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Metal (Technical)

Of hosting, the Slashdot effect and, sigh, Telkom

My recent article, MySQL’s response to Oracle’s moves, was Slashdotted. We all know what that means.

Luckily I host in the US, with layeredtech. The site seemed to survive the onslaught, except for a few complaints that may have been about the stylesheets not loading.

Layeredtech customer service leaves something to be desired, and I’ve been looking at hosting locally, as most of the sites on the server are aimed locally. However, it’s just not viable.

Let’s compare.

For US$65 a month (R390) I have root access to a server, and a 1000GB limit. If I happen to use more, I can order more, at US$75 (R450) for 200GB.

Let’s look at a similar offering here. Hetzner will also offer root access to a server. For R1095. With a 5GB limit. Yes, that’s right. 5GB. With my slashdotting, I’m up to 20GB so far this month. I can purchase extra bandwidth at 9c per MB. Put another way, for the same 200GB block available for R450 in the US, I’d pay R18 432.

It’s of course not Hetzner who’re responsible. Anyone offering the service in South Africa would have to offer similar terms. And 9c/MB is very good, by local standards. It’s all down to our telecoms monopoly, Telkom, the recipient of record profits last year, and government inaction in tackling this over the last few years. Millions of rands have been sent abroad, and thousands of potential jobs lost, vital skills development not undertaken. If everyone locally running a server moved it locally, there’d be a substantial boost to the local IT market. Economies of scale would allow better rates for the servers. There’d be a demand for more and better technicians. Access speeds would improve (even with the same limited ADSL offerings available here).

It’s all been said before. In the meantime, we wait.

1 reply on “Of hosting, the Slashdot effect and, sigh, Telkom”

Africa, and much of the developing world, has a lot to do to catch up on the server and hosting end. Did you catch Andy Carvin’s post on Computing Concentration?.

Also, if you’re looking for another host in the US. I’ve been very very happy with Dreamhost and have heard good things about Media Temple.

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