Looking at the clouds and wondering which way to go

This or That?

After many discussions about the contrast of running a VPS on a host provided dedicated server and running an Instance in the cloud this weekend I decided to explore and found that actually there aren't bad options available. Obviously the two big players Amazon and Microsoft have there offerings known as:

png          azure_small

There are other offerings from over providers such as Rackspace, but for this article I will be looking at just these two since they are what I would consider top companies for the area of cloud services.

So what can you get free to start with:


For the first 1 Year

AWS Free Usage Tier (Per Month):
Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)
  • 750 hours of Amazon EC2 Linux Micro Instance usage (613 MB of memory and 32-bit and 64-bit platform support) – enough hours to run continuously each month*
  • 750 hours of Amazon EC2 Microsoft Windows Server Micro Instance usage (613 MB of memory and 32-bit and 64-bit platform support) – enough hours to run continuously each month*
  • 750 hours of an Elastic Load Balancer plus 15 GB data processing*
  • 30 GB of Amazon Elastic Block Storage, plus 2 million I/Os and 1 GB of snapshot storage*
Simple Storage Service (S3)
  • 5 GB of Amazon S3 standard storage, 20,000 Get Requests, and 2,000 Put Requests*
  • 100 MB of storage, 5 units of write capacity, and 10 units of read capacity for Amazon DynamoDB.**
Relational Database Service (RDS)
  • 750 hours of Amazon RDS Single-AZ Micro DB Instances, for running MySQL, Oracle BYOL or SQL Server (running SQL Server Express Edition) – enough hours to run a DB Instance continuously each month*
  • 20 GB of database storage
  • 10 million I/Os
  • 20 GB of backup storage for your automated database backups and any user-initiated DB Snapshots
Simple Workflow (SWF)
  • 1,000 Amazon SWF workflow executions can be initiated for free. A total of 10,000 activity tasks, signals, timers and markers, and 30,000 workflow-days can also be used for free**
Simple Queue Service (SQS) and Simple Notification Service (SNS)
Data Transfer
  • 15 GB of bandwidth out aggregated across all AWS services*
Data Pipeline
  • 3 low frequency preconditions running on AWS per month*
  • 5 low frequency activities running on AWS per month*

In addition to these services, the AWS Management Console is available at no charge to help you build and manage your application on AWS.

60-day Free Trial

In addition to the Free Usage Tier we also offer 60-day Free Trial for all AWS customers that are new to Amazon ElastiCache. AWS customers can avail of this Free Trial in addition to the Free Usage Tier offerings.

For more information on the free trial please follow the link below:

Taken from https://aws.amazon.com/free/

For 90 Days


So which did I choose? Well Amazon Web Services (AWS)

I am looking to migrate my websites and services therefore VPS style instances are more useful to me than a specialised cloud. I feel which is best is very much dependent on your needs, I was looking for IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service). Having said this a future planned Windows 8 App I will be developing requires a flat table database like NoSQL or in AWS case DynamoDB.


Ok so this, but what exactly?

So had a brief look at what you get free, one micro instance but for my need I wanted a bit more grr, so have stumped up the cash(well have yet to really see how much) and have got two micro instance.

Sadly I am a die hard windows fan loving my nice GUI’s rather than terminal, despite having used the powerful Ubuntu CVSSP servers I still for admin like windows.

So what can you get? Windows Server, 2008, 2012 with all sorts on top. But what does it mean for CPU usage well 2008 clearly requires less processing power but how much? well about 40%.

Windows Server 2012: Runing IIS


Windows Server 2008: Running SQL Express 08


Now although these two graphs are two different servers for different jobs, I would like to state this sort of behaviour for 2012 is indicative of a base line, barely getting close to 40%. So will probably need to rethink using 2012 for my web server.

Having said all this though I did some experiments against my old VPS shared server, with 2GB ram running both Web and SQL Express and found the performance to be comparable. I also did some test on another MojoPortal website running on a shared hosting for a business account and was comparable with that too with 100ms difference in favour of the shared hosting but less of a connection scale problem.

So is it worth it?

Well it is hard to tell, I am going to do some tests for a month so I see what the real costs are because you ‘pay on a meter’ it could be more could be less than expected the IOPS factor is very hard to predict and I haven’t found any meaningful references to decide what is a real Windows server IOPS count on EBS storage.

My main concern is the cost jump from a micro instance to a small, for a micro instance the cost being $14.28 for a small $84.18 just for an instance running 24hours a day of usage for 1 month.

What could be cool

At the moment I am running two micro instances one SQL one Web, but this is very easy to change up to a few instances running the data folder of MojoPortal against the S3 storage, with an Elastic Load Balancer(ELB) run on top of the Web servers could be a nice way of dynamically handling load with a low cost due to the micro instance. Using this style of solution is hard to judge with little to no real experience but seems logical.

To come

Well I have only been using AWS for a weekend will see what it comes to after a month with a couple of sites on it. Will get back to you soon!

Sunday, January 13, 2013 4:23:10 PM Categories: Amazon Evaluation Microsoft MojoPortal Tech WebDev
Stuart James