It's not the track record that is important. It's the fact that after their first major hacking attack they learnt absolutely nothing. Still hiding the truth from the customer. Still failing to do security audits. Still sticking with their ColdFusion front end.
Also their support is only good for minor incidents. When you have a data centre go down their support evaporates and you will be left with a multi-hour outage with no clue what is happening.
Well it came out with the latest one (the CF exploit) that they were gagged on it when the FBI got involved. They eventually came out about it when the gag was removed, but only so much. When the FBI gets involved, usually the transparency get tossed out the window, at least if the company is not one of the giants.
I believe the issue a lot of people have is that linode is not transparent when they are hacked. They have been hacked twice now and their communication in both cases has been fairly limited. It feels like their communication in this latest incident only happened because the hacker posted a lot of information
No, since then Google opened up Google Compute Engine for everyone. I'd consider AWS and GCE roughly comparable; I'm kind of tempted to run them head to head (vs. a baseline of a real server in a colo) and do perf/reliability/etc. testing.
AWS networking continues to kind of suck; Google probably does at least that part better.
I wouldn't say AWS is the only option, probably just the most popular one.
Other options might be Rackspace, Windows Azure (I think you can run Linux VMs, however I dont know how well that's working) or Google Compute Engine (rather new, so YMMV). Those are probably the biggest players in the cloud market.
Digital Ocean still has a lot to prove, but in my testing, they have comparable stability, and disk, CPU, and memory are all faster. I'm not going to start recommending them or putting anything mission critical there yet, but they're the closest thing to Linode, in my mind, in terms of 1:1 setup and management.
That depends if they can now live-migrate cloud servers from one physical host to another. We got burned because to do maintenance on the host they had to take down all 'cloud' servers, turn the server off, do it and switch it back on - and this was planned maintenance, not emergency.
This was before OpenStack, but trying to get information out of Rackspace about what's changed is like trying to get a Republican to vote Democrat.