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29 Aug 2012
The Pricing - does it have to be complex?
All three vendors analyzed in this comparison use three different pricing methods, and it makes the comparison difficult, since we need to find some common denominator. Let’s look how deeply different these models can be.
AAcquia.com pricing is complex partially because it is built on top of Amazon EC2+S3 instances specifications (there are eight options with known prices to choose from), but you can’t buy the hosting alone – you also have to buy the bundled Acquia Network subscription, which comes in two flavours with known prices: Developer and Professional. Furthermore, Acquia Network subscription level determines how many sites you can host on any chosen Amazon EC2+S3 option – up to 3 sites on the Developer level or up to 10 sites on the Professional level. While Acquia.com pricing lists Amazon EC2+S3 options with their respective CPU and RAM limits, it doesn’t list its other important limits, like I/O Performance and EBS Throughput, so you need to check them on the AWS site directly to make sure what kind and level of performance is included. There is online configurator available to help you calculate the total cost. Note that we don’t include in this comparison the Managed Cloud with Enterprise level of Acquia Network subscription, because it is about non-standard configurations, built individually, with custom pricing.
PGetPantheon.com pricing is simpler, because it doesn’t depend on Rackspace Cloud options directly, thanks to unique system configuration and infrastructure build by GetPantheon.com. You don’t need to buy any extra, bundled services, but the pricing is still based on the pay-per-site model. However, the pricing page doesn’t list any included limits. It also doesn’t list the price (and resources included) for extra virtualized resources units (DROPs), which is $30/month each, so it is not immediately clear what the total cost per-site may be, until you will put your site live and experience if the basic configuration is enough or how many extra DROPs you need, if any. You need to read All About DROPs article to better understand how the pricing is calculated and to know that the base subscription includes three DROPs, one per environment, and that you can add more DROPs only for live environment and only with Pro or higher options. Note that we don’t include in this comparison Developer and Basic (not scalable and limited) options, since they don’t have any comparable equivalents in either Acquia.com or Omega8.cc offer. We also don’t include Enterprise and Zeus options, since both are about non-standard configurations, built individually, with custom pricing.
8Omega8.cc pricing is based on Cores – virtual units of servers resources. Every Core comes with guaranteed resources, the same features and included Drupal platforms. One Aegir Hosting System instance can use 1 to 50 Cores. There is no limit on the number of sites you can host per instance and it can automatically scale up to 32 GB RAM and 24 CPU Real Threads for short load peaks – free of charge. Every Drupal site is different, with its specific database size and complexity, code, configuration and traffic type, requiring specific and non-linear memory and CPU power. This is why Omega8.cc doesn’t use pay-per-site pricing, instead using easy to understand, count and even predict resources limits to define virtual units used for billing purposes. Effectively, there are no options to deliberate on. You start with one or more Cores and then upgrade or downgrade when needed. If you need extra services, you can purchase them separately. And that is it. No complexity.
To compare the effective prices in one of the next articles, we will use the cost per site as a common denominator, even if Omega8.cc doesn’t use it. But first let’s discuss (on Thursday) how Open Source can or can’t be used in the Drupal-dedicated hosting.
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