Pay per hour ?

Every now and then I want to spin up a testing machine for an hour or two. Right now I do that on Amazon because I've found it's actually easier than setting up a XEN or KVM VM on the workstation I'm right in front of.

A while ago Caker dropped a vague hint about hourly billing, that is one thing both Amazon and Digital Ocean are ahead on and something that would be pretty cool to see at Linode.

Linode staff - Any progress on this?

40 Replies

VirtualBox isn't free if you don't have a machine with 40 GB of RAM and a 250 Mb/sec uplink sitting around, you know.

If the price per day ends up being the same, why would being metered only be a problem? If you wanted to just keep a linode running 24/7, the bill at the end of the month would be the same. But if you needed to spin up a linode for whatever reason for just a few hours, you could do that and save some scratch.

Then again, I'm assuming that the primary difference between the current approach and "metered billing" is just to change the billing granularity to hourly instead of daily. If it also means a linode comes with no bandwidth and you pay for that as you go, well, I'd have to think some more about that. I suspect per-gig costs would end up higher, since the current per-gig costs make the assumption that most people don't use the full allocation.

@sednet:

Does anyone else here actually support the whole concept of pay-per-hour? I thought people here would be all for it but it got a cold response.

I'd like it, the combination of stackscripts, the api and hourly billing would make some tasks I have to do periodically cheaper. A few times a month I have to spawn up a bunch of hosts for a few hours, currently I do this elsewhere.

@obs:

@sednet:

Does anyone else here actually support the whole concept of pay-per-hour? I thought people here would be all for it but it got a cold response.

I'd like it, the combination of stackscripts, the api and hourly billing would make some tasks I have to do periodically cheaper. A few times a month I have to spawn up a bunch of hosts for a few hours, currently I do this elsewhere.

As long as Linode doesn't become metered only then it wouldn't affect me.

Try VirtualBox, it's easy to use. I for one don't ever, ever, ever want nickel and dime hourly billing.

If you're looking to test stuff, why not:

4. Set up a test domain for an existing server? Or:

  1. Use jebblue's suggestions of using VBox? Once you know how, it's relatively easy to setup some VM's on a virtual network.

I'm with jebblue, I don't see much of a point of keeping a Linode for just a few hours when I already have a more permanent one setup.

Being able to scale based on load on an hourly basis, or spin up linodes for quick tests for less than a full day, there is definitely value in that. I don't see myself personally using it, but I've heard enough people say they want to do this sort of stuff over the years…

I think extending the ability to create a "trial" linode for already current customers would be valuable.

@jebblue:

Try VirtualBox, it's easy to use. I for one don't ever, ever, ever want nickel and dime hourly billing.

I wasn't suggesting just doing hourly billing. I was suggesting adding it as an option and keeping the current monthly billing scheme for long lasting machines.

I know how to use Xen, KVM, VirtualBox, Qemu, Vmware, and so on. The point isn't that I don't know how to setup virtual machines, it's that buying them is quicker and easier. Just to prove the point I just setup a Ubuntu 13.04 instance on amazon in 5 mouse clicks with zero typing. It costs 2 US Cents an hour to do that or 0.6 Cents an hour if I add a few more mouse clicks and use a spot instance instead.

It's not just tiny machines I test on. Last week I needed a machine with 30+ Gig of memory to test something.

@Guspaz:

Being able to scale based on load on an hourly basis, or spin up linodes for quick tests for less than a full day, there is definitely value in that. I don't see myself personally using it, but I've heard enough people say they want to do this sort of stuff over the years…

I can see the advantage of hourly billing for load scaling, though I still think VMs at home are better (and cheaper) than setting up a Linode for a few hours.

@sednet:

I know how to use Xen, KVM, VirtualBox, Qemu, Vmware, and so on. The point isn't that I don't know how to setup virtual machines, it's that buying them is quicker and easier. Just to prove the point I just setup a Ubuntu 13.04 instance on amazon in 5 mouse clicks with zero typing. It costs 2 US Cents an hour to do that or 0.6 Cents an hour if I add a few more mouse clicks and use a spot instance instead.

