My Favorite Cloud

I have used a lot of different hosting companies through the years. I started off at Gorge.Net up in Hood River, Oregon back in 1995. Since I moved down to the Bay Area in '97, I've tried many... including yahoo!, SiteGround, Godaddy, and others. My favorite has always been LiquidWeb based up in Minnesota. I've had a VPS running for about 4 years that performs very well but their responsive support is my favorite thing about them.

The one drawback about the VPS is that if one site goes down, the entire server and all sites on there go down with it. I learned this one night when Dave Matthews (of Dave Matthews Band) tweeted about the new DannyBarnes.com site (he's my friend and client, Dave produced the record) and 800,000 of his followers piled on for the next 36 hours. I think Dave could bring a government to its knees with a following like that. Hey, Dave, don't you owe me a pizza?

In the weeks following that I got pretty darned crafty with Drupal performance enhancements (Boost, AuthCache, etc.) but I wanted a solution that would firewall the sites from each other. I went to the industry leader Rackspace and set up a Cloud Sites account... migrated a few sites over and then created the next batch of clients on that cloud system.

Rackspace Cloud Sites are pretty expensive at $150/month. But the big problem is database performance. There are simple too many hops to the databases that are stored on what are essentially shared servers. Some of my sites just randomly seemed to perform better than others (from a back-end perspective.) It was grueling to develop, but I stuck with because a) they kept promising to improve it; b) a consultant I hired said there were things I could do to make them run much better.

Well neither came to pass. Then, when I wasn't able to permanently block and IP address that was illegally spamming/hitting a certain file on my site... I decided it was time to leave Cloud Sites.

So where to? I'm primarily a Drupal provider so I looked into specialized services for Pressflow and new platforms like Project Mercury. I suspect these services are still in their infancy and I wanted a host I could really count on. So I went back to Liquid Web and set up a Storm on Demand cloud server. It's super speedy like my VPS (that is still active at LiquidWeb) but has the ability to scale up in size and memory as needed. Getting that same spectacular service made this a very comfortable move, and they've helped me in the process of migrating all of these live sites.

I am one migration away from being off that Rackspace Cloud and I will throw a little party when the migration is complete. I'm sure they are good for other kinds of sites but clearly they are not a good solution for Drupal

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