IDrive, a company that’s made a name for itself in the online backup space, enters the cloud computing category with IDrive Compute. The company’s first Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) product offers flexible, scalable plans that complement a wide variety of business and consumer needs. IDrive Compute is decidedly more straightforward than the exhaustively comprehensive feature set found in Amazon Web Services (AWS), our Editors’ Choice winner for IaaS, but the service makes up for this simplicity with low prices and ease of use. However, you may find its limited customer support hours and lack of Windows-based servers inconvenient.
What Does IDrive Compute Offer?
IDrive’s cloud service consists of 4,000 Linux-based servers spread across 26 data centers in the US and Europe. Each server uses NVMe storage, and you can outfit one with a Linux distribution, such as AlmaLinux, CentOS, Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE, Rocky Linux, and Ubuntu. Like Digital Ocean, IDrive lacks the Windows Server operating system. Check out AWS or Google Cloud Platform if you need that OS.
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You can also select an application stack, which provides a suite of programs for performing specific tasks. These include (but are not limited to) CPanel & WHM, GitLab, Jitsi, Joomla, and WordPress. If you need database management, IDrive offers a MySQL stack that includes Apache, MySQL Server, PHP, phpMyAdmin, and UFW. Want to build a Minecraft server? IDrive offers a Minecraft stack on Ubuntu, which provides a Minecraft: Java Edition server. These turnkey options make IDrive appealing to people who want a streamlined cloud infrastructure that isn’t overly complicated.
IDrive’s Security Muscle
IDrive has useful tools to help you monitor your computing environment and keep it secure. For example, a dedicated Activity Logs tab keeps track of sign-ins, password changes, resource creation, and modifications. A separate Firewall tab lets you control traffic by configuring inbound and outbound rules. SSH keys add an extra layer of security to your logins, and you have full-root instance access.
The company takes many measures to keep the physical servers safe, including raised floors, HVAC temperature control, seismically-braced racks, video surveillance, and biometric-based access. IDrive also complies with various Federal and international regulations, including HIPAA, SOX, GDPR, and SEC/FINRA.
How Much Does IDrive Compute Cost?
IDrive offers several subscription tiers, with monthly prepaid, monthly postpaid (you pay for what you use), and annual payment options. The prices listed below represent the monthly prepaid option, which we used to set up the service.
Shared CPU plans ($5 per month) start at one CPU core, 1GB of RAM, 40GB of storage, and 1TB of monthly data transfers. The top-tier Shared CPU plan ($320 per month) includes 32 CPU cores, 64GB of RAM, 1280GB of storage, and 12TB of monthly data transfers. There are many options between those offerings to let you build your cloud-based project, be that web hosting, cloud gaming, remote monitoring, or content delivery. You can customize and scale your subscription as needed. These shared plans are literally named; your iDrive instance shares server resources with other instances.
The company also offers two dedicated server tiers (CPU-Optimized and Memory-Optimized) that let your instance tap a server’s full power; it won’t share system resources with other instances. The most basic CPU-focused plan ($40 per month) delivers two CPU cores, 4GB of RAM, 80GB of storage, and 10GB of monthly data transfers. The highest plan ($160 per month) has eight CPU cores, 16GB of RAM, 200GB of storage, and 40GB of monthly data transfers. The basic RAM-focused plan ($60 per month) includes two CPU cores, 8GB of RAM, 120GB of storage, and 10GB of monthly data transfers. Finally, its top-tier plan ($180 per month) ups the specs to eight CPU cores, 32GB of RAM, 480GB of storage, and 40GB of monthly data transfers. Note that iDrive charges an $0.01 overage fee for each GB consumed over your monthly data transfer quota.
IDrive also has bare metal servers, which are powerful, single-tenancy, non-virtualized, dedicated physical servers that give you complete control of the hardware. These servers are available upon request and start at $2,220 per year.
This straightforward pricing structure is a significant boon for the service, especially when compared to gargantuan IaaS providers like AWS. Amazon’s cloud service has an astounding number of options, with many individually priced features. As a result, your final AWS contract depends entirely on your custom configuration. With IDrive, most plans are clear-cut and easy to comprehend, so there’s no need to fuss with complex configurations or pricing calculators.
