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My web needs are simple. I use debian os, apache, mono+xsp+mod_mono for aspx hosting, mysql, nagios, some bash scripts for backup purposes and occasionally random libs like encryptfs which i may not bother with to encrypt git repositories.

My question is, should i bother switching from VPS to amazon EC2? is it complicated? is it only worth it if i have a busy machine? and lastly

If i should then my question is...

What should i know before switching? I assume a 2nd instance means i have an clone of my OS running. I dont know what happens if i save data on the local instance, is it mirrored? lost when shutdown? does writing to one instance show up on another since its a shared hdd? and what happens to mysql/how do i handle multiple instance accessing it?

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IMHO you should probably stick with VPS hosting until you've gone through the lengthy learning curve that EC2 requires. Then make a decision after that.

EC2 definitely has its uses (some are undeniable advances in hosting) but it is not straight forward and sometimes the time overheads (like trying to mirror Servers across different "regions", ie countries, to protect against outages can take forever to get right) are massive.

There are also issues with the resources you seem to get offered and what you actually get given (as with most types of shared hosting) so buyer beware: all that glitters is not gold.

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My question is, should i bother switching from VPS to amazon EC2?

Well, only you can decide that. :-)

is it only worth it if i have a busy machine?

Generally speaking that's right. Amazon's strengths are mainly centered around managing a fleet of servers, f.x. "Elastic Load Balancing" to route HTTP requests to multiple frontend web servers, "Relation Database Service" to set up MySQL servers in replication sets.

If you needs are such that a single (possibly beefy) server is enough, then Amazon EC2 doesn't offer you much benefit. Look at high-end VPS or good dedicated servers then.

What should i know before switching?

Running your app on a single EC2 instance, or a single frontend webserver and a single database, is not substantially different than a single VPS. Running multiple frontend instances brings the usual architectural considerations about maintaining application state.

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