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Ask HN: Why is AWS so popular despite being impossibly complex?
5 points by Killah911 on Jan 20, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 12 comments
Was planning to move to AWS & consolidate out server from Linode and Digital Ocean. OMG, it's been like the month from hell! I've had to spend incredible amounts of time trying to learn AWS & now I have a $1900 bill (highest Linodo bill was $150) b/c I checked the dedicated instance box I was playing around with.

I can't put into words the kind of frustration AWS creates compared to Linode or Digital Ocean. Why the hell are they still so popular?




Because what VPS providers give you is more or less what only EC2 + EBS gives you. AWS provides ~30 other services which tightly integrate with the rest.

If you used one instance and did it by mistake while trying things out, chat to support / billing. Tell them you're in the process of migrating to them and don't understand the system well - they may cancel/reduce the initial bill just to keep you.


Thanks for the pointer. I was really freaking out about the crazy bill for checking the wrong box.


AWS can be easy and can be confusing.

If you want to use it like DO/Linode it isn't hard. Just fire up an EC2 server and you are good to go.

It can get confusing when you start linking multiple services together, but many of these services are life savers when it comes to scaling your apps.


You forgot the bit about configuring a million options before launching an EC2 instance, the persistence (hard drive) supposedly disappearing if you shut down the matchine, not to mention, the SSH key that you MUST set up in order to access the server. DO is significantly more intuitive and faster.


EC2 is not persistent. It uses ephemeral storage and they're pretty clear about it.

The launch is not that complicated - it's 7 pages, most of which you can ignore to go with defaults. You're interested in what you're running, what size, network security, and storage - that's about it for the start.

Maybe you need to just take a break for a while... anger and billed services don't mix well :) Alternatively, if you're just testing, make sure you click "free tier only" at the beginning.


Haha yea that is true. DO is much easier to just get a VPS up and running asap.

But imo EC2 servers aren't that hard after you do it your first time or two. Most of the defaults work and I always setup SSH key on DO servers anyway.

Then you get the benefit down the road of being able to link all of the other services together when it is time to scale up a bit.


Best analogy is knife vs swiss knife. AWS has a great toolset and comes handy when it comes to scaling, at the same time it seems complex if you don't know how to use it.


FWIW, I accidentally left a machine running for a month and ended up owing ~$700. I called them and told them I wasn't using it and they gave me the money back. I'd give it a try if I were you.


Why did you plan to move to AWS? If you just want a fixed set of virtualized servers, they are neither the easiest nor the cheapest option. What's the pain with Linode/DO you are trying to fix?


We wanted to use a platform that could implement things like PCI, HIPAA & similar compliance issue we may run into. To be honest, as our startup is getting bigger, we just wanted to start going with a "big boy" solution. Don't have an IT team yet, but after talking to a few potential IT folks, it seemed like AWS was the gold standard.


This is sort of like asking why anyone would want a manual transmission instead of an automatic. Not all of us find the complexity hopeless.


Things be hard to learn in computers.Keep trying, it takes time.




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