Amazon wins, hands down. You get great Linux support and aren't locked into Microsoft's shady tactics of giving away free stuff to only screw you later. That's what Bizspark effectively does, gives you free Visual Studio, other MS software, so when you are profitable, you pay them through the nose, because you are locked into proprietary anti-open-source bait.
You weren't diligent, and didn't even reach out to Amazon. Instead you went with a shitty competitor and we're supposed to applaud that? What's the moral here? That you're unable to reach out to a company when you feel like you were taken advantage of? Sorry, Azure is still garbage and AWS is one of the most advanced and performant cloud platforms available. Amazon still has the best support of any company in the consumer products and web services industry.
BizSpark giving away three years of $150/mo Azure credit is shady, but Amazon giving away one year of the free tier is not shady?
That's what Bizspark effectively does, gives you free Visual Studio, other MS software, so when you are profitable, you pay them through the nose, because you are locked into proprietary anti-open-source bait.
You don't have to use the software licenses to make use of the Azure credits in BizSpark, and Azure will run any Linux distro containing a kernel with Hyper-V support.
Instead you went with a shitty competitor and we're supposed to applaud that?
What's so shitty about Azure again?
Sorry, Azure is still garbage
and AWS is one of the most advanced and performant cloud platforms available.
Unfortunately, staying in AWS's free tier means never seeing any of that performance.
AWS have wiped over $2000 in excess charges incurred by one of our instances' data transfer - we set up an alert after that - they've been awesome to us and we trust them and are now spending more and more every month.
In general, Amazon's infrastructure offerings are explicitly trying to be commodity, and compete as such. E.g. lower cost, minimal lock in. If you configure servers using chef or other configuration system, and if you wrap all your service calls, it's not challenging to move between vendors on the infrastructure level. Check out fog which helps you do just this: https://github.com/fog/fog
Amazon's platform offerings are pretty explicitly trying to build lock in -- explicit in that they're often free (Beanstalk) and really just trying to sell more infrastructure.
Microsoft, and specifically Windows, pursue a platform strategy. Them offering Linux is actually very novel for them, but it's still called WINDOWS Azure, and the word "Windows" has traditionally been synonymous with platform lock in. You write a program for Windows, it runs only on Windows, and you have to pay for Windows.
I'm excited for MS to get fully into the infrastructure business, but I see their offerings as reactionary to Amazon. Big corporate, windows-based companies are needing to do things in the cloud, and have been going to Amazon. I see Microsoft as trying to offer services to prevent them from leaving by letting them buy what they need from MS.
It's hard for me to imagine good reasons to actually start on Azure, though. They're not a price leader (dropping prices always seems reactionary to AWS price drops), they have limited selection of services (vs. AWS), limited people using them (weaker community support), and always seem clueless about the internet (SSL cert outage, anyone?). Unless you're a Windows only developer and can't work on Linux, I really don't know why I would choose them.
PS. Amazon has a startup program you can get in to. When we started on AWS, they gave us $10K in free services. I know $1K is pretty standard, but if you can get validation (investor? incubator?), they'll go higher.
I use both AWS and Azure, and they're both fantastic and terrible:
- Azure has better, more polished web management, AWS is more flexible
- Azure gives 500s, 404s and 403s occasionally, AWS has outage IDs that don't appear in their status page and has useless support even when you pay for it.
Either way, I don't feel locked into Windows or Visual Studio when using Azure, which is good, as I don't use any of those products.
The most 'Windows' I get is nodes process module returning some more Windowsy values when I use Azure Web Sites. Otherwise I don't care.
Oh yeah and Azure Web Sites doesn't support gulp (or even grunt) yet so I commit generated assets.
PS: is this really the #1 comment on Hacker News?
- If you've used Azure, you know it doesn't require MS languages or tools
- If you haven't used Azure, why are you upvoting this guy's conspiracy theory?
I use Azure to run assorted Ubuntu machines. They run well, the interface is nice and I have no complaints. I also have a few EC2 VMs (and some DigitalCloud VMs and some Rackspace VMs and in the past have had HP Cloud VMs and Linode VMs).
