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Hosting Giants Teaming Against Small Businesses

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the capitalism-never-gets-old dept.

Businesses 163

BlueToast writes "Hosting giants SoftLayer, ThePlanet, Hosting Services Inc., and UK2 Group are teaming up to wipe out small competitors like SimpleCDN. Though ThePlanet isn't directly involved in the slicing of SimpleCDN's throat, ThePlanet runs the sales chat scripts for SoftLayer (check your NoScript). As a loyal customer of SimpleCDN, I really do not appreciate the disruption of service to a company I have been with for over a year. SimpleCDN's president wrote, 'Absolutely no valid reason or warning was or has been given for this termination, and our best guess currently is that these organizations could not provide the services that we contracted and paid for, so instead they decided that terminating services would be the best solution for them.'"

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Actually (3, Informative)

micksam7 (1026240) | more than 3 years ago | (#34527930)

Softlayer and ThePlanet merged a few months ago. And UK2/"Hosting Services"/100TB simply resells Softlayer's services.

100TB has a bandwidth pool deal with Softlayer, then oversells like mad. SimpleCDN used 100TB [I -believe-] to get excellent bandwidth deals.

Seems like 100TB [and perhaps Softlayer] weren't happy with this.

Re:Actually (4, Informative)

SimpleCDNNOC (1957482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34527948)

Maybe yes maybe no - tonight in an email to an angry SimpleCDN Customer Ditlev (pres of UK2) confirmed that UK2 apparently had "no control" over this...

--- Obviously there are two sides to this story, and hopefully we will get a chance to air ours. For now, I can only say that we are sorry about the problems this may have caused to anyone, but that it was out of our hands. Best, Ditlev ---

So who exactly forced UK2 to shutdown SimpleCDN? Was it SoftLayer?

Time will tell - but so far it seems Frank Wilson has been telling SimpleCDN's side of the story truthfully from day one.

People have been having a hard time believing that some sort of "conspiracy" exists to remove SimpleCDN from the marketplace - but each passing hour seems to support this more and more.

What does this mean for the thousands of hosting companies that rely on infrastructure providers like SoftLayer?

Again I want to remind our 5,000+ customers that our entire support staff is available to help transition to other CDN providers, and we'll do everything and anything that we can to help during this terrible situation.

Re:Actually (0)

nenolod (546272) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528048)

You know, posting followups on every site where this is being discussed makes you look like less of a victim...

I would like to hear what ditlev has to say about this, as the numbers behind 100TB never made any sense to me as a business model... how can they make any money selling for $10000 what SoftLayer directly charges $50000 for?

Re:Actually (4, Funny)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528058)

how can they make any money selling for $10000 what SoftLayer directly charges $50000 for?

They lose money on each unit but they make it up through volume.

Re:Actually (4, Interesting)

nenolod (546272) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528114)

Except they don't. Because it's impossible.

Bandwidth isn't something you can just oversell without consequence; if you have a massive overage from people actually using what they are paying for then you are probably out of business.

See, I think what happened here is that 100tb had a massive overage and found out that SimpleCDN was one of their big players and they are frantically trying to get the big guys off their bandwidth pool so that they can hedge against the overage while already having SimpleCDN's money. This would fit into my projections for the original business model of 10tb.com before they became 100tb. At least with 10tb there was some sign of it being at least somewhat realistic; with 100tb there is no way.

Or... let's think of it this way:

Say you buy a server from 100TB for $201.95/mo (baseline server with 100TB bandwidth). This works out to being ~303mbps 95% on a typical burst pattern (and likely much higher for streaming traffic!). The server probably costs $100/mo just to run, leaving $101.95 for bandwidth (in this example we're not making any profit mind you!).

This means that your ~303mbps 95% breaks down to $0.33/mbps.

Not even BANDCON [attrition.org] can hit that price point and they go really, really low.

This business model does not make sense to me. There is very high risk and I see no way that they can hedge against overages if everyone actually opens up and uses all of their 100tb allotment. Maybe they are paying by GB instead of mbps but that makes no sense because then SoftLayer would be holding the bill and frankly I don't think they are that stupid.

So no, it's not possible to make up profit through volume on this when you keep in mind the risk you are hedging. It's just too much of a gamble for any sane business operator to even consider.

Re:Actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528150)

What sort of deal do you think 100TB has with SoftLayer?

If it really works out this way, then why would SoftLayer even make a deal with 100TB to begin with?

Re:Actually (2)

nenolod (546272) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528168)

They have a bandwidth pooling agreement.

As for SoftLayer, their goal is quite simply to generate more sales channels. That's why most of the big DCs tolerate reselling and even encourage it. Like I said, the business model works to a certain point but then totally breaks down as the risk gets higher.

Re:Actually (3)

sxpert (139117) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528266)

sounds just like your average financial institution

Re:Actually (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528992)

Except they don't. Because it's impossible.

Duh? That sound you heard when making this post was the whooshing of the joke over your head.

Buy at a loss, make it up in volume... (3, Informative)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 3 years ago | (#34529306)

No... in the case of bandwidth, you can actually do this, and I think that was the point. My ISP does this all the time. It's because "bandwidth" is a damned flaky metric in the consumer space. I pay for 10 mb/sec (supposedly) DSL but rarely, if ever, do I actually get that -- even locally, from home to business -- because they grossly oversell the capacity they actually have in place. My ISP specifically says in the service agreement that they don't have to supply the designated plan bandwidth, and if you can't connect as you need to, tough cookies. Legalese to that effect. I would bet you dollars to doughnuts that if you added up the bandwidth my ISP sells against the pipe they actually have, you'd find a mismatch of several orders of magnitude. This allows them to sell bandwidth for less than they pay for it by making it up in volume -- it's an inferior product, that's all.

