Update: since I did these statistics, Linode has upgraded their memory offering even more, which means that their offer is even better than what I show here. As of summer 2010, Slicehost's offering really isn't very competitive, unfortunately. I continue to hear that they do provide great service, but so does Linode.
Since hosting is *the* major expense for http://www.dedasys.com, and obviously a critical part of much of what I do, getting the right one is very important. Naturally, "the right one" for me may not be the right one for everyone. I am a fair sysadmin for small numbers of machines, so I don't mind doing that myself – I don't need, nor want to pay for hand holding.
|Slicehost 1024||Slicehost 512||Linode 720|
Memory / Dollar: Bandwidth / Dollar: Disk / Dollar: Linode mostly comes out ahead, but not by that much, except for bandwidth. However, let's take a crude look at x86_64 vs x86 memory usage. First, `./script/console` (a Rails console) for the same code base on two different machines, showing the virtual memory size (VSZ) and resident set size (RSS): And just to look at something else that's a bit smaller, I ran the following script: puts File.open("/proc/self/status", "r").read And got the following data: Being charitable with those numbers, we get x86 taking up 77% the memory that x86_64 does. So let's add that to our comparison of how much memory you're getting per dollar on Slicehost and Linode: Wow! That's a fairly significant difference. ### Performance That's most of what we can glean from published numbers, and running a few simple experiments. However, there's another factor that's important: performance. "Virtual Private Server" systems, or simply VPS's, got a bad name in the past because they were "overbooked" – too many virtual servers competing for the same CPU resources on one machine. Slicehost and Linode both look like they want to avoid that kind of bad reputation, and so far all the systems I have used have felt snappy and responsive. Now here's where we get really unscientific… I decided to try and do *something*, even if it wasn't much, to get some kind of objective measurement of what kind of CPU I was getting on the machines. This is really unscientific, because the machines do have other duties (I don't have the cash, time or inclination to set up random servers just for testing), and of course, who knows what else is sharing the computer with my systems: if you get a relatively unused computer, you can apparently pick up extra cycles for yourself, over and above your guaranteed minimum. But c'est la vie, and so I decided to do some numbers anyway. I picked a C implementation of mandelbrot from the [language shootout](http://shootout.alioth.debian.org/u32q/benchmark.php?test=mandelbrot) more or less "for the hell of it" (I'm going to keep repeating "unscientific" and invite someone to do better tests than I have). I ran this code every 20 minutes for a couple days, and then averaged out the run times: As expected, the higher power Slicehost 1024 machine wins out in terms of raw speed (less time is better), but not by that much over the Linode system. Indeed, when we factor in the relative prices, Linode comes out ahead, again: So it looks like we're not paying a CPU penalty for having more memory, bandwidth, disk, etc… ### Notes * Nothing in these statistics is indicative of future directions that both Linode and Slicehost might take. Slicehost was recently acquired by Rackspace, and that could have effects on the service they provide. Maybe one or both will come under financial pressure and start "overbooking" their servers. * The spreadsheet I used is available via Google docs, for the curious. I did most of the work in OpenOffice, and then uploaded it though, because working with the web spreadsheet was kind of painful. Unfortunately, you can't select non-contiguous data ranges in the Google spreadsheet, so the labels are interspersed with the data. Yuck. Also, Google docs doesn't handle 'time' values nicely, which is what the performance data was originally. The spreadsheet is here: * The standard deviation on the processing times is higher for both slices than the linode system. Not quite sure what that means in terms of what's going on under the hood, but I thought it was interesting.