Ditching AWS
September 8, 2017
[ Development ]
aws netlify gcp

In the past few months, I have slowly migrated my projects off of Amazon Web Services. It has served me well over the years, but after awhile, I just found the experience needlessly complex. Here’s a rundown of the AWS resources I use(d) and where I moved them to:

Storage: from S3/Glacier to Google Nearline

Google Nearline is cheaper than S3 but more expensive than Glacier. That said, I found it incredibly difficult to understand Glacier’s pricing for retrievals. In fact, knowing I had data backed up on Glacier, while comforting, always made me feel like there was some uncertain data retrieval fee that I would have to face if I ever needed to access it.

Furthermore, Glacier was not particularly easy-to-use. I ended up using the S3 commandline tools and setting a bucket lifecycle policy to change the storage class to Glacier.

I found Google Nearline still affordable, and way easier to use and understand. The retrieval costs are clear and the commandline tool very easy-to-use.

DNS: Route 53 to Google Domains (free)

I wanted a highly available Anycast service, and was previously using AWS’s Route 53. I found Google Domains to be worth transferring my domains to, just for the free Anycast DNS. Although it is not the same service as Google Cloud DNS (which is Google’s proper equivalent to Route 53), it harnesses the same technology with a more limited feature-set, which was more than adequate for me.

Cloudflare would have been another decent option. In fact, NameSilo domain registration with Cloudflare free Anycast DNS would have been a more inexpensive combo, but Google Domains had other features I liked (like permission sharing).

See this post for a more detailed post on this subject.

Static Website Hosting: S3/Cloudfront (with Amazon Certificates) to Netlify

AWS had a convoluted method that required accessing and configuring four AWS resources in order to serve a static website over https. S3, Cloudfront, Amazon Certificates, and Route 53. You have to go to each resource and configure several settings to get them all working with each other. You also have to set up dual S3 buckets and Cloudfront distributions to handle redirecting root and www-prefixed sites.

Netlify does it all with a few clicks, and a couple DNS records. And there are many more advantages to using Netlify over AWS. See this post for a more detailed post on this subject.

Prepayment Achieved!

I hate having a monthly bill to monitor every month, and always wanted the ability to prepay AWS services. Please, Amazon, take my money! But after years of asking for this capability, AWS continues to ignore it. The earliest AWS forum thread on this topic was back in 2009, and they have yet to address this much-needed option.

Google Cloud Platform allows prepayment, and the free DNS with my domain is naturally prepaid as long as I add years to the domain registrations.

Under AWS, what if I got hit by a truck? My zones would stop working (and email would stop for my family) and my storage deleted if my AWS bill was not paid. With Google Domains, my most important zones can be prepaid up to ten years with my domain registrations. And my storage/backup with Nearline can be prepaid as needed.

This was a very important feature I needed, and if AWS offered prepayment, I would have probably stayed there.

Some AWS Resources Still Being Used…

I still use AWS’s Simple Email Service (SES) and will likely use their Relational Database (RDS) in the future as I have in the past. Google Cloud Platform has a database offering but the AWS worked well when I needed it and I would still be happy to use it.

But other than these services, I am happy to finally be rid of the vast majority of my AWS needs!

  • 2017/09/05 Static Website Hosting - From AWS to Netlify!
  • 2017/09/13 Netlify's Awesome Build Process
  • 2017/09/01 My DNS Journey
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