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I started out with Amazon EC2 as a monthly host for my project. I am running a 'small' Windows 2k8 instance with SQL server. This is the HW that I am getting:

1.7 GB memory
1 EC2 Compute Unit (1 virtual core with 1 EC2 Compute Unit)  [2.7 GHz CPU]
160 GB instance storage
32-bit platform
I/O Performance: Moderate

Now I tend to see people stating that they I can get better deals with a VPS, which implies a good deal less than the $90/month I currently pay for EC2... However, this does not seem to be the case. VPS offerings of similar specs (Win2k8/sql/1.7GB etc.) are almost identical in cost, but don't give me the lock-in free advantage of EC2. So, am I missing something?

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closed as too localized by Mark Henderson Jan 12 '12 at 5:50

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

You might be missing the literally dozens of similar-but-ultimately-conclusionless questions posted on this site since it started. This is all about opinion and there's no black and white answer to sooth you. – Chopper3 Oct 20 '10 at 14:25
up vote 2 down vote accepted

It is very hard to beat the price of Amazon's EC2 product, especially when you use reserved instance pricing.

If you know that you are going to use your instance full-time for a year, your cost for a reserved small instance is $490.30US annually or $40.85US monthly, plus bandwidth. If you only need your instance for development or where it isn't running full-time then it becomes even cheaper.

Definitely check all of your calculations to ensure you are getting the best deal for yourself.

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I think I agree with you. Is there any easy way to 'convert' an existing and running instance into a reserved instance? – user57692 Oct 20 '10 at 15:45
Unfortunately you can't convert a running instance to a reserved instance; you'd have to save the image of your running instance and then spin up a new one. – gareth_bowles Oct 20 '10 at 16:13
If the current instance is EBS based you may be able to do this by launching a reserved EBS instance, shutting down both boxes and then remapping the EBS volume from the current instance to the new one. I've done this many times with regular instances when I wanted to alter things such as security groups. – ManiacZX Oct 20 '10 at 16:23
You don't have to convert anything. As soon as you purchase the reserved instance, that will be applied to your currently running instance. – Daemon of Chaos Oct 20 '10 at 16:59

See this similar question regarding going cloud or vps.

EC2 really is a VPS, just the pricing model is structured differently.

When you are talking about single instances running 24/7, my comparisons have come out similar to yours, they work out pretty close to the same. Although, you do get some flexibility with EC2 in cases like needing low processing but high disk storage, or vice versa. A lot of the VPS packages are all or nothing, you need more storage, you get more ram and cpu too and pay for them all.

The benefit you get from EC2 is when you only need an instance running M-F 9-5, or you load balance between multiple instances only keeping one up 24/7 then bring others into the pool during peak usage.

And many other scenarios where it's not just run X instances 24/7.

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Spot pricing is another really good way to save costs on EC2, assuming that you don't mind some unexpected downtime (i.e. not the best solution for production apps). Based on recent pricing history, you could cut the monthly cost for an m1.small Windows instance down to about $60 / month using a spot priced instance.

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Did you look into Rackspace Cloud ( or Slicehost ( Both are owned by Rackspace, but they have different pricing structures that might meet your needs better.

For my needs, I only spend about $11/month + bandwidth for my own cloud hosted server. For me it seems so close in price that having the flexibility of spinning a new server at any time is preferred. VPS usually requires a monthly contract.

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