Linode Review

Responsive support, scales with our requirements, and the DNS management tool is helpful

What is our primary use case?

The primary use cases involve renting virtual private servers for our infrastructure, which is used for the development of software, website databases, websites, and some infrastructure such as for audio and video conferencing.

The main purpose for using their virtual private servers is for our in-house development program.

We use a Linux environment for our website database applications.

How has it helped my organization?

Linode has done a lot of help to us when it comes to streamlining anything where we need a server. Whether it is development servers or even servers for clients, Linode has helped us a lot.

It has helped us to accelerate our innovation, although there are similar services available so we didn't choose Linode mainly for that. Nonetheless, it certainly has helped because we don't have a core infrastructure. Obviously, all of the development that we do internally is happening on their server. This means that it's very important for our innovation and development, but other services would be able to compete with them, so it's not an exclusive advantage.

We choose Linode because they are very Linux-focused with their operating systems. It is very Linux-friendly and Linux-oriented. Mainly, in the end, it's all about vendor lock-in. If I compare it to Amazon and Google Cloud, they have a vendor lock-in, and we want to avoid that. This is something that Linode is very helpful with. They have a very standardized open system, which is easily configurable.

It is difficult for me to assess the price to performance ratio of Linode compared to other product providers because I don't have much experience with them. But, at least compared to our self-hosted servers, I think they have very good uptime and response time.

What is most valuable?

The DNS management tool is helpful. 

The virtual machine configuration tool is very helpful for setting up a new server or for modifying an existing server. It works very reliably.

It is very important that Linode offers a well-focused set of cloud computing services. They have a lot of options for different products which work well together. I saw the extended steps that products provide in the past, but I don't see a need to expand it anymore. I think it's perfect as it is right now.

I find it important that they offer worldwide coverage using multiple data centers, but from my point of view, they already have very good coverage. For example, here in Thailand, which is in the Asia region, it could cover Singapore, Japan, and also a little bit of Europe. It's important because we deal with a lot of international clients, but there is no need to extend these exhaustively. They are very well set up already.

What needs improvement?

They recently changed the web interface and although the older one did not look as good, the new one is less responsive. For example, when you changed something, it was instant. The new interface was really bad when it was first released, and it has improved, yet it is still not as responsive as the older one. I have considered whether being in Thailand makes a difference, although it is still a relative comparison. This is something that I have written an email to them about, and they are working on improving it.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Linode for two and a half years.

We use the Virtual Private Server (VPS).

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In general, the stability is very good. However, there was recently a nasty problem in Singapore, and it seems to have service interruptions more now than in the past. I think that at some point in time, they will upgrade the Singapore data center and the stability will improve. For us, it's not really relevant because we don't have large scale, or clients in large numbers, and not around the clock. Ultimately, the interruptions don't affect us too much.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Our company's scalability is perfect because we can just upgrade to the next level of server available. Within 10 to 15 minutes, it will upgrade and everything is there. Even if we grow a lot over time, their servers are still big enough for our requirements. We wouldn't need anything on the level of Amazon or Google Cloud.

There are only two people in the company who are involved with the servers.

We use Linode for all our servers, with respect to ones which we host in-house or host for clients in-house. So if we need a commercial VM, we will set up a new Linode. From that point of view, it is sufficient for our use case.

In the future, if we increase usage it will be mostly for new clients that need database applications, cloud space, servers, or more resources. I expect it would be a steady but low increase in the resources that we need.

In terms of end-users, it is difficult to estimate how many use it because there are several websites and databases. There are probably no more than 100 in total, which includes all of our customers.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have been in contact with technical support a few times. It was always via email and they were very responsive. There is nothing to complain about when it comes to their support.

I'm certainly thankful for their support, which always has a human answering my inquiries. I find that Linode is very good because when I've sent an inquiry, it's almost always dealt with by a human and it doesn't involve working with FAQs or automated responses. I find that very good. It is important because, with most issues, I can resolve them myself. It is only the very high-level technical issues that I have no idea about and need support for. It is very good compared to other services, especially Google. With other services, it is sometimes very difficult to get a human to respond to your inquiry.

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

Prior to Linode, we only had in-house servers. I started using Linode more intensively when we opened the company in Thailand, almost three years ago.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very straightforward. It is perfect, although I might ask for more configuration options, making the setup a bit more complex. For now, however, it is fine.

Normally, the initial deployment takes between five and ten minutes. Using the web interface, it is very fast to deploy. However, afterward, I need to check the parameters. This is something that I think could be improved if they allow a few more options through the web interface.

In terms of an implementation strategy, we didn't really have one because we don't have many servers. We only have a handful, so at this point, we just get a new Linode when we need a new one because our capacity is full. There are a few things that need to be done such as changing the root password, setting up additional system users, installing a few packages, and setting up standardized software for our company. However, we don't have any official documentation for the steps we follow.

What about the implementation team?

I take care of the deployment for each Linode, and I have another person who supports me with the maintenance. We try to optimize everything as much as possible, especially in the maintenance phase. I also set up the updates as part of this effort.

The maintenance involves just logging in, doing some checks, and running some maintenance scripts. It's a new product, so this is part of our manual monitoring.

What was our ROI?

We see a return on investment in terms of time saved for managing our infrastructure.

If I compare to in-house servers, we don't save a great deal of time. I would estimate a 10% time savings in general and slightly more for setup and maintenance. Over time, it would become pretty substantial.

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

Linode has very good pricing. There might be something a little bit cheaper but I find it very fair and competitive, and nothing to complain about. Given the broad set of choices and options, I wouldn't ask for cheaper prices.

I find a simple pricing model important, and I think that's also one of the reasons why we decided on Linode. I'm paying a simple, per-hour rate for the service, with no automatic scaling-up of the pricing. This is extremely important because, with Google Cloud and Amazon, part of their infrastructure does bill based on usage. We didn't want this but instead, wanted to be billed on a fixed monthly rate. This allows us to keep an eye on the monthly fixed costs. It puts us more in control.

We have a few instances where we use a lot of resources on a few servers, and with the fixed price, I think that we save money compared to other cloud-hosting providers who bill according to usage. Even if we don't save much money, it allows us to plan very well ahead.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

When we set up the company, we took a look at the options for commercial providers and we decided on Linode. These included Amazon, Google Cloud, DigitalOcean, and a new, smaller local one, based in Switzerland in Europe, which is where our mother company was created. The one that compared most closely was DigitalOcean.

I don't recall all of the details but we found from reviews that Linode had better support for Linux, and it is more developer-friendly. This may have changed over the past three years, but when it was time to choose, these were deciding factors.

We also knew about Microsoft Azure, but they didn't have good Linux support at that time. As such, we didn't look at them further.

What other advice do I have?

The biggest lesson that I have learned from using Linode is the importance of stepping up production-ready infrastructure.

My advice for anybody who is implementing Linode is to start with a small server, work with it, and then scale up later. This works well because scaling up is really easy. If you plan on very large infrastructure, conduct a PoC first. In the case where you are just hosting websites, you can start with the resources for 100 or 200 users, and then scale up as the demand increases or the size of your company or user base increases.

In summary, this is a product that meets all of my expectations for a cloud service in terms of functionality, scale, and pricing. It is perfect for our scale.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

**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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