VULTR: Instances sold out

While taking a closer look at VULTR, I became very interested in their “$2.50 plan”, as it is half as much as you would have to pay for the same performance at similar providers.

Now I wanted to deploy my permanent test and development VPS and was surprised to see that they were “sold out” in almost all regions. It astonished and confused me that a virtual instance could be sold out, even though I was able to choose every other, even bigger instance type.

I immediately had the feeling that they want to artificially limit the creation of these small instances for either of two reasons:

  • They cannot cope with the high demand, i.e. need to add additional hardware or other resources to make sure to keep up with demand
  • The $2.50 instances is more popular than expected and they cannot cover their mixed costs estimates

I was curious, so I reached out to their Support Team and quickly got a reply:

Thank you for your interest in our $2.50 ‘sandbox’ plan. The plan is currently available in limited quantities in our Miami and New York/New Jersey locations.

Why is this awesome plan available in select locations?

It boils down to supply and demand. In order to maintain the high performance you’ve come to know and love at Vultr we limit the number of sandbox plans on each physical host node. This helps ensure the absolute best performance for our production-ready instances.

Will this inventory be replenished in other locations?
Yes. We expect additional sandbox capacity will come online soon. Please visit periodically and consider following us on Twitter for updates and other breaking news.

That answer did not feel very satisfying, so I contacted them again and wrote about my thoughts what the reason behind this limitation could be. I received the following additional message:

On a purely hypothetical basis, I ask that you consider the following: We offer a 24-core instance as a large deployment for important workloads. A single instance of this tier will likely be a much more pleasant neighbor to reside with, in a shared resource environment, when compared to 24 or more 1CPU, sandbox-style deployments; each of which will have differing peak periods of use and CPU usage profiles in general. As such, we have made the decision to ensure smooth and continual high performance on our nodes via limiting the amount of sandbox plans that we can offer per hardware hypervisor host. I hope this helps to clarify our position.

Unfortunately, there are no email alerts for sandbox availability; for the latest news and updates, we’d recommend that you follow our Twitter account.

I have to say I am still not very satisfied with that answer. There is no “Sandbox” tag that I could see in UI that distinguishes the smallest plan from all the others. Also would I really be “more satisfied” if a 24-core instances was running as my “neighbour”?

I am still not convinced…

Whatever the real circumstances are, I think it would be great if VULTR would explain the reason and their intentions behind this limitation. Maybe in a more detailed blog post.

But even though I was not fully satisfied with the response, their support team was quick, professional and very corteous! A very good experience!

If you are interested in VULTR and want to try it for yourself, I would like to ask you to use my referral code. Thank you very much!

VPS Provider VULTR

For the reasons of diversity and high availability I was looking for an alternative to DigitalOcean. Not that I was dissatisfied with their service, but it is always good to try new services and to spread your services between several providers.

People on the IRC channel and posts on social media mentioned VULTR. Their service is similar to DigitalOcean’s. They offer quick deployment of Virtual Private Servers (VPS) in 15 locations worldwide, hosted on SSD-only storage (with optional block storage). You can either choose out of a variety of operating systems or upload an ISO and install a custom OS yourself.

Other than DigitalOcean, they also provide dedicated VPS instances in the United States and Japan. Also their price scheme slightly differs. Their $5 instances provide 1GB virtual memory, 1 vCPU, 25 GB SSD storage and 1TB bandwidth — twice as much memory and 5 GB more storage than the matching Droplet at DigitalOcean. They also offer an even smaller instance for $2.50 per month, which includes 512 MB virtual memory, 1 vCPU, 20 GB SSD storage and 500 GB bandwidth. Enough for personal usage in my opinion.

I already deployed a few test instances and will keep a small 512 MB instance, mainly used as miscellaneous test and development VPS.

If you are interested in VULTR and want to try it for yourself, I would like to ask you to use my referral code. Thank you very much!