Amazon EC2 Cloud Alternatives

When Amazon launched their Cloud Computing services in 2006 it was the start of the on-demand infrastructure revolution. For the first time users could launch a server in the cloud with a credit card and a few minutes of configuration time. Today, business organizations, both large and small, are increasingly turning to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) to provide essential data center services in a flexible and cost-effective way. For many people, IaaS is synonymous with Amazon Web Services EC2. But AWS is not right for all companies and workloads.

Since 2006, numerous Cloud Computing providers have arrived as alternatives to Amazon - most of them having either been traditional managed hosting providers that offer Cloud Computing based on the VMware hypervisor or other pure-play cloud computing providers that have built their offerings on open-source stacks like OpenStack.

Amazon EC2

Amazon EC2 and other cloud alerternatives are increasingly being considered 1st Generation clouds – with architectures that prevent them from moving forward to address some fundemental issues. Issues like cloud performance, “noisy neighbor”, non-flexible instance sizes and complex replicaiton and setup procesures that leave users vulnerable to availability zone outages and performance variability.

Second generation cloud computing providers or Cloud Computing 2.0 bring many new benefits, including better scalability, better performance, higher reliability and lower pricing. Plus, Cloud Computing 2.0 providers offer modern APIs and tools like graphical data center design tools allowing developers and operations team members to set up and provision an entire network infrastructure in mere minutes.


When selecting an AWS alternative provider, follow these 4 steps:

  1. Understand your base configurations and performance needs.  Ensure that your software development engineers, operations teams and cloud networking professionals can design and provision test systems and servers. Reputable IaaS providers will allow you to provision and test at no charge. See what issues they find and what obstacles they run into. Run some performance tests or read up on tests run by 3rd parties. Planning up front and spending the time to really try out the system is the only way to know if a service provides what you need now as well as what can be anticipated in the future.
  2. Look at the Pricing -- Do an “apples to apples” comparison of Cloud providers and their offerings. Don’t be confused by generous disk space that is bundled with packages, only to discover that it’s temporary storage. (For more information and to learn how, visit our Compare Cloud Pricing page). Predict usage-based cost estimates. Look for pricing transparency and make sure nothing is hidden.
  3. Review differences in contract terms and SLA carefully. After all, if the data center goes offline, application users will feel the pain of poor performance, and your business may suffer.
  4. Reputation is important. Read case studies, review the provider’s blog, read third-party performance reports and reviews.