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OVH CEO: Unlike Amazon, Google, “we will never be in competition with you” (datacenterdynamics.com)
288 points by krn on March 31, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 194 comments

Important notes about OVH:

-I'm a customer for about ~2 years.

-I was "just" using OVH object storage, and was considering other OVH services.

-I'm all about "cheap,cheap,cheap"

-OVH is super-cheap, which is good.

-I want OVH to "win". OVH doesn't want to "win". Because..

-OVH is super-confusing. Interface, website, billing, everything.

-website uses esoteric design conventions. A European thing? I don't know.

-feels as if they went the extra mile to make it confusing. Defies belief!

-they have separate websites for different countries, which use different login credentials.

-they have "OVH credits". Why???

-they use OpenStack (Yay!). Unforuntely, they have a confusing implementation of OpenStack dashboard, AND on a separate site, with separate credentials.

Bottom line: I'm a tech-savvy guy who can absorb some pretty bad UX, but OVH made me cringe. Seriously, I do not exaggerate. Anytime I need to log on to OVH, I get an uneasy feeling. So, I gladly paid extra and switched. I use DigitalOcean now. It's not as cheap. Digital Oceans's UX is good, but not amazing. But believe you me, it is BREATHE OF FRESH AIR compared to OVH. Update: may post a video if you guys want me to. Let me know!

Most of these GUI differences came during OVH's huge expansion around 2014. At that point they split into several "business lines" (kimsufi/so you start/ovh dedicated/ovh cloud...) that operate mostly independently, and hence the separate logins and interfaces. I'm not saying that it isn't a mess, because it is, but at least there's an explanation.

Also, part of the bad interface design seems due to them building public API's first and then the GUIs. This leads to the same kind of "impedance mismatch" problems that many frontend apps suffer where the backend functions aren't well suited to provide good UX. Of course this is also their fault for either not improving the APIs and/or not putting enough effort to work around the limitations in their GUIs. However, it has the upside that you have APIs for everything.

Also... we've been customers for a very long time, mainly of their dedicated server offerings. After dealing with their support a non-trivial number of times, our learned procedure is: just get a new server and migrate, without renewing the old one. Sadly, this also means that we don't trust any managed service from them.

We share this experience. We received a faulty server. It happens with all providers. The problem was we were not able to get it repaired in a one month timeframe. Support suggested getting refund.

We switched all other services from them pretty instantly. It would not be an option if one of our production servers had a failure and we could not get repair procedure quickly handled. We are willing to pay for this privilege.

BTW - we were their customer for 6 years. It worked smoothly and there were no problems with their service on running machines.

That's actually very fair, I recall that before 2014 I used their old UI and it was not that terrible (other than feeling outdated even then, but outdated is better than nearly unusable).

I found that using OpenStack's CLI utilities is sometimes better than any of their UIs. Unfortunately even then I have to switch to their UI to switch a server to monthly billing (transforming it into more of a VPS than a cloud instance). Wish they handled it the same way as Google does with the sustained usage discount.

An upvote wasn't enough - I REALLY wanted to work with OVH but their various web portals can't seem to even consistently remember your country or language, billing is a nightmare, etc. One of the few experiences I've had in life where they made working with them (and giving them money) so impossible I began to wonder if they're a front or money laundering operation. To be clear on that point I know they aren't and I'm not accusing them of any wrongdoing, the experience was so appallingly bad I had to come up with a humorous explanation just to rationalize the whole thing.

I was able to ignore the UX because I just needed a small box for OpenVPN and Caddy.

I could not however continue using them once they asked me to verify my identity after a month of usage.

I was paying $3.50 per month.

No other hosting provider has asked me for that kind of information.

With that stupid move, they lost a customer for life.

Try living in Eastern Europe. Digital Ocean did that to me when I opened the account more than 5 years ago.

Great to know people confirming the horrible experience (actually bittersweet). Happy to know I'm not the "odd one out".

> website uses esoteric design conventions. A European thing? I don't know.

No, not a European thing. They are just special.

Okay, that's good to know. However, I had a quick glance at Hetzner (an OVH competitor), and it looks to be using esoteric design.

I was thinking about using Hetzner, but I dread it may be like OVH. Anyone with first-hand experience with Hetzner?

I have a few dedicated boxes for almost 10 years now. I highly recommend it. I use it to run bitcoinity.org since it was created in 2011. Because of relatively big database (2TB) and many concurrent websocket connections (peaking around 20K) cost would be prohibitive elsewhere. Great uptime, instant responses, eKVM and blah blah I'm not their marketing team, I'm just a really happy customer.

I've tried OVH I think on two or three occasions, mostly VPS which was really sucked. But that was a few years ago maybe they got their s..ervers together.

How many servers do you have with Hetzner to manage 20,000 websocket connections? Also, did you ever have data loss in your large database because of hard drive failure?

Theoretically, they could get away with just one: http://phoenixframework.org/blog/the-road-to-2-million-webso...

That said, it depends on the stack, the level of optimizations and how much each websocket requires...

