What is our primary use case?
In the beginning I needed something to host domain name services for the domain name that I had registered. I also use it for email and file sharing. We were pioneers in that regard, in April 2008, going fully online for the company, with everybody working from home and interacting through the platform that we set up with Linode.
How has it helped my organization?
Linode's services accelerated our company's innovation, in a way. It facilitated this transition where, right now, everybody is working from home. But in April 2008, very few companies were doing so. We were able to do so because of their services and because they made it so easy to configure and set up.
Linode has saved us money compared to what we would pay other cloud providers, absolutely. It's hard to tell how much we have saved because we've only evaluated the others, we haven't really full-scale used them. At some point our own service was co-located with a provider, which was a different model, but that certainly was far more expensive, three to four times more expensive.
What is most valuable?
The most valuable and important thing is that it is a hosting platform where I can configure and deploy virtual machines on-the-fly.
It is also important that Linode offers worldwide coverage via multiple data centers. The ability to deploy on multiple servers, worldwide, allows us to have distributed services and failover and redundancy. We added some features to our platform that leveraged that and helped us do it in a distributed manner.
What needs improvement?
It would be helpful if they provided the additional Linux distributions that I prefer using. But there is still a workaround. I can do it without direct support. It's a bit more complicated, but it can still be done.
For how long have I used the solution?
I opened an account with them in April 2008.
I haven't used it for the whole of those 13 years. There have been some interruptions for a while when I haven't needed the service. But I have used it pretty much throughout that period.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
So far the stability has been very good. We have never had unplanned downtime.
There has been planned downtime, but that was announced well in advance, whenever they had to roll out patches to hardware and software. We were notified a month, or sometimes even more than a month, in advance. So we were fine in preparing
And whenever they have had a failure, they seem to have a very good predictive failure system that notifies them. So even then, they gave us two or three days' notice about the need to restart environments. It's been good.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
For what we need the scalability is fine. The platform gives us all the computing power required. When we scale our solution up, we have features in our own solution that help us leverage multiple distributed environments and multiple machines. So we do not need support from the provider for this. It's not like we need any kind of clustering solution from outside our company. We do that kind of thing ourselves.
We are happy with what they provide, but others probably would need more in terms of scalability.
All our employees, about 30 people, are working from home, so everybody is connecting to this platform. We are building enterprise-level software for supply chain planning for other companies. It's not only our own employees who connect to do their regular day-to-day jobs, but we also deploy an environment for our customers, which they connect to and run data integration on. With our customer users, there are about another 50 users.
We plan to increase usage of Linode, absolutely. As we grow, as we get more customers of our own, we will configure and deploy more environments to serve them.
How are customer service and technical support?
Their 24/7/365, no-tiered, human customer support is very important, although we very rarely use it. But it's important to know that there's somebody there, in extreme cases, that we can reach and talk to.
Their support is 100 percent very good. Whenever we needed their support they were there for us and they provided everything we needed. When it comes to the flexibility and overall responsiveness of Linode, compared to the other major cloud providers I have worked with, they're great. I don't know how big Linode is, but they certainly are a big company, yet they still give you the impression of a mom-and-pop shop, where you have direct personal service. You're not interacting with a big corporation with a technical support center somewhere overseas. The interaction gives a very personal feeling and it's great.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
I was looking for a very simple solution provider. I'm not looking for a complex solution added on top of that. That's why I use Linode instead of Amazon Web Services or Google. Being a technical person myself, it's easier to get the basic thing and to configure it the way I want, as opposed to a less sophisticated person who would want all the additional services on top to help them navigate through things.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup is very clear and straightforward. I've been using Amazon Web Services too, because I was interacting with another company and they had set up with Amazon Web Services. Comparing them, I find Linode more straightforward and to the point. With Amazon it was very hard to figure out everything you need.
To set up an environment using Linode, the part that has to be done using the Linode tools, takes less than an hour. Of course, there's the actual configuration of the environment in addition, but that would have to happen on any platform. But having the environment positioned and ready to go doesn't take long at all.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
Recently, I've been looking at Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services, and we have also used Azure, and I'm still far more happy with Linode than any of those. Surprisingly, Azure has been better than Google and Amazon, but not that much.
One key difference is that pricing is very hard to come by and to understand with all the bigger companies. Their pricing models are so weird and it's hard to figure out exactly how much I am going to pay for this kind of service. Everything is piecemeal. With Linode, it's simple and straightforward. You know exactly what you will have to pay at the end of the day.
What other advice do I have?
Everybody's needs are different, but if you have the level of technical knowledge, and if you're looking for a simple, straightforward solution, where you are able to configure and customize it to the way you want it, Linode is the ideal platform. They provide you with the support in that regard. If you don't have the technical capabilities in-house and you need more support from the provider to deploy more elaborate solutions, then maybe others would be a better fit. But as long as you have the in-house technical capabilities, Linode is a better fit, in my opinion.
It does what we want it to do. Over the years they have grown and implemented many features. There isn't anything in particular that I would request from them. The services have always been very effective and quick.