Friday, May 29, 2009

The First Austrian Cloud Computing Company - Netmonic - A Review

Netmonic is the first ever indigenous Austrian cloud computing company. I decided to give them a spin, since I'm in need of dedicating an FTP server for our projects being done in India.

Technically it's all been working good so far. No untoward failures (unlike my first days with serverpronto), the server has been up since I signed up online. Here's my review as I continue to use the server.

Sign Up & Payments

Signup was straight forward at netmonic.com - registration form. I automatically got a virtual server assigned with user/pass sent over by email. Our company did have a special requirement of payment by bank-transfer, since we don't use company CC', so a quick round of emails had to be exchanged with the support@ address listed on their site. The original account I setup had to be overwritten, and they provided new login details, within a few hours the same working day.

Netmonic currently supports their Registration workflow only with Credit Cards, which are unusual for corporate customers in Europe. Support for bank-transfer payments would be desirable.

Price to Performance

Space pricing is a tad higher than comparable US based services, for example ServerAxis (I use their 512MB/50GB metered server plan, $30 /month). This is likely because of the higher operating costs in Europe, and hopefully compensates itself in avoiding latencies of hosting in US for European traffic.

For this premium, it should also be said that Netmonic offers a great deal better management features for monitoring and managing all cloud servers you host with them. Most features can be managed over https://manage.netmonic.com. This is a boon to non-admin users, but also for the server-savvy, there's nothing like circumventing support and rebooting your machine on the click of a button on the web-interface.

One not-so-visible feature I think I am really going to like is the unlimited number of free DNS-Zones you can manage on your Netmonic Account. This will save me some 250$ per year that I currently shell out to for DNS at zoneedit.com, which charges a per-DNS-zone rate.

Support

Right now all issues have to be emailed to their support@ address. The response times have been anywhere between a few hours to 2 days.

Netmonic formally offers 2 levels of support - Basic and Extended. Basic is included to all customers free of cost. Extended support is offered on basis of per-hour billing or a fixed price. What's covered on each level is listed here (see to the left of page).

An ideal "to be" situation would be a ticketing-system where a standard work-flow can be followed, and response times of less than 2 hours during European work hours and less than 4 hours during non-work hours.

Operating Systems

List of currently supported Linux Operating Systems on the Netmonic Cloud.

Infact they did include support for Debian 5.0 (Lenny), both 62 and 64 bit, and a bunch of other OS's. I was able to select from 12 platforms in all when rebuilding the VS/cloud-server.

Some European Hosting Companies

I haven't studied these deals in depth, and certainly haven't tried any hands-on, but here are some other EU hosting/cloud-computing companies.

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