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In my personal opinion (based on some real experience) EC2 for a startup makes a lot of sense for prototyping your application and your infrastructure (when you don't really know what is it you're building and what components you're building it from). At this stage you just is it as an easy way to get a set of Linux computers connected to the Internet.

When you get to a point where you feel like this whole thing is going to fly, I'd recommend starting to think if paying the "cloud tax" (resources spent around EC2 stability issues and the cloud-specific stuff) a good idea in your particular case. There are some companies that benefit greatly from the elasticity of the cloud (the ability to scale up and down along with their specific load demands), but many companies aren't like that. If your traffic is relatively stable and predictable (you do not have 10-100x traffic surges) and your infrastructure load does not grow linearly with the traffic, using real hardware over-provisioned to handle 2-5-10x traffic spikes without huge decrease in performance may be a better idea in terms of the cost.

Of course, you could start the company based on all of the PaaS magic sauce (databases, queues, caches, etc) provided by Amazon nowadays and only use EC2 to run your application code (AFAIU that's the ideal use-case for AWS) and just kill misbehaving nodes when an issue occurs, but then you need to factor AWS costs into your business plan because migrating away from a PaaS is almost impossible at any large scale, so you are going to stay with Amazon for a very long time.




Great point. Also, on AWS if you use Amazon Linux you are even more 'locked-in'. Maybe that's the reason many hosting companies give you discounts at the beginning.


Pretty sure Amazon Linux is just their particular flavor of RHEL, right?


Correct. It doesn't have the exact same default configuration as, say, CentOS, but it's not much different otherwise.




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