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14 month review of IwStack.com – the real cloud service
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14 month review of IwStack.com – the real cloud service

myhkenmyhken Member
edited February 2015 in Reviews

Around 14 months ago, I did made a huge decision, I canceled all my Prometeus servers that I have had for 1.5 years, and moved my servers to iwStack.com. Of course, iwStack is a part of Prometeus, so I did not change host completely, but I changed from normal KVM servers to cloud servers.

As most LET/LEB readers and WHT members already know, Prometeus.com is known to be one of the best host out there, with no bad reviews at all the last years, and thats impressive, especially in the LEB marked. But of course, the LEB marked is only a small part of Prometeus.

Everybody talks about cloud service, and we have huge companies like Digital Ocean and Linode, and newer companies like Vultr.com. But there is a difference between all of them and IwStack.com, and the difference is that IwStack.com offers REAL cloud service.

More about this later on. Here is my review of IwStack.com after 14 months of service.

If you want to support my site, please use my affiliate link if you have plans to sign up at IwStack.com: https://www.prometeus.net/billing/aff.php?aff=168

Product/hardware/price

Prometeus.com has always had really good hardware, with good price policy. And there is no difference with iwStack.com. They have managed to create a really good IaaS KVM cloud system, a real cloud (not like DO) with High Availability, Fail-Over, Live migration, Snapshots, Own ISO and Templates, Isolated Network, External Firewall with GUI, Hourly billing and Variable size. When you sign up for iwStack.com you have to pay €30, that you can use in full on the cloud service. The reason for the entrance fee, is to stop abusers. Since you can create lots of VPS servers (at least 20) when you first get access, they have to protect the service from abusers, looking for free/very cheap servers.

iwStack.com has some really good prices, when they launched their service back in 2013, nobody could beat them on price. Not for a real cloud service. Still, I don’t know about any cheaper real cloud service in Europe, but there is so many now, so maybe. Still you only pay for what you use, per hour. You always pay for disk and IP, but if you turn off your server, you don’t pay for RAM and CPU. Most other cloud service charge you for all the resources when the VM is turned off, but not IwStack.com

They have now added more locations to the cloud. You can create KVM servers in Milano, Italy and Dallas, USA and you can add XEN servers in their second Milano DC.

The prices starts at €2.16/mo for a 512 MB RAM instance, then you have to add €0.72/mo per 10 GB of system disk you need.You can add instances from 512 MB RAM to 16 GB RAM. They have a really good price calculator that shows you how much your setup will cost.

You can easily create (and destroy) new instances in the control panel. (cloudstack) (see my guide here), but they have also added many of the features in their client portal.

Service/Support

We are talking about Prometeus here, so of course, the service is good. They are unmanaged, so you can’t expect any other support then hardware/network failures, but if they have time, they can help you with allot. But don’t demand it, then you have to go with a managed host (and pay lots more).

Still, in my opinion the service has gone down little since the start. Maybe because they have lots more customers, or because “Uncle Sal” is not so active as he was. I don’t know. Before IwStack was a clear 10/10 host, but now, not a 10 or a 9.

They have also had some trouble with their cloud. And stuff I was told before I sign up would never happen on their cloud service (downtime etc) did happen more the one time. They had a big issue with HA (High availability) that shutdown all the servers, and they did not come on before after some hours. Then the next day or so, they had the same issue, or part of the same issue, and I got more downtime.

I also have to say that it takes very long time to start up a instance or shutdown. Maybe it has something with them being a real cloud service, but when you have to wait 5-10 minutes to start an instance, then it’s no fun. This issue have been there since the start.

Benchmark

This is on their highest plan (16 GB) and the result is good. (first time on my Top20 benchmark list) But on their smaller instances, the result is not so good. Around 1500 on a 4 vcore instance with 2 GB RAM:

IwStack is not using any SSD or SSD-cached disk, but they are using a Hitachi HUS 150 SAN. As you can see I get a average speed of 450 MB/s.

Network/uptime

On my 1.5 years with Prometeus before I changed to IwStack, I had almost 100% uptime on all servers. They had a little issue, and then I was told that it would never happen on IwStack. Still, the last 12 month I have just 99.90% uptime on my three IwStack servers.

Not bad, but not 99.99% either.

Conclusion

Despide the small issues I have had, I still think IwStack.com gives you lots for your money. And you can setup really complex setups there if you need to, with failover, firewall, HA etc etc. They have expanded to the US and added a second DC in Milano with XEN servers.

