Linode Review

Nice cloud management panel and easy to create new servers, but there is no managed database feature or role-based access control

What is our primary use case?

Our use cases involve their virtual server (VPS) solutions, which we have used since we first started with them. They also have a wonderful DNS service, and we use that as well.

For most of their existence, VPS is more or less what they have been providing.

How has it helped my organization?

We're happy that it works, and we're happy that we have never had to contact them. They have been proactively managing hardware issues and network issues for us. These are all nice things and these are reasons we're keeping using Linode and not going elsewhere.

That said, we're moving part of our business from Linode to one of the local companies because of regulations in privacy laws. In Turkey, we have to serve local, Turkish customers using a local provider because by regulation, we're not allowed to move certain kinds of data out of the country. This means that we're obliged to use one of the local companies, but otherwise, for our global services, we intend to keep using Linode.

Considering the features we use, I would not say that we're an extensive user. For example, we don't use volumes, object storage, or Kubernetes. We do have a number of servers and we're using the DNS service exclusively. We don't have any other DNS servers.

What is most valuable?

The cloud management panel is nice.

It's very easy to create new servers.

The VPS and DNS servers work smoothly and we're happy with what we have.

It is important that Linode offers worldwide coverage through multiple data centers, although for us, if they covered only Europe and the U.S., we would be fine with it.

What needs improvement?

They don't provide managed databases so when we need one, we have to build and install a server and manage the database by ourselves. This is an important feature for us that should be added. Currently, the object storage and volumes features are insufficient for our needs. We need an actual database.

They have recently started to provide cloud firewall service on some of their data centers but it's not widely available yet. This is something that would be nice to have, although it's not very important.

Having a load-balancer feature would be nice, and I have been reading that this is something that they have been working on for the past few years. It's surprising that they're very slow when it comes to implementing certain features.

They don't have role-based access control, which is problematic for us. Imagine a case where you have multiple departments and you have a number of servers and you want to give limited access to some departments or some people. You just can't do that. Another example is that when you have an additional user account on your panel, that user will have access to everything. They will be able to reboot servers, modify DNS records, or do dangerous things that you don't need them to or want them to. Role-based access control is something that Amazon provides, Google provides, and Azure provides, and it's unfortunate that it is not available as a feature.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Linode for approximately 16 years, close to the entire time that they have existed.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Linode has been very reliable for us. We have had no downtime in the past year and during the past ten years, I think that we have had less than 20 minutes of downtime in total. Stability-wise, it is awesome.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Linode is not very easy to scale.

The Kubernetes cluster feature is nice and I suppose that it is easy to manage, but we don't use it.

In the case we need some performance, we have API access and we can create servers on-demand, but Linode's cloud doesn't really compare to Amazon's offerings. They don't have anything comparable to Amazon's Lambda. It's a function as a service. It's a new paradigm, basically. It's called serverless computing. Linode doesn't provide this or anything close to this. It's a leap forward in the industry, and it's another thing that is missing from Linode. It could be a problem for some people but not for us.

In terms of scalability, we're happy with what we have because we usually scale slowly. It's not like we're going to have a few million more customers on our doorstep in less than an hour. It's going to go up slowly for us, so we can anticipate and plan against it and we can create new servers or scale-out infrastructure by keeping track of it and doing much of the work manually.

Ultimately, Linode does not help us scale up. We do most of the work manually. If, however, they provided a managed database, we could scale more easily, which would be nice.

How are customer service and technical support?

Linode provides 24/7, 365, no-tiered human customer support, but it is not important to us at all. We're mostly self-sufficient. Also, in case something goes wrong, I understand that they have a team that tracks downtimes, outages, and other problems. They usually respond to problems before we need to talk to someone.

The support is proactive in this regard and so far during the whole time, the 16 years we've worked with them, we never had to talk to a human being, not even once.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Depending on the project, we still use servers by other providers. For example, we have a small number of servers on Rackspace and DigitalOcean. We have a number of servers on Google Cloud, as well.

In our previous projects, we used Amazon a lot. We don't use them anymore, however, because we don't need to.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very straightforward.

You start by creating a user account, then you enter a credit card number and you create a server and you're good to go. For anyone in their target customer base, they would find it very easy to become a customer or create a user.

The last time I did this, it took three or four minutes. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing is nice for us. It is a little cheaper than Google or Amazon, more or less on par with the other competitors.

The pricing model is very straightforward and it suits us. It may not suit everyone, but it suits us. The pricing model is easy to understand.

At this point, the pricing is not very important for us. We would be happy to pay between 20% and 50% more if there were a number of features available. Unfortunately, they're not available and have not been so for a very long time.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We don't use Amazon or Google or Microsoft Azure, but if we decided to use them, Linode would have saved us a significant amount of money. We're probably paying 30% of what we would have paid to Amazon or Google.

The other providers do have additional features but we choose to stay with Linode because it's slightly cheaper. Also, we are used to Linode. When we first started doing business, everyone was building their own database servers and we got used to this model. We don't want to change providers for this alone but if Linode provided this feature, we would definitely use it.

What other advice do I have?

We don't use these Kubernetes or Docker deployments and we have no intention to use them. They are recent features, available for perhaps the past three or four years, and we don't plan to use them.

My advice for others who are looking into Linode is that if they only need DNS and VPS and maybe self-managed Kubernetes, Linode is one of the best because it's so reliable. To me, it's like a bridge. You buy it, and you don't think about it for years. For us, that was the experience.

We're technically capable of managing our own hardware, so Linode is just taking away the burden of managing hardware by ourselves. This leaves us to manage our own service and software. If people are basically looking for VPS solutions and Kubernetes, they're like a bridge. Linode is so reliable that you won't need to talk to any customer service agent, and they are one of the best globally.

In summary, Linode needs to expand its portfolio of features. It's pretty basic currently, and while it's nice to be basic, some people like us need more features. We actually need them and if we had the incentive to move to somewhere else, we would consider it. We currently don't have an incentive, because our business is not growing explosively. However, if we had to grow quickly and have a huge number of users, of course, we would have to think about managed databases and load-balancers and firewalls and role-based access control, and the other features that are missing on Linode. We would have to migrate to somewhere else. Currently, we don't have that problem.

We have been a happy customer, most of the time.

I would rate this solution a six out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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