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Why not just get some dedicated servers? :/ I still don't understand why anyone with any amount of load or traffic would use the most expensive hosting available.



We had dedicated servers. It saved us 30% a month to move to EC2.

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I can't understand how that would be the case. Did you run virtualization on the dedi servers so you had multiple 'machines' on them to play with? (If you need that sort of thing for your architecture)

What was the limiting factor on dedicated? CPU? ram? bandwidth?

Maybe you just had a really bad dedicated server deal? Were they reasonably priced?

Even VPSs are cheaper than Amazon.

I started out on VPSs and saved a lot moving to dedicated servers once it made sense to. For the dedi servers I use I don't have to pay for RAM monthly, and I get bandwidth at a good price.

The kind of money you're paying on servers is just obscene. It wouldn't matter if Reddit had the revenue of course...

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There is no point proposing them to use dedicated servers as already many did. They are 100% sure dedicated servers cost more, so let them keep their ec2's and let them fail!

I wonder why google, yahoo and facebook don't run their site on ec2... if it's cheaper.

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I think failure is looking more and more likely the more I read of their blog and details of how they run things.

It's a very interesting case to analyze though - perhaps acquired too soon, never had enough pressure on monetization until it was too late... Questions over how well the site was architected. Sounds like they're using a lot of 'new' unproven 'hip' things. Casandra? :/

Seems like the founders and YC have been extremely quiet about the problems... It'd be interesting to hear their take on things.

Also can't imagine how Conde Naste could be happy with things.

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Google et al. do essentially run their servers on EC2. However it's their own version of EC2, in their datacentres. They have a whole pile of virtualised servers they can turn on an off by the minutes. They have internal accounting systems so that each team is 'charged' based on what they use. Google are so big, so it's cheaper for them to make their own datacentre than use someone else's (i.e. Amazon's).

EC2 only came about because Amazon run their servers on it, and they had so much spare capacity, so they sell it.

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> EC2 only came about because Amazon run their servers on it, and they had so much spare capacity, so they sell it.

False.

http://itknowledgeexchange.techtarget.com/cloud-computing/20...

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>Google et al. do essentially run their servers on EC2.

If by EC2 you mean "bunches of servers", sure.

On GoGrid you can buy cloud servers, or you can rent dedicated servers (and you can intermix the two). The latter are quite a bit less expensive for a given quanta of resources, while the former obviously offer greater dynamic flexibility (with a significant premium).

Actually considering the terrible I/O rate of services like EC2, dedicated often offers a dramatic advantage.

>They have a whole pile of virtualised servers they can turn on an off by the minutes.

But they don't. So they use none of the upside, and have all of the downside. Yay!

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> But they don't. So they use none of the upside, and have all of the downside. Yay!

That's not true at all. We shut down machines when we are over capacity (rarely) and we often have to bring up a bunch of new machines where there is a traffic spike.

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> I wonder why google, yahoo and facebook don't run their site on ec2... if it's cheaper.

Well, for one, they are A LOT bigger than us. But you'd be surprised who DOES run on EC2. The biggest one I'm allowed to tell you about is Netflix. Their entire streaming service is run off EC2. I guess they're idiots too, huh?

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They have a business model and revenue. It doesn't matter quite so much what they use. $1000 hosting costs vs $10k hosting costs for them is 'meh'.

For startups, and Reddit, the difference does(should) matter.

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Well that's hardly a fair point. It's going to depend on the scale of your traffic, the type of site, the networking/sysadmin manpower available, tolerance for failure, etc...

EC2 certainly isn't always cheaper, but it also certainly can be cheaper.

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I don't think Reddit is doing it now (since they said their boot process is not automated) but there's a lot to be said for spinning servers up and down according to demand. I'd be curious what Reddit's utilization graph looks like. There may be times when, give smart load monitoring algorithms, they could run at 2/3 the number of servers, or even fewer.

Even without that, keep in mind dedicated servers have investments in hardware management. That's a huge cost. Plus, when you're a fast-paced company, the ability to move quickly is invaluable, which EC2 definitely does allow, but dedicated does not.