IwStack.com offers real cloud, and if you don’t know what real cloud service is after reading this review, you don’t need it. The people that know what it is, they are the customers that should take a extra look at IwStack.com

After 14 months of service, I can’t give them 10 of 10 points more. I have to give them 8 of 10. I will also take a break from them (as some maybe have seen, all my servers is off just now). I still have almost €200 in credit, so I will use them again, but for now, I will try out my own dedicated server, and see how that goes.

This is my honest review of one of my favorite hosts out there.

If you want to support my site, please use my affiliate link if you have plans to sign up at IwStack.com: https://www.prometeus.net/billing/aff.php?aff=168

What do you think?

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Comments

  • Dat review +1, good job.

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  • Wow, nice review :)

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  • jcalebjcaleb Moderator

    Good and fair review. I wish they could perfect their cloud service.

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  • @amarc said: How is your network speed? Can you run that freevps.us script and output it here ?

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  • @mykhen : The BBC TopGear of LET TV :)

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  • @amarc said: Hmm.. this is CentOS 6? No matter what OS I tried with them (CentOS6,7 Ubuntu14.04..) network speed was really poor. I tried to solve it with their support and suggestion was to modify sysctl with that couple lines regarding networking. Even with that I had no luck pulling more than 2-5MB/s even from Leaseweb mirror.

    Yes, CentOS 6.6. Do you have DDoS protection on your server? If yes, there your explanation. It will give you very slow network speeds. My servers do not use their DDoS protections, therefor better speeds.

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  • Thanks for the detailed insight about iwStack service. Still have credits with them and I will spend more time with their service this new year :-)

    Thanked by 1myhken
  • time4vpstime4vps Member, Provider

    @myhken try more providers :) such detailed reviews!

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  • @time4vps said: myhken try more providers :) such detailed reviews!

    I use many providers, and write reviews when I feel for it, try to make a 30 day review, 6 month review and 1 year review. (if I stay so long). I normally in for the long term, so I can evaluate hosts over a long period of time.

    You can see here my current hosts: http://reviews.myhken.com/my-current-hosts/

    So more reviews will come in the future :D

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  • @myhken review is good as usual. I haven't seen any decay of the service quality (it still is at the same high level, for me), but it pretty much summarizes my own experience since the start of iwStack. I haven't switched my main services from traditional servers and VPS to iwStack, because I choosed to allow it 2 years to mature. Credit on iwStack does not expire with time, and this is another positive side of this cloud service.

    On my experience, none of the current x86 commercial grade clouds are glitch-free, they all are somewhat immature. I experienced glitces on Azure, Amazon, OnApp. I even had glitches on the internal Vmware private cloud I manage, and that's pretty irritating after the kind of money they ask for the license. So I didn't expected iwStack to be glitch-free, but I hope it will be in the near future, according to the general trend of the cloud technology.

  • I used to bitch about reviews - now that's what I call a fantastic one. Props to you for the detailed insight into iwStack, @mykhen.

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  • @pcan Maybe not a decay in service, but still, overall my experience is that they are not so good that they was one year ago. And maybe, since IwStack, was my first real cloud I was very impressed at the start. But when the reality got me, when I started to get downtime, when I started to getting annoyed when it took "forever" to start (or stop) and instance and all topped off when my trusted Windows 2012 R2 server I have had there since the beginning, just used some few hours each year, always turned off, then only on for an hour or so, then off again, got corrupted and did not work anymore. (It was Windows that stopped, don't know the reason, maybe a forced shutdown (not me)).

    And also the speed on the instances. They are not the fastest in the world. 512 MB, 1 GB and 2 GB instance are all under 200 points in UnixBench. And you feel it. My WordPress admin sites takes longer to load, it works slower then other sites I have on other hosts (like Digital Ocean and Vultr etc.) When i first sign up, I got easily 700 Mbit connection, after some time, at most 300 mbit.

    I have my credit there, and as you say, it do not expire. I will now try out hosting my main sites on a dedicated server again, see how it works, uptime, network, speed etc. I know that I will not get the good support I get at IwStack, but still, support is not all for me. My sites is now running on a Core i7 3770 computer with 16 GB RAM and 2 x 3 TB disks. With just four cores on it, any of my VMs gets over 5400 points in UnixBench. My sites loads faster, I really feel it when I use WordPress admin. And the network speed is better. (gets around 700mbit to Norway).

