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Slicehost accounts will be converted to Rackspace cloud accounts (rackspace.com)
198 points by jsprinkles 2453 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 151 comments



Definitely a misleading title and kind of unfair to Rackspace. I founded Slicehost (with Matt Tanase) and I absolutely think this is the right thing to do and definitely is the best thing for existing Slicehost customers.

Given that this is a public plan now I feel like I can share that during the acquisition process of Slicehost we debated heavily what the right thing was to do with the brand. It was honestly a very very tough call and at the time the thing we all (Matt, me and Rackspace) were most sensitive to was to not disrupt the Slicehost community. We succeeded in that goal but the net effect (unintentionally so) was to disconnect Slicehost from Rackspace's cloud roadmap and effectively strand the product.

Unfortunately I think in hindsight I can say that our decision was probably the wrong call. I honestly think everyone would have been better off if we just ripped the band-aid early and tried to figure out how to make the core Cloud Server community out of the incoming Slicehost customers.

Control panels, features, pricing, etc all change and in the long run are only ephemerally important. What matters is having your interests be in the direct path for the company that is serving you and as a Rackspace Cloud customer you'll have that, while as a Slicehost customer you did not (post acquisition).

I definitely can see this from all sides and for Slicehost customers, all I can say is that at no point along the way did anyone (at Slicehost or Rackspace) ever have less than the best intentions for the brand and the community. There are some serious champions of Slicehost at Rackspace both in the form of former Slicehost employees still there (Paul Tomes, article site creator) and long time Rackers. Trust me that these guys are really working for the best for you all.


Thank you for making an awesome product in Slicehost.

You mention that "...control panels...are only ephemerally important..."

Many in this thread disagree. You can see it getting brought up over and over as a reason we loved Slicehost, and a reason we don't like other alternatives as much.

I won't get too deep into UX theory here, so I'll just say this: people who make apps: if you hear the same comments over and over from your customers, they might be on to something interesting.

I truly believe in the expression "listen to what your users do, not what they say." So i'm not gonna pretend every lil gripe we have about this is right. But there is definitely a pattern in this thread that Rackspace can learn from.

[update: so far i've counted 18 mentions of the phrase "control panel" in this thread. it, and all user experience, matters a lot.]


I don't disagree with you. It's just that even if the Rackspace control panel was perfect today that wouldn't fix the core issue.

The core issue is that you're going to have your needs met if you are on the critical path, especially for a company growing at such a fast pace that has to deal with the reality of making choices on where to spend scarce resources.

By your own logic, having more people be squeaky wheels for the Rackspace control panel should be a good thing. It will be even more pressure for that to be addressed.


My point is that you might be measuring customer needs/migration path in a way differently than customers do (if you repeatedly see them move away to a 3rd party, especially one particular 3rd party).

A common theme in this thread is that people inside Rackspace see Rackspace Cloud + Slicehost as very similar, because 1) they have a common corp ownership 2) they have an increasingly common (but hidden-to-users) back-end 3) they have common staff in some cases.

But the customers in this thread see Linode + Slicehost as much more similar because 1) their control panels are a bit more similar 2) they share DNS flexibility + other featuers 3) Price (Linode moving in more attractive direction for some use-cases).

Neither interpretation is necessarily right, but in this era it's definitely time to rethink what customer needs are (if you're outlining a migration path). I don't think RS is wrong for discontinuing Slicehost (I'd definitely wanna EOL older products), I just think they're wrong in how they parse features, experiences, and what user needs are.

I see since I posted earlier that user:polvi (hiya!) says the Cloudkick posse is working on the control panel for RSC. I've no doubt that all providers will greatly up their UX game (something something Dave McClure design dogma :D).

It just feels disingenuous for RS peeps to say over and over "Slicehost services are not dying, it's just the brand that's going away" when real features and real UX are going away, at least for a window of time. And it's totally normal for users to go where those features and UX can be found, even if it's a separate company. To users, that feels easier.


We are in agreement for sure.

UX at rackspace now is ick at best, but since the Polvi virus is currently spreading in the place, I'd bet on significant improvement.

I just see that there are two independent issues. One is that Rackspace UX needs help, the other is that there are dual/competing brands, one of which is feature stranded. Clearly they are related when you consider collapsing the brand into one, but I still think it's worth thinking about them in terms of two distinct issues.


For what its worth, I stopped using Rackspace (specifically Rackspacecloud) for 2 reasons:

1. The control panel experience was incredibly bad. Incredibly. Large chunk of features simply didn't work and consistently gave errors (I opened numerous tickets, some were claimed to be fixed but later the errors came back). It's unacceptably slow, to the order of 2-5 seconds of loading anything. And the overall flow and experience is just bad (it took far too many clicks to do something like change a DNS entry).

For a while my startup persisted with using Rackspace just because we already had some infrastructure on it. Once an opportunity to move off came along, I jumped on it (it's now hosted on DotCloud).

2. I had some bizarre experience with getting questioned on the phone while signing up for a new account (setting up a personal account to toy around with vs my other business account). I was questioned about all sorts of things like what I will be using it for, what I'm working on, various private details that I was unwilling to give out. As long as I'm not doing anything illegal or against your ToS, it's none of Rackspace's business what I'm going to run on my VPS.

Now I use Linode for all my personal VPS needs and I love it. The control panel is super snappy, the user experience is simple and efficient, and they don't ask me questions they shouldn't be asking. Also when I report a problem, they actually fix it and are very open and transparent about everything.

Since then, I've recommended Linode to at least a dozen people specifically against Rackspace. Yes, I may be a squeaky wheel, but I believe fixing the control panel (and customer privacy policies) should be Rackspace's #1 priority, especially given all the other feedback you're getting inline with this. Each person who posted here could represent a dozen customers down the line.


