Newsletter: GoGrid Customer Update v1.9

June 16th, 2009 by - 6,740 views

For those of you who are not currently GoGrid customers, I thought that it might be good to provide our latest GoGrid Newsletter online. Moving forward, I will be doing this every time the newsletter comes out. First, a little heads up. The current $50 Free GoGrid Trial will be expiring soon, so if you haven’t tried GoGrid out yet, I encourage you to do so…NOW! Simply visit this page to get started.

GoGrid_newsletter_v19

Below is the GoGrid newsletter (v1.9):

Hello,

I want to reach out and give you an update on the software projects currently in-flight and their associated release dates.  Our software engineers are working hard preparing some exciting new features and services and I wanted to keep you appraised of our progress.  Some of the new features are exciting because they will help you better manage and scale your GoGrid cloud infrastructure.  Here are some important highlights:

  1. New release date for MyGSI (My GoGrid Server Image)
  2. Enhancements to server deployments via the portal (8 GB RAM and faster server deployment time)
  3. Ubuntu support
  4. Prepaid pricing plans that can save you cash
  5. AppZero partnership that allows you to easily move Windows apps to and from the GoGrid cloud
  6. Lost password reset

MyGSI


The new myGSI release is coming soon. While initially targeted at the beginning of July, we wanted to ensure that the code was of the highest quality. Consequently, we have slightly moved the date a bit later so as to provide a solid product update.  The release is targeted for the last week of July – about 6 weeks from now.  An earlier release is possible and will be determined in the next couple weeks as our Technical Product Team polishes out final details.  You can look forward to an exact release date in the next newsletter.

If you’re not familiar with MyGSI, it allows you to:

  • Deploy a sandbox instance
  • Upload an application and configure it to your exact specification
  • Use scripts we provide to bundle and save the instance to Cloud Storage
  • Use the MyGSI as a “golden master”
  • Deploy the MyGSI to servers with any allotment of RAM, which is great for rapid horizontal and vertical scaling
  • Maintain a library of MyGSIs

More information on myGSI’s can be found on the GoGrid blog:
GoGrid Blog: Personal Server Images

If you have questions regarding MyGSI, please contact your Service Team or me directly: mario AT gogrid.com. If you do not know how to contact your service team, please submit a support ticket requesting your account team’s contact details.

8 GB RAM Deployments via the UI & Faster Server Deployments


In early July, 8 GB RAM servers will be deployable via the GoGrid Customer Portal; currently, 8 GB RAM servers can only be deployed via the API.

Our engineers have completed a refactor of the server “add” process, dramatically increasing server deployments.  Linux servers now deploy in sub 2 minutes and Windows servers sub 5 minutes.  If you are constantly adding and deleting servers, you will see a big improvement in server deployment times.  Both new features rollout in early July.

Ubuntu Support


The tentative release date for Ubuntu is mid-to-late August.  You can expect an update after the MyGSI release.

Prepaid Pricing Plans That Can Save You Cash


I just finished reading through all of the survey comments earlier this week (yes, we actually read your comments) and was surprised by the many “high prices” comments.  If you are on the pay-as-you-go plan, I can see why you would think our pricing is high.  If you use GoGrid more than 2 weeks per month then you need to be on a prepaid plan.  Prepaid plans save you 30-50% on your monthly charges.  With prepaid plans, you pay monthly for an allotment of Server RAM Hours, and in return, you get a much lower Server RAM Hour unit cost.   For example, the Pay-as-you-Go unit cost is $0.19, whereas, the Enterprise Prepaid plan unit cost is $0.08.  If you have questions, please contact your service team.

View prepaid plans: http://www.gogrid.com/pricing/plans.php.

AppZero Partnership


Our new partner, AppZero, makes bundling and moving Windows applications to GoGrid easy.  Their plan is to support Linux by the end of the year.  Here are some common AppZero use cases:

  • Move Windows apps to and from the GoGrid cloud
  • ISVs can use AppZero to multi-tenant their apps
  • Clone an existing server
  • Extending disaster recovery to the cloud

There is a monthly charge to use AppZero.  If you want more information, please contact your service team Account Manager, or contact AppZero directly:

Steve Leduc
201-377-0492 ext. 4246
sleduc AT appzero.com

Lost Password Reset and the Sun Error Page


Lost password reset is now available on the portal login page.  This feature should have been released sooner, but simply slipped down the list as we focused our efforts on the core product.  I’m sure there are other enhancements like this, but rest assured that over time you’ll see constant improvements.