    So I will see if I have done a right decision now. Some years ago, I went from fully manage services for all my sites, to unmanaged hosts (like Prometeus and Iwstack) and it have worked very well. If it don't work, I will recreate the servers (I will keep them for a month or two now, then delete them, not eating up my credit) and keep using IwStack as my main host.

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  • If the load does not change with time and you already have implemented a failover solution at functional level, a dedicated virtualization server with direct attached storage does fit better than a cloud solution. Performance is better (because you don't have the intermediate connectivity layer between host and storage, and because storage is not shared) and you don't really need the scalability and HA features that are the most important benefits of the cloud.

    I would have choosen SSD disks, not for the performance (a few low-volume web sites don't need lots of I/O), but for reliability. I've seen many disks fail, the high capacity and 15K ones at most, but only two SSD failed on me, both of them due to a known firmware bug (the Intel 320 saga). ECC memory is another useful feature. The amount of damage that a faulty RAM module can do on a server is staggering. The sudden kernel panic is not a issue. The real issue is the silent data corruption that goes unnoticed for a few days and corrupts both the main data and the backup.

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  • I am also very happy with Iwstack..

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  • I'm not saying that they are bad, but just now, not the right thing for me. I'm sure I will be back.

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  • I believe the HA features is only available in the Milano? The Dallas is used local storage as I know?

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  • You could try checking out Quadranet's Infracloud too, it's been one of the more reliable cloud hosts for me (at least on their LA datacenter) and I love that you can scale your resources up and down by really small amounts.

    Thanks for the review on iwStack, I certainly have them on my list of hosts to try out :)

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  • sin said: You could try checking out Quadranet's Infracloud too

    I'm only using Datacenters in Europe for my hosting. But tnx for the tips, maybe somebody else have use for it.

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  • Thanks for the review.

    Seriously considering the iwstack for some side projects. Have you tried the following features by any change, and could you share your insight?

    • private network
    • available zone: which means the instances in the same AZ will be deployed in different machine, rack, power, network to avoid the single point failure.
    • HA failover like VIP

    Thanks.

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  • @bookstack, I have not used private network since I have no need for it (no data is transfered between the three servers there, only out to my backup servers)

    Abut your second question, I don't quite understand. They are a real cloud, so there should not be any single point of failure. It's not like with Digital Ocean and Vultr and all the others fake cloud services, there your VPS is actually only stored on one node, and if the node goes down, your server goes down. That should not happen at IwStack, because of their HA. If a node goes down, your server will go up on another node.

    Of course when they had their HA issue, all instances got "panic" and tried to move to other nodes, and when all servers try that, then you get downtime. So they had to turn off HA one day or so, and then of course there was some node issues, and at least one, maybe two of my servers was offline an entire night.

    HA failover is standard on all plans there. If you talk about failover IPs and backup servers etc, so no, not at IwStack. I have my own system with live backup servers, DNS failover service on all sites, so if a main server goes down, it's up and running on another place within minutes (the time it takes to update DNS)

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  • Let me elaborate the Available zone, or Available group a little bit.

    Consider you run two web server instance to avoid the single point failure, you do not want to the two VMs deployed in the same physical node, otherwise, the two VM sink with the dead machine. Further, you do not want them to be deployed in the same rack, what if the switch or power of the rack die? Without the AZ or AG, the failover only protect the software issues in the VM, not the underlying hardware failure.

    Yes, I am talking about the floating IP fail over.

    Anyway, really appreciate your detailed review. :-)

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  • Hello!

    A few comments:

    1. Thank you for the detailed review.
    2. It is all exactly as told, except the degradation of the service. It was always a bit plagued by bugs, but it did not happen to everyone at once, some affect only a few instances, others only a zone.
    3. The lessons are learnt all the time, VMWare or rhev6 clouds we have/had (rhev6 was retired) for corporate customers were not bug-free either, even with expensive licenses, but, in time, they stabilized and are now running for years troublefree.
    4. The CPU has to be similar for the fail-over to work. This means we are stuck with the same CPU for a zone/cluster and we made the mistake to have a large cluster from the start for KVM first deployment. It also uses a rather out-of-the box storage solution which did not prove very reliable to scale up. The new Xen Zone as well as the new KVM clusters we deploy are somewhat IWStack 2.0, we have yet to have failures on those, new instances are only deployed in the new zones, so, only legacy ones will have problems in the future, unless a new bug strikes, that cannot be prevented, unfortunately.
    5. The USA zone in Dallas is KVM only, SSD local storage, a stripped down version built for speed. We were not happy by the result, though, so, we did not replicate it in Milano. We have chosen Xen Instead and it works great, also the new KVM clusters with the re-invennted storage solution are stable and fast, so, a SSD solution is no longer required for good speeds, unless you need really fast access for very busy databases, in which case you should usually cache in RAM or use a dedicated cluster.
    6. Besides the HA built-in, you can have your own, using the DNS system. Also, when a node goes down, normally, the instances restart on another, but it is not instant as a large number have to start and our old big cluster is slow with that (this is no longer the case for new clusters/zones, such as the xen zone). You can, in order to prevent all instances being on the same physical node, to select affinity groups which will make sure the instances do not land on the same node.
    7. The load balancing, internal networking, NAT, IPSec VPN, etc, are managed by a virtual router for each network you create. This is managed from the interface, not directly, and it is not bug free, currently MacOS has an issue accessing the IPSec VPN, we must manually downgrade the version of software because the one which comes with the default image is buggy.
    8. As @pcan says, there is no solution bug-free, there are outages for every provider, while our VPSes are very stable and have years of uptime, IWStack is still under in-house development, including the WHMCS interface. It will also never achieve 100% uptime, this is a fact of life, unavoidable, unfortunately.

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  • Thank you for the info @Maounique - as always my reviews is based on my experience and I think it's a honest review. I will try out a VM on your Milano XEN node, to see how it works.

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  • @sin said: You could try checking out Quadranet's Infracloud too, it's been one of the more reliable cloud hosts for me (at least on their LA datacenter) and I love that you can scale your resources up and down by really small amounts.

    Thanks for the review on iwStack, I certainly have them on my list of hosts to try out :)

    Is their storage SAN or local disks? Do they have block storage?

  • Iwstack has SAN storage.

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  • smansman Member
    edited September 2016

    @myhken said: Iwstack has SAN storage.

    I am asking what sort of storage Quadranet Cloud uses. The main difference between real cloud and VPS services that call themselves cloud like DO or whatever is mostly about primary storage.

  • @sman said:

    @myhken said: Iwstack has SAN storage.

    I am asking what sort of storage Quadranet Cloud uses. The main difference between real cloud and VPS services that call themselves cloud like DO or whatever is mostly about primary storage.

    Maybe you should ask quadranet instead of bumping a 19 months old review thread about another provider.

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  • smansman Member
    edited September 2016

    @TheOnlyDK said:

    @sman said:

    @myhken said: Iwstack has SAN storage.

    I am asking what sort of storage Quadranet Cloud uses. The main difference between real cloud and VPS services that call themselves cloud like DO or whatever is mostly about primary storage.

    Maybe you should ask quadranet instead of bumping a 19 months old review thread about another provider.

    Maybe you should read the quoted text being commented on next time.

  • @sman said:

    @TheOnlyDK said:

    @sman said:

    @myhken said: Iwstack has SAN storage.

    I am asking what sort of storage Quadranet Cloud uses. The main difference between real cloud and VPS services that call themselves cloud like DO or whatever is mostly about primary storage.

    Maybe you should ask quadranet instead of bumping a 19 months old review thread about another provider.

    Maybe you should read the quoted text being commented on next time.

    19 months old thread.

  • smansman Member
    edited September 2016

    @TheOnlyDK said:

    @sman said:

    @TheOnlyDK said:

    @sman said:

    @myhken said: Iwstack has SAN storage.

    I am asking what sort of storage Quadranet Cloud uses. The main difference between real cloud and VPS services that call themselves cloud like DO or whatever is mostly about primary storage.

    Maybe you should ask quadranet instead of bumping a 19 months old review thread about another provider.

    Maybe you should read the quoted text being commented on next time.

    19 months old thread.

    Keep digging that hole deeper.

  • myhkenmyhken Member
    edited September 2016

    @sman This thread is named 14 month review of IwStack.com – the real cloud service so why ask about another company in this thread from february 2015??? It make no sense

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  • @sman said:

    @TheOnlyDK said:

    @sman said:

    @TheOnlyDK said:

    @sman said:

    @myhken said: Iwstack has SAN storage.