I'd love to know too though (both the # of servers and the other details)

Yup, I switched to phoenix lately. Works as advertised. I didn't even mess much with any kernel options. I still have most of my stack on ruby (on rails), but I bridge more and more things with elixir app (and phoenix), mostly using redis queues. As mentioned just 2 boxes are doing ws pushing currently, they also serve the app, one additional server also serving app but mostly static files, DB server, DB-slave and the app logic (which in my case is mostly fetching data and calculating some stats).

Unfortunately, even though there are some fallbacks and it seems to be pretty reliable, these servers are pets rather than cattle.

Two are doing just fine with the current stack (elixir), I actually have more problem with gigabit connections getting saturated at some points, but that's just my failure to optimize data that's being sent. Before that I was using nginx module (nginx-push-stream-module) which is also great and way ahead of any other out-of-the-box solution that I know.

Every server has RAID1 by default, plus I keep postrgresql slave on another box and I try to keep up to date backup. I actually never experienced a drive failure there (I currantly have ~10 boxes), but on my dev server at home which runs the same service I got I guess 5 HDDs failures already. Just two of them were server-grade though.

YMMV but I've had a very pleasant experience with Hetzner. On the same level as many US DC's when it comes to server and account management.

Switched to Hetzner from ovh a few years ago. No problems with either provider.

What do you mean by "esoteric design"?!

Design that does not follow "standard" conventions. Don't make me define "standard"!

Ah a French company with one of their DC in Quebec. What could go wrong ?

Probably had GoDaddy's crew build it on the side

I use OVH's So You Start line and I think my biggest complaint is that they don't allow automatic renewal. Every monthly renewal means manually keying in my card number every month. The only alternative is to pre-pay in 3, 6, or 12 months in advance. It is the only online service I use that doesn't handle auto-renewal.

Ask them to update your account to the newest version. I assure you they handle automatic renewals and they handle them very strictly - I'm getting emails blasted to both main and optional email account at the first time there is a card decline.

Here some screen shoots from minutes ago:

Exhibit 1: huge yellow sticker to tell me to switch to auto-pay, which I actually don't want to for some of my clients.

Exhibit 2: both bills for servers setup as autopay.

Actually the option to pay in advance is a blessing and as far as I know, only known to me provider that does that. Last December where I was for $35,000 in taxes, I was able to significantly lower that down for purchasing OVH services for 12 months in advance. OVH rocks!!

[1] https://ibb.co/enhmen

[2] https://ibb.co/nGGJs7

That's OVH, which uses a different control panel than their SoYouStart division. I just submitted a ticket with them asking if autorenew was possible and they replied right away confirming that autorenew is not possible, unfortunately.

I use their dedicated servers and they just implemented automatic renewals in February. I don't know if that covers all their offerings though.

Same here, it's so weird. Most services are dying to get you to sign up for autorenewal, these guys don't even allow it.

That is assuming you manage to find the right portal to log into! Heaven forbid you travel and hit their geofence!

>-they use OpenStack (Yay!). Unforuntely, they have a confusing implementation of OpenStack dashboard, AND on a separate site, with separate credentials.

can you point me at a not-so-confusing implementation of OpenStack?

I'm (mostly) not being snide... this is actually relevant to my interests (and yours, if you want to buy a certain kind of OpenStack services)

My own impression as a SysAdmin is that OpenStack is incredibly overcomplex, and that you want Ganeti instead. I mean, this is from the SysAdmin side, setting up and maintaining the cluster. Ganeti clusters are setup by one person. OpenStack clusters are giant IBM-esqe projects where you switch consulting firms at least twice before completion.

Of course, on the end user side, it's a different thing, and having a consistent api to code against has a multitude of benefits.

so I'm super interested in what users who are enthusiastic about (and paying for services from) service providers who provide service using openstack. I'm especially interested in how much of the openstack api is exposed to the user and how.

The UI is good enough to set up the storage once and then not ever touch it again. I also enjoy when it randomly switches to French.

That is correct. But it's those times when you need to interact with the dashboard or billing that makes you cringe. I run a business, I can't "afford" that headache.

And true about the random French switching.

I only use dashboard when I buy a server and perform installation. It is pretty good these days and automatic renewal also works. In my opinion it is much better than AWS - as in simpler.

Re: Random French switching

Maybe you are using their Quebec DC. (Bill 101)

Maybe the obfuscation saves them in support budget. If you are persistent enough to go through the confusing interface you are also persistent enough to solve problems yourself.

There is also Scaleway owned by Iliad (French telecom/isp provider). Even cheaper and they have basicly copied the DigitalOcean Design.

My problem is their support. Packet loss to a server? 'Sorry this is not our issue'. I have one server left there, and if it goes above ~50mbit it drops ~25% of network traffic to multiple sources.

I was unable to set up their Open Stack and the support didn't help, but at least I got refund. But their dedicated server is pretty good and you can easily setup Kubernetes on it.

Plus you have some French that surfaces all over the place in the UI even when you are a UK customer.

But that’s kind of OVH’s DNA. It originated as a bunch of servers hosted in a closet, and has been progressively hacking together more features cheaply, it’s kind of the duct tape and shoe string hosting provider, but it has prices in line with that style as well. A much more polished and support-focused provider wouldn’t charge these prices.

