While the public cloud is now the preferred location for new workloads, many organizations still prefer to run everything on-premises. This can sometimes be due to security concerns or personal preference.
However, in many cases, it is a matter cost.
Some organizations are reluctant to pay for a workload in the cloud when their infrastructure on-premises can do the same job. This is understandable since it is already paid for. These resources will eventually become outdated and the organization will need to reconsider whether to invest in new IT infrastructure or migrate existing workloads to cloud computing.
However, in some cases, the lack of cost predictability can be a barrier to running production workloads on the public cloud. We’ve all heard of cloud hosting fees that fluctuate in response to spikes in usage. In an effort to attract potential customers, cloud service providers often tout lower operating costs. However, an organization doesn’t know how much the service will cost each month. This problem has been solved by Amazon Web Services (AWS).
AWS usage fees are, for the most part still as opaque as ever. AWS introduced Lightsail, a service that is designed to make cloud business much more predictable at its last re-Invent conference.
Lightsail is similar in its ability to host virtual machine instances on the public cloud. However, Lightsail instances, which AWS refers as virtual private servers, come with very low-cost flat-rate pricing.
This raises the question: Why would anyone in their right mind continue to use EC2 when Lightsail is cheaper and is billed at a flat fee? Lightsail is not a replacement for EC2, to be honest. Lightsail can be used to move EC2 workloads, but not all EC2 workloads can be run on Lightsail. Lightsail is much more restrictive than EC2.
One such limitation is operating system support. Lightsail supports only Amazon Linux and Ubuntu, whereas EC2 offers a wide range of operating systems choices. This may not be a major issue for Linux workloads but it will mean that Lightsail cannot be used to run Windows operating system systems.
Hardware support is the second limitation. Lightsail offers a variety hardware options, just like EC2. For $5 per month, you can get a virtual server with one CPU core, a 20GB flash drive, and 512MB memory. A two-core virtual private servers with an 80GB SSD storage and 8GB memory will cost $80 per month. Below is Figure 1.
[Click on the image to see a larger version.] Figure 1: AWS’ current pricing information for Lightsail. Technically speaking, Lightsail should allow you to run almost any Linux application provided that the virtual private server has enough hardware resources. AWS also offers Lightsail images to support Bitnami applications like Drupl, Magneto, and WordPress. The complete Lightsail deployment options can be found here.
Lightsail instances are advertised as flat-rate virtual private server in the cloud. However, Lightsail instances may incur additional charges in certain circumstances. You can incur additional charges if you have static IP addresses but don’t attach them to an instance. AWS doesn’t charge Lightsail static IPs as long as they are being used, but charges half a penny per hour for any static IP not attached to an instance.
You can also incur additional charges by exceeding the data transfer limits for an instance. How