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We have been wondering about why Amazon costs "as much" as it does and would like some views on this topic.

At the moment we use Amazon to host our service, but our cost for traffic is becoming pretty high and we have looked at other providers.

With a small instance on Amazon EU (http://aws.amazon.com/ec2) it costs $68.4/month for a small with 1.7GB ram and something similar to a dual core.

At a German provider, Hetzner, you can get a dedicated machine (http://www.hetzner.de/en/hosting/produkte_rootserver/x4) with 4GB RAM and a dual core. This cost €49 = $69/month. Included in the price is free traffic* (if you use more than 5TB your 100mbit connetion goes down to 10mbit, but you don't pay extra).

We've thought long and hard but don't really know why Amazon charges so much.

It could be that their uptime/stability is high, but... We've talked to others who use Hetzner and they are very satisfied with it, and have great uptime. The computer we tested with was a lot faster than even a large instance on Amazon (which would cost $271/month)

It could be that their throughput is high/latency is low, but... We tested and compared Hetzner (Germany) to Amazon (Ireland). The result was that no matter where in the world we tested with we got the same latency and throughput.

The main difference we do notice is S3, which is super freaking awesome. Amazon of course have a lot of other services, but none that we really use - not even EBS.

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closed as not constructive by EEAA, Shane Madden, sam, Chris S, womble Aug 13 '11 at 3:16

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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Amazon is scalable. It isn't intended to replace a set of static hosts; if you use it as such it will be less reliable and more expensive. Its advantage lies in the flexibility: you don't have to pay for enough dedicated processing power to handle your peak loads.

If one month (say, December) you have much higher traffic you can up your computing power for that month and that month only. The idea behind cloud is that you only pay for exactly how much computing power you need.

This also makes things a bit harder to develop. You have to think about more things and realize that cloud hosts aren't quite as robust as VPS hosts. You have to be able to handle hosts going down and automatically replacing them. In short, moving to the cloud requires that you use most of Amazon's services to provide a reliable setup. If you're just using one machine and think you'll stay at that level for the foreseeable future then you should stick to dedicated hosting from a good provider.

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You're right, that's a very nice feature to have. Generally we've been able to see the peak points coming though. Right now we use six machines at Amazon, so it's not just one small machine. We're designing a system now which can fallback to Amazon in case we overload the Hetzner servers. We also use S3 for backup of our files, since that's such a cool feature. Mainly, Amazon feels a little too expensive with traffic and storage. What do you think? –  freeall Aug 11 '11 at 14:58
    
sounds like you have a good handle on your needs, and your fallback system could work very well. the advantage of using amazon is with autoscaling, cloudwatch, and elb you don't have to write your own system. But it will be more expensive to use the amazon services, so if your system works for you I say go for it. –  Michael Lowman Aug 11 '11 at 16:05
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It seems to be working :) It's just that it would be nice to just use Amazon, but their cost for traffic is way too high. 1TB = $150 on Amazon, where 1TB = €7($10). That's such a huge difference that it really does matter. And when their network seems to be able to give same speed and latency there's no apparent reason not to do it. –  freeall Aug 12 '11 at 11:17
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AWS is really nice if you have an amazon like load pattern - ie need to scale from a few (hundred) instances to a few (hundred) thousand or more without having to worry about physical infrastructure/procurement/data center maintenance/etc.etc.

Might be a problem to ask Hetzner if they could install 15000 servers for you in Decemeber but put them into the closet in mid January.

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Definitely. Hetzner wouldn't be able to do that. The server prices are actually very good at Amazon, but their traffic costs are through the roof. We could divide our traffic costs with 11 if we used Hetzner. That's real money right there. –  freeall Aug 11 '11 at 15:00
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