Re:Actually (4, Informative)

SimpleCDNNOC (1957482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528090)

We're posting followups so that our customers know we are on top of this situation, and are doing everything that we can - whatever that may be. Obviously our options are limited. So many customers are stranded, so many are going to fire up live streaming tomorrow morning for their church service - and it isn't going to work.

Our goal is to keep our commitments to our customers, and if we can't we'll do whatever we can to help them secure alternative services.

We appreciate other CDNs who have offered our customers discounted pricing, and have made their sales teams available on the weekend to turn new customers up right away.

Our only goal is to help them. We've emailed, we've posted - and we're still receiving frantic calls asking why the service isn't working. We're using any and all channels to communicate with our customers.

Re:Actually (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528262)

> So many customers are stranded, so many are going to fire up live streaming tomorrow morning for their church service - and it isn't going to work.

Now you've lost my sympathy.

Re:Actually (-1, Offtopic)

AnotherBrian (319405) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528310)

You are a dick.
(This is coming from atheist).

Re:Actually (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528336)

>so many are going to fire up live streaming tomorrow morning for their church service

Will something bad happen if people don't get their weekly dose of superstition?

Re:Actually (4, Insightful)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528694)

Why does it matter what they're going to use their paid-for internet to watch? Would it have been any better for GP to say "for their pr0n addiction"? Or "to download the latest leaks from wikileaks"? Or "to download security fixes for their Ubuntu systems"? Really, this could be a text-book case of "They came for the X, but I'm not an X, so I said nothing." And you're not merely doing nothing, you're cheering them on because you're not an X?

Re:Actually (0)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34529258)

Of those, 'download security fixes for their Ubuntu systems' is the only one that's likely to have real consequences if delayed. I'm pretty sure religion survived for several thousand years without live streaming - it can probably survive one more week without it.

Re:Actually (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528056)

No offense, but Slashdot isn't your soapbox. This whole thing seems like a PR campaign of dirty laundry and should have been tagged binspam but soulskill has been posting like an idiot of almost kdawson proportions lately.

Re:Actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528024)

Softlayer and ThePlanet merged a few months ago. And UK2/"Hosting Services"/100TB simply resells Softlayer's services.

100TB has a bandwidth pool deal with Softlayer, then oversells like mad. SimpleCDN used 100TB [I -believe-] to get excellent bandwidth deals.

Seems like 100TB [and perhaps Softlayer] weren't happy with this.

Truth be told, Softlayer was made up of over half of The Planet executives, when they had a big falling out a couple of years ago. I am not surprised they bought out The Planet, since it was a nice middle finger to all the people that made them leave in the first place, and now they get to call the shots again.

Unfortunate (4, Interesting)

Crothers (1288120) | more than 3 years ago | (#34527940)

It's unfortunate to see obviously overselling hosts not even try and make right by their sales pitch. However, those "to good to be true" deals really are "to good to be true". You get what you pay for. Best of luck to the SimpleCDN team and their future endeavors.

Re:Unfortunate But Wait... (4, Informative)

SimpleCDNNOC (1957482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34527954)

UK2 also confirmed to us many times that their business model fully supports 100TBs of transfer, and SimpleCDN has been utilizing these servers for many months now without problem.

Again, more emails from Ditlev and UK2...

"We have no problem with anyone doing 100tb/month - month after month, our business model fully support that"

The 100TB website still advertises 100TBs of transfer with each server, along with "As you would expect unmetered bandwidth from 100TB is truly unmetered and unshared, with no limits and no small print. Unmetered servers use exactly the same SoftLayer network as their 100TB equivalents and are fitted with 1000Mbit ports."

So 100TB is still advertising and selling this service to others, but for some reason SimpleCDN is turned off? Why was SimpleCDN singled out, while this "offer" is still being made to others?

Why was the service provided for months, until one day a demand was sent requiring us to immediately shutdown all servers?

Re:Unfortunate But Wait... (1)

Crothers (1288120) | more than 3 years ago | (#34527990)

Very good questions that I would love to hear the reasoning behind - but like all big .com's we'll never get an explanation.

Re:Unfortunate But Wait... (2)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528012)

You'll never get an explanation because you won't get off your chair to demand one.

Do it, you'll be surprised at the results if you press hard enough.

Re:Unfortunate But Wait... (2)

nenolod (546272) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528052)

UK2 also confirmed to us many times that their business model fully supports 100TBs of transfer, and SimpleCDN has been utilizing these servers for many months now without problem.

Why didn't you look at their business model directly? What you were getting would cost at least 5 times more directly from SoftLayer...

Re:Unfortunate But Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528180)

From their terms of service:

A content delivery network or content distribution network (CDN) is prohibited from running on our network. Special requests to run CDN services may be approved on a case by case basis. Failure to comply with this policy will result in the disabling of all hosting services.

Did you make this arrangement? Or, perhaps, is this a new restriction they have added since you started employing their services?

Re:Unfortunate But Wait... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528552)

SimpleCDN are saying that the ToS were changed specifically to shut them down. I imagine you're quoting from the new ToS.

I presume the ToS also say that they have the right to change them unilaterally without notice. Maybe we'll finally get a court ruling on whether that's legal or not.

After reading that story three times (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34527960)

I still have absolutely no frigging idea what it's about.

Re:After reading that story three times (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34527974)

Can't you see? SimpleCDNNOC, posing as someone named BlueToast, decided that Slashdot is the appropriate place to justify their flagrant over-use of bandwidth and make their providers look like nasty evil companies. This is evident as they started replying to posts on the story within minutes.

SimpleCDNNOC - if you think you have a case, get a lawyer. If you can't do that, or they can't help you. STFU. Now get off my grass!

