Bargain basement cloud, unemployment in IT

ServerADay.com discount site offers virtual server rather than the real thing.

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So we're all used to seeing unbelievable bargains for servers or desktops or whatever on a whole range of discount IT sites.

ServerADay looks like one of the same. Except, this morning, instead of selling an actual P4/1.7GHz with 512MB of memory and twin 36GB drives and your choice of operating system, they were selling one with all those things and 2500 GB of bandwidth for $29.95 per month.

The price is what got my attention, but eventually the coffee kicked in and the bandwidth and "per month" after the cost popped out.

ServerADay, it turns out, is owned by a hosting company called OLM, which sometimes goes crazy on a killer deal and buys too many of a particular server. So they sell off the excess direct to consumer. (Although I think I've heard exactly the same story from rug stores with "crazy" owners; if the deals weren't so good I might suggest we do something about mental illness among retail executives.)

Since Olm is also a hosting company, sometimes they get stuck with down-rev servers they bought for customers who bailed. They could send you those in the mail, but it's possible someone else will come in looking for a hosted P4/1.7GHz with 512MB of memory, twin 36GB drives and their choice of operating system. Unlikely. If I hire a hosting company I want the servers to scream; that's why I'd keep them in your data center instead of mine. All the screaming.

Olm, being a solution hosting company, came up with a solution: host the server and rent it per month to suckers like me who would rather have someone else manage their hardware, and don't realize for 40 bucks extra they could get a better machine and just keep it, or for 60 bucks more they could get a lot better server. And keep it.

Or for 10, 30 and 40 bucks extra they could get a better server and the same hosting deal.

They're just individual servers, with your choice of operating system, hosted by a company with high-end data-center ambitions and a low-end direct-sales outlet for their expired equipment. Good recycling plan, actually.

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