Amazon Lightsail A Powerful Virtual Server

Aug 16,2021 by Raghav Bansal
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What makes Amazon Lightsail popular is the fact that it can offer you flat rate low-cost plans for cloud hosting solutions. The public cloud may have grown into the best solution for running diverse workloads but there are many businesses that are still not yet ready for the cloud. These organizations prefer to keep their data on-site. Sometimes, because of the security concerns that drive them to stick to on-premise data centers; or several other reasons. There are still others who choose to run workloads on-site because of the cost involved.

As it can be expected, there will be many businesses that will not be open to paying a third party to run workloads when they know that their on-site infrastructures are equally adept at running these services smoothly. For their on-premise infrastructures, they don’t have to pay anything extra to get these services. But, in due course of time, these on-site resources tend to get outdated. Then these businesses have to decide whether it makes more sense to migrate existing workloads to a cloud environment or invest again in updated infrastructure.

There is often the lack of predictability of costs which may become a roadblock when it comes to running workloads on the cloud. For instance, there have been many instances of cloud fees shooting up and down because of resource usage spikes. The biggest selling point for cloud vendors is the low-cost advantage that every cloud expects to offer. But this will not appeal to an organization that does not even know what the services are going to cost them every month. Amazon Web Services or AWS has made an effort to resolve this issue. They have come up with a service called the Amazon Lightsail which is designed for making costs of conducting business on a cloud more predictable.

How does the Amazon Lightsail fare in comparison to the EC2?

Amazon Lightsail web hosting works much like the Elastic Compute Cloud or EC2 that allow them to host VMs in the cloud. The Lightsail scores ahead of the EC2 because of its low-cost and flat race prices to customers. However, this is not to suggest that there will be no takers for the EC2. Since Lightsail is less costly and billed at a flat rate, people may assume that it will replace the EC2. The truth is that there are quite a few EC2 workloads that may shift to the Lightsail but these may not run on it. For instance, the operating system is one example of such limitation which the Lightsail experiences. While you can get a variety of choices in operating systems when you choose the EC2, the Lightsail will only support Ubuntu and Amazon Linux. So, it is not possible to use Lightsail for running Windows OS.

The biggest reason to choose the Lightsail is its affordability; AWS Lightsail pricing starts around $5 every month and the first month is free of cost. The other plans which are more featurely-rich are priced slightly higher and such plans can offer you enough resources to support demanding apps and high-traffic sites. While the most basic plans are perfect for those starting out, the most feature-rich ones are best suited for medium to high businesses.

The hardware support is another point to consider when you are deciding between Lightsail and EC2. You may get many hardware options from Lightsail just like the EC2. At the low-end, you can get VPS with single cores, 20GB SSD, 512MB RAM, and 1 TB transfer for only $3.50 a month. You can run almost any Linux application as long as this VPS has ample hardware resources. Besides, AWS provides Lightsail images to take care of multiple Bitnami applications like Magento, Drupal, and WordPress.

The Lightsail instances may be promoted as being flat-rate VPS offerings but these can also demand some extra charges during specific situations. One such way of incurring additional charges is to get static IP addresses but do not attach these to the instance. When you are using static IP addresses, Lightsail will not charge you for these; however, you will be required to pay half-cent for every hour when the static IP you use is not attached.

Another instance when you are expected to pay more is when you overshoot any instance’s data transfer limits. But it is important to understand what this data transfer entails. When the data transfer is made to Lightsail, AWS will not charge you, even you exceed the limit. Outbound data transfers are also not counted in the data transfer limits as long as it satisfies two conditions. Firstly, this transfer must happen over the instance’s private IP address and secondly, it is only meant for some other Lightsail instance. Unless these two aforementioned conditions are met, the data transfer will be calculated against your data transfer limits.

Another important feature that is not covered in the base subscription rate for Lightsail is the snapshot. So, AWS will charge you $0.05 for every gigabyte every time you create one snapshot of any Lightsail instance.

To sum up, Amazon Lightsail will work best for businesses that are keen to deploy servers without having to go through the trouble of working out the prices, configurations, and management details of deployments. AWS calculator offers customers many options where you can calculate a predictable monthly cost. Lightsail however will not be suitable for applications that need a configurable environment and consistently high CPU, like analytics and video encoding. Servers can be deployed within minutes using the menu interface. Lightsail will also offer many pre-built virtual images. The developers can select packages preconfigured with domain name management, SSD storage, and static IP addresses. They can also install and configure Lightsail for popular applications like Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress.

Conclusion: –

In theory, Lightsail will help businesses deploy an instance and even save money even when Lightsail is not running. But, in practice, you will be charged by AWS for an instance even when it does not run. In order to stop this from happening, the developer will have to back up this instance and delete it from the Lightsail. However, the organization will still have to pay fees to retain the static IP address.

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