Have you tried the cloudkick control panel?


I haven't. I abandoned the Rackspace ship before the acquisition, in Fall 2010.


Actually the acquisition was in Fall 2008. You can also try out the cloudkick CP for linode and AWS as well, from their CP you can use all 3 providers.


Ah, my bad (quick crunchbasing fail).

What's the draw for using CP on Linode? I'm completely happy with the Linode control panel experience.

AWS I don't have to worry about because I use DotCloud which handles all my network configuration and instance maintenance.


Prior to CK's acquisition by Rackspace, I'd say the main selling point is a common control panel experience for cross provider stuff. They were adding on monitoring as a pay service top as well.

I was suggesting it initially as a way to not suffer any pain with the existing Rackspace Cloud CP.


> By your own logic, having more people be squeaky wheels for the Rackspace control panel should be a good thing. It will be even more pressure for that to be addressed.

or, people will just leave because they don't want to deal with having to downgrade to a smaller featureset and worse CP at a higher cost, and then have to wait around for it to perhaps get better. i'm already preparing my slices for migration to linode. sorry. been with slicehost for years and was perfectly happy up until this.


Make sure you do the math on the options, last time I checked Cloud Servers will be cheaper for the vast majority of use cases, by a fairly real margin.

I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone at Rackspace who will tell you their existing CP is great. Definitely not a matter of if, but when on the improvement there.


a bit cheaper on average when converting slicehost to rackspace, but not universally so. $20/mo slice, for example, converts to somewhere between $0 ($11 if you estimate 100% uptime) and $38 on the rackspace plan. its kind of dependent upon what you're doing and still a roll of the dice.

not cheaper at all when converting slicehost to linode or some of the other competitors.


Jason,

Tell me why I should stay on slicehost instead of moving to linode or somewhere else. How does this move benefit me? In what ways does this move make your product better than linode's?

>disconnect Slicehost from Rackspace's cloud roadmap

What is Rackspace's cloud roadmap? To be direct: I don't care, at all, about rackspace's "cloud roadmap" and it sounds like we're all going to be eating the cost of either a poor engineering decision decision on slicehost's part, or a poor business decision on rackspace's part.

As somebody that's been a loyal customer of yours for about a year and a half, and has recommended your service to countless people, that kindof hurts, man.

Maybe it's just the phrasing, but what it sounds like you're effectively saying is "We're shuting slicehost down. Please please please pretty please sign up for rackspace instead because that would be good for us."

(I'm sorry, this comment comes across as a bit rude. I think I might just be a little unclear how this will affect me.)


First I want to be clear that I'm no longer a Rackspace employee and while I can certainly comment on things I know of first hand in the past (i.e. the acquisition), I do not have direct knowledge of Rackspace's roadmap or plans. Consider me a very knowledgeable outsider that used to be an insider.

I wouldn't want conduct a point for point comparison of the cloud server offering to Linode. I also don't want to discourage you from trying out Linode. It's clear those guys have a solid product and a great following and if you think you fit better over there, give it a try. Rackspace wants to have the most engaged and happy customer base it possibly can, it is totally counter productive to try and 'convince' you to stay if you really are better off elsewhere. There are a handful of providers I truly would trust to use myself, and I would absolutely put Linode on that list.

Having said that, here are some things I think Rackspace can offer that Linode currently does not. I could very well be wrong about any of these, I'm not intimate with Linode's current service. In addition you may not be interested in any of these features.

- Cloud Files - Cloud LB - Hosted mail options - Hosted calendar - CDN - Windows Cloud Server instances - Backup/image integration with Cloud Files (vps backups go into your cloud files account and can be downloaded as well as persisted when an instance is deleted) - Managed Services - Desktop backup and virtual drives to the cloud (jungle disk) - Platform/application hosting - All of the above on a single bill from a single provider and with private networking in between for free (for colocated services in the same DC)

As a slicehost customer you couldn't use any of those products, as a cloud customer you can. In addition you will have access to all of the new cloud products in development at Rackspace (whatever those may be, but use your imagination and I'm sure you can guess on likely candidates) as well as all the datacenter locations where Rackspace has active and growing footprints. To put it simply, you'll be switching into an active and growing product suite and I do believe that benefits you.

I personally would not consider it 'shutting down' Slicehost, but instead a merging of Slicehost into Cloud. It is true that the backend mechanics of the two products are essentially the same, and that's why you should not overly fear losing core functionality.

I don't think your comment comes across as rude at all and I completely understand your sentiment. All I can say (I and I think I'm repetitive to do so here again), is that I think Rackspace is doing the right thing here. From my perspective I'm breathing a sigh of relief because at least I know that all the still existing customers will finally start getting some TLC (via being on the actively developed product again).

I'm certain Rackspace wants the transition to be as painless as it can be and I'd expect quite a bit more detail to come out over the course of the year as this unfolds.


If I understand properly, the point of view of Rackspace and former Slicehost staff is that;

- Rackspace Cloud will offer the same technical capabilities, - the transition will be as easy as Rackspace can make it, - migrating to Rackspace will give users access to new features (Cloud LB/Files, Windows instances and so on...), - Pricing will end up being close to lower for a good chunk of the customers,

Only thing is that, despite the fact that I spend a fair amount of time setting up my clients on various cloud services, I favored (and actively advertised for) Slicehost for some use cases because of two main features;

- Price; I could save a few bucks by setting up my AWS instance, but I like the simplicity of setting up your instance and be done with it, with a fixed price that you expect paying for at the end of the month. - UX and UI; it just worked. Damn simple and straightforward. - Feature set; only what I needed, no crazy catalog of 20 different ways of putting things together.

