Amazon EC2 Review

The serverless architecture solutions are most valuable, and the ability to start with little cost, and then expand as needed.​

How has it helped my organization?

As our infrastructure work is outsourced, it's not easy provisioning servers. Even virtual servers take time. Using serverless architectures means no need to involve the infrastructure team.

What is most valuable?

The serverless architecture solutions are most valuable, and the ability to start with little cost, and then expand as needed.

What needs improvement?

I think the whole AWS stack is very disconnected from each other. in the .NET space, everything just works nicely together. In the AWS stack, there is a lot of head scratching. Demos appeared easy, however, once you sit down and build a solution its gets very tricky quickly, and as it's a new technology stack, it's much harder to find best practices for common problems.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In terms of EC2 instances, we did notice a handful of times servers were terminated by AWS due to "health checks." Besides that, I think there were one or two major outages that affected a number of AWS systems for a few hours.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No, the serverless stack is actually extremely impressive with how well it scales.

How are customer service and technical support?

My experience with technical support from AWS has not been good. It all depends on who is assigned as your solutions architect. In terms of finding ways other developers solved issues or best practices in Google searches, as it's a relatively new technology stack, typically I find many people asking same questions and not many answers.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Prior to the AWS stack, we were mostly a .NET stack. Our company partnered with AWS, and looking at their offerings, seemed just using their EC2 offering would be a waste. Having said that, I think using the Azure platform may have provided a better end-to-end solution.

How was the initial setup?

Starting up an EC2 instance is easy, starting an API gateway is also easy, so is setting up a lambda function and a dynamo store. The problem is, what you have just done, from looking at AWS presentations and tutorials, is a bad way of doing things in AWS. You pick up quickly that ideally everything should be scripted using cloud formations, or beanstalk, or serverless, or swagger, etc., and here is where the complexity lies. To do anything properly for an enterprise company, currently its very difficult. What tools do you use? Will they still be around in six months?

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Pricing appears to be cheap, however, it is extremely difficult in calculating what something will cost. Someone accidentally starting a EC2 server could end up costing you notable dollars. Also once you start using services, let's say serverless architecture, you may quickly find you need to build dirty solutions just to keep the price down, or even go back to server based solutions due to costings.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

For some services like API Gateway, we did look at some other options, however, the serverless architecture concept was new and not available as a stack with any other company at such a competitive price. Now Microsoft has also joined the concept, and while I have not used the Microsoft offering, based on my other experience with the .net platform, i think it may be a better platform.

What other advice do I have?

For small startups it makes perfect sense. For large organizations with R&D team/budget, it may make sense. For medium-size companies, where they just need solutions built quickly, I am not convinced about AWS at the moment. Looks promising, but it's a very new platform, with issues that come with a new platform.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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