I love OVH and have used them for a few years now but I'll echo your sentiments about a confusing jumble of dashboards and settings.

It does seem to have got a little better over the last year although their Openstack cloud service is made a little more difficult to manage because of their pre-paid servers discount being tied to a specific instance, it makes auto scaling difficult.

I can confirm !

I wanted to store a couple gigs of data online.

A friend told me that OVH had a service for that.

I checked their service and found it; wow it was literally 10x as expensive as competitors.

Turns out there are 2 services to store data online by OVH, the one I am looking for was named differently and hard to find on their website.

After seeing that they both had extremely negative reviews, I did not look further.

The credits are probably because it’s a way to get to you to pay in front rather than after the billing period. Some other cloud companies do this too so it’s not too far out.

However, it’s a better UX and less hassle to just bill customers in actual dollars/euros than in “MyCompany Credits” (that probably map 1:1 or 1:100 or 1:1000 to USD)

I get the rationale for credits. However, in true OVH fashion, credits is way more confusing than it has to be. The invoice is also confusing. Not a simple "you bought this, you owe this". But it has deductions, subtractions, additions, sub-totals, credits, etc. I am not an accountant!

That's pretty basic stuff for any adult person, no accountant needed.

Whilst you could check the bill each month and do these calculations do you really want to spend anytime doing that for a server costing $3.50 a month? Anytime spent checking it is a false economy.

> -I was "just" using OVH object storage [...]

> -I'm all about "cheap,cheap,cheap"

Have you looked at wasabi.com? They are much cheaper than just about anyone for object store. OVH is 0.0112/GB/mo and Wasabi is 0.0049/GB/mo.

Have you used wasabi? Is it usable in the US? I've tried it once before, and today, but the speeds are still completely unusable for me (in Northern EU). Would be awesome if they had some regions closer to me.

Does wasabi support static web hosting?

Not sure myself, but a quick look in their support area comes up with (below) which seems like it might answer your question.


from their FAQ: Wasabi’s hot cloud storage service is not designed to be used to serve up (for example) web pages at a rate where the downloaded data far exceeds the stored data or any other use case where a small amount of data is served up a large amount of times.

Wasabi it appears is not suitable when content is downloaded is many times, which is the use case for websites.

> -OVH is super-confusing. Interface, website, billing, everything.

This times a hundred. I'd keep running into tasks that DIDN'T WORK on the web UI and was told to use the API, but then the API didn't work because of the region I was in and I had to use an older version or a different command that did seemingly the same thing or...

I share most of your toughts, they really should put some real effort in UX. Example: domains informations are linked to user accounts, if you want to edit registrant, administrative or technical contacts you are required to create full OVH user profiles.

Their customer portal / billing interface seems to be significantly improved on the new US OVH site. It seems like they plan on rolling that out globally eventually.

The only time I login to their website is when I have to use their KVM - once or twice a year at the most.

RIP /managerv3/

Have you ever looked at online.net?

And what's esoteric design?

I had very bad experience with physical server at online.net. One time I noticed that my server did not return from reboot. I logged into KVM and discovered that both my SSD drives failed and need replacement.

I immediately backed up all my data and created ticket. I wait for I day. I wait for 2 days. After three days (all this time my server was offline) I got answer "we can't replace your drives and can't replace your server because we do not have stock. And you can wait for end of the month for new server".

Isn't it brilliant? :(

I run https://wtfismyip.com on OVH. Egress bandwidth exceeds 8TB a month, which on AWS could cost ~$1000/month, not including the cost of the beefy EC2 instance I would need.

For some bandwidth heavy use cases, OVH makes a lot more sense than AWS. In my case it was $150/month versus $2000/month (bandwidth + EC2).

AWS bandwidth costs are obscene. They compete on price so well on most other fronts, but for some reason they just completely overcharge on bandwidth. It makes using them without a CDN cost prohibitive and drives a lot of use cases away from them.

>for some reason they just completely overcharge on bandwidth

People say this about AWS/GCP/Azure. They are so willing to compete on cost on everything else that it seems odd like this would be true, so I have a different theory:

OVH/etc are all able to massively oversell bandwidth. Most customers do not use it. This is fine, and not anything I think they're doing wrong!

But the "Big 3" are all about automatically scaling resources. With my own applications, I find that if I am scaling up/out, my network traffic is growing at a commensurate rate. Whereas back in the day when I was using SoftLayer or other places where I leased dedicated servers, I was not using anywhere near the included bandwidth.

It's easy to sell 1TB at the price of 100GB if people, on average, are only using 100GB. But then you have to sell 1TB at the price of 1TB if people, on average, are using that 1TB.

It's a distinction without a difference though. If you use 1TB of data on Amazon or on OVH, and one service costs you $x and the other costs you 20% of $x you've got the same service for less money.

Your cheap OVH bandwidth is paid for by overcharging less intensive users. Since Amazon charges exactly what you use, it’s a great deal if you’re below average, and a bad deal if you’re above average.

