I’ve moved a forum with 30,000 visits/month and 250,000 page views/month from an EC2 micro instance to rackspace’s smallest “256MB” server. I did this because the EC2 micro instance was “complaining” by limiting the performance of the server when the site would hit periods that would max the CPU for more than a few seconds. I thought that was the ideal candidate for a micro instance!? This was causing the site to slow to a crawl for little chunks of time when the site was heavily visited. The Amazon AWS EC2 micro instance was NOT the tool for the job.
I was not convinced however, that the next step up to a “small” instance was the best path forward for this site. A micro instance runs about $15/mo. + data transfer and storage and a small runs about $70/mo. + data transfer and storage. Since the cpu was only exceeding 40% occasionally during short periods of about 5 – 30 minutes about 10 times a week I just didn’t feel good about that price jump. That got me looking around at alternatives. Here’s my previous post on that search.
So how did this switch go? Very well. I went from maxing out cpu occasionally with corresponding site sluggishness to smooth page loads at all hours of the day — so far. It has been about four days.
Right now I’m not just happy with a little more horsepower for, believe it or not less money, but the UI of the cloud manager is beautifully simple. It makes easy things easy. Best of all is they’ve eliminated all the different kinds of storage — many ebs buckets mounted at different points. As useful as that has been to me in a previous life (pennswoods.net/atlanticbb.com) for scaling massive legacy systems (email for example) it creates so much work for simply running a website that is fairly busy.
I haven’t formatted an EBS volume, fought with attaching it to my instance, nor tried to figure out an effective labeling scheme to keep track of my system wide (multiple EBS volumes) backups for rackspace cloud. What about creating AMIs? No problem. The running server is persistent! When you make changes to a server, stop it, restart it they’re still there! Crazy; I know. I’ve got my fingers crossed that they keep it this simple and it stays stable.
Here is a cool systematic comparison between the two http://www.thebitsource.com/featured-posts/rackspace-cloud-servers-versus-amazon-ec2-performance-analysis/