Back to Vultr, a REAL Cloud Company
Mar201711
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, taken from direct experience. Your opinion and views may differ from those presented here. If so, congratulations, have a cookie, the author could care less about your opinion or views.

So let’s get this out of the way. I am pissed. Now I do take part of the blame. There are some things I could have and should have done differently, however, even so, it does not change what happened.

A few months ago, I was guided towards Cloud at Cost (CAC), which at first glance, seems like an amazing deal, I mean, one-time fee for a cloud server package? I managed to get their Developer CloudPRO 4 packages for an amazing $56, regularly $280 that’s a saving of 80%… Nice hook right. It gave me 4 CPUs, 4GB of RAM and 60GB of SSD storage. I could use this to create any combo of servers I wished. I could have had 4 servers all running 1 CPU, 1GB RAM and 15GB of storage if I wanted to, but for my needs, I put it all into one server, my web server.

You see, over at Vultr, which is my preferred host, and has been for over 2 years now, it was costing me $40 a month to have a server of similar size (only with 2 CPU instead of 4), and money being short, I wanted to save a buck or two. So I moved everything over to CAC. Now to give a little more history, it wasn’t ’til about 4 or 5 weeks after I bought the package at CAC that I actual managed to spin up a viable server. The first few times I either got a dud (didn’t boot), wrong hard drive space. bad IP addresses (not configured properly at the network level), or some other issue that prevented me from getting my server ready for hosting. But after 4 weeks of despair, I finally spun up a viable server that was stable. I let is run for another 2 weeks to test IT out before I moved everything over from Vultr.

Everything seemed great, the sites were loading fast, the network was great, everything worked. And best of all, I had no monthly fees. I decided it was time to kill the server over at Vultr. And everything was great till a few days go when I went to run an update. Something went wrong. What? I don’t know. I could have figured it out had I been able to get into the server. The issue was it kernel panicked at boot, which is pretty much a fatal crash. The only way to fix this kernel panic would have been to switch it to an earlier kernel version and retry the update process, or revert back to the previous kernel permanently.

Now in hind site, I should have backed up all my sites on a regular basis, I should have at least backed them up before the update. That part is a snafu on my part, agreed. However this is not what I am pissed at, I can take ownership of my own stupidity. However what really irked my chain, was the total lack of support from CAC.

Right when it happened I knew I needed to revert back, but the virtual console provided by their site would not let em in quick enough to select a previous kernel, so I decided to ask for help. I opened a server down critical ticket with them. I am in the business or server support, our SLA is that you at least get a response in 15 minutes that we have received your ticket, and we are researching the issue. Even the busiest of data centers will get back to you in one or two hours, at most 4 hours. Just a simple “Hey, we see you’re having an issue, we will get back to you soon” would be nice. However 4 days after the submission of the ticket, still no response. After two days, I escalated it as per their knowledge base, I emailed the escalation management team. After 2 days, no answer from them either.

Now I understand not providing support for stuff that I could do remotely, after all I only paid a measly $56 total for the service, but to ask them to simply boot the server into a previous kernel apparently was just too much to ask.

After waiting 4 days I decided it was a lost cause. This site (ConsideredNormal.com) thankfully is backed up often enough I didn’t loose too much. but I was working on developing some PHP applications that I have now lost. The good thing though is that Vultr had dropped their prices, the server that was costing me $40 a month had dropped in price to $20, a more manageable fee. As for my CAC account, I tried to spin up another server, and their site doesn’t function as it should anymore. If you select a server with 2CPU, 2GB RAM and 30GB SSD (or any amount of SSD for that matter), you a server with spin up with only 10GB SSD space. so even if I wanted to use all my resources, 4 CPU, 4GB RAM and 60GB SSD, I would get a server with only 10GB SSD. I have of course notified their support department, but I doubt them will even look at it for the next 4 months, seeing as, if they don’t look at SEV 1 (critical) support tickets, I doubt they will even glance at a SEV 3 (non-critical) ticket.

So here is my final view on the issue. If you have anything of importance to put on a server, spin it up on any service other than Cloud At Cost. If anything goes wrong, even for those who are extreme experts, when something goes wrong that cannot be fixed remotely, you will be left high and dry without a shred of support. For the $20 a month I have to pay now, I know support has my back, and at Vultr, they answer you quite quickly. 4 days with no answer on a critical down is unacceptable, even for a one time fee service.

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