It all started when Eivind Uggedal posted his performance comparison of various Xen VPS providers — Linode, SliceHost/Rackspace, Prgmr and Amazon EC2. Here’s the summary:

Summarizing the benchmarks gives us one clear winner: Linode. 32-bit gave the best results on the Unixbench runs while 64-bit was fastest on the Django and database tests. Since Linode also has the highest included bandwidth I have a hard time recommending any of the other providers if performance and price is most important for you.

It has been posted on various startup/programming community sites (Hacker News, Reddit, etc) and got a mention on Linode’s blog. A small thread has been started on Linode Forums on migrating from SliceHost to Linode, when SliceHost, Linode’s direct competitor, appears to perform worse and costs more in the performance comparison.

I have been a Linode customer for almost 2 years and they are hosting my main community site. Two thumbs up for them in terms of performance and stability. I have been a SliceHost customer for more than 3 years until I migrated out last month. Two thumbs up for them as well over stability and customer support. Performance wise it was not as good as my slice was running an old Opteron. Nor was the price — although I have been happy to pay extra for the “premium” until recently. I’ll say I am happy with both providers. However when you put them side-by-side to choose only one out of the two for a new project, it’s hard to go pass Linode.

Many on SliceHost certainly feel the same.

And may I say the forums feel quite a bit different from the good ol’ startup days when Matt and Jason would participate in many discussions. Anyway, the above forum thread was pretty one sided until Paul (PickledOnion) joined the discussion a few days later. Interesting to read through the comments from SliceHost, especially those toward their “competitors” (although it’s clear that some are very specifically toward Linode). A few good points:

  • Major announcement in February 2010. Although no suggestion on price drop or size up.
  • The uniqueness of SliceHost is (1) service (2) fast deployment and instant scaling.

Although by stating that “Want to spin up a dozen large Slices with us? … Need another dozen on Monday?” and “Want world class support while your Facebook app is experiencing 10,000% growth at 4am on Christmas Day?” the argument might not be convincing to either general public or developer community. Sure I want to have 100x traffic on my Facebook app — in the same way that I want my stocks to have 100x return by Christmas. It might happen to some, but definitely not the majority of the users. The growth of my websites have all been pretty steady and predictable (possibly because I have not done much marketing 🙂 So is SliceHost saying that they are not the best choice for apps with steady growth? Many just want to have a stable platform to run a few WordPress sites — at least it was my case when I was with SliceHost.

Maybe we will have to wait until February to find out more.