Going with Slicehost Instead of AWS EC2

I ran into some trouble with python2.4 and the django code I was using. The previous server had 2.5 and I didn’t notice any problems, so I tried upgrading to 2.5 and changing which version of python Debian uses as default (this was on Debian Etch). I was having some difficulty getting a few of the site-packages to work with 2.5 by default (like mod_python), so I decided to move to Debian Lenny even though it isn’t as supported. While doing that I ran into a problem where it doesn’t work well with xfs and Amazon’s Elastic Block Store. They are looking into the matter, but while trying to figure that out, I realized that AWS doesn’t come with support. There is an extra package you have to purchase which starts at $100 a month.

That made Amazon look less awesome since I know I am going to need some support at some point. I decided to compare prices and features around again. I ended up revisiting Slicehost since I knew a lot more about setting up a server than I did before.

I posted the steps that I took to set up apache, mysql, django, and a few other things on a clean ubuntu machine on Code Spatter.

Now I have a WebFaction account for testing and subversion hosting and I’m using the Slicehost account for the live version of the site.

Subversion makes it easy to commit on one server and update on the other once it is stable. I should explore a distributed version control system like git since it might help out with this in the future.

Update October 21, 2008

The AWS developer community seems to be a good alternative to having direct support from amazon. The people there are knowledgeable and amazon reps post frequently. Here is a quote from someone at amazon about the issue I was having

We are still investigating the issue and will post an analysis a little later and a workaround.  Basically the problem revolves around the interaction between very specific kernel versions, XFS and our version of Xen.

Even though my slice is running fine, I will still be keeping AWS in mind.

Update May 7, 2009

Some people have posted some solutions on the developer community. I haven’t tested them, but I will look into it if I need to use Amazon again.