Why Mixpanel moved off the public cloud

Credit: flickr/Dan Zen

Mixpanel is a company based in San Francisco that provides sophisticated analytics for online companies. They are a cloud service, in that they host the software. But their cloud history has been anything but soft and fluffy.

In their blog post "Why We Moved Off The Cloud," Mixpanel explains why they started with a public cloud provider in the first place: low initial costs, fast deployment, hourly billing, and cheap CPU performance. All these are good things, and most cloud customers get started for the same reasons.

But clouds come in two varieties: public and private. When Mixpanel's public cloud suffered too much variable performance because of the cloud's other customers, they switched to a private cloud using servers dedicated to their application. But any contradiction of the positive cloud hype gets you some interesting comments.

Cloud is still cool

I can understand having frustration with a specific cloud vendor. But, it seems a bit of a leap to cast judgment on cloud architectures in general.

TVD on mixpanel.com

I worry that the person in this article grinding the ax chose a really bad service.

bishopolis on reddit.com

While I generally agree, I don’t think you can say clouds are bad because you’ve got people doing stupid stuff in a very poorly designed cloud architecture.

Steven Verbeek on mixpanel.com

Normal growth process

IMHO, a startup should not start with dedicated, but perhaps when you get to a certain size, perhaps, dedicated hardware, team and bandwidth is the way to go.

tzury on news.ycombinator.com

Great point. The cloud is not for everybody. No one product is suitable for all applications. Thanks for the alternative view.

Bloice Davison on mixpanel.com

You didn't abandon "the cloud", you just switched providers. You're still paying someone else for servers that you don't own (unless softlayer ships you those machines after 3 years). This is why I hate the term "the cloud" -- because it is too nebulous and non-descriptive.

jedberg on news.ycombinator.com

Colo comments

And colo? Ouch, feels like a bad “Datacenter Time Machine” movie taking me back to 1999. Server huggers.

Hectic on mixpanel.com

Generally speaking a mixed deployment between cloud and dedicated hardware is the best since you can setup independent machines that can be isolated so that if they go bad you can afford to have the backup.

SweetIrony on reddit.com

I have banged my head with dedicated, cloud and colo and I call colo the winner in our case. I put our stuff in a colo 2 years ago and never looked back.

Bukrat on mixpanel.com

Does any medium to large company still run their own servers in their own building? Not according to the cloud advertising.

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