Amazon EC2 vs SoftLayer: What are the differences?
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; SoftLayer: SoftLayer provides on-demand IT infrastructure, dedicated servers and cloud resources. SoftLayer dedicated servers give you options from entry-level single processor servers to quad proc, hex-core, and even GPU-powered workhorses. They're all deployed in real time via our portal or API.
Amazon EC2 can be classified as a tool in the "Cloud Hosting" category, while SoftLayer is grouped under "Dedicated Cloud Hosting".
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, SoftLayer provides the following key features:
- 5TB public outbound bandwidth, standard
- 100Mbps network uplinks, standard
- More starting RAM in most servers
"Quick and reliable cloud servers" is the primary reason why developers consider Amazon EC2 over the competitors, whereas "Dedicated hardware" was stated as the key factor in picking SoftLayer.
Uber Technologies, Pinterest, and Yelp are some of the popular companies that use Amazon EC2, whereas SoftLayer is used by Scribd, Fitbit, and Keen. Amazon EC2 has a broader approval, being mentioned in 3580 company stacks & 1570 developers stacks; compared to SoftLayer, which is listed in 45 company stacks and 8 developer stacks.
What is Amazon EC2?
What is SoftLayer?
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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.
We use a mix of dedicated and cloud servers with SoftLayer and the service has been amazing. Great performance, great networking and for a really good price. The time of provisioning is sometimes longer than advertised, which can be a problem depending on your needs. Also while their API seems very powerful the documentation is not great.
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/
Because servers. Lots of them. Lots of configurations. Great for mission-specific functions. Video encoding, data aggregation, dedicated processing, mission-critical data stores. Anything you can't hang off your Heroku environment.