I’ve previously blogged about Rackspace vs. AWS. For small servers, Rackspace has generally come out on top. But this year the pendulum has swung the other way.
First, Amazon released their t2.micro instance. The t1.micro was really just for learning the AWS API on, but the t2.micro is the kind of instance you can do real work on. (In fact I’ve been running the test version of a DB-backed website on one, for a month or two now, with no issues.)
A t2.micro server is $11.35/month in Ireland, ($15.64/month in U.S. East or Tokyo - I didn’t expect that! Europe cheaper than the U.S.!). This includes a 20GB magnetic disk, at about $1/month. (SSD is $2/month). $11.35 is £7.10/month (at today’s $1.60/£).
The second change this year is that Rackspace have introduced a compulsory service level fee, of £35/month. This is per data centre. (They might claim it is pay as you go, but small customers won’t do enough go-ing, so will always simply be paying £35/month.)
The third change is Rackspace have done away with their low-end servers. You used to be able to get a “next generation” 512MB server for 2p/hour (http://www.rackspace.co.uk/cloud/servers/existing-customer-pricing), and if you are an existing customer you still can. That works out at £14.40/month. The new minimum server is £52.52/month (including the £35 service level charge). (Of course, the new minimum server is higher spec., but as all I needed was the previous minimum spec, that does not matter.)
By the way, existing customers get a different pricing system, and don’t need to pay the service level charge. However, the per-hour prices are higher, e.g. for “Performance 1” (1GB RAM, 20GB SSD) it is £21.60/month, compared to £17.52/month (+£35) for new customers. (I guess this is related to their point - the service level was hidden in the prices, and now they’re just breaking it out… well, if the price was exactly the same, without the minimum fee, I’d have no problem with that.)
In Rackspace’s favour is their locations. They have a London data centre, the closest Amazon has is Ireland. They have a Hong Kong data centre, the closest Amazon can manage is Tokyo or Singapore.
In AWS’s favour, you have one account, globally, whereas with Rackspace it is one account per data centre.
So, to sum up, if all you need is minimum spec, Rackspace are now either £14.40 or £52.52/month (depending on if you are an existing customer at your desired data centre or not) while Amazon is now £7.10/month.
(Be aware that the prices are always in motion; but if you think I’ve misunderstood something above, please let me know in the comments.)
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