You make it sound like VirtualBox is really hard to use. If you know how to use it, you'll know you can have a VM up in 30 seconds or less with minimal effort.

2 cents an hour may sound cheap to you rich people, but the word "cheap" doesn't exist in the dictionary of us poor people :wink:

@Piki:

You make it sound like VirtualBox is really hard to use. If you know how to use it, you'll know you can have a VM up in 30 seconds or less with minimal effort.

2 cents an hour may sound cheap to you rich people, but the word "cheap" doesn't exist in the dictionary of us poor people :wink:

Xen is dead easy too, and so is KVM. I can script both of them to kick off virtual machines on one keypress if I really wanted to. Somehow it's still easier and quicker to setup amazon instances and have a working machine of any type I like within about 25 seconds. I'm not saying that amazon web is the right solution to everything, just that it's very convenient and scales well. My home SATA disks get real slow when you have 4 OS's doing random reading and writing. VMware server was terrible on disk performance and the last I heard VirtualBox was the same. Xen, KVM, and ESX are far better but the disks are still a serious limit.

I'm really not one to waste money but I made a conscious decision a while back that if something costs less than the pocket change from my lunch I should not expend thought on that level of cost. If I was in debt my attitude would be different, plus I'd skip lunch.

Anyway just because I like hourly virtual machines doesn't mean you have to like them or use them. I'm not saying you should not use VirtualBox or whatever.

@sednet:

Xen is dead easy too, and so is KVM. I can script both of them to kick off virtual machines on one keypress if I really wanted to. Somehow it's still easier and quicker to setup amazon instances and have a working machine of any type I like within about 25 seconds. I'm not saying that amazon web is the right solution to everything, just that it's very convenient and scales well. My home SATA disks get real slow when you have 4 OS's doing random reading and writing. VMware server was terrible on disk performance and the last I heard VirtualBox was the same. Xen, KVM, and ESX are far better but the disks are still a serious limit.

I'm really not one to waste money but I made a conscious decision a while back that if something costs less than the pocket change from my lunch I should not expend thought on that level of cost. If I was in debt my attitude would be different, plus I'd skip lunch.

Anyway just because I like hourly virtual machines doesn't mean you have to like them or use them. I'm not saying you should not use VirtualBox or whatever.

Not trying to put words in your mouth…

Anyways, if you want to spend money on something you can do for free, that's your choice. Just pointing out an easy and free alternative to what you're suggesting.

@hoopycat:

VirtualBox isn't free if you don't have a machine with 40 GB of RAM and a 250 Mb/sec uplink sitting around, you know.
Well I have a 32G Desktop, but why would I need 32G or 40G just to run a few 1 or 2 gig VM's?

Since I'm running both the Host OS and the Guest OS off a SSD, I'm pretty sure my "uplink" speed is quite a bit faster then if my VM was somewhere "out there".

And yes, since the equipment is all paid for, it's basically free to spin up any number of local VM's.

@hoopycat:

VirtualBox isn't free if you don't have a machine with 40 GB of RAM and a 250 Mb/sec uplink sitting around, you know.

That's entirely wrong. I can run Windows 7, Debian Linux, and FreeBSD in VirtualBox, all at the same time, without performance issues, with just 8GB RAM, and the VMs use a combined total of only 4GB RAM. That leaves 4GB free for my host OS.

VirtualBox can run fine on almost any machine with at least 4GB RAM, however it does work best with more RAM and virtualization built in to the hardware and kernel.

@Piki:

@hoopycat:

VirtualBox isn't free if you don't have a machine with 40 GB of RAM and a 250 Mb/sec uplink sitting around, you know.

That's entirely wrong. I can run Windows 7, Debian Linux, and FreeBSD in VirtualBox, all at the same time, without performance issues, with just 8GB RAM, and the VMs use a combined total of only 4GB RAM. That leaves 4GB free for my host OS.

VirtualBox can run fine on almost any machine with at least 4GB RAM, however it does work best with more RAM and virtualization built in to the hardware and kernel.