Re:After reading that story three times (4, Informative)

SimpleCDNNOC (1957482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34527988)

Don't know who BlueToast is - and I am sure Slashdot can confirm this for you that it isn't us.

I've been up for about 72 hours straight helping customers move to CloudFront and MaxCDN, and just happened to refresh /. and saw this post.

How do you say that we "over use" bandwidth? We purchase dedicated servers from a company that provides 100TBs of bandwidth with each server, and the majority of our servers use MUCH LESS than 100TBs of bandwidth. This is the service that has been sold to us, so how are we "over using" bandwidth? Again UK2 did confirm that their business model fully supports offering 100TBs of bandwidth with each server. And again, we're using much less.

If they can't provide this service, then why are they offering it? Why did they terminate SimpleCDN, but continue to offer the service to others, knowing they can't provide it?

Why did UK2 say the decision was "out of their hands"? Did SoftLayer force them to shutdown SimpleCDN? But then why SimpleCDN? Why not all of their customers doing 100TBs on their servers?

So many questions, and so far no answers from the "giants".

Thanks,

John
SimpleCDN Support

Re:After reading that story three times (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528004)

You're obviously not capable of understanding this new-fangled technology you're using. When you need hundreds of terabytes of bandwidth, you build your own infrastructure, you don't lease "dedicated" servers.

You're guilty of being gullible - any company selling servers with 100TB of data transfer is trying to have you. Yes, these companies offering a service they can't provide isn't cool.

But nor is it cool to be too stupid to recognise when you're being had, and you base your business on it - and then bet the business of your client on it, just for kicks.

So I say again - get a lawyer and let them sort it out. Do not contaminate your case by posting here. If they can't fix it, you were doing naughty things (betting your clients business on a sham), even if they (UK2) were doing illegal things (selling a service they can't provide) anyway, so drink your milk, and hope your clients don't win too much in the settlements.

Either way, the CDN market is going to be better off without a bunch of amateurs raking up a bad rep.

Re:After reading that story three times (1)

SimpleCDNNOC (1957482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528032)

We fully tested this solution for months, and have been running thousands of customers on this network for additional months before this no-warning termination.

Would you say the same thing to the hosting providers buying $1 per megabit transit from HE? How about $2 per megabit peering from Comcast? What kind of pricing would be okay with you?

I mean Comcast basically did the same thing to Level3, but Level3 happen to have the money to pay.

Where do you draw the line? This would be no different than American Airlines betting their business on obtaining jet fuel, and then one day the fuel truck doesn't show up. "Oh sorry, we aren't selling you fuel anymore".

We have (well now had) many Fortune 500 companies utilizing our services - we aren't a bunch of amateurs, and our customers will back that up.

Re:After reading that story three times (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528092)

and our customers will back that up.

Not after this, probably.

You need multiple geograpically-dispersed dedicated data centres, multiple
backhauls, redundancy all the way through - the whole nine yards. You need
to hold the SLA's to the network providers yourselves, or you can't control
what is happening - in short, with dedicated servers, you have no control
whatsoever over what happens once the packet leaves your ethernet card.

You're trying to deliver a service that requires a multi-million dollar
investment to get it done right, on the cheap. And you've failed. Well no
shit Sherlock!

Sorry, but you are a bunch of amateurs - that's all there is to it.

Re:After reading that story three times (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528136)

We use (or used) simple cdn because of their pricing. We understood that they weren't Akamai or Limelight - but that was okay since they provided a stable service at a price that made sense for us. Worked great for over a year until now obviously.

People buy shit cars and they buy bmws. There is room for both in the market and the market needs both.

I am looking for another provider now, but still a cheap one. I cant pay 50 cents per gigs.

Re:After reading that story three times (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528248)

That's fine, buy a cheap and shit car. But I don't want to hear the cheap car complaining that it blew a head gasket while on the motorway going 100kmph, because the other cars thought it shouldn't be there. Sounds crazy? So does the complaining from SimpleCDN.

Do it on the cheap for all I care. Just don't bitch when your business goes tits-up.

Re:After reading that story three times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528338)

It sounds like they are just explaining to their customers why the service is down.

And it is true, it is down because their provider cut them off, right?

But why shouldn't they complain? A large company offered them dedicated services at an agreed upon price, and then they paid for those servers. Now months later the hosting company comes back and says sorry too bad, you can't do this anymore - but we are still going to offer this deal to other people. Sucks for you. Other people can get 100 tb bandwidth, just not you.

I think they have a right to complain.

Re:After reading that story three times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528524)

I think they have a right to complain.

They do, I'm sure. To their lawyers. It's not Slashdot worthy.

Re:After reading that story three times (1)

rdwulfe (890032) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528684)

Funny. News for Nerds.

When a rather large provider like this is shut down, I'm sure many nerds care, as they might actually be using their services. I don't, and I find this whole thing interesting, at the very least.

You have some kind of case against them, it looks like. Bad experience? Did they touch your dolly someplace bad? Chill out. You don't like it, move on.

Re:After reading that story three times (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 3 years ago | (#34529036)

"Sorry, but you are a bunch of amateurs - that's all there is to it."

Because they depend on third parties? Surely so you do and so do everybody in business.

Provided (a big "if") their contract clearly stated they were offered 100TB per server, it would be the provider unable to hold to their contract the amateurish one (if not blatantly illegal).

I would look for legal advice since it seems they should be able to claim for contract breaching and damages for the lost business revenue on top of that.

Re:After reading that story three times (2, Interesting)

poptix_work (79063) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528330)

I work in the managed hosting industry (including some CDN services), we have our own cages, with our own racks, with our own servers, our own routers, and our own connections to various providers in geographically diverse locations. We have our own ASNs, and IP address space.

