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Affordable IaaS Cloud Provider Comparison

When it comes time to take that idea you’ve been honing for the past several months, and turn it into a prototype or a product, chances are you’ll need a cloud provider to host servers. Generally, when one makes this decision, it’s a no brainer. Go with Amazon EC2 right? Or Google Compute Engine? Rackspace? Azure? These are all well established IaaS (Infrastructure As A Service) providers, but what are some of the other, lessor known options? I’ve compiled a list of some that I think are good alternatives to the big providers in the IaaS space. All of the following offer SSD instances by default, and provide a similar cost structure that fits well into the budgets of small companies or developers. Let’s explore some alternatives.

 

Digital Ocean

Digital Ocean

Started in 2011, these guys are exactly new to the IaaS scene, but have been gaining steam in the recent year. Their top notch customer service, slick and easy to use UI, coupled with plans that come standard with SSD, make them a viable choice for development or production systems. Single click app deploy.

PROS: One-click Apps that deploy commonly used software instantly. Huge community with an array of Tutorials on how to setup just about anything you can think of on their(or any) systems. Team accounts. DNS hosting.
CONS: No Load Balancer service (though there are tutorials on how to install load balancers on their VMs)

Digital Ocean Specs

Biggest Instance 64G, 20 Cores
Smallest Instance 512MB, 1 Core
Hypervisor KVM
Windows VM Support No
FreeBSD Support Yes
Ability to add extra storage to instances? No
Backups/Snapshots Yes
Load Balancer Service No
Instances deployed with SSH Keys? Yes
IPv6 Support Yes
API Yes
Bandwidth Overage Costs $.02/GB
Free Trial No
Regions San Francisco, Toronto, New York, London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Singapore
Bonus Features Host your domains on their DNS servers. Team Accounts.
SLA 99.99%

Linode

Linode

Around since 2003, Linode can be considered a veteran in providing cloud services to the masses. Having been in the game as long as they have, they’ve perfected bringing a solid service to their customers with many features that developers have loved for years.

PROS: Simple click stack deploy. 40G Network. Established in the industry. Linode CLI tool. Host your domains on their DNS servers. Load balancer service.
CONS: Requires up front payment to deploy services, while minimal, many other hosts did not have this requirement. Lower SLA compared to other providers.

Linode Specs

Biggest Instance 96GB, 20 Cores
Smallest Instance 1G, 1 Core
Hypervisor Xen
Windows VM Support No
FreeBSD Support No
Ability to add extra storage to instances? No
Backups/Snapshots Yes
Load Balancer Service Yes
Instances deployed with SSH Keys? No
IPv6 Support Yes
API Yes
Bandwidth Overage Costs $.02/GB
Free Trial No
Regions US West, US Central,US South,US East, Frankfurt, London, Singapore,Tokyo
Bonus Features Host your domains on their DNS servers, Linode CLI to manage your infra from CLI.
SLA 99.9%

VULTR

VULTR

Established in 2014, VULTR is a relatively new player to the IaaS space. Their website boasts faster performance than other clouds due to a low latency. I found an article where someone else did their own comparison between Linode and Digital Ocean.Speed seems to be their selling point.

PROS: Clearly stated SLA with a chart of credits. Snappy UI. Storage instances. $5/mo plan is 768MB.
CONS: Outbound SMTP traffic blocked by default.

VULTR Specs

Biggest Instance 64GB, 24 Cores
Smallest Instance 768MB, 1 Core
Hypervisor KVM
Windows VM Support Yes
FreeBSD Support Yes
Ability to add extra storage to instances? No, but you can purchase storage instances.
Backups/Snapshots Yes
Load Balancer Service No
Instances deployed with SSH Keys? Yes
IPv6 Support Yes
API Yes
Bandwidth Overage Costs $.02/GB in North America and Europe $.05/GB in Tokyo
$.01/GB in Sydney
Free Trial Yes
Regions Seattle, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, New Jersey, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Sydney
Bonus Features Host your domains on their DNS servers, Linode CLI to manage your infra from CLI.
SLA 100%

atlantic.net

ATLANTIC.NET

These guys have been in the hosting game since 1994. They have a painless, easy onboarding process. Their UI is beautiful and snappy, and very reminiscent of the Digital Ocean Interface.

PROS: One-click apps. Very fast server spin up. Per second billing.
CONS: No self service password reset. No IPv6 support.