Amazon is good, too. But I signed up for EC2 before the free micro-tier came in, so I got nothing from them.
So what I want to know is why I should feel scared, running Ubuntu on Azure?
And what is wrong with giving Microsoft credit for offering good programs like Bizspark? (And read that first sentence again, BTW. That's a real thing, and no other company does that)
you can also evaluate where lock in is acceptable for you/your project... the important thing is knowing it I guess :)
Can Amazon beat that?
...and seriously - you're worried about pricing three years from now with a startup?
Did you ever try reaching out ? I'm way too small for them to be answering org questions !
I love AWS to bits but their support is basically non-existent.
Conclusion: I don't think it's terrible, but their tactics aren't always clear. AND, I'm consistently getting a bill for $2/m and I have no idea why.
And if you click "Download usage details", you get a csv of daily per-service usage data.
Second, you act as if entrepreneurs are idiots who don't read terms/considerations of agreements and aren't capable of evaluating costs/benefits.
Everything about the BizSpark program is transparent. If you fail to understand the terms and to consider the ramifications (and if necessary hedge against risks by making your technology portable to other clouds), that is your fault. No one is forced into the program.
Can you tell me which of the ~1000 VM images they provide as listed in the below site are proprietary? All? None? Some?
Also, Azure charges you less for Linux VMs compared Windows VMs with the same hardware specs. A medium instance costs 12cents/hour with Linux and 18c/hr with Windows Server. That's 50% higher! If anything, it looks like they're trying to lock you into Linux. I don't have any beef with Amazon, but it looks like you haven't really looked at Azure before making such sweeping assertions with zero details, except some handwaving which makes it sad that this is the top comment on this story.
The other thing that swung me is the managed scaling for database and IIS in Azure where you just tweak a slider to allocate CPU's as required. Note this works for anything that can run on IIS such as PHP or Node or whatever not just for ASP.NET.
Now with Bizspark (and albeit fairly insignificant traffic for my startup) it's lots of bang for no bucks.
At least for three years until we get any decent traction and will get vendor lock in with MS and get stung by massive SQL licensing costs.
I know there's a lot of bad image for M$, but I honestly and optimistically believe that "Microsoft <3 Startups".
I'm also looking at doing some stuff with Windows Phone hardware (not with the OS, just the hardware...), so there's value in that.
I haven't even touched Azure yet.
Are you sure about this ? Any more details (assigned to company/individual, etc. ) ?
Can you elaborate on that? AFAIK nothing but Windows Phone runs on WP8 hardware.
I've used it for a Windows server just to get stuff up and running that may not run on Linux.
I've downloaded and used some of the free MS software.
Give Microsoft some credit.
My solutions? There are two: 1) Work long enough to have reasonable amount of savings to fund my start-up, free stuff is nice, but they are sometimes risky. Reason being, how much leverage do you have when you didn't pay for something?
2) Be creative, there are always solutions out there. Writing an article to complain about a free service being not good enough really make me wondering if these 'entrepreneurs' are ready for the real world.
My start-up runs on a 512MB shared instance on $9/mth, and so far it meets my need.
BizSpark may have good perks, but it is beside the point.
However, I think you can get more out of Azure by using its PaaS services. It is also possible to run a Python/django app in an Azure Website Service. The cost is the same, but management and security if the OS is taken care of for you. Upgrades and patches happen automatically. You can setup automated build, test and deployment from Git. You can setup background and maintenance jobs without having to manage cron. You can setup auto scaling of VM's. It saves a lot of work.
Of course, this risk of this is lock-in. But the technologies underlying Azure are almost all open. If you're carefull what you use, you can always take your code and run it on a VM in AWS if you want. Of course, you would have to setup/build your own scaling and maintenance processes, using (also proprietary) AWS services.
Like Microsoft, Amazon is likewise trying to get you to use proprietary cloud services. If you use S3, Beanstalk, Redshift, Search, you get locked in to AWS the same way Microsoft will lock you when you use SQL Azure, Azure Table Storage or Service Bus. You just need to be be very careful with any dependencies you take on into your startup.
That said, I have also had a very good experience with BizSpark. Not only do they give you lot of free stuff, but I they can also connect you with interesting partners internationally, and help your business in unexpected ways.
