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...
I wonder why google, yahoo and facebook don't run their site on ec2... if it's cheaper.
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.
EC2 only came about because Amazon run their servers on it, and they had so much spare capacity, so they sell it.
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!
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.
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?
For startups, and Reddit, the difference does(should) matter.
EC2 certainly isn't always cheaper, but it also certainly can be cheaper.
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 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.
 - http://www.rackspace.com/managed_hosting/configurations.php
 - http://www.theplanet.com/dedicated-hosting.aspx
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.
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.
* 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
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.
In any event. You're wasting money. Reddit could easily be hosted for $3k/mo or so.