Server rental

Started by vingler, Oct 08, 2022, 07:12 AM

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vinglerTopic starter

In this topic, we will talk about the non-obvious reasons why you may lose your data and how accounts receivable in projection on the most popular hosting providers on the market are related to this.
And here is the continuation of the story from the beginning of the topic, as they say, that's not all!
- And you didn't make backups for me!? Then why do I place myself in your way at all?

Thus, the client hinted that we should not only deploy his backup, but also find it where we were supposed to put it. Then the engineers were already amazed and the question was passed on to the manager.

The manager explained to the client that we cannot do backups from a hosted (someone else's) server without a request (which was not there) from the owner, we do not have the right and technically it is not so easy to implement, especially without having access to the server (* which we were not given, and we do not ask). All these arguments were drowned in a sea of negativity caused by a persistent understanding of the hopelessness of the situation.

By the way, after spending quite a lot of time and effort, we were able to help the client by restoring some of the data and resuming its work. But, the client was still offended and soon moved out, of course, without paying anything, because he was sure that our jamb and all the work done were his elimination.
How does the data disappear?

Data loss is a really terrible situation, everyone understands that. Hundreds of paid man-hours / employee labor results that are stored on servers are not only money, it is also responsibility and reputation. Restoring (* or attempts to restore) data after loss is also a very time-consuming and costly process. Of course, the presence of backups is a sound sleep of any employee involved, but anything can happen:

    lightning struck the Google data center;

    something went wrong during the server migration and Myspace lost all user data for 12 years from 2004 to 2018 (including music, photos and videos);

    15,000 coronavirus test results were lost due to a technical error in Excel in the UK, details are not specified;

    Yandex deleted the virtual machines of active users by applying incorrect filtering and confusing them with debtors;

    the administrator made a mistake, and GitLab lost a 400GB database;

    as a result of the cyberattack of the encryption virus, all data in the ISS World database was lost.

This is a small part of the known cases that were advertised on the Internet. There are orders of magnitude more details, so once again we will check the availability of fresh backups and move on.

Naivety and debtors

Despite the above-mentioned situations, personal experience and all sorts of incidents that occur regularly, the idea appeared that many technical tricks are far from the main reason for data loss. I was able to formulate the main reason as "naivety", which is primarily due to the fact that we do not always carefully study the terms of the contract, do not ask the "right" questions, believe that someone "owes" something, and so on. It is worth mentioning here and often weak management, when key issues are not discussed with the client, additional services are not offered (and sometimes it is worth doing it persistently). Someone is too lazy to do this, someone does not want to dive into the problem, and someone thinks that it is already obvious.

A simple indicator of this can be your (as a person cooperating with a particular web hosting provider) "self-test", ask yourself, what happens if you don't have time to pay on time? Are these terms spelled out in the contract? Have you been offered additional services? Has the manager asked about how strategically important the system will be on your server?

But back to the payment, this is the most common situation that most have encountered. And there are various reasons:

    forgot to pay or didn't have time;

    there is no money now;

    we didn't get the score and scored;

    accounting somewhere somehow something;

    other bureaucracy.

How hosting providers handle data

I asked my colleagues from the sales department to collect a small but very revealing statistics by interviewing a dozen popular hosting providers that you can meet in the search results and most likely, either you are already renting something from them, or you are just planning. There were no goals to determine who was worse or better, this is primarily statistics, nothing more.

For understanding, I will outline the situation that we broadcast during communication:

The first day of the month, the subscription fee is deducted from the balance and a minus is formed, for the simplicity of the account, imagine that we owe web hosting provider money for exactly one month.
We considered such services as renting a physical server (dedicated) and renting a virtual server, because I sincerely (and maybe naively) believe that my personal server on web hosting (colocation) will not disappear just like the data from it.

The first question is quite harmless.

    How quickly, from the moment the debt is formed, will the server be disconnected?

Work is up, but all is not lost yet.

However, what happens after the provision of services is suspended?

    After the appearance of debt, in what time will the server be dismantled / deleted?

Renting a physical server:

Virtual server rental:

A terrible thing happened. The server is dismantled or deleted, but maybe there is still a chance that the data can be restored?

    After the server has been disassembled/deleted, is it possible to restore the data?

Renting a physical server:

Virtual server rental:
* if no more than 30 days have passed since the deletion.

Since the statistics are like this, maybe web hosting providers offer backups that are included in the service by default? (here we are talking only about virtual servers, there is no 100% for physical servers at once, which is logical)

    Is there a backup that is included in the price of the service by default?

Instead of conclusions, I can only simulate a situation in which, in the absence of backups that are not stored by your hosting provider (who knows, they may also be promptly deleted), if the payment is delayed for 2 weeks, you will lose your data with a 70% probability. And there is no need for lightning, floods and the apocalypse.

What else can be attributed to naivety?

"The Contract icon, show him your contract!"

But seriously, many people do not like to read the contract, do not know how and do not do it. Part of this issue has already been raised earlier in our other topic, but this does not negate the fact.  The phrase "actually, it is written in the contract" plunges many into shock.