It's exactly the same model used by fitness clubs worldwide. And Comcast cable Internet, Google Fiber, every DSL provider, even every cellular data provider.

Current true bandwidth costs about $0.50 (50 USD cents) per Mbps, per month, sometimes even less.

Average 1 month usage of a 1Mbps link that has Internet traffic on it is about 175-210GBytes.

Literally less than 1/3rd of 1 penny, per GB of data.

So what about the cdns? They're all overselling too? Otherwise they'd obviously have to charge amazon prices?

From eg Hetzner and other less affordable hosts (and from second hand comments here on hn about bandwidth is where amazon has ridiculously high margins) - I'll venture that the "cloud" providers get away with it because on average "actual" bandwidth correlate with "actual" usage: and hence correlate with actual users that pay or are worth paying "for".

I get 30tb/month bw with my 50/month hetzner dedicated server (along with 1gps uplink). And I can actually use that.

I can't even see backing stuff up to a typical "cloud" provider, because testing restore of a single tb of data/month would be too expensive.

Hetzner is charging € 1.00 per TB after you used all the included bandwidth and they are making a profit with that. [0]

[0] https://wiki.hetzner.de/index.php/Traffic/en#Option_1

But that's how the internet works in general. An ISP doesn't have a 500,000 * 100 MBit/s connection in a city to enable simultaneous downloads from all customers at once.

I'm not claiming otherwise - just that my theory (and I have no actual evidence beyond the anecdotal) is that the big cloud providers aren't "overcharging" for bandwidth, just that they cannot offer discounts from oversubscription that others may be able to.

What's the best cdn right now? Cloudfront is just expensive as hell.

Alright, I'll go through the list.

* Cloudfront would be great for the North America and Europe they only charged for the bandwidth (those prices are reasonable), but charging for the HTTP request (and the huge premium on HTTPS). The bandwidth prices outside of those areas are absolutely awful though.

* Akamai makes Cloudfront look cheap.

* Cloudflare has ethical concerns that keep me away from them.

* Fastly is susceptible to DDoS's against the origin in some interesting ways.

* Limelight was great but then Goldman Sachs bought and destroyed them.

* EdgeCast was by far my favorite, but then they got bought by Verizon. Assuming Verizon hasn't fucked it up then they're definitely worth checking out, as their reporting tools were amazing and their performance was literally the best (my information is a few years out of date though on this one).

* If you want to serve people in China you will need to pay a China based (government owned) CDN or your traffic will get blocked for no reason once you get large enough. Conveniently enough one of their sales people will reach out to you about a day or two before the block goes into effect.

* MaxCDN isn't bad, but I haven't seen their higher tier prices (above 25TB) so I can't comment on that. Their South America and Asia coverage is pretty bad though- nothing in India, only one datacenter in Brazil for all of South America (with another being built, but also in Brazil), no Africa, no Middle East. If you're starting english only this isn't the worst, but eventually you'll need to go to a multiple CDN solution for broad coverage.

> Akamai makes Cloudfront look cheap.

Completely. I can't believe people actually pay Akamai.

> Fastly is susceptible to DDoS's against the origin in some interesting ways.

Citation requested.

> Cloudflare has ethical concerns that keep me away from them.

Not to mention their product itself isn't too good. I always get forced to Captcha on some ridiculous cloud flare "protected" site, despite not using a VPN or anything out of the ordinary.

Can you elaborate on Fastly exposing the origin servers to DDoS? Is there a link to learn more about that?

The Fastly "Purge API" by default does not require authentication. This is why you can clear the cache on Github pages directly [1].

From there you can force requests to hit the origin server by first purging the data from the cache and then requesting it.

Unrelated to DDoS I've also seen issues with the Fastly routing- it doesn't always pick the greatest end node to have a client connect to.

[1] https://stackoverflow.com/questions/26898052/how-to-force-im...

For what it’s worth I think with custom VCL you could add your own shared key / password authentication to fix this by returning a synthetic 403 if the shared key isn’t present in a header.

What are the ethical concerns with Cloudflare?

* Cloudflare has a history of promising to open source projects only to not do so. For example, they built a system to shorten SSL certificate chains that they said they would open source but then didn't for over a year. When they finally did they admitted it was due to pressure from people on this site.

* Cloudflare got some initial fame by keeping Lulzsec up during a massive DDoS. That by itself wasn't bad, but afterwards they embraced a "bulletproof hosting" mindset that involved acting as a shield for malicious activity (specifically, people were abusing their network to host malware and drive by exploits). If you reported an account for pushing malware they'd block the single instance of malware (ie, example.com/malware/djfksdjf.jar) even if the original server was configured to serve it under any random name (example.com/malware/.jar). For awhile they were a huge source of infection for users.

Their CEO directly lied and accused a security company I worked for at the time of blocking their traffic to "suppress free speech", when what we were really trying to block were active drive by exploits. We sent a ton of evidence for this to them in advance- including PCAP files showing the exact network connection required. Instead of dealing with the malware they were hosting they started a PR campaign.