I remember signing up for my first instance about 18 months ago; I was convinced by the straightforward and simple website and the pitch line on the front page: "Sick of oversold, underperforming, ancient hosting companies. We took matters into our own hands. We built a hosting company for people who know their stuff. Give us a box, give us bandwidth, give us performance and we get to work.". Indeed, Slicehost would set up my box, give me access to it and then get out of my way. By experience, migrating on Rackspace Cloud will not provide me with the same value, and IMHO that was the core value of this product. That's a deal breaker in my book.


You've correctly characterized my sentiment.

I also stated that you might not care about any of the other cloud products or extra bells and whistles. The fundamental building block (a cloud server) that Rackspace sells will be and is identical to a Slicehost slice, you can just ignore everything else and pay the lower (likely) rate.

I can't deny that simplicity is gone from the equation given all the extra products/services, but the core Cloud Server is the same simple VPS you once knew and loved.


I agree with the sentiments expressed by many others, and send a huge thank you to the SliceHost crew for offering great service over the past few years.

I've had a SliceHost account since 2008, and a RackSpace account since 2009. I've run servers on both platforms, I've taken a look at the different features and I decided to choose SliceHost.

RackSpace might indeed be cheaper and offer more features, but I chose SliceHost because it is quick, easy to use and gets the job done.

One of the things that sold me on using SliceHost in the first place was your non-SLA SLA, http://www.slicehost.com/questions/#sla

SliceHost has a lot of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whuffie, the RackSpace site has a lot of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astroturfing


I'm the other Slicehost founder (Matt). Jason's comments are right on, but I wanted to thank all of our customers for the support over the years. We built an amazing community and I'm sad to see it go. If I can ever be of assistance to any of you please let me know - matt@devstructure.com. I owe all of you a ton, thank you.


Thanks to the Slicehost crew for offering great service over the past few years... but I will not become a rackhost customer as a result of a forced migration. Sorry.


I'm not sure what part of the title you think is misleading, and I definitely don't think anyone is being particularly unfair to Rackspace. On the plus side, I think it was a good idea to bring this change out in the open early, and for that I will give Rackspace credit. The problem is, they muffed the announcement so badly, I don't know how well they can recover from it. They seem to be so completely clueless of the type of customers that use Slicehost, it's no wonder they thought this kind of announcment was OK. I have never even heard the name Slicehost except from technical people who know exactly what they are doing. They want nothing more than a simple VPS (sometimes more than one VPS) they can bring up quickly, install exactly the way they want, and for the most part never have to deal with a tech support person unless there is a problem on the provider's side (and obviously, they'd prefer that to be almost never also). They don't want to be instructed on "two tectonic shifts happening in IT at the moment" -- these people are IT, and they know exactly what is going on. They don't want to listen to the sales pitch about a "massively scalable cloud operating system", and then be told how the service as they know it now is going to cease to exist. Before you say that for most people things will stay close to the same, let me say this. Rackspace -- listen to your customers. Rackspace has an awful control panel. Current Slicehost customers love its control panel. If the Slicehost control panel goes away, the service is not close to the same. It is a big deal, and I think the number of people besides me saying the same thing speaks for itself. Promising "Oh, it's really important" and "We're working on it -- it's a high priority" isn't enough. People will switch over to another provider that already has a nice control panel. If you want to keep these customers, you'd better get that fixed way before any migrations have to happen. And to be quite honest, I wonder how much time you really have to fix this before losing most of those who care about it.

Now, I freely admit that Rackspace may just not be terribly worried about small-time single VPS accounts (like mine). I don't have access to their customer list, and perhaps the number of customers in situations similar to mine is a much smaller percentage than I think it is (so perhaps I am the one who is clueless about Slicehost's customers). Maybe those of us in that category simply make the most amount of noise about this, and at the same time mean the least to Rackspace's bottom line. I'm not saying that is the case, I'm just saying that I don't know, but it could be a possibility. Mark's email certainly seemed to be targeted at corporate business types, who make decisions on where to spend technical money, but actually know very little about how technology works. That email contained the exact kind of jargon-filled spin that rubs Slicehost customers like me the wrong way. It certainly leads me to question whether Rackspace has just outgrown customers like me and is not particularly concerned if many of us switch providers.

You said "Unfortunately I think in hindsight I can say that our decision was probably the wrong call.". Well, know this -- I was a fairly new customer to Slicehost when the news came that Rackspace had bought Slicehost out. I was pretty disappointed, because I specifically did not want to use Rackspace based on the experience of others I knew who had used them. If Slicehost had not led me to believe that it was going to continue to exist as it was after the acquisition, I would not have remained a customer. Like many others, I was a bit skeptical, but was impressed enough by Slicehost that I wanted to stick around. And I've been 100% satisfied from then till now with Slicehost's service. Judging from the response I've seen here and elsewhere, I think a lot of other people would have switched away from Slicehost right after the acquisition, had you not made the call you did make then. So maybe you are too quick to question the decision. It could have meant a lot less revenue for the company since the acquisition.

I know that the Slicehost folks made a really big deal about how great they thought Rackspace was, and how the deal was really good for both companies, and that Rackspace was an equally great company. When you say "Trust me that these guys are really working for the best for you all.", I have to say that I'm at best much more skeptical than I was immediately after the acquisition.

I'm definitely going to be shopping around.


>> I'm not sure what part of the title you think is misleading

The title got edited. The original title was something to the effect of "Rackspace kills slicehost... ", which the author defended as a 'killing of the brand'. The current title is not misleading at all.


Ah, that makes more sense.


Let me explain why this is incredibly annoying for a long term (read: selfish) customer.

