On my blog I've reviewed two other virtual platforms, so naturally I was keen to get my hands on ICONZ's offerings in this cloud space. Up until the September last year, Geekzone was hosted in ICONZ's data-centre at the top end of Airedale St in Auckland, so they have the track record of hosting some traffic intensive sites. I will admit straight away that my enquiries in the past to ICONZ, for dedicated hosting, gave me poor specs and extremely high cost (nearly double that of the nearest competitor), so I went into this review somewhat sceptical, however, I was pleasantly surprised.
I wish the "pleasantly surprised" started right from the get go, but alas, it started badly. It always amazes me when companies who deal primarily on the internet have such offline signup processes - ICONZ was no exception. The initial signup was online through a form, however after this I had to print, sign and scan back two forms - one was a data-centre application form, the other a payment form (yes a payment form for a free trial) - why do they need so much information? All that is really required is an online signup form, enter your credit card details and the new server should be provisioned immediately. The whole selling point of cloud based offerings is this "instant infrastructure", so should I wish to order a virtual server at 3am in my polka-dotted pyjamas, I should be able to.
Once the forms were lodged, the server was up and going pretty quickly. ICONZ were very patient with me as due to my heavy workload at the time, I wasn't able to test the server immediately. The provisioning email I received was great, it had plenty of detail and was nice and clearly laid out.
Remote access to the server was through VMWare Virtual Infrastructure Client, a 275Mb download which ICONZ provide. Once up and connected, the vSphere Client allows you to access the server as if you were at the console, start/stop it, mount CDs/DVDs, monitor performance plus a raft of other things.
National data is free, and you are able to monitor your international data usage through another portal (see below). I was given 10Gb international, with more data available at $50+GST per 10Gb block.
Speed tests below, one national (hosted by Vodafone), the other to LA.
Unfortunately I didn't have a chance to really put the server under load, and test its uptime over a month (similar to what I did in the review of Where's My Server). Knowing the reliability of ICONZ and its network, I'm confident that their cloud offerings have the same rock solid uptime. My one hesitation is the contention ratio Versa sits in is not mentioned on the website.
The pricing I was quoted was competitive; it's good to see ICONZ management have realised they were really expensive, and have met the market- still, however, expect to pay a little more than the other players in this arena.
As mentioned earlier, my biggest gripe with this service is the very manual provisioning. ICONZ need to automate this, so I can easily add/remove servers at a whim, which is where a good cloud platform really comes into its own (against traditional server hosting). It seems so backwards to have such an offline process for cloud services.
Other than provisioning issues, it's a rock solid offering from ICONZ, who have established themselves as a big player in the server market.
If you are interested in ICONZ's virtual server offerings, contact Zac Parish, Business Development Manager at ICONZ, zac.parish at iconz.net (I've personally dealt with Zac and can vouch that he really is a great guy to work with)
My thanks to Zac and the team at ICONZ for providing me with a test server to review.
Other related posts:
Review: Where’s My Server
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