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As a start-up with very low cash flow, I am thinking about deploying my own server and combine that with AWS cloud, just in the beginning. Trying to do some of the heavy and costly operations on my own server. That way I will be able to offer complex functionality to my customers without bleeding too much cash in the process.

Then I will obviously be responsible for the maintenance of my own server.

My question: is this realistic and possible to do? I know that AWS has something called "Hybrid Cloud Architectures" that might be something for me. But I want to have other peoples input and opinions. What are the downsides? Will I be able to achieve a lower cost?

put on hold as primarily opinion-based by bodgit, Gerald Schneider, Massimo, kubanczyk, Ward 2 days ago

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I'm not sure that if by running your own server you mean on-premise server or not but assuming you do. There are a couple of costs which you might need to incur just to get started with it which is getting the right hardware and everything. Which in itself might end up costing you more than what you will pay with AWS.

Assuming that you already have the hardware required it still might be a bit tedious for you to setup the on-premise server and even if you end up doing it successfully maintaining it will be a huge pain. And JIC it goes down it might not leave a very good impression of you which I don't think you want at any cost.

To prevent the above two scenarios I will suggest you to go with AWS Serverless Architecture. Basically breakdown your complex workflow into multiple parts and enable it using a combination of SNS,SQS, Lambda and API Gateway. This way you only pay for what you use and you essentially don't have to focus much on maintenance which provides you with the time to grow more. Also these services have a free tier and JIC you end up not using them to the limits you don't even have to pay anything rather than paying for maintaining your own server.

In case you decide to go with Lambda implementation use https://serverless.com/ this will enable you to deploy with much ease.

Also if you decide to use AWS for your services please checkout AWS blogs and other websites they provide AWS credits which you can use.

P.S. Just checked, AWS provides support to startups with its program AWS Activate this might just be what you need.

Hope this helps!

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It depends.

It is true that running your own infrastructure saves you a ton of cost overhead imparted by AWS. But, you're paying that cost so that your infrastructure is "managed" for you reliably. If you can trade off that reliability & convenience for cost, there are several ways you can save money. But know what you're signing up for.

You need to

  • Think and plan for backups
  • Keep your operating system up to date and manage firewall rules
  • Deal with plain old filesystem instead of "just mount EBS volume"..

Ideas to save money:

  1. Use reserved instances in AWS to save money by committing to use. As a startup this might be difficult to commit. Depends on your startup plans.

  2. Use cheaper VPS instead of Amazon. There are plenty of competition for AWS in the world if you're not already locked into AWS specific services. Again, their reliability may vary from Amazon depending on which VPS provider you choose, and you need to do your own research about them.

  3. If you know that you will need the servers for a certain period of time, you can buy physical servers and get them hosted at a certain datacenter while you take care of its operation. Visit Hetzner for example: https://www.hetzner.com/dedicated-rootserver

P.S: Not affiliated with any links. Only providing information as end user.

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