Linode vs Digital Ocean

Digital Ocean* is relatively new in the cloud hosting industry but is getting a lot of serious attention as of late mainly because of its price and SSD hard drives. There are also a lot of stuff going on at Linode* lately where they are upgrading their hardware, double the RAM and faster network. Let’s take a closer look between them in terms of resources/price.

For comparison, we will use Linode 1GB plan and Digital Ocean 1GB Droplet.

Pricing (Updated)

Linode:

  • CPU: 1 Core
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Storage: 24GB SSD
  • Bandwidth: 2TB
  • Pricing: $10.00

Digital Ocean:

  • CPU: 1 Core
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Storage: 30GB SSD
  • Bandwidth: 2TB
  • Pricing: $10.00

Pricing/specs wise, both of them are identical, except Do offers 6GB more storage.

Performance

There is a detailed performance benchmarking between Linode and Digital Ocean by Jason Ormand and also bits and pieces can be found on Hacker News.

  • Network: Linode has better network connectivity compared to DO as mentioned here on Hacker News. Currently, there is no internal network for DO droplets but is coming soon.
  • CPU: All Linode’s plans come with 8 cores so Linode clearly has an upper hand in terms of CPU performance.
  • I/O: All DO’s plans come with SSD storage so it’s blazing fast. DO wins hands down.
  • RAM: DO is slightly better in RAM speed compared to Linode.

If CPU performance is important for your app or if your servers need to communicate internally (e.g. separate app and db server), you should go with Linode. Otherwise, DO gets my vote.

Others

  • Data center: Linode has more options compared to DO. Linode: Newark, Atlanta, Fremont, Dallas, London and Tokyo. DO: New York, San Francisco, Amsterdam and Singapore.
  • iPhone app: Linode has one and it’s really convenient to manage your servers on the go.

Support

I can’t speak on behalf of DO as I’m not one of their customers yet but I can speak highly for Linode. I’ve been with Linode for more than 4 years and their support is second to none. Their response time is usually less than 3 minutes and their support staff know what they are doing.

Benchmark

Here is a nice post written by Remco Bron comparing EC2 vs Linode vs Digital Ocean. For $20/month, Linode clearly gives you a better performance thanks to their 8 cores CPU but I expect Digital Ocean to catch up very soon.

Conclusion

I still think (as of writing) Linode is more suited for production while Digital Ocean is great for development. Feel free to chip in in the comments below, especially you have experienced both Linode and Digital Ocean.

Update: DO has grown a lot over the past years and being used by many for production. I think both are great, but my inexperience with DO and as a Linode customer for many years, I would still go with Linode… but DO’s $5 plan is a killer. Super handy for development or some light hosting that doesn’t require lots of RAM and CPU.

*Note: My referral link. Sign-up using my link if you think this post is useful, I would appreciate the referral.

Hello WordPress, Bye Posterous

I’ve been switching back and forth between various blogging platforms  — WordPress, Tumblr and Posterous. If my memory serves me right, I started off with WordPress, then Tumblr, and back to WordPress before ended up with Posterous. Now, I’m back on WordPress.

Past few months, I’m contemplating a move from Posterous for two reasons — speed and flexibility.

  • Speed — Posterous is slow, and getting slower after they roll out Posterous Spaces. Back in the early days when I started using Posterous, loading my blog and the blog management pages is pretty fast but now, speed bump everywhere. Try search for posterous is slow on Google.
  • Flexibility — Posterous’ simplicity is great, but because of that it’s not very flexible. You can’t embed Javascript snippets and do much modification besides the look and feel. Those like me who want more control, a self-hosted WordPress is a better choice.

So, it’s time to switch back to a self-hosted WordPress blog and here I am. Now I’ve total control over every aspect of my blog from the speed to the look and feel. If you are wondering how I migrate from Posterous to a self-hosted WordPress, check out this post by Antonio Cangiano.

Announcing: Fryday App

Today, I’m happy and proud to announce the launch of Fryday an experimental project by @koekoecrunch and me, @matthewphiong.

Fryday What?

Fryday Logo

Fryday is a web app that let you express your anger, frustration, hatred, outrage or whatever negative on Friday. Yes, just on Friday. It allows you to post your messages, pictures, videos or voice screams securely (secured with bank-level data encryption). You’ll be able to share with your friends, your selected friends and have a good laugh about it.

One common use of Fryday is to take a picture of your boss, doodle on it (uhmm… like “Stop throwing me work you bitch! It’s Friday, Friday, gotta get lost on Friday”) to release your anger and then upload it to Fryday. You can select which friends to share with and have a LMFAO!

Why Fryday?

