A Review of Scaleway



Ever since dedicated servers and virtual machines started to become more popular and, most importantly cheaper, I have moved my blog across the years from platform to platform among several providers.

My blog’s latest home at the moment is Scaleway, a French provider that is owned by the Iliad Group which also owns: Online.net (their dedicated servers division), Free (Internet/IPTV/phone) and Free Mobile (mobile phone). As a result Scaleway is backed by a great company and will most likely be around for a while. What makes Scaleway great is their pricing and what you get for that price: great virtual and baremetal servers with unmetered data transfers!

I remember back when I first tried Scaleway their only service were their ARM based baremetal servers. They were dirt cheap at 2.99 Euros but being based on the ARM processor architecture made it tough for me to install the control panel (Webmin) that I’ve been using to manage my sites/servers. I couldn’t justify having my little ARM server around.

A while back Scaleway introduced a new range of services that included virtual servers (KVM virtualization) and baremetal servers based on the x86 architecture. I was eagerly waiting for the contract of my current provider to expire so that I could jump ship and move over to Scaleway.

Scaleway server offerings.
Scaleway servers offerings.

So how is the performance? One word: GREAT! I’ve only had to use their support twice for technical issues (failure to start a node and network issues) and on both occasions they responded and fixed the issue rather quickly. I have included a couple of I/O and networking benchmarks below for one of their virtual and baremetal servers.

C2S (Baremetal) Benchmarks (4 dedicated x86 64-bit cores, 8GB RAM, 300Mbps)


----------------------------------------------------------------------
CPU model            : Intel(R) Atom(TM) CPU  C2550  @ 2.40GHz
Number of cores      : 4
CPU frequency        : 2393.999 MHz
Total size of Disk   : 46.0 GB (1.3 GB Used)
Total amount of Mem  : 7939 MB (29 MB Used)
Total amount of Swap : 0 MB (0 MB Used)
System uptime        : 0 days, 0 hour 5 min
Load average         : 0.77, 0.60, 0.27
OS                   : Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS
Arch                 : x86_64 (64 Bit)
Kernel               : 4.4.38-std-1
----------------------------------------------------------------------
I/O speed(1st run)   : 153 MB/s
I/O speed(2nd run)   : 127 MB/s
I/O speed(3rd run)   : 119 MB/s
Average I/O speed    : 133.0 MB/s
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Node Name                       IPv4 address            Download Speed
CacheFly                        62.210.187.96           103MB/s
Linode, Tokyo, JP               106.187.96.148          8.48MB/s
Linode, Singapore, SG           139.162.23.4            3.75MB/s
Linode, London, UK              176.58.107.39           106MB/s
Linode, Frankfurt, DE           139.162.130.8           17.3MB/s
Linode, Fremont, CA             50.116.14.9             8.67MB/s
Softlayer, Dallas, TX           173.192.68.18           11.2MB/s
Softlayer, Seattle, WA          67.228.112.250          9.78MB/s
Softlayer, Frankfurt, DE        159.122.69.4            68.7MB/s
Softlayer, Singapore, SG        119.81.28.170           5.45MB/s
Softlayer, HongKong, CN         119.81.130.170          513KB/s
----------------------------------------------------------------------

VC1M (Virtual KVM) Benchmarks (4 x86 64-bit cores, 4GB RAM, 200Mbps)



----------------------------------------------------------------------
CPU model            : Intel(R) Atom(TM) CPU  C2750  @ 2.40GHz
Number of cores      : 4
CPU frequency        : 2393.902 MHz
Total size of Disk   : 46.0 GB (1.3 GB Used)
Total amount of Mem  : 3951 MB (25 MB Used)
Total amount of Swap : 0 MB (0 MB Used)
System uptime        : 0 days, 1 hour 1 min
Load average         : 5.22, 10.11, 6.62
OS                   : Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS
Arch                 : x86_64 (64 Bit)
Kernel               : 4.4.38-std-1
----------------------------------------------------------------------
I/O speed(1st run)   : 164 MB/s
I/O speed(2nd run)   : 170 MB/s
I/O speed(3rd run)   : 169 MB/s
Average I/O speed    : 167.7 MB/s
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Node Name                       IPv4 address            Download Speed
CacheFly                        62.210.187.96           86.0MB/s
Linode, Tokyo, JP               106.187.96.148          8.80MB/s
Linode, Singapore, SG           139.162.23.4            4.23MB/s
Linode, London, UK              176.58.107.39           49.6MB/s
Linode, Frankfurt, DE           139.162.130.8           17.3MB/s
Linode, Fremont, CA             50.116.14.9             2.81MB/s
Softlayer, Dallas, TX           173.192.68.18           10.6MB/s
Softlayer, Seattle, WA          67.228.112.250          8.50MB/s
Softlayer, Frankfurt, DE        159.122.69.4            64.8MB/s
Softlayer, Singapore, SG        119.81.28.170           1.66MB/s
Softlayer, HongKong, CN         119.81.130.170          424KB/s
----------------------------------------------------------------------

A great feature with Scaleway is that you can attach volumes to your server which is basically the local SSD storage that you store your data. So you could launch a server with their default storage allocation or just add additional storage and pay extra for that without havin to upgrade to the next tier for example. Another great thing is that they have all services (except ARM) in their new Amsterdam datacenter. However based on what I’ve read their flagship Paris locations are better connectivity wise at the moment (mostly routing).

They provide a good selection of the most popular Linux distros (sorry no Windows yet). They also have their “ImageHub” which will allow you to instantly have an app (ex: Drupal, Minecraft etc) on your server at server deployment.

Scaleway distros.
Scaleway distros.
Scaleway ImageHub.
Scaleway ImageHub.

I think the only issue you may have is with the way they do their networking from the Internet to your server. It appears that they do some sort of NAT translation where your server’s interface comes with a private IP and it is NATted to the Internet with a public IP. In most cases this may not be an issue. Here’s what I mean with an ifconfig output:


eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr de:19:6c:2b:e0:01
          inet addr:10.4.162.67  Bcast:10.255.255.255  Mask:255.255.255.254
          inet6 addr: fe80::dc19:6cff:fe2b:e001/64 Scope:Link
          UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:182426 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:122063 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
          RX bytes:1751071384 (1.7 GB)  TX bytes:8638675 (8.6 MB)

Another thing you might be concerned about is their choice of processors. It seems like in all their x86 services (virtual and baremetal) they have decided to use the Intel C2750 (Avoton) processor. I guess that is how they keep their prices pretty low and their racks really dense.

Overall I have been pretty happy with Scaleway. I am currently using their VC1S virtual server offering and my blog has been chugging along fine without any severe downtime. I highly recommend them if you’re looking for some cheap servers.


Leave a Reply