I have two servers that I am thinking of moving to AWS (or is Azure a better option?) if it saves me money and helps reliability and scalability:

  1. Windows Server 2008 running IIS web server with PHP. About 1TB of images and OS/websites on SSD.

  2. Windows Server 2008 running MySQL 5.6. Database is about 5GB in size. All of the server drives are also on SSD.

What is the recommendation to what services I need with AWS? There are so options I don't know where to begin. Or should I choose a different cloud hosting service other than AWS for this type of setup?


  • First, you need to turn "if it saves me money and helps reliability and scalability" into something other than an "if". You need to do research first. – ceejayoz May 24 '13 at 21:26
  • OK, fair enough. Let's say it DOES do those things for me (which I am researching). Where to go from there? – Ethan Allen May 24 '13 at 21:28
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    Asking an opinion question such as "should I choose AWS or Azure" doesn't seem to fit the type of question that should be asked here (as it would simply solicit debate; there's no right answer). I'd keep the question specific to AWS (and possibly open a different question specific to Windows Azure). – David Makogon May 25 '13 at 1:53


There is a ton of information on their site here: http://aws.amazon.com/ec2/

There's also a great calculator for you to do planning on costs: http://calculator.s3.amazonaws.com/calc5.html

That said, I agree with this SF question:


You should really look at getting a consultant or VAR that has expertise with AWS (or Azure since you mention it) if you are going to go that route without existing experience, especially if this is for production servers that you actually want to work well during and after the migration.


As for choosing between AWS and Azure, you should be able to run your workloads in either. Price-wise, Microsoft recently committed to matching AWS pricing, so no difference there. For running Microsoft workloads, it's worth considering that Microsoft supports the whole stack all the way up for Azure workloads, whereas I'm not sure how much support Amazon is able to provide when strange things happen in IIS, for example.

Pricing for Azure: http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/pricing/calculator/

That said, I think the first thing to decide would be whether you're looking for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS). The Iaas approach means forklifting your current servers from where they are to the cloud datacenter, with little else changing. The PaaS approach means refactoring your website or application to run on top of Azure, for example, rather than within IIS on your server. This would probably mean more work but you would get all of the benefits of a modern web service built for the cloud. See for example:


You also mentioned SSDs. If that implies you have performance intensive requirements, make sure you set up some test servers and get a feel for the performance in AWS or Azure first. My testing in Azure has shown excellent read speeds, but not screaming write speeds. And you won't get SSD performance. But there is plenty of caching going on, so that may be OK. Capacity-wise, multiple TBs of data are no problem.

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