What *exactly* was your product? What *exactly* does your company even own? It sounds like you were just reselling the equivalent of a poorly constructed reverse squid proxy cluster. You had no binding contracts with your provider? Do you even have a lawyer on staff to draft contracts and examine the contracts you were signing?

You were a parasite on their network. They terminated you. There's no conspiracy here.

Re:After reading that story three times (4, Insightful)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#34529002)

You were good till you called them a parasite on the network.

Are customers obligated to pay money all the while fearing to actually use what the parties agreed on?

Re:After reading that story three times (1)

tsj5j (1159013) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528250)

If you're going to be a troll, don't be a coward.

Please read up on how overselling works; the masses overpay a little (for peace of mind) to cover the loss from heavy users.
This model can work well, and is how cable and telephone companies operate.
They are a sham the same way every single telephone, cable and internet providers is shamming.

You think you're so cool using non-oversold bandwidth?
Newsflash: Even upstream ISPs oversell as well.

The world is better off without amateurs like you raking this generation a bad rep.

After reading you comment three times (5, Interesting)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528100)

Can't you see? SimpleCDNNOC, posing as someone named BlueToast, decided that Slashdot is the appropriate place to justify their flagrant over-use of bandwidth and make their providers look like nasty evil companies. [blah, blah, blah]

You ignorant tool, have you ever submitted a story to Slashdot? If you had, you'd know that they don't hit the front page right away. Sometimes it's hours later, many times it's days. If you do post a story, it's not like you sit there, wait a few minutes, and then start replying to people, because you may very well be sitting there for days.

I'm guessing that "BlueToast," whoever that is, even if it is a sockpuppet, as you so flagrantly accuse him/her of being, likely posted this in the middle of the day or early evening. It hit the front page at 5:11am US Eastern/2:11am US Pacific time. Given that the story is about a U.S. provider, I'm guessing BlueToast is probably sound asleep right now, and SimpleCDNNOC's claim that he/she is up in the middle of the night working for his/her customers not only plausible, but probable.

By the way, on what are you basing your accusation of "flagrant over-use of bandwidth?" Do you have a copy of the contract that SimpleCDN and their providers? Do you have the metrics showing how much bandwidth they're using, and how much is/was available?

Slashdot is "News for Nerds, Stuff that Matters." Let's see... News? Yes, I think this is pretty damn newsworthy. For nerds? Well, it's squarely in the IT/technical realm, so yeah, I think that it would be of interest to nerds. Stuff? It's definitely stuff. That matters? Well, if you're one of SimpleCDN's thousands of customers, or someone who consumes those customer's content or data, or if the submitter is right in that this activity may spread to other hosting providers (which it sounds like it may), then that would be a big green checkmark in that column as well.

I could just as easily accuse you of being a sockpuppet for one of the nasty evil companies that is screwing SimpleCDN, posting on Slashdot as an Anonymous Coward to try to add insult to the injury you've already caused, and my accusation will be just as valid and appropriate as your little rant.

I guess that's just a long way of saying Anonymous Coward - if you think this story isn't worth reading, then don't comment. If you can't do that. STFU. Now get off our grass!

Re:After reading you comment three times (1)

rdwulfe (890032) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528692)

Thank you Skippus, for stating so clearly what I'd intended to.

Re:After reading you comment three times (2, Insightful)

Thundersnatch (671481) | more than 3 years ago | (#34529038)

Do you have a copy of the contract that SimpleCDN and their providers?

Well that is clearly the problem. SimpleCDN had no such contract, other than un-negotiated, one-sided, "we can change this at any time" terms of service you get with cheap-ass hosting accounts.

Honestly, that's no way to run a business. Even if you had a fuckton of redundancy, and used three separate cheap-ass hosting providers for each of your POPs, you're still running a huge amount of risk having no contract with your primary suppliers, especially when they merge with each other and shoot your redundancy all to hell.

SimpleCDN was basically an arbitrage operation, reselling under-priced bandwidth. They started a game of musical chairs, and they lost, just like the options traders who were long on GM's stock or mortgage-backed securities a few years ago.

Re:After reading that story three times (2)

klingens (147173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34527984)

It's about advertising for SimpleCDN.

Re:After reading that story three times (4, Interesting)

SimpleCDNNOC (1957482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34527994)

How is this about advertising? Our entire service is down. We are helping our customers move to other CDN providers.

We are out of business here, and are doing right by our customers moving them to our competitors. We're not selling anything or taking orders.

This is about something much larger - infrastructure providers terminating services with no notice and no reason.

It could happen to anyone for any reason. You thought your dedicated server was safe - but think again.

Re:After reading that story three times (-1, Troll)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528016)

Sorry, that's your problem.

Either be the real provider or be held at the mercies of your suppliers. YOU should have known that. It's certainly the case in almost every business.

Re:After reading that story three times (5, Insightful)

Sundo (1050980) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528082)

If you think little more broadly, you'll soon come to realize there are very few entities in this world that could be counted as "real providers" as you seem to mean it. Almost whatever you (as in person, company or otherwise), you're always depending on someone else to provide you the infrastructure to allow you to do it. Very few "real providers" provide the food for their employees, commuting infrastructure for getting to work, or - if you want something closer to average IT business - electricity.

Practically all of us will always be at mercy of someone offering us the infrastructure to do what we are doing, and western societies (well, most societies) are built on such infrastructure deals. If we can't be reasonably sure we'll be getting the infrastructure service we have paid for and have reason to expect, this society will soon start looking lot different than it does at the moment. This being IT business is no excuse for the expectations suddenly be lot lower.

Re:After reading that story three times (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528110)

How would one be a "real provider"? I mean they purchased services from a company, as we all do.

I mean are they going to run fiber to every home to deliver content? No of course not.

CDNs buy transit. They "buy" peering. They CAN'T deliver directly, so here sipmlecdn is no different than Akamai or Level3. Purchasing transit and making peering deals to deliver content.

