How "Colocation America" almost lost my business, but saved themselves in the end (for now, at least)

...or how pretense almost claimed another victim.

Early last week I decided to procure a dedicated server from a source outside of Pizarro, partly because I want to stand up a copy of both asciilifeform's logotron as well as my own "logotron-lite"1 , but mainly because I want to stand up a trb node that actually functions2 and the wisdom from the logs seems to be that it makes 0 sense to have ~100% of TMSR's nodes funneled through the same pipe, especially in light of the recent observations regarding said pipe. Now don't get me wrong, I have no plans to give up my Piz Rockchip (which this very blog sits on) nor my shared hosting, as Pizarro is imo the only human ISP out there. Nevertheless, I figured why not spread my boxes around a bit and do some charting of the heathen options.

So after a bit of searching I landed on "Colocation America", chiefly because they were the only provider I could find that offered Gentoo as a pre-installed option on their "managed" dedicated servers. Now, you may be asking "wtf lobbes, wai not just get a proper colocated box??", and my answer would be "I am still moderately poor and moderately stupid", or more aptly put "I don't really know what I'm doing yet with re: to buying my own iron and also cannot afford to shell out THAT much just yet, and I have a lot of irons in the fire that I have to tend to at the moment. Plus, I like to learn the hard way I guess."

With that let's get to the point of this post, which is my initial interaction with this particular band of heathens.

From: Colocation America <Sales@ColocationAmerica.com>

Sent: Wednesday, August 21, 2019 9:53 AM

To: sales@colocationamerica.com

Subject: [Colocation America] New customer order (20609) - August 21, 2019

New customer order

You’ve received the following order from Eric Benevides:

[Order #20609] (August 21, 2019)

Product

Linux Lite - e3-1220 Sever

Operating System: Gentoo

Memory: 32GB (Included)

Primary Storage Drive: 512GB SSD Samsung 850 Pro (Included)

Second Storage Drive ($15.00): 512GB SSD Samsung 850 Pro (Included)

Add Additional Bandwidth: 30TB on GigE Port (Included)

Add Additional IPv4 Addresses: 5 Useable IPv4s (/29) (Included)

Quantity

1

Price

$144.00

[Redacted CC info]

Note that I indeed chose "Gentoo" as the OS, so you can imagine my surprise few emails later when:

Support (Colocation America)

Aug 22, 15:15 PDT

Dear Eric,

Thank you so much for your recent order.

Please find your dedicated server info below:

e3-1220 Sever, 32GB ram, 2 x 512G SSDs

Server ID: [Redacted]

OS: Centos 7.6 64bit

[Redacted]/29Main IP:  [Redacted]

root password: [Redacted] (please, change it asap)

Available IPs:  [Redacted] - [Redacted]

Our 24/7 support hotline is 1-800-296-8915  extension 1.

In case you are traveling abroad you can reach us at  213-928-6929 or you can send an email to Support@ColocationAmerica.com with the credentials.

You can also chat with us online.

Let us know if you need any more assistance with your setup as we are here to earn your business!

Thank you for choosing Colocation America!

Best,

Daniel G.

Support Desk

Ruh-roh, CentOS? "What are these shenanigans?", I ask:

There is a problem: I specifically ordered *Gentoo* as the OS (this was the sole reason I went with this company, in fact). If you cannot provide this then I will have to ask for a refund asap. There are much cheaper options for Cent-OS out there, and this is bait and switch activity.

Regards,

Eric

To which Jay comes back with:

Support (Colocation America)

Aug 22, 17:10 PDT

Please accept our apologies.

We do not support Gentoo install.

For ease, we have included KVM information for installing it yourself.

Server ID: [Redacted]

IPMI IP:  [Redacted]

User: kvm_user

Password: [Redacted]

You must first connect to our VPN before you try to connect to our KVM.

VPN information:

Url: [Redacted]

User: vpn26

Password: [Redacted]

Note: You need Java application installed on your computer to load the KVM console.

Regards,

Jay

Did you catch the part about needing Java on my computer to load the KVM console?

While I appreciate the effort to rectify the situation, this is not enough for me. I understand not supporting a Gentoo install, but this is something that I should have been told *before* I gave the billing dept. my $144, not after.

When I first made my order, Gentoo was listed as an option under 'Operating System'. The implication being that since I was ordering a managed server, that this would be supported as an install (without me having to invest my time to self-install).

Point is: Starting a business relationship with a lie is not a good idea. This raises huge red flags in my mind and I'd rather not continue the relationship at this point.

I ask that you please refund me my initial payment asap. I will look elsewhere.

Thank you,

Eric

Which, to my pleasant surprise, lead to:

Support (Colocation America)

Aug 23, 10:18 PDT

Dear Eric,

You are 100% correct. We have issued a warning to our technician who did not feel like installing something he was unfamiliar with.

We will have the server installed for you and give some credit to compensate for his mistake and your valued time.

Please expect the server info to be delivered to you shortly.

Thank you,

Garry S.

Support Desk

After which I thanked him for the credit and for making the shit correct, and said that I didn't care about getting some technician in trouble or whatever, as long as I got what I paid for. A few hours later and I have a box with Gentoo that I successfully logged into via ssh. They were also pretty prompt in their communications, so I'll give them that at least. Only time will tell if it lasts, however.

  1. Once it is finished it will spit out static colorized html logs from ZNC or irrsi logs in the syle of http://logs.minigame.biz/latest.log.html, but without needing all of the garbage coad in the heathen irclog2html []
  2. my current node is in a sad state; it rests on a hdd, and even with the aggression patch after a full year it still has not caught up to the current block height. Even worse, as I check it today I notice it just... hangs. For example, I issued a simple "getinfo" command last night in a screen session, then came back 24 hours later and it still had not returned the results of said command. Trying to "stop" the server in the same manner about an hour ago also seems to be resulting in the same "hanging" effect. Curiously, my debug.log is still showing connections being accepted, and dropped, so it is doing something, but I am pretty green here so it is hard to tell []

2 Responses to “How "Colocation America" almost lost my business, but saved themselves in the end (for now, at least)”

  1. lobbes says:

    To update: the one-time "credit" they ended up giving me was... $14. lel

  2. [...] recently stood up my own clone of Stanislav's logotron on a traditional1 Gentoo server. Below are some of my compiled notes and scribblings with hopes that it may aid another in the task [...]

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