Compared to other VPNs?
And I have read many good things about Linode, testimonials and such, but please tell me, what makes it so special? Are the $20 for the 512 package justified?
I am asking this because I recently discovered this hosting provider in my country which provides a service similar to Linode for only 5 euros a month for the minimal package.
Is it the Xen virtualization that makes Linode a bit more expensive?
Please, enlighten me.
With the other VPS provider that you linked to, you'd actually need to buy the 7.50-euro package to get 512M of guaranteed RAM. Also, Apache tends to use more RAM on OpenVZ than it does on Xen even with the same configuration. This has to do with the way OpenVZ calculates memory usage. So 512M on Xen can be actually quite a bit more than 512M on OpenVZ.
Also, the OpenVZ system might fail to deliver the "guaranteed" ram, not to mention the burst, if the host machine is oversold. It may suddenly become very slow as other users also approach their limits. After all, OpenVZ is just a jailed shell on steroids. The architecture of OpenVZ always leaves it vulnerable to load spikes, unless the provider really knows what they're doing and takes proactive steps to throttle and/or move around heavy users.
Of course the exact performance characteristics depends on the provider, and there are some pretty reliable OpenVZ providers out there. But in general, cheap OpenVZ providers rarely compare favorably to Linode. You get what you pay for.
Don't get attracted by price tag. Their may be some interesting points behind it. Where as Linode offers 99.99% uptime guarantee.