Re:After reading that story three times (3, Insightful)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528132)

Either be the real provider or be held at the mercies of your suppliers. YOU should have known that. It's certainly the case in almost every business.

On the internet, everybody is at the mercy of their suppliers. Even the tier1s. The largest ISPs are all below 10% traffic. That's why Google has invested so heavily in networking and why net nutrality is such a hot topic. If everybody else cut you off at the same time you would be dead. It's clear, however, that they should have had at least three cloud suppliers. I'm guessing that SimpleCDN was simply too new to have got that properly set up (we all take big risks at the start of a business; there's no other way).

It's your problem, too (3, Interesting)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528162)

Sorry, that's your problem.

Either be the real provider or be held at the mercies of your suppliers. YOU should have known that. It's certainly the case in almost every business.

Thank you, Mr. Genius. Did you know that Slashdot uses hosting services, so technically, it's at the mercy of its provider. They should know this. So if their provider suddenly decides to take down their servers, hey, that's Slashdot's problem, right? I run some gaming web sites, with Linode as my hosting provider. If Linode suddenly decides to shut down my servers without warning, I suppose that would be my own damn fault, right?

Okay, so let's take this to its logical conclusion. That means that really, when you think about it, the only people who should be trusted as hosting providers are the massive telecoms, right? Because they're the only ones who can really guarantee that no upstream provider will shut down your service, since they own the wires that go to your house.

That's a brilliant solution, consolidate all service in the hands of one or two companies. I'm sure nothing could possibly go wrong with that.

Oh wait, AT&T depends on its wire suppliers, which depends on miners in Chile, who depend on wheat growers in Russia... Looks like we need to just consolidate the whole damn world into the hands of AT&T and let them rule us as dictators...

Re:After reading that story three times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528316)

We are helping our customers move to other CDN providers.

You have heard of e-mail, yes?

Re:After reading that story three times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528102)

Say you have a plan with SoftLayer that promises you a 100TB monthly bandwidth transfer. You utilize it for your monies-worth.

Oh, what do you know? Now SoftLayer sends you an e-mail saying they are terminating all services in 1 week for unspecified reasons.

Turns out, it's probably because they don't want you to be utilizing your monies-worth of 100TB per month.

Re:After reading that story three times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528186)

Thanks for the synopsis. Now I get it.

(If I ever remember my Slashdot login and pass from a decade ago, I'll start using it again...)

Free market ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34527972)

"Free market doesn't regulate itself, free market regulates (usually out of business) the small guys."
Anonymous.

more cloud providers; but how to get independence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34527986)

So; we clearly learn from this (and the recent willingness of Amazon to shutdown Wikileaks) that the minimum number of cloud providers for a system is no longer three or so, but closer to six. At least three in active use and at least two as silent partners (so that it's more difficult for a legal or technical attacker to go for them simultaneously). The question is, how do we check that cloud providers are independent of each other? That was already difficult enough with ISPs; doing it for cloud providers seems much more difficult

I guess we are looking for:

  • no more than 30% providers on one technology; avoid class breaks in Xen/Vmware etc.
  • network independence; no more than 30% in one region; every one with separate upstream
  • no more than 60% host platform on linux, and no more than 30% on one version of linux; FreeBSD etc. for diversity
  • no common ownership between cloud providers
  • no more than 50% US based companies and no more than 30% in other countries (proportion of any country, including US to come down to 25% within three years)

How do you even set about checking that?

e26ee367880e53fe971b4fad1da0304867acdc4a0131487e0804771982ae661e

There is something missing here (3, Insightful)

alfredos (1694270) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528000)

No sane company terminates "right the hell now" a paying customer, even if it is unprofitable. Unprofitable customers usually are shown the bill or the door hoping to either convert them to profitable customers, or to take their business elsewhere without causing too much fuss. My gut feeling agrees with the AC that over-use of bandwidth may be the case. However, sane business practice demands to try and straighten the situation before starting using the scissors. I don't see any of that in the only side of the story commented thus far - unsurprisingly, since TFA comes from that one side.

Re:There is something missing here (4, Informative)

SimpleCDNNOC (1957482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528010)

Believe me, we tried everything to avoid this, trying to understand what the problem is, and if we can pay more or limit usage or do ANYTHING to prevent termination. Their answer: No. Goodbye. Tough Luck.

Obviously UK2 is not sane...

"We are unable to continue allowing our clients to run CDN services within our 100TB network. We are currently updating our Terms of Service to include this requirement for all clients. I would ask that you immediately comply with this new policy update; otherwise we will be required to disable your services. I apologize for any inconvenience this might cause you."

There you have it. First communication includes an immediate demand to terminate service, and oh yeah, they are "updating" their ToS.

Re:There is something missing here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528034)

Believe me, we tried everything to avoid this, trying to understand what the problem is,...

Sorry, I don't believe you. It just doesn't make sense.

Re:There is something missing here (2)

SimpleCDNNOC (1957482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528036)

Well what you just read was the "notice" we were given. That was it, the entire email.

I mean if you don't believe it you don't believe it, but again there it is right in front of you.

Re:There is something missing here (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528122)

I mean if you don't believe it you don't believe it, but again there it is right in front of you.

No, your half of this story is in front of us. And frankly, I don't believe it's even the whole of your half, let alone any of theirs. I'm not going to take your word that the email you quoted didn't have an over-due bill payment demand attached in addition, for instance.

Right now, SimpleCDN sounds like a whiney little company crying that they've failed, when another AC has pointed out they where trying to do it with under-investment anyway.

Re:There is something missing here (2)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528206)

If you'd read the email, which as an AC I can't assume you did, you'd see that the supplier's email stated that they had suddenly decided that CDN services were not welcome on their network, regardless of whether they were overusing bandwidth or not.