I have a ton of apps running on my old slices. A client pays monthly for the one slice and it really doesn't look like it will cover costs with the shift to their 'cloud' servers. I really don't want to have to go and reconfigure several versions of python and django and several apps. I don't want to migrate databases. I don't want to move various processes that have been running without being touched for 3-5 years.

The email doesn't give us any indication of the migration path. I don't care about your IPv6 problems or your OpenStack announcements.

Even something like domains hasn't been addressed. I use the slicehost interface to manage a dozen or so domains and their subdomains. Am I going to have to shift nameservers and reconfigure these domains?

Read their initial announcement to gain some perspective on how the acquisition was described.

"Our number one goal is to continue delivering the Slicehost experience. In fact, we hope to make it even better." http://www.slicehost.com/rackspace


Yes.

It failed to say the only thing I wanted to hear: "this migration will happen automatically and you will not need to do anything".

Having failed to do that, it then failed to give me any resolution at all, just leaving a cloud of doubt and ominous phrasing about months of "dialogue". The only reason you need months of dialogue with your customer is if you are about to piss them off enormously.

I was pretty much already planning to migrate to Linode for other reasons (more RAM on the smallest server is huge), but this gives me a good reason to do it right now: months of dialogue sounds more painful than an hour or two re-setting up my server.


As far as I remember, Linode have a tool to migrate your DNS automatically. Migration, for me, was relatively painless, apart from the fact that I had to confirm each domain and change the IPs by hand. I'm sure you can write a script to do it, if you have many.

If you're worried about costs, Linode's price is half Slicehost's. That should make the migration time worth it.



Thank you for posting this. Aside from one wildcard record (that shouldn't have worked anyway), it handled all of my zones perfectly.


Unfortunately I'm not exactly sure what I used... This looks like it, though.


I was just going to say, "I smell an opportunity for Linode!"


I shifted a couple of months ago to Linode due to the cheaper prices and the good meme they have here on HN. Been very happy with their tools, much better than Slicehost's.


I have both Slicehost and Rackspace Cloud servers. I'm hoping they bring in more features from the Slicehost control panel, and the migrations will be nothing more than moving images around on their backend (Yeah, right). One big thing missing in Rackspace Cloud servers is the ability to separate billing from technical accounts, and being able to delegate technical control to a different account. This was one of the best features for Slicehost, allowing independent contractors to push out a site, but have billing done through the site owners. Domain names isn't an issue for me (I use DNSMadeEasy) but I can see how it would be a bigger deal later.

Lesser features -- Slicehost has several kernel versions available. Rackspace Cloud does not. Slicehost control panel's UX is just much better.

In spite of all this, I've been moving as many of my customer's servers over to Rackspace for a while now. Most of them don't need the extra bandwidth you get for the slice, making Rackspace Cloud much cheaper when you add in backup images.

IPv6 is a big deal though. Everyone's going to have to touch their long-running servers sometime before the end of this year. With IPv6 Day closing in this June and the eventual migration of residential broadband to IPv6, this is one of those inevitable things that isn't going to magically go away.


> IPv6 is a big deal though. Everyone's going to have to touch their long-running servers sometime before the end of this year. With IPv6 Day closing in this June and the eventual migration of residential broadband to IPv6, this is one of those inevitable things that isn't going to magically go away.

I think you're confused about the implications of the IPv6 transition -- IPv4 is a subset of that address space, so existing servers will "just work" via Carrier-Grade NAT that ISPs are providing.

Some tiny percentage of the Internet is IPv6 reachable today, and it ain't all gonna change this year. The IPv4 space can't turn into a parallel ghetto Internet after all...


What carriers are providing 'Carrier-Grade NAT'? IPv4 WILL turn into a ghetto, and with good reason.


Why the downvotes? CGN is a barely support draft at the IETF currently. Dual-stack with 6to4/4to6 is the standard based migration mechanism most organizations will be using.


Asia has been doing IPv6 internally for years, out of necessity, and somehow they still manage to see us.

Dual-stack isn't the answer when you've got no IPv4 addresses left to assign.


I think you're underestimating the effects of Murphy's Law. Ah well, necessity is the mother of invention.


RS CloudServers is cheaper than Slicehost. I'm almost done of doing the migration myself because of costs and acces to CloudFiles, CDN, etc. Takes time but well worth it to me.


Only true if your traffic was below a certain amount of the maximum traffic included in Slicehost's monthly fee.


Agreed. I have a reasonable amount of monthly bandwidth use that is unavoidable because that server distributes content to few dozen semi-offline touchscreen kiosks.


Or you can switch to Linode, which provides more resources and a more fully-featured web interface for less money. I switched several months back and I haven't run into a single issue. :)

Edit: To be fair to Slicehost, they provided me with wonderful service for over a year and I never had a single issue while I was with them. I'm sad to see that they'll be shutting down.


I don't know how feasible this is; but it would be killer to be able to have a 1-click migration process.

i.e. "Moving from slicehost? Provide your credentials and we'll bring everything over automatically. Just click this button!"


I migrated a few Rails sites over from Slicehost to Linode, and since I was using Moonshine (which is a Rails-specific wrapper over Puppet) it was very easy. I just deployed to the Linode server with "cap deploy:setup; cap deploy", copied the databases over, and cut over the DNS. Moonshine handled installing Ruby, MySQL, Apache, configuring SSH and firewall, creating databases and database users, etc.


A couple months ago someone posted a link on HN to a pretty cool looking tool that automatically would generate a Puppet script based on your server environment (packages installed, etc). I didn't save it, and I can't find it now from googling.

Now I've set up a Linode account and want to migrate my config from Slicehost, and it looks like this might be a useful opportunity to test out that tool. But for the life of me I can't remember it's name.

