I really like the idea of having kd apps which run outside the VMs and I think it will be cool to see where people will take that and what kind of tools people will build.
When I came across Koding for the first time, I instantly became a huge fan because of how generously they are providing a high network speed 64-bit Ubuntu VM in the could. However, after using (facing a lot of difficulties as I have explained below) it for a few months, I have decided to desert it. I was hopeful when I saw their announcement on the new year enhancements and the 1TB for free offer. But, it just got worse. Koding does say that it is not fit for production environments but IMHO it is not fit for any serious programming other than trying out Web technologies like PHP, JSP, HTML etc. Here are the significant issues I faced while using Koding.com:
The performance of Koding is pathetic. Once you login the first page opens dead slow often showing a popup “Trying to reconnect”. Terminals open crawling (sometimes they don’t even open in the first few attempts) and working over a SSH connection is a horrible experience. You have to type and wait for a few seconds to see the character on the terminal. Resetting a VM is a catastrophe since it seems like eternity till it comes up again.
Somehow the disks seem to get slower when more and more data is stored on them. When I created a new account the performance was reasonable on a new VM.
2GB RAM is just not enough for a VM connected over the network and meant to be used for programming. When I tried to compile the LLVM library each time the compilation SEGFAULTed at linking stage. I compiled it on my local machine and tried to use the library but it again SEGFAULTed when the library APIs are called.
There was a time when Koding prompted to upgrade Ubuntu from Raring to Saucy. It never worked for me though I tried multiple times.
There is a default timeout set to turn off the VM and it is forced even if you are logged in remotely over SSH. The timeout is very less and once the VM is turned off it takes too long to get it on again.
The outbound servers do not seem to be load-sharing very well or are insufficient in number to handle the traffic. It was painful logging in to Koding during the period of their 1TB free offer. As far as I remember, I could login only once during the whole time.
I also have some personal security concerns with working on Koding. I am not sure whether the admins can access or communicate directly with the VMs or not. If yes, that’s the last thing I want.
Koding is a promising service that doesn’t deliver any quality of service. I do not like the situation where often I can’t access my own code because the service I rely on is erratic or even if I manage to open a session through SSH, my compilation crashes. Koding might be OK for beginners to start with but it is not even fit for any serious programming activity. So I just bid it goodbye and moved everything back to my laptop. Now I do not waste time trying to open a terminal or waiting for my VM to come up after login. Koding has embarrassed me far too many times.
The only advantage I see with Koding is it can work as a compilation environment for small packages from source code. In case you do not want to litter your own system with lots of development packages, use Koding to build.