* After I criticized them before on this site several of their security team followed me on twitter for some reason. That's how I learned that they have a lot of "alt-right" type people on their team (or at least did at that time).

Some people are against Cloudflare's vast internet dominance with their "free" CDN which proxies all content, but proxying content of a zone is no different from any of the other CDNs storing your content for you.

When did business success become such a problem? The basic CDN model is the same with all CDNs that are pull-first reverse proxies, but they clearly offer much better features for less cost which is why so many use them. There's nothing stopping other companies from doing the same but most are still nothing more than some nginx servers running in a few colos.

I came to pretty much the same conclusion a few years ago, Edgecast was my favourite, until Verizon bought them. I dont know if there are any changes, but I have yet to see big acquisition that dont mess up the company.

Limelight was my favourite before I discovered Edgecast, the only problem is Limelight no longer does business with small companies and no more reseller / PAYG model. Which means basically most of us cant use them. But I didn't know Goldman Sachs bought them? And destroy them?

> * Akamai makes Cloudfront look cheap.

Their list pricing does but they’ve matched or beat AWS in the past. This is by far my least favorite part of the enterprise sales model but if you can haggle it pays off.

I'm pretty sure Steam gets a good price with Akamai. At least I hope it's the case, since all their download goes though there.

Cloudflare. Cheap, fast and powerful. They seem to be doing everything right, as evidenced by all the growth and great features in a single package. It's rather surprising the other vendors aren't doing anything to even catch up.

If you need more control, than Fastly is very technical, although the recently launched Cloudflare workers give you much more programmability by running javascript.

For more traditional options, look at the quiet upstart Stackpath which is built upon the old MaxCDN network, and also CDN77 which is great value.

In terms of price I still haven't found anything better than CloudFlare. If performance is the goal all the testing I've done for work shows Akamai as the leader, though not by a lot. Fastly is making strides to compete with both, as well.

Heard good things about cloudflare

I would have said MaxCDN, but they recently got "acquired" by StackPath, so who knows what direction that's going.

They were acquired in July of 2016, so about 20 months ago. It seems to be more of a merger than an acquisition, and both brands have stayed separate but share expertise and data centers. It honestly seemed like a good way for both of them to expand their footprint while also reducing overhead.

Why the quote marks around acquired?

StackPath came out of nowhere. As far as I could tell at the time, they didn't have any public products. And all of a sudden they bought MaxCDN. I could never tell if it was actually an acquisition or more of a merger or something else?

Stackpath is from the founder of Softlayer. Raised private equity money and acquired several companies including MaxCDN to start a new service. The subbrands still exist but are slowly migrating and will refer you to the stackpath products.


Hi there. I'm DevRel at StackPath. We have an will continue to support the businesses that we have acquired, but the long term plan is to roll everything into a single platform under the StackPath umbrella. Our customers won't see much if any difference in service other then better performance and more features/products when we migrate them.

CDN77 is pretty awesome

We run a chunk on OVH too. It is over 100X cheaper than AWS.

We have had some issues though. OVH had two major outages in the last two years. Our strategy has been to build a more robust distributed architecture and use these issues to be "antifragile," which improves our product while as still saving money.

Over time I expect OVH to become more solid as they mature.

You should get some boxes from other EU vendors as well. Don't put all your eggs in the same basket. Unless your work load is very unpredictable I don't see why people use AWS, "serverless" and platform lockin.

I thought people go with serverless so they don't have to deal with ops?

It seens OVH was launched in 1999. That’s quite a long time for them to mature :)

From what I remember one of those outages wasn't connected with network hardware/their architecture but with their new electricity feed system, after which they posted post mortem and wrote about steps that they will take so this will not happen again.

Every major platform had outages in the last 2 years - Amazon many times, google cloud also.

It’s plain text, how do you get to 8TB per month! Congrats on your site!

2M hits per hour, 1M uniques. It's crazy!

I'm guessing it's mostly automated. Are you being used by a popular software package that you know of?

I wouldn't be surprised if the plain-text ip was used somewhere. Anecdotal evidence but I myself use that for most of my scripts to get my own ip.

A github search shows over 1000 code results.

Are you able to at least break even in terms of costs?

Why no gzip/brotli the content? Does it not help because html is small?

Care to explain what the business model is here?


There is literally an entire page explaining that there is no business model other than a donation button. There are shockingly people than run websites either as a hobby or to provide a useful service for others with no expectation of making money from it.

Browsed the entire website but can't figure out how to donate. There's no link anywhere, even on the Twitter page.

When you look at https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Z2wGsh... (Google Webcache from 25th March), there was a donation button on the "Why" page, but it seems to have been removed now. Not sure why though...

$150/month seems like a lot for a hobby like this.

just curious - any particular reason to not enable gzip compression for responses?

    $ curl -s https://wtfismyip.com/text|wc -c
    $ curl -s https://wtfismyip.com/text|gzip -|wc -c

nginx for example can enable gzip by content-type or depending on gzip_min_length, it's very flexible. All in all, just curious if there's a deeper reason.

So..8tb vs 4tb? If paying for bw.. Seems reasonable?

