Memory upgrade, May 2017

From BitFolk
Jump to: navigation, search

All about how to get twice as much RAM for the same price.

Background

BitFolk is now in the position to double the memory allocation of customer VPSes. That is, the base VPS will be increased from 1,024MiB to 2,048MiB, and each additional memory upgrade purchased will be 512MiB instead of 256MiB.

However…

Although there is enough total capacity to provide for a memory doubling, this is unevenly distributed amongst servers and 3 of the servers do not have enough spare capacity to provide the upgrade to all customers on those servers. Some customers will need to have their VPSes moved to other servers.

BitFolk does not generally approve of offering new customers any perk that existing customers do not have access to, but experience shows that it will take quite some time to complete all migrations required to offer existing customers their memory upgrade. If the new specification is not offered to new customers until the migrations and upgrades are complete then this will be a potentially long period of time during which BitFolk will be less competitive.

A compromise

Therefore, BitFolk is going to immediately offer the new specs to new customers, and also to any existing (paying) customer on request.

How it will work

  1. You send an email to support@bitfolk.com asking for your memory upgrade. Stating the account name of your VPS will help.
  2. BitFolk will respond to let you know if your VPS needs to be migrated to another server first.
    • If you're on a server that doesn't have enough capacity then you'll definitely need to be migrated to another server.
    • If you're on a server that does have capacity then BitFolk may still insist that your VPS is first migrated.
  3. On the next boot your VPS has double the memory.

Once enough VPSes have been moved around that all servers have capacity, the remaining upgrades will all happen at once.

Migrating between servers

If BitFolk has to move your VPS then you will be asked when is a good time for that to happen. In order to move your VPS, BitFolk will need to shut it down, do a final sync of its storage and then boot it again on the destination server. It will be down for less than a minute, but there will be down time so BitFolk needs to know when that is allowed to happen.

Please be as specific as you need to be about time windows and notice periods. Examples of phrases to avoid using because they are too vague:

  • "Just give me a bit of notice" (don't know what "a bit" means)
  • "Outside of working hours" (don't know your working hours)
  • "Any time in the evenings" (don't know what you consider evenings to be)

These examples are much better:

  • "Any time with at least 15 minutes of notice is fine"
  • "Between 00:00Z and 03:00Z on Saturdays and Sundays"

Frequently Anticipated Questions

How do I tell which server my VPS is on?

It's listed on the home page of the Panel, it appears in a traceroute to your VPS from outside, and it is also shown when you resolve accountname.console.bitfolk.com in DNS, e.g.:

$ host ruminant.console.bitfolk.com
ruminant.console.bitfolk.com is an alias for console.macallan.bitfolk.com.
console.macallan.bitfolk.com is an alias for macallan.bitfolk.com.
macallan.bitfolk.com has address 85.119.80.25
macallan.bitfolk.com has IPv6 address 2001:ba8:0:1f1::10

If my VPS is on a server with enough capacity, why does my VPS need to be moved?

BitFolk may still need to balance the number of VPSes on each server, and available memory isn't the only constraint. Servers with available capacity still need to take on VPSes from the other servers that don't have enough capacity.

I don't need double the RAM. Can I downgrade?

You can downgrade as far as the base VPS plan, which (now) has 2GiB memory.

If you are on a yearly contract and wish to downgrade immediately then BitFolk is happy to offer service credit equal to the pro rata cost of the upgrades you are wanting to remove. Customers on a monthly or quarterly contract will need to wait until the contract ends, so you should let BitFolk know you want to downgrade and then that will happen at the right time.

I don't care about having more memory. Do I need to do anything?

No! You can just take no action, and eventually you will just get the upgrade without you having to do anything (except reboot your VPS). You only need to do something if you want the upgrade right away.

I have sponsored hosting. Can I still get the upgrade?

No, sorry; BitFolk has to look after paying customers first.

If I choose to wait, how long will it likely take?

It's difficult to answer this question because in order for customers on the servers that don't have enough spare capacity to get their upgrade, other customers on those servers must ask for an upgrade and be moved off. If every customer on such a server decides to wait then the wait will potentially be forever.

If the upgrade is at all important to you then you should ask for it.

If I choose to wait, how will it work?

When all servers have enough spare memory to allow for doubling of the memory of every customer, that will be configured in-place and an email will go out telling you that you will see the extra memory at your next reboot. The email will go to the address you've configured in the Panel.

Can't you just suspend and restore my VPS when moving between servers?

Technically yes, but BitFolk doesn't have good tooling for this yet and moving storage between hosts is a complex procedure with devastating failure modes if not done properly (i.e. your data is lost/corrupted). BitFolk will do it if you insist. Though do note that a reboot will be necessary anyway in order to see the extra memory, so it seems a little pointless in this particular situation.

Can't you increase memory without a reboot?

No: the maximum memory for a VPS is set at boot time and can't be altered. The Linux kernel uses this maximum amount to size various structures.

It would be technically feasible to start every VPS with a much larger maximum memory setting than they are set to use, which would then allow online increase up to that maximum, but BitFolk does not do this because it would lead to the Linux kernel using more memory for structures than it potentially could ever need. Memory increases are rare and most people don't mind rebooting to get them.

Memory can be shrunk online although if the VPS is in a memory exhaustion state then it will shift the excess into swap. If swap runs out then processes may be killed to make room. At next boot the maximum memory will again match the current provision.

Status

Status of upgrades as of 2018-11-30 15:27:03Z
Server Free memory (GiB) Required for doubling (GiB) Available SSD (GiB) Status Completed
elephant 135 0 1539.29 Good to go 100.0%
hen 8 0 213.14 Good to go 100.0%
hobgoblin 4 0 228.60 Good to go 100.0%
jack 2 0 258.91 Good to go 100.0%
leffe 20 0 118.97 Good to go 100.0%
macallan 24 0 5.65 Good to go 100.0%
paradox 17 0 206.99 Good to go 97.7%
snaps 15 0 412.36 Good to go 100.0%