If it made sense... (2)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528178)

Sorry, I don't believe you. It just doesn't make sense.

If it made sense, SimpleCDN probably wouldn't be in this situation and it probably wouldn't be posted on Slashdot, duh.

I'll tell you what, since you're so hell-bent on convincing yourself and everyone else that SimpleCDN is outright lying to everyone, why don't you get off your butt and you find out the other half of the story? I can pretty much guarantee that if you're right, that SimpleCDN is deliberately misleading everyone in some insane attempt to drum up more business by--am I understanding this right, claiming that their business is being shut down?--then it would be a much bigger story than even this one.

Re:If it made sense... (1)

madprof (4723) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528332)

Even better why don't we stop caring about SimpleCDN entirely (worse things have happened in the world in the last few days, apparently) and when we look for own hosting we choose providers who look like they're going to last the course and ignore the "more traffic than you can shake a stick at for a penny" providers.

I would never trust anyone who was reselling services from those clowns at UK2 because I don't trust UK2 any more than I can throw them.

People should just go and host with a different company, chalk this one up to experience and not expect to get everything for oh so very little and still expect the same quality of service as they might get from the big players.

Having your service terminated abruptly counts as bad quality of service, of course.

Re:If it made sense... (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528402)

People should just go and host with a different company, chalk this one up to experience and not expect to get everything for oh so very little and still expect the same quality of service as they might get from the big players.

Right. Let's just consolidate all hosting into the hands of one or two "big players." What could possibly go wrong?

Re:If it made sense... (1)

madprof (4723) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528420)

No, let's just not use cheap and cheerful providers and then expect the world in return.

Re:If it made sense... (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528460)

No, let's just not use cheap and cheerful providers and then expect the world in return.

Why do you think contracts exist?

If I have a contract with SimpleCDN that is favorable to me, and they go out of business, then I'm SOL. I'll have to find another provider.

But if SimpleCDN has a contract with whoever is responsible for this SNAFU that is favorable to SimpleCDN, and whoever that is not only stays in business but continues to offer the same service to others that they are contractually obligated to provide to SimpleCDN, that's a problem that needs to be rectified. Just because a contract is favorable to someone else doesn't mean that you aren't obligated to fulfill it, unless you're literally going out of business or otherwise can't fulfill it. Given that they're offering the same contract to others, that doesn't sound like that's the case.

It sounds suspiciously like Comcast's "unlimited" plans. It's "unlimited" unless you use too much, then they'll cut you off. Of course, they'll keep offering "unlimited" to other people because it sounds great, marketing-wise. The only problem is that it's not really unlimited. They're lying, and that doesn't make it your fault because they offered you "unlimited" and you decided to use a lot.

Re:If it made sense... (1)

madprof (4723) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528482)

Interesting that you don't know whether contractual obligations have or have not been met in the case of SimpleCDN's termination.
Maybe you should hold fire until you know more about this story?

Unless you're a SimpleCDN customer in which case I suggest you find more reliable hosting elsewhere!

Re:If it made sense... (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528894)

Interesting that you don't know whether contractual obligations have or have not been met in the case of SimpleCDN's termination.

No, but given the choice between believing that a company broke an unfavorable contract or SimpleCDN is outright lying to us in the e-mails and responses they've shown, I tend to believe the former.

I could make the same argument, that it's interesting that you'd rather believe that SimpleCDN is not just misrepresenting something, but outright lying about its communication.

Re:If it made sense... (1)

madprof (4723) | more than 3 years ago | (#34529278)

Not really. I am just curiously amused by the concern towards this company when concern is almost certainly better directed elsewhere.

Some company gets its hosting terminated because the supplier is playing "maximise the profit margins".

This isn't special or unusual. /. loves siding with the little guy against the big guy so I can understand why they'd spend time trying to get support on here.

what doesnt make sense you tool (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528740)

some dedicated server provider oversold dedicated servers and bandwidth to these guys. and now, when these people started using the bandwidth they have PAID FOR, they are cutting them off because they are being unprofitable.

thats all that is there to it. FRAUD. simple as that.

Re:There is something missing here (1)

drgould (24404) | more than 3 years ago | (#34529236)

Believe me, we tried everything to avoid this, trying to understand what the problem is,...

Sorry, I don't believe you. It just doesn't make sense.

"The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense." - Tom Clancy

Re:There is something missing here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528234)

UK2 is the easyjet of hosting, what did you expect? Been here many times before with all of their brands and tax dodges.

Re:There is something missing here (4, Interesting)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528196)

No sane company terminates "right the hell now" a paying customer, even if it is unprofitable.

Which is why Amazon, PayPal, Visa and MasterCard all terminated their dealings with WikiLeaks, right?

They weren't presented with any kind of court order telling them to do so, so obviously they chose to do it on their own.

Re:There is something missing here (1)

alfredos (1694270) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528220)

Ok, you have a point there, but Wikileaks is a very special case. I meant to describe the usual business practice.

To be more specific yet, I mean the usual business practice in the hosting industry.

Re:There is something missing here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34529290)

All of these occurrences are special cases, so Wikileaks is really no different. If unprofitable customers were the usual case, then I guess unexpected termination could be the usual business practice, but that wouldn't be very good for business. These overselling providers' business models are contingent on it not being common knowledge that they will cut you off if you try to use the service you paid for.

Re:There is something missing here (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 3 years ago | (#34529084)

"My gut feeling agrees with the AC that over-use of bandwidth may be the case."

I hear about "bandwidth over-use" once and again, but how the hell could anyone over use a resource provided on-demand? In this case, the network provider have all the ability, even on the cheap ,to control their customers' resource usage. If they contracted 1TB/month per server, how could they be able to use one single bit more than this? The provider could just say "see? 1TB; you are off till next month the first" a simple firewall rule after that and they are done.