Does anyone have a link?



Thanks! This is exactly what I was looking for.

Also laughing hard at the irony of the title.


I'm certain blueprint can make this transition easier for most people, if anyone has any questions, please get in touch - matt@devstructure.com


It's relatively feasible, as the current migration process basically consists of killing all services on your slicehost server, rsyncing everything to linode and running a sed script to change the IPs.

I have no idea why they don't do it, they'd have a billion more customers in a few days. I know I wanted to switch off Slicehost for years, their price is DOUBLE linode's and the performance is worse.


... Just wait until the Rackspace Cloud transfer--the prices are quadruple Linode's if you use your bandwidth.


Oh, I moved off months ago. It was easy, in the end.


This isn't quite a one click operation, but this may be of some use to you: http://library.linode.com/linode-platform/migration/migrate-...


I did some studies of different cloud provider's performance 1.5 years ago and Linode won by a wide margin: http://journal.uggedal.com/vps-performance-comparison/

I ran some quick checks on Rackpace a few months ago and with the little data I gathered Linode still seemed quite more performant in synthetic and application benchmarks.


Linode are awesome. I've been with them for almost 8 months now, in that time I've had to submit 1 ticket which was to ask for a feature to be enabled for me. I have 5 linodes with them.


I have a Linode VPS and I really dig it. My Slicehost VPS has been running without issues for years, so my gut is full of FUD.

Maybe it will just work out...


One thing that I have loved about slicehost is the chat.slicehost.com which is manned 24/7.

Anyone know if linode's irc channel is equally staffed by admins/support?


While there is usually someone active on IRC, the best way to receive a quick response 24/7 is to put in a support ticket.


Agreed on this. I've filed 2-3, and each has had a reply in minutes.


Exact same story here. Linode seem to have Slicehost/Rackspace-like uptime, for less money, and with a much more fully featured control panel.


Until they get bought too :(


It's my understanding that various groups have tried to buy them and caker refuses


I'm having a few nodes running at VPS.net, but in direct comparison linode seems to offer more for the money. Does someone have experience with both and could compare them?


I can't provide the answer you're looking for because I've never used VPS.net, but I do want to gush about Linode for a minute:

I have to deal with tech companies all the time. I hate most of them. A lot. They always seem to blow it on customer service, core technology, or pricing.

But not Linode. The prices are really good, their technology is really really good (and they're constantly working on improving it), and their support...? Well, I've submitted a few support tickets (once was even along the lines of, "My backup server is acting strange, the disk isn't full and it can write to existing files but it can't create any new ones. I've been staring at it for about an hour now and I have no clue what's going on.") I've never had a response take more than 7 minutes. They've always been fast, friendly, and knowledgeable.

I really can't say enough good things about them.

They've occasionally had outages, including a couple of ugly ones in Fremont (not directly their fault). How many companies can you think of that are so awesome that, when that happened, it still doesn't tarnish their reputation in your mind?

One of my servers went from using only a little bandwidth to using 25Mb/s almost overnight (customer's website got featured on a radio show). The server never stumbled; I never got a notice along the lines of "hey, you're using a lot of bandwidth there, buddy", I never got throttled, it just worked.

If another VPS provider showed up tomorrow and offered almost everything Linode's offering, feature-wise, but for half the price, I'd stick with Linode.

I could bore you to death with crap like this for probably an hour. All it comes down to is, Linode is one of the few Really Great Companies out there right now, doing business with them is a joy, and I'd love to see them just completely own the VPS market.

edit: oh, and I've been with them since October 2009, which has given them plenty of time to annoy me. They haven't, not even once.


I have been with Slicehost for a few years. Last year, while I was on my honeymoon, away from good connectivity, without my primary machine with me (I only had my iPad and iPhone), I got an email to tell me that my slices are making excessive DNS resolutions on their DNS servers. They were blocked from their DNS servers. I asked if they could give me access for a few days. No.

In the end I stayed with them because the inertia was big enough that I was lazy to migrate from them. They certainly did no wrong to reject my request. But I shall remember having to spend the last few hours of the day before evening frowning on the train and working immediately after checking in at the hotel. I could have been made a more loyal customer.

This event is enough to push me over the edge. I shall look into migrating to Linode this weekend. (I have already given them a go several times the past year).


I used both some time ago, vps.net didn't support 32bit kernels at that time which could mean less usable memory within the VPS.

For this reason I am using 32 bit kernels with linode for small instances.


Agreed, but I wish Linode let you do hourly billing. It's cool to be able to e.g. test a deployment script by spinning up a copy of your server for a few hours.


They will give you prorated credits if you cancel a VPS early. Not sure if its by the hour or day though.


I have heard that they give prorated credits for cancellations, but I think you have to bother their billing team about it on a case by case basis.

If they could automate this, or just go all out on hourly billing, then my current dilemma over which infrastructure to move our slightly tired dedicated app servers onto would be instantly solved.

I really want to go completely linode, but I also really want to be able to instantly spin up loads of staging/testing environments without it becoming expensive.

Unfortunately I have a feeling that the thing that makes linodes reliable, cheap and fast is the same thing that means you cant spin them up and down on demand.

I guess I could just rsync my entire linode environment onto a blank ec2 machine, but its kind of a 'fake' staging environment if its on a different network.

Anyone got any ideas?


I did this today - started and cancelled a VPS about 10 minutes after I started it. I was credited all but about $0.50 (on a $20/month VPS). Everything was automatic, and I got the "refund" email seconds after clicking the delete button.

http://img6.imagebanana.com/img/5b2bywab/20110503_204326_Sel...

