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      Common Linode StackScripts Use Cases


      Updated by Linode

      Contributed by
      Linode

      What are StackScripts?

      StackScripts provide Linode users with the ability to automate the deployment of custom systems on top of Linode’s default Linux distribution images. For example, every time you deploy a new Linode you might execute the same tasks, like updating your system’s software, installing your favorite Linux tools, and adding a limited user account. These tasks can be automated using a StackScript that will perform these actions for you as part of your Linode’s first boot process.

      All StackScripts are stored in the Linode Cloud Manager and can be accessed whenever you deploy a Linode. A StackScript authored by you is an Account StackScript. A Community StackScript is a StackScript created by a Linode community member that has made their StackScript publicly available in the Linode Cloud Manager.

      StackScript Use Cases

      Automating Common System Administration Tasks

      Whenever you deploy a new Linode, there are basic system administration tasks that you must perform, like installing system software updates, setting your Linode’s hostname, setting the timezone, and securing your server. You can create a StackScript to automate all these steps and use it each time you deploy a new Linode. There are few limitations to what you can automate using a StackScript, because its underlying mechanism works just like any script you might execute on a Linux system. StackScripts ensure that each Linode you deploy is configured exactly to your preferences each time.

      Since you can make any StackScript public to the Linode Community, your entire team can use the StackScripts you create to easily deploy base identical systems.

      Demonstrating your Software

      If you develop software, you can use StackScripts to deploy a demonstration instance of your software. The resulting system may not need to be particularly durable or be fully configured, since you can redeploy a new Linode exactly as written in your StackScript. This is an easy and reproducible way to spin up quick demos of your software.

      Distributing your Software

      Community StackScripts are publicly available to the entire Linode Community. This means if you have an open source project you’d like to make easily available to Linode users, you can write a StackScript that installs and configures your project’s software on a Linode. Include user defined variables in your StackScript to make it customizable to users during each deployment of the StackScript.

      Note

      If you would also like to make your open source project available to the Linode Community as an App in the Linode Marketplace, see the Linode One-Click App Marketplace page for details.

      Deploy Cluster Instances

      If your application makes use of a cluster of nodes, you may be able to automate the deployment of a new cluster-member by using StackScripts to configure the instance. StackScripts, in combination with the Linode API, can help you to elastically automate deployment and management of a cluster’s node. Similarly, you can apply the same concept to creating a server appliance instance.

      Next Steps

      To get started creating your first StackScript, see the A Tutorial for Creating and Managing StackScripts.

      This guide is published under a CC BY-ND 4.0 license.



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      Use Cases for Linode Object Storage


      Updated by Linode

      Contributed by

      Linode

      What is Object Storage?

      Object Storage is a method of storing data that differs in a number of ways from Block Storage. Block Storage splits files into small blocks of data. Minimal file metadata is stored alongside this data and, in general, descriptive metadata must be stored in a separate file or database. In order to use a Block Storage volume it must be attached to a host server, where it acts like a hard drive.

      In contrast, Object Storage stores data, called objects, in containers, called buckets, and each object is given a unique identifier with which it is accessed. In this way, the physical location of the object does not need to be known. The objects are stored alongside rich, configurable metadata that can be used to describe any number of arbitrary properties about the object. Each object has its own URL, so accessing the data is often as simple as issuing an HTTP request, either by visiting the object in a browser or retrieving it through the command line.

      Benefits and Limitations

      Object Storage scales easily because all the objects are stored in a flat, scalable name space. Object Storage does not require a host server in order to be used, meaning many different clients can read from it or write to it.

      With that said, there are limitations to Object Storage. Objects in Object Storage cannot be modified at the block level, as with Block Storage, and must be rewritten in their entirety every time a change is made. This makes any scenario with many successive read/write operations – such as the needs of databases or transactional data – a poor choice for Object Storage. Additionally, Object Storage traffic runs over HTTP, so it does not benefit from the I/O speeds of a mounted Block Storage volume. As a rule of thumb, Object Storage shines when files do not need to be updated frequently.

      Below are some of the more popular use cases for Object Storage.

      Use Cases

      Static Site Hosting

      Because Object Storage buckets provide HTTP access to objects, it’s easy to set up a bucket to serve static websites. A static website is a website that does not require a server-side processing language like PHP to render content. And because a static site does not require each page to be processed with every request, they are usually very quick to load. For more information on setting up a static site on Object Storage, read our Host a Static Site on Linode Object Storage guide. For more on static site generators, visit our How to Choose a Static Site Generator guide.