As we all know, Friday is the most tense and frustrating day of the week. This very day that is all about work, work and work and deadline, deadline and deadline. When we are all excited and planning our weekend, Friday will come and spoil it. So, we really can’t stand Friday and because of that we really want to FRY it! Hence Fryday was born.

Oh BTW, Fryday (the name) is highly inspired by Rebecca Black’s Friday. Thanks Rebecca! We ♥ your Friday.

Fryday FYI

We have been working on this on and off for more than 6 months now. Here are some unbelievable and shocking stats (even we are shocked!)

  • 1000 litres of sweat drained.
  • 100 kilograms of caffeine consumed.
  • 500 SMS sent.
  • 250 papers wasted.
  • 25 Fridays wasted.
  • 500 kilograms of chocolate strawberry cakes consumed.
  • And most recently… 100 hours of Rebecca Black’s Friday!

Excuse us if Fryday is not as good as it sounds or hyped. FYI I’m learning Django and Koekoe is learning Illustrator while building this app, we are still very noob. We hope this app will make you feel as good as having a delicious chocolate strawberry cake on Friday. Anyway, we hope you don’t hate it :)

P.S. Happy 1st of April :)

KTHXBAI,
matt & koekoe
ireallyhatefriday@gmail.com

Price War: Linode vs Amazon EC2 vs Rackspace Cloud Servers vs Windows Azure Virtual Machines

Updated: 

  • 18 September 2012. Slicehost is now Rackspace Cloud Servers and added Windows Azure.
  • 31 October 2012. New EC2 price.
  • 10 April 2013. Linode NextGen specs.

It’s time for a “cloud” war but on the pricing side. So what is the real price per month between the four most popular cloud/VPS hosting providers? Which one has the best value for money? Let’s find out with a simple resource/price comparison below.

Again, the contenders are:

I’m currently hosting a few blogs and websites on a Linode 1024 plan (1024MB RAM). The incoming and outgoing bandwidth are approx. 70GB and 140GB respectively/month. So I’ll use these data in the calculation for EC2, Cloud Servers and Azure Virtual Machines and assumes 730 hours of service/month.

The Numbers

For Linode, the price is fixed with preallocated storage and transfer with free incoming traffic.

Linode 1024 Plan

  • CPU: 8 Cores
  • RAM: 1024MB
  • Storage: 24GB
  • Transfer: In (Free), Out (2048GB/2TB)

Price/month: $20.00

Note: Linode has upgraded all of their plans with better hardware, network and double the RAM for the same price (actually it is $0.05 more for all plans). You can read more about their NextGen of Linode on their blog: NetworkHardwareRAM.

Amazon EC2 Micro Instance

Price varies between regions, we’ll use the cheapest one.

  • Instance/hour: $0.02
  • CPU: 1 Core
  • RAM: 613MB**
  • Storage: EBS storage only ($0.10/GB), say we use 20GB
  • Transfer: In (Free), Out (First 1GB is free, subsequent GB up to 10TB is $0.12/GB)

Note: EC2 Micro instance doesn’t come with instance storage, that is why we need to use Amazon EBS.

Instance/month: $14.60
Storage/month: $2.00
Transfer (In)/month: $0
Transfer (Out)/month: $16.68

Price/month: $33.28

Rackspace Cloud Servers

  • Instance/hour: $0.06
  • CPU: 1 Core
  • RAM: 1024MB
  • Storage: 40GB allocated
  • Transfer: In (Free), Out ($0.12/GB)

Instance/month: $43.80
Storage/month: $0
Transfer (In)/month: $0
Transfer (Out)/month: $16.80

Price/month: $60.60

Windows Azure Virtual Machine XS

  • Instance/hour: $0.013
  • CPU: Shared
  • RAM: 768MB**
  • Storage: Locally redundant storage ($0.095/GB), say we use 20GB
  • Transfer: In (Free), Out (First 5GB is free, subsequent GB up to 10TB is $0.12/GB)

Note: The free first 5GB outgoing transfer only valid until 30 June 2013. More here.

Instance/month: $9.49
Storage/month: $1.90
Transfer (In)/month: $0
Transfer (Out)/month: $12

Price/month: $23.39

So we have it: Linode ($20.00), EC2 ($33.28), Cloud Servers ($60.60) and Azure VMs ($23.39)

Here, the clear “winner” is Linode*. But again, this is not really an apple-to-apple comparison because the VM’s performance is not taken into consideration. But in terms of specs and resources, Linode came out top. Linode is more superior in terms of hardware with 8 cores of CPU and very generous with their outgoing bandwidth, 2TB. But please take not that having more cores doesn’t mean more processing power.

