Who wouldn’t want an unmetered service? If given the option, I would prefer getting unmetered and having one flat rate on almost anything – that goes for my mobile phone bill, electric bill, water bill and my dedicated server.
With unmetered bandwidth you get a flat rate, whether you use one Megabyte of traffic or one Terabyte of traffic. But is getting a flat rate always good? Are we always getting the best deal when we go unmetered, not worried about fluctuating bills?
In order to find out, let’s look at the good, the bad and the ugly side of unmetered dedicated servers.
First the Good
Unmetered is good in a sense that you do not have to worry about any surprises on your invoices. You have peace of mind that you can use as much bandwidth as you can possibly use without incurring the wrath of the data center.
From a business stand point, you know exactly what you are paying month after month, year after year. You can focus on building your business, generating sales and maintaining your current infrastructure.
You can also better plan on upgrades because you know exactly what your bottom line is, and you have a better idea of what your expenses will be since they do not change – the hosting part at least.
So that is a winner right there, getting an unmetered dedicated server is good for business. It’s like a flip switch where you set it and then forget it.
With good things there should be some bad things as well, right? As good as getting an unmetered dedicated server is, or any other type of service such as your phone bill, there inevitably are bad things that come along with that dedicated server.
For starters, do you really get your money’s worth? Sure if you use more resources than you could normally get for the price you pay. But what if you pay hundreds of precious dollars every month yet you barely use your allotted server. Does that still sound like a fair trade then?
The same as the good, let’s look at it from a business stand point. A good business is maximizing resources while being cost efficient. If you are utilizing the server and its unmetered allocation, then that is a sound business plan.
But if the average consumption does not even come close to the monthly cost of the server then that wouldn’t be a good business strategy.
And the Ugly
Now let us discuss the law of averages. From a data center standpoint, it needs to generate revenue despite offering unmetered dedicated servers for the price of a metered one. In fact, the data center has to make a profit with what they have.
So how is this accomplished? If it loses profit on one client that consumes more bandwidth than the cost they pay, then it means that they are recouping the loss from another client or clients, and by averaging all the clients the data center in turn has generated profit.
Only problem here is that if the data center needs more clients to recoup the loss, or difference, from those that consume more than what they pay for, and add to that additional clients that will generate overall profit, then the data center would need to oversell the services.
To a lot, this would not be noticeable, as there is pretty much overselling almost everywhere in order to generate profits. But sometimes data centers also get greedy and oversell more to the point that there is service degradation.
For non-critical servers, this wouldn’t be too much of a problem. But for those who consume a lot more resources and require those resources, they would end up getting the most affected.
So in return, the customer does get unmetered dedicated service, but with bandwidth that is saturated and slower, and less reliable as a whole. In other words, you get what you pay for.
Bottom line is the data center has to make a profit to keep its services up, whether that is to oversell or to cut corners, or to average out the high bandwidth users with the low bandwidth ones.
Keep in mind though, this is only a scenario on an extreme side, and does not generalize all data centers. That is why due diligence and research has to be done.
We have to do our research and not just go on price alone. Sometimes, unmetered is a good option for select businesses, and sometimes it is not.
Some businesses will require SLAs and would be better off paying a premium on dedicated and metered bandwidth, which would be stable and not slow down even if such usage goes up. Although with such, there has to be enough planning and good decision making.
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