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A Walk Down Storage VMs
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A Walk Down Storage VMs

Hello world!

I read lowendtalk from time to time, and I decided to make an account and be more active in this great community. So, greetings people.

I work on a research project using Hetzner servers and I use their storage-boxes for the daily data backups. Borg backup and rsync ftw. (By the way I am a huge fan of Hetzner, I have used their servers on many projects, either for personal or for commercial use, having some servers keep running straight since 2013 and I only have good things to say about them.)

However, having the horsepower and the backups on the same provider, (in this case in the same DC) is not the greatest idea ever ( https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-ovh-fire-idUSKBN2B20NU )

In the past I have suggested to my company to work with rsync.net for redundancy, however in this case due to the non profit nature of this project, I was sure I can find something cheaper. And I also do not like the idea of not controlling the backup machine. So, since I am a server junkie, I began looking for high storage VMs in the range of 1-5TB, trying to figure out how much storage, performance and reliability, limited money can buy for backup redundancy.

What I understand is that at the moment, on average 5EUR / TB is pretty common, but you can find good providers below that, depending on your location and needs. Also, reality surpassed my expectations for the providers I tried so far.

By the way, this is far from being some kind of benchmark. For shared resources and especially for a storage VM, benchmarking does not make much sense. It's also far from being a complete list. I also did not bother reading their AUP, as I store compressed-encrypted-backups-of-boring-data.

So, I am a random guy at a random day trying a few providers that I found on LET and I just share my experience for anyone who also seeks for low budget/high storage and wants to take a walk among these providers to see with whom they fit better. I also want to learn from/about others.

  • If you are a provider and you offer high storage VMs, and you don't find yourself here, I apologize for not finding you earlier, I would be more than happy to buy your VM for a drive. I am interested to know more about your services for this or future projects.

  • If you are a user who has positive or negative experience with any storage provider, please share your thoughts.

letbox.com
I found available Ryzen KVM on New Jersey 4TB storage with 10TB bandwidth 2GB RAM (borg backup can be memory hungry) for $13.27. There are 2 services "RBox" and "RBox Local". I bought both of them and I found out that RBox Local has lower IO latency.

To be honest I did not expect much at first for this price, however I was surprised by the performance and the capacity for such a low monthly amount. letbox proved to be an excellent choice.

My only issue is that network latency between Hetzner and New Jersey is pretty high so I wish letbox offers servers in EU in the future.

servarica.com
I found a "Penguin Storage Offer 2021", 4TB with unlimited 100mbps for $13 and 6GB RAM. I liked their machine a lot. It's not Ryzen, but the performance felt pretty decent in general. After all you are here for the storage.

I wanted to setup my VM with custom installation in order to rearrange the partitions and I had to open a ticket for that, but they are very quick and helpful.

My problem was that the connectivity between Hetzner and their DC was not good. At times, I experienced high latency and bandwidth issues, which were not their fault, as at the same time the VM had very good connectivity with other parts of the world.

Highly recommended for a try, I wish them to expand their business to EU as well.

www.time4vps.com
Very low prices. I got 2TB on 1Gbps port for 5.5EUR + VAT. You should definitely try them. I didnt. I only saw later that they use ov6 for their storage VMs and I began feeling uncomfortable using Debian 9 and seeing libc6 errors about compatibility with kernel 2.6. If you are ok with this, you should try them.

alphavps.com
I got one of their storage VPS in Sofia, 1TB for EUR 5 + VAT, 3TB bandwidth, 2GB RAM. First thought, I wish they had some more free bandwidth. I mean, just moving your 1TB backup there and you already have 30% of bandwidth off.

Pretty decent service, very good connectivity with Europe. A few things that drew my attention are something around 2% steal time on a 20%-30% cpu usage during backup CRC verification (which is pretty acceptable for this kind of service). The CPU is not fully exposed to the VM so I cannot tell what CPU the host is running in order to understand how well this VM behaves compared to what the CPU is capable of. BUT we are here for the storage not for the CPU, so it's definitely recommended for a EU storage solution.

nexusbytes.com
My order was being rejected twice as being a fraud so I had to interact with their support in order them to allow me to order. Which was strange, since I was giving my real details, but on the other hand it's a very good thing since they seem very serious about who they allow to get in.

I got the STOR-2T in London @ 1gbps port speed (which is 1gbps indeed), 2GB RAM for 11.24EUR per month (which can fall as low as 8.99 if you pay annually)

Very good experience and highly recommended. Near perfect latency with our servers in Hetzner, very high speeds and very fair price for what they offer. From VM behavior it was also clear that I did not have any "noisy neighbors" on that host, and my understanding is that they try hard to keep things that way on these VMs.

