So You Start Server

Initial review

I have a linode and a Panix v-colo. These servers do everything I want.

But OVH do a physical server rental program. It’s not necessarily the best server in the world, but it’s pretty good. The So You Start(SYS) server starts at around $50 month. Now a linode is $20/month. 10% discount for paying 1 yr in advance, so $18/month.

To compare; for $18/month I get a 8vCPU, 1Gb RAM, 48Gb of disk on my linode. On SoYouStart for $50 I get a quad-core Xeon E3-1245 (HT==> 8 CPU), with 32Gb RAM and 2*2Tb disk.

You look at the numbers and a SYS server knocks linode out of the park.

Except I really don’t need that much processing power. Which is why alcohol got involved and I bought one.

I called the new machine duckula because it’s sucking money out of me for no good reason, just like a vampire.

But what do you get?

It’s actually pretty impressive. SYS is a cut-down service from the standard OVH service so the control panel is very limited. “Redeploy an OS”, “reboot” and “rDNS” are pretty much all you can do. The “deploy OS” has a small amount of flexibility, but not much. Compared to Linode or even Panix the SYS control panel is crap. In particular you don’t get console access.

You also need to be aware; the SYS server has some back doors installed. Well… If you google “ovh backdoor” you’ll see a lot of posts. I can’t verify all of them; I’d overridden the root authorised_keys stuff and sshd_config pretty early on in my setup so I don’t know if they push keys in the standard build. They do have a per-minute cron that pushes a fuck-tonne of crap about your server into their monitoring system.

Essentially, their standard build is not vendor standard. There are additional components and potential backdoors ‘for support purposes’. I think I’ve turned them all off.

But that seems to be where the negatives stop… mostly

What you get for $50 a month… 32Gb RAM, 2*2Tb disk in RAID1, ECC RAM, quad core Xeon (HT), IPv4, IPv6/64, rDNS.

That’s a pretty impressive spec machine. Except for disk space, that’s better than my home machine (more memory, ECC memory, better CPU). If you wanted to buy such a machine and colo it then it’d probably cost you more.

My gut feeling about SYS is “ugh, they backdoor…”, but other than that I’m feeling this isn’t a bad offering and seems pretty competitive in terms of what you get for your buck.

Do I need such a machine? No. But… I’ve already had one benefit; I can use Linux kvm to host a small server for a friend!