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Online Labs Designed Its Own ARM Servers To Take On AWS, DigitalOcean (techcrunch.com)
85 points by bmoresbest55 on Nov 13, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 41 comments

I'd like to see them create some zones outside of Europe. For me its a deal killer to have US-based traffic leave the continent.

there are plans for this ;)


You cut-and-pasted the same data twice.

yeah, I realized that I lost my original output (copy&pasted the wrong thing after I closed the VM). tried reproducing, but no servers are available at the time, so I deleted the comment ;(

for those who're curious: I was wondering what kind of 20GB SSDs they're using, they seem to be way slower than virtualized storage.

I was confused for a long time trying to reconcile the claim of "912 computers per rack" with what I observed in the video: 18 servers per cartridge, 16 cartridges per case, so 288 servers per case. I finally realized they must have meant cores: so 4 cores x 18 servers x 16 cartridges = 912 cores per case is probably how I would have put it.

Ballparking the size of the case based on the comparison of a single server to a business card, it looks like they're using roughly a 7U case. Anybody know more about the specs of a case-load of servers? I'd love to know what the power consumption is. If you could put 6 of those cases in a cabinet, that would be some pretty incredible compute density.

I hope they consider selling the system externally. At first blush at least it seems like it would be an ideal setup for hosting colocated trading applications.

Each server has 4 cores. So a rack contains actually 3648 cores, not 912!

You're assuming that when they say "912 computers per rack" they mean 912 4-core servers per rack. It's a reasonable assumption, that's how I interpreted that statement when I read it the first time. Nonetheless, I'm quite sure that that interpretation is incorrect.

If you watch the video carefully, you'll notice that their rack/case contains 16 cartridges, and each cartridge has 18 servers on it. That indicates they have 288 servers per rack. 288x4=912, so I believe that when they said 912 computers per rack, they actually meant 912 cores per rack.

I predict failure.

The first and main reason is, that when you have multiple containers/VMs on a single server, what really happens is that "peak" or "burst" CPU matters more, in terms of what the user (whether developer doing testing, or users of a website that are browsing it) sees as performance.

Only in very memory-intensive tasks would these servers outperform (because the memory bandwidth is dedicated to just your server and is not shared). Then again, being able to bump from 2GB to 4GB (provided the application can take advantage of it) of RAM might well minimize the issue due to caching or other optimizations.

Second, 2GB RAM is (sadly) just not enough. As an example, the Zimbra mail server barely runs in 2GB; and many other Java based programs are only fast once they have chewed up a couple hundred MBs of RAM.

I have a VM running my webserver, mumble VOIP, IRC server (inspircd), two IRC bouncers, OpenVPN, Xymon monitoring, bitlbee, and a few other things and it only has 768MB RAM.

last pid: 91361; load averages: 0.28, 0.28, 0.25 up 9+19:03:28 14:37:36 74 processes: 1 running, 73 sleeping CPU: 0.0% user, 0.0% nice, 0.0% system, 1.2% interrupt, 98.8% idle Mem: 38M Active, 512M Inact, 133M Wired, 8404K Cache, 87M Buf, 32M Free Swap: 2000M Total, 71M Used, 1929M Free, 3% Inuse

2GB is enough to run a LOT of things.

Definitely. I've got a centos 6.5 VM that is a master svn server for a multinational with a 22Gb repo and 190 users and does front end http and ssl for 45 requests/second (average with peaks of 200/sec) and it barely touches the CPU (single 3.2 GHz xeon e5 core) and has only 1Gb of RAM.

Solution: don't use Java. 2GB RAM is plenty for the rest of the world.

I have several applications that would run very well on this. I wouldn't be too hasty -- all the world isn't Java or "enterprise" web apps.

The hosting market is huge. There's a niche for this, especially if they can exploit the strengths of bare metal non-virtualized hosting without the cost premium. A $5/month bare metal quad-core would be ideal for a whole bunch of applications.

Don't run the memory-heavy JVM on ram-based machines. That simple. JVM eats gobs of memory, so if you're in a constrained environment, don't use it!

This looks lovely. Requested an invite. All signs are green for the race to the 1€/month server.


$0.99/month VPSs now. Not a dedi though of course.

Wow, this is fantastic. I signed up for a trial and spun up a server. docker works well. A quick review: 1) they have the equivalent of ec2/digital ocean 2) can create volumes that can be attached to instances. 3) can create images and snapshots 4) s3 like storage. not sure about AZs and such. 5) I tried reserving an IP but they seem to be out of it.

Only downside - I would like to know the pricing before I start using this.