Lastly, we’ve also replaced our portal framework technology, so that occasional Sun page error is finally gone for good.  Plus, the portal now loads 40% faster.  Broadband users should see a big improvement in load times.

As always, you can find more information on GoGrid at:

If you have any questions about the above features please feel free to email me at mario AT gogrid.com.

This email was sent from our VP of Products, Mario Olivarez.

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Michael Sheehan

Michael Sheehan, formerly the Technology Evangelist for GoGrid, is a recognized technology, social media, and cloud computing pundit and blogger who writes regularly about technology news and trends.

11 Responses to “Newsletter: GoGrid Customer Update v1.9”

  1. DanB says:

    Regarding the pricing, from the perspective of a "little guy" who only needs one or two low traffic servers, your prices are high. I currently have a traditional VPS server for ~$35 a month. None of your current plans allow me to get close to that. If I could run a 512mb server on your service for $50 or less a month, I would switch*. Switching to a $500/month plan to get $.08 per ram hour obviously doesn't help. I love the idea of being able to quickly spin up new servers, it's very convenient to temporarily host something for a client or just to mess about, but not enough to pay 3x as much per month. Anyway, I understand if you're not interested in the "little guys", but hopefully this helps you see how some would find your prices high.

    *when you have backups implemented anyway… until then, price is a moot point :)

    • Hi Dan,
      Thanks for your note. While compared with shared hosting and VPS hosting GoGrid may appear to be expensive, it is actually very competitive against other Cloud Hosting providers who offer the same or similar service. With VPS, you are not being guaranteed CPU or RAM, whereas with GoGrid are are. If someone within your VPS environment is sucking up resources, your system will suffer along with it (think cable broadband vs. DSL/shared vs. dedicated). Also, you are right on about the ability to dynamically spin up or down (horizontally scale) your infrastructure.

      Believe it or not, we do care about the "little guys" and have a fairly large install base. Also, we have the added advantage of creating hybrid hosting solutions (cloud plus dedicated).

      Anyway, keep those questions coming and I will do my best to answer them.

  2. Andrew says:

    Your portal is still painfully slow! You've not even attempted the most basic ways to improve load times, including:

    - using gzip compression to return your content – especially static assets like js, css etc which compress well
    - almost all your static assets like js/css/images/icons are missing expires headers (which means no caching)

    Both of these are incredibly simple to implement and will result in immediate noticeable benefits.

    If you haven't heard of the YSlow utility from Yahoo! for Firebug, I suggest you try it :)

  3. John says:

    Glad to see I am not the only one.
    I bring advice, and a look at GoGrids conversion failings and solutions for its growth.

    Firstly the badly timned. Removal of $50 Offer
    I don't know who decided this would positively affect GoGrid, but scrapping the utilisation of what must be otherwise idle machines to give your targeted audience a taste of what you have to offer and convert them into customers is not a wise nor logical decision given the timing and developments under way at GoGrid, developments resolving a number of potential customer objections, such as Ubuntu Support and the introduction of the MyGSI feature that is heavily important to people/companies wishing to utilise Clouds of up to 200 servers.

    I think you should extend the free credit for at least 3 months after the new features have been added if your so intent on removing free credit otherwise you run the risk of people waiting for the changes before they take advantage of the free credit loosing interest and loosing future potential customers who would have trailed GoGrid with the free credit it and converted into customers.

    Secondly, Effective immediately reconsider your pricing plans and intended customer base.
    If you care about and want the little guy, with lots more little guys than big guys you should.
    You must reduce your prices.

    Intentional or not, many web masters have seen GoGrid as a webhosts that gives you the power of dynamically scaling to manage expected and unexpected surges in traffic for a number of reasons, marketing, news coverage etc.. offering security and piece of mind.
    This use of GoGrid has been discussed in classrooms, business meetings, in general discussion amongst friends, and most of them end with the realisation that GoGrid costs more than paying for resources that sit there idle just in case they need to be used.

    Put simply, GoGrid has a Pricing Plan that is uncompetitive to the solutions (VPS and Dedicated Hosting) that it appears to be making a bid to replace with dynamically scalable Pay for What You Use Model which unfortunately turns out to cost more to use
    These discussions represent potential customers, mainly public and commercial web masters that are much more sizeable than the businesses interested in cloud hosting for web crawling/indexing which GoGrid is currently heavily suited and targeting.