      Website Files

      If you don’t want to host your entire site on Object Storage (for example: you plan to use a CMS like WordPress), you can still choose to host some of your site’s assets, like images and downloads, with Object Storage. This will save disk space on your server and can help reduce your costs.

      Software Storage and Downloads

      Similar to hosting website files, hosting software applications on Object Storage is a great use case for developers looking to give quick access to their products. Simply upload the file to a bucket and share its URL.

      Unstructured Data

      Unstructured data is any data that does not fit into a traditional database. Object Storage excels at storing large amounts of unstructured data. With the ability to configure custom metadata for each piece of unstructured data, it is easy to extrapolate useful information from each object and to retrieve objects with similar metadata. Examples of unstructured data include images, video, audio, documents, and Big Data.

      Images, Video, Audio, and Documents

      Multimedia assets like images, videos, audio files, and documents are a perfect match for Object Storage. In general these types of files do not change frequently, so there is no need to store them on Block Storage volumes. Because each file has its own URL, streaming the content of these files or embedding them in another program or website is simple and does not require the use of a server.

      Big Data

      Big Data typically describes data sets that are so large and so diverse that it takes specialized tooling to analyze them. In many cases the data that comprises Big Data is considered unstructured and does not fit neatly into a database, making it a great candidate for Object Storage.

      Artifact Storage

      As more and more of the development life cycle becomes automated and tested, more and more artifacts are generated in the process. Object Storage is a great solution for developers looking to store these artifacts, such as the bulk collection of logs. Sharing stored artifacts is as simple as sharing a URL. And if you’d rather your artifacts stay private, you can distribute an access key.

      Cold Storage

      Object Storage is, in the majority of cases, significantly cheaper than Block Storage. While Object Storage can incur a cost when retrieving data, the cost benefit for infrequently accessed data can provide you with an overall cost reduction when compared to similar methods.

      Similarly, Object Storage has benefits over tape storage. Tape storage is frequently used for archival purposes, but the read times that come with tape storage are many times more than what you’ll find with Object Storage. Special considerations have to be made when transferring tape drive data, such as the ability to ship drives safely across long distances. With Object Storage, this data is available through HTTP from anywhere in the world.

      Note

      The outbound data transfer for Linode Object Storage is part of your Linode account’s total transfer pool, which will reduce or completely eliminate transfer costs for Object Storage if you are also running Linode instances. If you expend your allotted transfer pool, you will be billed at a rate of $0.02 per GB for outbound transfers.

      Backups

      Databases and other critical data can be backed up to Object Storage with little effort using a command line client for easier automation. Objects within Object Storage are normally replicated three times, providing resiliency should an error occur with the underlying hardware. Additionally, buckets can be versioned so you never lose access to older backups.

      Private File Storage

      Objects can be made private and only accessible with a key. By default, all new objects in a bucket are set to private, so they are inaccessible by normal HTTP requests (though it’s easy to set public permissions on objects if you’d like). This makes it easy to store secure data.

      Next Steps

      If you’re curious about how to use Object Storage, you can read our guide on How to Use Linode Object Storage for detailed instructions on creating buckets and uploading objects. Read our Host a Static Site using Linode Object Storage to get started with hosting your own site on Object Storage.

      Find answers, ask questions, and help others.

      This guide is published under a CC BY-ND 4.0 license.



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      Use Cases for Block Storage


      Updated by Linode

      Contributed by

      Linode

      What is Block Storage

      Block Storage is a type of persistent cloud data storage that is similar to a traditional block device, like the hard drive in a PC. With Block Storage, your data is divided into blocks, which are the small, discrete units that Block Storage can read from and write to. These blocks are assigned unique identifiers, but these are generally not human-readable, so a filesystem is usually installed which maps your files to the underlying blocks they correspond to. This relationship is also analogous to your PC’s filesystem and hard drive.

      A Block Storage Volume houses these blocks of data. Volumes can be attached to a cloud computing instance, which makes its data and filesystem available to the instance. If your instance is running Linux, then mounting a Volume’s filesystem is just like mounting any other filesystem.