My todo list:
BuyVM Luxembourg storage slabs: Unfortunatelly out of stock, I keep an eye on them
alwyzon.com: they seem very promising but unfortunatelly out of stock

I will be more than happy if you add more providers for my todo list.

Comments

  • DPDP Member, The Domain Guy

    I have services (non-storage) with these providers but they do provide Storage VPSs too and are known around here - listed in no particular order.

    Feel free to try them out if they have what you're looking for and if they fit your budget.

    Create an account on Dynadot via my referral link and spend $9.99 within 48 hours to receive $5 DynaDollars!

  • LiteServerLiteServer Member, Provider

    Thanks @DP for your kind words!

    Thanked by 2dosai RickBakkr

    LiteServer.nl - Since 2007 the place where quality meets you!
    NL located // AS60404 // KVM based NVMe, SSD and HDD Storage VPSes

  • jbilohjbiloh Administrator

    @TerokNor welcome, we are happy to have you.

    I believe @VirMach is known for their storage solutions, too.

    Thanked by 1TerokNor
    Jon Biloh
  • @georgedatacenter was solid when i last gave them a try

    I have also heard pretty good things about wishosting

    this offer is also quite solid when it comes to performance, although uptime historically hasn't been perfect:
    https://lowendtalk.com/discussion/173968/12gb-ram-500gb-hdd-openvz-5-m-chicago-il

    Thanked by 1TerokNor
  • servarica_haniservarica_hani Member, Provider

    I am glad that you liked our services

    Thanked by 1TerokNor

    VPS and shared hosting
    http://servarica.com

  • jsgjsg Member, Resident Benchmarker

    @TerokNor said:

    My only issue is that network latency between Hetzner and [USA East Coast] is pretty high so I wish [some provider] offers servers in EU in the future.

    nexusbytes.com
    [UK, Lon] Very good experience and highly recommended. Near perfect latency with our servers in Hetzner, very high speeds and very fair price for what they offer. From VM behavior it was also clear that I did not have any "noisy neighbors" on that host, and my understanding is that they try hard to keep things that way on these VMs.

    Of bloody course NexusBytes / @seriesn offers very good boxes, service, etc - and of bloody course latency between London and Hetzner is way better than between the East Coast and Hetzner.

    Hint: always try to get a box in NL because that's about the lowest latency you can get to Hetzner from outside DE, which may be a smart approach because of geo-distance and (slightly) different jurisdiction. If you don't care about that but simply want a backup box outside of Hetzner there are plenty providers to choose from mainly in FRA but also in DUE or MUC (FRA is almost always faster by a bee's stick in case you care about single digit ms differences).

    The problem with democracy is that by definition > 85% of the voters are not particularly intelligent.

  • donlidonli Member
    edited October 12

    What no Hostsolutions.ro? (I, keeed, I keeed).

    I am happy with my Servarica IPv6-only Mouse.

    Unfortunately https://www.lowendstorage.win/ seems to be defunct at the moment, it was an excellent resource when searching for storage VPSs.

    ( https://web.archive.org/web/20210905005715/https://www.lowendstorage.win/ )

    P.S. When you mention monthly bandwidth limits it is good to note if it is up or down or both.

    Thanked by 1TerokNor
  • cyagoncyagon Member
    edited October 12
    • I also tested the @servarica_hani penguin offer, performance was decent and price was fantastic, but connection to hetzner (and germany in general) was piss poor. Connection speed from speedtest-cli seemed to be ok, but real life connections quickly crashed down to as low as 1MB/s.
    • AlphaVPS were very good in price and decent in connection, but their storage servers were quickly overwhelmed when it came to I/O. Not very good for something outside simple cloud storage.
    • Currently, i have a storage server from @Mr_Tom . Not the best in price, but performance (including I/O) and connection to germany are great, can fully recommend
    Thanked by 2TerokNor Mr_Tom
  • @donli said:
    What no Hostsolutions.ro? (I, keeed, I keeed).

    I am happy with my Servarica IPv6-only Mouse.

    It is amazing BF 2019 deals..

    🌈 A simple uptime dashboard using UptimeRobot API https://upy.duo.ovh
    🌈 BuyVM, GreenCloudVPS, Gullo, Hetzner, HostHatch, InceptionHosting, LetBox, MaxKVM, MrVM, VirMach.

  • defaultdefault Member
    edited October 12

    @chocolateshirt said:

    @donli said:
    What no Hostsolutions.ro? (I, keeed, I keeed).

