Billing to start this month

Just over two years ago I put pen to paper on BigV‘s specification. It now hosts hundreds of live sites: citrulu.com for web site monitoring, luzme.com for up-to-the-minute eBook price comparisons, folktunefinder.com helps you “name that tune”, itsdanbull.com has rap and activism, quizible.com for quiz obsessives, bullfarmoast.co.uk is a lovely B&B, Tilley and Grace sell jewellery, and has weathered links from McFly… it’s a very long list. It gives me a lot of pleasure to flick through the hostnames and see what sites our testers have entrusted to our new platform. There are machines running Windows, machines running OpenBSD and of course, lots of Linux too. Even though we’ve had our odd hour or two of down time, BigV seems more reliable and more transparent than some “finished” VPS and cloud products out there, judging from the last 24 months at least.

The official launch won’t be for another couple of months. But we’re about to pass a big milestone: turning on our billing system, and actually collecting some money. By taking money for BigV while it’s a stable hosting platform, we can complete empty our beta test list and rapidly ramp up production of new features: disc snapshots, archiving, popular API support and everything else that’s queued up for “after the launch”.

To that end, we’ll create accounts on our billing system for all of our testers. If that’s you, you will get some instructions in the next few days on how to pay for your BigV usage. In exchange, we’ll publish (and stick to) our Service Level Agreement, and you can finally point your customers at a serious, paid-for service.

We will start emailing bills at a 100% discount during September, and start charging our full published rates from October. Testers who signed up with us before August 2011 will receive a £60 credit; that’s our thank-you for being interested before we’d announced very much. I hope that everyone else will feel that they have had a lot of free, reliable hosting already.

So you should now delete any VMs you don’t want to pay for. Even if you don’t want to use BigV for now, you can keep your account reserved without charge, assuming there are no active VMs on it, and come back at any time

Our billing system isn’t yet complete, and will charge on a daily resolution, so a minimum charge of 33p for creating a virtual machine. That’s why it’s still a beta test, although one that’s being wound down very slowly.

This puts our full launch into late October/November; in the mean time, please report anything you think is unusual, surprising or incorrect about the bills you see. We’ll be watching them too! And please also let us know if you have any particularly exciting sites or demonstrations that are using BigV in unexpected ways, because we’d love to feature your sites on the revamped bigv.io.

Happy B-day! (billing that is)