We’ve been using Amazon Web Services (AWS) since 2007 and are very happy customers – even this website runs on a small reserved instance. I wouldn’t consider us to be cloud computing evangelists as we still see the benefits of dedicated hardware and maintain a number of dedicated servers.
In short, our purchasing decisions are driven by budget and requirements it’s as simple as that. That said, where AWS has had the most profound impact on our purchasing decisions both for ourselves and our clients is in terms of content delivery.
We’ve tested and used VitalStream (remember them!), MirrorImage, CacheLogic (now known as Velocix), StreamZilla and many other traditional and next generation content delivery networks (CDN’s) but since the emergence of CloudFront we’ve never had to consider using a CDN again.
With AWS, and in particular CloudFront, you can increasingly get all the benefits of a CDN without many of the hassles. What’s more publicly available service level agreements (a recent announcement) and transparent pricing are certainly a refreshing change to the norm.
Up until recently it would have been absurd to compare a CDN to AWS but given all of AWS’s recent enhancements (e.g. support for third-party origin storage) this just isn’t the case anymore. Couple these technical enhancements with decreasing costs and you have a very compelling alternative to a CDN.
So if you’re making a CDN purchasing decision don’t dive in. Take a look at AWS it really is a viable alternative and one we’ve never regretted selecting.