Great but sometimes I want to test software that needs 30 to 60 GB of ram. I'd need to rebuild my computer almost from scratch to get 64GB of ram in it.

What software needs that much RAM? Personally, I'd be appalled if the software I use started using that much. I could see needing that much RAM for compiling/testing a bunch of differnt stuff, but not for a single program.

I guess we all have very different needs at times - either temporary or ongoing - that require things that one particular vendor or service provider doesn't offer. Lots options and vendors are good problems to have.

@sednet:

@Piki:

@hoopycat:

VirtualBox isn't free if you don't have a machine with 40 GB of RAM and a 250 Mb/sec uplink sitting around, you know.

That's entirely wrong. I can run Windows 7, Debian Linux, and FreeBSD in VirtualBox, all at the same time, without performance issues, with just 8GB RAM, and the VMs use a combined total of only 4GB RAM. That leaves 4GB free for my host OS.

VirtualBox can run fine on almost any machine with at least 4GB RAM, however it does work best with more RAM and virtualization built in to the hardware and kernel.

Great but sometimes I want to test software that needs 30 to 60 GB of ram. I'd need to rebuild my computer almost from scratch to get 64GB of ram in it.

https://www.linode.com/

^^^ The largest Linode I see there is 16 Gigs RAM so hourly billing still wouldn't help you since you have such extraordinary needs.

https://manager.linode.com/signup/#plans they go up to 40G

I'm not sure if Linode would want to keep a whole bunch of 40G machines sitting idle just so someone can buy an hour every now and then. I would think any hourly billing would necessitate a bunch more available machines. If I need another machine, I don't see it as being too expensive to just buy a whole day.

I could be wrong though

@tubaguy50035:

I think extending the ability to create a "trial" linode for already current customers would be valuable.
wot the fok did ye just say 2 me m8? i dropped out of newcastle primary skool im the sickest bloke ull ever meet & ive nicked 300 candy bars from tha corner store. im trained in street fitin’ & im the strongest foker in tha entire newcastle gym. yer nothin to me but a cheeky lil dickhead w/ a hot mum & fake bling. ya think u can fokin run ya gabber at me whilst sittin on yer arse behind a lil screen? think again wanka.

@Piki:

What software needs that much RAM? Personally, I'd be appalled if the software I use started using that much. I could see needing that much RAM for compiling/testing a bunch of differnt stuff, but not for a single program.

Wow, just because you don't need it doesn't mean anyone else couldn't?

Try databases with large amounts of data. The more RAM you throw at it, the better.

@glg:

@Piki:

What software needs that much RAM? Personally, I'd be appalled if the software I use started using that much. I could see needing that much RAM for compiling/testing a bunch of differnt stuff, but not for a single program.

Wow, just because you don't need it doesn't mean anyone else couldn't?

Try databases with large amounts of data. The more RAM you throw at it, the better.

For a large corporation, sure. For an individual, certainly not!

@Piki:

What software needs that much RAM? Personally, I'd be appalled if the software I use started using that much. I could see needing that much RAM for compiling/testing a bunch of differnt stuff, but not for a single program.

This single program: http://www.digicortex.net/

That can use half a Terabyte of RAM. Yes, I said half a Terabyte. Plus a Tesla card if you have one.

@sednet:

@Piki:

What software needs that much RAM? Personally, I'd be appalled if the software I use started using that much. I could see needing that much RAM for compiling/testing a bunch of differnt stuff, but not for a single program.

This single program: http://www.digicortex.net/

That can use half a Terabyte of RAM. Yes, I said half a Terabyte. Plus a Tesla card if you have one.

Now that is one cool hobby project.

@obs:

@sednet:

@Piki:

What software needs that much RAM? Personally, I'd be appalled if the software I use started using that much. I could see needing that much RAM for compiling/testing a bunch of differnt stuff, but not for a single program.

This single program: http://www.digicortex.net/

That can use half a Terabyte of RAM. Yes, I said half a Terabyte. Plus a Tesla card if you have one.

Now that is one cool hobby project.

IMO anyone using that is either too obsessed with androids and too impatient to wait for them to appear for real, or should be working for some sort of research lab or university where they can actually afford those sorts of resources.

