I don’t want to be a Sys Admin

Back in February I migrated our server over to Lunarpages. It is extremely hard to find reliable information on web hosts but most of their feedback seemed positive. At first, they were great but I’ve lost a lot of sleep over the past few weeks. They were in the process of moving our servers to a larger datacenter and assured us our servers would be down for a maximum of 30 minutes. Well, four hours later and tons of unanswered support emails I was freaking out. After I finally got through, they told me they just needed to do a restart and I was back up.

Then on Monday, their whole “new” data center goes down. When I call, I’m told that it is a network pipe and all of So. Cal. is down. Hmm…that’s strange, you would think that would make the news. Well of course they were lying and in fact, their “new” datacenter was wired incorrectly and they blew a circuit. They had some lame excuse for why the backup generators didn’t work. After the situation was resolved, my server was still unavailable. Since they were still freaking out about the power outage, all my support emails went unanswered until about 4 in the morning. The first thing they tell me is that I need to pay $10 to have them restart the machine. I don’t mind paying, if it’s my fault (or my server hung). So I ask them to check the box since this happened last week after the server move. I told them the BIOS setting might not be set to power on after a power failure. Sure enough, they tell me it was set incorrectly and it’s now fixed. However, I really don’t appreciate the snap judgments that it’s my fault and I need to pay them.

OK, I thought, all the kinks should be worked out. But the following days my server is unavailable a bunch of times. The logs show that the NIC is going down and then coming back up. A loose cable maybe? Lunarpages supposedly then replaces the cable and says the problem is resolved. However, log entries with the NIC going down persist. This time, I ask them to change the port my server is plugged into on the switch. No response or update from Lunarpages at all. The problem seems to be better but that could be coincidence or they may have fixed something. I’ll never know. So after this poor communication (combined with me being forced to remotely diagnose) I decided to start the transition to a new host.

I’ve heard some good things about ServerBeach so I spent most of yesterday getting the server configured and transitioning stuff over. Overall, I like the product offering much better. No charges for reboots and they have a nice remote reboot tool. The servers have the current version of CentOS installed instead of older versions like LunarPages (v 3.5). Their online account management tools seem complete and robust.

All was well, until 7 AM this morning. For some unknown reason, the new server froze. A quick reboot fixed things, but I have no idea what happened. There are no log entries that point to a problem…nothing. I disabled a couple extra services that I don’t need. That didn’t work. The server was freezing up every couple of hours. After a hard drive replacement and finally a complete chassis change, we’re back online. Although the first couple of days were not without problem with ServerBeach, I’m quite happy with the speed and professionalism in resolving the problems. Hopefully I will not need to contact their support staff that much, but this was a pretty good sign so far.

All in all, I really don’t like doing Sys Admin work. I’m really looking forward to having some wine this evening.

  • E. Goh Sep 2, 2006, 11:17 pm

    Daniel,

    So far so good…although I hope I don’t jinx myself. Other than the initial problems (the HD then MB) that happened within the first couple of days, I haven’t had any additional problems. I was happy with the speed and quality of the problem resolution. If I found a reasonably priced and local co-location, I’d probably got that route since I don’t like waiting for people to solve my problems (especially with the low cost of servers these days). However, for inexpensive dedicated servers, I would still recommend ServerBeach.

    Hope that helps and good luck.

    Regards,

    Eric

  • Daniel Sep 2, 2006, 8:47 pm

    How is your ServerBeach experience after several months with them?

    You’re right, reliable informaiton is very hard to come by!

    Thanks,

    DROdio