Or might it be the case that even when the provider in fact offered them 1TB/month to its customer they now say "OMG, they are in fact using what we promised them by contract, we can't tolerate that!"?

Is Slashdot SimpleCDNNOC's Personal Army? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528002)

Only a handful of people will read the summary and have any clue to what it entails and even fewer will consider it interesting or newsworthy. Bad story.

Re:Is Slashdot SimpleCDNNOC's Personal Army? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528030)

It was interesting to me. And "a handful of people" is kind of what /. is about. News for Nerds.

And there is, in fact, lots of streaming stuff broken on the web atm.

I was skeptical at first as well, but SimpleCDN really is doing a good thing, taking care of customers by setting them up with competitors for the last 72 hours straight, when their business has for all intents and purposes been totally destroyed.

It is also interesting to think about the fragility introduced to the internet by the rise of the CDN. A handful of companies now own a big chunk of infrastructure and no one knows who they are (just like you). See? Interesting. Newsworthy. Matters.

Re:Is Slashdot SimpleCDNNOC's Personal Army? (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528088)

Plenty of us will be using these stories as examples to justify having multiple cloud providers to our managers. Lots of us have some cost saving / cloud migration story that we want to slow down or make more stable. Quite a few of us are probably SoftLayer/ThePlanet customers who hate them (everybody always hates customer support) and this is probably a useful addition to our case to stick it to them. Trust me, plenty of us are interested in these stories.

Re:Is Slashdot SimpleCDNNOC's Personal Army? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528134)

Great, more work for me next week. Now I have to explain to the boss why we only have a single hosting provider.

dont buy it (2)

sajalkayan (1213718) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528026)

there has to be more to the story. ive been with softlayer for few years now... and they don't seem the kind who would do this for competitive advantage. Wait until Monday evening before forming an opinion... http://www.sajalkayan.com/simplecdn-goes-down-a-case-for-using-multiple-cdn-providers.html [sajalkayan.com]

Re:dont buy it (3, Informative)

SimpleCDNNOC (1957482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528044)

Well UK2 today said that the decision "... was out of our hands." So who would that leave?

Re:dont buy it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528070)

Were you knowingly, or perhaps unknowingly, hosting a wikileaks mirror perhaps ?

Re:dont buy it (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528190)

Well UK2 today said that the decision "... was out of our hands." So who would that leave?

I wouldn't blindly trust someone making that claim. That could mean just about anything. "Out of our hands" could also mean that their corporate mandate is to make as much money as possible, and the bandwidth you're using (and, I assume, contractually allowed to use) could be more profitably allocated to other customers. Therefore, they regret that they're going to have to break their contract and shut you down. It's "out of their hands" only in the sense that it's "in the hands" of their investors.

I'm not saying that's what happened; you may be right and it really could be out of their hands. Until you know for certain, though, exactly where the decision was made and exactly why, I wouldn't discount any possibility.

Re:dont buy it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528408)

I wonder if any large institution is ever breaking their contract. Contracts seem rigged so heavily in favor of the larger party that they can just do whatever they please with impunity and not be breaking contract, or at least, never have a penalty for doing so.

Re:dont buy it (1)

grahammm (9083) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528558)

I wouldn't blindly trust someone making that claim. That could mean just about anything. "Out of our hands" could also mean that their corporate mandate is to make as much money as possible, and the bandwidth you're using (and, I assume, contractually allowed to use) could be more profitably allocated to other customers. Therefore, they regret that they're going to have to break their contract and shut you down. could be out of their hands. Until you know for certain, though, exactly where the decision was made and exactly why, I wouldn't discount any possibility.

But then they have to consider whether the extra they could earn from breaking the contract and selling the bandwidth to other customers will offset the costs (both the cost of the lawyers and any award made by the courts) of defending 'breach of contract' suits brought by those contracts they have broken? Also of the negative effect on their reputation as a company who does not honour its contracts.

Re:dont buy it (1)

queazocotal (915608) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528682)

It might leave governmental action.

Department of Homeland security gave them a 'switch off, or you're going to jail' order.

Options (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528104)

Unless SimpleCDN is quite lucky or was rather careful, the contract the agreement with the hosting company could be terminated at will presumably with return of money for future service. After all if you can write such a contract and get people to agree to it, you really should since it protects you against all kinds of things. However, for breach of contract things they'll have to look to lawyers which is unlikely to them, or anyone else, any good.

If the reason for the termination is related to Softlayer wanting to exclude other CDNs from using their normal services, there could be a question of anticompetitive behavior which is not governed by contracts. What could be useful, though not necessarily to SimpleCDN anytime soon, is filing a complaint with the FTC and encouraging the inconvenienced customers to do the same thing. Filing a complaint is a fairly simple matter. Similarly sending a letter to your local attorney general's office (in this case probably the local US Attorney General's office) is unlikely to hurt, though it would be unlikely to result in anything. Since it's a communications system the FCC could be contacted, though again not likely to lead to anything happening. The FTC is the agency generally in charge of unfair/deceptive/anticompetitive business practices so that may well be the best place to send concerns.

Great... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528156)

I can't use SimpleCDN because they're gone.
I can't use Amazon's CDN because they're jerks to wikileaks.
I can't use VPS.net's (UK2/100TB) CDN because they're jerks to SimpleCDN.
I can't use anyone who runs Softlayer's CDN because they're in kahoots with UK2.
I can't use anyone who runs Layer3 because they gave in to Comcast (netflix story from a while back) and will probably jack up my prices.
I can't use Akamai because I don't have deep pockets.
If Google comes up with a CDN I can't use them because they steal everyone's privacy.