    I am happy with my Servarica IPv6-only Mouse.

    It is amazing BF 2019 deals..

    Something tells me we might see something similar this year. @servarica_hani was complaining about IPv4 price increase, and they do know that very cheap storage plans can sell really well. Going for IPv6-only might become a choice.

    The only problem is support. Even though people will buy IPv6 storage, I guess many customers might still ask for IPv4 in support tickets, creating a problem more than the offer investment.

    We will see, but my thinking tells me Servarica will play safe, going for IPv4 with very large cheap plans. The bad part: not many people can afford that big yearly price for lots of storage; but on the other hand it greatly reduces the number of potential abusers.

    Thanked by 1chocolateshirt

    Fastmako (aff) - another cheap VPS.

  • Ed_ChdEd_Chd Member
    edited October 12

    @DP said:
    I have services (non-storage) with these providers but they do provide Storage VPSs too and are known around here - listed in no particular order.

    Feel free to try them out if they have what you're looking for and if they fit your budget.

    I could confidently recommend @LiteServer for big storage. If they get a Black Friday sale this year, you can then grab a storage slice from them!
    Also, GreenCloudVPS (@NTDN ) does have decent offers. My experience with them is pleasant as well.

    Thanked by 3LiteServer DP NDTN

    Debian testing user, Linux enthusiast. Web developer, translator, linguist, writer, privacy advocate. Learning Rust, drawing, composing and animating.

  • TerokNorTerokNor Member
    edited October 12

    @jsg said: Hint: always try to get a box in NL because that's about the lowest latency you can get to Hetzner from outside DE

    Your hints are bloody correct. At first I thought that a some ms higher latency wouldn't matter much for backup. Apparently borg is happier with lower latency.

    Also having low latency in some cases is attractive as additional storage through sshfs or nfs. I will definitely check NL.

    Thanked by 1dahartigan
  • Good to know re NL and hetzner

  • This was a really interesting read, thanks!

    I personally also looked into those means of backup in the past couple of months. I have around 15GB of "hot" data (mostly MS office files) that are modified often, around 200GB of "warm" data (pictures and such) that are mostly read from time to time and around 300 GB of "cold" data that is semi-important to me and rarely accessed or almost never modified.

    The hot and warm data I put on different Nextcloud instances, that sync with a total of 5PCs I have around. Nexcloud also provides versioning, a basic protection against ransomware, 2FA and such, so this is very nice. The "hot" data is copied every two hours to the "warm" instance and additionally is backed up daily. The "warm" data is backed up monthly. The "cold" data is backed up manually whenever I change something.

    For storing those backups, I looked into all of the above mentioned providers and even some more. I use one of them for many years, but in case of a retrieval I know that the server and connectivity isn't the best. I could make due, but a full restore from the encrypted backups takes me between 12 and 24 hours (hot and warm data only). I didn't see how going with more similar providers could improve that speed in a meaningful way.

    So what did I do? I looked into seedbox providers. They offer lots and lots of space and plenty of bandwidth in Europe for next-to-nothing. We are literally talking about TBs of space and outgoing traffic for less than 10 USD per month. Most of them also provide ssh with full rsync support. So I went with three different providers and set up my cronjobs accordingly.

    It's working like a charm so far. I have the backup data in 4-5 locations and a full restore from the seedbox providers takes me around 2 hours, because they all have great connectivity in Europe. I could even go further, create a .torrent of the encrypted backup and load it from all servers at once using bittorrent for (potentially) even more speed. The limitation at this point is my home internet connection.

    Thanked by 2Unixfy TerokNor
  • Most seedbox providers run in raid0.. not good for backups

  • @jugganuts said:
    Most seedbox providers run in raid0.. not good for backups

    It is okay if it used as backup of backup.

    Thanked by 1devp

    🌈 A simple uptime dashboard using UptimeRobot API https://upy.duo.ovh
    🌈 BuyVM, GreenCloudVPS, Gullo, Hetzner, HostHatch, InceptionHosting, LetBox, MaxKVM, MrVM, VirMach.

  • Also these are the storage vps/dedicated server providers that I know

    Pulsedmedia, Virmach, Cloudcone(not recommended), 1TBVPS, Wishosting, Hetzner, OVH, Hostsolutions(not recommended), Clouvider, Crowncloud, Hosthatch, GreenCloudVps, Dedispec, Dacentec, Soyoustart, Nforce, Cloudxtiny, VPSslim

    Thanked by 2TerokNor devp
  • True, most low-end ones do. There is limited to no redundancy in the seedboxes themselves, which is why I don't backup to just one of them.