Conclusion

As noted here, go for cloud if you want to run your stuff for a short period of time (few hours or days. You can still use Linode and get credited for the unused time for the rest of the month), CPU intensive stuff or web apps that have unpredictable load and need to scale up and down easily and quickly. If you want to host a blog or website (long-term) go for VPS. I would recommend Linode* over the rest. It’s really hard to argue when comes to hardware and price/resources. It’s simply the best bang for the buck. I’ve been with them for many years now, great support (usually less than 3 mins response) and great performance.

*Note: My referral link. Sign-up using my link if you think this post is useful, I would appreciate the referral. Otherwise, just hit linode.com in your address bar.

**Closest available RAM option to 1GB.

Rackspace Cloud to Linode, A Perfect Switch

Perfect for two reasons: cost and performance (speed).

I was a Cloud Sites customer since October 2009. Back then it was $100/month but recently it has gone up to $149/month. Old customers like me are not affected by the new pricing, I’m still billed $100/month.

Well, I never though of making any switch… away from Rackspace Cloud. Rackspace has been fantastic all this while and I’m very happy with them. But after reading this post at Hacker News and Linode was mentioned couple of times, I decide to give it a try.

I signed up for a Linode 512 plan (512MB RAM, 16GB storage & 200GB transfer), setup a LAMP stack and quickly port one of my blogs over. The immediate effect is the loading speed — way faster than Rackspace. I googled and found more positive and funny reviews about Linode, mostly about speed. I’m half sold.

When I look back at Cloud Sites, my blogs and websites only consume around 1/5 of the monthly allocated resources, so in other words, I’m paying $80 ‘extra’ every month. OMG, but true. My blogs’ traffic have gone down gradually over the months because I no longer blog actively. Based on my calculation, if I move everything over I’ll not max out the resources at Linode.

So, I’ve decided to make the full switch and move everything over to Linode. It took me around a day to setup everything and now all my blogs and websites are living happily ever after at Linode for $19.95. I get to save $80, a big big saving considering I’m going to launch my startup, Traveloot soon.

If you want to give Linode a try, perhaps you can use my Linode referral link. I’d be very very happy. TIA.

Microsoft Imagine Cup Malaysia 2010, A Recap

I feel very honored to be invited over to the 2010 edition of Imagine Cup Malaysia Finals held in Langkawi, the Legendary Island as a guest. Previously, I had two good years as a participant in 2008 and 2009, both in Kuala Lumpur. This year, it is the grandest of them all featuring 29 teams for both public and private universities as well as university-colleges with 4 special awards apart from the exclusive Top 3.

It is amazing to see how Imagine Cup in Malaysia has evolved, from a very unknown competition back in 2008 to a mammoth, media-frenzy, student-crazy competition. Kudos to the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE), Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM) as the organizer, Microsoft Malaysia as well as the support from MDeC. IMHO, without MoHE’s support, I don’t think Imagine Cup Malaysia can be this successful — in terms of participation and as well as the scale of the competition. I hope the Ministry and other partners will carry on with their utmost support for this competition in years to come. I’m very positive about it. So, who are the champs?

The Winners

Champion: Team HDC (APIIT-UCTI) — Project Apple
First Runner-up: Team Celestial (USM) — MiDS
Second Runner-up: Medialab Studio (UMP) — Eco Bumi

Special Awards

Best Team Presentation: Team HDC (APIIT-UCTI)
Coolest Application: Celestial (USM)
MDeC Most Promising Solution: Cyber MarksMan (UPNM)
Best Implementation of Multipoint: Cyber Knight (APIIT-UCTI)

Consolation (Top 7 Teams)

Beginner (TARC) — Green Reconnect
Cyber MarksMan (UPNM) — Search And Rescue Tactical Management System  (SARTaMS)
Hello World (UPM) — SAFER
Marshmellow (USM) — Traveler Health Awareness Tracker

*Team HDC will represent Malaysia in the Worldwide Finals in Poland this July.