    These potential customers are however highly unlikely to make a cloud of more than 2 except rarely in times of traffic surges where they may make 2-3, this group of webmasters that are interested in the security and piece of mind of dynamic scaling represents serious money for GoGrid, however GoGrid is currently, intentionally or not, by pricing design, be it because of serious underestimation of the market, lack of advisor's that know what there doing or a drastic miscommunication, whatever, GoGrid is out pricing this large and precious market to the point of no contest in comparison to VPS and dedicated server products potential customers currently use, the very thing GoGrid at a glance appears to make obsolete by allowing people to pay, only for what they use and pay less, NOT MORE!

  4. John says:

    I will show a few comparisons.
    What Can I get for around $270/mo after a quick google search.
    Granted, its paid quarterly, but that isn't a problem to most people.
    Dual Xeon E5420 (20GHz total on 8 cores) 1333 MHz FSB 12MB L2 cache
    8GB RAM
    1TB HDD
    2000GB Transfer
    100Mbps connection

    Effectively 5760 Server Ram Hours and 2Tb of Bandwidth.
    GoGrid Pricing Plan.
    Server Hours: $499.99 incl 5,000 plus 0.10*760/$76: $575.99
    Traffic Out: $199.99 + $200: 399.99
    Total Monthly GoGrid Cost: $975.98 ($705.98 More? 100-200 is to be expected, it's competetive price, but 700 is plainly Illogical and unreasonable.)

    Random google results & GoGRid Pricing.
    Duall Core, 2GB Ram + 10TB costs $106.626 GOGRID Bandwidth > $1000 RamHours $176.79
    Intel Xeon 3040, 160GB HDD 1GB Ram, 4TB costs $73.8019 Bandwidth: (199.99 + 0.2*3000) $799.99 Ram Hours: $99.99
    Yet again unreasonable Procing is clearly visible.

    And a quick deal I made with a host offering VPS a few days ago.
    This is the cost I negotiated for 4 servers, though I could have the same thing 2-4 times.
    In all cases the VPS argument above is obsolete, in all cases VPS use hardware dedicated to me IE, a Quad Core server dedicated to, and only to my 4 servers so only my VPS are on the machine.
    Each VPS Specs.
    CPU: 2.8 GHZ
    Ram: 512MB Burstable to nearly 1GB
    HDD: 40GB
    Network: Unlimited Usage Guaranteed @ 2-3Mb/sec Per VPS
    Price: $15/mo per vps (Counting it as 0.5 Ram hours makes around $0.04 Per Ram Hour per 30 day month)

    Now the bandwidth is inclusive, and it's fairly cheap, because I negotiated, if I where using gogrid and used 3TB Bandwidth Total across the 4 Servers II would be paying $199.99 + $400 for the 2TB overage charged at 0.2/GB with no way to get anything like $0.17 GB.
    And because 4 servers equating to around 1440 Ram Hours, I would be paying $99.99/month for a business cloud to get it cheaper and the excess $99+ 640 hours at 0.12 = $76.8.
    So would be paying GoGrid:
    Ram Hours: $176.79
    Bandwidth: $599.99
    Giving a total of $775.79 per month for something that costs $60 a month elsewhere.$715.79 More

    I think it's fairly obvious now why people have told GoGrid they are expensive, it's because you really are expensive.

    Moving on.
    I have personally witnessed 18 people look at gogrid, and for this very same reason, chose another host.
    18? Yes, 18, I alone have witnessed 18 potential customers become interested in gogrid and intent on using it, until the pricing plan page is seen/quoted, and the true reality that the vs Amazon page commonly looked at first is misleading and GoGrid is way overpriced in comparison to what its business model exists to replace. Granted not everyone works in the multiple fields inc marketing, web design & Tech fields but I do, and I see people make decisions to use GoGrid, even comment on how good it is and then, the Pricing Plans, and that's it, GoGrid blew it, at least 19 times, because I am including myself, and 20 if you count the guy at the top of these comments.

    For every customer GoGrid gets, it must be loosing many more potential customers because of this.
    It's saddening, its like the time I watched the car salesman that used to lose my local car dealership hundreds of sales a year because he hadn't a clue how people operate let alone how they make purchasing decisions just walk over to another youg first time buyer that just got his licence walk over to the potential customer stood there imagining the look on the girls faces, when he pulls up tonight, because he is buying this car, even saying this to the salesman and fiends so it couldn't be more obvious, only for the so called proffesional salesman talk the buyer out of the idea and loose the company yet another sale.

  5. John says:

    Now, I'm not getting paid to advise, so it will be plain and quick, and to the point.
    Why must this be? If you can serve a large company that needs 6TB and 30k+ Server Hours likely to crawl/index using mainly inbound traffic which is free, at the lowest shown price, why can you not give the same, or I recommend lower prices to everyone or a large audience that is only ever likely to make a grid of a few servers in size and rarely have more than 1-2 active.

