What is Amazon Lightsail?

What is Amazon Lightsail?
(Image credit: Pixabay)

When it comes to cloud computing, there are two main considerations. One is cloud storage -- the place to keep all of your files in a secure environment. The other is related to the infrastructure, which is how you run the applications and cloud databases for those apps.

Amazon Lightsail provides virtual servers that run in the cloud. The product complements Amazon EC2 (Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud) for storage. There are dozens and dozens of other Amazon services and products, many of them part of Amazon Web Services (or AWS). However, Lightsail is the product that companies rely on for running applications without the complexity of running your own servers in a data center.

As such, Amazon Lightsail is a powerful product that can change how you do business. Because it is a virtual server, there are no concerns about scaling up or down as your needs change, no complex configurations to worry about, and no performance bottlenecks that result from poor planning and scaling in your own data center with your own servers.

Lightsail can help companies refocus efforts on the actual application development, business requirements, customer support, and other important tasks to help increase revenue and reach more customers instead of the computing environment you use to run those apps. To say cloud computing and virtual servers have changed technology might even be an understatement because popular apps we all use every day would likely not have materialized.

Benefits of Amazon Lightsail

All of the benefits of cloud computing apply to Amazon Lightsail, and perhaps more so because it is a robust product that provides a host of features. One of the biggest benefits to Lightsall is that it is easy to use, IT service staff can start and execute a new virtual server for your apps in minutes as opposed to days or weeks (as they build the required on-premise infrastructure). Apps can be pre-configured for Windows or Linux as a stack and the management console looks like a business dashboard you might use to run financial reports.

The way the pricing model works for cloud hosting is also an advantage. There is one clear price for the virtual server according to the memory allocation you choose, the number of processors, the application storage needed, and the transfer speed. For example, Amazon lists the price for a virtual server with 512 MB of memory, one processor, 20 GB of SSD storage, and 1 TB data transfer speed as costing $3.50 per month. For twice the amount of memory and data transfer speed, the cost is $5.00 per month, scaling up from there to a max of $160 per month (that’s for a whopping 32 GB of memory, an 8 core processor, 640 GB of SSD storage, and a 7 TB transfer speed). If there’s ever been a way to easily understand why cloud computing allows you to easily scale for growth, according to those pay levels, this is the best example.

Beyond that, Amazon Lightsail is all about reducing management complexity. Your staff doesn’t have to configure or maintain the network, any of the endpoint security features, user access, or even the server itself, how it runs, the performance level, and when you need to close it down.

Another advantage has to do with extensibility. Often, a company will start with one or two virtual servers that run on Lightsail and configure extra cloud storage but then expand into other service offerings. For example, a company might start with a business app that doesn’t handle any financial transactions, and then decide to use an additional service in AWS that extends the capability of its existing app. Or they decide to connect multiple apps together and need services that do that database syncing between virtual servers.

Mostly, companies sometimes experience quick growth with apps that suddenly become much more popular, either with external customers or internal corporate apps. The infrastructure you use for this might not be able to keep pace, but with Amazon Lightsail that’s not an issue. As your needs change, the app requirements scale up, you add more services and more virtual servers, it is often a simple uptick in a few features within the console to adjust, making the infrastructure management easy and simple.

This is a boon for companies that want to create innovative new products without having to think as much about the computing environment you will use. It removes one of the biggest hurdles to fast growth, which often involves improving compute resources.

In the end, Amazon Lightsail provides the computing platform companies need to be successful and grow quickly or to scale down services and try new applications that meet the needs of customers in an ever-changing tech climate. It doesn’t create the typical restriction of “living with what you have” and not ever-adapting to what your customers actually want and need.

John Brandon

John Brandon has covered gadgets and cars for the past 12 years having published over 12,000 articles and tested nearly 8,000 products. He's nothing if not prolific. Before starting his writing career, he led an Information Design practice at a large consumer electronics retailer in the US. His hobbies include deep sea exploration, complaining about the weather, and engineering a vast multiverse conspiracy.