Time Machines, and nothing changing

On an adventure to source electronic copies of documents, I wrote the best part of a decade ago I found a bunch of history including a whole bunch of “this is how things work” and would be blog posts. The Pearlman: “War… War never changes” springs to mind. From the sample I have – it’s very apparent that my attention to detail was far more consuming back then at the cost of clarity – however in terms of what has changed in the world of hosting and support…. very very little at all.

This could have been written as much today as a decade ago:

While I appreciate the industry is in a race to cut its own throats on pricing… it seems to be pummelled by the half baked reasoning adopted by the user base:

“Because solving the issue I have would involve me taking the solution seriously, it is the wrong answer. The fact other solutions exist for the purposes of meeting these needs is… in fact… insulting to me”

Why do I find myself stringing together such a hurtful string of words – well let me have a go at explaining…

While it is regretful, especially for someone who has yet to get around to getting himself a driving license, I am about to articulate a rant in the form of cars. Let us take for example a number of splendid vehicles:

 – Suzuki Alto;

 – Articulated truck;

 – F1 car.

We have a series of vehicles. Each is designed for a different job, and each is priced differently. Equally importantly each is priced against others in its field, governed and metered by the costs of their component parts, the cost of R&D, manufacturer, support, and against the market – and where they are not made for charitable purposes – an element of profit to make it worthwhile.

It would, on the whole, be unexpected, not to mention unreasonable that you would hear Mr’s Button and Co. complaining about the performance of their Alto through the swimming pool complex – while of course extolling its cost-effective nature, and ease of finding parking spaces. The same could be said for Mr Stobart passing comment on how, as a haulier, he was pressed for space in this years Ferrari F1. Indeed. Seems silly, ridiculous even. Sure.

So – when a hosting company offers a number of solutions. Some shared, with packages aimed at resource usage, not performance. Others allowing the ease (on the pocket / contractually) to move to a platform less contended, with more access to resources. Finally, others involving simply hard resources, where your planning and budget are your imposed ceilings. Not unreasonable – different tools to meet different jobs – all with an associated price point, and undertaking – whether it be for some hosting and email service shared with three possibly four figures of others… right up to entire racks, power allocations, and binding contracts all for a single user. Flexible huh?

So. Here we are with Mr Button again confused as to why his 18 wheeler is in the gravel trap again. Damn. ‘What was I thinking?’ – maybe he should complain to the company who sold him the articulated truck when he asked for one? Sure.

This is kinda where this rant finds its pain.

Why-oh-why-oh-why does this logic seem passable in the current hosting/provision market?

Whether it be a better SLA on up-times, not wanting to be contended, running out of resources, IO bound drives from time-to-time… the point fails to make its way across nine times out of ten.

The reason why shared hosting is £3 a month, and a VPS or dedicated box at around £64 a month is not simply because of the fact we decided it should be, it is because it is a tool for a job, and delivered as such… the difference between a large VPS or dedicated box in turn being the undertaking – one for a month, one for a year, again – reasoning behind price points.

In short the point of “if you have a need for that you may need to pay more to achieve that goal” is – in a word – lost.

I could probably put that more eloquently – however I tire of the “our site is down, we are losing thousands, it is your fault!”. Even if, let’s say, you were – in which case, firstly, well done – secondly – if an hour is worth that to you, why are you on the cheapest entry-level solution with no SLA and contended resources? The return on lack of interruption would pay for the service. Basic business as opposed to technical thinking.

Seeing as the logic is assumed for our side of the relationship – why not yours? Let’s take the example of powering the servers that deliver the content, shared, virtualised and dedicated: Battery backed up, with a generator and fuelling strategy – both with maintenance contracts and SLA’s measured in a handful of hours.

Let’s be realistic people. Take your solutions seriously – as we take our provision. Own them, make a value decision on the tool for the job, and update your needs, and the delivery expectations of the solution YOU HAVE CHOSEN. Sorry, CAPS must have stuck on for that last bit. Careless me.

Let’s call an end to:

This is costing me thousands”

My business entirely relies on this (£2.85 hosting account)”

This is a completely unrealistic quota”

But it works fast enough (on my uncontended) machine here”

I just sent out a 500,000 mail mailshot (on a hookey list I spent more on than several years worth of hosting), and now mail is slow”

for unmanaged entry level contended accounts.

It is second only to “you are being too technical” (in dealing with technical issues of your making) in making my blood boil. Oh, yes, and O2 – there is a special place in my personal hell reserved for you and the “nosupportasouraus”. Cocks.

Thank you for listening; I feel purged. Clean. Nice. Super nice.

*aaaaand breath*

Rant ends.

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