IDrive, a company that has made a name for itself in the online backup space, entered the cloud computing category with IDrive Compute. The company’s first Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offering offers flexible, scalable plans to meet a variety of business and consumer needs. IDrive Compute is clearly more straightforward than the exhaustive and comprehensive feature set found in Amazon Web Services (AWS), our Editors’ Choice winner for IaaS, but the service makes up for that simplicity with its low price 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 equip one of them 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. If you need that OS, check out AWS or Google Cloud Platform.
You can also choose an application stack, which provides a set of programs for performing specific tasks. These include (but are not limited to) CPanel and WHM, GitLab, Jitsi, Joomla and WordPress. If you need database administration, IDrive offers a MySQL stack that includes Apache, MySQL Server, PHP, phpMyAdmin, and UFW. Want to set up a Minecraft server? IDrive provides a Minecraft stack on Ubuntu that provides a Minecraft: Java Edition server. These turnkey options make IDrive appealing to those who want a less complex, streamlined cloud infrastructure.
IDrive’s safety muscles
IDrive has useful tools to help you monitor and secure your computing environment. For example, a dedicated Activity Log tab tracks logins, password changes, resource creations and modifications. Separate firewall tabs allow you to control traffic by configuring inbound and outbound rules. SSH keys add an extra layer of security to your login, and you have full root instance access.
The company takes a number of measures to keep physical servers safe, including raised floors, HVAC temperature controls, seismic 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 multiple subscription tiers, including monthly prepaid, monthly postpaid (pay-as-you-go), and annual payment options. The prices listed below represent our monthly prepaid options for setting up the service.
Shared CPU plans ($5 per month) start with one CPU core, 1GB RAM, 40GB storage, and 1TB monthly data transfers. The top shared CPU plan ($320 per month) includes 32 CPU cores, 64GB RAM, 1280GB storage, and 12TB monthly data transfers. There are many options between these products that allow you to build cloud-based projects, such as web hosting, cloud gaming, remote monitoring or content delivery. You can customize and extend your subscription as needed. These shared plans are named literally; your iDrive instance shares server resources with other instances.
The company also offers two dedicated server tiers (CPU-optimized and memory-optimized) that allow your instance to take full advantage of the server’s capabilities; it doesn’t share system resources with other instances. The most basic CPU-centric plan ($40 per month) offers two CPU cores, 4GB of RAM, 80GB of storage, and 10GB of monthly data transfers. The highest plan ($160 per month) has 8 CPU cores, 16GB RAM, 200GB storage, and 40GB monthly data transfers. The basic RAM-centric 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) bumps the specs up to 8 CPU cores, 32GB of RAM, 480GB of storage, and 40GB of monthly data transfers. Note that iDrive charges an overage fee of $0.01 for every GB over your monthly data transfer quota.
IDrive also has bare metal servers, which are powerful, single-tenant, non-virtualized, dedicated physical servers that give you complete control over your hardware. These servers are available upon request, starting at $2,220 per year.
This straightforward pricing structure is a huge benefit for the service, especially compared to massive IaaS providers like AWS. Amazon’s cloud services have a staggering number of options, as well as many individually priced features. Therefore, your final AWS contract is entirely up to your custom configuration. With IDrive, most plans are clear and easy to understand, so there’s no need to fuss with complicated configurations or pricing calculators.
FYI: IDrive suggests some optional add-ons during the checkout process. For example, instance backups are checked by default, which creates daily image backups of your instance for $0.05 per GB per month. So make sure you’re buying exactly what you want.
Getting Started with IDrive Computing
The registration process is relatively simple: create an account, click the red Create an Instance button, and choose your preferred Linux operating system. Once you have a plan and distribution in place, you can tune or enhance your server with just a few clicks. This is especially easy to do thanks to IDrive’s intuitive dashboard. The dashboard gives you an overview of your server instance, including name, IP address, and its hosted zone. Clicking the ellipsis icon opens more options, allowing you to restart, shut down, migrate, resize, clone, backup, configure, and delete instances. Other dashboard options include volumes, firewalls, SSH keys, activity logs, and general settings.
Customizing your instance is a piece of cake. You can easily resize volumes, transfer storage volumes between instances, or attach multiple volumes to a single instance for greater power and flexibility. It’s very intuitive.
Build a website with IDrive
We created a website using IDrive and ran some tests. Unlike DreamHost or HostGator, IDrive is not specifically designed for web hosting, but can be used this way. First, we clicked the red Create Instance button in the dashboard, and then clicked on 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 does not offer traditional web hosting add-ons, such as domain registration or SSL certificates. If you need these services, you must visit a third-party company. For testing purposes, we use SSH to connect to our instance (this requires entering specific commands through the terminal on the PC). Once we do, our test WordPress site greets us.
If you’ve used WordPress in the past, you’re familiar with the WordPress stack. Your dashboard is 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 WordPress themes.
We use a website monitoring tool to track the uptime of our website hosted by IDrive for 14 days. Here’s how it works: every 15 minutes, the tool pings our website and sends us a notification if it can’t be reached for at least one minute. During testing, IDrive was very stable, failing to connect to our monitoring tool for only a brief period. Naturally, zero downtime is ideal, but IDrive’s uptime is reliable enough that you can count on it being a rock-solid foundation for your cloud-based projects.
Limited customer service support hours
Overall, IDrive has great customer support, but its flaws can be a little frustrating at times. For example, a 24/7 chatbot responds to our messages immediately, but its responses are relatively mediocre. When faced with a specific system-level issue (we asked how to set up WordPress), the chatbot referred us to email support and entered a ticket.
Generally, this is perfectly acceptable, but this human support is only available Monday-Friday from 6AM to 11:30PM PST. We made inquiries late at night, so we didn’t hear from support for another eight hours. After a long day of emails back and forth, we figured out how to properly setup our WordPress instance. The experience is more tedious than it needs to be. On the other hand, Rackspace prides itself on its 24/7/365 support, it has a fast 20 minute response time, and technical chat is easily accessible through its login portal.
That said, IDrive provides extensive FAQs and tutorials for many of the key tasks you might perform with your instance. During an email exchange with the support team, we were referred to several of these information pages. If there is no support, it is entirely possible that you will find the answer by perusing these pages. Still, more ubiquitous and convenient email support would be a welcome improvement.
A good entry-level IaaS
IDrive Compute is a versatile and easy-to-use IaaS with many developer-friendly tools and Linux distributions that allow you to build cloud-based online projects. It lacks Windows Server options and could use better customer service support, but the system is simple enough to understand, and the plethora of FAQs and tutorials provide a useful resource for the layman. But if you need top-of-the-line features and flexibility, check out our Editors’ Choice winner for IaaS, Amazon Web Services.
For more information, check out Best Infrastructure-as-a-Service Solutions.