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Amazon EC2

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Amazon EC2 vs Firebase: What are the differences?

Developers describe Amazon EC2 as "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. On the other hand, Firebase is detailed as "The Realtime App Platform". Firebase is a cloud service designed to power real-time, collaborative applications. Simply add the Firebase library to your application to gain access to a shared data structure; any changes you make to that data are automatically synchronized with the Firebase cloud and with other clients within milliseconds.

Amazon EC2 belongs to "Cloud Hosting" category of the tech stack, while Firebase can be primarily classified under "Realtime Backend / API".

Some of the features offered by Amazon EC2 are:

  • Elastic – Amazon EC2 enables you to increase or decrease capacity within minutes, not hours or days. You can commission one, hundreds or even thousands of server instances simultaneously.
  • Completely Controlled – You have complete control of your instances. You have root access to each one, and you can interact with them as you would any machine.
  • Flexible – You have the choice of multiple instance types, operating systems, and software packages. Amazon EC2 allows you to select a configuration of memory, CPU, instance storage, and the boot partition size that is optimal for your choice of operating system and application.

On the other hand, Firebase provides the following key features:

  • Add the Firebase library to your app and get access to a shared data structure. Any changes made to that data are automatically synchronized with the Firebase cloud and with other clients within milliseconds.
  • Firebase apps can be written entirely with client-side code, update in real-time out-of-the-box, interoperate well with existing services, scale automatically, and provide strong data security.
  • Data Accessibility- Data is stored as JSON in Firebase. Every piece of data has its own URL which can be used in Firebase's client libraries and as a REST endpoint. These URLs can also be entered into a browser to view the data and watch it update in real-time.

"Quick and reliable cloud servers", "Scalability" and "Easy management" are the key factors why developers consider Amazon EC2; whereas "Realtime backend made easy", "Fast and responsive" and "Easy setup" are the primary reasons why Firebase is favored.

According to the StackShare community, Amazon EC2 has a broader approval, being mentioned in 3605 company stacks & 1613 developers stacks; compared to Firebase, which is listed in 859 company stacks and 992 developer stacks.

Advice on Amazon EC2 and Firebase
Needs advice
on
Socket.IO
Firebase
and
Apollo

We are starting to work on a web-based platform aiming to connect artists (clients) and professional freelancers (service providers). In-app, timeline-based, real-time communication between users (& storing it), file transfers, and push notifications are essential core features. We are considering using Node.js, ExpressJS, React, MongoDB stack with Socket.IO & Apollo, or maybe using Real-Time Database and functionalities of Firebase.

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Replies (3)
Timothy Malstead
Junior Full Stack Developer at Freelance · | 7 upvotes · 237.6K views
Recommends
Firebase

I would recommend looking hard into Firebase for this project, especially if you do not have dedicated full-stack or backend members on your team.

The real time database, as you mentioned, is a great option, but I would also look into Firestore. Similar to RTDB, it adds more functions and some cool methods as well. Also, another great thing about Firebase is you have easy access to storage and dead simple auth as well.

Node.js Express MongoDB Socket.IO and Apollo are great technologies as well, and may be the better option if you do not wish to cede as much control to third parties in your application.

Overall, I say if you wish to focus more time developing your React application instead of other parts of your stack, Firebase is a great way to do that.

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Recommends
Ably

Hello Noam 👋,

I suggest taking a look at Ably, it has all the realtime features you need and the platform is designed to guarantee critical functionality at scale.

Here is an in depth comparison between Ably and Firebase

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Recommends
8base

Hey Noam,

I would recommend you to take a look into 8base. It has features you've requested, also relation database and GraphQL API which will help you to develop rapidly.

Thanks, Ilya

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Needs advice
on
Firebase
and
Amazon EC2

I'm looking for a storage service for a simple website (built with Vue) with browser games. The website will have a login system and will collect some basic information about users. It will also have a chat, so it needs to store messages. I would prefer a free solution for now, because the number of users and transferred data will be very small. I Was choosing between Amazon EC2 and Google Firebase even tho they aren't really in the same category. Any advice on that will be appreciated

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Replies (2)
Recommends
Firebase

Hi Michal,

Correct, AWS EC2 is not at all the same thing as Firebase. AWS EC2 is a server instance where you can run server code. Firebase is a suite of pre-built cloud services that help developers offload maintenance, development and speed up development.

In your situation, if you are looking for a free or low cost option, where you can integrate many of the different types of services you have mentioned (authentication, storage, chatting, etc), Firebase is your best bet for the lowest effort.

If you go with AWS, you will end up needing much more than just EC2 to build and run your backend. More over, you will have to learn AWS's console which isn't the greatest user experience.

