Low-cost dedicated FreeBSD server or non-jail VPS?

Ted Mittelstaedt tedm at toybox.placo.com
Tue Feb 13 07:47:40 UTC 2007

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Preston Hagar" <prestonh at gmail.com>
To: <freebsd-questions at freebsd.org>
Sent: Monday, February 12, 2007 11:02 AM
Subject: Re: Low-cost dedicated FreeBSD server or non-jail VPS?

> On 2/10/07, Ted Mittelstaedt <tedm at toybox.placo.com> wrote:
> >
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Jay Chandler" <chandler.lists at chapman.edu>
> > To: "Ted Mittelstaedt" <tedm at toybox.placo.com>
> > Cc: "FreeBSD Questions" <freebsd-questions at freebsd.org>
> > Sent: Friday, February 09, 2007 9:57 AM
> > Subject: Re: Low-cost dedicated FreeBSD server or non-jail VPS?
> > >
> > > Maybe that's an option for you, but I'm looking at spending a minimum
> > > another $60 every month to my ISP if I want those services.  I haven't
> > > been sufficiently impressed to feel that they warrant that extra fee.
> > >
> >
> > Maybe they haven't significantly impressed you because you bought the
> > cheap service?
> >
> > Hell - $60 compared to a colo feel of $50?  (the cheapest I've seen
> > someone post here)  In other words, you have a choice between
> > actually having the physical box right there, vs having it 1000 miles
> > away, and your in a -learning- situation?  And your going to cut off
> > nose to spite your face just because of some issue with your ISP?
> > What are they currently doing to you to warrant that?
> >
> > Without knowing your connectivity and how good/reliable/bad it is it's
> > difficult to make a judgement call.  But, I can say from experience that
> > there isn't any -TECHNICAL- reason that cheaper DSL or cable
> > connectivity can't be made as reliable as, say, a T1.
> >
> > There's not many places in the United
> > States that you can't find multiple competing broadband providers.  It's
> > a lot different overseas, but here in the US if you don't like your ISP
> > there's
> > usually another one around the corner.
> >
> > Ted
> But the problem in the US is that the physical lines are owned by one
> company that all other providers are at the mercy of.  There are federal
> regulations in place to try to keep the line owners (Verizon, SBC, etc.)
> from abusing their powers, but they are pretty weak.  I had this exact
> situation bite a customer of mine not too long ago.  They hosted their
> server out of their office on DSL with a static IP through Speakeasy (a
> reseller).  Speakeasy informed them that the people that owned the lines
> (Covad) had sold them to Verizon and that they would have to switch DSL
> modems, but that the outage should be minimal.  I told them to plan for a
> full day of outage (even though the rep told us 2-3 hours), so they did.
> Well, when they switched over, something was wrong and the new modem would
> not connect.  After several hours on the phone with Speakeasy, Speakeasy
> determined that it was a problem at the CO and that Verizon would have to
> fix it.  We could not call Verizon, they would not speak to us and
> only had the ability to submit trouble tickets and escalate them (common
> all third party providers in our area).  Although we screamed and shouted
> and threatened lawsuits (the customer was a law firm), there was nothing
> Speakeasy could do.  I was then informed that if we had a T1, regulations
> would require a 24 hour response time, but since this was "only" Business
> DSL without a SLA (service level agreement), that it could be a week or
> before they got someone to check it out at the CO.
> Long story short, they were out for a week.  Finally it was fixed.  We
> learned then and there that although they may call it Business class DSL
> although the company you write your check to every month may have a
> customer service record, if there is a problem in the last mile or at the
> CO, then you are at the mercy of whatever major telco owns your lines, and
> that if you do not have a T1 or higher, or at least DSL service with a
> then you are treated no better that a residential customer in terms of
> returning you back to service (could be 1-2 weeks).

I hate to spoil your rant, (it's a great rant, by the way) but I've been
with Verizon for years.  What Speakeasy told you wasn't true.  Yes, Verizon
has an extensive trouble ticket system and they tell all their ISPs that
they have to
use it.  However, Verizon also has a secret set of phone numbers that are
direct lines to the support techs.  (and no, I ain't giving you or anyone
numbers)  For example I just had a situation like that last week - customer
DSL line problem.  I submitted the trouble ticket then called Verizon with
ticket number and got it fixed in a half hour.

If SpeakEasy really wanted to get the 'direct lines to God' phone numbers
they would have had to do is call their Verizon sales rep and ask for them.
what we did, and SpeakEasy is a hell of a lot bigger than us, and would have
lot more pull so I cannot imagine Verizon telling them to kiss off.

Qwest works the same way as well.  They have one set of tech numbers for
the general public and another set for the ISP's that know how to work the
system, and a byzantine automated voicemessage call response computer
behind those to try to block the plebians from getting to a human being.
And, they are always changing the secret numbers to new numbers,
you just got to know how they work internally to know who to ask for the
new numbers.

The real reason that SpeakEasy didn't bother forcing the issue for your
is that they themselves don't do troubleshooting that way - they have their
CYA trouble ticket system and they aren't going to let their support techs
from some printed up flow chart on how to fix a DSL line.

And one other thing, as you yourself pointed out, your law firm
customer -didn't-
cancel their DSL lne and install a T1 even though they have a server at
their office.
So, clearly, they were willing in the long run to deal with a week of
thus the OP ought to be able to do so as well.

We have a saying in the US - money talks, bullshit walks.  Your law firm
willing to pay for a reliable connection that is why they didn't have a T1
to start
with.  Speakeasy's support techs knew this when the law firm called in, and
were laughing their asses off when they were threatened with lawsuits.
Yeah, like
a law firm is really going to drop $5K on a lawsuit over a frigging $50 a
DSL line.

> I think the OP just wanted a box to tinker with (I would still recommend
> johncomanies.com as an option), so uptime may not be a huge issue.  I just
> thought I would share the lesson I learned that although they call it
> Business DSL, give you a static IP and charge you 5x the price for the
> speeds, it doesn't always guarantee the same reliability that a T1 or colo
> facility will have.

I agree with you there, but as I said, there's no technical reason a DSL
line can't
be made as reliable as a T1 or colo.  There are marketing reasons.  One of
biggest is that if a DSL customer could call a knowledgeable tech instead of
minimum wage guy at a call center who just punches in the numbers to a
system, and actually get a problem fixed as quickly as they could get a T1
fixed, then nobody would buy T1s and the telcos would lose tons of money.

BUT, if the customer is very knowledgeable, and has an ISP that is small
to be nimble and knows how to dance with the elephants without being stepped
why then you can do a lot with DSL.

I might also add that in MOST of the more modern T1 DSL circuits, the NIU
that it at the customer site (which is owned by the Telco) that your DSU/CSU
into, is connected to the CO by - you guessed it- DSL.  The actual T1
only exists for the 10-15 feet from your DSU to the NIU card at the telco
at the customer site.  It has been probably 15 years since I've actually had
to set the
line build out on a CSU to more than 100 feet to bring up a T1.  The reason
went to DSL for backhauling T1's is that it only takes a single wire pair.
the DSL that they use for backhauling T1s is HDSL with repeaters and all of


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