A year or so ago, I posted an entry titled “This Blog Is Running on an Amazon EC2 Micro Instance (for free!)“. I was motivated to post after seeing a parade of recommendations that grossly over-estimated the hardware necessary to run a low to medium traffic blog.
My primary message was to give it a try on something smaller and you’ll probably be surprised. During its stint on a t1.micro this blog saw a number of very high traffic days, with minimal disruption (there was one point where a very contentious topic saw a very rapid stream of tens of thousands of visitors that overwhelmed the machine, the vCPU governor starving it of any ability to react).
And Amazon does offer a nice intro-to-EC2 free tier that happened to loop in nicely with the message, allowing people to give it a go for a year for free.
That entry still sees a high level of traffic, so I wanted to post a quick followup a year later for those who may have followed the advice: The t1.micro instance only makes sense in the free tier, or for temporary short-term use. If you are paying normal instance pricing, at $14.40USD per month or so to run a t1.micro around the clock, not including storage I/O and network pricing, it is outclassed 1 by competing virtual machines at competitors and even at Amazon through other mechanisms such as the spot-instance market with a robust continuity plan.
These aren’t big dollars by any measure of the imagination, but we’re the analytical sort who avoid the sense of being had, so even for these little dollars it’s nice to know it’s optimized.
For yafla Inc. and client needs I currently run services at EC2, Digital Ocean, OVH, Rackspace and Linode, with plans of leveraging Google Compute Engine and Azure in the near future. There are compelling arguments for all of them, and competition is a fantastic, wonderful thing. If you spooled up a t1.micro a year ago, make sure that you reconsider on an ongoing basis, and get the best solution for your dollars.
1 – though note that the value of Amazon’s platform is in the whole, not in the individual machines. Amazon’s offering really comes into its own when you are leveraging many of the facets of the service, each multiplying the value of the others.