One of the more interesting launches at the recent AWS re:Invent, at least for the web hosting industry, is AWS Lightsail, a VPS service that customers can deploy in a few clicks and starts at $5 per month.
According to AWS, “Amazon Lightsail includes everything customers need for projects such as web sites, blogs, custom applications, or development servers. Customers can get started with just three clicks; they simply choose a virtual private server image from a menu of over 10 images that includes Linux, WordPress, Drupal, and others, and select one of five server sizes.”
AWS foray into VPS makes sense if it is going to target more developer customers, the likes of which are currently using VPS services from DigitalOcean, Linode and Vultr.
AWS entering the VPS market has validated the technology, in some respects, according to Linode CMO Casey Smith. In an email to ZDNet, Smith said that Linode is “flattered” that AWS has created a similar offering to its own.
“The developer and small-business communities stand to benefit the most from this competition, and we welcome it,” Smith said. “As for Linode, we will continue to differentiate ourselves as we always have — in server performance and quality of support and with our position as a hosting provider built for developers, by developers.”
Price Wars; Casualities?
While some VPS customers on Reddit seem to think that Amazon’s entry into the market could drive prices down, others are not so optimistic on its impact.
According to a poster on Reddit: “Amazon has much better economies of scale than Linode, DO, or Vultr so if a price war were to happen they’ll need to increase density to compensate for Amazon’s better margins. Consequently, Amazon will adjust their price in response and squeeze out the smaller incumbents in the market. So either performance goes to hell on Linode/DO/Vultr eroding confidence in the VPS/cloud market or Amazon/Google takes the cake by forcing them out.”
Another poster in a separate thread said: “I don’t know why anyone would use them over any of their competitors. The overage fee if you bust the bandwidth quota is astronomical compared to Linode and DigitalOcean. OVH has similar plans with unlimited bandwidth.”
On WebHostingTalk, Terry Myers of OnApp, said that Lightsail is a smart move for AWS.
“However, it’s not the complete answer. The upgrade process is nearly non-existent, and is most definitely not ‘cloud.’ As well, while the barrier to entry was lowered, it’s still not exactly the answer to most SMBs, for one simple reason: support. If you want anything beyond, ‘Is the server online’ level of support, you will need to find an alternative provider.”
Let the Tests Begin
With Amazon Lightsail available immediately, several people have already compared Lightsail against other prominent VPS players in the market.
According to Josh Tronic, who compared Linode vs. DigitalOcean vs. Lightsail, Linode is the best all-around bet, while DigitalOcean and Amazon Lightsail are “for the most part equivalent at the 10 dollar price point.”
“Between DigitalOcean and Lightsail, you would need to prioritize between memory and file I/O. Based on Amazon’s overage pricing, I would favor DigitalOcean.”
VPS Benchmarks said that Amazon Lightsail 1GB is “no match” for $10 VPS from Linode, DigitalOcean and Vultr.
The WHIR wants to know: Will Amazon Lightsail have an impact on your VPS business? Let us know your thoughts in a comment.