We recently had to evaluate our server hosting for Beanstalk. Until recently, we were using MediaTemple as our primary host. As our demands grew, it seemed that MT could not provide exactly what we needed. After a lot of research, we ended up choosing SoftLayer. I want to touch on some of the decisions we made before making the switch.
I have to admit, MediaTemple was not easy to leave. Their support is truly amazing and their offerings are fantastic. Our biggest issue was that they primarily offer managed servers, so when we required custom solutions we starting running out of options. Things like access to the terminal, private networks for multiple servers, and various server options if we did not need the power of a Nitro server.
The first thing I did was ask around for opinions. We reviewed ServerBeach, RackSpace, Joyent Accelerators, Engine Yard and many others. I talked to Alexey Kovyrin, who I trust highly and have worked with on many occasions, and he recommended a new host I had not heard of: SoftLayer.
As I looked into SoftLayer’s offerings, I almost fell on the floor. I’ve been looking for months for the best host and this was it (at least by their specs). They offered everything I needed and more. For instance:
- Wide offering of dedicated servers
- Extremely fast disk drive options (important for Subversion)
- 1000mbps ports, one private and one public
- A virtual private network for all of our servers
- iSCSI, which is an extremely fast network storage solution
- Excellent backup solutions such as their eVault and NAS
- Great network backbone to many providers
- Two data centers, meaning we can store redundant data in a different location
So far, so good
So far the experience has been great. The hardware is powerful, the network is very fast, support is quick to respond, and their control panel offers some really nice tools, such as reverse DNS editing and a live view of their network activity.
We had such a great experience with the Beanstalk setup, that we decided to consolidate six of our other Microsoft servers over to just three high-performance servers at SoftLayer.
I feel like I am selling them now :) but I promise I don’t get referrals. I'm just happy to have a great hosting provider. If anyone has feedback or questions, just post a comment.