“Is it possible to compare apples with oranges on the basis of their cost?”

While comparing the affordability of different service providers, most decision makers take a similar approach. AWS is evaluated against its rival providers in terms of the billed amount only. However, any comparisons between two different technology service platforms must always take into account various factors like range of services on offer, flexibility, integration of future dynamics and long-term value for money, instead of focusing solely on listed prices. A critical evaluation of AWS revealed that it could not have been more economical than it already is. Before we evaluate the great cost-savings offered by Amazon Web Services, it is necessary to consider its salient features.

User-friendly

The functionality of AWS allows application providers, ISVs and vendors to swiftly and safely use it for their existing or new SaaS-based applications. AWS Management Console and its well-documented APIs give users the access to AWS’s app hosting platform.

Flexibility

Whether it be the selection of the operating system, programming language, web application platform, database or other essential needs, AWS provides you complete flexibility. With AWS, a user gets a virtual environment that is adaptable to the software or services required. This results in seamless migration to AWS with enhanced flexibility for existing or planned applications.

Viability

AWS users are billed only for the compute power, storage space, and other resources consumed and there are no contracts or plan commitments upfront.

Reliability

AWS provides a scalable, dependable and safe global computing infrastructure which is the virtual backbone of Amazon.com’s multi-billion-dollar web business and has witnessed constant upgrades for over a decade now.

High-performance

AWS tools and options like Auto Scaling, and Elastic Load Balancing ensure optimal performance and scope to scale up or down as per the need. With Amazon’s massive infrastructure, there is never a shortage of computing and storage resources.

Safety

AWS maintains an end-to-end approach to secure and strengthen the infrastructure, including physical, operational and software enhancements.

How is it more economical?

AWS’ wide range of services and pricing flexibility lets a user effectively control the costs without compromising on the performance or capacity needed. AWS allows a user to optimize the services, exploit reserved instances, and employ potent cost management tools for cost monitoring. Thus, the user remains in-charge of the expenditure.

Further, AWS also offers various innovative options at almost a small fraction of the cost incurred in on-premise solutions. Services such as Amazon RDS for Aurora and Amazon Redshift facilitate functioning of enterprise-grade solutions at barely one-tenth of the cost of identical on-premises solutions.

AWS has another major advantage in Cloud features and points of presence globally. It offers many more regions and availability zones compared to its rivals[1], and that impacts the speed of access and usage of resources nestled in cloud. This is a crucial determinant for organizations scattered across multiple geographies, especially outside the United States and Europe.

IDC reported[2] that AWS customers reap rich financial dividends that foster growth, enhance efficiencies and are able to cut costs in the longer run. Some of the main operational takeaways of AWS are[3]:

  • 62% more efficient IT infrastructure staff
  • 51% lower five year cost of operations
  • 90% reduced staff time spent on setting up new storage
  • 25% increase in productivity of application development team
  • Only 6 months to payback
  • 3 times more new features delivered

Organizations using AWS reap these benefits and are saving a lot of money. Before it transitioned to AWS, Flipboard’s average cost per user was $0.20. However, it now serves 100 million monthly active readers at a cost per user lower than $0.01.

Cost comparisons and conclusion

It is not an outright ‘yes or no’ scenario when we compare AWS against the other Cloud service providers, until we go beyond the ‘price tags’. The economy of usage offered by AWS becomes clearer when you consider the fact that it doesn’t have a pre-determined lock-in period and the pay as per usage pricing dynamics.

The biggest drawback of a lock-in period is that the users don’t benefit from the market dynamics and frequent cost-reductions that AWS offers from time to time. To conclude, in most cases AWS couldn’t have been any cheaper, taking into account the various services and benefits offered by it.


[1] https://www.cloudhealthtech.com/blog/comparing-aws-vs-google-cloud-pricing

[2] https://aws.amazon.com/economics/

[3] https://aws.amazon.com/economics/