Alibaba Cloud – features and pricing

We are all familiar with the 3 behemoths of cloud computing – AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. But is there any new player big enough to fight them? 

From the East, the wind is blowing a new cloud – Alibaba Cloud. Alibaba Group is massive. They have everything from e-commerce to online payment, entertainment, media, and also a cloud computing solution. 

Alibaba Cloud features

If you are coming from Amazon’s AWS and want an alternative to AWS EC2, the service you need is called Elastic Compute Service on Alibaba Cloud

  • Autoscaling: It is great to have auto options. You can set values, when to scale-out and when to scale-in based on specific needs. 
  • Auto-provisioning: Another automation that will follow your strategies, like the lowest cost or best performance, picks instances, chooses zones, and decides on purchase models. 
  • CPU options: You can disable vCPU cores to save on some licensing costs, or you can also switch off hyperthreading for some specific workloads. 
  • Different OSes options: Alibaba Cloud has its own Alibaba Cloud Linux OS. But if you want to get another OS that you are more familiar with or you need for specific applications, you can get SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Windows, or Red Hat Enterprise. 

You can also add additional services like Elastic IP, Load Balancer, use Elastic Container Instances, and more. 

There are 3 regions that Alibaba Cloud covers: 

  • The Asia Pacific. This is the strongest region, where it can make sense to check them out. They have 16 locations here, mostly in China, but also in Australia, Singapore, Japan, and more. 
  • Europe and America. It is strange to unite them together, but here there are not many options. Europe is represented just by London and Frankfurt and the US with Silicon Valley and Virginia. Maybe it is better to consider another cloud provider for both. 
  • The Middle East and India. Just 2 locations – Dubai and Mumbai. It is visible that they have a lot of catching up to do. 

Alibaba Cloud prices

The best option, as usual, is to get a subscription plan. But you can also have the options for paying as you go, preemptible instances, and reserved instances too.  

Let’s see some of their basic offers. Please take note that those prices may vary, depending on the region (prices updated on 18.09.2020): 


NameInstanceSystem DiskBandwidthPrice per month (USD)
Burstable instance_2C4G2 Cores, 4 GB RAM20GB Cloud SSD1M12.06
Burstable instance_1C1G1 Core, 1GB RAM20GB Cloud SSD1M5.2
Starter Package1 Core, 0.5 GB RAMN/AN/A3.5
Starter Package1 Core, 1 GB RAMN/AN/A4.5


We are checking the General Purpose Type, and we will focus on the US (US East 1 Virginia). Here the ration between processor and memory resources is 1:4. There are two options here General Purpose Type (g6) (Intel Xeon Platinum 8269CY, and Maximum 6000000 PPS), and the second one is General Purpose Type (g5) (Intel Skylake Xeon Platinum 8163, and 4000000 PPS).

NameInstanceSystem DiskBandwidthPrice per month (USD)Price per year (USD)
G6 8 Cores, 32 GB RAMN/A25 Gbps174.81782.96
G6 16 Cores, 64 GB RAMN/A25 Gbps347.563545.11
G624 Cores, 96 GB RAMN/A25 Gbps520.325407.26
G5 8 Cores, 32 GB RAMN/A20 Gbps180.161837.64
G516 Cores, 64 GB RAMN/A20 Gbps358.283654.46
G524 Cores, 96 GB RAMN/A25 Gbps536.45471.28

Wrap it up 

Ok, currently, it is not the best offer out there. But it is important to have competition. More big players will result in better pricing and services for the clients. The other big clouds are all US-based, so it is good to have an alternative elsewhere.

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