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Alternative to Amazon EC2?
6 points by amrithk on May 28, 2008 | hide | past | web | favorite | 13 comments
So I have been reading a few tutorials on setting up EC2 and it seems like you need a fair amount of system admin experience (which I do not unfortunately have). Plus, it also seems you'lll need to actively manage your instances and consistenyly backup your database in case an instance crashes.

I have been exploring other 'cloud' hosting services and came across mosso (www.mosso.com). Does anyone have any experiences with them? It seems to be as easy as setting up your site on a shared hosting service. Anything I should look out for?

Linux newbie here. Used ec2 image for over six months now. The only problem I had is that sometimes google did not answer my linux questions on first page, and I had to tweak the search query a little.

Yes, starting is a little weird, but once you create your ami(the os) everything works great. There are free public images ready for development and I am using one of the Right Scale CentOS images.

Six months ago I did not know anything about PuTTY, WinSCP, Crons, nohups, mc, installing software packages easily(which really surprised me). Thank you Yum.

Backing up your data is needed, but it is needed anywhere anyway. I've restarted that instance once in six months and it was not needed at all. Just had to test restart functionality :)

Mosso is one of those used-car-dealership services. They insist that you're getting something amazing, but they won't exactly tell you what you're getting.

More importantly, their $100/mo plan includes 3,000,000 requests - that's not a lot considering that every CSS file, image, page, javascript, etc. is all another request. So, they're giving you a server that can handle 1.16 hits per second - DreamHost could do that!

Let's say you have a nicely busy site with 20 hits per second - your next big thing. That's 51m hits/mo. You'd be hit with over $48,000 in overage charges for requests alone - nevermind bandwith overages. Even if your site is a small next big thing and has 5 hits per second, you'd still be hit with nearly $10,000 in overage charges.

Plus, do they really guarantee automatic scaling? No. They're not going to auto-scale a twitter or reddit. You're buying the idea that you never have to think about server administration and that it'll come cheap.

Amazon has a realistic offering. Mosso is a way for you to tell people that no one has to worry about scaling until it hits the fan and you're finished.

If you disagree, maybe you could shed some light on Mosso. Do they automatically set up mysql clusters - multi master and all - as you get too large for one database server? What if I decide to write a page with a looped query: do they just scale that? What if I'm joining 20M records against 10M users (an expensive, On^2 operation)?

There's no such thing as a free lunch.

yeah, they just announced that the 3mil requests was over, and they are going to something closer to MT and saying 'compute units' (I was at over 6.5mil requests last month).

They don't do good clustering or good scaling, They are a good solution for small-time resellers, and that's about it.

Small time resellers that would have small sites and need multiple platforms (php 4,5 IIS 6,7, mysql/mssql).

even then, like I said, downtime is a serious issue.

We use flexiscale. It does have an api, its just web-based (https://api.flexiscale.com/current/doc/). We have worked closely with their engineers to create a simple desktop app for managing/viewing server status (http://cogniscale.cognifide.com/). This work is on-going.

However, EC2 is a great platform. Flexiscale is an alternative but EC2 is much further down the line. I'm watching this space.

Mosso is easy to manage. Sure. check out http://status.mosso.com to see their downtime track record. It's bad. I'm currently leaving mosso for EC2.

IMO, you may be better off in the long run to figure it out on EC2 (possibly with rightscale).

The other possibility is to do it in python and use google appjet (publically available this week, just announced at IO)

I think Google is targeting people like you (who don't want to deal with sys admin issues) with their Google App Engine offering.

Not sure if you're still looking, but if you are, you should definitely check out GoGrid (http://www.gogrid.com). The interface is a lot easier than EC2's and there's no need to constantly backup the data on your cloud server instances as (unlike EC2) the storage is persistent.

I've been using the service for just under a year now and I completely swear by it.

Mosso is very limited by comparison---but I guess in the end it depends on what you're looking to do and how much flexibility you need.

EC2 is the best you can get at the moment in my opinion. I guess it's time to learn some *nix! It's not that hard, really.

And for databases, the new persistent storage feature (http://developer.amazonwebservices.com/connect/thread.jspa?t...) is what you want/need. (still private alpha)

But unless you have a multi gigabyte database, a simple mysqldump and an upload to s3 should do the trick.

there is flexiscale (http://www.flexiscale.com/) we use them... they are ok... you still need plenty of sys admin experience... but they have good uptime... and you pay per use time and bandwidth...

they don't have an API yet to start and stop but they have a web interface... the thing is that provisioning used to be manual I think its done from web interface now!

Check out RightScale: http://www.rightscale.com


Try GoGrid (www.GoGrid.com) thats actaully the true alternative to Amazon EC2 (windows support as opposed to Amazon EC2 which doesn't support it. It is also cheaper)

Check out Slicehost, it's mentioned on here a lot.

See: MobileMe 20 GB storage. Easy to use. Price: $99/yr.

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