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8 Months with So You Start (OVH) - A review

For the last eight months I’ve had a server at So You Start (SYS) which is a division of OVH, and is meant to be an entry level service. This harware server (not virtual, hardware) costs me about $60 a month, has a eight cores (hyperthreading), 32GB of ECC ram, a 250MB Internet connection, and 2x2TB disks. Also it’s in Canada, which, as a Canadian, suits me great.

But had to give it up

I have recently given up this server, but only because I wasn’t using it, not because it didn’t work for me. In fact quite the opposite–it was working great. It was a great deal, real hardware (albeit a bit old), and it was up pretty much the whole darn time. I wish I could have kept it because it was a good deal, especially considering it’s probably 2/3 of the price most people (at least in Canada) pay for their cell phone.

Lack of complaints

I really don’t have any complaints. Most of the below notes are minor issues or positives.

root# dmidecode --type 16
# dmidecode 2.12
SMBIOS 2.7 present.

Handle 0x0028, DMI type 16, 23 bytes
Physical Memory Array
	Location: System Board Or Motherboard
	Use: System Memory
	Error Correction Type: Single-bit ECC
	Maximum Capacity: 32 GB
	Error Information Handle: Not Provided
	Number Of Devices: 4

root# dmidecode --type 17
# dmidecode 2.12
SMBIOS 2.7 present.

Handle 0x002B, DMI type 17, 34 bytes
Memory Device
	Array Handle: 0x0028
	Error Information Handle: Not Provided
	Total Width: 72 bits
	Data Width: 64 bits
	Size: 8192 MB
	Form Factor: DIMM
	Set: None
	Locator: DIMM_A2
	Bank Locator: BANK 0
	Type: DDR3
	Type Detail: Synchronous
	Speed: 1600 MHz
	Manufacturer: Samsung
	Serial Number: 378CA173
	Asset Tag: 9876543210
	Part Number: M391B1G73QH0-YK0
	Rank: 2
	Configured Clock Speed: 1600 MHz
SNIP!

Uptime

I had this server for 8 months. It had ~18 minutes of downtime, about 15 of which were my own fault. Otherwise, I had pingdom monitoring it for the last four months, and it had 7 small outages, most less than a few seconds, and none that I recieved an email notice from Pingdom about.

Hardware infomation

I believe this system is the E3-SAT-3 model, though it wasn’t called that when I first purchased the service. Also I believe mine is actually ECC memory, though the E3-SAT-3 model isn’t supposed to be.

For CPUs it has eight cores: four physical, four hyperthreading. I’m just showing one core below.

processor	: 7
vendor_id	: GenuineIntel
cpu family	: 6
model		: 58
model name	: Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E3-1245 V2 @ 3.40GHz
stepping	: 9
microcode	: 0x15
cpu MHz		: 3401.000
cache size	: 8192 KB
physical id	: 0
siblings	: 8
core id		: 3
cpu cores	: 4
apicid		: 7
initial apicid	: 7
fpu		: yes
fpu_exception	: yes
cpuid level	: 13
wp		: yes
flags		: fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss ht tm pbe syscall nx rdtscp lm constant_tsc arch_perfmon pebs bts rep_good nopl xtopology nonstop_tsc aperfmperf eagerfpu pni pclmulqdq dtes64 monitor ds_cpl vmx smx est tm2 ssse3 cx16 xtpr pdcm pcid sse4_1 sse4_2 x2apic popcnt tsc_deadline_timer aes xsave avx f16c rdrand lahf_lm ida arat epb xsaveopt pln pts dtherm tpr_shadow vnmi flexpriority ept vpid fsgsbase smep erms
bogomips	: 6784.57
clflush size	: 64
cache_alignment	: 64
address sizes	: 36 bits physical, 48 bits virtual
power management:


For memory:

MemTotal:       32902800 kB
MemFree:          474852 kB
Buffers:          179312 kB
Cached:         29534464 kB
SwapCached:        37392 kB
Active:         18247988 kB
Inactive:       12369164 kB
Active(anon):     551720 kB
Inactive(anon):   499556 kB
Active(file):   17696268 kB
Inactive(file): 11869608 kB
Unevictable:       65104 kB
Mlocked:           65104 kB
SwapTotal:       5118972 kB
SwapFree:        4963700 kB
Dirty:               200 kB
Writeback:             0 kB
AnonPages:        931436 kB
Mapped:           125728 kB
Shmem:            141504 kB
Slab:            1149056 kB
SReclaimable:     985140 kB
SUnreclaim:       163916 kB
KernelStack:        4608 kB
PageTables:        32776 kB
NFS_Unstable:          0 kB
Bounce:                0 kB
WritebackTmp:          0 kB
CommitLimit:    21570372 kB
Committed_AS:    7632684 kB
VmallocTotal:   34359738367 kB
VmallocUsed:      522704 kB
VmallocChunk:   34358922952 kB
HardwareCorrupted:     0 kB
AnonHugePages:    397312 kB
HugePages_Total:       0
HugePages_Free:        0
HugePages_Rsvd:        0
HugePages_Surp:        0
Hugepagesize:       2048 kB
DirectMap4k:      166884 kB
DirectMap2M:    33341440 kB
</pre>


## Disk IO

Pretty much looks like a 2x2TB SATA mirror. Bleh. But again, expected. I usually take disk IO testing pretty seriously, but I just chucked this test together in a couple minutes, so take it as you will.


# cat *.fio
[random-read]
rw=randread
size=128m
directory=/tmp/fio-testing/data
[random-write1mb]
rw=randwrite
size=128m
directory=/tmp/fio-testing/data
direct=1
bs=1m
[random-write]
rw=randwrite
size=128m
directory=/tmp/fio-testing/data
direct=1

Random read:

# fio randread.fio
random-read: (g=0): rw=randread, bs=4K-4K/4K-4K/4K-4K, ioengine=sync, iodepth=1
fio-2.1.3
Starting 1 process
random-read: Laying out IO file(s) (1 file(s) / 128MB)
SNIP!
random-read: (groupid=0, jobs=1): err= 0: pid=10023: Mon Nov  3 21:22:14 2014
  read : io=131072KB, bw=1009.3KB/s, iops=252, runt=129874msec
    clat (usec): min=52, max=236152, avg=3955.39, stdev=4034.99
     lat (usec): min=52, max=236152, avg=3955.79, stdev=4035.00
    clat percentiles (usec):
     |  1.00th=[   55],  5.00th=[   77], 10.00th=[  114], 20.00th=[  119],
     | 30.00th=[  126], 40.00th=[ 2416], 50.00th=[ 3696], 60.00th=[ 4960],
     | 70.00th=[ 6240], 80.00th=[ 7520], 90.00th=[ 8768], 95.00th=[ 9408],
     | 99.00th=[10176], 99.50th=[10304], 99.90th=[18560], 99.95th=[31616],
     | 99.99th=[96768]
    bw (KB  /s): min=  506, max= 4221, per=98.48%, avg=993.71, stdev=325.57
    lat (usec) : 100=6.09%, 250=27.71%, 500=0.05%, 750=0.04%, 1000=0.11%
    lat (msec) : 2=2.93%, 4=15.37%, 10=45.83%, 20=1.77%, 50=0.06%
    lat (msec) : 100=0.02%, 250=0.01%
  cpu          : usr=0.28%, sys=0.98%, ctx=33070, majf=0, minf=28
  IO depths    : 1=100.0%, 2=0.0%, 4=0.0%, 8=0.0%, 16=0.0%, 32=0.0%, >=64=0.0%
     submit    : 0=0.0%, 4=100.0%, 8=0.0%, 16=0.0%, 32=0.0%, 64=0.0%, >=64=0.0%
     complete  : 0=0.0%, 4=100.0%, 8=0.0%, 16=0.0%, 32=0.0%, 64=0.0%, >=64=0.0%
     issued    : total=r=32768/w=0/d=0, short=r=0/w=0/d=0