    I am asking what sort of storage Quadranet Cloud uses. The main difference between real cloud and VPS services that call themselves cloud like DO or whatever is mostly about primary storage.

    Maybe you should ask quadranet instead of bumping a 19 months old review thread about another provider.

    Maybe you should read the quoted text being commented on next time.

    19 months old thread.

    Keep digging that hole deeper.

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  • smansman Member
    edited September 2016

    @myhken said: @sman This thread is named 14 month review of IwStack.com – the real cloud service so why ask about another company in this thread from february 2015??? It make no sense

    Lol....

    A recent thread mentions iwstack. I search for other threads on iwstack and find this thread. I then respond to a post with a question.

    Do I care that it is not a recent thread? No. If you want to waste your time posting about that knock yourselves out.

  • sman said: Apparently you don't now how this innertubez thing works. A recent thread mentions iwstack. I search for other threads on iwstack and find this thread. I then respond to a post with a question.

    Why search for iwstack when you are not asking about them??? Stupid.

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  • @myhken said:

    sman said: Apparently you don't now how this innertubez thing works. A recent thread mentions iwstack. I search for other threads on iwstack and find this thread. I then respond to a post with a question.

    Why search for iwstack when you are not asking about them??? Stupid.

  • Ok there's the basement guy again

  • AmitzAmitz Moderator
    edited September 2016

    @sman: Please take some time out or I will do that for you. You behave as if there is a problem with your medication.

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  • sman said: Do I care that it is not a recent thread? No.

    You should!

    Referring to the rules, under the section "Things Everyone Hates", we have:

    jarland said: The Dark Arts of Thread Necromancy: make sure the thread you're replying to is still relevant

    In this case, you necro'ed an old thread with a question that wasn't as relevant as what you believe it was. It would have been better to simply open another new thread asking for more information on the provider you were interested in.

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  • smansman Member
    edited September 2016

    Is there an O'reilly book for that?

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  • AmitzAmitz Moderator
    edited September 2016

    @sman is having a timeout for 48 hours.
    Please leave a message after the beep. Thank you.

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  • Amitz said: Please leave a message after the beep. Thank you.

    • If a program actually fits in memory and has enough disk space, it is guaranteed to crash.
    • If such a program has not crashed yet, it is waiting for a critical moment before it crashes.

  • @Amitz said: @sman is having a timeout for 48 hours.
    Please leave a message after the beep. Thank you.

    But you have to admit the O'Reilly post is a funny one. :-)

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  • Falzo said: But you have to admit the O'Reilly post is a funny one. :-)

    I did chuckle at it.

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  • AmitzAmitz Moderator

    That's why it's just 48 hours.. ;-)

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  • Wham, bam, @sman ban?

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  • AmitzAmitz Moderator

    Guys, if you think that the ban was an overreaction on my side, then please kindly let me know. I try not to ban people just because I have a fart refusing to leave the tunnel. I was just under the impression that @sman did not only necro an old thread for no apparent reason, but also behaved like a clownish child when people told him about it. Then I asked him to take a timeout and he posted that image, which I considered offending towards @BeardyUnixGuy.

    Again, tell me if I was wrong. Otherwise @sman will be back on late Sunday.

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  • @amitz I think you did make a good decision in this case. He behaved like a fool.

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  • @Amitz said:

    Again, tell me if I was wrong. Otherwise @sman will be back on late Sunday.

    The only thing wrong was that it wasn't a perma-ban.

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  • joepie91joepie91 Member, Provider

    @Amitz said: Guys, if you think that the ban was an overreaction on my side, then please kindly let me know. I try not to ban people just because I have a fart refusing to leave the tunnel. I was just under the impression that @sman did not only necro an old thread for no apparent reason, but also behaved like a clownish child when people told him about it. Then I asked him to take a timeout and he posted that image, which I considered offending towards @BeardyUnixGuy.

    Again, tell me if I was wrong. Otherwise @sman will be back on late Sunday.

    Honestly, I think he could use a LET-free weekend. It's not exactly the first time he's been antagonizing people.

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  • I found the image funny, but there's no need for any of us to mock rules that have been put in place for a reason.

    If someone violates a rule, then there should never be a "I don't care" attitude.

    You can send your bitcoin "thanks" to: 1DTxUuXEee4qYEVGPXnkEz6g5popnkaXBY

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