I’ve been using Amazon Web Services for about 2 years now. I find it extremely easy and user-friendly. I have full control of my VM and Amazon offers so many ancillary features to help with the IaaS. Unfortunately I also find it a little bit expensive as you start ramping up for a production environment. The pricing of their EC2 instances depends on the Operating System mainly. I use Windows which happens to be the most expensive.
<sarcasm> GREAT! </sarcasm>
Their micro instances for Windows can cost $15/month [all prices are for Virginia]. And their micro instances are not very good on performance: < 1 shared ECU, 750MB RAM. Once you get 3 users hitting an IIS website on that EC2 instance the CPU shoots to 100%.
An instance that I found useful for a production environment is the c1.medium. This one has 5 ECU’s and 1.5 GB of RAM. This is instance is great for high volume internet traffic, BUT this EC2 instance costs $160/month.
When you need to use auto scaling and increase your servers automatically according to traffic demand, $160/server/month can get very expensive. And then when you consider that this is just in 1 region and you need to copy the auto scaling set up in other geographical regions, it can get ever more expensive.
This is where SPOT INSTANCES come in. Spot instances are a life saver in terms of money.