Run status group 0 (all jobs):
   READ: io=131072KB, aggrb=1009KB/s, minb=1009KB/s, maxb=1009KB/s, mint=129874msec, maxt=129874msec

Disk stats (read/write):
  sda: ios=32491/327, merge=0/601, ticks=128180/16464, in_queue=144612, util=98.77%

Random writes 4k blocksize.
# fio randwrite.fio
random-write: (g=0): rw=randwrite, bs=4K-4K/4K-4K/4K-4K, ioengine=sync, iodepth=1
fio-2.1.3
Starting 1 process
random-write: Laying out IO file(s) (1 file(s) / 128MB)
Jobs: 1 (f=1): [w] [100.0% done] [0KB/472KB/0KB /s] [0/118/0 iops] [eta 00m:00s]
random-write: (groupid=0, jobs=1): err= 0: pid=11028: Mon Nov  3 21:45:39 2014
  write: io=131072KB, bw=484491B/s, iops=118, runt=277028msec
    clat (msec): min=1, max=227, avg= 8.45, stdev= 6.98
     lat (msec): min=1, max=227, avg= 8.45, stdev= 6.98
    clat percentiles (msec):
     |  1.00th=[    3],  5.00th=[    4], 10.00th=[    5], 20.00th=[    6],
     | 30.00th=[    7], 40.00th=[    8], 50.00th=[    8], 60.00th=[    9],
     | 70.00th=[    9], 80.00th=[   10], 90.00th=[   10], 95.00th=[   11],
     | 99.00th=[   40], 99.50th=[   43], 99.90th=[   74], 99.95th=[   95],
     | 99.99th=[  147]
    bw (KB  /s): min=  184, max=  591, per=100.00%, avg=473.57, stdev=48.38
    lat (msec) : 2=0.28%, 4=7.89%, 10=85.24%, 20=2.71%, 50=3.70%
    lat (msec) : 100=0.15%, 250=0.03%
  cpu          : usr=0.15%, sys=0.73%, ctx=33273, majf=0, minf=27
  IO depths    : 1=100.0%, 2=0.0%, 4=0.0%, 8=0.0%, 16=0.0%, 32=0.0%, >=64=0.0%
     submit    : 0=0.0%, 4=100.0%, 8=0.0%, 16=0.0%, 32=0.0%, 64=0.0%, >=64=0.0%
     complete  : 0=0.0%, 4=100.0%, 8=0.0%, 16=0.0%, 32=0.0%, 64=0.0%, >=64=0.0%
     issued    : total=r=0/w=32768/d=0, short=r=0/w=0/d=0

Run status group 0 (all jobs):
  WRITE: io=131072KB, aggrb=473KB/s, minb=473KB/s, maxb=473KB/s, mint=277028msec, maxt=277028msec

Disk stats (read/write):
  sda: ios=0/33913, merge=0/5241, ticks=0/329844, in_queue=329792, util=99.17%

