ITH Logo New

Contact Us

By clicking “Let's Talk”, I agree to the ITH Privacy Policy

AWS vs RackSpace

AWS or Rackspace - which is better? Read our honest review. #CloudHostingComparison #BestCloudService Click To Tweet

What is the best hosting server for hosting a web application? Every hosting provider out there has its pros and cons. As a result, the decision is a tough one.

At IT Hands, we have worked with AWS and Rackspace and can provide you with details about the pros and cons of both cloud-hosting platforms. Furthermore, this blog will show you the difference between some of the core features and services of AWS and Rackspace.

Performance and Reliability

AWS

With AWS, it’s easy to set up a server with the AMI (Amazon Machine Image). The configuration of the server can be defined based on the technology. AWS supports the serverless architecture using AWS Lambda. The servers can scale automatically based on the load of the servers and AWS has a large number of data centers across the world. AWS comes with a very user-friendly dashboard and has more services than Rackspace. It helps us a lot while managing hostings and site performance.

Rackspace

Rackspace, on the other hand, does not have as many data centers around the world. It’s a bit tough to manage the servers using its dashboard. Also, the servers cannot be defined based on the application technology, like AWS is able to do.

Hosting Server Rating

AWS ★★★★★

Rackspace ★★★☆☆

 

Security and Monitoring

AWS

AWS comes with an integrated feature called IAM (Identity and Access Management). IAM allows us to manage security and access control within the instances. For example, we can define the specific roles based on the users and restrict their access as needed. In addition to this, AWS comes with security group management. Security groups help with whitelisting IP’s and ports to the servers to keep these secure.

In fact, AWS has its Cloudwatch monitoring service, which is one of the best infrastructure monitoring services. Based on service levels, AWS is on the higher end than Rackspace.

Rackspace

On the other hand, Rackspace provides RBAC Role-Based Access Control. It is a nice way to restrict who has access to Rackspace servers and infrastructure. Rackspace has the Rackspace Cloud Monitoring, which is a bit complicated.

Hosting Server Rating

AWS ★★★★☆

Rackspace ★★☆☆☆

 

Support

AWS

In AWS, there are different levels of support options. You can pay $100 to get business support from AWS. Basically, this includes chat support with the server team and they respond quickly to any queries. I like how AWS support is less expensive but still helps with any issues/queries.

Rackspace

Similarly, Rackspace provides managed support as an add-on service and it is awesome! Although they are available 24/7 and help us with any specific question, it costs $500 per month.

Hosting Server Rating

AWS ★★★★☆

Rackspace ★★★★☆

 

Cloud files (CDN) (Amazon s3 vs Rackspace cloud files)

AWS

AWS has a well-known product called S3. At this point, Amazon S3 is a very reliable and scalable cloud file-based service. It is inexpensive and allows us to add more and more space if needed. S3 is very simple and easy to set up.

It also allows us to create logics to set file permissions and use Rest API for development purpose. The security is one of the biggest plus factors with S3.

Rackspace

Rackspace has a cloud files system called Rackspace Cloud Files. The most important part of this system is that it has an Akamai CDN service available. In the first place, it’s inexpensive and able to be paid on an as-used basis. What’s more, it comes with simple file upload, simple scaling, various media types file support. In addition, it also provides easy deployment and has a simple learning curve. AWS S3 is our choice since it is ideal for development.

Hosting Server Rating

AWS ★★★★★

Rackspace ★★★★☆

 

Other Features

AWS

AWS has native support for DevOps technology like Cloudformation tool for infrastructure automation, CodeDeploy for application deployment and AWS code pipeline for continuous integration and delivery. Moreover, AWS provides managed services called Elastic Container Service (ECS) and managed Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) to build the microservice application.

Rackspace

In the same way, Rackspace has many of the support tools and technologies that AWS has, but does it with some third-party integration, not natively.

Hosting Server Rating

AWS ★★★★★

Rackspace ★★★☆☆

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, we at IT Hands prefer AWS over Rackspace for web applications hosting. AWS provides a number of tools to manage different scenarios and provides a great level of hosting support. Without a doubt, Rackspace has its good qualities – a valuable security system, even if they don’t have the broad reach around the world like AWS. In addition, they have quality support, but their price is higher than many can afford. That is why we think AWS is the best hosting server. 