So I don't know if that quite meets your needs (since it's just a credit and not a full refund), although the other post suggests a refund is possible if you ask for one.


Your account will be credited automatically. The only time you have to talk to support is if you want to actually get a refund (minus a $5 processing fee).


Having rented an 'emergency' VPS to demo something, I can confirm they credit you automatically, at least as of last month. Not sure if it's by hour or day though.


I have paid Slicehost a premium for a few years to avoid having to spend expensive engineer time on a migration to an unproven system which will almost certainly require downtime and break something in production. This announcement is absence-of-happy for me.

I respect the desire to EOL an old product line holding up dev schedules, but this email has a lot of things which scare me (multi month dialogue about migration? Translation: "hit a button to reboot server" is not in the cards.) It also doesn't identify any benefit for me to stay: Rackspace's dev problems are not my problems because, prior to this email, my servers worked.


I'm one of the co-founders of Cloudkick (YC W09) and now part of the Rackspace. I wanted to reassure everyone that this is a migration, not "killing" off your slices. The Rackspace Cloud is based on the Slicehost technology, but has the full support and momentum of Rackspace behind it.

If you have any questions, concerns, or would like to discuss this with anyone at Rackspace - please do not hesitate to reach out directly to me: alex.polvi@rackspace.com


I was a slicehost customer, then a rackspace customer, and now a linode customer.

The biggest reason I love linode now is the control panel. Slicehost also had a good control panel, but the Rackspace Cloud CP is severely lacking. It's extremely slow and the DNS is in a really awkward spot (click a server and then click DNS to see a global DNS...it doesn't make sense).

I was a fairly happy Rackspace Cloud customer but Linode is just a great experience. What is Rackspace doing to improve the cloud offering?


Rackspace is investing heavily into the cloud. The Cloudkick acquisition was part of that. I am extremely happy to hear that the CP was one of your major pain points, because it is one of (if not the top) priority to improve. The team that is based in San Francisco is working directly on that project. If these sorts of problems are interesting to you, please let me know!


That's great to hear. I'm excited for more competition in the space.

That being said, I've raised the issue of the location of the DNS manager many times and have been told that it is by design and won't change. Go to the Linode or Slicehost CP and a link to the DNS manager is on the dashboard, where it should be. I just don't understand the reasoning for hiding it behind a specific server instance despite it being a globally applicable system. This is probably more annoying to me because of the slow speed of the control panel, meaning it takes a long time to get to the DNS manager.

Best of luck with the improvements!


yesimahuman: Despite what you have heard, that is something that is scheduled to change. Take a look at http://www.rackspace.com/cloud/blog/2011/03/21/announcing-ra... This will be the foundation for a brand new DNS Manager in the Control Panel, and it will give you the ability to script your changes!


Is it just me, or is this an example of terrible corporate communication. As a slicehost customer, I don't give a shit about what Mark thinks about IPv6 and OpenStack. All I care about is what is going to change. He makes statements like "as seamless as possible". That doesn't have any meaning.

If the major change is going to be a new control panel, and a different way of accessing support, then just say so.


It's not just you. An email that starts with "I would like to start a dialogue about our plans for..." makes me think "uh-oh" immediately. Slicehost has only changed for the worse since their merge, from my experience with them :/

I recommended them to several friends and colleagues, but from what I've seen of Rackspaces offering I wouldn't be able to do that with them.

RIP Slicehost :(


I totally agree. The control panel on Rack Space has kept me from ever recommending them. I love the Slicehost management panel. I also love the Linode panel. I do not love the Rack Space cp.


I agree that the email is just about things that have little interest to customers. My own questions were more along the lines of: - Will I need to restart my servers, reinstall, reconfigure them for the change? - How long will be the downtime? - Will the IP change (My DNS is managed elsewhere) - Will it still be 64 bit? - When will this happen approximately? - Will we able to choose when it happens for our instances?

Also the fact that I haven't received the email myself is not reassuring at all. I am not going to just sit around and remain without a predictable migration path, be it a migration to Rackspace or elsewhere.


Yes, I got this e-mail today and was most impressed that it went on for so long without providing any information useful to me, the customer. None of the links in it go to anything that is useful to me, either. It's nice that they agonized over their business decision but now that they've made it surely the important thing is to tell us how exactly it is going to affect us and what we need to do. None of that is mentioned. Makes me feel like they really are not taking any customer concerns seriously.


Right. The most perfectly seamless transition would be one that I wouldn't have noticed if I didn't see the e-mail. How much work am I going to have to do?

I just have a little hobby server running on Slicehost. I feel sorry for people who are running businesses there. :/


For what it's worth, the Mosso -> Cloud Sites transition was pretty seamless.


Great. I hope rackspace fixes their control panel before this happens. The current one has required me to contact support to make dns changes because my end was throwing errors. After a year of that bullshit I left for a different host. I found rackspace's servers to be excellent but the control panel is very slow, buggy, and lacks functionality that the slicehost panel has. (like setting TXT records in the dns.)

Edit: Just to note. The only issue I've had with rackspace was the control panel. The support was excellent. The people working there are excellent. I want to use their product. The control panel not working just made me feel dependent on support for everything I'd rather manage myself.


Yes! I can't believe the control panel has been able to exist in such a shitty state for a long time. I mostly interact with cloudservers through the API these days, but last I remember, the control panel didn't let you set up wildcard DNS, which was a major use-case for me. It actually had javascript validation to disallow it, if you turned off JS, it worked fine.


I hope they keep their articles section, it was really helpful for me when I was setting up my first VPS.


Yup ... I was a linode customer but I set up my instance using the slicehost tutorials :\


I totally agree. Those articles saved me a lot of time and were very helpful.


