Looks like their (Digital Ocean's) pricing shook linode's cages a little bit, and that's a good thing.
After waiting some weeks for Arch to be re-released I finally booted an Arch image. Not a week had passed and some kernel upgrade had already made the system unavailable (no network on vm). I forced nothing, just ran sudo pacman -Syu as I always did on Linode.
Support didn't care. For days I tried responding to the ticket that I opened, talking to them on the irc, via mail. Nothing. I tried to request help to at least recover the files. Nope, nothing they can do.
I did not understand the true value of good support. Now I do. Back to Linode.
The fact that he didn't get any help is a problem that is what support is supposed to do and if he expects a higher level of support than Digital Ocean provides and Linode provides that I see no problem.
(The use case in this thread is backups as voidlogic mentioned.)
And yes linode has this: http://www.linode.com/wiki/index.php/Finnix_LiveCD_Recovery_...
This was DigitalOcean's fault, for not supporting changed kernels without providing safeguards against kernel updates.
The one aspect that has me considering going back: Linode's backups seem much more confidence-inspiring.
Why do you say Linode's backups are more confidence inspiring though?
Do you work for digital ocean? how did you get this info?
Partly it's observations over the past week. I noticed a few days after moving that I had two backups the day I created my account, and no backups for 3 days after. Contacted support and was told they have some 'randomization for load balancing'. Asked what the worst-case frequency could be, and was told it's "usually 24 hours". This is the kind of thing that can bite you when the shit hits the fan.
(And the experience definitely shows what other commenters said about Linode's support.)
Also in the case where you're running with swap because you don't have enough memory, SSD comes in handy too, mysql is particularly badly behaved in this respect, it swaps too easily unless you load the entire db into memory by setting innodb_buffer_pool_size equal to the size of the db + a little bit.
long story short, an SSD can help out quite a bit more than you seem to suggest.
There are definitely some things where disk IO is important, but swapping should not be in that equation unless you have a problem. I prefer better CPUs and Memory to disk IO on servers usually. The database server is the only server I care about having decent IO, and Linode does have decent IO for non-ssd drives (a lot better than AWS).
On the other hand multiple CPUs only matter if you have a ton of traffic. My side projects do not :) At least for hobbyists Digital Ocean is very compelling.
This does play catchup, and the things that they have had in private beta are pretty nice too... but whether it will make a difference is yet to be seen.
Hosting is far more a retention game than pure acquisition, these changes are long overdue... SSDs are also overdue.