How Rackspace bills for bandwidth
Rackspace introduced the concept of charging customers only for the bandwidth that they actually use in a given period. Other providers use what is commonly referred to as the 95th percentile method. This method takes readings of inbound and outbound bandwidth use at regular intervals. The larger bandwidth use of the two is recorded. At the end of the billing period, the highest 5 percent of the readings are discarded and the customer is charged for a full month of use at the 95 percent mark.
Although this method provides some level of protection against short traffic spikes, the disadvantage occurs during hours of lower use. With 95th percentile billing, your lower, off-hour use is billed at the higher 95th percentile rate. Traditionally, this period of lower bandwidth use is approximately 50 percent of the hours in the billing period, resulting in charges for bandwidth that you did not use.
Rackspace instead charges based on aggregate transfer. This method is ideal for our hosting customers because it results in lower bandwidth charges. Instead of penalizing for peak hour consumption (as in the 95th percentile method), this method charges you only for the bandwidth that you use. As shown in the following graph, in the 95th percentile method you would be charged for bandwidth use at a rate of 377 Kbps sustained across the entire month. With Rackspace, you would instead be charged for the equivalent of 196 Kbps, converted at per GB transferred.
Finally, Rackspace charges only for outbound bandwidth, meaning that routine site maintenance, such as content publishing and uploads, is not counted against your bandwidth allocation.
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