Recommended Cloud IaaS Providers for the SMB in 2016



  • There are a few criteria that people need to consider when looking for a cloud host. One of the most important is that the player be an enterprise, stable player with the technical skills to build and maintain a reliable platform, and financially viable because if your cloud host goes under financially you are left holding a rather significant bag. Clouds are difficult to compare because they are so wildly different. In this article we will look at those providers that are most prominent, tested and viable for the SMB market in 2016. Here is our 2016 short list:

    • Amazon AWS
    • Microsoft Azure
    • Google Cloud
    • IBM Softlayer

    • Rackspace
    • Digital Ocean
    • Vultr
    • Linode

    The top four are essentially non-applicable for the SMB space, they are full clouds with full cloud mentality that expect a full DevOps team to manage them. The bottom four focus on VPS functionality which is generally necessary for the SMB space. So with great exception, while the top four are quality (mostly) providers with good offerings and vast portfolios, they are mostly useless to SMB IT shops and require a level of training, skill and support that the others do not. The biggest key difference is that the bottom four offer remote consoles and the top four do not.

    Amazon AWS: The granddaddy of the cloud space, literally the inventor of the cloud. It's probably the fastest, cheapest, more powerful, most reliable cloud product out there. It is also very complicated and hard to use and requires special training on both the tech and financial sides. If you have a DevOps team that understands AWS, this is your go to choice. Runs on Xen.

    Azure: Microsoft's unique entry in the cloud IaaS space. Azure is generally costly (but prices are coming down) and the only large enterprise cloud provider with a high track record of outages (hundreds of reports vs. only a handful from other providers - but mostly account based outages rather than datacenter ones, so more dramatic with less mitigation possibility). Azure is even more complex and complicated than AWS with much less to offer, but still a very broad portfolio. Runs on Azure custom hypervisor.

    Google Cloud: Google's offering is probably closest to AWS of any player. Huge vendor with tons of know how behind the scenes. Very technical, designed for full time experts to manage.

    IBM Softlayer: Not nearly as popular as its three key rivals, IBM SL rounds out the big four players with quality at a higher price and loads of custom features like the ability to mix in custom hardware to the platform. Runs on Xen.

    Rackspace: A major player in years gone by, Rackspace was originally in the top two but likely to be dropped from the short list in 2017. Plagued with aging technology, diminishing support and a loss of mindshare, Rackspace was a key leader in the early days and the only major player to consider the VPS needs of the SMB leading it to be a critical player there for many years. Extremely high prices and service reliability issues have moved Rackspace to a niche player. Runs on Xen.

    Digital Ocean: The pioneer player in the SMB focused VPS on cloud space with super simple to use platform, great prices, loads of prebuilt apps, lots of guidance for new users, etc. No Windows support. Runs on KVM.

    Vultr: Following in DO's footsteps, Vultr added more instance types such as large storage options, competitive pricing and most importantly support for Windows as well as "bring your own" ISO builds making it the most versatile option in the SMB space, by far. Runs on KVM.

    Linode: A mature player that did VPS before DO but remained highly technical and focuses on a more experienced audience, Linode provides the most powerful platform in the SMB available space with outstanding performance at the lowest price points we have seen in the industry. No Windows support.

    The big three to consider as an SMB shop: Vultr, Digital Ocean and Linode. If you need Windows or custom products like FreePBX, NAS4Free, FreeNAS, etc. then Vultr is your sole option.



  • Tagging @MisterZee who was looking for this today.



  • What about Amazon Lightsail?



  • @aaronstuder said in Recommended Cloud IaaS Providers for the SMB in 2016:

    What about Amazon Lightsail?

    Looks very interesting. Is it just new, like... today?

    https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/amazon-lightsail-the-power-of-aws-the-simplicity-of-a-vps/



  • No Windows on Lightsail, so I would guess that that will limit its utility rather a bit. But very good that Amazon recognized the complexity and is tackling it here.



  • @aaronstuder said in Recommended Cloud IaaS Providers for the SMB in 2016:

    Amazon Lightsail?

    Whoah! when did this come into existence?





  • @fuznutz04 said in Recommended Cloud IaaS Providers for the SMB in 2016:

    @aaronstuder said in Recommended Cloud IaaS Providers for the SMB in 2016:

    Amazon Lightsail?

    Whoah! when did this come into existence?

    Few hours ago according to the Amazon AWS blog.





  • I wonder if there is ability to install your own iso like Vultr.



  • @fuznutz04 Negative.



  • @fuznutz04 said in Recommended Cloud IaaS Providers for the SMB in 2016:

    I wonder if there is ability to install your own iso like Vultr.

    I would expect that if they allowed that that there would be Windows as well. The two seem to go together.



  • 0_1480527487647_Screenshot from 2016-11-30 12-36-07.png



  • Looks like they are focusing on the Digital Ocean market right at the moment, which makes sense. The low hanging fruit. Great idea that I can't believe took them this long to go after. This will be a huge deal for the market and I expect that we will see Amazon and Vultr as the big players left in 2017. Amazon Lightsail is going to do some crazy damage to the Digital Ocean market for sure. How support is, what DO does to respond and if Lightsail expands to include things like Windows and ISOs will be huge factors.



  • @Reid-Cooper said in Recommended Cloud IaaS Providers for the SMB in 2016:

    @aaronstuder said in Recommended Cloud IaaS Providers for the SMB in 2016:

    What about Amazon Lightsail?

    Looks very interesting. Is it just new, like... today?

    https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/amazon-lightsail-the-power-of-aws-the-simplicity-of-a-vps/

    Yep, it says "today we announce..." and the date was today.



  • One of the biggest things that Amazon is offering here is the connections to other services like their hosted database products and S3 storage, which is all local. Players like DO, Vultr and Linode have not tried to do any of that kind of stuff, yet, and I think that it leaves a huge gap and weakness in their offerings. If Linode had a hosted MongoDB service, for example, we would use that for sure. If they had front end load balancers like AWS does, we would use those, too. These players need to get services like that out and differentiate themselves.

    It's something that could be done, hosted MariaDB, PostgreSQL, Redis and MongoDB alone would go a really, really long way to competing with what Amazon is offering. And getting their own S3 type service, or partnering with Backblaze B2 could cover a lot of ground as well.



  • Just noticed, Amazon does not offer FreeBSD either, at this time. Purely Linux only, CentOS-based and Ubuntu. No Suse, no Arch, no BSD variants, no Solaris and, obviously, no Windows.



  • Looking at the details page, here is a limitation depending on how you handle client accounts, or your own accounts.

    What are the Lightsail service limits?
    You can currently create up to 20 Lightsail instances, 5 static IPs, and 3 DNS domain zones in a Lightsail account.

    But this is pretty cool. Ability to manage traffic before it hits your VPS:

    Can I manage firewall settings for my instance?
    .
    You can control the data traffic for your instances by using the Lightsail firewall. From the Lightsail console, you can set rules about which ports of your instance are publicly accessible for different types of traffic.