The gzip version is actually the larger of the two.

Indeed. Missed it because of required side-scrolling on mobile.

I just wanted to thank you. I've used your site so many times in personal scripts.

Thank you for your service, sir!

I wonder if nearlyfreespeech would be even cheaper for you.

I've used NFS for more than 10 years. Past a certain point, it does not scale. It's really good for smaller sites and not much else I feel.

This is a nice PR bit, but I wonder if it really matters?

I would be very reluctant to do a startup centered on, say, GMail or Amazon Marketplace as a platform. If you get too successful, it's too easy for them to say, "Hey, here's a proven high-value business for us to get into." And then they have my customer right there, so I'm screwed. (An example that comes to mind is Swype. They invented the swipeable virtual keyboard and made a great product. So great that Google added the feature to their own Android keyboard. And then released it for free on iOS, too.)

But I'm not worried at all about using their infrastructure services, because it doesn't give them much in way of competitive advantage. Netflix, for example, has a lot of their stuff running in AWS. Amazon has Prime Movies + TV as a direct competitor, but I don't think Netflix really cares. I as a consumer sure don't; from my perspective Netflix and Amazon are completely separate.

> This is a nice PR bit, but I wonder if it really matters?

Over the last year I've seen a huge push to move away from AWS from retail clients. Azure is a lot more appealing because Microsoft doesn't compete with them.

Yet :)

Microsoft was famous for doing the same thing: http://www.paulgraham.com/road.html

> There is all the more reason for startups to write Web-based software now, because writing desktop software has become a lot less fun. If you want to write desktop software now you do it on Microsoft's terms, calling their APIs and working around their buggy OS. And if you manage to write something that takes off, you may find that you were merely doing market research for Microsoft.

Yeah, the notion that Microsoft is now the safe, cuddly tech company is mindblowing. They fucked so, so many people over:


  Spyglass, which licensed its browser to Microsoft in return for a percentage 
  of each sale; Microsoft turned the browser into Internet Explorer and bundled 
  it with Windows, giving it away to gain market share but effectively 
  destroying any chance of Spyglass making money from the deal they had signed 
  with Microsoft; Spyglass sued for deception and won a $8 million settlement.

You can't discount first mover advantage. From your own example, Swype had immense mind and market share for many years, even after Google, Microsoft and others released their own alternatives. They were eventually bought out for over $100 million.

Sure, but their products were killed off. Their ~20% APR rate of return is decent, but not stellar. And you have to wonder if Nuance really go $100m worth of value out of the acquisition; in retrospect it looks like buying at the top of the market

Regardless, I think it's inarguable that they would have been worth a lot more had they not been killed off by the platforms they did so much for.

Eventually, I get a new phone. I'm certainly not going to go after Swype if Gboard has its only USP built right in (and better overall integration)

Pretty much this.

I used Swype for a while. IIRC they were not helping themselves : you had to reinstall the app after a while because it would automatically stop working.

I also personally disliked how the keyboard looked with swype.

When the default keyboard started having this feature, there was no point in installing this bothersome app anymore.

Netflix used other things for CDN($$$), and is doing shows themself($$$). Never really used fancy aws expect for pay vps-per-second and out-bandwidth-per-byte.

>Never really used fancy aws expect for pay vps-per-second and out-bandwidth-per-byte.

This doesn't seem true, based on all of the things they talked about using at Re:Invent last year.


They also use S3.

I used to have a server with them however the UI was ...beyond words. It was impossible for me to renew my subscription because the site was throwing a JS error. Has this improved? Their offering was very good bang for buck I've seen.

Yeah their UI is beyond useless.

Their support is beyond useless.

Can't even cancel my servers, but everything else was great.

Ended up having to use their API to cancel the server, since support wouldn't cancel the server for me - here is an actual email they sent me: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DY2rWiLU8AA_mKt.jpg:large

OVH is also notorious for being very slow to respond to abuse reports. They've been one of the favorite VPS providers for botnets, exploit kits, and other cybercrime activities as of a few years ago, and may still be.

They forward a lot of abuse reports because it is assumed the customer is doing something and that something is being abused rather than the customer abusing OVH.

Which is a big plus because when using AWS or DO there is always that small question in the back of my mind "what if somebody gets angry at me and fires abuse reports to shutdown my server"

I don't have that on OVH. Getting good IP reputation is fairly easy too compared to AWS or DO.

As a client of them, that's good. And they are so big that nobody would blacklist them.

It's weird because in every article I see about DigitalOcean, there's people saying "DO is stupid, they're overpriced, everyone should use OVH", yet in every article I see about OVH there are people complaining that OVH has some serious customer support and UX problems.

It probably depends on how much you interact with them (by choice or luck). My interactions (via Kimsufi) have been: creating a server once, then paying them four times a year. So far that's been flawless :)

I'm a long time OVH customer (also kumsufi) - if you don't need the support you can't find a better bang for your buck provider anywhere else. Especially in the storage department.

I want to love OVH, they just need to spend some time overhauling their terrible management UI.