FYI: IDrive suggests a few optional add-ons during the checkout process. For example, Instance Backup is ticked on by default, which creates a daily image backup of your instance for $0.05 per GB per month. So, make sure you’re about to purchase exactly what you want.
Getting Started With IDrive Compute
The signup process is relatively simple: You create an account, click the red Create an Instance button, and select your preferred Linux operating system. Once you’ve committed to a plan and distribution, you can tweak or enhance the server with a few simple clicks. This is particularly easy to do, thanks to IDrive’s intuitive dashboard. The dashboard gives you an at-a-glance rundown of your server instances, including the name, IP address, and its hosting region. Clicking the ellipses icon opens more options, letting you reboot, power off, migrate, resize, clone, back up, configure, and delete the instance. The other dashboard options include volumes, firewalls, SSH keys, activity logs, and general settings.
Customizing your instance is a cinch. You can easily resize a volume, transfer storage volumes between instances, or attach multiple volumes to a single instance for more power and flexibility. It’s surprisingly intuitive.
Building a Website With IDrive
We used IDrive to create a website and run a few tests. Unlike DreamHost or HostGator, IDrive isn’t specifically designed for web hosting but can be used in such a fashion. First, we clicked the red Create Instance button from our dashboard and then our preferred Linux distribution. In our case, we chose Ubuntu and then a basic WordPress stack. Within minutes, our server was up and running and ready for testing.
It’s important to note that IDrive doesn’t offer traditional web hosting extras, such as domain registration or SSL certificates. If you need those services, you must visit a third-party company. For testing purposes, we used SSH to connect to our instance (which required entering specific commands via terminal on our PC). Once we did so, we were greeted by our test WordPress website.
If you’ve used WordPress in the past, you’ll be familiar with the WordPress stack. You have your dashboard on the left, with tabs for updates, posts, media, pages, and comments and sections for appearance, plugins, users, tools, and settings. It’s easy to create posts, upload images or other media, and customize the WordPress theme.
We used a website-monitoring tool to track our IDrive-hosted site uptime over a 14-day period. Here’s how it works: Every 15 minutes, the tool pings our site and sends us a notification if it is unable to make contact for at least one minute. During testing, IDrive remained incredibly stable, failing to connect with our monitoring tool for only a single, brief time. Naturally, zero downtime is ideal, but IDrive’s uptime is dependable enough that you can count on it being a rock-solid foundation for your cloud-based project.
Limited Customer Service Support Hours
Overall, IDrive has good customer support, but its flaws sometimes make it a bit frustrating. For example, a 24/7 chatbot immediately replied to our message, but its answers were relatively generic. When confronted with a specific, system-level question (we asked how to set up WordPress), the chatbot referred us to email support and entered a ticket.
Ordinarily, this would be perfectly acceptable, except that this human support is only available from Monday-Friday, 6 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. PST. We made our inquiry late in the evening, so we didn’t hear from support for another eight hours. After a few back-and-forth emails throughout the day, we figured out how to correctly set up our WordPress instance. The experience was more tedious than it needed to be. Rackspace, on the other hand, prides itself on its 24/7/365 support, with a snappy, 20-minute response time and easy access to tech chat via its login portal.
That said, IDrive offers exhaustive FAQs and tutorials for many key tasks you might undertake with your instance. We were referred to several of these informative pages during our email exchange with the support team. If support isn’t available, it’s entirely possible that you can find the answer by perusing these pages. Still, more omnipresent and expedient email support would be a welcome improvement.
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A Good Entry-Level IaaS
IDrive Compute is a versatile and easy-to-use IaaS that features many developer-friendly tools and Linux distributions for letting you build an online, cloud-based project. It lacks Windows Server options and could use better customer service support, but the systems are simple enough to understand, and the numerous FAQs and tutorials give laypeople helpful resources. If you need top-tier power and flexibility, however, check out Amazon Web Services, our Editors’ Choice winner for IaaS.
For more, check out The Best Infrastructure-as-a-Service Solutions.
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