@Piki:

IMO anyone using that is either too obsessed with androids and too impatient to wait for them to appear for real, or should be working for some sort of research lab or university where they can actually afford those sorts of resources.

IMO your priorities are wrong.

Look at all the worthless crap the human race does. High priced art, debt culture, stupidly big houses, stupidly expensive cars, outside gas heaters at cafes, the political system, pointless wars, people who think 'they are' whatever country they happen to be born in, organized religion, child abuse cover ups by organized religion, education systems designed to indoctrinate not educate, idol worship of of the most pointless members of society, inherited wealth, and endless scams. Human society is an endless cesspit of irrationality and insanity.

There is more value in neural network simulators than almost all of what the human race does.

How are my priorities wrong just because I don't see a point to using neural simulators outside of research labs and universities? Clearly there is value to it.

Another useless thing humans do is to assume stuff about other people, which can lead to pointless feuds, which is right on the verge of pointless wars.

@sednet:

Look at all the worthless crap the human race does … idol worship of of the most pointless members of society …
Are you saying I've wasted the last 25 years losing my hair, gaining weight and learning to say "D'oh!"?

@Main Street James:

@sednet:

Look at all the worthless crap the human race does … idol worship of of the most pointless members of society …
Are you saying I've wasted the last 25 years losing my hair, gaining weight and learning to say "D'oh!"?

Basically, yes, that's what he's saying. But don't feel bad, I spent a few years worshipping someone much worse, someone who would have be build all my technology out of windows.

Guys,

Take the off-topic, uncivil and disrespectful crap somewhere else. First and only warning.

-Chris

Does anyone else here actually support the whole concept of pay-per-hour? I thought people here would be all for it but it got a cold response.

@sednet:

Linode staff - Any progress on this?
Thanks for asking. Yes, a while ago significant progress was made into metered billing, however it was archived due to a change in priorities at the time and was never revisited. We've been discussing reviving that effort recently and hearing interest like yours helps raise its priority. Stay tuned.

Thanks,

-Chris

@sednet:

Does anyone else here actually support the whole concept of pay-per-hour? I thought people here would be all for it but it got a cold response.

If it's for scaling up and down with load as Guspaz suggested, I can support it. Otherwise, I personally see no use for it.

I wasn't suggesting Linode abandon their current billing system because it works great for normal machines. I was suggesting per-hour billing as an optional extra way to buy short lived Linodes. Predictable costs are a big win for Linode and a big loss for Amazon.

Say the cheapest Linode costs $20 a month, the hourly cost for the same machine could be $0.04 an hour so it's at a 40% or so premium to cover the extra support, server load, and admin costs.

I was only suggesting using existing capacity that's currently idle for these short term allocations. Last time I checked Linode had a serious number of Linodes sitting idle that could be used for something.

Why do you suggest punishing people who are willing to use the infrastructure with a premium percentage? Reminds me of EC2, absolutely sucks as you have to pick the right hardware, the right reserved instance, etc.

Digital Ocean does it at the same price as the monthly price. It's simple. I know I'm getting the same cheap price regardless of when I decide to spin up an instance, or when I decide to kill it.

Personally I'd like to see Linode do a billing system similar to Google Compute Engine - minimum 10 minutes and pay by the minute. Keep it simple, same pricing structure as the monthly plans.

@sednet:

Does anyone else here actually support the whole concept of pay-per-hour? I thought people here would be all for it but it got a cold response.

I'm late to this party, but yes - I'd love this. Actually I'd like per-minute better. And added to it, I'd love the ability to store images somewhere (for a fee of course). If we had all of this, we could actually run a staging environment on Linode, but only run it for, say, a couple of hours a day as we needed it.

About a week ago I wanted to play with LDAP replication between different countries. I just can't do that at home unless I add some kind of network delay setup and buy faster disks.

I kicked off 3 small machines on digital ocean, set it all up, tested for about 30 minutes, and tore it all down. It was convenient and only cost 2 US cents. It would have cost about the same on EC2.

Per-hour machines are great for testing.

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