Amazon EC2 vs Amazon LightSail: What are the differences?
What is Amazon EC2? Scalable, pay-as-you-go compute capacity in the cloud. Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers.
What is Amazon LightSail? Simple Virtual Private Servers on AWS. Everything you need to jumpstart your project on AWS—compute, storage, and networking—for a low, predictable price. Launch a virtual private server with just a few clicks.
Amazon EC2 and Amazon LightSail can be categorized as "Cloud Hosting" tools.
Airbnb, Uber Technologies, and Netflix are some of the popular companies that use Amazon EC2, whereas Amazon LightSail is used by Alobees, Q:MARKETING AG, and Datafy. Amazon EC2 has a broader approval, being mentioned in 3605 company stacks & 1612 developers stacks; compared to Amazon LightSail, which is listed in 7 company stacks and 7 developer stacks.
Our company builds micro saas applications. Based on the application we decide whether to deploy it over one of our shared servers or on a dedicated server.
We decided to Lightsail over EC2.
Lightsail is a lightweight, simplified product offering that has a dramatically simplified console. The instances run in a special VPC, but this aspect is also provisioned automatically, and invisible in the console.
Lightsail supports optionally peering this hidden VPC with your default VPC in the same AWS region, allowing Lightsail instances to access services like EC2 and RDS in the default VPC within the same AWS account.
Bandwidth is unlimited, but of course free bandwidth is not -- however, Lightsail instances do include a significant monthly bandwidth allowance before any bandwidth-related charges apply.
It has predictable pricing with no surprises at the end.
The flexibility of EC2 leads inevitably to complexity. Whereas for Lighsail there is virtually no learning curve, here. You don't even technically need to know how to use SSH with a private key -- the Lightsail console even has a built-in SSH client -- but there is no requirement that you use it. You can access these instances normally, with a standard SSH client.
DigitalOcean was where I began; its USD5/month is extremely competitive and the overall experience as highly user-friendly.
However, their offerings were lacking and integrating with other resources I had on AWS was getting more costly (due to transfer costs on AWS). Eventually I moved the entire project off DO's Droplets and onto AWS's EC2.
One may initially find the cost (w/o free tier) and interface of AWS daunting however with good planning you can achieve highly cost-efficient systems with savings plans, spot instances, etcetera.
Do not dive into AWS head-first! Seriously, don't. Stand back and read pricing documentation thoroughly. You can, not to the fault of AWS, easily go way overbudget. Your first action upon getting your AWS account should be to set up billing alarms for estimated and current bill totals.
We first selected Google Cloud Platform about five years ago, because HIPAA compliance was significantly cheaper and easier on Google compared to AWS. We have stayed with Google Cloud because it provides an excellent command line tool for managing resources, and every resource has a well-designed, well-documented API. SDKs for most of these APIs are available for many popular languages. I have never worked with a cloud platform that's so amenable to automation. Google is also ahead of its competitors in Kubernetes support.
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A VPS gives the full access that I need, because most of what I do has complex integrations and there is plenty of legacy - very stable, highly tuned code developed over two decades - that I carry with me. My use is also limited to during development, so there is no point going for a full server.
Amazon EC2 is a VPS, except it is cheaper.
Additionally, I used to previously take the code developed on my VPS and deploy it to whatever server the client brought.
With Amazon EC2 the deployment is already done. All that remains it to scale up, add other products like dns, mail, storage and so on, and change the billing so that the client gets invoiced. That makes the process that much more predictable and seamless, and the end result much more stable.
Just started using EC2 myself, but it was the platform used by my previous employer, as well. They are getting easier to use, dashboard improvements over time were well done. Responded fast to outages. They offer a limited free tier which is perfect for my current project, allowing me time to build it to the point where I will need a paid solution. Overall, I'm liking it so far.
About a year and a half ago (written June 2013) we moved from dedicated servers over to AWS. Thanks to AWS, we no longer have to think on a server level. Instead, we think of everything as a cluster of instances, and an instance is essentially a virtual server where we don’t have to worry about the hardware. It’s a relief to not have to worry about the hardware behind the instances.
The clusters we have are: WWW, API, Upload, HAProxy, HBase, MySQL, Memcached, Redis, and ElasticSearch, for an average total of 80 instances. Each cluster handles the job that its name describes, all working together for the common goal of giving you your daily (hourly?) dose of image entertainment.
Below is a diagram of how they all work together:
We liked a lot of things about Heroku. We loved the build packs, and we still in fact use Heroku build packs, but we were frustrated by lack of control about a lot of things. It’s nice to own the complete stack, or rather as far down as AWS goes. It gave us a lot of flexibility and functionality that we didn’t have before. We use a lot of Amazon technology.
I like containers and all, but for zerotoherojs.com I am a one-man band, who also works full time. I don’t have any (dev)ops budget, and therefore I need the reliability and uptime of an actual virtual machine.
That’s where AWS EC2 comes in handy.
Docker containers will be hosted and run on a single Amazon EC2 instance. This will likely be the t2.small or t2.medium instance type as listed here: https://aws.amazon.com/ec2/instance-types/