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back to article Floating website, hidden 'get' bills

In my last piece, I took the first steps in moving part of my own homegrown website's "cloud" into Amazon's commodity AWS cloud, using the pretty front-end in Eclipse. That left me with some hope (it all worked quite well technically) and a few worries (I couldn't see how to avoid unlimited "ambush bills"). This time I tie up …

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FAIL

Waste of space

2 pages and all those words to say "Amazon AWS doesn't currently let you set a limit on your monthly bill".

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WTF?

Why not...

simply get a VPS (you can get 4 cores at 1.5 GHz, 1 GB ram, 100 GB hard-drive, 99.9% SLA) for 40 quid/month from OVH (and there both lower and higher tiers) and set up whatever version of Tomcat you want on it?

If you don't like OVH, you can find other providers.

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or hetzner...

49 eur a month though there's a setup fee of 150 gets you a quad i7 with 8 gigs of ram and 5TB of bandwidth a month.

By the time you get utilisations and scalability are an issue it's cheaper just to get more servers.... I don't see the cost benefit to this cloudy stuff at least at it's current pricepoints... Can couple with cloudmin as well to make your own cloud ...

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Impressed by AWS so far

Set myself up a micro linux instance this week and so far I've been more than impressed with the simplicity. Like you the biggest worry is a ddos attack on it and no way to cap costs. I'm hoping it will be free but also noticed those low 1c charges. I quickly guessed it was the initial image transfer. Hopefully there won't be any more. Look forward to more of your articles.

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Anonymous Coward

I would guess...

these low charges are primarily designed to check whatever means of payment you set with Amazon.

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Rackspace

Have you had a look at http://www.rackspace.co.uk/cloud-hosting/ ?

I'd be quite interested in what you think. Things like persistence look quite interesting (along with their much vaunted support), but I've not had time to look at it much yet.

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(mt)

Or even http://mediatemple.net/webhosting/

I (vaguely) know someone who uses them who seems quite impressed. Their (gs) or (ve) offerings seem to be decent for smallish requirements.

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Anonymous Coward

Another option

bytemark.co.uk is another option - at £15+VAT/mo for a basic KVM virtual server with 500MB RAM, and 200GB/month of I/O. Run one of several Linux distros then whatever version of Tomcat etc that you like.

Aside: I am not related with this company, and I don't use them myself, but I know people who do and are happy with the service.

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Bronze badge

I gather there's this thing that hotels do with a credit card.

They can sort of pre-charge your card for costs that you might incur later (I assume this hasn't been changed). If you can't afford it, the operation will bounce at that point, and perhaps you will bounce as well. You aren't charged yet but you are that much closer to your spending limit. And they may be tardy taking it off.

So that's an alternative to Amazon taking pennies just to prove that your card is good. And anyway, there are fees on a credit card transaction that probably make using it for tiny payments pretty stupid - otherwise there wouldn't be ongoing research into other ways of doing it.

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Thumb Down

Rate Limiting

Wow - shock horror - "The Cloud" doesn't do everything.

It's pretty obvious that to defend against excessive billing, you need to defend against excessive resource usage. Relying on Amazon (or anyone else) to do this for you will almost always do exactly what you don't want.

Have you ever visited a small website, only to see a message saying "This user has exceeded their bandwidth allocation" (or similar)? Doesn't happen too much these days, but that's basically the billing department "helping" their customer avoid excessive bills. If you want something better than that, then code it (or buy it) yourself.

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Boffin

Here's one I prepared earlier...

I host my Tomcat-based web site on my own hardware, in my own house, on my Zen internet connection. Zen gives me 8 fixed IP addresses and 50Gb of bandwidth for £25 a month (I think the packages may have changed a bit now). I use a Mac Mini as host running (primarily) Tomcat 6 and MySQL (I pay for email hosting elsewhere). I use the Mini because of it's super-low idle power consumption of < 15W.

The whole set-up cost < £700 in current money and will do for several years. When I looked at Amazon, once you're out of your free year, the basic cost is £50 a month - that's a new Mac Mini every year! I rarely have a power cut, but I have a cheap UPS with enough juice to keep things going for long enough that the mains will normally return before the batteries get critical. It's all quiet, and doesn't generate much heat.

I've been running this way for about three years, the set-up is super-reliable (Tomcat or the web site may crash, but the host just keeps on going...) and so far my average cost is probably around £15 a month, it gets cheaper every month and I have total freedom. My Mini is a 1.8GHz machine running Leopard, cost £450 when new, I also needed a clever modem/router to handle the multiple IP address routing, the UPS and batteries.

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