If anyone from Online Labs is reading this, please let us know about the pricing!

I will give the API a try tonight.

Unfortunately I can't tell you about the pricing now. We'll tell you more very soon!

About the API, you can give a look to your Python SDK (https://github.com/online-labs/ocs-sdk) or to the CLI one of our users developed (https://community.cloud.online.net/t/getting-started-manage-...)

I wonder how similar this is to their existing dediboxes; I have an €5.99/mo box with them which is some kind of VIA Nano-based Dell that is only sold in Europe:


Nice little setup. It's slow, of course (certainly not fast enough to encode 720p H.264 in real time, for example), and the ARM architecture is bound to be faster.

I wonder if this isn't a little late to market. At this point, the major cloud providers offer such a large array of products and services that add value to their VM capabilities that I find it hard to imagine someone architecting a substantial system on this platform anytime soon.

That said, they will make a juicy acquisition target for someone who wants their tech. So I am not saying they wasted their time either.

We see disruption everyday in the tech community. I do not think that will change anytime soon. They have a compelling product that I personally would like to try.

you can ask @online_en to get an invite on twitter, it's free during beta

Well, They are still going to have to figure out how to "Seamlessly" mirror nodes because it's going to suck when half of one of those boards dies. I do wish them the best as my inner nerd loves the idea.

Very pretty. What is the power density of these? 288 nodes/enclosure is pretty dense. Did you design your own enclosure/backplane as well? What are the interconnects?

How much does it cost?

The preview is free! You should expect good prices as we designed our own hardware for the cloud.

Yes, but how much does it cost?

Yeah I am wondering. You can only run 2 machines on the preview as well.

if you have a valid test case, feel free to ask the support team for more, they can give you more easily

Thanks! Its ok for now...

The cards look really nice. Too bad they're not selling those and their shelf.

What processor did they use in order to put ECC on an ARM board?

It's something from Marvell, but I've never seen a part number.



>The C1 server is a 4-cores ARMv7 CPU with 2GB of RAM and a 1 Gbit/s network card. It is designed for the cloud and horizontal scaling.

The Armada XP has ECC and has been available for a few years. In fact, I would now consider it obsolete.

Do they provide Load Balancers akin to what AWS does?

It is in the roadmap.

Front of the queue I hope :)

Some immediate thoughts:

These would be very interesting for low-latency network-heavy applications if each machine had a 1gbps latency-optimized network connection to the core switch wherever they're hosted. Virtualization might be fine from a throughput POV but I've seen hypervisors impose a fair amount of latency "jitter" on heavily loaded hosts. It's one of the reasons why bare metal servers can be better. I'm thinking core network router functions, certain kinds of games, etc.

Another area where I can see this excelling is high security applications, like having a cloud node that is in charge of signing things with very protected secret keys like some kind of certificate authority. Virtualization has a pretty good security record, but for high-paranoia applications bare metal is better. If you offered the ability to upload your own pre-encrypted image this would be very interesting. Not quite as good as homomorphic encryption, but that's not quite "there" yet -- still too slow to be usable. At the very least you'd have to crack into the hardware and dump the RAM to break into a system and steal a key.

Finally, make stability a high priority. With low power, low heat dissipation, dedicated hardware, and solid state everything you should have an easier path to cheaper "many nines" high-reliability service. That kind of thing is kind of expensive right now in the hosting world so you'd have some pricing power there.

/shameless plug:

ZeroTier One, a network virtualization engine for inter-container and inter-VM networking as well as VPN access, supports 32-bit ARM/Linux as an officially supported platform:


It's also possible to use it with Docker very easily:


I decided to create an official ARM build and support that platform since there were so many users on Raspberry Pi and similar, but as far as I know these binaries will run on this architecture. I signed up for a preview of Online.Net so I will test once I have a "box." :)


Tested with your free trial via the web terminal, and the ARM build from the above download link works flawlessly as long as you "modprobe tun" first:


Then I pinged my laptop on the desk next to me, which also happens to be on the "Earth" virtual LAN. Fun stuff. :)

Can this match Digital Ocean's pricing? At $5/month it's hard to beat.

This is the company that sold full dedicated servers for $1.99/month ex vat

I cannot find that price anywhere on their site. Where did you get that from?

the $1.99/month offer was just on the website for a few days ;) (it was a special/crazy offer with a limited stock of servers, something like ~2k servers iirc so it's no longer available, google for "dedibox kidechire")

rats...missed out on it

even the 5.99 euro /month offer seems much more generous than digitalocean.

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