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Amazon EC2 OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Amazon EC2 is the #5 ranked solution in our list of top Compute Service tools. It is most often compared to Apache NiFi: Amazon EC2 vs Apache NiFi

What is Amazon EC2?

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale cloud computing easier for developers.

Amazon EC2’s simple web service interface allows you to obtain and configure capacity with minimal friction. It provides you with complete control of your computing resources and lets you run on Amazon’s proven computing environment. Amazon EC2 reduces the time required to obtain and boot new server instances to minutes, allowing you to quickly scale capacity, both up and down, as your computing requirements change. Amazon EC2 changes the economics of computing by allowing you to pay only for capacity that you actually use. Amazon EC2 provides developers the tools to build failure resilient applications and isolate them from common failure scenarios.

Amazon EC2 is also known as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, EC2.

Amazon EC2 Buyer's Guide

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Archived Amazon EC2 Reviews (more than two years old)

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ITCS user
Principal Technical Trainer at a tech vendor with 201-500 employees
Real User
An excellent IaaS service enabling quick deployment of applications

Pros and Cons

  • "The ability to quickly spin up instances on demand with zero upfront costs or infrastructure is the most valuable for me."
  • "Built-in and/or integration with other services to proactively identify potential failures before they occur."

How has it helped my organization?

One way we have used AWS EC2 is to be able to orchestrate the creation and termination of temporary instances used for training and demo purposes. Instead of having to wait on limited internal resources to become available, we can easily create multiple instances for use and terminate them as soon as we’re done.

What is most valuable?

The ability to quickly spin up instances on demand with zero upfront costs or infrastructure is the most valuable for me. This significantly reduces the time it takes to onboard projects or quickly create POV environments. It also enables a low entry point for users to begin development without significant expertise.

What needs improvement?

Built-in and/or integration with other services to proactively identify potential failures before they occur. For example, if capacity is low in an availability zone, recommend placements in another zone, or return capacity status before launching new instances.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Yes. Issues with stability have occurred. In some cases, we have seen where instance performance has degraded significantly to the point where they have to be destroyed and recreated. There are ways to mitigate stability issues through the use of multiple availability zones.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Yes. Issues with scalability have occurred occasionally, due to low capacity of specific instance types in some regions.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support via email has been fairly responsive. A response is usually received within 24 hours.

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

Local VMs were being used before switching to AWS EC2. Local resources were not scalable and increased operational complexity. They were also costly to maintain.

How was the initial setup?

Setup was fairly straightforward. Using the console provides an easy to understand graphical user interface. The command-line and API options tend to be slightly more difficult to use due to the learning curve.

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

EC2 pricing is somewhat transparent, in that AWS provides pricing for all instance types. However, the number of pricing options can be confusing, i.e., on demand vs reserved vs spot vs dedicated. It would be great if AWS provided a real-time calculator that displayed your estimated usage for a period of time, then notified you before you exceeded your estimated costs. Licenses for some instance types can be included or use BYOL, depending on the vendor.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No.

What other advice do I have?

Take note of usage costs for all related services being used. For example, running an EC2 instance with vendor software may require paying for EBS volumes, Elastic IPs, Snapshots, and other software licenses. Enable Billing notifications to be alerted whenever costs exceed a certain threshold. Lockdown instances to only provide access via tightly controlled security groups. Use public key authentication, whenever possible, and restrict direct access to superuser accounts.

EC2 is an excellent IaaS service enabling quick deployment of applications.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are an AWS Partner.
it_user693852
Full Stack Software Engineer at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
Consultant
The solution offers a wide range of infrastructure services with an easy way to configure them.

Pros and Cons

  • "An advantage of Amazon is that it offers a wide range of infrastructure services with an easy way to configure them."
  • "Regarding availability, a noticeable improvement would be the possibility of more load balancing configurations and the deployment of more datacenters, mainly in Latin America."

How has it helped my organization?

It has helped to reduce costs with infrastructure.

What is most valuable?

Scalability, reliability and easy to use settings. These features are essential for our company.

The services our company offers to our users require high scalability. We need to scale our infrastructure horizontally to meet our users' demands and Amazon can offer this type of elasticity with total reliability.

An advantage of Amazon is that it offers a wide range of infrastructure services with an easy way to configure them.

What needs improvement?

Price and availability.

I think Amazon could offer lower costs for customers who have a high use demand, as in our case. Nowadays, the cost for little use is attractive, but when your company needs more computing power, costs can be very high.

I believe that a significant improvement to contribute to cost reduction would be a wizard that allows the migration of a certain infrastructure configuration for another solution, such as switching EC2 + RDS instances with a LightSail or Elastic Beanstalk.

Regarding availability, a noticeable improvement would be the possibility of more load balancing configurations and the deployment of more datacenters, mainly in Latin America.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We did not encounter any issues with stability yet.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We did not encounter any issues with scalability yet. One of the greatest advantages of Amazon AWS is the ability to grow on demand.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is very nice and fast, even for unpaid support.

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

We've used Google Cloud Platform. We switched because Amazon AWS offers more services and a lot more settings.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup is always a little bit complex, because we use many services, such as database instances, DNS zones, load balancing setup between multi-zones and so on.

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

Price is attractive, but at a large scale not so cheap, especially if you use many services. Regarding licensing, we don't have any issue with it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We were using Google Cloud Platform before using Amazon AWS. We've also analyzed DigitalOcean and a Brazilian datacenter named Locaweb.

What other advice do I have?

You have to consider some factors, like scalability of the services offered by your company. If you need to be online 24/7, then you need a powerful and reliable infrastructure.

Our company, Drivver, uses a wide range of services offered by Amazon AWS, from computational instances to artificial intelligence services, so we need a cohesive and concentrated infrastructure in a single IaaS provider.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Learn what your peers think about Amazon EC2. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: October 2021.
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ITCS user
Company Owner at a tech services company
Consultant
The serverless architecture solutions are most valuable, and the ability to start with little cost, and then expand as needed.​

Pros and Cons

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

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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