[Off-Topic] Ubersmith

randal k nanog at data102.com
Fri Jan 10 18:41:36 UTC 2014

We have used Ubersmith here ata Data102 for several years (since
august 2009? I think?) and have been very pleased with it. As a
datacenter operator, it provides a truckload of tools and (perhaps the
most important thing about it) integrates it all together pretty
seamlessly. For a simple example - it can do all the general snmp
graphing of a switchport, turn it on/off based on billing paramters,
attach a device to a switchport, and come billing time, calculate and
bill the 95th%. Very, very easily. It also handles monitoring metered
power strips, can deal with switched PDUs, and allows all of that to
be managed by the customer as well (yay for remote reboots through a
decent UI!). Lots of other handy integrations (xen, vmware,
cloudstack, onapp, pmacct, puppet, cdp, more!). And it all integrates
pretty well with ticketing & customer accout management.

It's new pricing structure is very off-putting. It used to be
flat-rate, per-device, which was agreeable - somebody wants a managed
server, add $1. No problem. Now, it is very much FUPayMe -- separate
pricing for this feature, for this feature, "normal" devices and
"advanced" devices. It's a ~50% hike from our current rate. As a small
shop (~10k sqft, 15 employees), it's pretty brutal. I can't imagine
what they're charging larger, more integrated places.

Since the acquisition by Internap we have seen everything go downhill:
quarterly updates turned into year-long waits; features & requests
pretty much ignored; support seems more management-y; documentation
has not been updated; they don't update their website pretty much at
all; the order & sales manager appear to be completely disregarded and
perma-beta; no updates at all to the 2.5.x codetrain; and 3.0 is now
hidden behind the pay-more wall, after an 18 month wait. Maybe all of
these are unlocked once we pay?

We have been looking for alternatives since October or so, and the
WHMCS Datacenter add-on looks OK, and Hostbill might be an option. We
are loathe to go down the never-ending roll-our-own path, as it would
take a lot of time to recreate what we have already enjoyed. We would
*LOVE* to try out NocWorx, but they are not accepting new customers
(and haven't for a year+).

Tough spot for us. Any input would be awesome.


On Thu, Jan 9, 2014 at 7:14 PM, matt kelly <mjkelly at gmail.com> wrote:
> I'm also a bit leary of them now, considering they are owned by internap
> after the voxel acquisition. I like their software and used it for years.
> It just seems like they're trying to compete in the market of zuora and
> others when they are something completely different.
> I'm also surprised there have been no competitors to ubersmith in the data
> center space.
> Matt
> On Jan 9, 2014 9:08 PM, "Jimmy Hess" <mysidia at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Thu, Jan 9, 2014 at 7:30 PM, Aaron <aaron at wholesaleinternet.net>wrote:  > We rolled our own.  A friend is migrating to WHMCS from Ubersmith.
>>> Aaron
>> I would be standoffish, due to Ubersmith alleged recent history of price
>> increases.    Admittedly... I am very skeptical about the concept of
>> datacenter management  or billing software providers charging  a big
>> monthly fee, plus  extra per-client and  extra per managed-device.
>> That doesn't mean it's always a bad idea;  it's just really annoying.
>> If smart phones were sold like Enterprise software....
>> "Customer: How much for this smart phone?"
>> "Sales clerk: How many people do you plan to call with it?"
>> "Customer:  Uh, 5 or 6 friends and family members."
>> "Sales clerk:  I see... well that will be $300  plus $25 per contact, so
>> the total comes to  $450.    In  5 years the newer model will be $499 for
>> you."
>> "Customer: Wait...  I also need to receive calls from 3 important business
>> clients"
>> "Sales clerk: In that case, the same smart phone costs $2500,  plus an
>> extra $100/month license fee  for each business contact,  and a 30% annual
>> maintenance --  if you fail to renew before the end of the 12 months, it
>> will deactivate and it will be full price to turn it back on."
>> --
>> -JH

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