OVH refuses to disclose bandwidth limits. And an attempt to extort a customer?

First let me state that until this became an issue, we have been absolutely happy with the performance, reliability, and affordability of OVH hosting services. But by not disclosing bandwidth limits, and then demanding customers use stay below that limit, well, frankly it is absurd, and its unfair. If we dont know the limit, how can we operate below it?

Recently I was contacted by OVh support informing us they had detected “attack traffic” from our vps. This is false, none the less this sparked an interesting email exchange between OVH hosting services support staff and myself, a representative of Squidblacklist.org.

First, I got an email from OVH recently regarding our heavy UDP traffic. I informed them that we are not compromised and that it is not malicious traffic, and that we do bulk daily whois lookup as part of our blacklist processing system, its legitimate traffic which is part of our backend blacklist processing systems. The OVH Representative goes on to tell me that our legitimate bulk dns lookup traffic, port UDP:53 is well above the acceptable or allowed threshold. And apparently it only triggers their threat detection system during the day.

A highly suspicious claim when you consider the fact that we have been running these bulk dns lookups at night for years without issue or triggering this alleged “hack detection” system. You see, recently I did some manual testing and ran some bulk dns lookups during the day, presumably during the time when OVH staff would have actually been on site, and I believe it is highly unlikely that any “hack detection” system was triggered and that this is nonsense. And rather, an amateur, bored data center technician who has nothing better to do than to harass OVH customers.

We understand that because bulk UDP traffic can resemble a DNS Amplification DDoS attack to the amateur who doesn’t know what they are looking at, it is not unreasonable to be alerted when first observing such traffic. But since we have informed them that this is legitimate traffic, this should not be an issue. After informing them of our legitimate use, I would presume they would respectfully put a note on our account to not bother us again regarding the matter. That is not the case, this is the second time they have sent is a similar email notification.

So, the next step in our email exchange was to reasonably ask them what the bandwidth threshold was, so that we can respectfully adjust code so that our data usage could be reduced to a level which would be more respectful of the OVH infrastructure. I was told by OVH staff that I need to pay for a dedicated server, and that they will not disclose the threshold or bandwidth usage limitations on their vps services. This to me is completely unreasonable and unfair, and completely, utterly frustrating.

This is an exact quote from OVH support..

"I am writing back to inform you that our specialists have informed us that the number of DNS requests sent from the VPS had breached our threshold but there are no modifications we can do to our anti-hack system for a VPS. What they have suggested for your use case is to purchase a dedicated server since we can make modifications to our thresholds for them. "

Ok the first problem with this is the assertion that they don’t have the capability to adjust QoS for each vps, I find that highly doubtful for a major hosting provider. In other words, that is complete bullshit. Even I can do that with my home equipment. Imposing ‘QoS’ style rate limits any machine, any time, on any schedule or interval, by any port at any rate or usage limit is well within the capability of any major hosting provider. But a large provider of cloud infrastructure services such as OVH cannot perform this simple task, or they wont, which is it?

But its actually irrelevant to the point I am trying to convey, as that is not what I am asking them to do, and it should not have even been an issue to discuss. I am simply asking them to tell me what the limit is so that I can limit my own consumption, which is well within my ability to do.

Another email had the following response to my inquiry regarding the exact bandwidth or data usage limits on ovh vps nodes…

"I would suggest to make some adjustments to your code to lower the number of DNS queries at a time. Unfortunately we don’t have the permission to give out information about our thresholds. "

Well the obvious question is, how can a customer adjust usage below the threshold if they wont share with their customers what this “threshhold” is? We are not talking about arbitrary numbers here, we are talking specifics. What is the allowable bandwidth? What is the total consumption limit? And why wont OVH disclose these limits? This isnt rocket science folks, and it isnt unreasonable to expect a service provider to disclose this information. Even a residential ISP will makes these numbers available, it is also impossible and unreasonable to demand that we make the appropriate adjustments to the code without knowing this information.

If OVH will not give us the precise numbers, rather than making arbitrary demands that we upgrade to a more expensive dedicated server, well then, at the end of the lease, we will be switching hosting providers, one that does disclose the bandwidth limitations of its services. Furthermore, suggesting that we just spend more money on a dedicated server, which we dont need, and is totally unnecessary and would do nothing to address the underlying problem, is unacceptable.

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