the next server will be limited to 512M accounts and below

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we will do our best to put anyone who is in the preorder queue who needs something larger on an older server. 

There are two reasons why I am doing this.  First, I want to move to a system where the small accounts are segregated from the large accounts;  ultimately, I'd like to put all the 64MiB customers on one server, all the 128MiB customers on one server, etc... but I don't have enough servers for that, so I'm starting this way. 

The reason to segregate in this manner is to isolate performance problems that might be caused by the smaller domains using swap more, ah, vigorously than the larger domains.  As you all know, the sata disk I use is by far the weakest link in my setup, and I hope this change will help people 'get what they pay for'    (I will be implementing other procedures to see to it that everyone gets a fair shake at the disk on these smaller servers)

The other (and perhaps larger) reason why I want to do this is financial.  Right now, prgmr.com has more available labor than capital, and we are bottlenecking pretty hard on capital, as evidenced by the fact that the 'we are out of servers' sign is up more often than not.   Now, there are several ways this could be solved

1. I could raise prices

2. I could charge a setup fee whenever I got below a certain capacity (Like 1, but temporary)

3. I could  see to it that my more profitable customers have access to new capacity before my less profitable customers do.

(Yes, I could also get investors or a loan, but those both come with their own irritations.  I'm considering doing contracting, but that has it's own irritations as well.) 

I am trying 3, mostly because I don't like the idea of raising prices.  (In this industry, you raise your prices by keeping your prices the same)  My pricing model is $4 per month per account, plus $1 per month per every 64MiB ram, so a 64MiB ram guest is $5, a 128MiB guest is $6, a 256MiB guest is $8, etc...   so obviously, for any given amount of ram, I make more money the more small guests I sell. 



So, here is the plan.  Knife, the next server, will host 64MiB, 128MiB, 256MiB, and 512MiB guests.  this server should  be up within a day or two.  (if I haven't made any more mistakes, it will be done tonight. )    Note, I don't know if it will get filled by the waiting list or not.  It very well might.  

Then, within the next two weeks (I have all the parts; ram is in the mail)  I plan on setting up a 16GiB/ single socket server for 64MiB guests only.  

Also within the next two weeks I  will have another 32MiB/8 core server returned from a dedicated server customer who is leaving.  If knife fills up with 512MiB and below domains, it will be another 512MiB and below server.   Otherwise, it will service 1024MiB and above domains. 

Beyond that, I need to buy more hardware, something that this new scheme will hopefully facilitate. 


6 Comments

What about instead of option 2, when low on servers only accept
accounts that pay a certain # of months ahead? For example, require
paying a full year up front, so you are charging the same rate, just
getting it all up front.

I also think if you did option 2, but as an optional "priority setup
fee", that if you don't pay you go on the waiting list, that no one
would be unhappy with it. It's not raising rates, so much as it is
providing a new service for time-sensitive customers.

hm. thanks. The problem with the paid-ahead accounts is that they are a bit like a loan. Granted, it's a loan at a 20% interest rate, which nobody else is going to give me, but it still leaves me scrambling for the rest of that period. Not that it's too bad, as usually the pre-paid accounts end up paying for the server during the first month, which is awesome, and if I can get enough momentum carries me through, but having some monthly accounts in there is a nice cushion, too.

Your 'fee for expedited service' to skip the waiting list idea is interesting. I will think on it and ask others.

So per your guidelines (64M=i386, Ubuntu/NetBSD=amd64), the next two servers will be Debian/CentOS only? (no Ubuntu/NetBSD)

pls disregard my question, I have since sobered up...

Do you plan to keep the same disk space allocation for the new server plans? I would choose a smaller ram plan if the disk space allocation was larger.

I really think you could stand to raise your prices, you just have to compare yourself with other providers and you are significantly lower than the rest. Maybe up your admin fee from $4 to $10, or double your your RAM fee.

Both of these would probably be preferable to most customers than a setup fee.

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