I’m losing patience with Media Temple. I pay around 20USD per month for Media Temple’s Grid-Service and I’m starting to wonder if it’s just some sort of a marketing thing. They made it sound so reliable and blah blah but in reality it’s feels kinda slow. Media Temple serves huge files pretty quickly. Unfortunately, when it comes to responding to requests, they seem slowly than other web hosts.

Anyway I filed a support ticket complaining that their database seemed problematic.

My support ticket on 2008/03/31 11:28

I get this Error establishing a database connection.

And I can’t access phpmyadmin, it says too many connections. What’s happening?

The database seem to be problematic…

By the way, Firefox’s dictionary suggested ‘phpmyadmin’ to be corrected to ‘badminton’. And this is the reply I get from them. Basically, they’re trying to get me to pay more money again.

Support response on 2008/04/01 20:39

Sorry for any inconvenience that you may have experienced by this. We also apologize for any lack of information provided to you. I’ll try to explain the best that I can.

Essentially you are in a shared server environment. The (gs) Grid runs off of a cluster of servers and provides resources to multiple users at once. In that, you also share database servers and the resources provided. When a “Bad Neighbor” performs some sort of unauthorized action, such as running scripts or queries that are configured to run for long periods of time and consume large amounts of resources.

When you are receiving the “too many connections” error, this means your are experiencing the “Bad Neighbor Affect”. Meaning that someone else has caused the server to reach a high load. When this happens, the database is isolated and that particular “Bad Neighbor” is bumped off of the database server and notified of their actions. During this time is when you are receiving the error. Once everything is resolved the database is restored and accessible again.

The permanent solution for this problem is to purchase a container, which would allocate you your own resources. This will prevent your databases from being affected by other clients on the same box.

If you have any questions about containers, you can find it by clicking on the link below:

http://www.mediatemple.net/webhosting/gs/mysql-containers.htm

Yes yes, I know what’s the bad neighbor effect and I know you guys from MySQL containers. They’ve been complaining about my MySQL usage. Media Temple offers their MySQL containers at:

  1. 128 MB for 20USD/month
  2. 256 MB for 75USD/month
  3. 512 MB for 150USD/month

That’s out of what I am willing to pay hosting for. I already paid 240USD per year, paying another 240USD per year is out of my budget. That’s like 670SGD if I pay for their MySQL container.

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I am currently using their MySQL SmartPool v.2, here is what they say about SmartPool:

  1. The default option is the MySQL SmartPool v.2, a new multi-tenant database hosting platform which now features guaranteed memory resources.
  2. When the SmartPool system recognizes sudden spikes in database traffic, it allocates a single-tenant MySQL Container which allows the database to grow beyond its guaranteed resources. This unique feature helps customers survive temporary traffic bursts resulting from press releases, mass blog coverage, DIGG, etc.
  3. Rather than making everyone share and compete for resources on a single MySQL database, the SmartPool distributes users amongst a farm of MySQL Container Servers. Using virtualization technology, the SmartPool achieves a low user density per MySQL instance, which minimizes resource competition and improves overall system stability.

So if the MySQL SmartPool is that smart, why is there this bad neighbor effect. That shouldn’t be happening at all. I mainly run a couple of WordPress blogs with my Media Temple account and only one is considered to actually have visitors. The other blogs are relatively unknown and no spammers even attack it.

Media Temple Grid-Service is a good deal, it’s got good bandwidth, good storage amounts. But what they didn’t tell you is that their database deal is not that great. Media Temple is also hit with storage issues after they upgraded their storage servers. They sort of blame their storage solutions company – Blue Arc. I understand that it’s something unexpected and they compensated by giving me 2 months worth of hosting. But what I really want is more reliable hosting and not 2 months worth of additional hosting.

Media Temple’s hosting strategy is to attract you with their grid-service to get you on board. They’ve got a nice web design, and it loads really quickly. Expecting your grid-service to work similarly would be naive. Once you’re on their service, sometimes they report your database is overloaded and stuff and let you try on their MySQL container for free for 3 days and then they take it away from you.

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Their support is pretty slow. This is well-known. It took them 30 hours to give me back a reply (telling me to purchase services from them).

Have a look at their pricing scheme:

  • Base Grid-Service subscription is 20USD.
  • Cheapest MySQL Container is at 20USD. (Highest at 150USD, I don’t know, one day they may convince me that I need that)
  • PostgreSQL support is lacking unless you pay up – “By purchasing a MySQL (gc) GridContainer you also have the ability to use it with PostgreSQL databases.” Erm, you pay for MySQL GridContainer to use PostgreSQL? Huh?
  • You have 1000 GPU per month, exceeding 1GPU is 0.10USD. There is no way to judge if 1000 GPU is enough for you unless you sign up. GPU or Grid Performance Unit is a measurement that only they understand. We only know how to look at the numbers.
  • Their cheapest Ruby on Rails GridContainer is 25USD per month, it’s 256 MB. They offer a 64 MB one for free but… Never mind.

I’m looking at SliceHost now. The down side is having to set up the environment yourself. It’s VPS (Virtual Private Server). It cost the same as Media Temple and I only heard good stuff about them (at the moment).

Well, if you still would like to go for Media Temple and would be kind enough, consider quoting ‘RYNSE.COM’ without quotes as your referrer. This would give me a bit of discount for my yearly subscriptions. Hopefully they would grow better.

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