If you build on Azure tech; you aren't locked into MS being the host of the services; you can run an Azure cloud entirely in your own datacenter; you can use Azure as overflow in a Hybrid model http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/solutions/hybrid... or if you have legal or compliance needs to not host with a US company you can use one of their many partners: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/press/2013/dec13/12-12co... as the "Cloud OS" provider.
They even providing server and datacenter blueprints as part of the Open Compute Project http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_blog/archive/2014/01/27... with datacenter rack management software, if you want to build your own datacenter.
All their client libraries are even on GitHub https://github.com/WindowsAzure
Anyone can use any "logic" to defend their decisions. I'm sure you have other good reasons to use whatever products you're using but you've failed to mention any of those.
I _can_ configure my own VPS (DigitalOcean) but it's a pain in the ass and it's always different for every box.
I've looked into Chef and it seems half-assed where recipes work on Ubuntu 12.04 x64 but not on Ubuntu 12.10 x86, you see? Fixes some problems, but just gives me other problems.
I want something where I can check some boxes and say give me a PostgreSQL database with this master username-password.
Configuring nginx for me with this folder as the root website container and install ruby 2.0.0 and rails. My needs are basic, but it's odd that nothing out there exists like this. PHP has XAMPP which install everything you need.
For instance, I'm just using a medium Ubuntu VM, which I can deploy/clone at will in case Azure goes down.
Leave preconceptions in the past and start building your idea!
Bizspark is especially beneficial if you were going to use the MS stack anyway or you have experience of it.
As a primarily linux web dev I still thought it worth seeing what the MS technologies might offer, they told me to bog off.
So my entire company is and will be built around Debian/Apache/Postgres/PHP and Python for now and the foreseeable.
(In actual fact it left such a bad taste in my mouth that all non development machines (when I have some lol) will be non-MS entirely aswell).
I keep seeing people post things like this and I cannot imagine how dumb someone has to be to get turned down for BizSpark. They are so amazingly clear in the rules of what you need:
1. A custom domain email address
2. Some semblance of a web site
I registered a domain name for $4, made a free Outlook.com email address on it and put up a "Coming Soon!" website. I then spent 5 minutes filling out the application. 4 days later I was approved with no follow up questions.
Now I get free Microsoft software for life (you keep your MSDN subscription licenses forever), free Azure hosting for three years and a ton of other benefits. For a $4 domain that I'll be using as a startup and about 10 minutes of my time.
Bing Bot is the worst at this. They hammer my sites, send me zero traffic, and don't appear to allow me to control their behavior very well. I get 50x the traffic from google cmp to bing, but google is about 1/3 the hits (when looking @ raw logs).
And that's not being able to afford your licences that you are using beyond the program: "BizSpark Alumni can keep, at no charge, all the software they downloaded during their three years in the program, including a standard configuration of Windows Server and Microsoft SQL Server."
It would suggest you are doing something wrong if you can't afford what ever extra licences, you need to use passed this and 5 years on...
The BizSpark program is intended for people trying to launch new businesses (hence the name). It's not intended for hobby projects or side projects.
Ofcourse there is lock-in, there is no free lunch anywhere! But it should be ok for startups with no capital, who just want to figure out their business model. Once the idea is validated, they can always learn from the experience, and rewrite the application if platform absolutely needs to be changed.
Disclaimer: I don't get paid by Google for writing this, though I am trying to do something with google app engine (python) and that may lead to some bias on my side :-)
But for a startup with only developers and zero capital, App Engine still provides a great platform to get started. And also, there is no need to apply and get accepted, everyone gets the free quota.
Let me change my initial comment - for those who didn't get into BizSpark and who have run out of their free AWS quota can consider Google App Engine for their experiments :-)
Disclaimer: I'm a dev on Cloud SQL.
Also the front page says only startups who are members of designated startup-accelerator programs can apply, though it's entirely possible that could be waived by your BizSpark manager.
The What are you waiting for? Sign up for BizSpark already! comment really set my bullshit detector off. Shaumik, did you really take the time to go figure out the URL to their signup page to put in your blog post? Are they paying you for this stuff?