Monday, June 11, 2018

Data Day: Cloud Hosting Costs

The URI! Zone has been running IN THE CLOUD for just over three years now, so I thought I would compute the costs to see if I'm really getting my money's worth. The answer isn't completely cut and dried, as I do a lot more with the flexibility offered by the cloud, spinning up new servers on the fly to work on Sparkour or taking over hosting duties for the Paravia Wiki. Still, I'm very satisfied with what I've gotten for the amount I've paid.

In the olden days, I was spending $240 a year on the "complete" hosting package for the URI! Zone. I could login to my space on the shared server and upload files but not much else. When I moved into AWS, I added a 3rd server (Web/App/DB instead of just App/DB), and also an SSL Certificate so I would appear more trustworthy when telepathically stealing your credit card information.

The data for year #1 in the cloud is a little skewed since I took advantage of the introductory year's worth of free services through AWS. At the end of that year, I also purchased reserved instances on multi-year contracts for a lower price. It wasn't until year #2 and #3 that I could actually look at comparable costs. Through the advanced mathematical process of hand-waving and bad estimation, I would say that my cost per server has gone down in the cloud from $114 per server to about $93 per server. My productivity and ease of deployment has gone way up and I've only suffered a single outage (5 hours in 2015) in the whole time.

Bottom Line: Moving to the cloud took a good deal of upfront effort to do intelligently, but the pay-offs in cost reduction, productivity, and flexibility have more than outweighed this. I am very happy with AWS as a cloud environment, even though I don't need or use a majority of the services offered.

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