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The Pros and Cons of Cloud-Based Amazon Web Services

In this month's Can't Live With/Can't Live Without column, two business owners explain their opposing views on the remote computing service for web sites.

Can't Live With It
Tom Copeland, owner of Bullworthy.com, a web services firm in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Bullworthy.com, a web content specialist for mom-and-pop businesses, depends on its hosting and cloud service providers to deliver websites and store content reliably. But owner Tom Copeland says using Amazon Web Services would be a bit like taking a jackhammer to a job that calls for a shovel.

"This is for the hard-core developer, and some people don't need hard-core developer applications," Copeland says. He says he tinkered with AWS once but it was too complicated, so he stuck with FatCow to host his web properties and Google to store and manage his files and documents.

"For $20 a year I bought 80 GB of storage space, which is more than I would ever need," he says. "For 20 bucks and a couple of clicks I was able to buy storage capacity that I'll never effectively max out."

Can't Live Without It
Sue Heilbronner, president of Swiftrank, an online global travel network based in Boulder, Colo., and Singapore

Swiftrank operates a network of websites that, with rapid growth, started bumping up against bandwidth and download response time limitations within eight months of launch using traditional hosting solutions. So the company migrated its development environments to Amazon Web Services. Two months into the transition, president Sue Heilbronner saw a 70 percent reduction of costs.

"We were having some challenges during peak traffic periods. That problem was solved almost immediately," she says, adding that the scalability of cloud computing with AWS allows Swiftrank to ramp up bandwidth to accommodate future growth and expansion.

Heilbronner says that she and her IT team also have been impressed with the personalized service Swiftrank has received from AWS: "We've been most surprised by that." 

Self-described tech geek Ericka Chickowski also writes for Consumers Digest, the Los Angeles Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Like this article? Get this issue right now on iPad, Nook or Kindle Fire.

This article was originally published in the June 2011 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Thunder About Amazon's Cloud.

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