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Amazon EC2 vs Firebase: What are the differences?
Developers describe Amazon EC2 as "Scalable, pay-as-you-go compute capacity in the cloud". Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers. On the other hand, Firebase is detailed as "The Realtime App Platform". Firebase is a cloud service designed to power real-time, collaborative applications. Simply add the Firebase library to your application to gain access to a shared data structure; any changes you make to that data are automatically synchronized with the Firebase cloud and with other clients within milliseconds.
Amazon EC2 belongs to "Cloud Hosting" category of the tech stack, while Firebase can be primarily classified under "Realtime Backend / API".
Some of the features offered by Amazon EC2 are:
- Elastic – Amazon EC2 enables you to increase or decrease capacity within minutes, not hours or days. You can commission one, hundreds or even thousands of server instances simultaneously.
- Completely Controlled – You have complete control of your instances. You have root access to each one, and you can interact with them as you would any machine.
- Flexible – You have the choice of multiple instance types, operating systems, and software packages. Amazon EC2 allows you to select a configuration of memory, CPU, instance storage, and the boot partition size that is optimal for your choice of operating system and application.
On the other hand, Firebase provides the following key features:
- Add the Firebase library to your app and get access to a shared data structure. Any changes made to that data are automatically synchronized with the Firebase cloud and with other clients within milliseconds.
- Firebase apps can be written entirely with client-side code, update in real-time out-of-the-box, interoperate well with existing services, scale automatically, and provide strong data security.
- Data Accessibility- Data is stored as JSON in Firebase. Every piece of data has its own URL which can be used in Firebase's client libraries and as a REST endpoint. These URLs can also be entered into a browser to view the data and watch it update in real-time.
"Quick and reliable cloud servers", "Scalability" and "Easy management" are the key factors why developers consider Amazon EC2; whereas "Realtime backend made easy", "Fast and responsive" and "Easy setup" are the primary reasons why Firebase is favored.
According to the StackShare community, Amazon EC2 has a broader approval, being mentioned in 3605 company stacks & 1613 developers stacks; compared to Firebase, which is listed in 859 company stacks and 992 developer stacks.
We are starting to work on a web-based platform aiming to connect artists (clients) and professional freelancers (service providers). In-app, timeline-based, real-time communication between users (& storing it), file transfers, and push notifications are essential core features. We are considering using Node.js, ExpressJS, React, MongoDB stack with Socket.IO & Apollo, or maybe using Real-Time Database and functionalities of Firebase.
I would recommend looking hard into
Firebase for this project, especially if you do not have dedicated full-stack or backend members on your team.
The real time database, as you mentioned, is a great option, but I would also look into
Firestore. Similar to RTDB, it adds more functions and some cool methods as well. Also, another great thing about Firebase is you have easy access to storage and dead simple auth as well.
Apollo are great technologies as well, and may be the better option if you do not wish to cede as much control to third parties in your application.
Overall, I say if you wish to focus more time developing your
React application instead of other parts of your stack,
Firebase is a great way to do that.
Hello Noam 👋,
I suggest taking a look at Ably, it has all the realtime features you need and the platform is designed to guarantee critical functionality at scale.
Here is an in depth comparison between Ably and Firebase
I would recommend you to take a look into 8base. It has features you've requested, also relation database and GraphQL API which will help you to develop rapidly.
I'm looking for a storage service for a simple website (built with Vue) with browser games. The website will have a login system and will collect some basic information about users. It will also have a chat, so it needs to store messages. I would prefer a free solution for now, because the number of users and transferred data will be very small. I Was choosing between Amazon EC2 and Google Firebase even tho they aren't really in the same category. Any advice on that will be appreciated
Correct, AWS EC2 is not at all the same thing as Firebase. AWS EC2 is a server instance where you can run server code. Firebase is a suite of pre-built cloud services that help developers offload maintenance, development and speed up development.
In your situation, if you are looking for a free or low cost option, where you can integrate many of the different types of services you have mentioned (authentication, storage, chatting, etc), Firebase is your best bet for the lowest effort.
If you go with AWS, you will end up needing much more than just EC2 to build and run your backend. More over, you will have to learn AWS's console which isn't the greatest user experience.
