Go Grid vs Amazon EC2

1236926826000 » Tagged as: virtualization

Go Grid is an alternative to Amazon EC2 and if you go purely by the explanation on the Go Grid website it's cheaper and better than EC2.  Certainly there are some areas in which Go Grid is miles ahead of EC2. Their web based control panel is one example. Even a die hard geek can be put off by the EC2 API while even a non tech can probably launch a Go Grid virtual machine thanks to their web interface (but then let us not forget Cloudfront).

Once you create an Go Grid instance it takes a long time for the virtual machine to actually start up and become usable. That means on demand scaling really isn't on demand. You cannot just create a lot of instances and leave them lying about because you will be billed regardless of whether the instance has booted up or has been shut down.

Though the pricing comparison on Go Grid website shows their services to be cheaper, that is true only if you are a heavy user. The Go Gridd pricing in the comparison chart is based on their 'Enterprise plan' which has a minimum monthly commitment of USD 2500.  Amazon also offers volume discounts so a fair comparison ought to have taken that into account. EC2 discounted prices are as low as $0.03  per hour (vs 0.08 per hour on Go Grid)

Another factor is the Go Grid charges you based on the amount of RAM that you use. While it's possible to start up any server with just 512MB of memory, in practice you are going to need much more. It will be at least 1 GB for linux servers and 2GB for windows servers so you real cost is going to be a lot higher.  The CPU on Go Grid packs more power than one on an Amazon Machine Instance (AMI) but CPU is never the bottleneck. The bottleneck is always the RAM , the hard drive or available bandwidth.

The other day, I did a drive speed test on an AMI and found that the virtual drives were amazingly fast. The same test on Go Grid showed wildly fluctuating results 297MB/s to 509KB/s (yes that's right the first one is in mega bytes the second one is in kilo bytes).

[root@21768_1_15193_84622 ~]# hdparm -t -T /dev/hda2

/dev/hda2:

Timing cached reads: 17024 MB in 1.99 seconds = 8553.32 MB/sec

Timing buffered disk reads: 530 MB in 3.00 seconds = 176.64 MB/sec

[root@21768_1_15193_84622 ~]# hdparm -t -T /dev/hda2

/dev/hda2:

Timing cached reads: 14944 MB in 1.99 seconds = 7499.96 MB/sec

Timing buffered disk reads: 2 MB in 4.02 seconds = 509.17 kB/sec

[root@21768_1_15193_84622 ~]# hdparm -t -T /dev/hda2

/dev/hda2:

Timing cached reads: 12204 MB in 1.99 seconds = 6117.46 MB/sec

Timing buffered disk reads: 52 MB in 3.02 seconds = 17.23 MB/sec

[root@21768_1_15193_84622 ~]# hdparm -t -T /dev/hda2

/dev/hda2:

Timing cached reads: 13232 MB in 1.99 seconds = 6634.23 MB/sec

Timing buffered disk reads: 158 MB in 3.01 seconds = 52.58 MB/sec

[root@21768_1_15193_84622 ~]# hdparm -t -T /dev/hda2

/dev/hda2:

Timing cached reads: 10904 MB in 1.99 seconds = 5468.99 MB/sec

Timing buffered disk reads: 892 MB in 3.00 seconds = 296.97 MB/sec

So what's my recommendation: well just try it out yourself, you might end up liking it even though I didn't.  Go Grid is giving away a USD 50 coupon at the moment to make it possible for you to do just that without spending any money.

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