Our Colocation Hosting versus AWS Costs Compared 2020 Edition

Our Colocation Hosting versus AWS Costs Compared 2020 Edition

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In this video, we compare our website hosting costs in colocation versus Amazon AWS. STH left AWS EC2 hosting in 2013 with our first colocation. After around 8 years, we have moved data centers and figured out what we need to maintain decent reliability and keep costs low. In this video, we are going to discuss how much we save annually. We also discuss the success of our previous efforts in 2018 estimating our AWS costs.

Table of Contents
00:00 Introduction
00:34 Brief History of STH Hosting
02:47 2018 Estimate 1-year Reserved and Partial Upfront on AWS
03:26 2018 Estimate Colocation
04:17 2018-2020 Our Self-Hosting Estimate Accuracy
08:32 STH 2020 Colocation v. AWS Assumptions
12:05 AWS 1-year Reserved Breakdown
14:22 AWS 3-year Reserved Breakdown (Mislabeled 1-year)
15:04 Building a 2020-2021 Colocation Estimate
18:38 Wrap-up

Other STH Content Mentioned in this Video
– Our first 10U Colo in Las Vegas NV 2013:
– Update to the 10U Colo in Las Vegas NV 2014:
– Buyer’s Guide to Hosting: Bandwidth:
– Falling from the Sky (Part 1): Why STH is leaving AWS (2013):
– Falling from the Sky (Part 2): Colocations v. AWS v. Dedicated Hosting v. VPS Hosting for STH costs compared (2013):
– Falling from the Sky (Part 4): Colocation v. AWS 5 years later (2018):

37 thoughts on “Our Colocation Hosting versus AWS Costs Compared 2020 Edition

  1. Quick one here. I saw there is a mislabeled slide at 14:22 where it says 1-year instead of 3-year. Making a note here and put it in the table of contents.

  2. What about augmented reality and ai supported guidance? implicated in cryptocurrencies and specialized decentralized administrations would change the game. since we are in a developing technology environment it gets better every day.

  3. What about the cost of security, licensing, and redundancy? Are there any significant gains from that perspective to host in AWS vs. self-host?

  4. I think any company that is big enough to have a semi part time or even full time administrator should go with either Co location or Managed Dedicated hosting. We have dedicated servers with about 200 hosting customers and you really just need to run updates. Most of the stuff we do for customers is stuff that a Dev would be doing anyway like creating databases or setting up ftp users and email addresses.

  5. Can you make a cost estimation of colo vs aws cloud native services? So, not hosting in EC2 but rather refactoring your site to use s3, cloudfront, lambda, etc. This would make more sense of comparison since you'd be comparing the best of colo vs the best of aws, as opposed to the best of colo vs the worst of aws.

  6. I would really be interested in your tech stack. Hosting your site sounds like a couple hundred bucks per month, max. In the Cloud, on-demand. I can just assume you’re running an php site without any caching, which would result in your massive server costs.

  7. In your case, if all you're doing is comparing IaaS costs, then ok – the reality is that the other benefits of hyperscale Public cloud have to be considered. Multi-region replication of db – and in fact automatic DR if processes are followed. Horizontal hyperscaling for a bursty situation totally invalidates a non-cloud approach. Finally, when considered native serverless where you're splitting up the apps into microservices and containers totally can make the comparison to enterprise computing moot. In other words, if you compare leasing a fleet of trucks versus purchasing the trucks as the comparison – ok… but, the reality is you need to compare replacing the trucks with long-haul trains, commercial shipping alternatives, or even short term transportation contracts to handle the spikes. Bottom line, Public Cloud offers multiple paradigms that invalidate comparing IaaS only.

  8. Uptime and load time are two of the most important factors while choosing a web host, followed by pricing and customer support. You won’t be changing your hosting provider every now and then. Of all the top 7 Web Hosting service providers, for a personal website, I found Bluehost as the best hosting provider. Speed, uptime, customer support; in my opinion, nothing could beat Bluehost, https://bluehost.sjv.io/m9kXa.
    You get a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee + Free Domain & SSL Cert. Hostinger comes a close second.

  9. Not bad and quite good from the cost perspective! But I believe as I went to your website for a look, pretty much it’s a big blog + a forum which is all possible to be done over static site gen + CDN + some serverless tech / on your own servers. The cost would drop down dramatically.

  10. what do you do for backups? Cloud services are not doing backups for you, they are doing them for their benefit to cover their asses not yours. If you need to do off-site backups add that outbound data transfer to your costs.

  11. Was happy to discover this chan and very interesting video and numbers here, thank you! This is an underreported take IMO. Many people could do much better getting out of the cloud even if they don't understand hardware; hire a consultant to spec/build the system(s). It's a one-time cost! Also a very interesting take on VM vs Containerization: the economics get complicated but I think it's worthwhile taking a deeper look in a similar way to this aws vs colo analysis. A big factor is: how much is the cost of time doing software maintenance and managing the configuration of VMs? There's a lot of ongoing hours spent on OS upgrades and patching either for security, software going EOL, or just trying to get the latest features. Getting to a place where most/all servers are in containers and having a good CI/CD automation can lower this cost dramatically. Of course there is a huge learning curve but it is super cool to look at.