Beware that Firebase has a tendency not to be very reliable compared to AWS.
If you are using only Vue.js, you could consider Amazon S3 for the static portion of your site and Amazon Lambda for the bits you need to store data (also in S3).
This setup would require more work on your side, but it can be WAY cheaper than EC2 instances: it can be from $0 to $3/month. If you use only AWS free tier, you can make a very nice app paying for nothing for the first year, at least.
DigitalOcean was where I began; its USD5/month is extremely competitive and the overall experience as highly user-friendly.
However, their offerings were lacking and integrating with other resources I had on AWS was getting more costly (due to transfer costs on AWS). Eventually I moved the entire project off DO's Droplets and onto AWS's EC2.
One may initially find the cost (w/o free tier) and interface of AWS daunting however with good planning you can achieve highly cost-efficient systems with savings plans, spot instances, etcetera.
Do not dive into AWS head-first! Seriously, don't. Stand back and read pricing documentation thoroughly. You can, not to the fault of AWS, easily go way overbudget. Your first action upon getting your AWS account should be to set up billing alarms for estimated and current bill totals.
We first selected Google Cloud Platform about five years ago, because HIPAA compliance was significantly cheaper and easier on Google compared to AWS. We have stayed with Google Cloud because it provides an excellent command line tool for managing resources, and every resource has a well-designed, well-documented API. SDKs for most of these APIs are available for many popular languages. I have never worked with a cloud platform that's so amenable to automation. Google is also ahead of its competitors in Kubernetes support.
GCE is much more user friendly than EC2, though Amazon has come a very long way since the early days (pre-2010's). This can be seen in how easy it is to edit the storage attached to an instance in GCE: it's under the instance details and is edited inline. In AWS you have to click the instance > click the storage block device (new screen) > click the edit option (new modal) > resize the volume > confirm (new model) then wait a very long time. Google's is nearly instant.
- In both cases, the instance much be shut down.
There also the preference between "user burden-of-security" and automatic security: AWS goes for the former, GCE the latter.
Most bioinformatics shops nowadays are hosting on AWS or Azure, since they have HIPAA tiers and offer enterprise SLA contracts. Meanwhile Heroku hasn't historically supported HIPAA. Rackspace and Google Cloud would be other hosting providers we would consider, but we just don't get requests for them. So, we mostly focus on AWS and Azure support.
Pros of Amazon EC2
- Quick and reliable cloud servers647
- Easy management393
- Low cost277
- Market leader89
- Backed by amazon80
- Free tier67
- Easy management, scalability58
- Easy to Start10
- Widely used9
- Node.js API7
- Industry Standard5
- Lots of configuration options4
- GPU instances2
- Extremely simple to use1
- Amazing for individuals1
- All the Open Source CLI tools you could want.1
- Simpler to understand and learn1
Pros of Firebase
- Realtime backend made easy369
- Fast and responsive268
- Easy setup240
- Backed by google126
- Angular adaptor82
- Great customer support35
- Great documentation31
- Real-time synchronization25
- Mobile friendly21
- Rapid prototyping18
- Great security14
- Automatic scaling12
- Freakingly awesome11
- Angularfire is an amazing addition!8
- Super fast development8
- Firebase hosting6
- Built in user auth/oauth6
- Awesome next-gen backend6
- Ios adaptor6
- Very easy to use4
- Speed of light4
- It's made development super fast3
- Brilliant for startups3
- JS Offline and Sync suport2
- Low battery consumption2
- Push notification2
- Free hosting2
- Cloud functions2
- The concurrent updates create a great experience2
- I can quickly create static web apps with no backend2
- Great all-round functionality2
- Free authentication solution2
- CDN & cache out of the box1
- Google's support1
- Simple and easy1
- Faster workflow1
- Free SSL1
- Easy Reactjs integration1
- Easy to use1
- Good Free Limits1
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Cons of Amazon EC2
- Ui could use a lot of work13
- High learning curve when compared to PaaS6
- Extremely poor CPU performance3
Cons of Firebase
- Can become expensive31
- No open source, you depend on external company16
- Scalability is not infinite15
- Not Flexible Enough9
- Cant filter queries7
- Very unstable server3
- No Relational Data3
- Too many errors2
- No offline sync2