...at this rate I'm hoping I don't really need a CDN.

This is dissappointing. (1)

lappy512 (853357) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528236)

I was actually a customer of SimpleCDN about two years ago and I was going to use them for a project that I was starting in a month, but this is just too disappointing! This solves my question of how they were about 5 times cheaper than Amazon's CloudFront though haha.

Switched to Hetzner.de, never looked back (2)

mukund (163654) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528238)

I used to host with ThePlanet for my websites. Though their services were pretty stable, they charge so much that I looked for other vendors after a couple of years. Switched this year to Hetzner.de. They provide a dedicated server [hetzner.de] for 49 EUR that gives me i7-920 quad core, 8 GB of RAM, 2 * 750 GB of disk space and 5 TB of bandwidth per month. Plus they have a great web-based system for remote rescue, reboots, and all services that run on the machine are now available on native IPv6. I haven't had any hiccups so far, and it seems well worth the money.

Their support staff seem to struggle a little bit with English, but their web-based rescue interface leaves little to ask the service staff about.

Re:Switched to Hetzner.de, never looked back (1)

mukund (163654) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528256)

In reply to my own comment, I sound like a shill.. I wish I could delete the parent comment.

I pay Hetzner ;) and they have done well to be appreciated. Websites I host on this box include banu.com [banu.com] and mukund.org [mukund.org] .

Re:Switched to Hetzner.de, never looked back (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528328)

I maintain servers with both Hetzner and ThePlanet. I must say that for the money, I am very happy with Hetzner. I simply love their Robot control panel, it has gotten me out of binds a few times. I am actually not the customer, I maintain the server for the customer, but I'm definetely happy with the service.

I have no complaints about ThePlanet, but nothing special about them either.

Re:Switched to Hetzner.de, never looked back (1)

mariushm (1022195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528742)

You forgot to mention the 149 euro setup fee. Basically you're pre-paying for about 30% of the server and then from that 49 EURO about 20 euro is monthly pay for the server cost and 29 euro is colocation/bandwidth.

Hetzner is OK, no comment here, but you do have to mention the downsides, such as absolutely no erotic content allowed (nudity, art, regular porn - have one person post a NSFW picture on your forum and you may get terminated) and relatively poor speed to some parts of US (I've seen average of 400 KB/s to Texas)

A very important rule in business... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528274)

Never put all your eggs in one basket.

I've been tempted by 100TB's low prices to get a server there, but I never did because I knew I'd be royally screwed if I would get kicked out. (Because my business model would be dependent on the low bandwidth price)

At this point, you should go around and submit quotes to different datacenters. Go grab a quote from SoftLayer too, their sales people are very friendly.

PS: I don't get it why you're putting in SoftLayer's contact info on that page. SoftLayer clearly has nothing to do with this, as it's UK2 who's disconnected you.

Re:A very important rule in business... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528368)

According to WHT posts and comments by simple it appears as though 100TB said multiple times that they didn't have a choice and this termination was mandated by SoftLayer. They seem to be grouping them as a single party in their talks.

I haven't seen SL or 100TB comment on this at all in any capacity so I guess we just dont know yet. The only thing I saw from 100TB is that they keep repeating that they can handle 100TBs on every server.

Good luck to all those involved.

Re:A very important rule in business... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528422)

I used to work for UK2 out of Chicago and I can confirm their shadyness. They advertise 100TB of transfer but if every server on every rack they have at SL utilized this they would be out of business.

Ask their sales guys to explain how it works, grab some popcorn, and laugh as they fumble their reply or ignore you.

100TB = SHARED bandwidth, as in all servers on a rack or switch share the 100TB. That is their deal with SL, or at least it was a few years ago.

This guy probably caused an overage so they pulled the plug on him.

When I worked there I did the same thing to other accounts for various other reasons. Sorry, but this is not unheard of I'm afraid.

For the record, OP: Hosting Services Inc. *IS* UK2, and they also resell BOTH The Planet and Softlayer's servers. There is only one real Hosting Services DC and I don't think that runs dedicated boxes. In all, UK2 has somewhere around a dozen brands, maybe more by now, that are spread out through these data centers.

Oh and Ditlev is a PR expert, I would not trust anything out of his mouth. Just saying.

This looks pretty straightforward, to me (2)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528412)

I'll tell you exactly what's going on, I bet.

This is simple. SoftLayer sells bandwidth to UK2. UK2 sells to the CDN.

Now, SoftLayer charges 5 times what UK2 does for the same bandwidth. UK2 is clearly in the over-sell-the-bandwidth business.

Whoever came up with that business model imagined normal website usage, not a CDN. When they were going through the books last week, they noticed they were bleeding serious (and probably dangerous) amounts of cash to one customer. When they looked at the customer, they said, "Holy shit! They are basically re-selling our service! They are leeches bleeding us dry!"

(normal website usage normally has a peaky usage cycle, CDNs can probably maintain a much flatter line -- and the area under the curve is probably where UK2 pays SoftLayer)

So, SoftLayer says, "Shit! These guys pissed us off and are costing us big time money! Get them off the network! Update the TOS to get right of them and use the we-can-change-it-to-suit-us clause to do it now!"

This is a little bit like your local ISP discovering that you are selling WiFi to all your neighbours for a quarter miles around -- they are going to turf you if you refuse to stop, even if they didn't think to add that as a bad behaviour in their TOS.

(And notice that the NOC poster did say that UK2 said they would take them back if they stopped being a CDN)

You Fa1l It (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34528650)

ggodbye...she huad

Midphase? (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 3 years ago | (#34528824)

I remember that name mentioned the last time one of these stories about fucking over a downstream service provider came up. It was only a few weeks ago too.

If two of these events happening so soon in succession isn't a big enough warning sign for their other customers to start running, then nothing will be.

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