+1 to their support being useless

Bought a block of extra IP's. IP's assigned would not route to anything

OVH gave me a barrage of tests and kept insisting I'd fucked up

Eventually they asked if they could directly connect to my server (with my consent)

Immediately declared the issue "Closed" because I wasn't using VMware ESXi!

Oh yeah, the support was lol. And I have seen a fair share of terrible customer support.

The "OVH Manager" is still pretty bad, although it has improved a lot since they switched over a year (or two?) ago. At that price point there's really not much alternative, only Hetzner come to mind, certainly nothing in the US.

Check out online.net. It's what I am using since a few months and I have a lot of OVH flashbacks when using their website. However, their support and their interface are good.

I recently set up a small cluster and can't figure out how to enable vrack (private networking) to the servers. The option is there in the UI, but it doesn't seem to do anything. Not sure if that was a bug or you're supposed to contact support to set them up.

I tried to delete my account back in 2012 or so and back then they were asking me to send a letter to their lawyers for that. OVH has left an atrocious taste in my mouth since.

I think it's safe to say that Amazon's ambition is unlimited at this point in time. I fully expect them to jump into commercial banking in the near future

So there are fairly strong regulations on what other things a bank can do. I can't remember exactly what it entails. It's possible Amazon could get around that with holding company structure or something, but I'm not sure.

I agree with your general point though, maybe just not the bank part.

Edit1: It's not reg W, damn I cannot remember which section describes this. There's too many bank regs in the US.

Edit2: ok 12 CFR 225.21 &238.51 we're closer: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/12/225.21

Bank or bank holding can't own anything other than other fin, ag, or family stuff.

I'm still at sure to what extent this would stop Amazon from starting their own bank. (IANAL, but this was explained to me years ago by an expert on us federal banking regulation so I have hazy memories of it)

Aaaand I just wasted 15 minutes of my morning looking through the CFR on banking regulation, time to stop reading hackernews.

> wasted 15 minutes

I used to work in a securities firm owned by a bank holding company in a role requiring being registered as a securities principal (legally responsible to supervise). It still took me several minutes to remember which regulations to look up.

Amazon doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of working around these regulations with the current administration. Trump hates Bezos. With a moderate Republican in power, they might be able to lobby their way to creating the precise loophole they needed (which would require legislation).

Didn't Walmart try to buy itself some sort of bank back in 2006 or so? I have a vague recollection of the venture and it not going Walmart's way.

There's a lot of banking regulations but Amazon has enough money to either buy an existing online solution or develop their own

In the US, owning a bank changes the regulatory status of the entire legal entity structure. This cannot be evaded with shell companies, etc. Specifically, “any company that controls a bank” is a Bank Holding Company and is regulated by the Federal Reserve (regardless of where the controlled bank is chartered). Being regulated by the Fed is a big deal and they can and will poke around in your non-bank subsidiaries (which are, after all, assets of the Bank holding company).

What if there's one parent company whose subsidiaries include amazon and a bank? Since "amazon" itself isn't controlling the bank, it's not subject to said regulations.

Would it be legal to somehow partner with an existing bank / found a legally independent one with ties?

Amazon is currently partnering with a bank to offer credit to some of the merchants on their platform.

Sure I'm not saying Amazon lacks the capacity, but rather that the CFR might actually prohibit a company owning both a bank and a massive commercial retail structure, etc etc.

As a European, I am sometimes shocked that people in the bay don't know about OVH.

AWS, Azure and GCloud are all so good at Marketing themselves that a lot of people don't even hear about alternatives.

I used a lot OVH both for private reasons and pushed it into my company.

It is by far the cheapest (by a factor of 3-4* in my case), and it is shockingly easy to get to talk to core engineers in case you have any real issue.

The founder Octave Klaba is also a character. A Huge geek, that lives for OVH.

> As a European, I am sometimes shocked that people in the bay don't know about OVH.

Where would you get that impression? OVH is clearly well known in the tech world of the bay area / SV. They've been regularly discussed on HN for at least ~5+ years that I'm aware of.

One problem has been that they only have one North America location and it's in Canada (not necessarily ideal depending on what you're doing and where you're located in the US).

UX matters, that's why. And AWS, Azure, Google aren't even the incumbents. We have Rackspace, Softlayer and several others I'm forgetting.

I'd be afraid to use OVH simply because it's French. What happens if I need serious support on August 15? Is the entire company going to be on vacation?

Also, my fear of needing support on a weekend or a holiday or after 7pm on a weekday or at lunch time.

I don't know if OVH operates like a real French business, but if my experience with Orange, EDF or any other French business is any indication, it would be highly frustrating and risky to build a business around any French company. Then there's the risk of France deciding to heavily tax your business because data might cross through French territory. Suddenly, if you're a non French business but you have a datacenter in France or data transiting through France, now you're going to be subject to the whims of French politicians. Considering how France is suing Apple over the iOS developer program and how they threaten and complain about pretty much any non-EU tech company -- it wouldn't take much for the government to order OVH to shut down your servers or attempt to extort payments.

I'm more afraid of the EU than Amazon.

