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For the past few months, I have begun exploring the internet to find the perfect cloud provider for not only my own website (the one you are visiting right now), but also my customers’ websites to replace my current provider. It seems I have outgrown my current provider and their servers have had more downtime than I had hoped for, paired with pretty noisy neighbours.
Luckily, I stumpled upon UpCloud through an evening of intensive Googling, reading up on some reviews and having pretty a good conversation with one of their Regional Sales Managers (thank you Samu), and I would like to share my perspective, the goods & the bads and my overall UpCloud review, since I have been using them for several months now.
Key features of UpCloud
- MaxIOPS Block Storage
- Competitive Pricing (starts at $5/mo for their “Simple Plans”)
- Hourly billing
- Quick deployment (45 seconds)
- 100% uptime SLA (with 50x payback for any downtime of over 5 minutes)
- 24/7 support – they claim to have a 1m 55s average response time which is pretty accurate thusfar
- Floating IP addresses and private network
- Layer 3 Firewall, Snapshots and Scheduled Back-ups
All benchmarks on the UpCloud instance are performed on the $10 Simple Plan in the NL-AMS1 datacenter, which in turn gives you 2 gigabytes of RAM and 1 CPU core at your disposal (you either get an Intel® Xeon® Gold 6136 or E5-2687W v4, both clocked at 3Ghz). I suppose that this is the plan most people are going for, but keep in mind that your mileage may vary depending on your configuration and datacenter.
Drive Performance (MaxIOPS)
One of the key ‘selling points’ of UpCloud is their so-advertised MaxIOPS Block Storage, which they claim to be faster than SSD. This is of course the first benchmark I had to perform in this UpCloud review since it’s so heavily advertised.
Using FIO to benchmark the random read/write performance of our drive, it gave us a pretty good view of what the drives are capable of (higher is better). These results are pretty impressive and I am happy to say that UpCloud has one of the best performing drives I have had on a cloud instance anywhere.
|Read||Write||IOPS (read)||IOPS (write)|
We also wanted to measure the latency on these drives, so we set up IOPing to do just that (lower is better).
|122 us||230 us||307 us|
Even though UpCloud does not guarantee anything in regards to CPU performance (at the end, it is a shared node), our test results came back pretty good. After asking Samu for a more elaborate explanation on how the CPU allocation works in nodes, it’s what you would expect from any other cloud provider:
Regarding the Ghz per vCPU, we don’t actually guarantee anything on this front – at least to my knowledge – as the physical underlying hardware is shared with other customers and your VM might sometimes end up being on a more crowded and busy host, but also on a completely empty host (we automatically balance the load between physical hosts live), so the power you get from the physical CPU might vary a little bit from time to time, but I can guarantee you that high and steady performance is what we are known for and what we are proud of, so there shouldn’t be any problems when it comes to performance.Samu, UpCloud Regional Sales Manager
Back to topic: our instance with the E5-2687W v4 CPU still scored 3089 at single-core performance with Geekbench 3.4.1 (click here for results). Sysbench shows us an average of 1081 events per second.
Our 2 gigabyte memory instance performs fairly well with Sysbench’s average 4423.25MiB/sec and 4529409 ops/s.
Another big advantage of UpCloud is that they use hourly billing (although that is also a feature on DigitalOcean, Vultr, Linode etc.) – instead of having a 1 month to 3 year commitment to your provider, you can delete a server just as easily as creating one without paying cancellation fees.
UpCloud’s server deployment is also blazing fast: it takes around 3 minutes to deploy a server and have it up and running. You have the ability to choose from 8 locations, but be prepared to pay a whopping 50% more compared to their other locations if you want your server in Finland. I am not quite sure as to why this is, maybe just higher operation costs.
100% Uptime SLA (and 50x payback)
The 100% Uptime SLA UpCloud is promising you is pretty generous. Force Majeure is pretty standard to exclude from the Service Level Agreement (e.g. war, rebellion, ‘general interruption in energy distribution or telecommunications’ etc.) – but do keep in mind that if your neighbour on the same node is having denial-of-service attacks (which in turn makes your server unresponsive), you can say goodbye to your promised SLA. But that’s with pretty much every provider, so we can’t really give them a hard time about this.
Every provider has disadvantages, there’s no getting around that. If there is any disadvantage I encounter in the future, I will be sure to add them here. Fortunately (for now), the list is pretty small.
- Flexible Plans are unnecesarily expensive ($8.06 per core and $4.03 per GB)
- You can have a maximum of 5 IPv4’s per server
- On top of that, you pay $2.42 per IPv4 ($2 at Vultr, $1 at Linode)
- The network has minimal hiccups sometimes (and seems to make unnecessary hops, which in turn increases latency by just a little bit)
I am very happy with the performance, support and pricing of UpCloud and have found my go-to cloud provider for the coming few years.