ATLANTIC.NET Specs

Biggest Instance 64GB, 20 Cores
Smallest Instance 512MB, 1 Core
Hypervisor KVM,Hyper-V
Windows VM Support Yes
FreeBSD Support Yes
Ability to add extra storage to instances? No
Backups/Snapshots Yes
Load Balancer Service No
Instances deployed with SSH Keys? Yes
IPv6 Support No
API Yes
Bandwidth Overage Costs $.02/GB
Free Trial No
Regions New York, Orlando, San Francisco, Dallas, London, Toronto
Bonus Features Host your domains on their DNS servers.
SLA 100%

UpCloud

UpCloud

For the European users, this Finnish cloud provider was launched in 2013. They’ve built a proprietary storage system called MaxIOPS which boasts 100,000 IOPS for a single block storage device. All VMs are connected with a 500Mb/s outbound of which 1Gb/s connections can be requested for extra cost. They have a clean interface, no hassle signup, and you can even try their service without a CC with their 4 hour trial. Seems like a good place for disk IO hungry apps.

PROS: L3 Firewall that sits before the network interface, and is configurable via the control panel. Can Add multiple users to your account.
CONS: No FreeBSD support. No load balancer service. Expensive bandwidth overage cost in comparison to others providers.

UpCloud Specs

Biggest Instance 64GB, 10 Cores
Smallest Instance 512MB, 1 Core
Hypervisor KVM
Windows VM Support Yes
FreeBSD Support No
Ability to add extra storage to instances? Yes
Backups/Snapshots Yes
Load Balancer Service No
Instances deployed with SSH Keys? No
IPv6 Support Yes
API Yes
Bandwidth Overage Costs $.056/GB
Free Trial Yes
Regions Frankfurt, Helsinki, London, Chicago
Bonus Features MaxIOPS
SLA 100%

Exoscale

Exoscale

For users or companies who are particularly interested in a cloud provider who doesn’t answer to the USA Patriot Act, this provider, established in 2011, protects your data under the Swiss Federal Data Protection Act (DPA). They have a very snappy UI, with Firewalling and Anti-Affinity controls. If privacy is not your main concern, this may not be the provider for you.

PROS: Swiss Privacy.
CONS: Largest server offerings are small compared to other providers. Due to high demand, they require payment upfront to spin up servers.

Exoscale Specs

Biggest Instance 32GB, 8 Cores
Smallest Instance 512MB, 1 Core
Hypervisor Couldn’t find on their site.
Windows VM Support Yes
FreeBSD Support No
Ability to add extra storage to instances? Yes, upon request
Backups/Snapshots Yes
Load Balancer Service No
Instances deployed with SSH Keys? Yes
IPv6 Support No
API Yes
Bandwidth Overage Costs Couldn’t find on their site.
Free Trial No
Regions Geneva, Zurich
Bonus Features Protected by Swiss privacy
SLA 99.95%

Gridscale

Gridscale

This European cloud provider is based in Germany, and focuses on providing Germany with a one stop source for tech infrastructure needs. This is another provider with a very snappy UI. Their Smartguide, in app wizard, makes it easy to spin up instances, but the UI does take a little time to learn. Once you figure it out, it’s fun to use.

PROS: Unlimited Bandwidth for IPV6 traffic. Can create other users to manage account. Real-time vertical scaling. 2 Factor Auth.
CONS: UI has a small learning curve.

Gridscale Specs

Biggest Instance 64GB, 20 Cores
Smallest Instance 1G, 1 Core
Hypervisor Couldn’t find on site.
Windows VM Support Yes
FreeBSD Support Yes
Ability to add extra storage to instances? Yes
Backups/Snaphots Yes
Load Balancer Service No
Instances deployed with SSH Keys? Yes
IPv6 Support Yes
API Yes
Bandwidth Overage Costs €0.05
Free Trial Yes, but no internet access.
Regions Germany
Bonus Features Unlimited Bandwidth for IPV6, Failover-IPs
SLA 100%

Scaleway

Scaleway

Out of the this group of providers I found this one to be the most interesting. I was unable to spin up an instance on their service due to the fact that they are out of stock. Even though they are full at the moment, this is one to keep your eye on. They offer Baremetal instances based on ARM processors they design themselves, and are the first provider to offer Docker on ARM processors. Once they scale their availability, this cloud provider promises to be a place where your microservices can thrive.

PROS: Baremetal. Only pay for running instances. DDOS protection option.
CONS: Out of stock. No CentOS support yet.

Scaleway Specs

Biggest Instance 2G, 4 ARM Cores (only 1 size offered)
Smallest Instance 2G, 4 ARM Cores (only 1 size offered)
Hypervisor None needed.
Windows VM Support No
FreeBSD Support No
Ability to add extra storage to instances? Yes
Backups/Snapshots Yes
Load Balancer Service No
Instances deployed with SSH Keys? Yes
IPv6 Support No
API Yes
Bandwidth Overage Costs You pay for bandwidth levels, 200Mb/s is the default and is unmetered.
Free Trial No
Regions Paris
Bonus Features Baremetal instances.
SLA 99.9% by default but can pay for higher levels.