India Based SSD Cloud Servers Comparison: NetMagic Vs AWS Vs Digital Ocean Vs E2E Networks Vs SoftLayer
Most online comparisons of VPS
instances seem to exclusively focus on the smallest (read cheapest) instances
offered by various players. We think this is a somewhat blinkered approach as
the smallest instances are almost never useful for production environments!
We decided to go out and see
what was on offer in India, from various cloud vendors but before doing so we
set certain parameters so as to make it as close to an apples to apples
comparison as possible.
First of all we decided that
we should look at only those instances which were priced at or near the
US$ 0.20/ hour mark.
Secondly, considering the way
the market and technology is moving as well as to ensure that performance of
various plans was as similar as possible, we wanted to limit our comparison to
only those providers who were exclusively offering Solid State Disk
(SSD) based instances.
Even though not too many
players in India are offering SSD based plans, we think this is the future and
in most cases should be included as a criteria by anyone evaluating VPS plans.
For comparison sake, we have
included one traditional datacenter player who is offering HDD based plans,
just to illustrate the fact that SSD plans need not automatically be more
Third, we not only looked at
the obvious price/ performance parameter, but also how cloud agnostic
the platform is.
Lastly, keeping in mind the
needs of most Indian start-ups, we have limited our comparison to only
those cloud players who are offering instances at Indian Datacenter locations.
This is an important
consideration for anyone who is looking at primarily servicing India based
No. of VCPUs
Storage & Type
Price per hour
$0.208 = ?14.35
AWS (r3.large – Mumbai)
$0.19 = ?13.11
$0.238 = ?16.42
E2E Networks (30_GB_PRO)
$0.188 = ?13.00
$0.261 = ?18.00
From even a cursory glance at
the above it is evident that NetMagic, the incumbent datacenter player, clearly
targets enterprise and large MNC customers offering their customers a lot of
features similar to AWS. They are one of oldest India-based datacenters and
still have some of the big name clients on their roaster. However, they are
also clearly quite not competitive with some of the newest players that have
emerged in India over last few years.
Besides the less than
competitive comparison above, they also begin to charge for data transfer from
a very low threshold and offer no option of choosing SSD storage. Netmagic also
charges the base amount for the machine whether you use it or not, there is no
on-demand spinning of instances without payment.
you are a large enterprise or MNS with deep pockets, NetMagic is clearly out of
Lets start by looking at the
offering from SoftLayer. For almost exactly our target price, one can get a
SoftLayer instance with a 2 VCPUs, 12GB RAM and 25 GB SSD local storage. Except
for Netmagic, this is the lowest spec from amongst all the India hosted cloud
players we reviewed. Furthermore, outbound data transfer is chargeable,
so customers can expect an even higher monthly bill.
On the plus side, SoftLayer is
backed by the IBM brand, which for some customers is enough to justify the high
price tag. Furthermore, IBM SoftLayer has a global footprint providing
connectivity for free within their entire network. Also, the SoftLayer platform
lends itself fairly well to building cloud agnostic solutions, which in our
books is a definite plus.
Conclusion: Clearly focussed on selling to large global enterprises,
SoftLayer doesn’t seem overly keen on picking up business from value driven
Web Services (AWS)
Amazon Web Services is the
oldest, most well known and the largest cloud player in the world. Being the
first entrant and in fact one of the creators of the whole cloud space, AWS
offers its customers a huge range of services from which to choose from. While
most customers may only ever use two or three of these services, if ever required,
additional services can be launched with just a few clicks on the AWS control
The downside to a lot of these
services is that they involve abstracted layers in-between, which necessarily
impact performance. In essence this means that you need to throw a lot more
hardware at the same job, to extract performance approaching that of a “closer
to the metal” platform.
Also, developing and
maintaining these large number of services comes at a price, which is reflected
in the above table. It seems that you get a less for your money, when buying
There is another not so
obvious aspect of using such a platform. Substituting applications with
abstracted services comes at the cost of being cloud agnostic. Which is fine if
you expect to be with the same vendor for life. However, if you ever expect to
be able to switch providers at any point, you would need to select the services
you use very carefully, so as not to lock your solution in to such a platform.
In addition, we feel that for
not-so-tech-savvy customers, AWS can prove to be a bit overwhelming.
AWS also begins to charge for
data transfer at fairly low levels, which means that you will almost certainly
be paying data transfer charges from the get go.
Conclusion: Bad in
terms of price/ performance or cloud agnosticism. Choose AWS only for the brand
name or if you really need to use one of the many services which are available
on their platform.
Digital Ocean is a global
player known for providing closer to the metal pure SSD based VPS instances. It
has now finally set up a datacenter location in India and is offering it as an
option at no extra cost.
While their comparable
instance is priced higher than that from AWS, it comes with 4 times the
number of VCPUs and 5 times the amount of SSD storage!
Furthermore Digital Ocean has
bundled in very generous 6TB of data transfer along with this
plan. This essentially means that the vast majority of customers will probably
never get charged for data transfer.
Although, we have not used
Digital Ocean services ourselves, their consumers generally talk very highly
about their services. Their customer support seems to be quite good as well!
is a serious contender. Very good price/ performance and suitable for building
cloud agnostic solutions.
The least known of the three
contenders here, E2E Networks is a 6 year old Indian start-up that has been
making waves in the Indian IaaS space. Known for it’s aggressive pricing and
offering it’s customers the option of “You do it for me” support, it is a clear
winner in the price/ performance segment.
With a per instance price lower than AWS, it offers 4 times the number of
VCPUs, 2 times the RAM and a very generous 460GB of SSD Storage.
Additionally, all plans are bundled with unmetered data transfer, so they are
ideal for websites and cloud applications that have need heavy data transfers.
Their solution follows the Digital Ocean model of building closer to the metal
SSD based VPS instances, suitable for those wish to remain cloud agnostic. This
combined with their (optional) full DevOps support, it becomes really hard not
to place them at the top of the heap.
When it comes to value for
money, E2E Networks definitely beats most others, with Digital Ocean coming
close second. If you are an enterprise level customer, you would be better
served with AWS or Softlayer or even Netmagic. This article was mainly focused
towards requirements of web publishers, Web App developers who are looking for
pure SSD, India based cloud hosting solutions.
We have not written anything about customer service, because it is quite
subjective and everyone will have a different experience with each.