live to a technician at the same data center where their systems are located. We do not outsource any part of our support or operations. Every customer is serviced right out of the data center, not some remote support center.
* Our coast-to-coast IP backbone reaches more than half of the Internet routes directly and completely intermediary transit network free. Our ultra-low latency and a low number of hops most direct routes are unmatched. No wonder that we serve many real-time financial traders, VoIP providers, and game server hosts, where each and every millisecond matters. In addition to the unsurpassed performance, we not only guarantee but deliver true and uncompromised 100% uptime of our network. There hasn’t been a single SLA claim on that since 2002 – that speaks louder than anything else that I could say.
* For the last two decades we have firmly established ourselves as an industry innovator and leader. We have many industry firsts behind our belts and continue to lead the industry in innovation. In other words, we are, and always will continue to be, Ahead of the Rest®.
* Our SLA is one of, if not the, strongest in the industry – not just on the cloud, but on dedicated, colocation, IP transit: on all the services that we offer. All of our data centers, network, platforms and services are built with full redundancy and concurrent maintainability in place, and as such we offer a 100% uptime, compliance and conformance guarantee in our SLA – which is not just a guarantee, but something that we deliver.
* Our Certifications, such as ISO 9001 Quality Management and ISO 27001 Information Security Management, on top of the more common standards such as SSAE-16 SOC-1 Type II audits, PCI-DSS, HIPPA, FISMA, FedRAMP, etc. compliance, are unparalleled in the field. Our facilities, network, and services are built – and multiple third party auditor continuously audited and certified – to the world’s highest standards, as demanded by the world’s largest multinational enterprises, international organizations and the U.S. Federal Government. Our SMB customers benefit from our high level of investment to achieve and maintain these numerous certifications, that no competitor of our has been able to get fully to, and the drastically improved service quality and security as a result. In short, our SMB customers receive an enterprise level of service for a fraction of the coast, benefitting from our massive investment in facilities, network, platform, services, policies, and procedures, to adhere to these demanding global standards for our largest federal and enterprise clients.
* And last but not least, simply because We Care.