Beware that Firebase has a tendency not to be very reliable compared to AWS.

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Davi Koscianski Vidal
Recommends
Amazon S3

If you are using only Vue.js, you could consider Amazon S3 for the static portion of your site and Amazon Lambda for the bits you need to store data (also in S3).

https://aws.amazon.com/getting-started/projects/host-static-website/services-costs/ https://docs.aws.amazon.com/AmazonS3/latest/dev/WebsiteHosting.html

This setup would require more work on your side, but it can be WAY cheaper than EC2 instances: it can be from $0 to $3/month. If you use only AWS free tier, you can make a very nice app paying for nothing for the first year, at least.

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Decisions about Amazon EC2 and Firebase
Jerome/Zen Quah
Shared insights
on
DigitalOcean
Amazon EC2

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.

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Craig Finch
Principal Consultant at Rootwork InfoTech · | 6 upvotes · 90.7K views

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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Stephen Fox
Artificial Intelligence Fellow · | 2 upvotes · 93.6K views

GCE is much more user friendly than EC2, though Amazon has come a very long way since the early days (pre-2010's). This can be seen in how easy it is to edit the storage attached to an instance in GCE: it's under the instance details and is edited inline. In AWS you have to click the instance > click the storage block device (new screen) > click the edit option (new modal) > resize the volume > confirm (new model) then wait a very long time. Google's is nearly instant.

  • In both cases, the instance much be shut down.

There also the preference between "user burden-of-security" and automatic security: AWS goes for the former, GCE the latter.

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Most bioinformatics shops nowadays are hosting on AWS or Azure, since they have HIPAA tiers and offer enterprise SLA contracts. Meanwhile Heroku hasn't historically supported HIPAA. Rackspace and Google Cloud would be other hosting providers we would consider, but we just don't get requests for them. So, we mostly focus on AWS and Azure support.

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Pros of Amazon EC2
Pros of Firebase
  • 644
    Quick and reliable cloud servers
  • 515
    Scalability
  • 391
    Easy management
  • 276
    Low cost
  • 269
    Auto-scaling
  • 88
    Market leader
  • 80
    Backed by amazon
  • 78
    Reliable
  • 66
    Free tier
  • 57
    Easy management, scalability
  • 12
    Flexible
  • 10
    Easy to Start
  • 9
    Web-scale
  • 8
    Widely used
  • 8
    Elastic
  • 7
    Node.js API
  • 4
    Industry Standard
  • 3
    Lots of configuration options
  • 2
    GPU instances
  • 1
    Amazing for individuals
  • 1
    Extremely simple to use
  • 1
    All the Open Source CLI tools you could want.
  • 1
    Simpler to understand and learn
  • 361
    Realtime backend made easy
  • 264
    Fast and responsive
  • 234
    Easy setup
  • 207
    Real-time
  • 186
    JSON
  • 127
    Free
  • 121
    Backed by google
  • 81
    Angular adaptor
  • 63
    Reliable
  • 36
    Great customer support
  • 26
    Great documentation
  • 23
    Real-time synchronization
  • 20
    Mobile friendly
  • 17
    Rapid prototyping
  • 12
    Great security
  • 11
    Automatic scaling
  • 10
    Freakingly awesome
  • 8
    Chat
  • 8
    Angularfire is an amazing addition!
  • 8
    Super fast development
  • 6
    Awesome next-gen backend
  • 6
    Ios adaptor
  • 5
    Built in user auth/oauth
  • 5
    Firebase hosting
  • 4
    Speed of light
  • 4
    Very easy to use
  • 3
    It's made development super fast
  • 3
    Great
  • 3
    Brilliant for startups
  • 2
    Great all-round functionality
  • 2
    Low battery consumption
  • 2
    I can quickly create static web apps with no backend
  • 2
    The concurrent updates create a great experience
  • 2
    JS Offline and Sync suport
  • 1
    Faster workflow
  • 1
    Large
  • 1
    Serverless
  • 1
    .net
  • 1
    Free SSL
  • 1
    Good Free Limits
  • 1
    Push notification
  • 1
    Easy to use
  • 1
    Easy Reactjs integration

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Cons of Amazon EC2
Cons of Firebase
  • 13
    Ui could use a lot of work
  • 6
    High learning curve when compared to PaaS
  • 3
    Extremely poor CPU performance
  • 28
    Can become expensive
  • 15
    Scalability is not infinite
  • 14
    No open source, you depend on external company
  • 9
    Not Flexible Enough
  • 5
    Cant filter queries
  • 3
    Very unstable server
  • 2
    Too many errors
  • 2
    No Relational Data

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