Should You Choose Rackspace or Amazon EC2?

Cloud computing on a digital tablet
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Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) is common for use when hosting web apps and services. An alternative is Rackspace, but how do you know which one you should choose?

Both services have their own set of advantages and downfalls, which we'll look at below in two major categories: price and performance.

How Do Rackspace Prices Compare With EC2?

While the initial pricing of Rackspace isn't that different from Amazon EC2, there are certainly some details to pay attention to before choosing one over the other.

Rackspace users have an advantage in that they have the option of paying just 1.5 cents per year, whereas EC2 doesn't provide such an option. As for the size of the machine, EC2 offers either too much or too little, and the pricing depends on the number of instances running. Rackspace, however, offers a mid-size cost-effective solution, something not seen with EC2.

Even when it comes to the storage space, Amazon offers 100 GB and charges for all of it, regardless of whether you use 50 GB, 5 GB or even less. Rackspace lets you take backups and does not charge anything for it. Amazon charges for every I/O operation that you perform, whereas Rackspace does not.

So far so good for Rackspace, but EC2 isn't an all-out loser in any respect. It's a great choice for corporate giants and even startups. Rackspace is meant to serve as an intermediate option for mid-size businesses that require a balance between the two extremes of EC2.

Does EC2 or Rackspace Perform Better?

Performance is one of the most important things to look for before you actually choose a service. However, you need not worry about the performance in either case. In fact, there's hardly any noteworthy difference because both are hosted in the cloud.

However, there is a history of outages at AWS, while Rackspace has never been affected that badly by any sort of outage that resulted in such a large blow to the customers. Then again, the Amazon center outage was due to lightning, so you can hardly blame the company for such a natural disaster.

How to Choose Between Rackspace and EC2

To make a fair assessment between Amazon EC2 and Rackspace, you should consider the price for the performance you get, and the flexibility each vendor offers.

Rackspace will cost you 30% less than Amazon EC2 at smaller scale. However, the price is better for larger orders at Amazon, which is why we recommend Amazon Ec2 to startups and larger corporations, but Rackspace for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Once again, this is our personal opinion, and as mentioned earlier, the choice largely depends upon your specific requirements and the nature and size of your business. However, the amount of faith we have in Amazon despite its record of outages, is a lot more than Rackspace; we'd go with any Amazon product without even thinking twice!