Back to January, I’ve written about Linode as a reliable and low cost VPS hosting provider. I got quite a lot of respond from my readers, they want to know more about Linode.
Thus I tried to reach Linode, fortunately, they are willing to share more with us. So I sent out some questions to do a interview with guys from Linode.
Here is the full interview, thanks to Linode for the detailed answers.
1. Why you guys choose VPS as your business? Why not do it like a traditional company, you know, covering shared hosting, dedicated servers and so on.
When Linode started, virtual private servers weren’t being marketed as a mainstream service, so no other hosting companies were offering them to their clients — the two choices for hosting at the time were shared and dedicated. Shared hosting limited the user to software installed by the host and offered little flexibility, and while dedicated servers offered complete administrative control over a system, they were very expensive and were outside the reach of many small site owners and hobbyists that were on limited budgets. Additionally, the resources included with dedicated servers often exceeded the needs of the user and would remain underutilized.
This gave Linode a prime advantage as it allowed us to offer an affordable product, that enabled users to have total control at the fraction of the cost of a dedicated server. As no other hosts were offering such a product at the time, this positioned Linode as the exclusive “go to” company for virtual private servers. Linode has helped define the VPS hosting industry into what it is today, and we are proud to have been able to play such an important part in what is now a thriving market.
2. We’d like to hear your story of starting the company, how did you start it? What kind of problems you were facing? What’s the most important decision you’ve made to make this company success?
Linode was started in 2003 by our founder and CEO, Christopher S. Aker. Tired with the limited control offered with shared hosting, as well as the hefty costs associated with dedicated servers, Christopher embarked on a mission which he felt would revolutionize the hosting industry: to offer a product which empowered users with the flexibility of a dedicated server, at the cost of a shared hosting package. Christopher extensively researched the virtualization platforms available at the time, until finally settling on UML (User-Mode-Linux). UML allowed the resources of an ordinary dedicated server to be split up into segments and distributed to virtual machines, which a user could then deploy their distribution in and begin managing. With the concept conceived and a virtualization platform decided on, Linode was born and the domain “Linode.com” was registered on January 26th, 2003.
While the concept alone would demand the attention of geeks and the technologically savvy, Christopher also wanted Linode to appeal to those with little-to-no prior Linux administration experience, so he began developing a powerful control panel which would give users complete control over their virtual instances: the Linode Platform Manager (LPM), or more commonly known as the “Linode Manager” today. The Linode Manager gave users control over the standard operating controls of a Linode (power on, power off, reboot), but more importantly it introduced new and unseen features such as being able to deploy and delete distributions on the fly, disk management controls, configuration profiles, an out-of-band console (Lish), and more. While these controls benefited seasoned server administrators, they also aided novice users as it gave them the opportunity to try various distributions and configurations.
The initial stages of Linode and its proprietary components took Christopher 6 months to develop. Christopher hit a number of snags during the development process as he had entered into uncharted waters; virtual private servers and automated control panels were almost unheard of at the time, so every line of code and business decision required a lot of thought and planning in order for Linode to be able to work the way Christopher had envisioned it to.
Upon completion of the development phase, Christopher placed an order for his first batch of servers and colocated them into Linode’s first datacenter selection in Dallas, TX which was owned and operated by The Planet (now known as SoftLayer). On the morning of June 16th 2003, Linode officially opened its doors to the public and began trading.
Linode has made a number of significant changes and improvements since June 16th, 2003 — the move from UML to Xen, the expansion to five datacenters across the USA and Europe, a plethora of new features (free resource upgrades, bandwidth pooling, private networks, the Linode Library), and more. After almost 8 proud years in the VPS hosting industry, Linode’s core principals and Christopher’s vision has remained untainted by its success; we will proceed to grow and improve on our services, and will continue to do what we do best: provide kick butt Linux virtual private servers!
3. What do you think about Cloud Computing, while Amazon EC2 is doing such a good job, everyone is talking about cloud computing. Do you have any plan to go Cloud.
We’re always excited to hear about new and emerging technologies and can certainly understand why the cloud computing model has been such a success. While Linode does not currently employ the “per hour” billing scheme that most conventional cloud providers have adapted, Linodes do still operate in a cloud environment in the sense that Linodes are provisioned at the click of a button, are charged by the instance-day with a minimum of a one month prepayment, are completely scalable, and can be migrated between hosts and datacenters. We also offer a robust, fully functional API which allows customers to streamline their Linode deployment process:
With that said, Linode is certainly interested in the cloud computing concept (what geeks wouldn’t be?), but unfortunately we cannot make any comment as to where we stand with a conventional cloud offering at this time — keep an eye on the blog :)!
4. What’s your blueprint? Do you have some big steps coming soon?
We’re always looking for ways to improve, and definitely have some exciting new features and offerings in the works. Unfortunately this information is still classified and is safely locked away in the Linode vault, but be sure to keep an eye on the Linode Blog for updates:
5. What makes Linode different from other hosting company? I am not talking about products, but culture.
When Linode launched in 2003, Christopher had one vision in mind: To offer a reliable product that he himself would love to use. Almost 8 years later, Linode has stayed true to this vision despite its overwhelming success. The people behind the daily operations of Linode are just like you — we’re geeks, bloggers, marketing gurus, and developers. We love what we do, and we feel it is important to listen to the feedback given to us by our valuable customers as this gives us an idea of which direction they would like to see Linode moving in. Since the very beginning, customer satisfaction has been more important to us than the bottom line of our balance sheets which we feel has aided us in our success, as opposed to those entering the hosting industry with the intentions of making a quick buck and moving on. We’re in it for the long haul, and we hope to have the opportunity to continue serving our valuable customers for many more years to come!
Again, thanks to Linode for the interview as well as the great VPS hosting service. We can see the reason why so many people love Linode in these answers.