Even without that, managed dedicated servers are still often more expensive. Rackspace costs $420/mo[1] for their cheapest dedicated, which is roughly equivalent to 2 small EC2 instances (~$140/mo). The Planet has a similar(ish) machine for $184/mo[2].

[1] - http://www.rackspace.com/managed_hosting/configurations.php [2] - http://www.theplanet.com/dedicated-hosting.aspx

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Rackspace's dedicated hosting is not a great comparison, they're definitely at the high end of pricing.

That said, don't forget that both the Rackspace and The Planet boxes come with 2 terabytes of transfer which would be $300 from Amazon. When you factor that in, suddenly Rackspace becomes competitive and The Planet vastly cheaper.

Softlayer will sell you a quadcore box with 8GB of ram and 4 terabytes of transfer a month for $200.

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I meant that we used to have our own datacenter.

Yes, the dedicated servers might be less. But when one of them breaks, I have to wait for the provider to fix it. On EC2, I can replace it in 5 minutes.

> I started out on VPSs and saved a lot moving to dedicated servers once it made sense to. For the dedi servers I use I don't have to pay for RAM monthly, and I get bandwidth at a good price.

EC2 doesn't charge for RAM either and the bandwidth is at a great price.

> The kind of money you're paying on servers is just obscene.

It's really not that much more than other hosting providers, and they offer features that the other ones don't. The two biggest being the speed with which I can add new machines and the speed I can add more disk.

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>> "and the bandwidth is at a great price."

http://josephscott.org/archives/2009/01/how-much-does-one-te...

  * Layered Tech: $169 (2 TB/month)
  * The Planet: $149 (1.5 TB/month)
  * Superb Hosting: $119 (2 TB/month)
  * Hostway: $99 (2 TB/month)
  * Server Beach: $75 (1.2 TB/month)
  * Cari.net: $60 (1.3 TB/month)

  * Amazon EC2: $244.40
So I disagree the bandwidth is at a great price. I think it's ridiculously expensive. Maybe you have money to burn though.

If a dedicated server dies, just spin up some VPSes while you order a new dedicated server or get it fixed :/ It's not a great problem for the rare hardware failure.

The dedicated servers I use get me 5TB transfer for around $100/month. That would cost me around $1,000 on Amazon.

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I'm too lazy to do the research, but what happens when you scale that up to the 23TB a month that we are doing (which doesn't include the 49TB of cross datacenter traffic that is super cheap)? Amazon cuts us a price break at the higher tiers. Do the other guys?

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Come on. The other guys are like 10% the cost of Amazon. Data center internal traffic is usually free. Are you talking about datacenter to other datacenter traffic?

In any event. You're wasting money. Reddit could easily be hosted for $3k/mo or so.

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You probably had a bad dedicated server deal.

I think you could get 75 of Dell R410s with 8 cores each and 16G of memory for under $300k. A top of the line colo will run you about $2k a month for a rack and a half with power and room to run all 75 boxes. Where you run into trouble is if the company you buy from charges you for the box cost every year. Getting charged as if you are re-buying every year would work out to something like $27k a month. Those boxes will easily last 3 years and if you span it out over 3 years you are looking at $10k a month. That is half what you are paying for EC2.

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I meant that we used to have our own datacenter.

Yes, the dedicated servers might be less. But when one of them breaks, I have to wait for the provider to fix it. On EC2, I can replace it in 5 minutes.

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It probably depends on the datacenter environment and the quality of machine you are buying. I'm not talking about logging on to godaddy and asking for 75 random dedicated servers. I'm talking about going to Dell and buying 75 machines and putting them in a rack. You will know exactly what you are getting. We use a datacenter that is also a Dell service center so they have parts on hand for any failures and they can service any Dell machine that comes with the base warranty.

With 75 good quality machines I bet you wouldn't see more than three hardware failure a year if that. All 3 of those would probably be drive failures. I imagine the redundancy of the software would handle that without a problem.

I agree that the continence of EC2 is very nice. We use EC2 a lot but just in a lot more "elastic" way. We have found it is cheaper to colo boxes if the demand is constant.

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