Cloud Hosting : Making sense of the pricing

1271502478000 » Tagged as: cloud , virtualization

With many companies entering the cloud hosting market, competition is hotting up. So much so that the most recognizable name in the game, Amazon EC2 has had to reduce their prices several times and recently introduced a cut rate spot pricing model. Competition specially for the entry level packages (if you could call it that) is really tough. But comparing these services is also a tough task because of the differences in virtual server architectures and pricing models amongst the vendors. Let's compare what the 'entry level package' for different vendors looks like.
Vendor CPU RAM Storage Charges Outgoing bandwidth Incoming bandwidth
Rackspace 0.4 GHz 256MB 10GB $ 0.015 $ 0.22/GB $ 0.08/GB
Amazon 1.6 Ghz 1.6GB 160GB $0.085 $ 0.17/GB Free / $ 0.10/GB
Go Grid 0.25 MHz 512MB 30GB $0.090 $0.50/GB FREE
Opsource ?? 1GB 10GB $ 0.068 $0.15 per GB FREE
Notes: With amazon ec2, data transfer in is free till 30th June 2010. Amazon and go grid provideĀ  detailed specifications about the CPU power that you get.

'One EC2 Compute Unit (ECU) provides the equivalent CPU capacity of a 1.0-1.2 GHz 2007 Opteron or 2007 Xeon processor.' (Amazon)

'GoGrid is built upon a Grid of servers (nodes), managed by a hardware virtualization layer (Xen-based hypervisor) which allows several guest operating systems (virtual servers) to be executed on the same computer hardware at the same time. Our nodes are custom built multi-processor, Intel-based computers. In order for GoGrid to guarantee a minimum CPU to a virtual server, we will always maintain a ratio of 1 Xeon core (equivalent to a P4 2.0 chip) to 4 GB of RAM across our entire grid.' (Go Grid)

Rackspace is less clear about their CPU speeds, the speed in the chart above is derived from the information given in their FAQ. Opsource have not mentioned the speed of their CPU at all. The prices are calculated assuming $0.04/CPU + 0.025/GB RAM + 0.003 for 10GB storage

As you can see, it's pretty hard to compare these prices. It's much more difficult than comparing apples and oranges. Just to make the waters a little murkier, all these vendors have pre-paid packages which allow you to obtain significant discounts by agreeing to purchase a certain number of CPU hours per month. If you want to run windows, you need to pay extra.

One fact that does stand out: Rackspace has the lowest charges but their CPU is only 1/4 the power of the Amazon version. So if you were to multiply the rackspace price by 4, you would get a figure of USD 0.06 per hour for 1.6GHz/1.0GHz/40GB . Amazons price for a 1.6GHz/1.6GB/160GB is 0.085 you decide whether the extra 2 cents for 600MB of memory is worth the extra 2.5 cents.

We will revisit this topic later to compare the pre paid plans made available by the different vendors and also take a look at cloud storage.


Cloud Servers Pricing by Rackspace Cloud Computing & Hosting [Online]. Available from : [Accessed : 17, April, 2010]., 2010. Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) [Online]. Available from : [Accessed : 17, April, 2010].

GoGrid Cloud Hosting : Frequently Asked Questions [Online]. Available from : [Accessed : 17, April, 2010]

OpSource Cloud - Pricing information [Online]. Available from : [Accessed : 17, April, 2010].

References were generated with deadlinedue, a free service by Rad Inks that's hosted on an amazon EC2 instance.
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