    Already you know of 19 people that would use GoGrid now just from this one comment if you at the least charged the same price to run a server for a whole month as anyone that looks around can get with a quick google search, there is no large array needing to be ready if they decide to start 200 servers, they will only ever use a few servers, and there is no real reason to try and charge these people what they must pay for similar circumstances that I have shown.
    By doing so you are throwing away good business almost every day.

    Options to prevent GoGrid from loosing out on these, low scale clouds.
    1 I would try lower your costs for a start.
    Ensure the cost of running a server for a month is no more than the cost of renting one!
    2 Try offer cheap one off bulk buys if you must, let the customer buy in advance, and then buy when it runs out, no fixed monthly price, it lasts however long it lasts.
    3 Offer these low scale clouds a discount rate, with a low maximum could size such as 8 or some low but reasonable limit, to distinguish the businesses needing 10-200 servers deployed at any one time. Perhaps a maximum of 8Gb ram hours at any one time in any combination, and because there is then no need to ensure 200 servers can be deployed rates can drop to show genuine interest in competing for websites wanting to move to GoGrid and have a dynamically scalable solution without paying more than they currently are.

    And also, open up your forums again, many people like to drop a question, without phoning up, or talking to someone Live.
    Some people even feel that talking live assumes your ready to buy, or is unsuitable until they are really ready to buy right then, or just prefer asking a community, and as such wont contact you if there not going to buy for a month, and in the meantime might stumble upon or find another host, instead of knowing there answer from the forums, and not looking because they know the answer to any questions and any doubts or concerns with you are already resolved, and expect to be pushed in that direction, or feel there wasting someone time, I have had many people tell me this.

    Well I look forward to any response I get, and I hope the information and solutions here are implemented as soon as possible so GoGrid can seriously become competitive in the much larger dynamically scalable webhost area and not be so tuned for large scale players needing large clusters.

    Sorry it's so long, 3 Parts ;)

    • Hi John,

      Thanks for the (lengthy) reply. It is always good to get raw feedback on our services, products, pricing and features. I appreciate the time you took to think this out and do comparisons versus dedicated and VPS solutions. Obviously, my response will be a "rebuttal" of sorts but everything that you mention is valid but simply warrants some further discussion, clarification and explanations.

      The Cloud is not dedicated nor VPS hosting. These are very different beasts, VPS obviously being less expensive than dedicated. The Cloud has characteristics and capabilities that these don't have: no contracts, scalability, on-demand, self-service, etc.

      We do have plans to do some pricing modifications in the future, but it still won't be directly comparable to cheap VPS as they are different (and probably never will be). You have to also realize that if we were to undercut the pricing, that would devalue the service and not allow us to do all of the items we plan on doing (and there are lots).

      When thinking about the comparison (a bit of apples to oranges), there are definitely some things to think about:
      - Dedicated service providers can't provision dedicated servers on demand
      - Dedicated service providers require a commitment
      - GoGrid provides free f5 load balancing
      - GoGrid provides 10 GB free of Cloud Storage
      - We don't charge for the private Gigabit network
      - We don't charge for the 1 Gbps internet connection
      - We don't charge for Windows Server licensing
      - We provide 16 static, contiguous public IP addresses for free
      - With MyGSI, you will have free automated tools to save images and provision new images from those on-demand for rapid scalability
      - Our pre-paid pricing is cheaper than AWS (who you really should compare against, not VPS or dedicated)
      - GoGrid can also provide dedicated private megbit connections to a dedicated environment as well using Cloud Connect
      - We also have 24/7 support for free and a dedicated service team (hard to find that with cheap hosting VPS providers)

      So, I guess the bottom line here is, you really get what you pay for. Sure, you can find really cheap dedicated or VPS hosting out there, but you need to look beyond just the server. Does it meet needs of scalability? Can you fully deploy a load-balanced networked infrastructure in just minutes from signing up? Do they have and honor an SLA?

      I'm actually in the process of writing a post about how Cloud Computing is not for everyone. Your points may actually help me so thanks.

      Best,
      Michael

  6. John says:

    Good come back, feel free to include anythin I quickly and badly worded.

    Essentially what I was getting at, besides the terrible Credit withdrawal timing is as follows.

