What is our primary use case?
We're a software company that uses a 1980s American product called Appgen, as an application generator. We've got accounting, finance materials, and information packages running under Appgen and we have a number of hospitals in Victoria, Australia using that for their finances. They tend to run on SCO Unix or UnixWare, but our own version of it, which we use for developing is SUSE Linux.
We've got an in-house virtual machine running there, but I was concerned about backup. My original reason for choosing Linode was it was an affordable Linux cloud node system that could run both Fedora and SUSE Linux.
I just chose on those grounds initially and we didn't do much else with it. But in fact, one of the services that we provide is called Medicare Online, for the Australian government health billing service. In this system, doctors and hospitals bill patients and then claim the expenses back from the government. That's been running the product's security system. Moving on to the web services, I thought when we started developing them, we'll try using Linode.
I think it's very affordable and although my initial intention was just to use it as a backup, I'm mirroring our machine with it. When we go ahead and develop the web services interface, we'll use Linode to do it.
How has it helped my organization?
The company got a lot more out of Linode than I expected. I thought that I was just buying a cloud-based backup, but I'm getting much more than that. I'm getting a really good Linux with technical support.
Essentially, the fact that we're developing web services interfaces and it is all fully supported, is
What is most valuable?
Given our business model, it is very important that Linode offers a focused set of cloud computing services because it means that we can then mirror our software in the cloud. When we do want to do things like developing web service interfaces then the environment is available. We chose SUSE Linux but we could have chosen Fedora. They offer quite a number of Linux solutions.
Initially and at this point, the fact that Linode offers worldwide coverage via multiple data centers is not important to us. However, our software is becoming obsolete and when they finally stop using it, we'll offer an archive, online inquiry for them. At that point, it will be an important feature.
We have accessed it using SSH on a number of different platforms and it works every time.
What needs improvement?
When it comes to marketing and exposure, Linode needs improvement because I just randomly found them by looking for Linux solutions. If we're in a position where we were trying to persuade our users to put their archive inquiries on to Linode, then perhaps their low profile might be a problem.
For how long have I used the solution?
We have been using Linode for approximately three years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Stability-wise, it is very good. It has never shown any sign of anything wrong and has never run out of space. We had one runaway process which was our fault and they reported it to us.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
For the environment that we are in, it's scalable. However, I haven't really tested it or pushed it hard enough to be sure about the scalability.
How are customer service and technical support?
Initially, we didn't have Apache running on Linode. I thought that it was a bit of a Hail Mary, but I asked for their assistance because I was having a bit of trouble loading it. To my surprise, considering the cost of the service, the assistance is not only prompt, but they're very good, very professional.
By contrast, we use Google for our email services, and they're nowhere near as good when you want technical support.
As far as I can tell, their support is available 365, 24/7. The one time I asked for support, I got it very quickly and correctly.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
I don't know enough about major cloud providers apart from Google Drive. But if you're someone that is working with Linux, it's very good. You can choose which Linux you want and it's a fully implemented version of it, but I haven't tested it against other providers.
The exception might be that Gmail handles the email and I think Linode is far more satisfactory, and much less expensive too.
How was the initial setup?
Using the instructions they gave us, we were given a choice in various things of Linux that we wanted to load and we chose SUSE because we knew that our software would work on that.
It was fairly straightforward. Without really knowing much about it, it was up and running in half a day. It worked the way it was meant to work, relatively easily.
What about the implementation team?
I deployed it myself and I am the primary administrator.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Linode's pricing model is very simple. When we started with the service, the cost was approximately €5 per month.
Considering the support response, uptime, and price, I find that the price to performance ratio is excellent.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
I didn't really look at other options before choosing Linode. I was looking for a cloud-based backup service of our Linux system and it was called Linode, and it seemed to do all that and it worked for us.
Given that it only cost €5 per month, it wasn't a big risk so I decided to try the service. After that, I didn't feel the need to try anything else.
What other advice do I have?
Generally speaking, I have not found any faults using Linode. For what we wanted, they provided a complete solution. We're running older versions of SUSE Linux, and when I wanted to download it and start using features, it was all available.
We are not using Linode to the full extent of its capabilities, mainly because we're just using it to back up our in-house Linux. I estimate that we are using only 5% of what it can do. Certainly, for what we're trying to do, which is to copy our backups every night and reinstall them on the mirrored machine, it does it very easily and very quickly.
I'm not sure that Linode supports Unix as distinctly as Linux. Certainly, I haven't tested that, but if it supported SCO Unix solutions as well as Linux, that would make it easier for us. It may well come up in the next year that we want to migrate customers that are running Unix, not Linux.
My advice for anybody who is considering this service is that if their software runs under Linux and they are a Linux solution provider then I would recommend it without hesitation. It supports all of the main flavors of Linux.
Starting to use this product, I didn't have to learn anything because I followed the instructions, chose my version of Linux to install, and everything worked the first time. My only snag was trying to install web services in Apache and I had to ask them for help, but the help came very quickly and was correct.
I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.