Bigger Is Not Necessary Better: AWS vs. UpCloud

  • April 22, 2015

One of the most common questions our customers ask us is that how we can compete with the likes of Amazon Web Services (AWS) on price as they have economies of scale on their side. This is perhaps one of the most common misperceptions of the industry – economy of scale does not matter if the fundaments of how your service is produced differ greatly.

Yes, I know this is arrogant, but it has to be said.

AWS has managed to position themselves as the price leader (or so people think) in the industry through 60+ price cuts. We have made only a handful of price cuts (and will do a few in the near future as well), but are still dramatically more competitive than AWS.

Amazon Web Services On Demand Price Comparison

We recently compared our offering in terms of pricing with that of AWS for a customer. I thought this was quite eye opening so I wanted to share it with our readers. All of these prices are from the Ireland region for AWS and London for UpCloud. Prices are for 30 days (720 hours). The conversion rate to euros is 1 EUR = 1,06798 USD.

On demand AWS m3-series (General purpose) vs. UpCloud
Configuration / instance AWS UpCloud
m3.medium (1vCPU, 3.75GB memory, 1x4GB SSD)
UpCloud (1 CPU, 4GB memory, 10GB MaxIOPS)
51.91 EUR 25.78 EUR
m3.large (2 vCPU, 7.5GB memory, 1x32GB SSD)
UpCloud (2 CPU, 7.5GB memory, 30GB MaxIOPS)
103.82 EUR 49.61 EUR
m3.xlarge (4 vCPU, 15GB memory, 2x40GB SSD)
UpCloud (4 CPU, 15GB memory, 80GB MaxIOPS)
207.64 EUR 93.02 EUR
On demand AWS c3-series (Compute optimised) vs. UpCloud
Configuration / instance AWS UpCloud
c3.large (2 vCPU, 3.75GB memory, 2x16GB SSD)
UpCloud (2 CPU, 4GB memory, 30GB MaxIOPS)
80.90 EUR 37.01 EUR
c3.2xlarge (8 vCPU, 15GB memory, 2x80GB SSD)
UpCloud (8 CPU, 15GB memory, 160GB MaxIOPS)
322.25 EUR 146.02 EUR
On demand AWS r3-series (Memory optimised) vs. UpCloud
Configuration / instance AWS UpCloud
r3.large (2 vCPU, 15GB memory, 1x32GB SSD)
UpCloud (2 CPU, 15GB memory, 40GB MaxIOPS)
131,46 EUR 78.62 EUR
r3.2xlarge (8 vCPU, 61GB memory, 1x160GB SSD)
UpCloud (8 CPU, 61GB memory, 160GB MaxIOPS)
525,85 EUR 311.62 EUR

As you can see, AWS is constantly double the price of better servers from UpCloud. Why do I say better? First of all, our storage does not erase itself when the servers are shut down and secondly, MaxIOPS has superior performance over competitors’ SSD storage backends. Thirdly, perhaps worth mentioning, is the network performance our customers enjoy over smaller AWS servers. We do not discriminate the network performance of our customers based on the size of their server.

Amazon Web Services Reserved Instance Price Comparison

I know what you are thinking – on demand pricing is quite high and if you’re going to be around for a longer time, you probably opt for the reserved instances? Even though we think this approach resembles more the business of VPS’s we can do the comparison to sort it out. All the prices are 1-year, all upfront payments and prices from Amazon Web Services.

1-yr Reserved Instance Pricing (All Upfront) AWS m3-series (General purpose) vs. UpCloud
Configuration / instance AWS UpCloud
m3.medium (1vCPU, 3.75GB memory, 1x4GB SSD)
UpCloud (1 CPU, 4GB memory, 10GB MaxIOPS)
35.19 EUR 25.78 EUR
m3.large (2 vCPU, 7.5GB memory, 1x32GB SSD)
UpCloud (2 CPU, 7.5GB memory, 30GB MaxIOPS)
71.06 EUR 49.61 EUR
m3.xlarge (4 vCPU, 15GB memory, 2x40GB SSD)
UpCloud (4 CPU, 15GB memory, 80GB MaxIOPS)
141.44 EUR 93.02 EUR
1-yr Reserved Instance Pricing (All Upfront) AWS c3-series (Compute optimised) vs. UpCloud
Configuration / instance AWS UpCloud
c3.large (2 vCPU, 3.75GB memory, 2×16 SSD)
UpCloud (2 CPU, 4GB memory, 30GB MaxIOPS)
51.64 EUR 37.01 EUR
c3.2xlarge (8 vCPU, 15GB memory, 2×80 SSD)
UpCloud (8 CPU, 15GB memory, 160GB MaxIOPS)
207.31 EUR 146.02 EUR
1-yr Reserved Instance Pricing (All Upfront) AWS r3-series (Memory optimised) vs. UpCloud
Configuration / instance AWS UpCloud
r3.large (2 vCPU, 15GB memory, 1×32 SSD)
UpCloud (2 CPU, 15GB memory, 40GB MaxIOPS)
86,54 EUR 78.62 EUR
r3.2xlarge (8 vCPU, 61GB memory, 1×160 SSD)
UpCloud (8 CPU, 61GB memory, 160GB MaxIOPS)
324,85 EUR 311.62 EUR

Even with the reserved instance pricing, UpCloud is still more competitive and you only need to pay as you go. For example, in the case of the r3.2xlarge server, to enjoy the reserved instance pricing you would need to deposit 4210 USD to AWS – all upfront.

Conclusion

UpCloud’s cloud servers are more competitive in price and AWS does not offer the benefits of its so called economies of scale to its customers. Furthermore, you are able to save even more money with UpCloud, by further optimising your configuration by choosing just the resources you need – instead of settling for a compromise (pre-configured instance).

Have a look at our pricing information and see the difference for yourself.



Photo: New York City by Andres Nieto Porras