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Linode vs Amazon Web Services for server hosting

Michael Brown   September 29 2012 08:39:06 PM
A while ago, I setup a Domino server on Amazon Web Services (AWS), purely as a place for my own experimentations.  I soon shut it down because I didn't want to keep paying the hosting costs.  Instead, I now run a local server on my main PC - it's an Ubuntu server running under VirtualBox, so the host OS might be Mac OS X (as in "Hackintosh"), Linux or even Windows, depending on how the mood takes me.

Recently, however, I've been thinking of setting up some hosting solution again.  If I'm working on my MacBook Pro, it's a real pain to have to get up and turn on the PC, startup Virtualbox, then start up the Domino server before I can get going.

A company called Linode seems all the rage in hosting circles at the moment.  They offer servers for as little as 20 USD per month.  They're Linux servers only, so sorry to all you MCSEs out there: you're going to have to learn how to use a computer to take advantage!  Before jumping on board, however, I decided to do a final comparison between  Linode and AWS.  What I found was a real eye opener. Let's cut to the chase:

Amazon EC2
Storage Up front Per hour Per day Per month Per Year 3 Years
On demand Small
0.00
0.00
0.080
1.92
58.40
700.80
2102.40
Micro
24.00
0.00
0.020
0.48
16.60
199.20
597.60
Reserved Micro -1yr
24.00
23.00
0.012
0.29
12.68
152.12
456.36
Micro - 3yr
24.00
35.00
0.012
0.29
11.73
140.79
422.36
Small - 1yr
0.00
69.00
0.039
0.94
34.22
410.64
1231.92
Small - 3yr
0.00
106.30
0.031
0.74
25.58
306.99
920.98
Linode
0.00
0.00
0.027
0.66
20.00
240.00
720.00






The cells in normal type are the source figures.  Those in italics are formula calculations.  So, Linode charges 20 USD per month for its lowest offering, so that's why that cell is in normal type.  AWS charges by the hour, and also may have some up front charges, so that's why those cells are in normal type.

AWS On Demand Vs Reserved

You can turn an On Demand AWS instance off and on at will; i.e., you don't have to commit to having it for a certain period.  For a Reserved instance, you have to commit to a year or a 3 years.  I've shown costs for both.

An On Demand Small instance was what I had previously.  That's charged at 0.08 cents per hour, which works out at 700 USD per year; a fair chunk.   You do get a reasonably beefy server for that though: 1.7 Gig of RAM and 160 Gig of storage.

Linode

The $20 per month Linode instance, by comparison, is only half a gig of RAM and 20 Gig of storage, but I think you can just about get away with running a Domino server on that.  Remember, there's only likely to be one user: me!  And at $240 per year, it looks like a steal.

AWS Micro Instances

But now look at the AWS Micro instances.  (I'm pretty sure that these weren't available when I was setting up my server a few years back, otherwise I would have used one for sure!)   A Micro instance gives you 613 Meg of RAM (odd number, I thought) but zero storage.  You'll have to pay extra for Elastic Block Store (EBS) storage.  I've actually maintained an EBS block of 20 Gig for all these years, ready to spring into action when needed!  That's cost me a grand total of $2 per month or $24 per year, which I've included the costs for Micro instances.  Even with that extra cost, an On Demand Micro instance still comes in at a shade under $200 per year, which is $40 per year cheaper than Linode.

And it gets cheaper still if you go for a reserved instance, where you have to commit to either 1 year or 3 years in advance.  In that case, the overall costs go down to $152.12 per year or $140.79 per year, respectively.

I've attached my spreadsheet (in ODF format) in case you want to experiment with these calcs yourself.
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