Need help deciding to use DH-PS

As an existing DH customer, I’m familiar with the servers and I sort of know what to expect. We’re making extensive use of Drupal here and plan to do a lot more. But our simple prototype Drupal environment runs like a pig with seltzer/mcgruff serving pages and data respectively. So I’m thinking about moving this part of our site to a pair of small PS servers, one for pages and one for data. Frankly, the hype coming from DH hasn’t sold me on the practical aspects of the service.

  • Is the performance worth it?
  • How tough is it to go for a modest 150MB of RAM and scale up?
  • Does DH allow us to maybe start higher, like at 300MB of RAM and scale down?
  • All related - can we do a trial and just see how it works out, then cancel if we don’t see the benefit?
  • How do we know our average/burst resource consumption of CPU/RAM/transfer?
  • Can some other customers honestly say PS is just awesome, night and day compared to shared space, etc?
  • Is there a place where PS people hang out to discuss their happiness and woes?
  • I know we are required to purchase a standard account in addition to PS. I already have it obviously. Are we actually allowed to use our existing shared space for shared http and use PS for our dynamic purposes, persistent processes, etc?

I think I need to optimize our usage of Drupal and MySQL first, and then put it all on PS to get a good benchmark, but:

  • What’s the best way to get metrics now so that I can do a fair comparison and assess Value for $ spent? Ideally I’d like to run some operations now, quantify them, run the same ops on a low-grade PS, quantify results, then upgrade, and see exactly what we’re getting for the money.
  • Is it a reasonable assumption that DH optimizes the shared servers as much as possible, and the PS servers too, so no additional LAMP-level optimization should be required on these servers? I’m guessing this isn’t true but there’s only so much we can do on shared hosts anyway.

And on to the tough question: We can get PS services similar to this DH offering from other vendors. Why is the DHPS offering compelling? I can get root access to my own Linux environment for the same base $15/month. I get the freedom of being able to install and remove anything I want at /etc, /var, /usr, etc, and to run persistent cron jobs. But I also need to manage Apache and MySQL in my own space. I don’t want to be a sysadmin, it takes enough time to keep a website functional. With DHPS, I can’t load my own software, but DH does do the admin. So what else are they doing to get my business compared to the competition? (Funny monthly newsletters not included…)


In my opinion, yes it is worth it.

[quote]- How tough is it to go for a modest 150MB of RAM and scale up?

  • Does DH allow us to maybe start higher, like at 300MB of RAM and scale down?[/quote]
    You can start from 150M and go up anytime you want. You can also go down anytime you want.

You will have a history graphic available in the panel to see that. It shows the behavior based on time. Transfer isn’t included in the graphic as it is not one of the resource you can change in PS.

To me it was like night and day. My shared server was always behaving very well but it was sometimes little bit slow. Sometimes I was able to get a really good performance (when others weren’t doing anything). PS makes all of this very stable, you get what you wanted. You will decide how much memory and CPU you want to use and it is not affected by others.

If I would have been on a server where there are some problematic high resource sites then I guess I would have seen even more dramatic change.

You will receive a secret code to access the place after your site has been transferred to the PS. It is a really cool secret club. Just kidding, we hand out here and also spend the saved time (not monitoring our site so closely) with other things in life. :smiley:

The whole existing account gets transferred to the PS when you make the change.

Today, mod_php5 and Xcache is available for PS. The performance of PHP application is dramatically improved. I recommend PS (both PS and PS-MySQL) if you intend to install blog (e.g. WordPress) or CMS (e.g. Drupal, MODx, Joomla…).

Honestly, PS is not as fast as ‘The Real VPS, $60/mo class’. But you does not need administration.

I think this point of not needing system administration (and only requiring web administration) is a key point.

The starting point for Dreamhost PS customers should be that you should have need for the type of hosting that regular Dreamhost account holders have - managed web hosting, where the hosting company is responsible for the “lower” levels of system configuration, maintenance, and monitoring and you’re just responsible for the installation, maintenance, and monitoring of the actual web applications and the database content itself (but not for the database installation).

I’m not saying that everyone has to need these services - certainly lots of folks here download and install their web applications on the command line or are developers and write and deploy their applications themselves. I am saying that it’s a big part of Dreamhost’s value proposition.

FWIW, I have Dreamhost PS for my sites using standard panel installs (with a few extra plugins or I’d use the “easy” installs). PS gives me a consistently fast performance. I have set my memory limits to provide adequate coverage and headroom for my current traffic to enable this behavior, though.

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I VERY highly recommend using both VPS and the VPS for MySQL. I’m running Drupal myself and the biggest improvement I received was with the MySQL VPS. Drupal crawls on Dreamhost on their standard shared hosting and MySQL.

“The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche

I’ve just signed up for DH-PS, can anyone tell me how long it takes to be provisioned? Is it still weeks (I hope not!!!)

I think I read in the most recent newsletter that Dreamhost had worked through the backlog…

Wait, here it is!

[quote]Because, believe it or not, we’ve (pretty much) gotten alllll the way
through our back log of pre-orders for DreamHost PS (see and are ready to get new people provisioned
relatively quickly![/quote]
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