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Availability VS Cost
By Ed Southey - 09/ Dec / 2021

As with most things in life, when it comes to operations work, there is a competing triangle of Ease of Use, Availability and Cost, if you want one of them, you need to sacrifice some aspect of the others…

… and it’s up to you to find the sweet spot that works best for you and your particular use case.

With Convox, we think we’ve covered the ‘Ease of Use’ corner pretty well (one command automatic rolling deploys, fast rollbacks, 12 factor apps by default, simple but powerful abstractions of the underlying platforms), so your sweet spot now comes to a simple evaluation of Availability vs Cost.

Up to now, we have erred on the side of providing highly available environments for your apps and services, designed for production use out of the gate, ensuring continued uptime in the face of all but the very worst cloud outages.

A growing cohort of feedback from our customers, users and the community at large has been that whilst this is appreciated, there are situations where a lower Cost environment would be preferred over that high level of Availability. Development Racks, staging environments, temporary and throw-away set-ups do not necessarily need the same level of ‘uptime guarantee’.

We’ve talked previously about how savings can be made by choosing a different cloud provider to save money in this situation, but if that isn’t an option available to you, or even if it is and you’re looking to save even more, we have now released a cheaper Rack installation option!

This allows you to install a Convox Rack, with the minimal set of Cloud resources required, saving you money in ongoing operational costs. Internally, we refer to this as a non-HA (Highly Available) Rack, due to its exposure to a wider range of Cloud outages, but in reality, we would still expect this Rack to cope in most situations.

The existing, highly available, Rack setup will remain the default, and our recommended choice for Production and other important environments, but the new alternative setup, could be ideal for new development and other similar set-ups, where cost reduction may be more important.

What difference does it make?

Let’s take a look at how they stack up:

For a standard, highly available v3 (k8s-based) Rack in AWS, Convox will automatically provision for you:

  • 1 VPC
  • 1 EKS cluster
  • 6 Subnets
  • 5 Route tables
  • 1 Internet gateway
  • 3 NAT gateways
  • 1 Network ACL
  • 3 Elastic IPs
  • 1 Network Load Balancer
  • 3 Security groups
  • 3 EC2 instances
  • 3 EBS volumes
  • 1 S3 bucket

By default we use t3.small instances which have 2 vCPUs and 2GB of memory. As of this writing, the cost of running this cluster in us-east-1 is roughly $236.54 per month, or $7.78 a day.

By using a non-HA Rack, we can reduce the resources required down to:

  • 1 VPC
  • 1 EKS cluster
  • 2 Subnets
  • 3 Route tables
  • 1 Internet gateway
  • 1 NAT gateway
  • 1 Network ACL
  • 1 Elastic IP
  • 1 Network Load Balancer
  • 1 Security group
  • 1 EC2 instance
  • 1 EBS volume
  • 1 S3 bucket

Which brings the cost down to approximately $138.47 per month, or $4.55 per day, almost $100 a month saved on this one Rack!

Importantly, this Rack is still scalable, and still has all the features of the standard Rack platform! Further costs savings can be made by utilising a non-HA Rack in Digital Ocean or other of our supported cloud providers if you wish to, as we have enabled non-HA options across the board, and for v2 Racks running on ECS as well!

How to use non-HA mode?

You can get started today with a new non-HA Rack, by simply specifying the appropriate Rack parameter on installation.

For v2 (ECS-based Racks), you can use the Convox CLI: convox rack install aws HighAvailability=false --name development

For v3 (k8s-based Racks), you can: convox rack install {cloud_provider} development high_availability=false …

Or as always, you can quickly and easily install your Racks from the Convox Console into your Cloud account, being sure to set the appropriate parameter from the UI.

Due to limitations in the cloud providers, we can’t currently support switching an existing Rack between HA and non-HA modes.

We always welcome feedback from our users, so please let us know how you get on with the new non-HA Racks, and if there are other things you would like to see us provide, or areas we can improve upon!

Keep an eye out for further cost-reducing measures coming to Convox very soon!

Availability VS Cost
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