Why Nmap Chose Linode to Host Its Network Discovery & Security Scanning Utility

Who is nmap

Nmap is a free and open-source utility for network discovery and security auditing that can also perform network inventory, service-upgrade schedule management, and host- or service-uptime monitoring.

In Their Own Words...

“I started the Nmap Project in 1997 to produce a free software tool for network discovery and security scanning. The project started simply, but has grown into a much more stable and comprehensive tool with millions of users. Nmap is completely open source and free to use; however, we generate revenue by selling licenses to companies that want to embed Nmap technology within their commercial products.

“For many years Nmap had a physical presence requirement which was highly problematic for a small and globally distributed organization like ours.  Hardware failures could mean a day or more of downtime while I investigated the problem, obtained replacement parts, and installed them. The situation was even worse if I was out of town during the failure.  With Linode, several of us have access to all of our Linodes and we can fully administrate them from anywhere in the world.

“Another problem with the bare metal machine approach was that I spent a lot of time dealing with hardware administration tasks such as upgrading memory and hard drives as well as delivering and installing new systems in the datacenter.  With Linode, we were able to replace our dedicated physical machines with Linode virtual machines on a one-to-one basis. And I can upgrade nodes or even launch completely new ones in minutes with just a few mouse clicks. And we don't even have to worry about hardware issues; Linode handles all of that.

“While we appreciated the great performance, it was the extra flexibility that truly won us over.  Being able to quickly and easily upgrade resources (such as disk space, CPU power, or memory) as needed was a huge win for us, as is the ability to remotely administer the machines from anywhere in the world, even if they aren't booting due to software problems.

“Since deployment of the Linode solution in December 2014, we have served over 150TB via our bespoke CDN servicing over 800,000 downloads. This would have previously been impossible from a single server. With Linode, we're in full control of our server. We can synchronise the mirror at any time we want. This is particularly useful, as it means we can test new builds of nmap without having to wait for regional mirrors to sync. This has helped significantly speed up development as we spend less time waiting for builds to be published from our CI system and more time testing them!

“Software migrations are much easier now since we can easily spin up a new Linode to install and test the new server while the old Linode continues to run as usual.  When we used physical servers, migration was a more painful process since we obviously can't just instantiate new ones for just a few weeks during transition.

”Another thing we like about Linode are the constant upgrades.  We've been using Linode since 2010 and in that time Linode has dramatically increased system memory, disk space, and CPU power without increasing costs.  Plans now come with ten times the network bandwidth as when we started.

”A few years ago we released an art project for visualizing and browsing the top million web sites in a giant collage (http://nmap.org/favicon/).  It received a lot more attention than expected, with articles in the New York Times and other sites.  Our site was flooded with more requests than we could handle, but Linode allowed us to easily scale our nodes to handle the onslaught.”

Gordon Lyon, aka “Fyodor”

Published March 29, 2016