Oct 7, 2014

The Best Kept Secret in Hosting and the Cloud

The tech industry is notorious for marketing fluff.  From the beginning, cynics dismissed the term “cloud” as marketing hype. Even within the walls of a company where I once worked that now sells themselves as cloud innovators, the term “cloud” was laughed at.

Those cynics haven’t gone away; they’ve just adapted because audiences continue to struggle with what’s hype and what’s real.  Meanwhile, analysts witness how the hosting industry struggles with true delivery on the cloud’s promises – companies encounter difficulties, lose control and never see the cost savings they expected. In general, while cloud products have become incredibly specialized and diverse, the leaders of these organizations have missed the mark on critical aspects of business value: Simplicity, support and cost savings.

Recently, I kicked off a project that focused on revamping a company’s infrastructure. They wanted a thorough look at all of their options, full life-cycle – as they go from a startup with some basic needs on to an eventual full-on enterprise. Options were to be evaluated with little room for compromise on features, price or support. This project also looked at whether there was one service provider this company could grow with, and have the ability to jump across the portfolio. It turns out there was.

Before I share our findings, I do want to state that evaluations like this one involve a number of factors that are constantly changing.  Anytime you make a comparison, it can only represent a snapshot of the price and products at that given time. There’s my disclaimer.

Starting Out: Dedicated Hosting

The average company starts out with dedicated hosting. This service includes one or several powerful servers that are hosted and run in a remote data center.  Management is typically done by company personnel, and it’s typical to ‘bootstrap’ operation.  At this level, value is a major must-have. Companies are also looking for support and features, but price is a major consideration because every dollar counts. This company was no exception. They knew they wanted to start on bare metal. So we decided to gather info on the top providers the company was interested in, and see how their dedicated offerings stacked up.

I’ll let the figures speak for themselves:

Dedicated Hosting Comparison - Codero, Rackspace, Softlayer

To the Cloud!

You knew it was coming – the cloud.  This stage could actually be the choice at any point, but regardless of when it happens, there comes a time when a company looks at cloud products for scalability and flexibility. Since providers package their cloud offerings differently, comparison shopping is not a one-to-one deal.  However, cloud hosting solutions should have a good selection of features regardless, with price being a considerable factor as well.

Here’s what we found. Again, the chart speaks for itself:

Cloud Hosting Comparison - Codero, AWS, Rackspace, Softlayer


Hybrid – Enter the Enterprise

By now, you may have heard of hybrid cloud computing. For those who haven’t, hybrid cloud computing is a marriage between in-house, on premise, or dedicated systems and cloud environments.  Hybrid cloud computing simultaneously gives companies more control, enables them to extend their existing IT and delivers the flexible power of the cloud.

Enterprise needs match up exceedingly well with hybrid cloud services, and they stand much to gain from having an environment that is essentially native but imbued with cloud features like rapid capacity, rapid deployment and quick configuration. However, when it comes to comparing different hybrid products, there are vast differences among both build and delivery. Hybrid cloud computing is still being defined, and is by its very nature extremely flexible, so pricing out an individual use case in hypothetical is tricky because of all the endless options and use cases.  So when evaluating hybrid computing options, we determined that features were the best indicator of value.

Looking between providers, we find the category leaders in the following:

Hybrid Hosting Comparison - Codero, Rackspace, Softlayer


Quality of Support and Growth on a Single Platform

Support and the ability to grow are aspects every organization needs.  Fast, responsive support is critical when a situation may involve your company presence and most critical systems. Every hosting company has some form of tech support, but it doesn’t mean that it’s good. Companies are also looking to find a provider that can grow with them.  If they’re like my latest example, it could start in dedicated hosting, possibly move to a managed host, then to cloud, and eventually hybrid hosting.  All along, features, support and pricing are critical factors.  As the comparison below shows, if you wanted to progress across these services, several notable providers aren’t even an option.

Codero vs AWS vs Rckspace vs Softlayer


Amazon Web Services Struggles

When doing an analysis on hosting providers, we’d be remiss if we didn’t examine Amazon Web Services. AWS is without a doubt a giant that gets the greatest attention wherever you look. However, it’s a platform provider, not a service provider, and it’s becoming increasingly clear what that difference means. Entrepreneur, author and blogger Brad Feld recently mentioned AWS’s problems in a post where he shared some comments from a number of CEOs:

Could Amazon’s nature be catching up with it, or is it just operating in a more competitive market? A set of emails went around from some of the CEOs of our companies talking about this followed by a broader discussion on our Foundry Group EXEC email list. It contained, among other comments:

  1.  AWS is not the low price provider.
  2.  AWS is not the best product at anything – most of their features are mediocre knock offs of other products.
  3.  AWS is unbelievably lousy at support.
  4.  Once you are at $200k / month of spend, it’s cheaper and much more effective to build your own infrastructure.

A worthwhile read, Feld’s analysis is sharp and accurate. Amazon is not the price leader.  Their support misses the mark and they don’t provide a full spectrum of services.  The value is rightly questioned here and this comparison drives those points home.

Best Kept Secret

At the end of the day, you can see that Codero Hosting is perhaps the best kept secret in the hosting industry. On every front, they far and away have the most competitive pricing in category after category. Codero’s portfolio of services also offers companies room to grow and product choices, with the most features across the spectrum.

At the high end, Codero’s hybrid hosting platform is unique. It’s the industry’s first On-Demand Hybrid Cloud, and is designed for easy management.  That means rapid scale and deployment on the cloud side, it means instant network flexibility, and flawless integration to performance-based dedicated systems.  This is not your typical cloud product.

“All the secrets in the world worth knowing are hiding in plain sight.” – Robin Sloan, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

It turns out the best kept secret in hosting is not really a secret at all, but right in plain sight.  I predict that this lesser known ‘secret’ will become the word on the street in the hosting world, because like all good things, great experiences and great technologies spread.


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