IDrive, a company that has 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 and scalable plans that complement a wide variety of consumer and business needs. IDrive Compute is decidedly simpler than the exhaustively comprehensive feature set found in Amazon Web Services (AWS), our Editor’s Choice winner for IaaS, but the service makes up for this simplicity with low prices and ease of use. However, you may find the limited customer support hours and lack of Windows-based servers inconvenient.
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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 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 operating system.
You can also select an application stack, which provides a set of programs to perform 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. Do you 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 attractive to people who want a streamlined cloud infrastructure that isn’t too complicated.
IDrive has useful tools to help you monitor your computing environment and keep it secure. For example, a dedicated Activity Logs tab tracks logins, password changes, resource creation, and modifications. A separate Firewall tab allows you to control traffic by setting up inbound and outbound rules. SSH keys add an extra layer of security to your logins and you have full access to the root instance.
The company takes many steps to keep physical servers secure, including raised floors, HVAC temperature control, seismic-hardened racks, video surveillance, and biometric-based access. IDrive is also compliant with various federal and international regulations, including HIPAA, SOX, GDPR, and SEC/FINRA.
IDrive offers various subscription levels, with prepaid monthly, monthly postpaid (you pay as you go) and yearly payment options. The prices listed below represent the monthly prepaid option, which we use to set up the service.
Shared CPU plans ($5 per month) start with 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, 1,280GB of storage, and 12TB of monthly data transfers. There are plenty of options among those offerings that allow you to build your project based on the cloud, be it web hosting, cloud gaming, remote monitoring, or content delivery. You can customize and scale 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 harness the full power of a server; it will not share system resources with other instances. The most basic CPU-focused 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 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) bumps the specs up to eight CPU cores, 32GB of RAM, 480GB of storage, and 40GB of monthly data transfers. Please note that iDrive charges an overage fee of $0.01 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 on demand and start at $2,220 per year.
This simple pricing structure is a boon to the service, especially when compared to giant IaaS providers like AWS. Amazon’s cloud service has a staggering number of options, with many features priced individually. As a result, your final AWS contract depends entirely on your custom configuration. With IDrive, most plans are clear and easy to understand, so there’s no need to worry about complex setups or pricing calculators.
FYI: IDrive suggests some optional add-ons during checkout. For example, instance backup is turned on by default, which creates a daily image backup of your instance for $0.05 per GB per month. So make sure you buy exactly what you want.
The registration process is relatively simple: 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 modify or upgrade the server with just a few clicks. This is particularly easy to do, thanks to IDrive’s intuitive dashboard. The dashboard gives you an at-a-glance summary of your server instances, including name, IP address, and their hosting region. Clicking the ellipsis icon opens more options, allowing you to reboot, shutdown, migrate, resize, clone, backup, configure, and delete the instance. The other options on the dashboard include volumes, firewalls, SSH keys, activity logs, and general settings.
Customizing your instance is a piece of cake. 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 is surprisingly intuitive.
We use IDrive to create a website and run some tests. Unlike DreamHost or HostGator, IDrive is not designed specifically for web hosting, but it can be used that way. First, we clicked the red Create Instance button on 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 ready for testing.
It is important to note that IDrive does not offer traditional web hosting extras such as domain registration or SSL certificates. If you need those services, you should visit a third party company. For testing purposes, we used SSH to connect to our instance (which required entering specific commands through the terminal on our PC). Once we did, we were greeted by our WordPress test website.
If you have used WordPress in the past, you will 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 use a website monitoring tool to track the uptime of our IDrive-hosted site 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 can’t make contact for at least a minute. During testing, IDrive was incredibly stable and was unable to connect with our monitoring tool for only a short period of time. Of course, zero downtime is ideal, but IDrive’s uptime is reliable enough that you can have a solid foundation for your cloud-based project.
Overall, IDrive has good customer support, but its glitches make it a bit frustrating at times. For example, a 24/7 chatbot immediately responded to our message, but their responses were relatively generic. When faced with a specific system-level question (asking how to set up WordPress), the chatbot referred us to support via email and entered a ticket.
Normally, this would be perfectly acceptable, except that this human support is only available Monday through Friday, 6:00 am to 11:30 pm PST. We made our query late at night, so we didn’t hear from support for another eight hours. After a few emails back and forth throughout the day, we figured out how to properly set up our WordPress instance. The experience was more tedious than necessary. Rackspace, on the other hand, prides itself on its 24/7/365 support, with a quick 20-minute response time and easy access to technical chat through its login portal.
That said, IDrive offers in-depth FAQs and tutorials for many key tasks you can do with your instance. We were referred to several of these informational pages during our email exchanges with the support team. If support is not available, you may be able to find the answer by browsing these pages. Still, more ubiquitous and convenient email support would be a welcome improvement.
IDrive Compute is a versatile and easy-to-use IaaS that features many developer-friendly tools and Linux distributions to enable you to create a cloud-based online project. It lacks Windows Server options and could use better customer service support, but the systems are simple enough to understand, and the many FAQs and tutorials provide useful resources for laymen. However, if you need world-class power and flexibility, check out Amazon Web Services, our Editors’ Choice winner for IaaS.
For more information, see Best Infrastructure-as-a-Service Solutions.