This is not what I pay for?!

<rant>

No. Chances are it is probably not. Another partner in crime of this bad boy is “This is unacceptable“. Again – while regretful, and not ideal, chances are its something that is reasonably predictable outcome from a chain of choices.

What I am talking about is the world of hosting. Shared, or otherwise. It is an unseen environment. It is a magic layer of success and enablement… where the only times you ever have to interact with them is when there is an issue, and I think that is possibly part of the problem. You MAY notice the colour or quality of a light when you switch it on – but you rarely think ‘nice one electricity generating people’ … just bills, and occasional outages.

This is not what I pay for.

Possibly not.

However – what your m-honay does go on is:

  • – Redundant transit / peering / connectivity;
  • – Networking hardware;
  • – Power feeds substions, maintenance, testing and distribution;
  • – Fallback power battery and diesel, maintenance and upkeep;
  • – Cooling;
  • – Monitoring;
  • – Security physical;
  • – Security network / web application / mitigation;
  • – Backup and Disaster Recovery;
  • – The physical hardware;
  • – Fire suppression;
  • – Racking;
  • – Warranties;
  • – Spares.

… and that is before you start to work up the overheads on two legs…

  • – Network Engineers;
  • – Linux Engineers;
  • – Windows Engineers;
  • – Security specialists;
  • – Data Centre Engineers;
  • – Support operatives.

…and sure – all the non technical, sales, accounts, business functions.

So what is the issue? Lets take a car analogy… hell, why not, they seem to fit most scenarios… even if I do not possess one – they are a universal “banana for scale“:

You have an issue with your car – you have two options – fix it yourself, or take it to the garage. Taking it to the garage will cost you money whether they are able to fix it or not. There will be tooling, engineer time, and parts. There is also a cost for upkeep, for ensuring it is safe, and passing tests.

With this in mind – why is it SUCH a surprise that when things break in the hosting world, and lets be specific and narrow in here on compromised sites, code faults, problems, lack of current standards compliant, lack of patching, lack of function after updates…. do we find ourselves so often with the uncomfortable silences, those awkward moments?

Turning up the garage and saying “I am not very technical” will not result in them just picking up the tinkly pieces and spurring them into action like the Mouse Organ Mice from Bagpuss. Developers exist for a reason. These things are technical. If you are not the person to tackle this – then someone needs to be found – and that may not be free.

Which brings me on to the “rest of the menu“.

Online services are driven for the masses on costing. It is an industry in free-fall hurrying to cut its own throat. Economies of scale, contention, shared spaces. Out with the custom, the required, the SLR and SLA – in with the generic – the Tesco Saver, the One Size Fits All.

Beyond the world of shared hosting, there is VPS (Virtual Private Servers – often magically now “cloud” offerings although this is not something that people actually define all that well) servers, there are dedicated servers, there are clustered services, there are redundant services, there are resilient… load balanced… geo redundant …. CDN (Content Delivery Network) backed … the list goes on. These do not exist for the purposes of vanity – for the purposes of filling out the rest of the menu. They are tools. They are just the bare bones of solutions that can be moulded to meet your needs, and budget…. most importantly IN THAT ORDER.

The uncomfortable news that services delivered without SLA are usually delivered without an SLA for a reason.

Things are cheaper for a reason (or free if you are the product).

You do not get to shift the driver from price to quality, resilience or speed. It is what it is.

If you find yourself Dacia Jumbuck lined up on the starting grid. … you have to ask yourself is it Dacia’s fault? Is it Jumbuck’s faulty design (well there is that – but lets not swell on it too much).

Price price price price – and you are comfortable spending that where you see it I guess. That is the only conclusion I can come to… as people spend a fortune on design, and AdWords (which seem like some kind of drug dependency where people are fearful to stop handing over the cash each month… LET. IT. GO.) … yet gone are the days where you sit down with a consultant… a dude who architects a solution… who says what are the requirements here… as you really should be heading out shopping with those in mind. Uptime, speed, resilience, responsiveness, disaster recovery, backup….

“This is unacceptable.”

“This is not what I pay you for.”

“I am losing thousands.”

“My business is completely reliant on this.”

On the hosting and email service you found for 10p a day .

TOOLS. FOR. THE. JOB. Ladies and Gentlemen.

…and what is more – and in many ways – what makes this almost daily occurrence worse is that deep down – you already know this don’t you?

Lets get something done about that. Let the driver be function, or functional limitations temper your expectations. Scrap the pointy fingers and words and start with HOW are we going to get to where you want to be…. its a lot less harsh that the THISISNOTWORKING WHODOIBLAME IDONTKNOWWHATIAMDOING (which, incidentally is super fine – however it does not exempt you of responsibility – just sayin’)).

So here we are… in the meanwhile – staring off into the uncomfortable canyon of “yes”.

*waves*

</rant>

 

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