Amazon Lightsail

Amazon has decided to enter the DigitalOcean/Linode traditional VPS market with Lightsail.

This is pretty slick, because the pricing is way better than traditional EC2 pricing in a lot of cases and you have direct connection to other AWS services like RDS, S3, SES and Redshift and you can even establish VPC peering with your traditional EC2 instances without paying external bandwidth fees.

Also, intra-region bandwidth is free on the private IPs of Lightsail.


Nifty, will have to check it out…though I love DigitalOcean a lot…

Wow, this is great! I normally bounce between vultr, linode, and digital ocean so Ill have to try this one out and see how it compares!

I’m trying to see how. We’re running a reserved t2.medium instance at $0.036 per hour, and we don’t ever touch overages in CPU or bandwidth. That puts us in around $26 a month to run an instance with 4 GB mem and 2 vCPUs.

To get a comparable VPS using Lightsail, we’d be at the $40 per month tier. At the $20 per month tier, we’d sacrifice literally half our current resource allocation for a savings of maybe $5 per month.

Looking at other plans:

EC2 base hourly price is with 12 month reservation, no up front, 720 hours (30 days). Storage costs are fixed on Lightsail, but flexible on EC2 based on drive size. We, for instance, have a t2.medium instance running on a 30GB drive. We only pay for the instance, the drive is no extra. Data Transfer fees per month are always less than one dollar, if any at all.

Furthermore, EC2 prices with longer reservations and prepayment can cut costs even further. For instance, if I committed to running our t2.medium instance for 3 years, and payed all up front ($743), I would have payed $20.64 per month. Nearly half the $40 Lightsail instance costs.

Am I missing something?

EC2 Pricing: EC2 Reserved Instance Pricing – Amazon Web Services
EC2 Tiers: Amazon EC2 Instance Types - Amazon Web Services

EC2 doesn’t include any bandwidth or disk IOPs, so unless the instances
are very under-utilized you’ve got more to pay for than just the compute

We have some data transfer fees, but they are less than a dollar a month. The Amazon billing page has never made sense to me at all so I don’t know what to make of my bills (to me, that’s the single benefit of Lightsail). I have “Data Transfer” under my bill, which I’ve always assumed is bandwidth utilization, not IOPs. We’ve never seen any IOPs on our bills, and I’m trying to figure out why if none are included with an EC2 instance. We have an EBS volume that says it comes with 3000 IOPs (per month?). I don’t have any charges for my EBS volume, but I don’t know why…

At any rate, it seems to me that you’re saying LightSail is a good alternative for DigitalOcean or others like it, and I’ve always considered DO a great place for smaller, less utilized VPS services. But you’re also saying EC2 is more economical for a smaller, under-utilized VPS. Also, at what point across the range will LS make sense over a well provisioned, well planned t2.instance on EC2? How much bandwidth and IOPs is really necessary to accumulate the entire difference? We upload our sermons and other stuff weekly to our EC2 instance and our congregation pulls them down from EC2. We had a separate FTP site locally hosted for a while, but we noticed it was ridiculously cheap to have them on our EC2 instance along with the site. HTTP requests are very small (generally) and most of our site runs in memory (reducing IOPs for HTTP requests). We’re also running our church email lists on this server

Is there anyone running an EC2 instance with a reservation that can break down a bill where utilization becomes the pricing bottleneck? In instances where utilization is high enough to push the cost over what you’d pay on LS, isn’t it more sensical to run the instance on EC2 anyway? Wouldn’t then the performance on LS be the bottleneck? Or you’d look at exceeding the LS allotments?

Not trying to be difficult; I just always thought EC2 instances with reservations were a pretty good deal, and it seems more like the model is trying to make EC2 easier to deal with in order to compete with DO, not more cost effective. If that’s the case, good for Amazon! Staying competitive is a great business model. But the OP makes it seem like pricing is one of the primary incentives and I’m just not seeing it. Maybe I don’t have enough stuff running to see the benefits?

A t2.micro has 1GB of RAM and comes with no disk or bandwidth for $9.52 /month on-demand or $78.84 /year reserved insance (payable monthly). A 30 GB SSD backed EBS volume is another $3, and data transfer out is $0.81 /10GB.

For $10 /month you can get 1GB of RAM, 30GB of SSD and 2TB of transfer, which is really close to the on-demand price of the instance alone and comes with the “batteries” you’re very likely to need with a controllable cost.

EC2 up front for small usage is cheaper, though, because of the Free Tier discount

The AWS Calculator is the best way to figure out what something’s going to cost, but to me the biggest benefit to LightSail is having a fixed monthly bill and a simplified interface. Even if EC2 direct saves a few pennies a month, my time is still worth more than nothing.

Where EC2 can really run away with benefits is the ability to use Spot instances for stuff like video transcoding and bulk work where time and availability aren’t critical if your instance gets preempted.

That’s making sense. Because of our generally low bandwidth usage (and I checked, it’s pretty low considering all we do with this VM), and I wasn’t aware, but we’re getting our storage for free right now, my actual cost is lower than LightSail. But if I did closer to 1 TB of transfers, and needed a larger drive that wasn’t provisioned from the free tier, we’d be spending more than LightSail.

Both seem like good options, but I’m seeing some of the benefits to LightSail from a cost side now too. The AWS Calculator helps a lot too. Thanks!