My Two Cents

Here are my brief, personal comments:

  • Lots of cool, creative projects — games, multi touch, great user experience, nice design but still lack of usability. UI & UX must be specific for your users.
  • There are still projects that try to solve all MDGs with only one solution. Bro, impossible la.
  • Some projects focusing on wrong MDGs, or I should say not really targeting on the MDGs. Must know the main goal of your project as well as who are the users.
  • Many projects lack of user research, pilot test. This is a MUST! This shows that you really dig into the problem and not just mere assumption and your users really benefiting from your project.
  • Still lack of creative presentation. But the are some creative ones.
  • No business sustainability. There are teams argue that solving the world’s toughest problems requires no money “UN, the Gov, NGOs will support me for sure” If your project is a Gov pet project, fine! Else find a biz model for your project! I still remember a comment for a judge last year, Dash “You will be part of the MDGs’ problem if you don’t have a business model to sustain your project”. Very true! Gov & NGOs will not support if you are also part of the problem.
  • “This is my idea (or this & that team’s idea), why that & this team have the same (or copy my) idea?” Oh boy, there are only 8 MGDs, ideas might collide. Others might solving the same problem. It’s not the matter who copy who or having the same idea with others, what matters is the execution, implementation and the innovation of the solution from the idea.
  • Not enough effort & preparation. This is very obvious, teams do last minute slide edit, coding, script, etc. Imagine Cup is the Olympics of technology. You have well prepared and give in everything, even 1% counts. This is how my team won the D4D Awards last year in Egypt.

Disclaimer: This is my personal thoughts and have no intention to hurt any teams or targeting specific teams/projects. I’m speaking on behalf of myself, generally.

P.S. Pictures of this competition available on IC Malaysia Facebook page.

That Was It, Microsoft Research India

Finally my 3-month internship at Microsoft Research India has come to an end. It has been a super duper 3 months with the privilege to work on 2 projects, priceless experiences and best of all, lots of fun!

Happy family: Microsoft Research India TEM Group

I’ve derived an equation to calculate MSRI as follows:

MSRI = Exceptional people + fantastic workspace + amazing projects + lots of fun!

I’ll definitely miss my regular MSRI breakfast (Nutella + bread + cornflakes + milk) and will dearly miss those exceptional people in the TEM group. There are really a few places in this world that you can find such people, and MSRI is one of them. I’m really honored, really.

So long and take care guys!

MSR India Hands On!

Phew… It has been one week plus a month since I first arrived in Bangalore on 2nd of Jan. Well, I’ve pretty much get used to the environment – culture, people, food and the traffic here. OK, so after four weeks of internship at Microsoft Research Lab India (MSR India), I experienced something really different, inside. People there are ever so hardworking and passionate in what they do… but when it comes to chill out time, they are no less than a bunch of super crazy dudes! Below: Oh… dancing all night at TAB Cocktails and Dinner.

Work hard, partying? Even harder!

There are lots of places to hang out for discussion, drink and breakfast (that is what we do every morning at third floor). Below: Lazy chairs good for a quick nap and those square wooden benches, that is our breakfast hang out place!

MSRI has a few spots to chill out. This is my fav!

Cool gadgets, yes there are. Microsoft Surface is quite impressive but too bad Xbox 360 is not there… it was there once upon a time. Below: Surface awesomeness!

Very rare gadget.

We get unlimited sugar and caffeine, which is a Microsoft tradition since the very beginning. The pantry has lots of drinks, snacks and fruits. Too bad there is no mash potato machine (Microsoft Malaysia has one!) Fruits are fresh and big…the bananas are so lovely that lured KS to eat 6 of those every day! Below: Apple and ciku from MSRI’s pantry.

Fruits from the pantry...

Lunch is great too but we have been very careful when eating – avoid chewing chili, which is super duper hot, at least for us. Snack’s time is equally great with a lot of surprises, sometimes it is good and sometimes it is not but nonetheless good to try because you will never get those in Malaysia. IMHO, the most enjoyable place to be is the top of the building, especially during sunset. You will get a good view of Bangalore, not all but part of it.

Best thing to enjoy every evening.

Above: A great view from top of MSRI’s building. MSRI (Bangalore) is a nice place to be if you like spicy food and a not too cold and not too hot weather. For me, it is the best working place I’ve ever work at.

Bangalore Hands On!

It has been a day since arriving in Bangalore. I love the chilling but not freezing cold weather. Yeah… it is now winter in Bangalore where min is around 16 degree Celsius and max is about 27 (which is the min in Malaysia).

Oh ya, the only thing Malaysia don’t have is the yellow-black ‘tut tut’ taxi, a marriage between a mini car and a motorbike. Quite cute though :)

The "Tut tut" taxi

Food wise, looks fine for me, I had lunch at ChicKing at Garuda Mall and dinner at Pizza Hut somewhere around the area where I stay. Almost every food stall/restaurant has vegetarian meal which is good for a vegie lover like my friend Koe Koe.

There are also lots of “Starbucks” there… they called it Coffee Day.

The Indian version of Starbucks

The only thing that I’m uncomfortable with is the honking made by the vehicles on the road. I can say almost all vehicles horn every 10 or 20 meters :x

Pretty nice guest apartment

Overall… nothing to complain about, the apartment and services provided by Microsoft is great :)