    Many people wish to move entirely to GoGrid and have a 24/7 Online server for the price of a normal dedicated server they already pay for.
    But, have the ability to scale up at times of unexpected need so not to lose potential sales/ad revenues.
    In this scenario, they basically commit to a dedicated server, but can also scale up from there commited plan dynamically if needed, and add another Dedicated server if they feel they have grown to need more resources constantly.

    To achieve this you could give competitive dedicated Server prices that are almost instantly setup like any GoGrid server, from the same add menu, but on creating the server the user selects a Dedicated option, Instead of Dynamic.
    And if your setting up a dedicated server, you commit to using it as a Dedicated Webhost/Database server that will be online 24/7, commiting to a contract or paying quarterly for the competitive price etc.. so there really is nothing but a Dedicated server sale, but the option to scale up a server or two if a heavy surge comes.

    Now I know they could just integrate GoGrid on top of there current dedicated server, but oddly that doesn't seem to be a strong idea from what I have witnessed, people seem to want to move solely to GoGrid or not at all.

    In fact, having just actually noticed the Hybrid Dedicated / Cloud Hosting link hidden where I only went for a quick info seek, the same as the 18 people I witnessed failed to even notice it, your even offering something like this!
    I suggest GoGrid try there best to integrate the Hybrid Dedicated / Cloud Hosting option as easy as I have just said to make it as hassle free as possible, and completely clear your offering a Cloud/Dedicated Mixture to those who want dedicated hosting at competitive prices with the ability to Dynamically scale, and create a dedicated competitively priced commited server from the same control panel in almost the same way.

    And immediate advice, place the Hybrid Dedicated / Cloud Hosting link on the Pricing plan page!
    And mention you offer Hybrid Services on the Pricing Plan Page, Under the Data Transfare Plans, perhaps just a sentence mentioning that servepath/Colo and GoGrid Hybrid is an option.

    Though I think the ease of creation and integration I mentioned is still important to many people.
    Feel free to inform anyone that feels the Dedicated / Cloud Hosting link is visible enough already that they won't feel so good when the boss finds out they thought it was a good idea to keep loosing the company customers by failing to act.

    • Hi John,

      Thanks again for your comments. You are almost reading my mind here. Be sure to stay tuned for the announcements coming.

      I will pass on the info about the Cloud Connect links on the pricing page. Do note that it IS called out on both the GoGrid (http://www.gogrid.com) homepage AND the ServePath (http://www.servepath.com) homepage. Probably not as prevalent as it should be on GoGrid, but definitely there on the ServePath page. I will chat with our WebDev team about making it a bit more obvious.

      If you have any other suggestions, feel free to email me directly: Michael AT GoGrid.com.

      Thanks,
      M

  7. Mick says:

    GoGrid *IS* a VPS server. Scale? Don't make me laugh. There is no way to clone a server, so a new server has to be created and all the data copied over when you scale up, and then has to be 'deleted' to scale down. As far as I can tell you can't even resize a server after its been deployed.

    >The Cloud is not dedicated nor VPS hosting. These are very different beasts, VPS obviously being less expensive than >dedicated. The Cloud has characteristics and capabilities that these don't have: no contracts, scalability, on-demand, self->service, etc.

    MediaTemple's $20/month plan get you all of this. Rackspace's cloud servers CAN actually scale up and down.

    • Thanks for your comments Mick. With the MyGSI release, you will be able to do cloning off of a master image once it is configured. If you have fully set up a MyGSI with code, application tweaks and data, for example, you can instantiate copies of that master quickly and easily by only having to add an IP address and the amount of RAM you want that server to have. This can be done through the web portal as well as with the API. You are correct that you have to “add” and “delete” servers. Since we provide the raw infrastructure only, we have partners like RightScale that can help manage that scalability.

      You can’t really compare GoGrid with MediaTemple though because I don’t believe that you have access to the raw server infrastructure, nor cloud storage, nor load balancing with MT. We allow for root or administrator access on Windows and Linux servers on the GoGrid Cloud. The RackSpace cloud is a bit closer to GoGrid, however, even as stated on their product page, the API is “on the way”. If you want to programmatically control the scaling of your servers with Rackspace with an API, you have to wait till they release that. I do admit that snapshotting within their service is something that we don’t have (yet). However, the framework with the MyGSI allows an on-ramp for this to happen.

      In terms of the VPS comparison, GoGrid is still very different than that: no monthly contracts, usage-based billing, self-service, free load balancing, free cloud storage (10 GB), dedicated CPU portions, dedicated RAM, dedicated persistent storage, ability to connect to dedicated hosting or colocated hosting via secure private network…all of those things I don’t think you will find in a VPS but please do share any findings you have.

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