      Volumes are stored separately from your cloud instances, but inside the same data center, and they are attached via the data center’s private networking. A Volume can be detached from a cloud instance and its data will persist, even if the cloud instance is deleted. The Volume can also be re-attached to a different instance (though only one attachment at a time is possible). Volumes can also be increased in size at any time, independent of an instance’s built-in storage.

      Benefits and Limitations

      A Block Storage Volume augments the raw storage capacity of a cloud instance, which can be useful if your storage needs are greater than your computing demands. Because a Volume is scalable, it can adapt as your data grows in size. Additionally, all data stored with Linode Block Storage is replicated three times, so your Volumes are highly available and fault tolerant.

      Note

      While the health and uptime of Linode Block Storage is closely monitored by Linode Support, we still recommend making separate backups of your Volumes.

      Because Volumes are directly connected to an instance, their I/O speeds are much faster than those of an alternative storage solution like Object Storage. As well, the nature of Block Storage allows you to read and write small parts of your data, which means that you can incrementally update your files. This is in contrast to Object Storage, which requires a full re-upload of a file to update it.

      Some aspects of Block Storage lead to natural limitations. In particular, a Volume needs to be attached to a cloud instance for its data to be accessible. In comparison, a file stored in Object Storage can be downloaded by any internet connected client at any time.

      Below you will find some of the more popular use cases for Block Storage.

      Use Cases

      Databases

      Databases require quick read/write operations, and Block Storage Volumes are mounted directly to a cloud instance’s filesystem, so there is a minimal delay in writing and retrieving data. Growing businesses often have increasing data storage demands, so it’s also important for a database to be scalable. A Volume that stores your database can be resized to meet your storage needs.

      Persistent Storage

      Block Storage Volumes can be detached from a cloud instance just as easily as they are attached, meaning that it’s possible to create hot-swappable drives with Block Storage. This is useful if you need to perform the same kind of tasks across a fleet of instances with the same data.

      Caution

      While the Block Storage service has full support for hot swapping, it is important to follow the detachment instructions outlined in our Using Block Storage guide. If a Volume is not safely detached, there is a risk of data loss for the Volume.

      Container Storage

      Containers, like those created with Docker or inside Kubernetes Pods, can benefit from having some type of persistent storage. This helps to keep a container’s size down and makes it easy to maintain data outside of the normal lifecycle of the container or Pod.

      If you are using Docker, you can use the Docker Volume Driver for Linode to create a Docker volume from a Block Storage Volume. Similarly, if you are using Kubernetes you can use the Container Storage Interface (CSI) Driver for Linode Block Storage to create a Persistent Volume Claim that’s backed by a Block Storage Volume.

      Running Cloud Software

      In a climate where ownership over one’s data is an important need for many individuals and organizations, hosting your own cloud software is a great use case for Block Storage. Create and mount a Block Storage Volume, install an application like OwnCloud, and point its data folder to a location on your Volume. If you ever run out of space on your Volume you can always increase its size.

      Storage for Media Library Applications

      There are a few media library applications, most notably Plex, that offer media streaming functionality to internet enabled devices. The media libraries these applications serve can quickly grow in size, depending on the number of movie and audio files they contain. Using a Block Storage Volume can provide you with storage capable of growing with the needs of your library.

      Note

      Ephemeral Storage

      Various stages of the software development lifecycle can create large amounts of temporary data, such as buffers, builds, and cache and session data. While this data might only exist for a short period of time, it requires and utilizes storage space. Creating a Block Storage Volume just for ephemeral data is a good use case for times when the storage supplied with your instance is not enough, or for when you need extra space for a short period of time.

      Data Backups

      Having backups of your data is always a good idea, and Block Storage Volumes make for scalable and quickly accessible backup mediums. Store anything that you might need to quickly transfer to another instance, or anything that you might need at a moment’s notice.

      Boot Disks

      You can boot from disk images installed to a Block Storage Volume. This provides a cost effective means of maintaining an image that can be attached to a new Linode. For example, you could save money by creating and removing on-demand Linode instances that boot from a Volume. As well, you can boot from a Volume to access and recover an instance whose normal operating system may not be running as expected.

      Note

      Linode provides a built-in Rescue Mode feature, but maintaining your own rescue Volume can allow you to include the recovery tools you prefer to use.

      Next Steps

      For more information on how to use Block Storage, consult our How to Use Block Storage with Your Linode guide.

      Find answers, ask questions, and help others.

      This guide is published under a CC BY-ND 4.0 license.



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