Arnis: Evaluating cloud provider free tiers

February 21, 2016 by rdagumampan

This Saurday, I was looking cloud providers to host Arnis’s REST services. I believe that all providers are built on the same cloud principles and offers basic services for microservice hosting. So, my selection criteria are very simple: it must be reliable, easy to start with, and free as beer ;) as I wish not to spend much personal money on it!

Based on this, I shortlisted 4.

  • AWS (market leader and very popular with OS community, an Amazon company)
  • Azure (popular with large enterprises like my employer, a Microsoft company)
  • Google Cloud Compute (its Google.)
  • Heroku (heard alot about it, a Salesforce company)
*** This is not a feature by feature comparison since each offers a unique package and spices. I noted only those that fits for my requirements.

Amazon Free Tier

Additional spices:
  • dynamodb nosqldb
    • 25gb storage -> this is niiiiice!!
    • free until full utilization
  • docker container register
    • 500mb/mont -> sweetness!
    • expires 12 months
Azure F1
  • *free forever
  • 60 CPU minutes/day - this is fine for low traffic sites
  • 10 applications
  • 1GB RAM, 1GB storage
  • requires credit card
  • no bill shock
Additional spices:
  • *free forever for students, professors and researchers via Dreamspark
Azure via Visual Studio Dev Essentials
  • expires 12 months
  • this Azure F1 + $25 monthly azure credit
  • plus++ lots of other stuff i don’t need
  • for new azure users
  • no bill shock
Google Cloud Compute
  • expires 2 months -> such a cheapskate huh!!!
  • $300 credit free
  • requires credit card
  • no bill shock
Heroku Free
  • *free forever
  • sleeps after 30mins of inactivity
  • usable only 18 hours (requires to sleep 6 hours/day)
  • 512 RAM
Additional spices:
  • 25MB Redis RAM, 20 connections -> this can be a deal breaker!
The Verdict

Three important leanings.

  1. There’s no such things as “free forever”, it’s should be “free for now”. These companies changes the scope of free over time, ex. Heroku’s free was limited and they now offers a “Hobby” tier for $7/month. And Google have to change their tier, because it’s just doesn’t make sense.
  2. I can get the best of everything by combining their Value Added Services (the spices). I can get my app hosted in Azure for unlimited time, take the AWS’s 25GB of NoSQL database and optimize later with Heroku’s Redis Cache!
  3. I have strong distrust of Amazon and it always push this option down. (It happens when Amazon Prime scam sneakingly charged me $79 without prior notice. It checks any card I have on my account and charge whatever if sees as possible money source! One, called this “cynical corporate rape”  and was banned by watchdog)
And Google? Told you, it’s non-sense offer :D

So I started with Azure. Simply, I can get things done fast with Azure. I decided based on my primary selection criteria + the leverage on my strengths in .NET + and gut feel.


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