What price Cloud?

I wanted to set up the infrastructure for Octopus properly. This meant that I needed:

  • A SQL server
  • A TeamCity server
  • A Web server or two (for OctopusDeploy.com)
  • A domain controller
  • A handful of servers for an Octopus test farm

Some of these servers are public, most would be private. I just moved overseas so I didn't want to put another server in my living room. I started by looking at some cloud providers. Here are some really rough, back-of-the-envelope calculations (for Windows servers):

ProviderCPURAMPer hourPer month (750 hours)
Amazon EC2 1 core 1.7gb $0.12 $90
Azure Compute 1 core 1.75gb $0.12 $90

Discounts are available if you buy spot instances or reserve hours, but from what I can gather, I'd be looking at $400-$500/month to have half a dozen 'small' servers on the cloud.

For my needs, it turned out to be cheaper to rent a high-spec dedicated server, and to have my own mini-cloud. LeaseWeb came to the rescue - for the last three months I've been renting a Quad core, 24GB RAM server for €190 (about $270 today). With 24gb I can run 10 'small' Azure instances, or about $900 worth of 'cloud'. What I do miss out on is the rapid provisioning. If I needed a second of these servers, it could take over a week to provision one.

If Octopus was a cloud service, I'd definitely look at offloading this to a real cloud provider. But for running TeamCity and a handful of test VM's, it appears to me that putting a server in a data centre is still more cost effective. Is that your experience?

A picture of me

Welcome, my name is Paul Stovell. I live in Brisbane and work on Octopus Deploy, an automated deployment tool for .NET applications.

Prior to founding Octopus Deploy, I worked for an investment bank in London building WPF applications, and before that I worked for Readify, an Australian .NET consulting firm. I also worked on a number of open source projects and was an active user group presenter. I was a Microsoft MVP for WPF from 2006 to 2013.

06 Sep 2011

The question you need to ask to yourself is: What happen if the main HDD fails? (or if you are using RAID, the RAID controllers fails) or the mobo stop working?

How fast can you be back online? Do you loss data?

Just yesterday needed to run to the datacenter to replace a failed HDD (I have a server in COLO). A really stressful situation, but at least I was able to act fast and the downtime was minimal.

When I was renting a server and bad things happened, I needed to wait for the provider to ack the problem and provide a solution when they want, and often the solution is a new clean machine and then you need hours to reinstall the full system.

07 Sep 2011

Another question to consider is whether you need as much ram as that. I am currently using an Amazon EC2 micro windows instance to run the server for a side project I have going. With the load I currently have it is more than ample for my needs.

It works out at around $25 per month and I can easily move to a bigger one if need be or just spin up a few more instances.

08 Sep 2011

Could any of your instances be Amazon Micros?

You could then get a Reserved Instance for $54 setup plus $0.013/hr or $9.75/month.

Over 1 year for 6 machines that would be 54x6 + 129.756 or $1026 annually, $85.5/mth

08 Sep 2011

Hi Wallace,

6 micro instances would add up to about 4GB all up - the server above could host 36 'micro' instances (RAM-wise). It still seems that we get more 'resources per $' by renting a server.