Indeed, OVH UI is slow and bulky. I moved to Hetzner for a lot of things. Even cheaper, had one server issue, but quickly fixed by their support ( a bios to upgrade ), their UX is simple but efficient. Any other opinion on them?

Hetzner is the best if you care about value. If you look at the hardware they offer you can tell it is designed by people who know what they are doing and really care about getting the best bang for buck.

I use Hetzner, I like their server range and prices, but I am annoyed I pay almost as much for a block of IPs as I do a single server.

(I run a bunch of virtual machines, each with a real public IP exposed.)

For IPv4? This really does reflect reality - IPV4 addresses should cost WAY more than things like servers we can just keep making.

+1 for hetzner. For Lineage, we run our mirror and (as of next weekend) our code review platform there.

I had a server go offline last night. A fuse broke. It took support all of 30s to fix it. OVH this would have been at least Monday before someone looked.

I wish there was a website that collected all of the times a company promised to "never do x" and then changed their word. Companies break promises all of the time. It's impossible to predict what they or anyone else will do in a few years.

With Kubernetes now being mature and fairly easy to install, you can have essentially your own AWS for peanuts using OVH. I absolutely see no reason why paying such a premium to use "conventional" cloud providers when you can have your own portable infrastructure nowadays.

Kubernetes only does service orchestration, which is a very small part of what AWS offers overall. You still have to manage servers/NAS/networking hardware, ISP contracts, CDN, edge caches, geo-distribution and more.

I think there is a niche where it is too expensive to use AWS and it is impossible to do with traditional hosting. You can do well with Flannel, Rook and edge servers as nginx reverse proxies with caching. You need to write scripts once (or use ready made recipes) and management isn't too hard - definitely doable for one man project if you set your expectations right.

Trying to duplicate things like SQS, RDS, and Lambda on Kubernetes could easily crush you on operator costs.

It still has a learning curve, but it isn't too bad. You have Rook, OpenFAAS etc. and once you write your own recipes it is easy to spin up your own databases, queues etc.

Yes, once you have an experienced systems administrator you'd be amazed at what you save for that $200k salary...

AWS hits a "pay what you use" price point for services that previously required the human equivalent of a large capital outlay.

I’ve been a customer of theirs for years. Till now I still have to manually key in my credit card details to renew my servers every few months. So yeh, their CEO’s probably right.

OVH has auto-renew though?

Up until early this year autorenew existed in the UI for Canadian servers but didn't do anything.

to their credit, they do the auto-renew on european IBAN accounts

They've recently (within the past couple months) enabled automatic renew for credit cards.

We run 1K node ClickHouse cluster on top of OVH. In BigQuery, we had a latency of 10-50s per query and it was costing us 400K per month.

ClickHouse costs us 100K per month, all deployed on OVH. 100-200ms query latency.

Why $400k for BigQuery? It has flat-rate billing starting at 40k/month for unlimited queries.

Also your other comment mentioned 50TB across 1000 Clickhouse nodes, why so little data per node?

> It has flat-rate billing starting at 40k/month for unlimited queries.

plus storage costs?

50TB of data is about $500/month on BigQuery. $0.02/GB for new data, then $0.01 after 90 days of being unchanged.

So what can we gleam from this?

OVH aren't about to start selling books or buy supermarket chains? Quelle surprise.

Having AWS in the hosting market means that right now, it's become a cottage industry for anyone else other than the big names in tech. Meanwhile these big names in tech know that they can make money from their platforms.

They simply can't compete on the same level and now they've decided that's what makes them unique in the industry...

What should a hosting business to do in 2018?

> OVH aren't about to start selling books or buy supermarket chains? Quelle surprise.

I think they're more talking about companies hosting on AWS, e.g. Amazon Video is a competitor to Netflix

OVH won't do anything even slightly advanced, no BGP support, no firewall beyond the very basic stuff and everything about OVH is super confusing. It is like they got together and decided to make up nonconventional names to common network terms to piss everyone off. OVH is pretty cheap, but very basic. Plus good luck trying to understand an overage bill.

Just yesterday I looked into some performance articles about cloud providers and OVH wasn't in the top tier

I was just listening to a Software Engineering Radio podcast from 2015 where they were interviewing the guy who moved Netflix to AWS. He said that by being on the best cloud provider (AWS), Netflix was neutralizing the advantage that Amazon Prime Video had by being on the best cloud provider.

On the other hand, Dropbox had to leave AWS because they would never be able to be a storage solution at a lower price and pay AWS fees...

Any such (low cost) provider offers a great hosted kubernetes experience?

I’m not going to do anything you can do. Better? because i have no budget to compete with these giants yet.!

I work for a very large bank and our management refuses to use AWS as we see it as a potential competitor. So we ended up using a cloud provider that sucks. So it seems that this opinion expressed by OVH CEO is shared by a lot of senior management.

I thought the sentence would be "we'll never charge for bandwidth" which is equally important.

*charge until a point. I don't expect them to go cloudflare.

This will be the undoing of the Giants. Lack of trust.

That's what they all say at first.

OVH has existed for almost twenty years.

title gore

Hi is right, but for different reasons he thinks. :)

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