[lug] [OT] Bandwidth cost

Sean Reifschneider jafo at tummy.com
Sat Dec 31 14:15:41 MST 2005

On Sat, Dec 31, 2005 at 06:33:41AM -0700, Daniel Webb wrote:
>(>500GB/month) how do you calculate this?  Something tells me providers won't
>be happy about a business that saturates a "business" 1.5 Mbit DSL 24/7 when

A 1.5mbps DSL isn't going to be able to carry 500GB let alone the ">".
500GB/month is right around the saturation of a T1 line.  DSL speeds are
quoted as the ATM frame rates, and pushing IP traffic over it leads to
around 20% overhead, so your download rate is going to be around 1.25mbps
for IP traffic.

Of course, DSL is also asymmetric, so that's what is really going to kill
you.  Upstream is 1mbps on the normal 1.5mbps service, which produces
around 800kbps upload rate.

I presume that your needs are more outbound than in?

Of course, the other thing that will really kill you with DSL for a
business, and hosting it in-house, is that you have no redundancy.  Can
your business stand having your DSL line go down for 6 weeks?  Buying
managed hosting at our facility (for example) gives you the ability to
survive having a backhoe dig up one of the fiber paths, power backed up
with 7 days worth of diesel supply, redundant routers, etc.

However, to be honest, if you are looking for a lot of bandwidth, we
probably aren't the best choice to host it.  We are in an area that has
some benefits, namely being seismicly stable and far from the ocean, but
one of the benefits is not cheap bandwidth.  If you want really cheap
bandwidth your going to have to have your machines around San Jose CA or
Houston or Dallas TX.

So, you work with your strengths...  We mostly don't sell to high bandwidth
applications, we primarily sell our managed services.  Our largest
incentive for customers is that we provide an extremely high level of
service and support on Linux servers, including management, system
administration, and monitoring.

In other words, it can be real hard to make an "apples to apples"
comparison of different hosting providers.  We all vary on so many
different axes: system and bandwidth pricing and service levels,
monitoring, support and maintenance...  To add even more considerations, we
are 100% "green" hosting with 0 carbon emissions and heavily contribute to
Colorado and international Linux communities.

So, lots and lots of decisions to make...

One other thing to note is about SLAs.  They can vary quite a lot, if
that's important to your business.  For example, one of the largest
providers "100% SLA" only starts the outage clock counting 30 minutes after
you call in to report an outage.  Your server can be dead from 6pm Friday
to 9am Monday, when you call, and as long as they have it back up by 9:30
Monday they still consider it 100% available.  The large print giveth, the
fine print taketh away.

How likely is a 6 week outage on DSL?  Well, a few months ago I would have
said that it doesn't happen.  Then, one of our favorite restaurants here
had their DSL go down and spent at least 6 weeks working with QWest getting
it going again.  QWest was, apparently, saying that they were too far from
the CO, but this was after they had DSL working without problems for over a

>I have seen $2/GB on the low end for web hosting providers (what they charge
>to website owners for transfer).  Is it really this expensive?

The $2/GB pricing tends to be for small additional bandwidth requirements.
A customer needing 500GB or 1TB additional service from us we would be
quoting service at megabits instead of gigabytes.  500GB is around 1.5mbps
assuming roughly constant utilization.

Probably more information than you were really looking for, but these are
considerations that we've spent a lot of time thinking about, between being
Linux consultants and Linux hosting providers.  In general, these days we
find it hard to recommend situations for bringing in bandwidth to your
location to host services.

 If you talk to God, you are praying; if God talks to you, you have
 schizophrenia.  -- Thomas Szasz
Sean Reifschneider, Member of Technical Staff <jafo at tummy.com>
tummy.com, ltd. - Linux Consulting since 1995: Ask me about High Availability

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