They will adapt to me. Are you sure?

The better the larger web hosting provider, the less likely it is that he will change his regulations and rules for you.
And the worse the client is, the less likely this is. Automation will work, and the manager may not have time to understand the situation in detail how and why.

The situation when "our accounting department pays only on Thursdays" (c) is not isolated, but very comical.

"And we didn't get the bill!"

"And we did!" (c) is a typical answer that can be obtained in such a situation. The hosting provider will receive his money, just later, but what he will do with the server for the waiting time remains behind the scenes, but not for someone who "did not receive" the account.

"You are professionals"

This is how many people like to justify unpleasant situations that happen. Yes, professionals, but not all services, and even more so "professionals" are enabled by default. Here you can go back to the point about the contract and forget about the savings, since many customers refuse the additional services offered to them in order to save money, set up backups themselves, but do not monitor them. Done and forgotten. And it would be better to trust those "professionals".

"When you leave, turn off the light"

It's about forgetfulness and disposal. When the lease is over, erase the data and overwrite the disks. Destroy backups from the hosting provider. Just a rule of good manners like locking the console and brushing your teeth at night. Ideally, web hosting provider should do this, but should it? "Hope in God, but don't be bad yourself"

In conclusion, I would like to write a simple checklist that will reduce the likelihood of data loss, sorry if some points are obvious:

    make backups and store them separately from the server in another data center, and preferably in several places;

    check backups (is it possible to deploy something from them?);

    carefully read the contract, ask questions if the important points for you are not spelled out;

    make sure that you will definitely receive a bill for services, reserve recipients;

    set up autopayments if accounting is not involved;

    if there is an accounting department, explain to her that you need to pay first, and then solve any issues that arise, procrastination can be a fatal mistake.;

    ask your hosting provider about backups and other, even the most obvious situations;

    ask your manager how it is customary to work with debtors, what deadlines you have and how you can "delay" them;

    do not expect that web hosting provider will "lend" you, there is also business, budgets, and feeding with "breakfast" no one will tolerate;

    don't be naïve, it's worth a lot.

There was also a big text planned here about how to work with debtors in our data center, but two theses came to mind:

    We will not be able to accurately answer a number of questions, because the approach is individual (and here we will have to explain);

    We don't want to attract customers who pay irregularly and untimely. Of course, there are such, we have been working with some in this format for years, but due to the first thesis, we have to spend a lot of time on them, which means that the more such clients there are, the more likely it is that we will be forced to follow the path of automation, which practically excludes an individual approach.

A few words about an individual approach when working with a debtor.

Yes, we have prescribed conditional 20 days when debtors need to be disconnected (servers via ethernet, of course), and the contract prescribes tougher deadlines, and this figure is for the manager. That's the first nuance.

Yes, we have default backups for virtual servers, but ask the manager when your data disappears and he will not answer. Why? Because the approach is still individual. There are a lot of factors, but one of the most important is that we do not trust automated alerts. Invoices are sent out automatically by e-mail, and letters with a reminder and a duplicate of the invoice fall there with enviable frequency. We also use SMS notification, we stopped at the API , but it's all automatic.

Individually, the manager creates an application in his personal account where he already writes the real date when you will be definitely* disconnected, there will also be further information on the fate of your server.

And the manager will also call you, and several times, if you suddenly decide not to pick up the phone. And I have never seen a situation when a client writes to the application "Please do not disconnect, I will send a payment soon", and it is disconnected.

There are probably exceptions, but these are those who:
a) did not send the payment card;
b) uses this "life hаck" with enviable regularity.
And yes, our manager accepts payment cards and letters of guarantee, without fanaticism, but why not.
Take care of your data, don't let web hosting providers destroy them!


generally, in my opinion, it is an idiotic policy to disconnect the client immediately. Personally, I have been a client of one webhosting provider company for more than 11 years, but if for some reason I forgot to pay for hosting and they turned me off on the same day, then I would have to say goodbye to them for a simple reason:
I showed loyalty even when they messed up (and they messed up more than once). There is no reciprocity from companies — well, then I'm sorry, it's already a matter of principle.

sophievagts weSRCH

Own servers are network engineers, DC engineers, electricians, mechanics, air conditioners, the same developers, purchasing department, accounting department, warehouses, service contracts for everything, contracts for food, for fuel..
And in several copies, almost everything, because of the duty. Of course, all this can be reduced to a couple of people, while there is not much responsibility, and people are sick, resting after duty and just on vacation, resigning.. the same 6 people at least come out. And the higher reliability is needed, the more people and iron are needed.
Of course, if it's DC then it makes sense. But for most, the cloud + several devices, taking into account all expenses, comes out noticeably less.

Plus, all banks have pci dss with the concept of controlled access, private clouds are more expensive than ordinary clouds for a reason.


I think the best way to keep the data safe for the big enterprise companies is to have their own server and their private cloud, where no one except company employees have access. Still there is a need to use backups. It is a question of cost, of course, but it's up to the owner to save money or to be confident and not to depend to any other people or company to keep all data safe.