I don't use Slicehost anymore but I use their articles to setup any Linux machines. I am so dependent on these articles that I have saved an offline copy of these articles using HTTrack.


I have used also used their docs as well, while never having actually been a customer. Some of the best generalised VPS admin resources for newcomers out there, it'd be tragic if it went.


Misleading title: Slicehost accounts will be converted to Rackspace cloud accounts. They are killing the brand, not the product.


In addition to killing the branding, they're removing all existing slicehost interfaces (control panel, api, etc), and migrating all users to rackspace boxes.

That's all of the slicehost product that's left for now. If that's not killing the product, I'm not sure what is.


Bummer. I love the Slicehost interface... so simple! I hope they retain all the linux tutorials on Slicehost, that's what made me join anywhere. The content in those is pure gold.


In addition to using those guides on my slice, I used them to help setup my friends under-desk server, my linode, and several EC2 instances. I love those guides.


It depends on how you look at it - at one point Slicehost was forked to become Rackspace Servers.


They're also forcing (at least) an IP address change on those of us in the STL datacenters, from what I've seen on the forum.

For me, this isn't a huge problem. But, if I was running a email-based service, or managed VPN connections to/from clients from my slices, I'd be seething.


Afaik, Rackspace cloud accounts are more expensive than Slicehost accounts. Have you seen or do you know of how this changes pricing?


I'm not especially bothered personally as I had already decided to make the jump to Linode in coming months... this has just hastend my resolve.


Actually, I made the switch from Slicehost to Rackspace because it was cheaper. It's pay for what you eat pricing, so you don't get a free allotment of bandwidth, but it's around ~$11 for a 256 meg instance.

My biggest concern is that the Rackspace Cloud product doesn't seem as polished as Slicehost. Slicehost was a great service for newer users, with great documentation and help resources.


But bandwidth is expensive. That 256 slice had 150GB of b/w included, which brings the Rackspace Cloud cost to $37.95. It really adds up quick if you were using any serious percentage of your bandwidth allotment.


Like others have said, the bandwidth is paid upfront with slicehost versus pay as you go with rackspace. If you want to try out an idea, I think paying $11/mo vs. $20/mo. for BW you might never use is a nice benefit.


Rackspace Cloud instances are cheaper than Slicehost. Slicehost's 256MB ram / 10GB storage instance will cost you $20/mo. The same provisioned through the Rackspace Cloud control panel costs $0.015/hour or ~$12/mo.


You pay for bandwidth separately. If you use all of your allotted 150GB in bandwidth from slicehost you are going to be out $37/month. If you use less than 51GB outgoing bw you are saving money.


[deleted]


There were three posts with the same news in the "new" section with appropriate headlines all before this post. I think it is more a failing on those up-voting the most catchy headline.


I read the entire e-mail before posting it and my title is accurate. The brand is being killed as is the product because these are two different products with two different backends which the e-mail hints at.

You are free to disagree with my title but don't accuse me of things I do not do.


My first instinct is to plan a migration to Linode or Softlayer. I use SliceHost because I want to push a button and have a running server, and push another button to resize it in less than a minute. If I wanted more control, I'd be using EC2.

I'm hoping someone with Rackspace Cloud experience can pipe in, but at a glance, it looks like a more bare-metal offering, like EC2, where you have to worry about more of the low-level concerns. Thoughts?


No, you are incorrect. Slicehost technology is Rackspace Cloud Servers technology. Cloud servers and Slicehost slices are running in the same racks on the same hardware using identical technology stacks -- always have been. The control panel for managing a Rackspace Cloud account and products (including servers) is distinct from the Slicehost customer control panel, and the support teams were distinct groups of people. Now these two corporate structures and logical pools of resources will simply be merged under the name Rackspace Cloud Servers.


Oh, forgot to point out the other big difference. Slicehost had (and still has) a monthly billing model with a monthly bandwidth allowance bundled into the cost. Rackspace Cloud Servers costs are calculated on two factors: how many hours the Cloud Server ran that month (from the day/time you instantiated it); AND then bandwidth usage is calculated separately, based on some $$/GB rate:

http://www.rackspace.com/cloud/cloud_hosting_products/server...

So, the real point is that even if this wasn't apparent to you the customer, the substantial differences between Cloud Servers and Slices was branding and different pricing models; the support teams were also separate (and the two front-line support teams have different "styles"). Otherwise, behind the scenes, they're literally the same thing -- in terms of data centers, hardware platforms and hypervisors, etc., etc.


This is what I was looking for in this thread, so thank you.

The email left me concerned of the transition and what it would mean for uptime of websites, but if it's literally just a change of billing, branding, and control panel, why are they waiting months and months to change this? If it doesn't affect my websites' uptimes or IPs, they should just rip off the bandaid now.


I've been using Rackspace Cloud Servers for about a year now, and like everyone else is saying the control panel is a bit weak, but you do get "push a button, get a server" tools on there. I'm far from a super sysadmin but I've been able to create/remove servers, resize them and generally administer them competently without any trouble using the Rackspace control panel.

That said, my needs are fairly simple. The most complex thing I've had to do is provision additional IPv4 addresses on one of the servers (for SSL hosting), and a support person did that for me in under 10 minutes via their web-based chat support.

Unless you have a site that will actually use the gobs of bandwidth that Slicehost or Linode includes (and I don't), then Rackspace Cloud will end up being cheaper.. My single-IP servers cost me between $11 and $15 per month on average, based on bandwidth used.


I'm hearing from Rackspace that the merged offering will preserve the easy provision/upgrade features. No promises on the pricing, however.


I've been waiting for the final reason to force me to transition my sites off my Slicehost account. They've clearly been gutted and left in the dust; their plans haven't upgraded in specs while their competitors have. It's really too bad, Slicehost was so great before they were purchased.


