DreamHost is turning 9, and has announced a few crazy things in its birthday bash.

New Level of Overselling

DreamHost sort-of pioneered overselling earlier this year when they pushed their storage to 20+Gb and data transfer to terabytes level. All the other hosts nayed and groaned, complaining “not fair!”, but many have tried to keep up with the trend. Suddenly we have heaps of hosts selling big spaces and huge bandwidth at $10/month level. Some have even surpassed what DreamHost has offered, crowned as the new ludicrous overseller.

But DreamHost strikes back.

They have apparently increased their storage ten fold and at least doubled the monthly data transfer. That’s 200Gb disk storage and 2,000Gb of traffic for $7.95 per month, if you pre-paid for 24 months (which is only $3.91 per month after $97 off promo codes).

10x disk space + 2x data transfer at DreamHost

Too cheap to be true? Maybe. However doing a du -h on one of their servers, most NFS-mounted volumes are hanging around 50-60% full, so they know that they have capacity to keep up the demand. Whether this offer will back-fire at them is yet to be seen. However I do remember a period of slowness after they increased the quota early this year as lots of new customers flooded in.

What the heck is “Shedicated Hosting”?

Apparently a new term invented by DreamHost, describing basically a fully-managed dedicated server hosting that feels-like shared hosting. That is, you get a dual core AMD box with lots of RAM all by yourself, but,

  1. No root access
  2. All administration is done via DreamHost’s control panel
  3. Storage is on DreamHost’s not-so-fast NAS
  4. MySQL hosted on DreamHost’s DB servers shared with other accounts
  5. Mail hosted on DreamHost’s cluster servers

I guess it is good for CPU bounded applications but at almost $400 per month I don’t see many people will take up this offer. Moreover, what if your app is bounded by DB or disk IO access? Your processes are still going to be blocked most of the time waiting for resources that are shared with other $10/month hosting customers.

Files Forever

Digg loves anything that is anti DRM. Here’s DreamHost’s new service – Files Forever, which

  • Anyone can sell content on it by paying a one-time fee to upload media files.
  • Files are kept “forever” on DreamHost’s server, until the Judgement Day or DMCA comes knocking on the door, whichever is sooner.
  • No DRM on downloaded files. Purchaser can keep on re-download. Purchasers can even lend the files to someone else.
  • DreamHost does all the e-commerce for the content provider, charging at very cheap rate (5% + 50c credit card processing fee).

It’s refreshing when all the major players are hardening their DRM strategies and all the black hats are working at cracking them… Don’t expect any major label on Files Forever for sure. Therefore I concluded it is more like a public stunt (“see, I am taking my stands against evil corporate pigs and their DRM”) than a serious alternative to iTMS and whatever-store that is going to sell Zune-DRM enabled files.

What I don’t agree is their motivation behind this new service:

Because we’re all pirates at heart.

I mean, why pay for something if you can get it for free right? And why pay for something if you can get something better for free?

There are many reasons why DRM is wrong, as it limits a legitimate user on what he/she can do with the media that he/she has already purchased. However, “we’re all pirates at heart” is not a valid reason. “Because I want to get it for free” should not be an excuse for abolishing the DRM.

Oh well. Maybe Josh Jones did not mean it (you can never figure out when he’s not kidding on blogs).

Other Stuff

There’s more.

DreamHost Home Page A redesigned website? Yup I like it. “Real Employee” on the front-page, instead of the sleeping fat-boy or generic-looking headset-wearing helpdesk staff from canned stock photos. Employee profile page? Very nice.

Recipient delimiter. Putting + in your email address to create an catch-all address. Been doing that for years on my Postfix servers, and great that DreamHost has finally implemented it.

And that’s currently a promo-code of 9999 that will take $99.99 off from your bill when you sign up. $3 cheaper than the 97 dollar off promo codes out there, but won’t make your referrer’s referrer a day.

It’s an interesting update. Well, Happy Birthday DreamHost! It’s companies like DH that make this industry interesting.