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Quick Guide: Self-service, Pay-as-you-Go Pricing for Directus Standard Cloud

By Jonathan Wagner on April 18, 2022

Directus Cloud is a tiered offering built on Amazon Web Services (AWS), which features a proven backend infrastructure, lightning-fast performance, an intuitive dashboard, and a growing number of cloud-exclusive extensions.

In this blog post, we’ll review our Cloud offerings and take an in-depth look at how our self-service, usage-based pricing model for Standard Cloud can save you money, while delivering exceptional flexibility and scale for your next project.

Free and Open-Source – Forever

We’re bringing the spirit of open source to the cloud with the following three options:

  • Community Cloud is completely free and is great for demos, proofs-of-concept and hobby projects.
  • Standard Cloud is perfect for small to medium-sized production projects and is delivered via a usage-based pricing model. With Standard Cloud, you can configure the exact hardware you need and apply customized auto-scaling rules, and enjoy a wide array of configuration options. More on this later!
  • Enterprise Cloud provides maximum flexibility and scale to power large projects or entire organizations. It’s completely customizable and offers an array of additional features and custom extensions. It runs on dedicated servers in a single-tenant environment.

Community and Standard Cloud are self-service, while Enterprise is tailored to fit your requirements, by our team of cloud specialists. When you sign up for Directus, you’ll have the opportunity to select the best cloud tier for your project. You can learn more about the differences between the three tiers here.

The core platform comes with unlimited users, access roles, content collections and items, content locales, and API requests and bandwidth. If you opt for Standard Cloud, you also get automated backups to ensure your data and applications are always protected. Another great feature for Standard Cloud is the ability to choose the region for your servers, to further enhance performance.

We do the heavy lifting

The best thing about Directus Cloud? No matter what tier you choose, we take care of all the infrastructure and maintenance, slashing the cost of DevOps and infrastructure to a bare minimum. Take, for instance, the Directus on-premises solution. While the software is 100% free and open-source, if you’re going to self-host, you need to stand up enough servers and infrastructure to support it. If your needs increase over time, you need more infrastructure, which adds to the capital costs and operating overhead. Additionally, you don’t have to hire personnel to maintain your infrastructure – Directus automatically handles all updates and patches in the cloud.

Directus provides everything you need to take advantage of our free software for pennies per hour, including the database, serverless cluster, load balancer, file storage and a global CDN. That way, you can get up and running immediately with Directus, without any capital expenses, and increase the size of your IT department with one click, benefiting from the expertise of our Directus and DevOps specialists.

Understanding our Standard Cloud pricing

Our pricing model for Standard Cloud is revolutionary – none of our competitors offer such affordable and transparent pass-through pricing based solely on infrastructure usage. Since it’s so unique, let’s take a look at how it works – and how it drastically reduces your DevOps overhead.

Standard Cloud is available for usage-based pricing, which means you pay as you go. And that means you only pay for the infrastructure you use, by the hour. Whereas other vendors price their services based on how many content items you have or how many API requests you make in a given month, Directus Standard Cloud has no quotas or limitations, and there’s no high monthly fee. Instead, you pay just $.0347 per node, for every hour you use the platform.

Directus Standard Cloud is a serverless solution – which means that you can make it as big or small as you like. You configure how scalable your infrastructure needs to be – both vertically and horizontally – based on your capacity needs. Anticipate a spike in traffic? Simply reserve extra capacity to handle the overage. It doesn’t cost you a penny until you use it.

When you create your Directus Cloud project, choosing Standard Cloud enables multiple configuration options. First, give your project a custom URL. Then, choose a region for your infrastructure based on the proximity to your primary end users or for compliance reasons.

The next three options determine your pricing:

  • Node Type: The first thing you need to do is to choose a Node Type for your project, which enables vertical scaling. (You can change this option at any time, with no downtime.) The General Purpose tier offers a good mix of server specifications that cover most use cases. Usage is billed at $.034/hour per node, which comes to roughly $25.00/month per node, assuming your nodes are running 24/7. The Performance tier offers improved data processing, parallel operations and larger asset support. Usage is billed at $.068/hour per node, which is about $50.00/month per node.
  • Active Nodes: Active nodes provide load balancing by enabling your infrastructure to scale horizontally to handle rapid spikes in usage or traffic. When you create your project, configure how many nodes you want to be immediately available at all times.
  • Standby Nodes: During periods of elevated usage, standby nodes can be automatically added to ensure your project stays online. You will only be billed for the hours that they are active, which means they add a range to your cost estimate. All nodes are billed at the same rate, whether they're active or standby, either $.034 or $.068, depending on the tier you selected for your active nodes.

After you select these options, you’ll be given an estimated monthly price, which is the price you would pay if your project is running 24 hours/day, for the entire month. This estimate doesn’t include potential overages that may occur if standby nodes kick in.

Standard Cloud Pricing: Real-world Scenarios

To illustrate how the pricing works, let’s look at a few examples. The graphs below depict the number of running nodes over a project’s billing period. The purple shows how many nodes are running, and the pink area represents additional standby nodes that are available to handle elevated usage. You can see how the service automatically provisions the standby nodes as needed, then spins them down afterward. The project’s monthly fees are based on the total hours these active and standby nodes are online.

Example 1: Say you have a newsletter project running on a single active general purpose node at $.034 per hour. Since you only send out your newsletter once per month, you don’t want more nodes running all the time, but you may need a couple standby nodes to handle a monthly spike in traffic. You’ll pay $25 per month for single active node, and when you send out your newsletter, your standby nodes will likely kick in to cover the increase in traffic. If the standby nodes run for 20 hours, you’ll pay $.68 extra, so your bill will be around $25.68 for the month.

Example 2: What if your project is more complex – say it’s an internal app for tracking vast marketing metrics – and once a week, the Marketing team uses it to generate reports? You could start out with two general purpose nodes actively running, and use the Cloud Dashboard to increase your active nodes on Fridays to cover the spikes in usage. In addition to the $50 you pay for the active nodes ($25 x2), you might have 8 hours per month when all three standby nodes are also running (24 hours in total), and so your estimated total would be $51.63. In months where fewer reports are generated, the total cost would be lower.

Example 3: Now, say you just launched a SaaS app and you’re anticipating usage to ramp up quickly after the initial launch. You might want to configure two performance nodes, with up to four standby nodes just in case your service really takes off. The total base price would be $100 per month ($50 x2), and for every hour a standby node kicks in, you would add $.068 per node. After adoption of your SaaS app picks up and you find your standby nodes are always running, you may decide to increase to four active nodes, which would increase the base monthly fees to $200, but then your per-hour charge for standby nodes would be lower.

As you can see, Directus Standard Cloud is highly configurable, enabling you to design the backend infrastructure to your exact requirements, so you never have to pay for infrastructure you don’t need.

Spin Up Your Project Today

See for yourself how Directus eliminates all the heavy lift of designing, building and maintaining infrastructure, so you can focus on innovating your data-driven app or digital experience. Check out our pricing matrix and try Directus for free today.

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