Rand writes 1mb blocksize:
# fio randwrite1mb.fio
random-write1mb: (g=0): rw=randwrite, bs=1M-1M/1M-1M/1M-1M, ioengine=sync, iodepth=1
fio-2.1.3
Starting 1 process
random-write1mb: Laying out IO file(s) (1 file(s) / 128MB)
Jobs: 1 (f=1)
random-write1mb: (groupid=0, jobs=1): err= 0: pid=11513: Mon Nov  3 21:50:09 2014
  write: io=131072KB, bw=75199KB/s, iops=73, runt=  1743msec
    clat (msec): min=8, max=26, avg=13.56, stdev= 2.34
     lat (msec): min=8, max=26, avg=13.61, stdev= 2.33
    clat percentiles (usec):
     |  1.00th=[ 8256],  5.00th=[ 9792], 10.00th=[10688], 20.00th=[11712],
     | 30.00th=[12352], 40.00th=[13120], 50.00th=[13760], 60.00th=[14400],
     | 70.00th=[14784], 80.00th=[15040], 90.00th=[15808], 95.00th=[16192],
     | 99.00th=[19840], 99.50th=[26240], 99.90th=[26240], 99.95th=[26240],
     | 99.99th=[26240]
    bw (KB  /s): min=73142, max=76749, per=99.63%, avg=74922.67, stdev=1803.93
    lat (msec) : 10=6.25%, 20=92.97%, 50=0.78%
  cpu          : usr=0.40%, sys=0.69%, ctx=135, majf=0, minf=27
  IO depths    : 1=100.0%, 2=0.0%, 4=0.0%, 8=0.0%, 16=0.0%, 32=0.0%, >=64=0.0%
     submit    : 0=0.0%, 4=100.0%, 8=0.0%, 16=0.0%, 32=0.0%, 64=0.0%, >=64=0.0%
     complete  : 0=0.0%, 4=100.0%, 8=0.0%, 16=0.0%, 32=0.0%, 64=0.0%, >=64=0.0%
     issued    : total=r=0/w=128/d=0, short=r=0/w=0/d=0

Run status group 0 (all jobs):
  WRITE: io=131072KB, aggrb=75199KB/s, minb=75199KB/s, maxb=75199KB/s, mint=1743msec, maxt=1743msec

Disk stats (read/write):
  sda: ios=0/241, merge=0/0, ticks=0/2876, in_queue=2900, util=92.62%

## Bandwidth Using the speedtest-cli, which is very handy. Only found out about it today. Closest speedtest server:
# speedtest
Retrieving speedtest.net configuration...
Retrieving speedtest.net server list...
Testing from OVH Hosting ()...
Selecting best server based on latency...
Hosted by 3Men@Work (Montreal, QC) [2.38 km]: 39.06 ms
Testing download speed........................................
Download: 358.12 Mbits/s
Testing upload speed..................................................
Upload: 58.36 Mbits/s
</code>
</pre>

New York City!

# speedtest --server 5029
Retrieving speedtest.net configuration...
Retrieving speedtest.net server list...
Testing from OVH Hosting ()...
Hosted by AT&T (New York City, NY) [533.43 km]: 45.257 ms
Testing download speed........................................
Download: 384.99 Mbits/s
Testing upload speed..................................................
Upload: 18.05 Mbits/s
</code>
</pre>

My hometown ISP, Shaw. Good old monopolies.

# speedtest --list | grep -i "edmonton"
4242) Shaw Communications (Edmonton, AB, Canada) [2972.64 km]
3050) Telus (Edmonton, AB, Canada) [2972.64 km]
1051) Tera-byte Dot Com Inc (Edmonton, AB, Canada) [2972.64 km]
root@vurt01:~# speedtest --server 4242
Retrieving speedtest.net configuration...
Retrieving speedtest.net server list...
Testing from OVH Hosting ()...
Hosted by Shaw Communications (Edmonton, AB) [2972.64 km]: 126.014 ms
Testing download speed........................................
Download: 118.54 Mbits/s
Testing upload speed..................................................
Upload: 38.73 Mbits/s
</code>
</pre>

Toronto:

# speedtest --server 3575
Retrieving speedtest.net configuration...
Retrieving speedtest.net server list...
Testing from OVH Hosting ()...
Hosted by TELUS (Toronto, ON) [504.80 km]: 65.678 ms
Testing download speed........................................
Download: 126.21 Mbits/s
Testing upload speed..................................................
Upload: 45.24 Mbits/s
</code>
</pre>


## Conclusion

This server worked great for me. I had no problems. However, if I was thinking of hosting a production server, I would probably go with the OVH "business" servers which are more money, but have additional features like full-time KVM and a virtual network that can be setup between servers. Also I would like SSDs and ECC memory, a combination So You Start doesn't seem to provide. But, given my positive experience at So You Start, I would certainly give it a try at OVH, especially because they are in Quebec!

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