Need a trusted team to host your website? Learn more about our development process or email us at solutions@ithands.com.

Best Hosting Server Rating

AWS ★★★★★

Rackspace ★★★☆☆

Time and Materials or Fixed Cost: Why T&M is Best

It is tough to know which project approach is better: time and materials or fixed cost. When my web development company started to move from a Fixed-Cost project approach to Time and Materials (T&M) with clients, our entire business changed. Client satisfaction improved dramatically. Team morale increased noticeably. Size of projects that we could successfully complete grew past our expectations.

How did this happen? We discovered that clients are concerned about three areas of a project — timeline, quality and budget. In a Fixed-Cost project however there often is a tenuous relationship between these aspects of a project. Does any of this sound familiar? If not, think of your team and yourself in the following scenario.

Timeline, quality, and budget

Scenario: In order to close the deal, you agreed to a Fixed Cost project at 1,000 hours. Your team was unrealistically hopeful that it would be easy. Halfway into it, however, the team realized it was much, much more difficult and time-consuming (nearly double) than expected. They can respond one of two ways.

Response 1: The development team focused on getting the project done quickly, without involving the client much and cutting corners to save time. Why? Because no one wants to work for free. When the dust settled after the hectic project, there stood an unhappy, underserved client and a relieved (and panting) team.

OR

Response 2: The team allowed the client to be involved in every step of the project and the team members meticulously gave their best at every moment. The team worked long hours, getting paid less for a project well done. The result: disgruntled, overworked employees and a satisfied client.

No one wants a repeat of either scenario. There is a time and place for Fixed Cost projects, but project qualities must be determined beforehand. This keeps the three areas of tension from causing problems for your team or your client.

Time and Materials or Fixed Cost: A chart

The following table will help you decide whether you should offer your client a Time and Materials or Fixed Cost proposal. The biggest reason for choosing a T&M approach is that it allows everyone to focus on the success of the project, not the scope of the project.

 

Qualities of the ProjectFixed CostTime & Materials
TypeRedesigned Software New Software
Project SizeSmallLarge
Design TypeTemplate/Client-Provided Custom
RequirementsDefinedShifting
TimelineFixedFlexible
Project DriverContractClient
Client MeetingsFewMany
FeaturesSet in StoneChangeable
FlexibleNoYes
Client interactionLimitedInvolved
Project StakeholdersFewMany
Requirement ApproachFrozenSprints
Software MethodologyWaterfallAgile
Focus of EveryoneScope of the ProjectSuccess of the Project

 

In a T&M project, the client still receives an estimate and timeline for the project, but this timeline and budget is revisited with each Sprint (a Sprint is about 2-week period). You assure the client that the scope and budget is frozen during that time period.

The team works within that timeframe, with a clearly-stated price and number of hours. In Time and Materials transparency on both sides is key. No client wants to feel like they are signing a blank check, and no team wants to give away hours.

User-focused project

Working on a T&M project helps your team and the client focus on the success of the project together. This makes the focus not just on the cost and scope of the project, but on its ultimate success with the user. This means any aspect of the project is not approached with the question, “Did our original agreement include this expense?”
But rather, “What does the user want or really need?”

T&M not an option

If you have a client that has a set amount of money budgeted for a project, split the project into phases with separate contracts. The first phase will deal with requirements gathering and system design, including the wireframes.

Once that phase is complete, you will be in a much better position to properly estimate the effort required for the development phase. This will provide a fair assessment to the client on a tight budget, and give your team the space to decide if the project will pay off.

3 Immediate takeaways

  1. Before giving out another proposal, first, determine if a Time and Materials or Fixed Cost approach is actually better for the project. (see the table above). If a client is uninterested in T&M, then split Fixed-Cost projects into a scoping phase and a development phase
  2. Prepare your team to manage projects from a Time and Materials perspective.
  3. Restructure your pricing to make T&M more appealing to your clients.

Keep a balance between the aspects of a project that cause tension — budget, quality, and timeline. Assess whether your project is Time and Materials worthy, or small and limited enough to manage with a Fixed Cost approach. Don’t overestimate and be transparent with your client.