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AWS vs Rackspace , Which is the Best?

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Both Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Rackspace are household names in the cloud infrastructure. But if we were to pit the two against each other in a cloud war, who do you think would emerge the winner.

Read on to find out.

The two contenders

AWS

AWS is a subsidiary service offered by Amazon. Properly rolled out in 2006, the service has grown to become an industry leader in IaaS and PaaS. Their EC2 service, which allows the user to choose from a broad range of their virtual servers, has played a central role in their success story.

But that’s not where it all ends; Amazon has a string of other services that it offers as part of AWS, and they include:

Storage, with the S3 and Glacier products

Database including RedShift, DynamoDB, SimpleDB, and RDS.

Networking via VPC and Router 53

Load balancing

Content Delivery

Application development platforms

RackSpace

Compared to AWS, Rackspace is much smaller, but a worthy contender. The profits made by the two platforms can clue you in on how the two companies stack up against each other in terms of size. In 2013, Rackspace was reported to have made a profit if $27 million, while AWS made $415 in profits that same year.

Also, as with AWS, Rackspace was founded in 2006; and, at the time of writing this, has seven large data centers located in different parts of the world.

The company offers the following line of services as far as cloud computing goes:

Cloud Servers, which can be compared to Amazon’s EC2.

Cloud Tools: This is an all-encompassing name for a list of applications and web services that run on their cloud servers. For instance, if you’re looking to install PHP stack, they have Zend for you to use. Similarly, they have Cloudkick for you to test server performance, CopperEgg for app monitoring, and Xeround for MySQL database.

Cloud Service. This is their version of PaaS offering. With this tool, you’ll be granted direct access to their bundled infrastructure setup. That’s to say, if you’re looking for web hosting services for your site, this package features everything you’ll need to get it done, starting with a web server, database, and email services. So you pay monthly for all these services as a unit instead of purchasing them separately.

Pricing

Comparing the two services in terms of price can be taxing. But it’s much easier if we focus on the two crucial components – and that is storage and computation.

Both platforms appear to match closely in terms of price. But on the overall, AWS is cheaper. Amazon also sticks out in terms of pricing for its regular price reductions.

Amazon’s EC2 vs. Rackspace’s Cloud Servers

In terms of computation services, AWS appears to be more flexible than Rackspace; With EC2, it’s a lot easier for you to mix and match various components in the server stack and even pay for them independently.

Rackspace, on the other hand, is the master of bundled services, offered at a fixed price.

Amazon also happens to offer a free usage tier for its customers. In which case, you’ll be provided with a starter server, but it will be after you provide your credit card information for future billing.

And while EC2 charges range from free to $6.80 per hour, Cloud servers are charged from $0.04 to about $6.80 per hour.

Performance

Rackspace wins it big in terms of performance. That’s according to the reviews left behind by its users and the subjective, anecdotal evidence gathered.

Rackspace, by every measure, is a few multiple faster compared to AWS. The same notion holds across different server configurations. For instance, in a recent study, Rackspace was found to be 2.3 computationally faster compared to EC2, and 2.8 faster compared to I/O.

Duncan Smith
Duncan has lived through the Cloud revolution, which lead him to start CLOUDBASE3 - a UK based review site which tests and reviews the best cloud services on the Internet.

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