  12. Did you try to calculate the cost of renting bare metal servers at a facility like OVHcloud. They take care of all the hardware/network issues for you. We are running 6 servers with AMD 7371, 256G RAM + NVMe disks for about $2.5k/mo. Including bandwidth.

  13. It's nice that you shared, I wish more companies would.

    What price do you put on having site redundancy? Your colocation is a single site – you actually mention a major outage.
    Additionally do you actually need reserved instances? I bet your traffic patterns could benefit from elastic scaling.

    The preferring VMs over containers because it works is kind of missing the boat if you want to cost-optimize your operations. You don't have to do them all over night, and there may be some functions that would be good candidates for lambda serverless – which is stupidly cheap.

    I'll give one other intangible in AWS's favor – if you need another set of hands for say a new feature which has hardware requirements, if you are AWS you can use cognito to give credentials and the UI will be familiar to thousands of people already trained up – your set of VMs will have a learning curve for anyone you bring on. Just saying…

  14. Interesting video! For AWS, have you considered reserved instances only for "valleys" and using on-demand in auto-scaling group for varying traffic? This way you can save costs on idle hardware. Another suggestion I have is to look at Savings Plans, it's a new version of Reserved Instances that offer greater flexibility and same savings. I also highly recommend looking at Graviton2 ARM instances that are 3/4 the cost of x86 machines with similar performance.

    Pro tip, to save on AWS outbound data charges, take a look at Lightsail instances, those come with Terabytes of bundled transfer (both in&out).

  15. Excellent video. Your effort to be fair and balanced is good. AWS, Azure, GCP, IBM, Oracle have strong benefits, co-location has benefits and on-prem data centers have benefits. The key is that few openly share the pros/cons of each. Post more videos, I appreciate your perspective.

  16. How about cloudflare? have you looked into using cloudflare for automatically caching certain images etc.? this could save bandwith, or are bandwidth costs not of concern?

  17. I think you forgot to calculate that you need 2 AWS servers if you want uptime as they don't provide network redundancy.

  18. Am i missing something ? This simply looks like a blog. There is not much dynamic content at all. Why can't most of it be made static ? I have developed web applications for real companies that make a considerable amount of revenue and all we needed was a heroku instance.

  19. Thanks for the video, I enjoyed it, although AWS is a big expensive player, there are other like Digital Ocean, Linode, OVH and Hetzner (europe)
    Do you think this still apply to those cheaper solutions?

  20. Try CloudFlare for the your caching and RAM issues, is gonna save you a lot of money if you use it. https://www.cloudflare.com/

  21. Missing some context I think. Costs on AWS dropped significantly over the last 2-3 years. Running a full data warehouse for < $10k per year. Emailing on serverless at a decent load for $75/month for a marketing and analysis company. ETL for < $50 per month on top of the database. Like $30k for $15k where a WSC is useful or for our needs and RDS for our database (*sorry edit). APIS cost pennies alongside lambda. Couldn't say that in 2017. Not to mention running an entire infrastructure on my own compared to 2-3 people on lightcrest, installing everything else. AWS rocks when you go serverless or have a small ETL need. Have a big boi for my data things. AMD threadripper and a dev data server. It really depends on your need. I run the threadripper 24/7 and it doesn't make sense to run dev databases at more than the cost of electricity on an old gaming pc for $0/mth. It is really nice to offload edge cases for certain applications like highly specialized email used at light to medium load. Aurora has been kicking butt and, when I interviewed with Digital Globe, they found Redshift cheaper 4-5 years ago when it first came out comapred with managing your own dbs at a data center. Great company too but I like to code. They have tons of data. Hybrid cloud is great. Scale ETL systems on EC2 that run non-stop to handle load, hande edge cases on serverless, around the clock with heavy load [for most I have never run a HSC] then in-house starts to make sense. Not sure on the frontend.

  22. If every request is being handled directly by an EC2 instance instead of a CDN (aka Cloudfront) then I would imagine that these prices are correct. With a CDN the cost of hosting the site should be drastically less. The CDN can take the files that are served via nginx and cache them at a level that is above the actual EC2 instance, and serve that request to other users without having to go fetch the content again from the instance. This trades EC2 cost for CDN cost, but CDN cost always comes out to be way lower. Properly using Cloudfront with WordPress requires a little bit of effort in the publishing process but would absolutely be worth it.

  23. Are you charged per GB on your bandwidth? Here in South Africa, for local, we have something called NAP Africa which is free if you have an AS number and then international IP Transit is per Mbps and is relatively cost-effective even if you don't buy large quantities.

  24. There are many "middle ground" Muti-tenant cloud options out there that allow you to run VMs at much lower costs compared to the hyperscalers, but still provide elasticity along with high availability. Were these not considered?

  25. I watched this while I was researching on an inexpensive European Data Center for our planned deployment of a Kubernetes managed PaaS business modeo, which if anyone is interested in partnership deal for the Kubernetes and Openshift managed cloud, shoot us an email at: soft.av.networks at gmail. Now rethinking about increasing our on-prem servers, mainly due to the same issues you've highlighted here especially on bandwidth. As a small startup based in Kenya and Zambia we don't have that much financial muscle to foot an expensive and prolonged capex while having in-house SRE devOPs and developers who can deploy and maintain a modern cloud-native cloud with a much lower overheads.

  26. How do you take care of DR? Why did you want to reserve your instances and how much of reserve instances do you use?

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