They had the best customer service of anybody I've ever used. I'm sad to see them go


Absolutely. Slicehost has been the example I've used for "doing it right" for quite some time.

The chat was awesome. You could jump in there at pretty much any time and start talking to somebody who could help you immediately.


Rackspace has live chat too...


Rackspace has excellent 1 on 1 support with livechat.


I'm seriously considering migrating from Slicehost to Linode. I've been a Slicehost customer for over 2 years. I was happy with them at first, but I don't think I've noticed a single thing change about their service since I signed up. Particularly the pricing. I'm now paying double what I would at Linode for a 1024MB VPS, and the control panel isn't as nice. These guys dropped the ball, big time. This announcement (Very vague -- I don't even understand what they're announcing) will probably just make me start migrating this weekend.


A real bummer.

Have really enjoyed the uptime, stability, and performance Slicehost has given us over the last few years. I've got our web site configured to be brought up on AWS in a flash if needed--but we've never needed...uptime of 99.99% in the last year, 100% in the last 6 months. And crazy affordable. Their support/incidence response rocks, too.

Vaya con Dios, Slicehost, I loved you much.


What do I do as an administrator with regards to communication and guarantees of up-time when I communicate these concerns to my clients ?

Here is my take: The longer Rackspace waits on transition details, the more customers will leave. I will if I don't see a concrete plan of migration, and I realize that these things are not easy.


This is my wakeup call to finally switch over to Linode.


Interesting stuff... I'd been thinking about leaving Slicehost for Linode anyway; now I guess I should at least wait and see what the new setup is going to look like. Any current Rackspace Cloud customers want to comment on their experience(s)?


Rackspace Sites user here - same control panel, different product (was called Mosso). CP is pretty terrible, but services are fast/reliable.


The control panel sucks, see my comment above


I here a lot of talk about linode, but they are hardly the only competitor. I'm a very happy customer of ARP Networks http://www.arpnetworks.com/vps . They support FreeBSD and OpenBSD in addition to Linux and have competitive pricing. I run 4 low traffic sites (2 rails, 1 sinatra, 1 django) on a $10 VPS without issue (using nginx, thin and tornado).


They are probably the best option if you are going to run openbsd or freebsd on a vps, though if you are going for linux I would say my experience with prgmr (for a similar price range) was much better than arpnetworks and if you want support/dns you should go with linode.


These guys looks great. Thanks for the BSD tip. DNS and I'd migrate from Linode.


The server administration information on slicehost has been real useful for me, I hope they port that documentation over and it doesn't get lost. The articles were basically my introduction to setting up a web server, db , and installing language packages.


About a year ago, when I was making plans to rent a vps for my personal sites and projects, Slicehost and Linode were the only real contenders. Slicehost had backups at the time, Linode didn't, but Linode had a slightly better offer overall. In addition to that, a review from uggedal.com favored Linode. Later, they doubled the memory, introduced backups, so in my mind, I made the right choice.

I must say, Slicehost articles are great though. They are exceptionally well written. Not that Linode's articles are bad, but Slicehost articles are really good guides.


For light use, I'm definitely glad I switched from slicehost to prgmr.com.


Just signed up for a year of linode... goodbye slicehost, you were great!


Rackspace needs to talk about pricing before they lose more customers. I'm a Slicehost customer and my main concern is what the price difference will be. About to set up a Linode account...


Two weeks ago we started migrating servers to Rackspace Cloud from Slicehost and it appears to be equivalent in pricing to slightly less expensive for us. YMMV depending on bandwidth, storage needs, RAM.


I'm Mark Interrante, from Rackspace, I wanted to let you know that we will have an FAQ on the transition posted at the Slicehost forums and on Hacker News in the next 24 hours.


As of now, you have not appeared to live up to your promise. I don't see anything here, in the first few pages of new submissions, or on the forums first page.

You do not make a compelling case for continuing with you through the transition.


I hope the flood of refugees doesn't make my Linode 1024 slower.


I remember agonizing over picking slicehost or linode 2/3 years ago ... So glad I went with linode.


What made you choose Linode?


In the end it came down to price and size offering. Linode had a 128 or 192MB instance at the time that was insanely priced. Slicehost started at 256MB. There wasn't a lot to separate them otherwise.


I'm most curious if this is a marketing decision or a result of an unsustainable business model.


I'm a Slicehost customer, and I just found out about all this from a blog - it's two days after this Hacker News post, and I still haven't received email about the matter. Rackspace, I'm very, very unimpressed.


Slicehost was awesome but my more recent sites have been on AWS. If they're going to force me to transition my whole setup, I'm going to move it over there and make my life easier.

Not very happy with this whole thing.


Didn't Rackspace just give up indymedia's servers with zero fight?


well, that's the danger of MLAT treaties in this time of multinational corporations. even though ahimsa.i.o was hosted in london, the datacenter facility was owned by rackspace which was based in the USA so they had to comply with the MLAT request initiated by the dutch. it was a shitty deal, but certainly not rackspace's fault completely.


They advertise starting at 1.5cents/hr. Does that mean the cheapest "cloud server" I can get is $108? Versus the $20 or so I'm paying now?

Edit: 1.5 cents is actually $10.8 a month. Nevermind :\.


$10.80 (just correcting the math, I don't actually know about their fees)


Oh duh, I put 15 cents in. How do I downvote myself?


I've been putting off moving my Slicehost VPS to Rackspace Cloud. I'm glad I won't have to now.


Same. I guess it's a re-branding exercise and they'll do most of the heavy lifting for us.


Goodbye Slicehost. Hello Linode.


You won't notice a thing.

-Rackspace




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