    If one server or even two or all three seedboxes across different providers, data centers and countries go down at the same time for a couple of days, this has zero impact on my backups consistency. I still have 2 (rather slow) offsite backup copies hosted on Storage VPSs next to my live data. Only the restore would be painfully slow.

  • TerokNorTerokNor Member
    edited October 17

    @icebeer871 said: but a full restore from the encrypted backups takes me between 12 and 24 hours

    This sounds like a lot. What software do you use for these backups? What is your connection?

    @jugganuts said: Most seedbox providers run in raid0.. not good for backups

    I second that.

    When you need to keep a second backup (or more) for redundancy, you either have to be paranoid, either you have valuable data, either you are passing ISO27001 every year, or combinations of the above. In either case, a second backup has to be as close to reliable as the first backup, otherwise there is no reason to keep a second backup at all.

    By the way borg recommends against to the idea of "a backup of a backup", in the sense that if something bad is happening to your first backup, it will soon follow to the second backup.

    @icebeer871 said: I looked into seedbox providers.

    I thought about these seed boxes too, however I dont see any that supports borg.

    I use borg parallel repositories, because once you use borg backup you dont want to use anything else for backup, and CRC checks are run periodically on backups to detect any bit rot.

  • @TerokNor said: This sounds like a lot. What software do you use for these backups? What is your connection?

    My connection speed is ~550 Mbit/s down and ~200 Mbit/s up. The problem is poor routing. My ISP thinks that others should pay them handsomely to get the privilege to peer with them. That doesn't always work well internationally and/or with smaller providers...

    I could - to some extend - increase the number of concurrent connections. What I found however is that these low-end storage VPS are not really running cutting edge hardware. Do too many connections and you tend to overload the shared disks and get little additional transfer speed.

    For backups, I first put my files into an encrypted archive and then backup them over rsync. In case of failure, I just need to download the archive with the timestamp I want, extract the file(s) that I need and am up and running again.

    @TerokNor said: I thought about these seed boxes too, however I dont see any that supports borg.

    They don't. You could ask them to install it, but I doubt many would do it for one customer they get 3-8 USD per month from.

    I only looked into borg and think it's a great way to backup data for some use cases, especially because of the incremental backup feature and simple setup. The restore process however is a major hassle for me, as none of my daily driver PCs run Linux. So to access my backup data, I first need to get that data into a trusted (!) Linux environment running borg, put it together from multiple incremental backups and then transfer that data from there to the PC I need my data at. I would also need to store that data unencrypted - at least that's what I am thinking - if I want to take full advantage of all features. That's not really something that I am comfortable with.

    With rysnc, I store full copies of the data sets every time, which makes the restore a lot easier but requires (much) more space and of course bandwidth. With 2TB of space, I can store around 90 compressed (daily) backups of my "hot" data, 3 (monthly) backups of my "warm" data and 2 backups of my "cold" data. Since storage is super cheap with seedboxes, this works well for me.

    @TerokNor said: I use borg parallel repositories, because once you use borg backup you dont want to use anything else for backup, and CRC checks are run periodically on backups to detect any bit rot.

    Rysnc also supports checksum validation of data - MD5 based if I am not mistaken. I run that once a week only to avoid hammering shared servers with tons of disk I/O.

  • TerokNorTerokNor Member
    edited October 17

    @icebeer871 said: I only looked into borg and think it's a great way to backup data for some use cases, especially because of the incremental backup feature and simple setup. The restore process however is a major hassle for me, as none of my daily driver PCs run Linux. So to access my backup data, I first need to get that data into a trusted (!) Linux environment running borg,

    I have no experience with that, but I guess you can use borg through linux subsystem in windows.

    Alternatively you could run some linux distro in a virtual machine and mount your windows machines to that linux machine through CIFS.

    I used rsync for ages, but I think borg worths a try. It gives impressive speeds even in bad connections. Depending on your data you might also get impressive speed/compression results with zstd.

    @icebeer871 said: put it together from multiple incremental backups and then transfer that data from there to the PC I need my data at. I would also need to store that data unencrypted - at least that's what I am thinking - if I want to take full advantage of all features. That's not really something that I am comfortable with.

    I am not sure I understand exactly your issues here. borg sees one repository and the incremental backups are transparent to you. It also supports encryption by default and it will be much faster than encrypting and rsyncing in 2 steps

  • NdhaNdha Member
    edited October 17

    Try @SpeedBus CrownCloud they're great too..

    Thanked by 1TerokNor
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